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05|28|2010 10:04 am EDT

Magnetic Brings New Revenue To Parked Domains

by Adam Strong in Categories: New Companies

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It’s no big secret that domain parking has taken a revenue hit over the last couple of years.  We’ve all seen the gripes on forums and blogs demanding more innovation in monetization strategies. Others are even calling  the death of parking. With this decline in revenues there’s even been a push to abandon the parking model altogether and for companies to provide more robust development strategies (think Epik, WhyPark, etc).  Many of these new ideas and monetization methods are much more involved, fall out of the core-competency of parking companies and not the sort of a simple retooling that a domain parking company could undergo without substantial capital.  So, when DNN was approached to learn about a “simple” new way to make more money off of parked domains, you can bet we were interested in hearing more.

Magnetic (previously known as DomDex), a new company led by Yahoo and Double Click veteran Josh Shatkin-Margolis is bringing a new revenue stream to domain parking that requires simply one line of code added to a parking page. Even better, Magnetic isn’t an alternative to domain parking revenues, but rather it supplements those revenues. They’re providing a new monetization angle for parked domain name traffic in a way that wasn’t done before.  Let’s just call it found money. (more…)

05|15|2010 03:28 pm EDT

Cryptographer Whitfield ‘Whit’ Diffie Joins ICANN as VP for Information Security & Cryptography

by Frank Michlick in Categories: News

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Whitfield Diffie

Whitfield Diffie from Wikipedia/en:Infosecpedia

As ICANN announced in a Press Release last night (PDF), the famous Cryptographer Whitefield ‘Whit’ Diffie has been hired by ICANN as Vice President for Information Security and Cryptography.

With Stanford University electrical engineering professor Martin Hellman, Diffie created and published (1976, “New Directions in Cryptography“, PDF) the Diffie-Hellman Key Exchange Protocol, which solved one of the fundamental problems of cryptography – key distribution. The process increased security through use of a secret key that is exchanged between parties prior to encryption.

He also is listed as an Distinguished Advisor to one of ICANN’s registry partners, Verisign. Verisign still lists him as being employed by Sun Microsystems – a position he left 6 months ago. DNN has contacted ICANN to find out if Diffie will still be serving as an Advisor to Verisign as well, as this could create a potential conflict of interest.

See the full press release after the jump. For more information on Diffie, we recommend the lecture of this excerpt about him from the book “Crypto” by Steven Levy.

(more…)

05|13|2010 04:00 pm EDT

DomainFest Ft. Lauderdale 2010 Live Auction Results

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Auction

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We were We will be live blogging the auction results of the auctions at the DomainFEST Power Networking Day in Fort Lauderdale. As always we do not guarantee the accuracy of these results. Unsold names will be included in the Extended Silent Auction, which will run to Thursday, May 20th, 2010.

The auction sold 34 out of 120 domains for a total of $2,466,550 USD, with dating.com being the top sale for $1,750,000.

You can see the results after the jump.

(more…)

05|13|2010 01:09 pm EDT

DNN Founder Adam Strong Joins Growing Partnership at MO.com

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Up to the Minute

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Entrepreneur and domain investor Brian Null has announced the addition of another partner to his growing entrepreneur focused site MO.com (short for Modus Operandi). DNN’s own Adam Strong will join the team of partners which includes entrepreneurs Johns Wu, Richard Banfield, JC
Homes and Greg Bier.

Adam will be a contributing writer and interviewer as well as helping expand the MO.com content to include video and chat features. “This opportunity gives me a chance to write about another topic that I’m very passionate about. I’m very excited to join the MO team and work with such a great group of creative entrepreneurs.”

05|13|2010 03:06 am EDT

Zone File Glitch Shuts Down Millions of .DE Domains

by Adam Strong in Categories: ccTLDs

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According to TLD Source and The Register large parts of the .DE zone file went missing today from 1:30 pm to roughly 2:50 pm. The error shut down potentially over 13 million domains names tied to websites and email addresses using the German domain name extension.

Speculation to the cause of the outage centers around the theory that the zone files may have been uploaded with no data.  TLD Source also speculates on their site that the DENIC infrastructure may be outdated .

DENIC acknowledged the problem on their site (German) and will be providing more details.  In a statement on another mailing list found cited by The Register, DENIC stated :  “Several of the authoritative nameservers for the DE top level domain returned NXDOMAIN responses for a yet to be determined number of DE domains that existed in our registration database,” the post reads. “At [13:45 UTC], all affected servers had either been disabled or fed with an earlier version of the DE zone. Regular operations were eventually resumed at 15:00 UTC.”

Last October, a similar problem occurred when a typo shut down the .SE ccTLD  for roughly 20 minutes.


[ Thanks to our non-German friends at Silver Dollars for the tip]

05|04|2010 04:29 pm EDT

Oversee Files Suit Against Nelson Brady for $33 Million in Damages

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

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SnapNames, and its parent company, Oversee.net, announced today that they have filed suit against Nelson Brady in federal court in Oregon (Portland district).

Brady, a former employee of SnapNames improperly bid in certain SnapNames auctions using the bidder alias “Hank Alvarez” or “halvarez”. The company also claims that Brady also embezzled funds from Oversee by refunding himself a share of the purchase price for domain names he won through the SnapNames system.

Oversee is seeking to recover $33 million of dollars from Brady, including punitive damages. The company claims to have been making an effort to settle privately with Brady to recover losses, including the “rebates” sent to SnapNames customers effected by the activity and the funds he embezzled.

Oversee came under attack for the debacle and had faced several class action lawsuits themselves.  All parties involved by the fraudulent behavior had been offered a “rebate” check by the company.

For several months, the company has in good faith attempted to settle privately with Brady to recover its losses, including the rebate fund established by Oversee to address Brady’s activities and the funds he embezzled from Oversee.  Those settlement efforts have been unsuccessful.  According to the company officials “No amount of money, however, could compensate the damage Brady has caused to SnapNames’ and Oversee’s reputation in the marketplace.”

Company officials have sent DNN the following details of the events :

  • In October 2009, Oversee discovered an employee, Nelson Brady, using an account under the false name “Hank Alvarez,” engaged in improper bidding activities in domain name auctions on the SnapNames platform.
  • Oversee and SnapNames disclosed the situation to its customers and employees in November 2009.  Oversee made available to affected customers a cash rebate in the amount of overpayment, plus 5.22% interest (the highest applicable federal rate during the affected time period), of any amounts paid exceeding what the auction price would have been without employee bidding.
  • Since that time, more than 60% of the aggregate rebate amount has been claimed.

Brady’s conduct affected:

5% of auctions since 2005
75% of total impacted auctions were between 2005 and 2007
Less than 1% of SnapNames auctions during this period were won by the employee
The remaining 4% were won by SnapNames clients.
Brady’s bidding affected approximately 1% of SnapNames’ auction revenue during the full period.

05|04|2010 04:03 pm EDT

Bido.com Shutting Down Effective Tomorrow

by Frank Michlick in Categories: News

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According to a twitter message by Bido.com the auction website is shutting down effective tomorrow, May 5th, 2010.

Bido is ceasing operation as of May 5, 2010. All transactions and accounts will be gracefully finalized and closed.

The company was originally founded in 2008 and then purchased dnZoom. Co-Founder Ron Jackson of DNJournal left the company shortly before the launch . Just earlier this year Sahar Sarid had announced that the company was moving to the Bay area.

05|04|2010 01:35 pm EDT

Geo Domains Expo Auction Ends Shortly

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Up to the Minute

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The GEO Domains Auction on Snapnames ends today in under two hours. So far 16 of the 805 domains have received bids and many domains at a $200 minimum bid are still open for bidding.

Here are the current bids:

Domain Current Bid Bidders
greenwichvillage.com $10,500.00 1
businesstravelers.com $5,840.00 1
lowpricedflights.com $1,151.00 1
indiana.biz $750.00 5
streetperformers.com $576.00 1
portugalhotels.net $449.00 4
nycdivorcelawyers.com $400.00 2
suncruzcasinos.com $350.00 2
vegashotline.com $350.00 2
aussietourism.com $325.00 1
berlinweatherforecast.com $325.00 1
jobsvegas.com $325.00 1
johannesburg.info $325.00 1
planesickness.com $325.00 1
rocklandcountyny.com $325.00 1
hiltonheadhouserental.com $235.00 1


05|04|2010 12:18 pm EDT

Weekly Sedo Sales Chart Lead by MathsGames.com for $55,000 USD

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Sales

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This week’s Sedo sales chart is lead by the sale of MathsGames.com, which sold for 36238 British Pound, which is approximately $55,000 USD. Other sales of note are:

  • sayso.com for $15,000 USD
  • pornroulette.com for $11,251 USD
  • evangelist.com for $11,000 USD
  • hcd.com for $10,100
  • inshallah.com for $10,000
  • cocina.es (kitchen in Spanish) for 34,000 Euro (appx $44,500 USD)
  • insure.asia for 18,500 Euro (appx. $24,200 USD)

Please see the full list of reported sales after the jump. (more…)

05|03|2010 11:54 am EDT

Oversee.net Shares For Sale

by Adam Strong in Categories: News

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Looking to invest in the domain space, but can’t find any good domains for sale?  How about buying stock in a company that owns over 600,000 domains, but also monetizes millions of domains and has auctioned millions of dollars in domains?   How about buying shares of Oversee.net ?

Up until recently you couldn’t buy these privately held shares, unless of course you wanted to dump millions of dollars in to the company, and even that could prove difficult.   Thanks to new sites like SharesPost.com you now can buy shares of many private companies like Facebook, Twitter, and now Oversee.net.

SharesPost currently has a few blocks of Oversee.net stock for sale with a per share price of $7.35.   The smallest block of shares available is 4,200 and priced at $30,870.  You’ll need to sign-up to see the current offerings.   (SharesPost requested that we take down the screen-shots of the current offerings)

The sale of these shares are subject to a few conditions such as first rights of refusal, a co-sale agreement and subject to  company share-holders agreement. We’ve been told that some of these shares are shares of long-time employees who are looking to take a little money off the table.

Interestingly, SharesPost includes an “implied valuation” of Oversee based on the estimated number of fully-diluted shares and the listed share price.   This number is just an estimate but it’s an interesting number.  It puts the valuation of Oversee.net at over $1.1 Billion.

SharesPost lists the description of the company as:

Oversee.net is a domain parking and lead generation company founded in 2001. The company owns one of the largest portfolios of domain names in the world. The company’s unique optimized technology connects consumers and advertisers with highly relevant advertisements. Oversee also serves as a primary and secondary marketplace for domain names.

Oversee’s revenues are reportedly more than $200 million per year. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the company has reportedly not taken any outside funding.

It looks like SharesPost has some outdated info as the description states Oversee has not taken outside funding, when most know and it has been publicly reported that they received $150 million from Oak Hill Capital Partners. It’s worth noting that Oak Hill, founded by oil-man billionaire Robert Bass, has invested in some of the world’s largest companies.  Maybe “going along for the ride” and owning shares along with one of America’s wealthiest men might be something worth looking into.

Something domainers who are heavily entrenched in the domain business may want to think about when owning these shares is that share owners often have information rights.  Insight into a $200 million domain company backed by big private equity could be valuable to any domainer in terms of providing valuable insight into how to run their own business.

Regardless, Oversee is a behemoth company with a portfolio of over 600,000 domains and runs, among other ventures, domain name registrar Moniker.com, domain auction house SnapNames.com, the DomainFest Global conference. They are probably best known for creating the PPC company DomainSponsor.com in 2001.  If you are a believer in the domain space and think that there is long-term value in a domain portfolio or simply find value in a company reportedly generating over $200 million a year in revenue, this could be a great investment opportunity.

If you want to invest in a company in the domain space, there are other opportunities and there may be more on the horizon.  Marchex and LiveCurrent are traded but they haven’t weathered the recent market climate well.  There’s also Tucows, which was recently mentioned on another blog as a “value investment”.   Photon Group which now owns Dark Blue Sea is publicly trade in Australia . Demand Media is also exploring a public offering and even registrar giant Godaddy.com explored the IPO possibility a few years ago.  Maybe even more shares of other private domain name companies will start popping up on sites like this.

For disclosure purposes, I do not own shares in any of the mentioned companies, but I am giving serious consideration to investing more in to the companies that dominate the domain space.