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10|14|2014 11:00 am EDT

What domains can teach about brand engagement in foreign markets

by JS Lascary in Categories: New Companies, Tools

Since the early 2000s, domain names can be registered and written in any language – for example Chinese characters are allowed in the .com namespace, 例子.com is a valid domain name. This wonderful innovation makes internet users less reliant on the English alphabet to navigate the internet – including when engaging with brands online.

As with any new technology, early adopters are often not the larger corporations but smaller ventures, one man operations and the likes. When it comes to foreign language domains incorporating brand names, this means that, unfortunately, some of them are registered to affiliate marketers and speculators unrelated to the brand owner.

From an academic perspective, this has the advantage of being a fantastic proxy to assess the viability of using brand names in different languages to engage with local audiences. The assumption here is that if a brand related domain has been registered and renewed to an affiliate marketer or any third party primarily motivated by monetization, whatever he/she is doing with the domain must be working.

The following are some of my observations on the topic :


A) Brand translations work.

It may not be practical for a brand manager to come up with translations of their brand in an effort to better engage with internet users. However, the translations may already be out there, used by native speakers on and off the internet. When a translation makes it to a domain registration, it’s a sign that its usage might be widespread.

PlayStation in Hebrew

PlayStation can be written in Hebrew like this : פלייסטיישן

Google data shows that the proportion of Israeli search volume for the keyword “PlayStation” to the Israeli search volume for “פלייסטיישן” is 10:3.

Surely, the domain name פלייסטיישן.com is registered, but not to Sony. It has been so since 2010 and it currently redirects to a one page Weebly website full of Adsense ads.


Iceberg showing the Skype brand in Russian along with some typos
Typo traffic is just the tip of the iceberg

B)Typos are a thing too.

Skype in Russian

скаип.com is a typo of скайп.com which is Russian for Skype. Despite the whois privacy, both domains seem registered to the same entity and currently redirect to an adult webcam affiliate page (NSFW). The domains were respectively registered in 2012 and 2007.

In other instances, typo domains look to mimic the visual appearance of the brand.

Viagra and Netflix


This domain resembles the viagra brand. It is registered since 2007 and currently resolves to a parked page (displaying PPC ads).


The Netflix brand name with the Spanish eñe instead of the regular “n”. This domain was registered in 2013 and currently redirects to a survey affiliate program.

The most clever cases of typo domains involve what I call “keyboard layout typos” whereby the string of characters resulting from typing an english word on a foreign language keyboad is registered as a domain name. This type of typo exists because most non english keyboard hardware come with two or more characters printed on each key, i.e. one english letter following the QWERTY layout and one character in the native language. The keyboard software is often programmed by default to allow the use of either layouts. Switching from one to another is usually a matter of one key press.

Godaddy almost in Thai

Thai keyboard layout showing a typo of the Godaddy Brand


This domain is the result of the keystroke sequence G-O-D-A-D-D-Y typed on a Thai keyboard with the Thai layout active instead of the English QWERTY layout. The domain per se means nothing in the Thai language. It currently redirects to through an affiliate link.

If anything, the existence of this domain shows that there are Thai keyboard users who could make use of a proper Thai domain to access the registrar.


B) Brand + Keyword domains are also used

The use of foreign language domains to engage with brand customers is not limited to exact match brand names. Brand + Keyword domains are prevalent as well, especially in markets with a history of online advertising and online marketing.

Forex Sale in Japanese


This domain name means “Rolex Sale” or “Rolex Purchase” in Japanese. The webpage it resolves to has a prominent affiliate link below the fold.


In conclusion, when it comes to engaging with “foreign” audiences, using a domain name in the proper language is an avenue to consider. Affiliate marketers and speculators have been doing it for years, and it seems to be successful, at least as per their standards.


About the author

JS Lascary is passionate about Internationalized Domain Names. He is a member of the Quebec Bar Association and the founder of, a brand monitoring business.


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09|02|2014 01:55 pm EDT

NameCheap for NetNeutrality: FCC, don’t flush our rights down the toilet [video]

by Frank Michlick in Categories: ICANN / Policy

NameCheap Released a video today for Net Neutrality:



Find out more here:



08|15|2014 01:36 pm EDT

Sedo’s parent United Internet invests 435 million EUR in Rocket Internet

by Frank Michlick in Categories: PPC industry

Montabaur, August 15, 2014. United Internet AG (“United Internet”) is investing – via its subsidiary United Internet Ventures AG – a total of EUR 435 million for a 10.7% stake in the incubator Rocket Internet AG, Berlin (“Rocket”). The investment will cement the long term strategic relationship between United Internet and Oliver Samwer, Rocket’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder.

United Internet’s investment consists of EUR 333 million in cash, and EUR 102 million represented by United Internet’s equity participation in the portfolio of the Global Founders Capital funds (“Global Founders Capital”).

Global Founders Capital is a portfolio of over 50 venture capital investments held jointly by United Internet and Global Founders Fund GmbH (“Global Founders Fund”, formerly European Founders Fund GmbH), the personal investment vehicle of Oliver Samwer and his brothers. The portfolio includes minority stakes in companies such as games maker Goodgame Studios; online travel sites such as Traveloka and Travelbird; online marketplaces Yemek Sepeti and DaWanda; and financial technology companies Kreditech, Borro and SocietyOne.

United Internet has been successfully investing in consumer Internet and technology businesses together with the Samwer brothers through Global Founders Capital since 2007.

United Internet’s investment will be in newly issued shares by Rocket, of the same class and bearing the same rights as shares held by current Rocket investors. Ralph Dommermuth, CEO of United Internet, will become a member of Rocket’s nine-person Supervisory Board.

Rocket Internet identifies and builds proven internet business models and transfers them to new, underserved or untapped markets where it seeks to scale them into market leading online companies. It aims to become the world’s largest Internet platform outside of China and the United States. Rocket is focused on online business models that satisfy basic consumer needs across three sectors: e-Commerce, marketplaces and financial technology.

Rocket started in 2007 and now has more than 20,000 employees across its network of companies, which operate in more than 100 countries on five continents. The company’s target markets are located mainly in the emerging markets of Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as well as in Russia. These markets are generally characterized by fast-growing smartphone penetration, younger populations then developed markets, newly evolving middle classes, and limited access to physical retail infrastructure.

Following this investment, in addition to United Internet (10.7%), shares in Rocket Internet will be held by Investment AB Kinnevik (18.5%), Access Industries (8.5%), Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (8.6%) and the Global Founders Fund (53.7%).

By contributing its shares in the investment funds to Rocket Internet, United Internet will recognize one-off, non-cash income of around EUR 70 million this year.

About United Internet

With 13.87 million fee-based customer contracts and 31.44 million ad-financed free accounts, United Internet AG is Europe’s leading internet specialist. At the heart of United Internet is a high-performance “Internet Factory” with 6,700 employees, of which around 2,000 are engaged in product management, development and data centers. In addition to the high sales strength of its established brands (1&1, GMX, WEB.DE, united-domains, Fasthosts, Arsys, InterNetX, Sedo and affilinet), United Internet stands for outstanding operational excellence with around 45 million customer accounts worldwide.

[via Press Release]

Disclaimer: DNN’s managing editor, Frank Michlick, provides consulting services through his company DomainCocoon for Sedo, which is a subsidiary of United Internet


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07|30|2014 10:07 am EDT

ICANN tells US Court that ccTLDs are not property and thus cannot be seized

by Frank Michlick in Categories: ICANN / Policy

Files Motion to Quash in U.S. legal action aimed at Seizing Top-Level Domains

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has told a U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia, that a country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) cannot be considered “property,” and thus cannot be attached by plaintiffs in a lawsuit, who are trying to obtain the assets of countries that they argued have supported terrorism.

“We filed a Motion to Quash in the US federal court today, to ensure that the court has the essential information about how the Internet’s domain name system (DNS) works. While we sympathize with what plaintiffs may have endured, ICANN’s role in the domain name system has nothing to do with any property of the countries involved”, said John Jeffrey, ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary.

“We explained in our Motion to Quash, that country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) are part of a single, global interoperable Internet which ICANN serves to help maintain.” Jeffrey further explained that “ccTLD’s are not property, and are not ‘owned’ or ‘possessed’ by anyone including ICANN, and therefore cannot be seized in a lawsuit.”

ICANN’s arguments were put forth when the victims of terrorism who had successfully won lawsuits against Iran, Syria and North Korea, sought to collect on those civil judgments.  In their attempt to recover assets from these countries, the plaintiffs served ICANN with “writs of attachment” and subpoenas seeking information to help them seize the ccTLDs of those nations.

The ccTLDs (and related IP addresses) targeted by the plaintiffs include; .IR (Iran), .SY (Syria) and .KP (North Korea), as well as internationalized top-level domains in non-ASCII characters for Iran and Syria.

ICANN explains the motion as follows:

  • First, a ccTLD simply is not “property” subject to attachment.
  • Second, although operating for the benefit of the people of Iran, Syria and North Korea, respectively, the relevant ccTLDs are not “owned” by the defendants or anyone else, for that matter.
  • Third, the .IR, .SY and .KP ccTLDs are not “located” in the District of Columbia or even the United States, and therefore are beyond the reach of Plaintiffs’ Writs of Attachment.
  • Fourth, even if these ccTLDs could be characterized as “property in the United States of the defendants,” this Court would lack jurisdiction over these proceedings, according to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
  • Fifth, ICANN does not unilaterally have the capability or authority to transfer the .IR, .SY or .KP ccTLDs to Plaintiffs.
  • Finally, a forced transfer of the .IR, .SY and .KP ccTLDs would destroy whatever value may exist in these ccTLDs, would wipe out the hundreds of thousands of second-level domain names registered therein by various individuals, businesses and charitable organizations, and could jeopardize the single, global, interoperable structure the Internet.

The ICA comments: ICANN’s .IR Response Opens Legal Can of Worms

[via Press Release]



06|25|2014 03:11 pm EDT

Is Key Systems running the new Google Registrar?

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Registrars

While the domain and tech industry is abuzz talking about how Google is launching their new own retail registrar in a private beta that is mostly being tested with the help of employees, DNN embarked on the journey to uncover what Google’s technical solution looks liked; and in turn discovered that it appears that the new registrar is built on Key Systems’s RRPProxy – a hosted registrar/reseller solution.

DNN didn’t have to look far – the answer to the mystery is right in the whois – as part of the referral URL as to which whois server is to be queried. We did manage to find a Google related domain that is registered through Google’s registrar –

Domain Name: EXIT.COM
Registrar: GOOGLE INC.
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Name Server: NS17.ZONEEDIT.COM
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Updated Date: 10-feb-2014
Creation Date: 03-nov-1994
Expiration Date: 02-nov-2022

In the whois results, one line especially jumped out to us:

   Whois Server:

RRP Proxy, is the reseller system of the German company Key Systems, which is also available to be used by other ICANN accredited registrars.

DNN has reached out to Key Systems and Google for comment, but have not yet heard back.


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05|01|2014 10:30 am EDT

Sedo Names Solomon Amoako Chief Sales Officer for the Boston office [Press Release]

by NewsDesk Editor in Categories: People

Domain Industry Veteran Brings Years of Experience to Further Strengthen and Lead Sedo’s North American Sales Team

BOSTON, Mass. – May 1, 2014Sedo, today announced the appointment of Solomon Amoako as Chief Sales Officer (CSO) in the company’s Boston office. In his new role, Mr. Amoako will manage all sales activities out of the company’s North American headquarters, working hand in hand with Dima Beitzke, CSO at its European headquarters in Cologne, Germany.

Mr. Amoako joins Sedo with extensive domain industry and sales experience, most recently serving as Vice President of Business Development for Rightside Group, which was spun out from the digital media and domain services company, Demand Media. In this role, Mr. Amoako helped grow and maintain the company’s global registrar channel and was part of a team that managed the company’s applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .dance, .social and .ninja.

Prior to his time with Rightside, Mr. Amoako was the Director of Global Sales and Account Management at the global Internet services company, Tucows, overseeing a channel of more than 11,000 resellers, along with technical support and professional services departments.

“Solomon is a highly-respected leader within the domain industry and I’m delighted to have him join our organization,” said Tobias Flaitz, CEO of Sedo. “The domain industry is facing its biggest expansion since its inception and with the world of new opportunities being presented comes added challenges. Through this evolution, Solomon’s knowledge and expertise will add tremendous value to Sedo customers looking to sell domains along with those looking to purchase the perfect name for their business.”

Prior to his work in the domain industry, Mr. Amoako held a number of senior sales and relationship management roles at large organizations such as ADP, CGI and Unisen.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join such an experienced and dynamic leadership team,” added Mr. Amoako. “Sedo is a domain industry trailblazer in the aftermarket and has continued to innovate and lead the market for more than a decade.  I’m eager to be part of such an amazing organization to help see it through this historic time in the domain industry and maintain its leadership position for the next decade.”

About Sedo

Sedo is the leading domain marketplace and monetization provider worldwide. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany and with offices in London, England and Boston, USA, Sedo has assembled the world’s largest database of domain names for sale with more than 18 million listings. The success of Sedo‘s model has attracted a client base of more than 2 million domain professionals in 180 countries worldwide. The company’s support team speaks 23 languages natively while its award-winning interactive marketplace seamlessly services client needs in six different languages. Sedo also has a full suite of services available for new gTLD applicants, including premium auctions in all application phases, marketing support, pricing, consulting and brokerage services to reach domain buyers globally. With more than 13 years of experience, Sedo is trusted by organizations and individuals around the globe as a neutral partner for buying, selling and parking domains.

[via Press Release]

Disclaimer: DNN’s managing editor Frank Michlick works as a consultant for Sedo through his company DomainCocoon.


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04|01|2014 05:41 pm EDT

BREAKING ! Playboy Mansion Returns to DomainFest

by Adam Strong in Categories: Events

The exact location of the Stone Temple Pilots concert/party this evening at Domainfest has been shrouded in secrecy since the launch of the show.  DNN was tipped off by conference organizers that the party will take place at the famous Playboy Mansion.   Conference attendees have been dying to know where this party is and have missed the big party since the departure from the famed “Legionnaires” outbreak in 2011.

Party-goers at this event will enjoy the return of the “good old days” of domain parties in addition to Stone Temple Pilots.  Daniel Negari, CEO of .xyz and sponsor of the party was instrumental in making this happen.  Negari told us “Being a huge Playboy fan and STP fan, I was stoked to be able to sponsor this awesome party.”

Organizers have assured us that there will be an environmentally friendly bubble created exclusively for attendees. Hazmat washdown stations will be placed on the outside of the mansion to insure the safety of all attendees.


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03|31|2014 11:53 pm EDT

The Week in Domains (March 31st – April 6th, 2014)

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Weekly Highlights

Topic Highlights this week:

  • DomainFest
  • New gTLDs
  • April Fools Day

Industry news:

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Monday, March 31st, 2014


April Fool’s Day Domain Industry Roundup:


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11|25|2013 11:00 am EDT

Andee Hill forms backed by Gregg McNair

by Frank Michlick in Categories: People

EscrowHill-logoAndee Hill, who recently left where she was Director of Business Development, has created a new licensed escrow company, Escrow Hill Limited with he backing of entrepreneur Gregg McNair.


Gregg-McNair-EscrowHill“When Andee told me she was thinking about forming her own escrow business I was immediately enthusiastic. I have a reputation of connecting some of the best people in our industry and Andee is at the top both professionally and as an amazing human being,” McNair said.’s team includes Ryan Bogue as General Manager and Donald Hendrickson as Operations Manager. Both have worked in the business of online escrow under Hill’s direction for over fifteen years combined. Together with Hill’s experience the new team offers over thirty years of online escrow experience!

Andee-Hill-EscrowHill“During my fifteen years in this business, I have handled just about every aspect of online escrow. Regardless of my title, I have always known that understanding the client’s needs and providing excellent and secure service is invaluable. I have been fortunate to work with the industry innovator from day one. I have seen what works and what doesn’t. I have been even more fortunate to have created great relationships and trust with industry leaders. At I know I can do an even better job,” Hill said.

“Gregg has earned a strong reputation for honesty, integrity and for successfully making businesses work. He also has incredible enthusiasm and a heart for helping others. All are key factors in me wanting Gregg to support my endeavor at,” Hill continued.

McNair has assumed the non-operational role of Chairman, supporting Hill and her team with whatever it takes to build the best escrow business on the planet.

Marco Rinaudo, Founder and CEO of domain registrar, another one of Gregg McNairs investments,  has been appointed CTO of Rinaudo, who has been a leader in the international hosting and registrar space since 1995, said, “ is formed and supported by the very best people in the industry. Our team has built the most sophisticated on-line internet escrow platform, fully automated and with more advanced security features than any other.

See the full press release after the jump.

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11|21|2013 06:55 pm EDT

Inaugural Heritage Auctions Domain Event in New York City – Live Results

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Auction

We were will be live blogging the results of the inaugural Heritage Auctions Domain Event in New York City today. There are no guarantees that this list is correct or complete as this are not official or officially approved results.

The auction sold 26 out of the 68 domains for a total of $419,970. Domains that did not sell in the live auction will be available on Heritage Auction’s website for two weeks at their reserve price as a Buy it Now price.

The top 5 sales of this auction were:

  1. for $138,000
  2. for $112,125
  3. for $34,500
  4. for $23,000, for $23,000
  5. for $17,250

Please note that all domains occur a 15% bidder premium, noted in our total and in the last column of the table below. See the full live blogged results after the jump.

Heritage Auction Galleries - Live! - Sale #1115 - Session #1 2013-11-21 20-20-37


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