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05|31|2011 09:23 am EDT

Former ICANN Ombudsman Withdraws Legal Proceeding Against George Kirikos

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Legal Issues

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All content pertaining to this post has been removed and archived per instructions from Judge Meyers at Provincial Court of British Columbia.

 

05|28|2011 12:57 am EDT

Spammers Abuse Parked Domains for Redirects

by Frank Michlick in Categories: PPC industry

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As reported by Symantec a few days ago, many parked domains have the chance to end up on a blocking list due to spammers abusing a security hole in the parking company’s redirect structure.

Symantec: “We have automatically blocked tens of thousands of these domains.”

While the post on Symantec’s official blog does not reveal the affected parking services, quick tests on three services revealed that at least two of them were vulnerable to the exploit. The spammers found a way to use the click tracking in the URL of the parking service to modify the target address by creating a link that contains their own URL. One of the services we found used Base64 encoding, whereas the other one simple used a URLencoded address.

Nick Johnston from Symantec recommends that the parking companies check the refer(r)er URL or add additional hashing to their redirect URLs.

[Update]: One of the domain parking system operators we identified and notified has informed us that a fix will be in place shortly.

[Thank you Hennie]

05|17|2011 03:47 am EDT

Frank Schilling Switches To Google Feed, Begins Offering Parking Services (InternetTraffic.com)

by Frank Michlick in Categories: News

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The domain industry sees many changes. With the downturn of PPC revenue, many of the old-school domainers started to respond more actively to sales inquiries in order to make up for the loss. While it appears that PPC income is not yet on the rebound, many domain investors have been looking to development and other methods of generating additional revenue. Especially with domains that were using a Yahoo! PPC feed the change has been very noticeable.

Driven by the pinch of lower PPC revenues on a Yahoo!/Bing feed, it appears Frank Schilling’s NAMedia has recently switched to a Google feed. The company has also removed their social application originally launched as Note.com, then rebranded as Chatr and now finally Postboard. Via Email Schilling told DNN:

“In the early days of the oil-boom you could literally drill a hole in the ground with a hand-drill and strike a small gusher of oil. Then as the shallow oil ran out.. the hand-drill guys invested in bigger rigs and more sophisticated machinery. Today you have elaborate rigs manned by the hand drillers grandchildren, striking huge oilfields, miles below the sea floor. Many of the people behind the drilling equipment quite literally learned on the job. There is no university for this. The domain traffic business is very much like that. The last ten years have seen an evolution where things have gotten much more sophisticated. A few of the larger operators have embraced technology and grown to deal with the changed landscape in paid search. Google has become a critical partner in the evolution of type-in traffic monetization. The level of technical efficacy required to play there is higher though.

I remain hopeful that Yahoo will turn its third party marketplace around so it remains attractive to domain traffic, but that job is really Microsoft’s responsibility now, and it remains to be seen whether Microsoft cares enough to solidify third party publisher payouts and to fairly value domain name type-in traffic against other forms of traffic in the channel such as Error Search and Keyword Marketplace Arbitrage.”

Aside from switching parking feed providers NAMedia is also allowing others to use this new feed. Schilling created a site at InternetTraffic.com inviting people to apply for a “A no-frills domain monetization platform, for experienced type-in traffic operators.” and promising that “You will make significantly more money here“. According to WannaDevelop’s Mike Cohen, the service is being tested by the likes of Rick Schwartz, Chad Wright, Garry Chernoff, Alex Lerman. [Update] According to our friends at HosterStats, there are currently over 14,000 domains pointing to the service’s nameservers.

“I’m looking for high quality type-in traffic partners to grow a long-term and stable traffic co-operative. I’m in a great position to do this, having a unique structure with a very large tranche of owned and operated traffic. I don’t need (or want) to create a huge profit center for myself on the back of my fellow domainers traffic. This is about trying to reward those who innovate by returning the bulk of the revenue to them, so they can do what they do best.. Everyone who has joined to date, is pleasantly surprised when they see what their traffic is really capable of.”

05|16|2011 12:37 pm EDT

Google Experiments with highlighting the Advertisers Domain Name

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Up to the Minute

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After years of efforts by Google to de-emphasize the importance of domain names (i.e. by combining the search and URL bar in Google Chrome), the company is apparently now experimenting with highlighting the domain name for paid search results, as reported by Search Engine Land who got the tip from a reader.

The domain name of the advertiser is displayed behind the ad headline, separated by a “|” and written in all lower case.

[Update]: This is now an official feature on “select ads”, as per a post on Google’s Inside Adwords blog. No details have been published as to how eligible ads are selected. Lisa Shieh from the Inside AdWords crew writes:

In an AdWords ad, the display URL may be last, but it’s certainly not least. In fact, the display URL can be an important deciding factor in whether a user clicks on your ad.

05|16|2011 12:23 pm EDT

ccTLDs.com Forum Purchased by EuroDNS

by Frank Michlick in Categories: News

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As reported earlier by DomainGang, Rick Latona’s ccTLDs.com Forum has found a new owner and has relaunched after billions of spam messages have been removed.

DNN spoke to Xavier Buck Executive Director and CEO of the new owner – domain registration company EuroDNS: “Our company always stood for promoting ccTLDs and that we believe the forum suits our services we believe in“.

The company is looking for local country partners to manage individual sections/ccTLDs within the forum. Buck went on to say:

We want to open it up to the community and hope to get local players to contribute to the forum. These partners would be allowed to manage their own sections as it were their forum. Our goal with ccTLDs.com is not to make money with it but to to make sure a dedicated place exists that regroups knowledge and exchange for all cctlds.

05|14|2011 05:06 pm EDT

Godaddy Opens Up Registration Path Sales To Outside Registrants

by Adam Strong in Categories: Miscellaneous

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This week Domain Name Wire discussed Godaddy auction domains appearing within the registration path. This change had actually occurred months ago, but since there was no announcement by Godaddy most didn’t notice the change.  DNW points out that this change means that you can now list a domain at auction for a lower commission and the name shows for sale when a user searches for that name.

The change also means more than the added exposure and lower commission.  It opens up Godaddy’s registration path to all registrants at any registrar.  Godaddy auctions allow anyone to auction any domain from any registrar. Previously only Godaddy registered domains (via the Premium Listings channel) would display within the registration path.  So for example, a domain name registered at Moniker can be listed for sale through Godaddy’s Auctions and will show up within the registration path.

There are some things to consider.  Selling domains through Godaddy’s Auctions have the added benefit of a lower commission (7% vs 30% on Premium Listings), but selling through Auctions requires the seller to handle the transfer process and from our experience may also requires some management of the sale via Escrow.com. Godaddy’s Premium Listings benefit from an instant sale and transfer process which is more “hands-off” for the seller.  The Premium Listings also have a much more instant buy process, requiring less of the buyer.

When DNN discussed this new feature offering with Godaddy execs they informed us that this particular channel doesn’t convert as well as Premium Listings.  If you consider that the registrant will see the domain for sale in the registration path and that the user must take the steps to register and then bid (or buy it now) this may be the reason for a lower conversion.  If you want to sell more names at a steadier rate,  Premium Listings with the higher commission is the better way to go and reflects a higher commission.  Premium Listings however are only available for Godaddy registered domain names.

For now if you have domains registered outside of Godaddy and want to sell them on Godaddy, listing them with a Buy It Now on the auctions is your best bet.  This a welcome new addition to domain sellers looking to have their domains in front of one of the largest sales channels available.

Aftermarket sales within the registration path have been sort of the “Holy Grail” for domain sellers.  Think of a customer coming to a site like Godaddy.com typing in “yourdomainnameyouhaveforsale.com” and seeing it available for purchase. That moment that a customer is searching for that domain is the best time to capture that sale. The registrar venue is also likely the best place for that sale to occur as well, since registrars likely have already gained the consumer’s confidence and trust.

We’re pretty excited about Godaddy opening up this channel and hope that other registrars follow suit.

 

05|12|2011 10:29 am EDT

UK Registry Seeks Input for Domain Expiry Policy

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

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The market for catching dropping .UK domains is overrun by many companies, thus making it often a matter of luck who catches the released names. The reason for this is apparently the drop times and order picked at random by the registry along with the low fees for becoming a .UK registrar.

The registry just sent a message to one of it’s mailing lists soliciting feedback from stakeholders for a potential reform of how expired domain names are treated. Nominet also published a document (PDF) that explains the context of the request. The summary mentions and explains issues like expired domain tasting by the registrar, expired domain auctions and drop catching.

The main questions asked by the registry operator are:

  1. What should the principles of the expired period be?
  2. What should Nominet’s and the registrar’s obligations be to the registrant in the renewal of domain names?
  3. Many registrars will have provisions in their terms and conditions which outline what the registrar will do when a domain name expires. What type of notice and level of transparency should registrants reasonably expect where specific practices are undertaken in the expired period?
  4. In the context of encouraging innovation within the industry, how should Nominet’s  policies support the development of new business models whilst ensuring registrants’ expectations are met?
  5. What further background information would it be helpful for Nominet to provide to the issue group members to assist their discussions?

Instructions on how to participate can be found on the Nominet Website. Participation is open to all interested parties.

05|11|2011 05:45 pm EDT

Domain Name Sales Report for the Previous Week

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Sales

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The top 10 reported sales for the previous week were:

  1. gambling.com $2,500,000 (Sedo)
  2. puzzle.com $500,000 (Afternic)
  3. eju.com $96,000 (Afternic)
  4. business.co $80,000 (DomainMarket)
  5. pow.com $75,000 (Sedo)
  6. t.ag $60,000 (Sedo)
  7. tiempo.com $41,900 (Sedo)
  8. poker.org.uk $41,000 (25,000 GBP, Sedo)
  9. want.it $26,500 (Sedo)
  10. isu.com $23,000 (Sedo)

See the full list of reported sales after the jump.

(more…)

05|05|2011 06:04 pm EDT

And the Winners of Get Rich Click! Are…

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

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Thank you all for the 88 entries to win Marc Ostrofsky’s new book, Get Rich Click! (aff). If you didn’t win, make sure to buy the book now ;-) The winners were selected with the help of Random.org’s number generator. They are:

  1. Deepak Daftari, India
  2. Tony Lam, USA
  3. Cory Lamay, USA
  4. Hilary St Jonn, Sweden
  5. Rob Borhi, Canada

We will be emailing the winners for their postal addresses.

05|04|2011 09:54 am EDT

Who Shares Your Address

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Editorial

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Or: How to find other domainers in your home town

Like many domain owners I use a PO Box (in a UPS store in my case) as a whois address. While it’s not particularly hard to locate me, I do this for a number of reasons. For one, I do not want my home address listed everywhere. Another reason is that I may not always be home, but may still need access to my mail. If your PO Box is in a store and you have been a customer for a while, you can usually ask them for

Ultimately I would love to get even closer to being “paperless” and use a service like Earth Class Mail that scans your mails and can even deposit checks for you, but I have yet to find something like that in Canada – anyways, back on topic.

Yesterday I attended one of the startup community events here in Montreal – something like DemoCamp that went by the name of Montreal NewTech. Basically the event gives people a chance to demo their product or an early prototype of their product and gather some questions & feedback from the community. To make a long story short, one of the demos I saw lead me to look up a domain name related to one of the presentations I saw – and lo and behold the domain owner has his PO Box in the same location as I do.

I remembered seeing someone else using the same store as a whois address (obviously with a different box number), so I got curious and wanted to know if there are any other like-minded people using the same store. A quick search on Google “123 business st site:domaintools.com” revealed that there are at least seven(!) other people with more than 25 domains that own mailboxes in the same store (and a number of small businesses using a PO box as their whois address). I think send the people with 25+ names a note this week and invite them to next week’s DomainConvergence conference.

This kinda reminded me how back in the late 80s and early 90s I used a PO box in Germany to swap computer demos (= computer art) with other people all around the world. I got ended up running into someone who also picked up envelopes that curiously looks like they contained 5 1/4″ diskettes, so I approached them and found out that they were part of the “computer scene” as well – a friendship ensued.