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06|30|2007 11:59 am EDT

Why Google bought Doubleclick

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Editorial, PPC industry

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Last week Google published the “official reasons” for buying DoubleClick. DaveN wrote a summary over at ThreadWatch. Basically they say it’s to expand their advertising/advertiser reach. One reason that appears to be implied, but I would like to emphasize, is the increased reach Google gains in order to track which pages are visited by which users. Sure, they already had a lot of this data with Adsense, but the DoubleClick purchase increases their ability to track user navigation paths across more and more websites, which in turn allows them to better guess user intent and better match the ads to the users’ interest.

[via ThreadWatch]

06|30|2007 06:07 am EDT

This Week’s Domain News Elsewhere

by Frank Michlick in Categories: News

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06|29|2007 11:20 pm EDT

Oversee CEO, Lawrence Ng, Named 2007 Entrepreneur Of The Year

by Adam Strong in Categories: News, PPC industry

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LawerenceLawrence Ng, Co-Founder and CEO of Oversee, has been named the 2007 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Oversee is the parent company to Domainsponsor.com, a domain parking company that many domain owners use to monetize their domains.

I’ve known Lawrence for many years, I’m not sure there was even an Oversee back then. I remember late night IM sessions with Lawrence as he diligently worked to refine his domain monetization product and services. He is definetely a pioneer of the domain monetization space and has created a titan of a domain business. It’s great to see him receive this award. Well done Lawrence.

06|29|2007 04:40 pm EDT

6/29 Snap Sales

by Adam Strong in Categories: Up to the Minute

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AvocadoTree.com – $4579*
CallSign.com – $2722
Quarky.com – $555
BeOpen.com – $370

* Frank, I hear there is a hot market for these ;)

06|29|2007 04:07 pm EDT

6/29 TDNAM Sales

by Adam Strong in Categories: Up to the Minute

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ProxyAllow.com – $1605
biasfa.com – $1220
BringItOnGirls.com – $2305
FacesBook.com – $3005

06|29|2007 12:48 am EDT

“Professional Registrant” Constituency In the Works?

by Adam Strong in Categories: ICANN / Policy

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Another tidbit coming from the transcript from today’s ICANN meetings in Puerto Rico. Philip Corwin, from the ICA , commented today during the ICANN meetings and gave a hint that a new ICANN constituency might be under consideration.

“PHILIP CORWIN:  Good morning, Philip Corwin, counsel to the Internet Commerce Association, representing domain name investors and developers and the direct search industry. And I want to begin by commending ICANN and the staff for the excellent work at this meeting and to say that we very much appreciate — we were contacted in advance of the meeting by a consultant to the  GNSO, suggesting that we consider creating a new constituency group  for professional registrants.  And I’ve discussed that with Avri Doria at the meeting, and we are giving that very active consideration as to  whether that is the best way for us to continue to constructively engage in your process and meaningfully contribute to it.”

Many “professional registrants” already have a voice at ICANN, as they are members of either the Registrar or Business constituencies.  Some of the biggest “professional registrants” after-all are Registrars.  This additional constituency is an interesting idea and would bring a whole new dimension to ICANN.  With current legal issues facing these same “professionals”, they have a hard road to hoe getting this idea off the ground.

06|28|2007 05:03 pm EDT

6/28 Snap Sales

by Adam Strong in Categories: Up to the Minute

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HomeMart.com – $22,472
PetDirect.com – $3600
Nemes.com – $1777
AnchorMen.com – $1200

06|28|2007 05:01 pm EDT

6/28 TDNAM Sales

by Adam Strong in Categories: Up to the Minute

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Bovik.org – $755
Mortgage-Mart.com – $3505 (133 bids)
IACFA.org – $710
NonSong.com – $506

06|28|2007 03:06 pm EDT

Vulcan Puts the Pinch on Domainers and Google

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues, PPC industry, Registrars, Search Engines

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vulcan nerve pinchMore details have come to light on a story that first broke by George Kirikos on DomainState.com. Originally, it appeared that Vulcan Golf had filed yet another lawsuit against some of the “usual suspects”. However, Vulcan’s suit is more ambitious than just going after the portfolio owners or the parking companies that are named in the case such as IREIT, Dotster, Sedo and Oversee. This time they go right after the source of the revenue stream and name Google as a defendant. This is a first time for Google to be brought into a seemingly “domainer-related” case.

After reviewing the 121 page document it is also interesting to note that the lawsuit is in fact a putative class action lawsuit brought by Vulcan “on behalf of itself and others similarly situated” alleging violiations of trademark infringement, ACPA violations and RICO claims. This seems to be a very broad reaching suit. I’m surprised more parking companies and Yahoo weren’t also named. However the ‘John Does I-X’ they also include seem to take care of naming any and all parking companies, registrars, domainers, but not seemingly search feed providers.

On information and belief, at all relevant times, other “Parking Companies,” registrants and domain registrars, the identities of which are unknown to Lead Plaintiff, participate in the the Illegal Infringement Scheme engaging in “domain tasting” and “domain kiting” (as defined herein) referred to herein as John Does I-X (collectively, the “Co-Conspirators”) willingly conspired with other Defendants in the Illegal Infringement Scheme and in their fraudulent, illegal, and deceptive actions, including but not limited to RICO violations and various state law violations . ..

The suit also points out hundreds of examples of typo domains that are monetized currently by Google including names with the www , com and http added to the domain such as : wwwvulcangolf.com , httpautotrader.com , ikeacom.com . No doubt, all of these companies in the examples will be solicited by the lead attornies to jump on the class-action bandwagon.

Other juicy tidbits from the suit include the following quote :

Defendants directly collude and conspire to commercially profit from this massive ‘illegal infringement scheme’ carried out through Defendant Google’s well established and actively developed international online/Internet marketing and advertising networks and programs, for the knowing purpose of illegal commercial gain . . . .

The paper also points out how Google and parking companies misrepresent that they use filtering technology to scrub out potentially infringing domains. Pointing to Googles own policy on Adsense that states that domains submitted may not contain trademark infringments.

Aftermarket sales of domains that infringe on trademarks are also brought to light. The case documents domains such as mypsace.com, myspac.com, and ebumsworld.com that were all sold for five-figure prices. Once again, more plaintiffs I’m sure that will be added to the class-action.

Eric Goldman Professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law sheds some light on the case at CircleID.

Pro: Google and the domainers could point out that consumers who access these domain names are either going to see a 404 or a page of putatively relevant paid links, and the latter is more useful to them. In fact, according to this study, ads on parked automotive-related domains convert at 2X ads on search engines. So, perhaps these ad pages are more helpful to consumers than 404 pages.

Con: Trademark owners complain about the typosquatting nature of most domainer pages. Indeed, Google is uncharacteristically solicitous of trademark owners upset by parked domains—in contrast to Google’s normal policy that it won’t disable trademarked keywords, Google will completely disable ads on parked domain names at the trademark owner’s request. This raises the lurking issue about whether search engines can impose opt-out obligations on IP owners . . .

This is a big suit. The fact that it’s a class-action and that there are multiple “John Does” will make a bigger impact in the domain space that past suits. Going after Google is a pretty big deal in “domainerland”. The decisions made in this case could be a landmark that changes how domains are registered and monetized and have a very dramatic impact on domain monetization.

Download the case and follow more on this story as it unravels at the DomainState thread.

Spock picture from wikipedia

06|28|2007 01:32 am EDT

Marchex launches OpenList integration accross 100,000 domains

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Development, Editorial

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Hats OffHats off to Marchex (MCHX), a company that has always innovated in our space, be it for example by amassing a huge collection of zip-code domains or now by integrating content across 100,000 different domains. While the zip-code domains did not start a new direct navigation trend (at least as far as I know), the content integration appears to have had a positive effect on repeat visitors for their domain names according to initial trials. Marchex even managed the full integration to be ready before the initially announced launch date of June 30th.

So how does the integration work? Marchex took their OpenList local reviews, expanded them beyond the initial dataset of hotels and restaurants, combined them with the data obtained from their Yellow Pages partnership, probably added some components from their purchase of AreaConnect.com and integrated them into their domain lander pages. So if you now visit for example one of their flagship domains, videocameras.com, you will see a list of local video and camera stores.

I think this content will work best with their local domains (such as their NewYorkDoctors.com). I am not entirely convinced that this type of content will work as well with product specific domains (like videocameras.com) and very generic domains (cuisine.com). On product specific domains, I would probably rather start out with product reviews (like the ones we are going to collect with SharedReviews) on the homepage and then feature the local store reviews (and reviews of online-stores) on sub-pages (i.e. “where to buy”).

Large scale development like this can be quite challenging and of course the results are going to vary on a per domain basis. It is especially difficult to take existing traffic into consideration when working on a project of this size. Another challenge and question is how the search engines will react – will they consider the content duplicate content, or will they pick up and display more of the pages in their search results in the future? Hopefully Marchex will be so kind again to share some results with the public.

For people that are looking to set up similar sites using local data, I would strongly suggest for them to also check iBegin Source an amazing new service that offers local business data and a geo-coding service at impressive prices.

The New York times technology blog also has some more details on the integration.

[via Press Release]

(disclaimer: I own a small amount of Marchex shares.)