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08|22|2008 02:46 pm EDT

NBC’s (Misguided) Coverage on Domain Names

by Adam Strong in Categories: Miscellaneous

Historically the mainstream media has covered the domain name space more than once in a negative light. Admittedly it’s much too easy and wagging a finger at someone is often more entertaining. The most recent piece by Andrew Siff of WNBC falls in to this category of negative coverage, but also crosses in to the realm of completely absurd and irresponsible.

Here’s 5 things I caught.

#1 – Journalist interviews journalist.
Kyle Monson of PC Magazine is interviewed in the story as an expert in the domain name business. Really ? Ok maybe he knows a bit about the space from past coverage and journalist are supposedly unbiased right ? :)  . . .

#2 – The story talks about speculators who registered domains in the 90s “in the hopes that they’d be valuable” . Monson then says “they’re called typosquatters or cybersquatter”.

Of course, this always the part where we hear the negativity . . . we’re all pretty used to the name by now. No matter what anyone says if you buy more than one domain, the media portrayal will be that you are a cybersquatter.

To be clear though: Typosquatting is a form of cybersquatting, but buying and speculating on domain names more often than not has nothing to do with cybersquatting or typosquatting.

#3 – “No one owns more sites than . . . Godaddy has 30 million web names”.
This is the part that becomes irresponsible. Godaddy doesn’t OWN 30 million domain names.

#4 – “What do you do if the name of your dream website is already taken ? Well, you can always buy it back
This makes it sound like someone has unfairly taken away something from someone doesn’t it ?

#5 – Monson says “The trick to getting it back from these guys is “bid low”. They’re paying $10 a year for this thing and they’re just tyring to turn a profit. ”

This advice is again misguided. Sure, some domain investors have to turn a profit and flip names fast, but the majority of domainers that own the more desirable domains are already turning a profit on their ppc revenue. They typically don’t have to or even want to sell. More likely than not, they won’t even answer an inquiry on a domain.

These highly desirable names, or as the story calls them “your dream website”, are taken for a reason. There really are few ideas someone else hasn’t thought of before and with domain names it’s the same thing. Any interested party looking to acquire “their dream website” should realize that they probably aren’t the first to inquire and if they want it bad enough they should be serious about their offer rather than playing a game.

My advice if you want a domain bad enough . . .hire a domain expert or domain buyers broker who knows the business.

Watch the video by clicking the image below

Web domain taken?
Web domain taken?

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August 22, 2008 @ 4:01 pm EDT

Nice analysis of the story. Kyle Monson is a moron. Looks like WNBC doesn’t even do good reporting. Just because the topic isn’t always in the News, doesn’t mean they can’t do it right. Too bad, could’ve been a good piece had they interviewed the right folks. BTW – great job on acquiring DNN. Alot easier to rembmer, and of course, with all of Kyle’s typosquatters out there on the internet, dnn can’t be typoed very easy.

David J Castello

August 22, 2008 @ 4:18 pm EDT

I wonder what these “experts” call those of us who park some names, sell some and develop some?

Kyle Monson

August 22, 2008 @ 4:26 pm EDT

I won’t dispute that I’m a moron, and I certainly wouldn’t trust myself to be the sole source of this story if I were writing it myself, that’s for sure.

To your point #2, I’ve got nothing against either cybersquatters or domain speculators (though the NBC reporter seems to), but for me, the semantic and legal distinctions between the two really aren’t that compelling. Sorry.

To your point #5, you really think telling a domain bidder to bid low is misguided advice? I should have told them to take the intial offer? Come on. I doubt anyone who’s new to the Web is going to be seriously bidding on those domains of yours with a high PPC. If they are, they can’t afford them. If they’re not, then they’d be fools to take the initial offer.

To points #1, #3, and #4, you’re right.

Dominik Mueller

August 22, 2008 @ 5:33 pm EDT

There is still lots of work to be done in “educating non-domainers” about domain names and when the term “cybersquatter” should really be used. Unfortunately, so many people still believe investing in domains that you don’t immediately turn into a website is a bad thing to do.

I think that the domain industry as a whole has done good work with explaining their business to “outsiders” on various domain conferences and blogs already, and there have been some positive articles in newspapers and on television lately. But there is still a very long way to go, as shown by this ill-informed NBC coverage.

Adam Strong

August 22, 2008 @ 6:02 pm EDT

Kyle. Look I’m over it on point #2. I’ve been called much worse but in the reality the label of cybersquatter for a domain investor is the internet equivalent of the scarlet letter. Just ask someone who has a generic domain name and has been labeled this and had to defend against this “guitly until proven innocent” mentality.

To point #5 “you really think telling a domain bidder to bid low is misguided advice?”

Sure out of context telling someone to bid more sounds a bit foolish, but yes that is what I said. Every day I get inquiries offering to buy my premium domains because “you aren’t doing anything with it” or the person has a “great idea” or is “just a college student”. I tend to answer most of my emails, unlike most domain owners who hold these premiums, but my response is generally the same “it’s not for sale”

“I should have told them to take the intial offer? Come on.”
Not what I said. Everyone offers low amounts already. It doesn’t work. Especially with premium domain holders who often don’t even answer emails or phone calls pertaining to selling their domains. If you want to buy, Offer an amount that won’t be easily ignored.

“I doubt anyone who


August 23, 2008 @ 2:58 am EDT

So did NBC overpay for or not?

Americans seem to be very focused (almost obsessively) on .COM domain names. There is very litte reason to prefer a .COM domain name over domain names from other registries (apparently, many registries in Northern Europe are far less fraud-infested and/at less risk to cyber-attacks of other kinds).

Still, Americans cling to .COM like Linus clings to his blanket.

This will at some point correct itself, because the irrational exuberance that has led to an over-investment in .COM domain names is not “sustainable”. The bust of 2000/2001 was *NOT* a “dot com” bust: I was simply a “dot” bust. The “dot com” bust is still waiting to happen, and at that point holders of meaningless strings of characters will find that their names are not worth a dime.

However, because people are gullible, they still pay far too high prices for such worthless domains. Note that the “rude awakening” could happen any day — I am surprised it hasn’t happened yet.


August 23, 2008 @ 11:26 am EDT

“Godaddy doesn

Matt Wegrzyn

August 23, 2008 @ 2:10 pm EDT

Now take a look at the stock market “experts” that give you advice on which stocks to buy or sell. I’d say, it’s the same alley.

Kevin Ohashi

August 23, 2008 @ 5:41 pm EDT

Actual research, that was a good one. :D

Raffaele Della Peruta

August 24, 2008 @ 3:46 am EDT

#6 Domain names are not websites. I hate when people make this mistake. Domain names point to websites and it is posible that multiple domain names can point to one site.

Monson says


August 24, 2008 @ 5:51 am EDT

@Raffaele Della Peruta

Google has created many blunders (e.g. “miserable failure” now points to stories that describe how Google’s search engine censors the internet and/or overrides their *purported* algorithmic results), so it would not amaze me to lean that Google’s algorithm would contain such ludicrous nonsense as treating .COM domains as if they were more reliable source of information (such as a shopper who says “Macy’s is always better than Bloomingdales”).

Note, however, that .COM is *actually* among the *most* risky domains on the globe.

Apart from TLD considerations, it is the *KEYWORDS* that people are *looking to find* (e.g. “cars”, “hotels”, “movies”, etc.) that are important. Eventually, “one-size fits-all” search engines will increasingly be replaced by vertical search engines which follow the principle of the “Wisdom of the Language” (see )… so a “searcher” searching for a pizza they will no longer need to waste their time with Google, but rather go directly to (or or or whatever — perhaps they will even search for “pepperoni” *across* pizza.* domains?).

Meaninglessstringsofwordsruntogetherlikethis are worthless. That ANY “one-size fits-all” search engine still pays *ANY* attention to these zombie domains is simply due to the fact that these one-size fits-all search engines work basically like the white pages (for those users who *still* do not understand how to navigate the Internet — so basically people who are a little bit slowww ;)…

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