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02|12|2009 02:24 am EDT

Action! Behind the Scenes in Hollywood

by M. Fiol in Categories: Featured

The first big show of the year has come and gone and all that is left are memories of furry tails, cocktails, speakers, nude domainers, auctions and of course, conversations, conversations and more conversations. So what was on the lips and tongues of industry execs, domainers and providers this January?

In short, a lot but perhaps not as much as the average worker or employer or country – domainers on the whole seemed less than panicky, more sanguine about declines. Again, seen it, been there, bought the domain and finished it with a Twinkie.

Domainers seem better off than most, less concerned than most. In fact, by all personal, eyewitness and photographic accounts, their behavior and lifestyle has not been dramatically altered. Trust me.

Domainers are perhaps beginning to realize what many, including myself, have been saying for some time – the Internet is as close to a global safe-harbor as we can identify at the moment, something I heard on more than a few occasions in Los Angeles.

So here are some additional items and notes I picked up during the week. I very much attempt to verify via multiple sources before offering it up anywhere or putting anyone on the line.

1. Et tu, Google?
No one is quite sure what they are thinking or up to. There were rumblings of issues between sponsors and the giant – perhaps they are positioning to eat up the aggregators and take the business directly. In these hard times, every penny counts for two.

Domainers gave Hal Bailey of Google a hard time but the G representative was evasive, answering many questions without offering up any relevant information. It was obvious domainers are not interested in these games anymore. Seems they want to keep us guessing as to the real state and duration of our relationship.

2. Low, Low Defaults
Perhaps the most interesting news item is that financing firms have seen little to no defaults on their domain loans – unlike other industries we know. The only viable issue is that institutions, a necessary adjunct to growth, have not taken notice. They are likely too busy dealing with their existing bad debt. Bottom line may be that domains are good, stable debt for pooling and investment.

3. It’s All About RPC
Domainers on the whole have seen declines in parking revenues, yes, basically across the board. Sponsors I spoke to pointed directly at the trend lines for RPC or Revenue Per Click. – ‘downward’ doesn’t really sum it up. And when does a ‘trend’ become the ‘norm’? How long? When does it plateau? We wait with bated breath.

4. So Who’s Buying Anyway?
Another surprising aspect is that there are actually many buyers out there, cash in hand, looking for current opportunities. So what’s the problem? Largely, it is a lack of quality inventory in auction environments. We were told of several large sales that have occurred below the surface, as they usually do. And ultimately it is what bedevils our industry – so much of what happens, of what is bought and sold happens just under the waterline.

5. Credit Continues to Flow
In addition to and complimentary of number #2 above is the fact that these same firms, and others privately, continue to extend credit for the acquisition/refinancing of domains. This is highly important because the main issue in the overall system and economy is the lack of ‘flow’ – of course, a byproduct of overbearing, depreciating debt.

But without the defaults and the resulting inventory to manage and sell, these firms see no reason not to continue to offer credit to the industry.

Of course, we learned many other things too: what naked, swimming domainers look like (not pretty), that LA becomes Utah after 2am (not cool) and that the Grotto has a funky smell (surreal). But I think the underlying message that emerged was one of ‘improvement.’

Without the layoffs (outside support positions and such) and the defaults and with the continuing flow of credit, the domain industry is looking and acting NOTHING like the rest of the economy, nothing like any other ‘growth’ industry at the moment.

So take a moment today and consider the above items, I offer no judgment but to say that comparatively, we seem to be in better shape than the world economy that supports us. Odd, isn’t it?

But it became fairly clear early on in the crisis that domains (or in essence the Internet) may defy bounds established by past industries and commodities, books and theories. Just a different animal altogether, reliant on global communities and not local infrastructure, bounds, audience, etc..

Whereas real estate is surely ‘local’, the Internet is equally ‘global’ and thus when one goes bad, you turn to the other. Always best to bet on the future, not the past.

I mean if things are so bad then what was I doing with the furry tails and the naked domainers and the smelly Grotto at the Mansion?

I’ll tell you what I was doing: living la vida domainer! Andale, andale!

M.Fiol is a regular DNN Contributor focusing on issues related to industry events, domain valuation and auctions. He is also an analyst for – currently organizing the Domainer Mardi Auction by to be held from February 16-21, 2009.

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February 12, 2009 @ 9:53 am EDT

Viva la vida!

[…] See the original post here:  Action! Behind the Scenes in Hollywood | Domain Name News […]


February 13, 2009 @ 1:04 pm EDT

In regards to #4 above you can expect over time the quality of auctions, in general, to decrease. Once a quality domain falls into the hands of someone that can extract the value with a proper web project, what will that owner do?

Buy more domains in the same field until they are all gone.

How easy is it to buy a quality travel or casino domain name these days? It is basically impossible unless you have a massive company/website in this field that can purchase another massive company with these domain names.

As a survey I’d like to know what the best privately owned domain name dealing with travel and casino is? My guess is that most of these names are already under public corporations.

There is only going to be one Internet and the domains are scarce.

By the way where there any questions or suggestions to Google reps in regards to the direction search engines will take with certain domain names? For example when they changed the search algorithm to exclude .info names the prices of these things plummeted.

I know they like to keep things secret but these details are huge when it comes to domaining.

Adam Strong

February 13, 2009 @ 2:19 pm EDT

I know many individual domainers who have quality travel and casino domains.
I even have a few myself.


February 13, 2009 @ 8:08 pm EDT

Are they geo domains? What is the best casino and travel domain you know that is privately owned?

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