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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

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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.

07|15|2013 04:25 pm EDT

Lean Domain Search acquired by Automattic (WordPress)

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools

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As reported by The Next Web, Automattic, the company that runs WordPress has acquired Lean Domain Search. The founder of the site, Matt Mazur, will continue to work for working on domain name related features. Automattic became an ICANN accredited registrar in 2010, but is currently still selling domain names through a partner registrar (as far as I can tell). Lean Domain Search was first introduced on HackerNews in the beginning of 2012. The service was originally launched as Domain Pigeon in 2009. In between the service was run as a freemium solution, but the site was switched back to being free in May of this year.

According to an Interview published by Domain Name Wire, Matt Mazur had been approached by Matt Mullenweg about working for Automattic earlier, but wasn’t able to do so at the time. He recently revisited the idea and Automattic was still interested in hiring him.

TechCrunch also covered the purchase and here’s Matt Masur’s post about the deal, The purchase price was not revealed.

08|28|2012 11:29 am EDT

Snapnames Releases iPhone and iPad bidding App

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools

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SnapNames®, a KeyDrive S. A. company and leading domain name online marketplace for already registered, expiring and deleting domain names announced today the release of their domain name auction bidding app for iPhone and iPod touch. With over twenty-five million domains to choose from annually, users can now easily bid on a wide selection of domain names while on-the-go thus preventing missing out on domain names while away from a computer.

The mobile app features include:

  • A real-time dashboard with a snapshot of active auctions and history
  • Streamlined bidding for auctions in users’ accounts
  • Instant tracking of bidding activity, number of bidders, time remaining and high bidder status – Display of historical auction activity and closing status of transactions

The newly released auction app has been made available free of charge.
“With the release of a mobile bidding application for auctions, we are providing users (both businesses and individuals) a more convenient way to acquire the domains they want, when they want them,” said Craig Snyder, CEO of Moniker and SnapNames. “Furthermore, by extending our proven auction technology to the iPhone, we are accelerating access and domain inventory selection options to an expanded audience across the globe. “

[via Press Release]

04|16|2012 02:27 pm EDT

LeadRefs Announcing New Version of Domain Sales Lead Generation Tool

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools, Up to the Minute

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Screenshot of new Site

As just announced in blog post, LeadRefs has just released their latest version of their lead generation tool. The new version of the tool now mashes up the data of the list of dropping and expired domains with the amount of leads available to sell the domains. It also has a paid membership now – the Search Package for only $24.99 or the Expired Package for $49.99 a month, which includes the Pending Delete, NameJet exclusive, SnapNames exclusive and GoDaddy exclusive leads along with 100 daily lead generation searches. The free trial is now limited to three days. For those who don’t have the time to follow all of the leads, the service now also offers a brokerage service.

Elliot’s Blog had a number of helpful posts as to how best use this tool:

04|05|2012 09:55 am EDT

DomainTools to releases new Marketplace Search

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools

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DomainTools Market Place Search

DomainTools has always included affiliate links to domains listed in various marketplaces in their search results before, but has now enhanced the search functionality for domain markplace listings.

As the company’s  Mark Kendrick writes:

Of course, simply mashing together nearly 20 million domain sales listings in a table and sticking a search box on it doesn’t solve anyone’s problems, and it sure won’t be fast. Our back-end engineers used new technology they’d been researching to help structure and index the data while our front-end team applied several patterns and techniques that make parsing that much data usable and even fun.

As he goes on, it appears our industry still has to go a long way then it comes to getting word about the aftermarket out there, so they aimed to build a tool that allows users to sift through large amounts of domain listings without a frustrating experience.

Our user research (yes, we interviewed real people!) uncovered an interesting trend: plenty of people know you can register a domain name, but they are almost completely unaware of the secondary market. Surprisingly, it’s not the price that’s keeping them away. They usually have a few hundred dollars, or maybe a bit more, to spend on the right domain name, but they don’t know what to buy or where to find it. Even those who found their way to the popular domain sales platforms were confused or intimidated by what they saw. They abandoned the process and resigned themselves to a sub-par domain name.

If you share your feedback with the DomainTools Team before Friday, April 13th you will be eligible for a $50 DomainTools add-on credit or some DomainTools swag. They ask for your to email your feedback to to qualify.

Disclaimer: DomainTools is an advertiser on DNN.

[via DomainTools Blog]

12|08|2011 03:39 pm EDT

Frank Schilling Relaunches

by Adam Strong in Categories: Tools

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After Frank Schilling shook up the domain parking industry with his release of his own parking company, Internet Traffic, it now appears he’s setting course to enter the race against incumbent domain name marketplaces. Schilling re-launched his DomainNameSales site today with a new look and new features.

The relaunch seems to be a natural progression for the company, after launching their own domain parking business. Schilling’s company has been selling domains from their own portfolio of hundreds of thousands of domains for a number of years.  The tools and systems and data that from these sales and inquiries are valuable insights in to the domain marketplace from one of it’s top portfolio owners.  The company freely released their own internal domain sales inquiry tracking system to the benefit of users of the InternetTraffic parking service a few months earlier.  We suspect that we’ll see more iterations from the crew at DomainNameSales in the coming months.

DNN is a big supporter of freeing up information and data like this.  Personally, I’d like to see more accurate reporting on prices, rather than broad ranges. We’ll take what we can get though. Tools and insight like this from leading companies in the domain space can only help to provide more intelligence and better decisions for all.  Clearly we understand that this information held privately is an asset that can improve revenues and fend off competition as well.  Data and information want to be free though.  They help inform the entire marketplace including buyers.  We’re glad to see this company leading the way like this.

The new site features:

  • a domain search (displaying recent searches)
  • a whois search (displaying recent searchs)
  • a newsticker
  • a list of recent inquiries
  • a list of recent quotes (with price ranges)
  • a list of recent sales (with price ranges)
  • a chat system  (appears they found a new use for the company’s “chattr” online messageboard experiment)
  • a valuation system based on the following parameters:

Domain Quality Score (Q) (Scale: 1-5)

The DomainNameSales Domain Quality Score is a factor of keywords, tld, traffic, buyer interest and other proprietary measures.

Traffic Score (T) (Scale: 1-5)

A relative measure of traffic based on historical data. Domains without data available are given “U” for unknown.

Price Ranges 

Price ranges are used in place of actual values to protect seller interests and reflect ever-changing valuations.


12|06|2011 06:00 am EDT

DomainTools Launches

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools

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As announced in a Press Release that went out early this morning, DomainTools just launched a new site, The site makes the entire website screenshots of DomainTools available for search. When you conduct a search on the site, aside from the history of screenshots it will also display the amount of domains the domain owner owns, the amount of domains on the same nameservers as well as similar sites.

The DomainTools thumbnail image capture system, the back-end service for, was originally developed in 2004. The current version now checks up to 1,000,000 websites a day and, unlike other screenshot services, captures critical external resources like ads and images (even though those do not appear to show in the screenshots for DNN). With, what you see is exactly what a visitor would have seen when they visited the site.  Domain investors, trademark attorneys and brand agents alike have relied upon DomainTools’ screenshot history tool to make more informed business decisions and to investigate and defend potential trademark-infringing domain names.

[Update] DomainTools just put up a background post on their blog.

The DomainTools network now emcompasses:

DomainTools had bought the domain for $32,500 in Q1 of this year according to DNJournal.

Disclaimer: DomainTools is a current advertiser on DNN.

See the full press release after the jump.


10|25|2011 12:00 pm EDT

DomainsBot Relaunches Site, Introduces Offering for new TLD Applicants

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools

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New Domainsbot Site Screenshot

The namespinner company Domainsbot today announced a relaunch of their main site, featuring a real-time search experience and new tools that make it easier for people and companies to search for domain names, Twitter handles and Facebook Page Names. By offering an integrated domain and social identity search, the new service makes it easier for users to find and obtain
unique, brandable identities. In addition to adding social identity search and revamping its website for speed and ease of use, DomainsBot also offers a downloadable mobile application, for identity searches on the go.

“Five years ago we only needed to worry about checking domain availability before naming a new business or product. Today’s challenge is to take care of domains and social media identities, such as Facebook and Twitter. Our goal is to simplify an important and time consuming process creatively,” said Emiliano Pasqualetti, DomainsBot, CEO.

The new also features premium domains from GoDaddy and Sedo, the two largest marketplaces of names for sale. These partnerships will enable users to browse for the largest selection of domains available on the secondary market. Additional features of today’s release include the introduction of DomainsBot Deals, a selection of top discounts for domain
registrations and renewals in partnership with some of the most popular registrars, and a whole new selection of B2B services for domain registrars, registries and new TLD applicants. The services for new TLD applicants will provide statistics based on existing registrations estimating potential for new TLDs.


08|29|2011 09:34 am EDT

DomainTools Releases Mail Server Investigation Site,

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools

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As announced today, DomainTools has just released a new site,, The website allows users to analyze MX (mail exchanger) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework) usage and configuration by region and or network, helping to uncover relevant relationships.

In order to build the ReverseMX product, DomainTools has researched and gathered intelligence on mail server data related to over 130 million domains by querying their nameservers. ReverseMX not only uncovers which mail services are the most popular on a domains-in-use basis, it also uniquely correlates relationships between mail servers. You can also see which domains are hosted by a specific mailserver.

Says Tim Chen, CEO, DomainTools, “The DomainTools brand has historically been about surfacing and correlating interesting data around domain names and the DNS. The release of gets us back to those roots while simultaneously allowing us to experiment with some new database technologies that will help us to serve more data faster. We are looking forward to seeing how our strong community of active users can benefit from our SPF and MX data.”

See the full press release after the jump.


07|13|2011 10:55 am EDT

DomainTools Relaunches API

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Tools

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DomainTools API Screeshot

This morning, DomainTools has announced a revamped verision of their API. What originally started as a tool for domain name suggestions and has since been expanded to include almost all of the data and functionality of the DomainTools website.

Sample uses of the API are:

  • Add value to lists of domain names by highlighting important statistics such as historical event counts and related domain names
  • Tap into the largest available database of historic Whois records to discover the true legacy of a domain name
  • Set up a customized keyword or trademark monitoring system to keep tabs on domain registrations
  • Quickly search through millions of domain names to find the perfect domain for a specific project

The DomainTools API is available today and can be set up in three steps via the DomainTools API Web page.

The pricing requires a monthly subscription of $39.95 for each of the services on top of per query pricing ranging from $0.0025 (domain profile) to $0.95 for (whois history). Reverse whois is priced based on the amount of domains included in the report. Services accessible via API are:

  • Domain Profile
  • Whois Lookup
  • Whois History
  • Hosting History
  • Reverse IP
  • Name Server Report
  • Reverse Whois
  • Domain Suggestions
  • Domain Search
  • Mark Alert
  • Registrant Alert

Tim Chen, CEO of DomainTools, stated that “DomainTools has seen increasing demand for dataaccess, and we are excited to make these powerful new APIs available to our individual and enterprise clients. We are already seeing initial partners integrating our data into their service offerings, and expect that the community will also be building innovative new products on top of DomainTools data.”