Naming Your Startup, Do Not Cut Corners

Startups should lay a solid foundation with a good domain name -- a dot com or 2 letter country code if outside the US --

Naming Your Startup? Don't Stress About the Domain Name | Inc.com: "Aaron Patzer built his company Mint.com into a $170 million business in just two years. How did he do it? In part, he has credited the company’s short and memorable domain name, Mint.com. "Trust is a complex thing. There are some people you will never convince, and who to this day won’t buy anything online. A few things really help. One is the domain name. Mint.com is quality, it’s a place where money is made, it’s short and spelled unambiguously. It’s a very good brand name for what we’re doing. We spent three months, hundreds of hours, and more money than I care to comment on for that domain - but it was worth it," he explained in an interview...." (read more at the link above)

Trust = dot com


Why the new gTLDs are mostly a #FAIIL

The Wall Street Journal tried to spin it for the new gTLDs, but found out "that dog won't hunt" --

... Many small-business owners consider the annual cost of a Web address—which can range from $10 to thousands of dollars—to be an investment in keeping their brands visible. But some are skeptical, especially those who have already committed funds to marketing their existing Web addresses. Jay Sofer, founder of a small locksmith service in New York, says he's spent tens of thousands of dollars to advertise Lockbustersnyc.com, since he started the business in 2008. Letting existing and potential customers know about a new address for his company—no matter how clever—would mean having "to start from scratch" to get the word out, he says. Another concern is that the new domains will fail to resonate with consumers. After all, extensions such as .info, .mobi and .biz have been around for years, and aren't very popular. And nowadays, most search engines have made it possible for Internet users to simply type a small business's name without including an extension like .com and still get to the website they're seeking ... Wall Street Journal - Sell Bikes? There's a Web Domain for That (read more at link above)


ICANN, new gTLDs, internet access, developing countries

Won't do any good to buy a new gTLD in the developing world until affordable internet access becomes available (see excerpt below). Wonder if anyone at ICANN thought about that before their explosion of new gTLDs --

In Developing Countries, Google and Facebook Already Defy Net Neutrality | MIT Technology Review: "... Internet access is expensive in developing countries—exorbitantly so for the vast majority of people ... “In the United States it’s practically free for you to get on Google and Facebook, as Wi-Fi is almost everywhere or cheap relative to income. Here, that’s not the case,” he says. “It’s a different relationship to the Internet when you only get it on your phone, and you don’t have a traditional Internet connection at home or work.”..."

Of course, if you're ICANN you can do anything and get away with it since ICANN is not accountable to anyone but itself.


Mail Online to move to dot com domain name

Leading newspaper adopts dot com domain name, NOT a new gTLD -- what does that tell you?

Mail Online to switch to .com domain name | Media | theguardian.com: "Mail Online is switching from a .co.uk to .com homepage address, following protracted negotiations with the US paper that owned the dailymail.com domain name. Owner Daily Mail & General Trust is thought to have paid potentially as much as £1m-plus to secure the valuable domain name. The technically challenging domain shift will see the 161 million monthly unique browsers who visit Dailymail.co.uk instead land on dailymail.com. Mail Online is adopting a .com homepage domain name in recognition of the growing importance of international markets. Almost 70% of its monthly web traffic comes from outside the UK, with most of that from the potentialy lucrative US market...." (read more at link above)

If you are in business, and want a global presence, dot com is the ONLY extension.


ICANN, unlimited gTLDs, the Deluge, Your Domain Name Strategy

I came across the following Canadian article (at link below, excerpt follows), some wise advice for brand owners and domain name owners --

Holy .cow!! - Ottawa Business Journal - blogarticle: " . . .The deluge of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) has begun! Top level domains are the ones after the dot...After years of debate, discussion and compromise between different players in the internet space (governments; business; technical; non-commercial; registrars; registries; IP), the Board of Directors of ICANN reached a decision to open up the “root”... to an unlimited number of new TLDs including International Domain Names (IDNs) in languages that are NOT written in western (Latin) alphabets...What does it mean? Why should you care?... monitoring the cyber marketplace against “cyber-criminals” will become more challenging than ever. There are strategies you should be considering such as ... Developing a cost effective internet trade-mark/domain name strategy designed for YOUR company. In many cases this will require little effort and little or no cost. However, for those companies with international presence through sales or otherwise, some serious thought and some action may be very prudent...." (read full article at link above)

What's your strategy?
Mine? Purely defensive.


ICANN, serving the public interest? That's a good one!

One can only laugh at the pitiful pleas of Elisa Cooper, chair ICANN Business Constituency --

ICANN Business Constituency: allowing both singular and plural of the same TLD will be an embarrassing mistake | Online Domain: "... there is still time to do this right, and thereby avoid an embarrassing mistake that will undermine ICANN’s credibility at a time when ICANN must demonstrate it is serving the public interest of registrants and Internet users. Sincerely, Elisa Cooper Chair, ICANN Business Constituency"

Dear Elisa, ICANN long ago abandoned any pretense of serving the public interest of registrants and Internet users. The whole new gTLDs program is irrefutable evidence of that.


WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg on new gTLDs

Here's an honest assessment of the new gTLDs:

What WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg said about domain names at NamesCon | Domain Name Wire: "On the topic of new TLDs, Mullenweg said this: we’ll register our name in all of them, but use none of them. He said the company uses MarkMonitor for brand protection. WordPress will protect itself with defensive registrations, but he doesn’t see the company actually using any of its domains in new TLDs."

Defensive registrations, if need be. But actually use any of the new gTLDs? LOL!


New gTLDs are being called Vanity URLs, LOL!

Vanity: …lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness; something worthless, trivial, or pointless… (definition from dictionary.com)

So you’ve got a great domain name: Here’s how to protect it from scammers - The Next Web: "Domain names have gotten more creative (or complicated, depending on how you look at it) over the past few years. The king of domains, .com, ... has been challenged by vanity URLs."

That's a good way to describe the new gTLDs -- vanity URLs. Want to invest in a vanity URL? How about a .link? Or .tattoo or .horse? Gimme a break!


China.com, among highest domain name sales, relaunched

Acquired for HK$90.8 million in August last year (equivalent to US $11,707,025.60 as of January 20, 2014) from China.com Inc. by a holding company owned by the broadcaster China Radio International. The domain Hongkong.com was also acquired (source infra) --

China.com, among world's most costly domain names, relaunched to boost Beijing's voice | South China Morning Post: "...It is unclear how many other internet domains have ever been sold at a higher price. In 2010, an Internet marketing company bought Insurance.com for US$35.6 million. Vacationrentals.com and PrivateJet.com have also been sold for more than US$30 million. Sex.com was sold for US$13 million, according to Sedo, the online domain brokerage that facilitated the sale. Among all ".com" domains carrying a sovereign nation's name, China.com appears to be the most expensive to date. Russia.com was sold for US$1.5 million in 2009, Korea for US$5 million in 2000...."


Facebook Passed on gTLD Dot Facebook, but Defends Its Dot Com

Ask Mark Zuckerberg what he thinks of the new gTLDs? LOL! Not much--you won't find a dot facebook in the list of new gTLDs.

So while Mark Zuckerberg is too smart to have fallen for the new gTLDs, don't think he won't defend the Facebook dot com --

Facebook Wins First Uniform Rapid Suspension System Case: "Facebook has successfully filed and won a domain name dispute case to become the first brand to file it under a new domain suspension system. The National Arbitration Forum, a dispute resolution service provider, said that Facebook, the world’s most popular social networking site, was the first brand owner to file a dispute using the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS). The URS is a new way to resolve domain disputes and created to suspend quickly domain names that infringe on trademarks..."


Let's Get One Thing Straight, ICANN Doesn't Care About Your Trademarks

If ICANN cared about your trademarks, it wouldn't be doing this--

"In the coming months, the number of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) on the Internet will explode from 22 to over 1,300" - source: ICANN

But to ameliorate the damage ICANN is doing to global commerce, trademarks, and intellectual property generally, with its massive "explosion" of new gTLDs, ICANN encourages you to use their programs (it will cost you $$$ fees of course!) for "trademark protection." You can read all about it here -- Protect Your Trademark | ICANN New gTLDs (frankly, it all sounds like some kind of "protection racket" to me).

Why would anyone other than multi-billion dollar corporations, pay annual fees to ICANN, or any other entity, to "protect trademarks" that wouldn't need to be "protected" but for the irresponsible actions of ICANN in its megalomanic expansion of gTLDs?

Second, does anyone at ICANN have any idea how many common law trademarks there are? These are not registered marks entitled to use ICANN's so-called Trademark Clearinghouse. Let me tell you what ICANN and most Trademark Attorneys will not -- the number of common law trademarks in the world are magnitudes of times greater than the number of registered marks. ICANN gives common law trademark holders NO protection under its new gTLDs and Trademark Clearinghouse. ICANN's schemes to make money, enable the theft and exploitation of property from businesses and other organizations, whether in the form of criminal acts or other unlawful takings, increase administrative and registration costs, attorney fees, litigation costs, and otherwise create encumbrances and other costs of doing business, are irresponsible. None of this kind of exploitation was ever intended by Congress or the US Department of Commerce in its delegation of powers and duties to ICANN.

Bottom line:
ICANN is irresponsible.
ICANN apparently only cares about the money and/or is beholden to special interests.
ICANN needs to be replaced and at this point I don't care if it is the ITU or some other responsible and accountable international organization which understands that most commercial enterprises in the world are not multi-billion dollar corporations who can retain hundreds of lawyers, and pay thousands of dollars annually, to protect their business names and other intellectual property.

What can you do about all of this? If you live in the US contact your Congressman, Senators, and the White House and apprise them of this situation and your position. If you live elsewhere, make your governmental representatives aware of this situation and your position.

-- John Poole, Domain Mondo, January 16, 2014


#NamesCon, What You Need to Know as a Domain Investor

Just one thing, if nothing else --

NamesCon keynote: Frank Schilling’s comments on new TLDs | Domain Name Wire"These new names [new gTLDs] will not, not, not make .com domains go away. Even though an 800 number is harder to use than 888 (one number), I still want an 800 number because it was first and people think about it. There is no way to undermine the jaugernaut [juggernaut] that .com is overnight" -- Frank Schilling at NamesCon January 14, 2014

Dot Com is still King!


Problems with Trademark Registration

Trademark Clearing House? Trademark Registration?

Problems? Let's start with this -- it costs to register (attorney fees, filing fees, etc.). Then it costs to enforce (attorney fees, litigation costs), or defend --

source: Hanging Around Trademark Disputes | Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. - JDSupra


New TLDs, Whimpers, Losers

So much for the "doom talk" about Dot Com domain names - the new TLDs look like LOSERS out of the gate -- Thank you ICANN! Hope you made a lot of money off the dumb, gullible, and greedy who bought your BS!

Read more at the link: New TLDs come out with a whimper | Domain Name Wire

Read closely the two comments at the link above made by none other than the Domain King, Rick Schwartz!

--John Poole, Domain Mondo, January 10, 2013

P.S. No, I won't be at NamesCon -- I have already heard enough about the new great ICANN Con, er, new gTLDs. If you are going, enjoy! (And congrats to Richard Lau et al for pulling it all together in such a short time frame!)


ICANN, Greedsters, new gTLDs, and the BIG LIE

First the BIG LIE --

New Web suffixes set to enter market - Erin Mershon - POLITICO.com: “... For a lot of businesses, we’ve just simply run out of available names,” said Cyrus Namazi, vice president for industry engagement at ICANN. “You won’t find [the name you want] in a .com or .net. You have to hyphenate something or change your string.”

That's not true. Guess what I buy, and only buy? Hand reg dot coms! They are available all over the place. And dot net -- hardly touched! What a bunch of BS is being spewed by ICANN, Cyrus Namazi, and the greedsters behind the new gTLDs.

But let's continue:

But others argue the program will mainly create a host of new jobs for lawyers . . . without adding much value to the Internet. Consumers aren’t clamoring for the new names . . . “Half the time [consumers] type Facebook into their search bar anyway,” said Esther Dyson, a former ICANN chairman who opposed the expansion. “I don’t think it’s adding a huge amount of value. Adding [these strings] is likely just to get confusing.” Dyson sees much more value in a less glitzier aspect of the expansion — the addition of internationalized domain names.

Now the truth:

Even the most aggressive applicants say they aren’t aiming to knock .com off its perch, at least right away. “Even though the Internet is only about 20 years old, our minds have been programmed, for all practical purposes, to end our urls with a .com,” Namazi said. “And for that mindset to change, it’s going to take some time.” Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/new-web-suffixes-set-to-enter-market-101601.html#ixzz2oyxa3zyJ

-- John Poole, Domain Mondo, January 5, 2014


Dumb and Dumber, Recode dot Net?

Not only did the former All Things D gurus get off on the wrong foot, they compounded their problem. They may be OK tech journalists, but somewhere along the line they got some BAD branding and domain name advice. Why they didn't get the dot Com is anybody's guess. But it makes them look stupid and cheap. Recode dot Com forwards to http://www.nero.com/enu/.


New gTLDs, are you going with the flow, compounding your losses?

When it comes to the new gTLDs, a lot of noise and general BS is now going on, now that the reality is upon us. On the other hand, many in the domain business are clarifying their positions, here's one example:

Lets Set The Record Straight; My 5+ Year Journey Through New gTLD’s | TheDomains.com: "... simply put, my involvement in the new gTLD’s is a result of the program, not my desire for the program. My message throughout the 5+ years New gTLD’s has been they have  the potential to be a disruptive force to domain name space as we have known it  for over 25 years ... if you’re in the domain business you better figure out a way to get involved, because you think it will be widely successful or just as a hedge against the domain assets you hold. Plain and simple..." (not sure if the author of the above is Mike Berkens or Raymond Hackney whose name appears in the byline.)

Regardless of whether it is Mike or Raymond, my response is as follows -- just because ICANN has made a BIG MISTAKE, you don't have to. What are you, one more lemming running off the cliff? A hedge? A hedge against what? The assets you now hold? If dot coms lose value that does not mean gTLDs will gain value. In fact, the biggest, most likely risk is that gTLDs will not only be mostly worthless for domain investors, but will diminish domain investors' current inventory values. To buy gTLDs under that scenario is NOT a hedge, but compounding your losses!

Since the analogy of a market hedge has been used, here's some good investment advice for 2014, also applicable to the domain space:

Huprich: Wisdom Comes in the Smallest of Packages. | The Big Picture: "... Understanding mass psychology is just as important as understanding fundamentals and economics ... Any dead fish can go with the flow. Yet it takes a strong fish to swim against the flow. In other words, what seems “hard” at the time is usually, over time, right.  Don’t make investment or trading decisions based on tips. Tips are something you leave for good service..."

-- John Poole, Domain Mondo, January 1, 2014

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