Subscribe to RSS Feed

12|04|2009 12:50 pm EDT

McAfee calls .CM “Most Dangerous Country Domain”

by Frank Michlick in Categories: ccTLDs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Incurable Hippie (Flickr)

By Incurable Hippie (Flickr)

With some of the recent sales of .CM (Cameroon) domains at various domain auctions, we  asked what those domains were actually worth. Well, it seems their resale value just took another drop, as McAfee called .CM the “Most Dangerous Country Domain” in their latest “2009 Mapping the Mal Web” report. .CM replaces .HK (HongKong) from this spot and .JP (Japan) is considered the world’s safest ccTLD and .GOV the safest non-country TLD.

“This report underscores how quickly cybercriminals change tactics to lure in the most victims and avoid being caught. Last year, Hong Kong was the riskiest domain and this year it is dramatically safer,” said Mike Gallagher, chief technology officer for McAfee Labs. “Cybercriminals target regions where registering sites is cheap and convenient, and pose the least risk of being caught.”

Cameroon, a small African country that borders Nigeria, jumped to the number one spot this year with 36.7 percent of the .cm domain posing a security risk, but did not even make the list last year. Because the domain .cm is a common typo for .com, many cybercriminals set up fake typo-squatting sites that lead to malicious downloads, spyware, adware and other potentially unwanted programs.

More details can be found in McAfee’s report summary.

09|18|2009 10:08 am EDT

Kevin Ham/Reinvent Not Involved in .CM any more

by Frank Michlick in Categories: ccTLDs

Tags: , , , , , , ,

While many seem to bet on the potential traffic they may be able to get from .CM domains and the official .CM launch should be well underway today after being moved for several times, Kevin Ham and his company Reinvent have quietly retreated from the ccTLD and the wildcard causing all of the .CM domains to resolve has since been removed from the zonefiles.

Reinvent provided this official statement to DNN:

We are no longer involved in .CM wildcarding. There has been some suggestions that we could take advantage of the .CM wildcarding and register high traffic .CM domains. While we are in a position to take advantage of this, we have not registered one .CM domain. We no longer have any ties to Republic of Cameroon and .CM wildcarding. We wish both Cameroon and NETCOM the very best and much success.

07|22|2009 08:01 am EDT

.CM Auctions and Typo Traffic – What Are These Domains Really Worth?

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Editorial

Tags: , , , , ,

Every domainer has heard the story of how Kevin Ham built a $300 million empire – particularly how he profited from the millions of people who accidentally type “.cm” (the country code TLD for Cameroon) instead of “.com” when searching for a website.

And now that Cameroon’s ccTLD registrations are open to the public, domain auction houses are targeting domainers and typosquaters alike in an effort to sell high-end generic .CM domains for hefty prices.

In Rick Latona’s premium .CM auction, which ended July 14, some of the most sought after .CM domains such as cars.cm, jobs.cm, and loan.cm were sold for prices ranging between $5,000 to $35,500. And beyond that, the registration fees for .CM domains are expected to start around $350 for 2 years.

So were these domains worth it? And are other .CM domains worth registering? I say no, and here are two reasons why:

.CM Is Intended For TLD Typosquatters

While generic keyword-based domain names will always have SEO benefits, there’s no getting around the fact that .CM domains are meant for TLD typosquatters (unless you own a business in Cameroon). Only 2-4% of Cameroon’s population has Internet access and with registration fees estimated to be around $175/year, there are many cheaper alternatives for domainers who want legitimate keyword-based URLs. So unless you are intending to benefit from TLD typosquatting, there’s no use in owning a .CM domain.

But what’s worse is that NameJet isn’t even trying to hide that fact. The official NameJet .CM domain order page is advertising trademark infringing domains such as Skype.cm, Nike.cm, Volvo.cm, and Amozon.cm as “Popular .CM Preorders”, and openly listing two of the main benefits of owning a .CM domain as “securing natural traffic to your site” and “protecting your brand to avoid any misleading uses of your name”.

On the flip side, they might as well point out that the benefits could also include “taking natural traffic away from the intended site” and “infringing on another brand by misleading Internet users with an almost-exact domain”.

The Revenue Won’t Be As Much As You Think

After hearing about the success Kevin Ham had with .CM domains, some might think that .CM is a sure-fire approach to making money online. Besides, much like 2006/2007  there are still millions of people accidentally typing in “.cm” instead of “.com” periodically – and it’s perfectly legal to own .CM domains as long as they’re not infringing on any trademarks.

Even so, Kevin Ham had almost every .CM domain putting pennies in his pocket. Unfortunately, even the richest domainers targeting .CM would be lucky to grab a couple hundred premium generic domains at a cost of $175/year for registration fees. And at this price it would be tough math to figure out how much traffic the domain will receive, how much revenue it can generate, and whether or not would be profitable over time. Plus, keep in mind that PPC revenue is down and the best generic domains will come at a cost as they’ll only be available by auction.

Word is that there are quite a few previous owners of premium .CM domains that were disappointed with the results. Take it for what it’s worth.

That’s my two cents…what do you think? Are you going to be going for any .CM domains?

05|29|2009 05:56 pm EDT

NETCOM.cm Preparing to Launch .CM TLD

by Chad Kettner in Categories: ccTLDs

Tags: , , , , , ,

Mr Moustapha Saya Kaigama, the president of Netcom.cm which owns and operates Cameroon’s controversial ccTLD, will present details about the development of the .CM registry and its upcoming top level domain registration re-launch during the ccTLD TRAFFIC symposium in Amsterdam from June 1-4, 2009.

So why is this a big deal? Ask Kevin Ham.

.CM, as it turns out, is only a single typo away from being .COM, meaning anybody who owns a generic .CM domain name is bound to receive traffic from internet users who accidentally forget the “o” in their search for a website. For example, Google.cm, which redirects to an unaffiliated landing page, receives over 20,000 hits a day according to Alexa.com.

Unfortunately, this exciting opportunity for typosquatters and domainers alike has never been available since Cameroon, which used to control the .CM ccTLD, previously restricted registrations so it could capitalize on wildcarding the entire registry.

However, under the watch of Netcom.cm, .CM registrations are now going to be almost entirely unrestricted and open to anyone in the world.

Seven months ago Netcom.cm successfully launched the second level domain registry worldwide – including .com.cm, .net.cm, and .co.cm – and is now ready to take the next step.

The registry will start the sunrise period for the top level domain on June 15 at 9:00 UTC before the landrush takes place from July 15-31. Open registration will commence on August 1, 2009 at 0:00:01 UTC. At this point .CM domains can be registered on a first come, first serve basis through any Netcom.cm accredited registrar.

[via Register.cm]

Related Article: The .CM Story Revisited – posted July 26, 2007