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Lessons learned from Rick Schwartz – buying a domain with the “perfect” entity to sell it to in mind is probably a big mistake

Morgan Linton Morgan Linton: While Rick Schwartz might not be blogging anymore, he is tweeting more than ever and I’ve been finding some great nuggets in his tweets. This particular nugget is one that I’ve learned the hard way more than once, okay, it probably took me at least five times to really learn my lesson here. Here’s Rick’s […]

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The Buying Process Has Changed. Why Hasn’t Your Sales? How brands can bounce back from disaster

The Frager Factor The Frager Factor: Domain name valuation explained by these 6 factors; #1 Way Young Workers Beat Seasoned Workers in Job Search; University of Windsor team has killed 20 varieties of cancer cells using … Spotify acquires blockchain startup Mediachain to solve music’s attribution; Can Laugh.ly Help Stand-Up Comedy Run More Like The Music Industry? How To Build A Thriving HealthTech Company With Shradha Agarwal; 4

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IKE’S LIST OF DOMAINS AT AUCTION FOR Saturday, April 29th

Domain Shane Domain Shane:
I’ve been thinking about the point Drew made on the last Sherpa Review about the need to set the price extra high on a portfolio of sub par or average names, so that you can cover your costs in the event someone really likes one of said names and buys it. While I agree in principle with this concept, it needs to be looked at in a dynamic context.
What I mean is, that unless you bought all 2000 shitty names at the same time you’re not dealing with a static environment. I don’t think anyone starting out should buy 2000 names right off the bat, rather fine tune their buying and selling skills incrementally. As profits roll in from names priced to sell you can bootstrap that money into more names.
Obviously there are many factors, with the main wild card being the timing. The crappiest name in the world will sell if the right person comes along at the right time and likes it.
To illustrate my point, you buy 100 names over the course of a few days or weeks. Probably hand catching them off the drops for let’s say $10 to make it easy, or maybe you buy some in Godaddy Closeouts for $20. In any case your investment over this time period is between $1k and $2k. Reasonably pricing your names that you picked up cheap maybe around $999 or less and listing them every where you can, will help you move the names. If you aren’t selling any after several months, revisit the prices, make sure they’re listed appropriately and reevaluate the quality of your names.
If after several months of practice and learning you realize your names suck, set them on fire. Change the listings to $99 or less and home that someone adds it to their cart by accident. $99 on a $10 purchase is still a nice profit.
In the beginning you want momentum, that’s why I like buying cheap and selling cheap. Not only does it keep you engaged in the process, it helps you learn what to buy and what not to buy. You’ll get better at finding salable domains, you’ll learn what price points work.
One thing that’s often talked about is the holding costs, looking at the 10 year hold price of your names and calculating your expenses. The great thing with paying $20 or less for a domain is that you can trade it in for a better name rather than renewing it.
My problem with the advice to buy a $500 or a $1000 name to start, is that you have no idea what the hell a $500 or $1000 name even looks like, plus it takes you out of the game. If you spend your $1 to $2 K budget on 2 or 3 names I don’t think you’ll learn as much about the industry as you would getting in the trenches and mining decent names that will sell. This business really isn’t rocket science, but it takes practice, fine tuning and more practice. Skills can be developed and eventually turned into “muscle memory” but only if you want them to.
So in conclusion, don’t blow all your money on 2000 names that you’ll regret buying in a year, and don’t buy 2 or 3 expensive names when starting out. (unless someone that knows what they’re doing says “You have to buy this name, it’s the best deal ever”) But rather take the time to experiment and learn, take the earnings and roll them into more names and better names. Don’t buy any more names until you sell some. If you don’t sell any reevaluate your whole process, and price the names to sell especially in the beginning so that you can build momentum. This has been my approach and experience so keep that in mind, maybe something else will work better for you.
One of my favorite no bid names of the day is: GrowSmith.com  two syllables, and I like the word smith,  implying creator or even artist.
Main List       NameJet          Flippa/Sedo   
LLLL.com’s       LLL, CCC, 5L       Other LLLL’s
Short Brandables         Numbers       One Worders    Vape, Vegan, VR
Snap Names/Dropcatch         NamePros        Godaddy Value BIN
Main List
The No Bid List
ArtisticPulse.com A blog for artist, pulse makes be think of vital signs, if the patient healthy? Is something wrong? Basically what’s going on.
AutoProtectant.com  A product that keeps your car shiny and scratch free
BackyardWinery.com  A home brew system
CleanWax.com  Clean the wax out of your ears
Compuzer.com
CreditTalent.com  A credit help service that knows how to get you the best deal
DownSick.com  Not getting any work done today because your down sick.
DrBots.com  A robot doctor, or a doctor for robots
DrFossil.com  A geologist email, or paleontologist? you get the idea, whomever looks at fossils
EveryScoop.com  A news and gossip site
EvilGuide.com  Need help being Evil?
FedEmployee.com  Federal Employee’s
FinanceOlogist.com  A person that studies Financeology.
FixHistory.com  Get a time machine and fix your past. Really funny Joe Rogan stand up bit on time machines. Look it up.
FlagMemorial.com  Sell flags for cemeteries
FormulaFunnel.com
GamerSurplus.com
GrowSmith.com  I really like “smith” names, makes a great Canna biz name I think
HardToListen.com
InfusionWrap.com
IntenseHigh.com
KitchenPulse.com
LogFusion.com  A name for log home builders
MarketTactician.com
MasterThings.com
MintFuse.com
MinuteMeet.com
MooDrug.com  Calcium?
NitroVault.com
NonstopSongs.com
oExplore.com
OrderBooze.com
OriginalMember.com  Makes me thing of SOA, Original 9
PartStack.com
PerformTogether.com
PodSuit.com
PromoteRealty.com  A marketing name for Real estate
RapidAbility.com
RateGear.com
SalaryScope.com
SaleScientist.com
SeoRefresh.com
SexDirections.com
SpiritZen.com
StrongFresh.com
StrongNerve.com
SuperStrategic.com
SweetCommunity.com
SwitchStyles.com
TheCoined.com
TorpedoRocket.com
TrendsOfToday.com  I’m going to bed, it’s 04:11, make up whatever you want for the rest.
TrustRoute.com
WeaponDetect.com
WebsitePanda.com
WheretoHunt.com
WittyWord.com
WowTag.com
xRoses.com
YouIncredible.com
ZipChecking.com
Names With Bids
SystemCreators.comMustDie.comRallis.comNeuville.comCrmDesign.comSavvyLoans.comcombd.comEverContent.comWiseNature.comEventMix.comBuyerFraud.comOperationEco.comLondonCctv.comshortget.comCoffeeEspresso.comOpenCounty.comTheNewKids.comRehabMotion.comRebuildTexas.comWarTalks.comDebounce.comMeetingLocal.comOddSex.com
More Names With No Bids  About 130 more
Namejet
BlueEyes.comfo.comLargeBass.comStoneForce.comClasser.comUnityCenter.comAllDrug.comOrderable.comMotorPart.comClimbAboard.comProSir.comFullProfile.com
Flippa/SEDO
Save Money With Daddy Bulk Domain Registration
Your LLLL.coms of The Day
ifrz.comuagx.com
LLLL’s that End Users Might use someday
frcr.netlzkp.netycwy.netDren.colfef.orglrss.info
LLL’s, CCC’s, 5L’s
bbm.netiz3.comsfr.ccfkxsw.comstfww.comcfbbw.comggghf.comggghf.comkkkgf.comnnngf.comrrrhg.com
Brandables
Biyax.comBlongio.comBufey.comCrawg.comFejay.comHanota.comJorrego.comJumandy.comKebub.comMekelo.comMerrish.comNobaz.comNucey.comPavob.comPigay.comRohie.comRugey.comSelabo.comSurindo.comTuxxu.comUpzub.comVozda.comZavue.comZenrue.comZuxzy.com
MORE Short Brand Dot Coms HERE
Some Numbers
8877.org18409.com262737.com948844.com349911.com190169.comqz93.comzq32.comrp95.comrt73.comnc52.comcg57.comgd95.comnf61.commp63.com44xp.com
One Worders and Other TLD’s
GoingUp.netCallingCard.netAustere.orgLearningPath.netCoinBank.netJoinFree.netSubjects.tvOrganize.tvRailroaders.orgEatNatural.netVaporStore.netPartie.orgBuildPlan.netTricar.netMurdered.us
Vape, Weed and Vegan Names and  VR
BraveBuddha.comCannaSector.comGanjaFind.comKushPanda.comMobileKush.comOptimumHerb.com
Snap Names/DropCatch
TheClan.com
CoolColor.com
MeetTime.com
RetroMania.com
NamePros
CameraUserGuide.comOpenTemplates.comYogurtFlavours.comCurrencyChanger.netXVVL.com
HomeAccentRugs.comTraditionalMarijuana.comColdWines.comRepacify.comResultFish.com
TxGifts.comBestOnlineLoans.comPanamaTechnology.comBuyPizza.netKoryer.com
Godaddy Value BIN
Godaddy Value BIN
Have a name at auction and need more exposure? Send me an email. We Charge $10 per name per day. We may be able to help. If you have an auction you want to promote, email us for details.*All names chosen by us, Shane and Josh . (ie you click through and purchase a name you like) or an occasional paid listing. Everything we say is based on our own research or is opinion. Do your own due diligence. That means look it up yourself if you don’t think the stats or our opinion is correct. We hand choose the names but we are paid to make this list by both the auction houses, individuals that are auctioning names, and Godaddy affiliate links. Keep that in mind and only buy names that YOU think are good
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Agenda Domaining Europe 2017

Blog Dominios Blog Dominios: La agenda provisional del evento de dominios que se celebrará en Berlín nos trae muchos momentos especiales, y aunque iremos informando de posibles variaciones te mostramos cuál es la previsión de lo que sucederá los días 14 a 16 de mayo de 2017 en Domaining Europe. Domingo 14 de mayo 12:00 a 20:00 Recepción de asistentes 15:00-18:00 Tour de turismo con bus y barco Lunes 15 de mayo 08:45-9:00 Declaraciones de apertura 09:00- 9:30 Ponencia de Andrew Simpson de Verisign 09:30-10:00 Rolf Larsen presenta ¿Qué puede hacer el registro para los inversores en dominios? 10:00-11:00 Informe de dominios de salud 11:00-11:30 Pausa café 11:30-12:00 Compra y venta de dominios de palabras clave en piloto automático 12:00-12:30 Últimas noticias del mercado de compraventa de dominios 12:30-13:00 Reventando 10 mitos sobre noticias de extensiones de dominios 13:00-14:00 Almuerzo 14:00-15:00 GTLDs, Geodominios, ccTLDs 15:00-16:00 Panel de domainers y brokers 16:00-16:30 Pausa café 16:30-17:00 Cómo ganar dinero con dominios de palabras clave 17:00-18:00 Tráfico, parking y desarrollo 18:00-18:30 Jackson Elsegood de Escrow.com 20:00-23:00 Cena típica de Berlín en Zollpackhof Martes 16 9:00-10:00 Gobierno de internet 10:00-10:30 .club sigue siendo en mejor en la comercialización de nuevos gtld 10:30-11:00 Lo que hacen los .marca con [...]

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Domain Names Are Fading From User View

CircleID CircleID: The internet has changed and evolved ever since it's ancestors first came to life in the late 1960's. Some technology fades away and is forgotten; other aspects continue but are overlaid, like geological sediments, so that they are now longer visible but are still present under the surface.

The Domain Name System — both the technology of DNS and the deployed naming hierarchy we all use — are among those aspects of the internet that, although they feel solid and immutable, are slowly changing underneath our feet.

Act I: In Which DNS Fades to Translucent Grey

Internet Domain Names had a good twenty-year run from the early days of the World Wide Web (1995) through 2015.

Some people made a lot of money through domain name speculation. Others made money by wallpapering Google Ad Sense advertisements over vacuous websites. And a busload of attorneys made a good living chasing down shysters trying to make a buck off of the trademarks of others.

And through its perceived control of domain name policy, ICANN grew into a ever-bloating, money absorbing bureaucracy worthy of Jonathan Swift.

But things are changing. The days of domain names as the center of internet policy and internet governance are ending. Domain name speculation will slowly become a quaint shadow of its former self.

What is driving these changes?

It is not that the Domain Name System (DNS) is becoming less important as a technical way of mapping structured names into various forms of records, most often records containing IP addresses.

Nor is the Domain Name System used less then heretofore.

Nor are the knights of intellectual property becoming any less enthusiastic about challenging every domain name that they feel does not pay adequate homage to the trademarks they are protecting.

And national governments continue to believe that domain names are the holy grail of levers they can use to impose their views of right and proper behavior onto the internet.

All of that remains. And it will remain.

What is happening to DNS is more subtle: Domain names are slowly becoming invisible.

For many years internet users could not avoid domain names. DNS names were highly visible. And domain names were everywhere. DNS names were part of e-mail addresses, DNS names were prominent parts of World Wide Web URLs, and DNS names that were based on words formed a rough, but useful, taxonomy of web content.

But the sea-level of internet technology is slowly rising. We now live in a world of web search engines. We now have personalized lists of "contacts". We now use a profusion of "apps". And we now spend much of our online lives inside walled gardens and social networks (such as Facebook, Twitter, or various games.)

Even in places where users formerly uttered or typed email-addresses (containing domain names) or web addresses, we now enter keystrokes or words that are used by user interface code to search for the thing we want and make suggestions.

For example, when I send an e-mail, I usually don't need to type more than two or three characters of the name of the desired recipient; for every keystroke the software goes to my contact list, does a search, and shows me the possible outcomes. Similarly, on web browsers the old "address bar" has become a place for the user to send search targets to a web search company. In both of these examples the user no longer really deals with domain names (even though in both of these examples there are domain names — sometimes visible, sometimes hidden — underneath the search results.)

In the world of Apps, games, and walled gardens there may not even be a way for a user to utter a domain name.

And if a user does mention a domain name it is frequently in the form of a shortened URL that has no resemblance to the actual domain name of the target resource.

You can confirm this by asking yourself: "When was last time I used a domain name while using Facebook or Twitter, or when playing my favorite game?" Few of us have ever used a domain name when giving an order to an Amazon Echo ("Alexa") or a Google Home ("OK Google").

Act II: DNS Remains, But Quietly Hovers In The Background

DNS is not being abandoned; the domain name system is as robust, powerful, and important today as it ever was.

However, DNS is being veiled. So that rather than being a central figure, visible to all, it does its job behind the scenes where few but internet operators and repair techs see it.

In days past, you or I may have gone to a web browser and entered a URL that looked like, http://upstairs-thermostat.myhouse.tld/. But today I use an Internet of Things device and say "Alexa, set the upstairs thermostat to 68 degrees."

Same activity, same request, same devices, but the domain name has gone away and been replaced with a more convenient handle.

I use the word "handle" quite intentionally. One of the aspects of the post-DNS internet is that names are becoming contextual. These new names often exist within the context of a particular person (as in a personal contact list) or a particular walled garden (such as Twitter).

Contextual names let us escape the rules and disputes — and costs — that came from the "globally unique identifier" view of the domain name system. You and I can each use the name "upstairs thermostat"; the context prevents collisions; the context differentiates between your "upstairs thermostat" and mine.

These new names will often be used on software that internally uses domain names to tie things together. There is no doubt that Twitter, for example, has lots of internal domain names. But those domain names have become merely internal gears and wheels, they have become as invisible as the pistons in the motor of a gasoline powered automobile.

The DNS system will remain as a means of using structured names — words connected by dots — to obtain various forms of records that can contain things as varied as IP addresses, geographic locations, e-mail exchange server lists, VoIP PBX locations, etc. But it will be software rather than humans that originates those structured names and uses the lookup results. That software may, and frequently will not, make those underlying structured DNS names, or the lookup results, visible to the human user.

The fading of domain names brings benefits.

Some troublesome things will begin to end.

Domain names will no longer be perceived as being particularly valuable ways to express semantically meaningful labels.

This will remove much of the energy that powered the DNS trademark wars that we have seen over the past twenty years. (But don't expect the trademark protection industry to give up their relentless effort to own even private, local uses of some names — that company in Atlanta will probably want to try to prevent people in their own homes from using the word "coke" to refer to any brown carbonated sugar drink other than their own.)
And it will also tend to de-energize marginal internet activities such as typosquatting in order to pick up advertising impressions or click dollars from people who accidentally mis-typed a domain name into a browser.
And it will obviate the need for most of the functions of ICANN.
Opportunities will arise for application-specific or community specific naming systems:

New names can be more descriptive of classes of possible targets rather than being tightly bound: You could, for example, say "ATM" and not be locked into ATMs operated by wellsfargo.com.
New names do not need to fit into the confined strictures of domain names.
New names need to be less like "names" and more like "descriptions" — more on that below.
Act III: There’s Still Gold In Internet Naming

The loss of domain names as baubles for speculation does not mean that entrepreneurs and Procrustean government bureaucrats must fold their tends and skulk away in to the night.

Even after DNS becomes merely an internal organ of the internet, there will be plenty of opportunities for fun and profit.

Companies that are presently operating as domain name registries and registrars, are well poised to capitalize on the new systems: they already have much of the customer and user facing "front office" infrastructure that will be required to service whatever naming systems may arise.

There are two broad areas in which internet naming will probably evolve: entity naming and describing.

Entity Naming

The need to attach names to specific things will be with us forever. And there will always be a need to turn names into some sort of concrete handle to those things. This will be, as it always has been, tied to the problems of figuring out where that thing is (i.e. its address) and how to get there (i.e. the route.)

One of the prime values of DNS as it exists today is that almost everybody voluntary chooses to use a single base root. So we have a global shared system that assures that all names attached to that root are unique.

That uniqueness is important, but it is not always necessary — sometimes people want a solid distributed name-to-record lookup system that is not dependent on a global root outside of their control. Sometimes people just want a private name space for some private purpose. DNS technology, as opposed to "the" domain name system, provides a useful tool for these purposes.

The name model of DNS is extremely useful, but it is simplistic: It is a hierarchy, represented by names separated by dots, that leads to sets of records that can contain various types of data. That simplicity has allowed DNS to be robust and reliable. But that same simplicity creates limits.

The world is evolving so that that simple model of names-to-records will become increasingly inadequate. I've written a couple of papers on this topic:

On Entity Associations In A Cloud Network – The argument made here is that as we move towards cloud based resources the simple mapping of DNS names to a relatively fixed set of answers is not sufficient to accommodate the motion, partitioning, and coalescing of cloud based computing and data resources.
Thoughts On Internet Naming Systems ‐ This presentation addresses certain presumed characteristics of domain names that are not necessarily true in practice and likely to become even less true in the future. For example, many of us tend to presume that DNS names will generate the same answers no matter who requests a DNS lookup. And all of us are increasingly aware that DNS names are not permanent, the underlying records, and sometimes even the DNS names themselves, sometimes change or even disappear.
And even though name-to-record look machinery such as DNS will remain valuable, it must evolve so that it can have greater security and consistency.

The larger area of future change lies in the area described by the first of the papers above — in the realm of lookups based on descriptions and attributions.

Attribute and Description Based Systems

Whether in real life or on the internet, often you want something that is a member of a class rather than a specific member of that class. You often just want "a Pepsi" rather than a specific bottle of that drink; you usually don't care which bottle for your needs, the various bottles are equivalent and interchangeable. A word for this is "fungible".

As is described in my paper On Entity Associations In A Cloud Network the internet is evolving so that there may be many resources that would satisfy any one of our (or our application's) needs. DNS is often not the best solution for this kind of resource search. Attribute and description based systems would be better, particularly if they had some leeway to find things that are "near" or "similar to" the description or attributes.

We are familiar with this kind of search. For example, web search engines, such as Google, try to show us web search results that locate the best or nearest solutions, not necessarily the perfect solution. And many apps on mobile devices aspire to discover resources based on their distance to your current location.

We can anticipate that use of this kind of thing will increase.

Descriptions and attributes can be self-published by devices and services as they are deployed (or as cloud entities split or coalesce) or they can be published by those who manage such devices or services. This publication could be in the form of simple ad hoc text, as is done for much that is on the web, or be formalized into machine-readable data structures in JSON or XML.

There is lots of room for innovation in this realm; and possibly lots of room to glue-on revenue producing machinery, much as Google did when it attached advertising to web searching.

Epilogue: The Internet Twenty Years Hence (2037)

Relatively few of us remember the internet as it was twenty years ago when the World Wide Web was just getting started. What will it look like twenty years in the future?

We can be sure that whatever it looks like to users, that there will be a lot of ancient machinery, such as DNS, lurking inside.

It is likely that human users will increasingly interact with computer and networks resources much as they interact with other humans — in ad hoc and informal ways. Humans are notoriously vague and ambiguous; that will not change in the future. This means that our computerized systems will have to become more human in the ways that they resolve that ambiguity into concrete results and actions. This, in turn, means that computerized systems will have to become more aware of context and use fewer "names" and more "descriptions" when trying to satisfy human requests.

The introduction of context into network naming will mean more opportunities for damage to human privacy. The tension between convenience and privacy will increase.

As the network world becomes more contextual, it will become harder to diagnose and isolate problems and failures.

Footnote: What Do We Do With An ICANN That Has Lost Most Of Its Purpose?

The vast bulk of ICANN's machinery and staff is present to support the domain name selling industry. As this paper indicates, we can anticipate that that industry will shrink and consolidate. And fights over domain names will fade as domain names lose their semantic weight or become hidden artifacts rarely seen by anyone except internet technicians.

The ICANN traveling circus of international meetings will become as interesting as a meeting about the future of Lotus 123.

ICANN's income stream will shrink; ICANN will no longer be able to support its grandiose office suites, staff, and hyperbolic procedures.

ICANN will have to retreat back to what it should have been in the first place — a technical coordinator, a source of operational service levels for DNS roots and TLD servers, and secretariat for protocol parameters such as DNSSEC keys and IP protocol numbers.
Written by Karl Auerbach, Chief Technical Officer at InterWorking LabsFollow CircleID on TwitterMore under: DNS, Domain Names, ICANN, Web

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Commodifying Words and Letters in the .Com Space

CircleID CircleID: Words (and by extension their constituent letters) are as free to utter and use as is the air sustaining life. No one owns them. There is no toll fee to be paid to dictionary makers who curate them. There are, however, two carve-outs from this public domain, namely words and letters businesses use as designations of origin for their marketplace presence, protected by trademark law; and words and letters arranged expressively by authors, protected by copyright law. The rights accruing to persons under these carve-outs — trademark more ancient than copyright (circa 1610) — have their roots in statutory and common law.

Another carve-out of more recent origin has emerged based on contract rather than legislation relating to the registration of domain names. The first to register words and letters as domain names essentially owns and controls them for the duration of their registrations, which could be unending with renewals. It will be recalled that when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) implemented the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) at the end of 1999, there were approximately 7 million domain names. Today there are over 340 million domain names; 142.7 million of which are country code domains, approximately 127 million are in the dot com space and New TLDs account for approximately 26 million. The precise current counts can be found on the Verisign website; counts from 1998 to 2009 can be found at http://www.zooknic.com/Domains/counts.html.

The question is, who is acquiring all of these domain names and for what purpose? There are two principal groups of registrants of domain names, namely commercial businesses (including mark owners) and domain name investors. Businesses acquire domain names to create or maintain a presence on the Internet corresponding to their presence in the actual marketplace. In the main, they register the domain names they need.

In contrast, domain investors (as distinguished from cybersquatters) from the nascent years and thereafter steadily expanding their business models have been active in vacuuming up every word in general and specialized dictionaries as well as registering strings of arbitrary characters that could also be acronyms. What they have done and the reason for doing it (and continue doing particularly in the dot com space) is summarized in Steve Forbes' 2007 press release (an age ago, but no less relevant), namely that the Internet had created a new market analogous to the market in real property: "Internet traffic and domains [he said] are the prime real estate of the 21st century. This market has matured, and individuals, brands, investors and organizations who do not grasp their importance or value are missing out on numerous levels."

This means (as investors see it) that domain names are not just addresses in cyberspace; they are "prime" properties. As the numbers of registered domain names held by domain investors have increased, the free pool of available words for new and emerging businesses has decreased. Put another way, there has been a steady diminution of the public domain of words and letters for use in the dot com space that corresponds in reverse to the increase in the number of registered domain names. This is not just anecdotal exaggeration.

The situation I'm describing for the dot com space is made explicit in Verisign v. against XYZ.com, 15-2526, pg. 9 (4th Cir. February 8, 2017). The evidence in that case indicated that "99% of all registrar searches today result in a 'domain taken' page." The Court noted further that "Verisign's own data shows that out of approximately two billion requests it receives each month to register a .com name, fewer than three million — less than one percent — actually are registered."

The mass acquisition of domain names (again, I'm referring in particular to the dot com space) has resulted in commodifying words and letters (in essence locking them up) for the purpose holding or using them for profit; in essence transforming them into merchandise. This is reflected in the booming market for domain names by auction and direct sales from "supermarkets" holding hundreds of thousands of domain names. The impact of this commodification is particularly felt by new and emerging businesses seeking corresponding domain names in the dot com space for the marks they wish to be known by. Where once words and letters were freely available from the word hoard of centuries, they are now locked up.

While the non-statutory diminution of the public domain is an extraordinary development, acquiring domain names speculatively or holding them for monetizing or merchandising is not unlawful. This is a core principle of the UDRP; and no less so under the statutory regime of the ACPA as long as there is no evidence of capitalizing on the mark. Businesses whose market presence postdate the registration of domain names that by happenstance correspond to their prospective or newly minted marks have no superior rights (and no actionable claim) unless the domain names are transferred to successor registrants who unwittingly use them in bad faith. I'll return to this in a moment. Whereas as original registrants are protected; successors can be exposed.

The observable experience is that domain investors (as original registrants) are careful to use their assets in such a manner that no inference of bad faith registration can be drawn from their use or non-use. They succeed in retaining their registrations, for example, by using the domain names for their semantic (that is, their conventional meanings) rather than their trademark value or holding them for resale without offense to the test articulated in Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, D2000-0003 (WIPO February 18, 2000).

Clearly, emerging businesses have to adjust to the new reality of words and letters locked up by investors. It is particularly difficult for owners whose marks postdate registrations of corresponding domain names because they have no remedy under either the UDRP or (in the U.S.) the ACPA. Notwithstanding this, mark owners rashly continue to file complaints that are invariably dismissed mostly with sanctions of reverse domain name hijacking. In their disappointment and threaded into their arguments for bad faith, they have described the prices for domain names variously as "unreasonable," "excessive," "disproportionate," "exorbitant," and even "outrageous." See my earlier comments, "Timing is all: Cybesquatting or Mark Owner Overreaching?” It may very well be true, but it's irrelevant.

In the past two or three months, there have been several UDRP complaints of this type. The latest example of mark owners tilting against windmills is the acronym "DCAC" — Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting, LLC v. Azeras LLC, FA1702001718995 (Forum April 16, 2017) — and the word string "myspectrumnews" — Charter Communications, Inc., Charter Communications Holding Company, LLC and Charter Communications Operating LLC v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Sheri K Corwin, D2017-0040 (WIPO April 19, 2017). First use in commerce for both Complainants postdated the registrations of the domain names. Of note is that the Respondents in these cases are the original registrants; had they been successor registrants postdating the trademarks the facts would have favored Complainants.

Whether intended or not (although it seems more likely that it was), ICANN's opening up of new spaces on the Internet (the equivalent in real estate terms of opening up vacant land) by expanding the number of generic top-level domains has relieved (to some extent) the situation for new and emergent businesses. The same words and letters unavailable for use in the dot com space are available for use in other spaces. This may not be a happy situation since dot com continues to be the most desirable space, but nevertheless, this is the market reality.

A fair question may be whether owners of marks postdating the original domain name registrations can ever claim rights to words and letters locked up by the original investors? Yes, as against successors. This is so because, in the interim between original acquisition and today, the facts have shifted in mark owners' favor. What were lawful registrations before corresponding marks, now infringe third-party rights. As later investors acquire portfolios from early investors, there will undoubtedly be a percentage of domain names composed of words, letters, and phrases that will have become challengeable by mark owners with subsequently acquired statutory rights in those terms. If a "supermarket" is holding domain names as successor from earlier investors that have become identical or confusingly similar to trademarks, it may very well be in breach of its Representations and Warranties under Paragraph 2 of the Policy. This happens in particular to later investors who have acquired portfolios of domain names from early investors without examining each one for possible infringement of third-party rights.
Written by Gerald M. Levine, Intellectual Property, Arbitrator/Mediator at Levine Samuel LLPFollow CircleID on TwitterMore under: Registry Services, Top-Level Domains

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New Domain Ninjas | China and eclipses

Whats Your Name Whats Your Name: Another month has flown past, and in that time we’ve discovered more ways that Name.com customers are using New Domains to create memorable online epicenters for their brands. chinatt.news Hong Kong-based website chinatt.news offers local news to a relevant audience. The .NEWS domain is a great way to indicate to readers that the site is a quality […]
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Upcoming Domain Name Industry Events & Conferences

DomainAssets.ca DomainAssets.ca: After attending another successful Namescon domain industry gathering in January, I would like to give you a brief listing of some upcoming domain industry events you or your company may wish to attend. DNSeattle.com – May 25, 2017 – a domain industry meetup organized by DomainSherpa’s Michael Cyger. This annual gathering in Seattle is a

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Marissa Mayer Set to Receive $186 Million for Failing; Uber’s C.E.O. Plays With Fire; Reclaim Your Commute

The Frager Factor The Frager Factor: Six-figure salaries considered low income in some Bay Area counties; Jack Ma: In 30 years, the best CEO could be a robot; Service Faces Backlash Over a Widespread Practice: Selling User Data; What’s wrong with UBI? BuzzFeed is building a team of writers to sell you stuff you didn’t know you wanted; 4 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know Going In and.. 3D Printing The Next Five Years

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