Buy a new gTLD domain name? Most are saying "No"

New gTLDs--to buy or not?

"The expansion is not the first time ICANN, the organization which manages the domains, has added new ones. Additions like .biz for businesses or .xxx for the porn industry have seen minimal adoption. When Irvine Bicycles on Irvine Center Drive changed ownership in 2009, the shop went with that name and bought the URL irvinebicycles.com. Peter Gerrard, who handles the shop's marketing and sales, said that if it did buy a .bike version of the name, it would only be to redirect web traffic to the existing site. "Most of the business we get is referrals from customers," said Gerrard. "We don't do a lot of Internet business. "Do we feel a compelling need to get this done? No" source: BusinessWeek


Search and the new gTLDs domain names

If you buy a new gTLD domain name, will there be ANY search benefit?

" . . . The fact is, says Newport Beach-based search guru Danny Sullivan, these new URLs [the new gTLDs] just may not have that much of an impact on search. "The words in a domain name can give a very slight benefit for search rankings, but there are many, many other factors that outweigh them," Sullivan said. "We've had new domains come in the past, along with promises they'd deliver some type of search benefit, and it never happens. So don't worry about that domain gold rush you fear you might be missing. You aren't." Will Sullivan be purchasing search.guru? "Oh God, no," he said." source: BusinessWeek


Dot Com Domain Names, Better than Gold?

Istanbearish - NYTimes.com: "... we have a chronic problem of too much saving chasing too few good investment opportunities, which means that you only feel prosperous when money thinks it has found more good places to go than it really has — and soon enough figures that out, with nasty effects."--Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner for Economics, Mr. Krugman's current academic research is focused on economic and currency crises.

Some have tried stocks. Some have tried gold. Some have even tried bitcoins. At some point (and probably much sooner than most think), most prudent investors and investment managers will want their investment mix to contain portfolios of dot com domain names. Why? -- here's my reasoning --

The digital economy is the only growth economy worth investing in for many investors -- almost everything else is contracting, or at a minimum, margins are contracting; that is one reason why Google sold Motorola to Lenovo. Google would much rather be in the digital economy of online advertising and online services than smartphone hardware. (Take note Microsoft and Apple.) How does the average investor invest in the digital economy? Besides stock in technology companies, which can be up, then down like, e.g., RIM a/k/a BlackBerry, or are overvalued, domain names can be parked, developed, leased, re-developed, and sold. Dot com domain names dominate the internet domain name marketplaces, and bring in the greatest dollars year in and year out, don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

Why dot com domain names and not other extensions? Only the dot com domain names have the global branding and power in the global marketplace. Instantly recognized and trusted, dot com domain names, unlike many other domain name extensions, are administered by the registry Verisign, under the jurisdiction of the United States government and US legal system. Virtually every global corporation, company, and business, in the world, with trademark, branding and competitive concerns, has their brand(s) on a dot com domain name. In fact, the .com extension was the only domain name extension originally intended for commercial (i.e., business) enterprises (whereas .gov was for government, .edu for education, etc.).

And unlike new gTLDs which are limited in scope, e.g., ".bike," ".car," ".tattoo," etc., the dot com extension is unlimited in scope--any and all business sectors utilize dot com names. Not only that, but the same dot com domain name can be used for completely different business purposes over time, allowing pivots, and multiple uses and users -- think of the various ways the name mint.com might be used. This increases inherent value, and only dot com domain names have established dominance in the domain marketplace with this inherent advantage.

Because a dot com domain name has recognition everywhere in the world (unlike 2 character country codes, business specific new gTLDs, etc.),  the potential domain name buyer pool is much larger compared to the limited number of buyers and users for all other domain name extensions. Am I saying only in the dot com naming space can one make money with domain names? Of course not. But unless you are willing to devote a lot of time and resources to develop a domain investment portfolio in another extension, I believe the investment potential in dot com domain names exceeds all other domain name extensions. (The foregoing is my personal opinion and does not constitute investment advice nor recommendations for specific investment--see disclaimer below).


Mike Mann Prediction on new gTLDs, ICANN, Hucksters

If you overlooked this, it is well worth considering -- when Mike talks, one is wise to listen:

" . . . gTLDs will launch professionally for the wealthy lucky corporations (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, AOL, Apple, etc) who can leverage them in new ways and use them as loss leaders to upsell other brand products, possibly providing the domains free to their customers. But these pending new domain extensions with their absurd fees and processes will also become an even bigger scandal with loads of lost dollars, and I imagine lawsuits galore for ICANN and related hucksters. This ain't a charitable project, although they seemed to fool most people in the beginning. ...." -- Mike Mann

Read more at: http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2014/january.htm


ICANN's new gTLDS attract little interest from higher education

Maybe the "brains" know something --

ICANN's personalized domain names attracts little interest from higher education | Inside Higher Ed: " . . . The requirements are proving too onerous for many institutions, however, including the ones that can afford to pay for them. In addition to Monash, only two other universities applied in 2012: Bond University and La Trobe University, both also in Australia. Stanford University considered applying but found the costs too prohibitive, said spokeswoman Lisa Lapin, who cited a $200,000 price tag that didn’t include annual fees. “We also want to remain in the .edu space for its widely recognized, official confirmation that we are an educational institution,” Lapin said in an email. “As with most universities, we do use a few .org domains, including for athletics and Stanford Medicine, when the activity is not always directly related to our academic mission.”... If elite universities are turning down generic domain names, they may have limited significance in higher education -- especially since institutions that share a name with a region or a city may not be able to register theirs. The University of Georgia system, for example, would likely face objections from not only the state, but also the country. . . ."


NSA, ICANN, Internet Governance, Connect the Dots

"We are deluding ourselves if we think that the way the global internet is governed can be detached from the game of power politics among states, and that the openness and freedom of the Internet’s information flows will not be powerfully affected by other countries, and other citizens’, trust (or lack thereof) of the world’s biggest and most powerful state" (source IGP Blog infra, emphasis added)

Or as they say in Washington (home of the surveillance state): "Connect the dots . . . ."

Do the NSA revelations have anything to do with Internet governance? | IGP Blog: "The Internet succeeded in creating a globalized virtual space before states really knew what was happening. But with the World Summit on the Information Society (2003-2005) and later in the ITU’s 2012 World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), there was a confrontation between state sovereignty and the native institutions. The WCIT process polarized the controversy, fragmenting support for a new treaty on International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). The NSA revelations - Into this deadlock came the NSA spying revelations. The information released by Snowden had huge repercussions in Internet governance..."(read more at the link above)

Goodbye ICANN?

Brazil defends new global authority to manage the Internet - Digital convergence - Internet: "..."The Internet has no central point of governance. But according to the revelations of the Snowden case surfaced privacy concerns with freedom of expression, subjects who do not have an appropriate place for discussion within bodies such as ICANN, IETF and ISOC. These issues demand a new architecture for the organization of the Internet, "says Almeida." (Google translation from original)

Stay tuned. Next up: Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, São Paulo, Brazil, April 23-24, 2014, Grand Hyatt Hotel - more info: http://netmundial.br/


Inept ICANN, Glossary Terms and Acronyms Now Online?

Here's typically inept and incompetent ICANN in action -- you can read the ICANN blog post for yourself here: Updated ICANN Glossary Terms and Acronyms Now Online

My response, which I left as a comment at the blog post:

"the updated glossary terms and acronyms are up on our website" - Really? Where? Did you ever think of providing a "link" in your blog post? Does everything ICANN does have to be like this - obfuscated, hard to find, hidden, not disclosed? "Our website"--are you referring to icann.org? Your "glossary" does not appear on the home page. I looked under "Resources"--nothing there. Pray tell, if you are so "proud" of your glossary, WHERE did you "hide" it? Are you referring to this glossary: http://www.icann.org/en/resources/idn/glossary OR this glossary: http://www.icann.org/en/about/learning/glossary OR something else?

UPDATE: After my comment was posted, the links were posted on the original blog entry at the first link above.


Left of the Dot, Right of the Dot, A Name is a Name is a Name

gTLDs: Rebellion at the Dotcom Kingdom: "... Understanding Naming: So long any one can name, learn to identify the difference between professional and amateurish naming, learn the various methodologies and types and styles of naming, create a formal balanced logical approach and eliminate widely random name selection exercises. Seek out the best articles from the thousands on the Internet and study few books. Lead the teams and create iconic naming and follow the five star standard of naming. All of this can be done as the future of your name identity and its image presence depends on it...."

The basic problem with ICANN's new gTLDs is that ICANN did nothing new! And this is the basic problem that undermines the whole new gTLDs movement -- Right of the Dot, Left of the Dot, A Name is a Name is a Name. "Oh, but I want my name to be my extension"--really? Why? You don't want to lead with your brand name but instead some sub-category? Dumb!  ____.pepsi??? What goes in the blank? Soda? Bottle? OK, "diet" could work. But wouldn't it be better to drive the mass audience to your kingdom--your dot com-- and then entice them to buy more than they would otherwise? That's what Amazon does with Amazon.com! Time will tell.


Matt Cutts says Google will NOT favor new gTLDs

Lots of noise, spin, misinformation and ignorance being spouted by the new gTLD hucksters and their sycophants -- here's an example (at the previous link) cited by Matt Cutts of Google, that he corrected on a posting on Google+:

Matt Cutts - Google+ - I read a post by someone offering new top-level domain…: "I read a post by someone offering new top-level domain (TLDs). They made this claim: "Will a new TLD web address automatically be favoured by Google over a .com equivalent? Quite simply, yes it will." 

Cutts: "Sorry, but that's just not true, and as an engineer in the search quality team at Google, I feel the need to debunk this misconception. Google has a lot of experience in returning relevant web pages, regardless of the top-level domain (TLD). Google will attempt to rank new TLDs appropriately, but I don't expect a new TLD to get any kind of initial preference over .com, and I wouldn't bet on that happening in the long-term either. If you want to register an entirely new TLD for other reasons, that's your choice, but you shouldn't register a TLD in the mistaken belief that you'll get some sort of boost in search engine rankings."

Thanks Matt. Some of these new gTLD hucksters and sycophants are worse than crooked Used Car Salesmen! Caveat Emptor!


New Top Level Domains, No Bargains

Nothing like a pricing headwind to dampen sales -- new top level domains cost much more than dot coms --

Registrars adjust registration prices on some of Donuts’ domain names | Domain Name Wire: "One of the early criticisms of new top level domain names is that they cost 3-4 times as much as most existing domains, such as .com and .net. The pricing for some of the less expensive domains is around twice the cost of .com."

New gTLDs -- paying more for less.



Finding a Good Domain Name Registrar

Finding a good registrar is very hard -- and horror stories abound. Bottom line: the right fit depends on your needs, and the philosophy and pricing of the registrar. At the very least, AVOID the unscrupulous:

Spot unscrupulous domain registrars with these four tips - TechRepublic: " . . . . 1: Ensure your registrar is actually a registrar . . . You can ensure that your prospective registrar isn't a reseller by checking the ICANN list of accredited domain registrars....2: Avoid faux-renewal forms sent via standard mail....3: Evade compulsory "value-added" services...."(read more at the first link above)

If you have a registrar you would recommend to others, feel free to leave a comment below.


London top level domain name, April Launch

.London will be the most successful city TLD because it carries all of the branding power of a well known, respected, trusted, and international "global brand" -- London, the world's financial center. Many enterprises with an international focus (including many American and Chinese companies), will want their name associated with the London brand --

London's own domain name launches in April - Telegraph: " . . . "it is hoped that there will be a “pioneer program” to hand out domains immediately after launch to 100 high-profile businesses, including Selfridges, thanks to a special exemption applied for from . . . ICANN. If granted, this will skip the three-month application process and the two-month wait normally imposed by ICANN on new domain launches. London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional organisation for London, successfully applied to ICANN in 2012 to set up and manage the new .london domain and only got approval in November 2013. The group has now set up Dot London Domains Ltd to operate the new registry on a commercial basis . . ." (read full article at first link above)


What’s In a Domain Name? You Better Find Out BEFORE You Buy!

You like two character country code domain names like .TV and .CO ? How about a .SY or .SU ? Read the following article about .eh --

What’s In a Domain Name? A Real-Life Civil War — War is Boring — Medium: " . . . a Massachusetts businessman acquired the rights to the .nu domain—the country-code for the impoverished Pacific island of Niue. Because “nu” is Swedish for “now,” the domain turned into a multimillion-dollar business for the businessman . . . who charged Swedish companies for the marketable domain name’s use. On a darker note, the derelict .su domain name, assigned to the Soviet Union in 1990, has become a haven for online crime. . . ." (read full article at first link above)

If you stray from buying a dot Com name, and opt for a 2 character country code domain name, or any of the new gTLDs, you better know (in addition to all other due diligence, history, trademark clearances, etc.), what nation you are buying into, the registry, the registrar, all of the requirements, the costs, the applicable laws and jurisdiction, and all other risks--for example: They Clicked With Investors—Now What? Who Will Win the Race to Sell Art Online? | Gallerist: " . . .Artsy, which hit 27,627 (its traffic possibly hindered by the fact it had to change its URL in early 2013 to Artsy.net, since its older, trendier URL Art.sy was technically based in Syria . . ."

Caveat Emptor!


EU Pushes to Globalize Internet Governance, Goodbye ICANN?

Couldn't come soon enough, in my opinion --

EU Pushes to Globalize Internet Governance - WSJ.com: "The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, will propose on Wednesday the adoption of "concrete and actionable steps" to globalize essential Web functions—including the assignment of so-called top-level domain names, such as ".com" or ".org"—that remain contractually linked to the U.S. government, according to a draft policy paper seen by The Wall Street Journal...."


Court Says gTLDs Are Not Domain Names for Cybersquatting Purposes

More ICANN engendered commercial chaos and confusion -- see comment, case, and LRO decision below:

"A bummer for the Swiss Del Monte entity—after sinking a bunch of time and money into the application process, it is left with a decision unreviewable by US courts. (Interestingly, the court did not discuss diversity jurisdiction as a possibility. That seemed like a possible option. Also, the Swiss entity could nevertheless try to proceed in state court but to the extent it prevails, enforcement does not sound like it will be easy." (source: Court Declines to Review LRO to [.delmonte], Saying gTLDs Aren’t ‘Domain Names’ for Cybersquatting Purposes | Technology & Marketing Law Blog )

Case citation: Del Monte International GMBH v. Del Monte Corp., 2014 WL 492960 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2014)

LRO (Legal Rights Objection): 


21-Year-Old Model, Online Entrepreneur (video)

Domaining at its best --

The 21-Year-Old Model With Eyes on Your Living Room: Video - Bloomberg: "Meet Katherine Choynowski, a privileged 21-year old former model who set up Le Crib, an online shopping hub for people with an eye for the rare and artisanal. As Bloomberg's Anna Edwards found out, her background isn't exactly ordinary. (Source: Bloomberg, Feb 3, 2014)"


TrakBill changes name, rebrands to TrackBill.com

Rule No. 1: Get the right Dot Com --

TrakBill changes name, rebrands with a ‘c’ - St. Louis Business Journal: "...Stuck with TrakBill (without a ‘c’) because it didn’t own the domain name when founded in early 2012, Marciniak said the company bought the trackbill.com domain name while in Capital Innovators in early 2013.
As part of the change, TrackBill is also changing its pricing system from the amount of bills a user tracks to the number of states a user tracks in. Marciniak said it should help boost sales among lobbyists and organizations looking to track bills in multiple states."


New gTLDs, Domain Names, and Gold -- What You Can Learn

I found Barry Ritholtz's analysis (edited excerpt below, read full article at link) of Gold also applicable to domain names, particularly the new gTLDs -- [my comments are within brackets below]

What Can You Learn from the Rise & Fall of Gold? | The Big Picture: ". . . Consider the following lessons as applicable to not just gold, but any investment [in this case, domain names, particularly the new gTLDs]:

1 . Beware the Narrative . . . When it comes to investing, there are two problems with . . . storytelling: It ignores actual data. And it makes investors feel good, regardless of what is actually happening.

2. Carefully Examine New Investment Products . . Salesmen [registrars, registries] always need something to sell....

3. Ignore History at Your Own Peril [what happened to previous new gTLDs? -- Rick Schwartz can tell you all about that] . . .

4. Leverage is Always Dangerous [when it comes to new gTLDs, no matter what anyone tells you, you are gambling, not investing] . . .

5. Understand the Circumstances of the Moment [this is an exciting time in the domain business with all the hype, noise and misinformation; think and reflect before you jump] . . .

6. Don’t Be Unwilling to Walk ["No" is the most powerful two-letter word in the English language] . . .

7. Ask What is Already Reflected in the Price [hype, promotional costs, etc.]

8. Don’t Guess [unlike stocks, new domain names have no fundamentals. They also have no cash flow, or earnings] . . .

9. Ignore [the hype, spin, and misinformation -- "dot com is your daddy's extension" and Other Nonsense; also beware of FOMO - fear of missing out - see #6 above] . . .

10. Pay Attention to the Skeptics - Someone challenges the belief in gold, and instead of responding with empirical, data-driven counter-arguments, the true believers revert to personal attacks. Scroll through the comment section of the blog ZeroHedge.com to see the sort of nonsense that passes for debate. A lack of reasoned discourse is overcompensation for a weak investment thesis. [Rick Schwartz, the Domain King, has written all about this] . . . . Astute investors will learn something from watching and thinking about other people’s mistakes. Hopefully, you can avoid repeating these errors when the next mania rolls around."


Domain Sherpa interview of the Domain King is a "must watch"

This is a "must watch" (at link below) -- Michael Cyger, the Domain Sherpa, interviews the Domain King, Rick Schwartz, about his domain name buying binge (390 names, hand registered, over 2-3 days) -- this is both informative and very entertaining! --

What You Can Learn About Hand Registering Domain Names from the Domain King – With Rick Schwartz


Domain Name, Shorter is Better

In the mobile era, the fewer characters to key, the better --

Renowned Sound Isolation Store Shortens Domain Name to IsoStore - Press Release - Digital Journal: "For years this online sound isolation product reseller and manufacturer, known as Sound Isolation Store, was found online at soundisolationstore.com. In an effort to set their company apart from the competition and to create a catchier name, they have officially changed their domain to simply isostore.com."

I have no idea what those new gTLDs with long extension names were thinking, do you?


Domain Seizure, Just One Problem With Leasing Your Domain Names

Better know who your lessee is, and have an air-tight contract (and be prepared to pay litigation costs to enforce it), otherwise risk losing your domain name --

Europol Seizes 690 Domains In Cyber Monday Crackdown: "Cyber Monday sellers pushing counterfeit goods taken offline by Europol and international partners . . . Europol, along with othr law enforcement agencies round the world, has shut down 690 domains allegedly being used by crooks to sell counterfeit goods. The Transatlantic 3 operation, also known as Project Cyber Monday IV, has seen 297 domain name seizures in the US, with another 393 in Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. A similar Europol project last year saw 132 domains seized..."

Of course there are many other risks involved when you lease or allow others to use your domain name. Consult a qualified attorney before you enter into an agreement.


New gTLDs, prepare for coming criminal abuse and scams

ICANN's imprudent and massive proliferation and flooding of the domain name market is the cyber criminal's and cyber abuser's dream come true. ICANN has now enabled criminal cybergangs to launch multiple sites with hundreds of different extensions, all engaged in criminal activity and other wrongful activity.

"Cybercriminal abuse cases increase every year. In fact, Google discovered that an average of 9,500 new malicious websites were registered daily in 2012 alone. These sites were either innocent websites that were compromised by malicious authors or built with the specific intention of distributing malware or phishing. This affects trademark holders whose reputations are at stake." - See more at: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/pages/new-tlds-how-to-protect-yourself-against-online-vulnerabilities.aspx#sthash.ZAF6LyuE.dpuf

If there were 9,500 cases in 2012 alone, when only 22 gTLDs existed, what do you think is going to happen once all of the new gTLDs launch? If you do not have a domain strategy in place to deal with the chaos and criminality unleashed by ICANN upon the internet--it is time to develop a strategy to deal with the coming criminal and abusive activity.

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