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128 “binder” domains registered at after debate

October 17, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, GoDaddy, UncategorizedComments Off on 128 “binder” domains registered at after debate

Meme kicks of domain registration spree.

There’s nothing like a funny phrase in a debate to start a meme. And when there’s a meme, there are domains to be registered.

Earlier this year there was Clint Eastwood and his chair. That spurred dozens of domain registrations.

Last night there was Mitt Romney and his “binders full of women” comment at the debate.

A Super PAC was standing by for any possible meme moments in the debate and snapped up a couple minutes after the words were uttered.

They weren’t the only ones.

As of this afternoon people had registered 128 domains including the word “binder” at Go Daddy as the meme caught on.

The average number of domains registered at each day including the word “binder” is four.

I don’t know what’s more incredible: 128 binder domains since the debate, or that an average of four domains are registered with the word “binder” on a typical day.

Of course, it didn’t take long or some of these to hit eBay. BindersFullofWomen.XXX can be yours at a buy now price of $500.

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WebmasterWorld forums sold to New York company

October 17, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, forums, Uncategorized, webmasterworldComments Off on WebmasterWorld forums sold to New York company

Popular online destination for SEO and internet marketing discussions changes hands.

WebmasterWorld, one of the most popular online forums for web site owners, has been acquired by New York company Internet Marketing Ninjas for an undisclosed price.

Internet Marketing Ninjas founder Jim Boykin is a long time member of the WebmasterWorld forums.

WebmasterWorld, Inc. was owned by the same people that put on the popular PubCon conference. PubCon will continue to be a separate conference controlled by Austin, TX based PubCon, Inc.

The WebmasterWorld forums include many discussions about domain names, especially as they relate to search engine optimization. has an Alexa ranking of 1,122.

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Google lets webmasters disavow links

October 16, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on Google lets webmasters disavow links

New tools lets webmasters tell Google which inbound links to ignore.

I’ve written before about the hassle Google’s crack down on “unnatural linking” has caused web site owners like me.

When web site owners get a notice from Google about unnatural links pointing to their site, they send notices to people (like me) asking for their links to be removed.

Often these site owners assume all of the links Google has identified were part of their SEO firm’s black hat/gray hat SEO techniques. But in each case I’ve received a notice, no one ever paid me to add the link or requested that I add the link.

Now Google has released a tool to let webmasters “disavow” links. It basically let’s them tell Google to ignore certain links that may look spammy when the webmaster can’t get it removed.

Unfortunately, this won’t stop the flood of link take down requests you can expect to receive. Google is asking webmasters to first try to get as many links removed as possible and then disavow only links they can’t get taken down.

It’s a step in the right direction, but it would be better if Google could figure out link quality for itself.

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.Com growth rate slowing (but only slightly)

October 16,, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Uncategorized, verizon, zone fileComments Off on .Com growth rate slowing (but only slightly)

Data show a slight reduction in .com growth rate, but it’s still over 8% per year.

A couple weeks ago Michael Berkens wrote a story about how the base of .com and .net domain registrations was slowing “to a crawl”.

A few days later Treffis issued a report stating “Verisign’s Dropping .com And .net Is A Troubling Trend”.

The numbers in Berken’s post didn’t quite make sense to me. The Treffis report refers to .com and .net having a falling market share, which doesn’t seem particularly relevant with the overall namespace continuing to grow.

Curious what the real story is, I decided to dig into the numbers.

The most important thing I discovered is that the numbers some people compare aren’t always apples to apples. What VeriSign reports on its zone file page differ from what’s in its domain industry briefs and investor calls, which also differ from the numbers it reports to ICANN each month. For example, the numbers in the quarterly reports and domain briefs exclude domains in the 5 day add-grace period.

If you compare numbers in the zone file to VeriSign’s other reports, you’ll get the wrong growth rates.

Perhaps the best monthly source of information on .com registrations are the monthly reports VeriSign sends to ICANN. They’re easy to access and the archive goes back as far as you want to go.

So to compare apples to apples, I pulled the end-of-quarter monthly ICANN reports going back to Q1 2009. I looked only at .com.

Here’s what I found: the growth rate of the .com registration base is slowing marginally over the past few years.

The chart above shows the annual growth rate in the .com base. As you case see, it’s been on a slight downward projectory since Q3 of 2010. It’s never good to go down, but the drop (in growth rate, not total domains registered) has been as little as three basis points from one quarter to the next and no more than 25 basis points. It’s also coming off a nice peak following a hard period due to falling domain parking revenue.

Also keep in mind that the bigger the base gets, the more domains must be added just to maintain the same growth rate. The number of net gains in 2011 exceeded 2010 despite a slower overall growth rate.

It may be helpful to look at the .com base, as reported to ICANN, since Q1 2009 on a chart that begins at zero:

Trying to compare the growth rate in the .com base from quarter to quarter (instead of annually) is a bit challenging. Domain registrations are seasonal. Q1 is consistently a strong quarter for growth.

It’s best to represent this data in a table:

You can still see the slight downward trend in these numbers.

Bottom line: growth in the .com base is slowing, but ever so slightly. And it’s still growing significantly.

The downside to VeriSign’s data submitted to ICANN is that it is posted three months in arrears. Some sites that track .com counts on zone information show that the reduced growth trend is continuing.

Many new TLD supporters think that a proliferation of alternatives to .com will take a bite out of .com’s growth rate. They could be right in the long term. But for now, the registration base of .com continues to grow nicely.

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29 end user domain sales

October 15, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on 29 end user domain sales

29 end user domain sales, including three prompted by a marketing campaign.

With TRAFFIC and traveling last week, I’m a few days late with the weekly end user sales report. But you’ll forgive me with this great list!


Let’s start the Afternic list with three companies that went “down ladder”. By this I mean they own a superior TLD (.com in this case) but bought a secondary TLD (.net). I have a pretty good theory about how these deals came about:

Jones Public Affairs already owns and bought for $6,000.

Superb Foods, Inc., owner of Original Oyster House and the equivalent .com domain, bought for $1,477.

Finally, LabWare, Inc., bought for $1,617 to go with its domain name.

Did these three companies just one day all happen to think of buying the .net? I suspect this has to do with a direct marketing campaign by Afternic partner Network Solutions. Network Solutions is sending emails to its customers offering domain names matching their second level but in a different top level domain. Since all three of the above companies have their .com registered at NetSol, I think it’s a good bet that the email pitch led them to these purchases.

I think this is a brilliant marketing approach, but I have to say I get these emails from Network Solutions way too often.

Ultima Aliments, seller of Yoplait (at least in Canada as far as I can tell) bought for $1,988.

Make it Right, which appears to have a contractor/construction reality show in Canada, bought for $3,860. A new show?

New Zealand car parts company Scarles went global; it owns and just bought for $1,600.

Concorde Auto Centre owns, but that must be difficult for customers from countries that use non-British English. It bought for $1,700.

NPower, a charitable organization in Pennsylvania that provides technology services and support to other charitable organizations, bought for $2,500.

“As built drawings consultant” Brian Curran bought for $1,300.

A company called Pool Cover Specialists already owns the great domain It just bought for $1,588.

RBC Ministries paid $1,488 for

Software company UniBlue Systems Ltd bought for $1,788, which is likely for password software.

“Art management” company Artage Ltd bought for $3,588.

iSpan, maker of TotalJoist (and owner of bought for $2,588.

Pressflex, which provides webmaster services to newspapers, magazines and major blogs, bought for $1,688. A “pull quote” is s quote or text from an article that is called out in a larger format.

An outfit called Bottlecap Productions bought for $1,995.

Goodwill of Middle Georgia bought for $1,288.

Marketing company Prophet already owns It just bought for $1,609.

A Seattle area interior design company, Tewes Design, paid $1,288 for A smart buy.

Gospel Music Channel bought for $2,395.


Let’s start with one where I don’t know who the buyer is but they already have an active web site: at $30,000. The domain was sold by Garry Chernoff. The buyer is using whois privacy but has already put up a simple store selling backsplashes.

pair Networks bought for 1,800 EUR

LH Philips & Co accountants paid GBP 1,295 for It has been using as its web site.

Tech publication Information Week bought for $1,000.

Private Jet Hire Ltd. of London bought for $755.

The owner of dropped the hyphen for $850.

Last week, creator of database software to organize collections, bought for 2,000 EUR. Now it is the proud owner of at a cost of 5,000 EUR.

Law firm Erwin Legal bought for $799.

A company called Mobile Recharge promises to help you “recharge any mobile phone”. It hasn’t launched yet, but just bought for 10,000 EUR. . I believe this refers to recharging a pre-paid phone, as the company also owns

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ICANN’s bombshell: new TLDs sooner than expected thanks to a lottery

October 11, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on ICANN’s bombshell: new TLDs sooner than expected thanks to a lottery

New TLD applicants will likely applaud plan — after they try to massage it to their best interests.

It’s still just a plan open to comment, but ICANN today released big news related to the orderly delegation of new top level domains.

First, it plans to go back to a lottery model for deciding which new TLDs will be evaluated and ultimately delegated.

Except for internationalized domain names, which will be given a priority:

IDNs will be given a priority. Advance release of IDNs promotes DNS diversity, makes the Internet more accessible, increases avenues of participation and serves the public interest.

I’m shocked that ICANN is considering giving IDNs a priority this late in the game. I’m sure that will raise howls from ASCII applicants who believe their top level domains will have equal benefits to the world.

Second, this new approach means new top level domains could begin delegation in the middle of 2013, rather than current estimates of early 2014.

The video below is new ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé explaining the new process.

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New TLD panel at TRAFFIC

October 8, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on New TLD panel at TRAFFIC

Panel discusses opportunities for domain investors with new top level domains.

The second panel at TRAFFIC in Fort Lauderdale this morning was a session on new TLDs and how they will affect domainers. Panelists were:

Michael Berkens and Monte Cahn of Right Of The Dot
Mike Mann of Domain Marketplace
Dan Schindler of Donuts

I thought this was a good mix of panelists. Berkens and Cahn are both .com investors but are betting on the success of new TLDs. Mann is a bit .com investor (having founded and sold BuyDomains, and now with DomainMarket). Schindler is with Donuts, which has applied for the most new top level domains.

Here are the highlights:

Cahn: Personal feeling is premium .com’s will retain value and some may increase due to confusion. Two and three word .coms will probably be hurt.

Schindler: there’s going to be some new prime real estate available. The best premium names in the .com space will remain the best real estate. But there will be good opportunities for some people, especially small businesses, to get good domains.

Cahn: Could see competition and good opportunities for .law, .health, .shop, where there’s good market segmentation and a lot of money in the industry. Sometimes these won’t be measured by number of registration and instead by acceptance in their community.

Mann: .Co was successful because it’s extremely well marketed, one of the first ones in line, and an excellent extension b/c means ‘company’. Only some of these new ones will meet these criteria.

Cahn: About 200M domains registered right now, but 2 billion people online — there’s demand for more domains.

Schindler: We’re not all here to challenge .com. It’s a pretty saturated space and there’s pent of demand for new domains. We believe people want shorter and more meaningful domains. The domain investor community has built their businesses on securing good real estate. Now there will be new beachfront areas that will be developed…lots of opportunity for domain investors.

Mann: with all the confusion I’d invest in .com’s. Their value will increase.

Berkens: It’s too simple to say all .com’s will go up because of confusion. Example of a long “New York City trial lawyer” .com domain — will a lawyer still want that when shorter .nyc, .law, etc. available and can be registered for $20 or so? Remember, not everyone thinks like .com investors.

Mann: but whoever is building on those alternatives is making my .com’s better.

Berkens: Some new TLDs will “go under”. It comes down to marketing and maybe getting to market first. It could be that .law goes out two years after .esqwire….esqwire would have a lot better chance.

Mann: Again, success of .co came down to excellent operations and marketing.

Cahn: In this next round you’re going to see some very interesting business models. Products and services attached to domains, and some unique city models around .city tlds because they attract a local community that’s loyal, local business.

Schindler: These are all opinions, time will tell. Think about the term “successful” and what your barometer for success is. If you’re measuring against .com then they’re all going to be failures. I’ve heard in the last 24 hours that .tv is not successful. It makes millions of dollars a year, of course it’s successful. Some will be successful based on the number under management, others have fewer domains but may be considered successful.

Mann: I just don’t know which new TLDs will be successful. I don’t have the data. So I’ll invest my money in .com.

Dan: roughly 2 out of 3 businesses that are started fail in the first year. Our world is not cocooned against this. I recommend if you have expertise in a certain niche (e.g. insurance, real state), then stick to what you know.

Cahn: This industry has now gotten more news coverage in the past 12 months than ever before. We now have a focus on our industry. $300M invested in new TLDs. That was the value of our entire industry five years ago. Lots of investment in our industry, I’m convinced of growth, it’s good for all of us. It’s going to be in the news constantly. We’re only an industry of 15, 17 years old. This is still something that’s not even in the first inning.

Dan: Right now I’d save your money for when new tlds come out

Mann: Think of the mind of the consumer. What will they do five years from now? I would best the consumers go for free domains from google.

Cahn: Just think outside the box a bit. Our market is not stagnant. There will be spectacular failures, but some will be successful. Google has shown what it thinks by making such a large investment in new TLDs.

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Tucows’ Bill Sweetman “uses the force” to return to LucasFilm

October 8, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on Tucows’ Bill Sweetman “uses the force” to return to LucasFilm

Sweetman facilitates LucasFilm getting domain name.

Last month Fusible noticed that LucasFilm was the new owner of

This morning the story of how that came to be has been released.

Tucows vice president Bill Sweetman rescued the domain after it expired and gave it to LucasFilm.

I normally don’t reprint press releases, but the humor in this joint release by Tucows and LucasFilm will give you a good chuckle this morning. Here’s the notable excerpt:

“Star Wars had a profound impact on me as a child,” said Tucows Domain Portfolio Vice President Bill Sweetman, wearing a long brown robe and cheerfully tapping the Darth Vader bobblehead on his desk. “The moment I spotted in a list of deleting domain names, I knew Tucows had to find a way to get this iconic domain name into the right hands. I knew I was its only hope,” Sweetman added.

Tucows quickly donated the domain name to Lucasfilm. In exchange, Lucasfilm agreed to make a donation to the Tucows Elves Project. This annual charitable effort is organized by Tucows staff and provides toys to the children of lower-income families in the Parkdale neighborhood adjacent to the Tucows Toronto office.

“We’re thrilled to be the new owners of,” said Miles Perkins, Spokesperson for Lucasfilm, “and we are even more excited about supporting such a worthy cause. We regret having to refuse Bill’s request that we deliver the children’s toys in the Millennium Falcon. It was heartbreaking having to explain to him that it’s not real.”

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New Afternic tries to create a sense of community

October 5, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on New Afternic tries to create a sense of community

Completely revamped brings back the sense of community and marketplace.

AfternicRemember Afternic back in the day?

I mean way back in the day. Like around 2000, when the site served as both a marketplace and a popular chat room for domainers (even though they weren’t called that then)?

It was a community. An active marketplace.

In recent years Afternic became more of a utilitarian device; a tool to list your domains for sale to get them syndicated on other sites.

Afternic’s completely refreshed site, which will be released later today, brings back the sense of community and true marketplace that once existed.

(Thankfully, the chat boards have not returned).

The first thing that will strike you about the site is that it’s trying to become a place to buy domains again. It brings community aspects to the forefront.

Each domain listing is tied to a seller. You can see the seller’s username, photo, when they joined, and how many domains they have listed. One click takes you to view the entire seller’s portfolio that’s listed for sale. You can even follow a seller’s activity.

Sellers essentially get their own listings page on Afternic. They can even choose domains in their portfolio to feature on their page.

There are also “trending domains” that are attracting attention. The home page lists recently sold domains. And it even looks like auctions are making a return to Afternic.

You can also see the up-to-date number of domains for sale on Afternic. As of this morning: 5,556,237.

A completely revamped dashboard makes it a lot easier to see your activity at a glance, too.

It will be interesting to see domain industry reaction and how it takes to the community and marketplace features.

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Verisign files patent application for way of transfering hosting on DNSSEC Domains

October 5, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, patents, Uncategorized, VeriSignComments Off on Verisign files patent application for way of transfering hosting on DNSSEC Domains

Application describes way to change hosting on DNSSEC enabled domains without any downtime.

Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) bring all sorts of security benefits, but it can make changing hosting providers more challenging.

Verisign has filed a patent for systems and methods for making the process of changing web hosts on a DNSSEC-enabled domain easier (pdf).

Here’s the challenge, as the company describes in its application named “Transfer of DNSSEC Domains”:

With the introduction of DNSSEC into vast registries, such as the .com and .net registries, DNS hosting transfer of a DNSSEC enabled domain brings with it the potential for resolution problems. Such problems may result in domains not resolving securely, or not resolving at all, which can have significant detrimental effects on e-commerce and other high-traffic sites. For DNSSEC, enabled domains, in addition to managing the switchover of nameservers, the change in registrars and/or hosts involves managing the Delegation Signer (DS) resource records in the parent zone and the list of DNSKEY records across the old and new child zones to ensure that the DNSSEC chain will continuously validate during the transfer.

And here’s the gist of what Verisign wants to patent:

Systems and methods of transferring a DNSSEC enabled domain from a losing hosting provider to a gaining hosting provider are described in which the transfer of the domain may be achieved without disruption to a DNSSEC validation of the domain. Systems and methods, such as those directed to registry and/or registrar servers, may include transferring a DNSKEY or Delegation Signer (DS) record from a gaining hosting provider to a losing hosting provider prior to transferring the domain from the losing hosting provider to the gaining hosting provider. A gaining hosting provider may sign DNS records of the domain with the gaining hosting provider DNSKEY prior to transferring the domain from the losing hosting provider to the gaining hosting provider. Additionally, a registry server, or similar device, may be configured to act as an intermediary between the losing hosting provider and the gaining hosting provider during the transfer process.

The application was filed April 1, 2011 and just published yesterday.

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