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12|27|2011 01:00 am EDT

Domain Spammers Fill-Up Christmas Inboxes

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

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The onslaught of domain spammers emailing solicitations to acquire domain names that are dropping or pitching domains for sale seems to have increased dramatically over the last month.  Seeing that there is no rest for the wicked, I woke to find these devious elves had filled my Christmas morning in-box full of left-over fruit-cake domains (see image for examples).

The domain spamming appears to be increasing as new drop-catching services, email out domain names that may have some correlation to a domain name that the recipient of the email owns.  Companies like Intrust Domains have been soliciting people to “express interest” in a domain that Intrust then attempts to acquire.  I’m sure that anyone with a portfolio of even a handful of names has likely seen an email from one of these companies.  Clearly these spams have worked a reasonable rate of success or there wouldn’t be an increasing number of companies doing the same thing.

The sender of these emails tend to either be

Domain Opportunity which includes the address :
Backorder Division
200 E Colfax Ave # 100
Denver, CO 80203

Domain Inquiry
Marketing Development Team
111 N Canal St Suite 1890
Chicago, IL 60606

Domain Alert
The Domain Team
25 First Street, 2nd Floor
Cambridge MA 02141

Available Domain
The Domain Team
25 First Street, 2nd Floor
Cambridge MA 02141

I suspect that these are all the same group. Each email is formatted similarly and contains an opt-out at the bottom. Additionally all 3 senders above uses a link to an obscure domain name. For example http://cellsearches.com/4215015mepafu-KLY , which at the time of this writing and in all cases links to NameBind.com

Another increasing form of domain spamming comes in the form of “new” sales letters. In a similar fashion to the expiring domain spam, these “marketers” tend to email domains that they have in some way deemed related to a domain you may own, at least that’s the story I’ve been given.

As an example, in the last 5 days I’ve received over a dozen an emails about “High SEO” domains such as thehaj.org, lacieheart.com, golfstandbags.com, smallbusinessservices.net and zipbags.com from “Robert Parker” robertparker.tm@gmail.com or “ADAM SMITH” adamsmith.tm@gmail.com, Michael Thomas thomasmichael.tm@gmail.com and “George Hunt” georgehunt.dn@gmail.com, who happen to have the same phone number : +91.939.277.4412

When I emailed and asked where they got my email address, they informed me “My email program found your email address from the whois data of similar domains.”   There’s no telling what “similar” domains means.

I’m all in favor of receiving an email about a domain opportunity that I might be interested in and I’ve been inclined to send out the occasional email about a domain I’m selling.  I’d like to think that these emails would be highly targeted to the recipient and may even be coming from tools like Estibot’s lead generation tool, but the recent ones I’ve been flooded with seem far too obscure and untargetted to be sourced via this tool.

This new breed of “domainer” seems to pay no mind to who they are emailing or why. The pitches are canned and automated at best, some containing the mistakes of non-native English speakers. Rather than sending out a targeted message, it seems domain spammers, like those spamming prescription medicine offerings, find it much easier to flood every possible in-box with their ridiculous pitches.  I suspect that much of the email harvesting that these spammers do comes from checking the new whois information of sold domains harvested via DNJournal.com or Namebio.com.

All signs indicate that there’ll be an increase in these emails in the coming year. Unfortunately, the results of this will likely also increase the number of domains bought under privacy as well as the number of domain sales that go unreported.

What do you think about this issue?

12|08|2011 03:39 pm EDT

Frank Schilling Relaunches DomainNameSales.com

by Adam Strong in Categories: Tools

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DomainNameSales.com Screenshot

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|07|2011 12:22 pm EDT

DOMAINfest Global 2012 to Introduce Fantasy Domaining Contest

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Events

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Over the years Oversee.net’s DOMAINfest in LA has consistently expanded beyond domaining and has become an inclusive event for anyone who relies on domains – domainers, registries, registrars, resellers, hosting company etc. This year I even spotted Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame.

For the 2012 conference the crew behind the event is introducing a new contest – the Fantasy Domaining Contest. The winner will receive a trip to DFG 2012 that includes a travel stipend of $1,000, four nights at the hotel plus free admission to DFG. The winner will also receive a “Fantasy Domaining Champion” trophy on stage at DOMAINfest Global 2012 and all bragging rights that go with it. Second place receives a free DFG 2012 conference ticket and third place receives 50% off a DOMAINfest Global 2012 ticket

The contest roughly resembles Fantasy Football in terms of its format and rules.  Contestants “draft” their initial roster from a master list of 1,000 domains, put some in-play, substitute domains in-play, and trade domains with other contestants.  The contest is fun and provides a way for beginners and experts alike to test their skills and intuition in projecting the PPC revenue of domain names.

Each contestant will draft/select a portfolio of 35 domains from a master list of 1000 owned by Oversee.net. The master list can be downloaded if you prefer to take some time to analyze the domains, or simply use their online search filters to find domains with desired keywords or categories. Choose domains that you think produced the most PPC revenue last year between Dec 1, 2010 and January 16, 2011. Select 25 of your 35 domains to put on your In-Play game roster. This roster’s cumulative 12/1/10 to current-date-last-year PPC revenue determines your overall ranking.

For details and a full explanation of how to play, including Official Contest Rules, and to sign-up, visit http://www.domainfest.com/fantasy. Unfortunately the contest is open only to residents of the United States.

The contest begins began on December 1, 2011 and ends January 16, 2012. The first, second and third place winners will be notified on January 18, 2012. Signing up for the contest is free. Only one entry per person is allowed.

PITCHfest Contest

The third annual PITCHfest Contest which aims to showcase new online business, service and technology ideas to the internet entrepreneurs and domain investors at the conference will take place again in 2012. This year, each finalist will be given no more than 3 minutes on stage in a rapid fire session to present their innovative idea. Presentations will take place during the PITCHfest session on Wednesday, February 1st at 4:00pm.

The winner will be the finalist who received the highest combined score from the following judges:

  • John Morris, Chairman Emeritus of Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel organization in the country;
  • Jeff Cohn, entrepreneur/VC involved in SoCal investment opportunities and CEO of two nationally recognized crowd-sourcing location based mapping services;
  • Scott Jarus, Oversee.net Director and Chairman and CEO, Ironclad Performance Wear
  • Ben Kuo, founder of SOCALTECH LLC, and the publisher of socalTECH.com, has been active in supporting Southern California’s high tech industry.

Again, the audience will have an opportunity to vote and select their favorite product/service using a real-time text message voting system. It’s always fun to see whether the audience selects the same winner as the judges. The deadline for submissions is January 16, 2012. For more information, http://www.domainfest.com/DOMAINfestGlobal2012/pitchfest

12|06|2011 06:00 am EDT

DomainTools Launches Screenshots.com

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, ScreenShots.com. 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 Screenshots.com, 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 Screenshots.com, 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 ScreenShots.com 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.

(more…)

12|05|2011 11:51 am EDT

Tim Schumacher To Resign as Sedo’s CEO

by Frank Michlick in Categories: People

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Sedo co-founder Tim Schumacher to resign as CEO and transition to board of directors, Tobias Flaitz to become new CEO

Cologne, Germany: The board of Sedo Holding AG has named Tobias Flaitz as the new CEO of Sedo. On February 1, 2012, he will succeed Sedo’s current CEO and co-founder, Tim Schumacher, who’s transitioning to the board of Directors.

Tim SchumacherTim Schumacher co-founded Sedo in 2001, together with Marius Würzner, Ulrich Essmann and Ulrich Priesner. He led Sedo to become the world’s preeminent domain trading and parking platform. In 2007, he was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young Germany. In 2009, he became CEO of Sedo Holding AG, which is comprised of Sedo’s domain business and ‘affilinet’, one of Europe’s leading affiliate marketing platforms.

Tobias Flaitz

Incoming CEO, Tobias Flaitz, has more than 13 years of professional experience including eight years in strategic business consulting and five at Burda, one of Germany’s leading media companies. He holds a Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (Stuttgart, Germany and Seville, Spain) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland, and Berkeley, USA.

“On behalf of the supervisory board, I would like to thank Tim Schumacher for the excellent and trusted cooperation over the past eleven years, for his passion and the great accomplishments he has attained for the company. He founded and led Sedo from being a start-up to the world’s largest marketplace for domains and the leading domain parking company,” said Michael Scheeren, Chairman of the board. “We are looking forward to the continued cooperation with Tim Schumacher as a member of the board. With Tobias Flaitz, we are very happy to appoint a renowned Internet executive who brings multi-year experience in consulting and process optimization and will drive Sedo’s further expansion during the coming years.”

[via Press Release]

Disclaimer: DNN’s Frank Michlick is a consultant for Sedo for DomainCocoon.

12|01|2011 01:33 pm EDT

DomainTools Giving Away a Free Reverse Whois Report

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Up to the Minute

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DNN’s advertiser DomainTools is giving away a free Reverse Whois Report for up to $99 to a winner in a giveaway they launched recently. In order to enter, visit their site to send an email to Santa before January 2nd, 2011. Maybe here’s a chance to run the query you’ve been waiting to run for free…