Mar152008

Symbolics.comThe oldest continually registered .com domain name turns 23 today. Symbolics.com was first registered on March 15, 1985 by Symbolics, Inc., a public company that produced computer systems for running and developing object-oriented programs in Lisp. It designed and built workstations and created an object-oriented operating system and development environment called “Genera” to run on those computer systems. What does all that mean? I am not really sure, but the domain name symbolics.com has never expired or dropped and it is now owned by a privately held company which got the domain name when it acquired the assets and intellectual property of Symbolics, Inc.

Bonus Trivia: Although Symbolics.com is the oldest publicly registered domain, nordu.net was created several months earlier by the registry to be used as the first root server (registered January 1, 1985). 💡

Mar142008
Wasted DomainNames.com
By Ryan | Posted in domain names.

Offline!If you have ever wondered who owns DomainNames.com, I have the answer for you – Network Solutions. They are in the business of selling domain names, so of course they have DomainNames.com pointed to a page on their site where you can register domain names right? Wrong. It is simply not being used and does not resolve to anything.

I would imagine the conversation inside Network Solutions went something like this:

NetSol IT Guy: Wow, we own DomainNames.com, maybe we should redirect that to our home page.

NetSol Marketing Guy: No way, IT guy. You see, it is all about branding, and we do not want to dilute our brand. We are much more than domain names and pointing DomainNames.com to our home page would simply reinforce the perception that we only sell domain names.

NetSol IT Guy: Yeah, but aren’t the people that visit DomainNames.com looking for a product that we sell? And, earlier this year, weren’t we so desperate for new domain registrations that we started domain name front running?

NetSol Marketing Guy: Obviously, you have a lot to learn about branding. Anyway, no time to talk, I gotta call my buddy at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and make sure they are not diluting their brand by using their domain – HomeLoans.com.

I understand that many premium domain names are parked or in development, but if you are a corporation that owns a premium domain name that directly relates to one of your products or services, why not take advantage of that?
😕

Mar122008
I don’t get .asia
By Ryan | Posted in ccTLD.

.asia?The .Asia landrush period ended today, and no matter how many press releases I read about it, I still do not get .asia. Don’t get me wrong, I understand what they are saying and it sounds fine on paper. Promoters of .asia say that the Asia/Pacific region is one of the fastest growing online communities in the world. In fact, they say, it contains 60 percent of the world’s population and over 500 million users connected to the internet.

That statistic sounds great, but how does it work in practice? Say I was the CEO of the Acme Company, and I wanted to expand to areas outside of the southwest United States. Maybe I want to sell my Acme products in China and Japan. Should I register AcmeCompany.asia to show how much I “get” the region and “understand” the culture of the people in the area? If so, what language should I use for my site? Would people in China be more likely to visit AcmeCompany.asia or AcmeCompany.cn? If they were to visit the .cn website, they could reasonably expect that the site would be written in their language, but with more than 90 languages in the Asia Pacific region could they have that same expectation if they visited the .asia site?

Also, is the word “Asia” meaningful for people in the region, and is the word “Asia” used in any native language? What if the situation was reversed, and the Chinese created a “great” extension to reach the people in the North American region. Would any of the English, Spanish, or French speaking residents of North America visit a site with the “. 北美洲 ” extension?

A big market for this TLD will likely be companies looking to protect their brands, and speculation on a few valuable keywords will pay off, but beyond that I just don’t see the value in this TLD.

Mar112008
UUOPD – Moscow.com
By Ryan | Posted in UUOPD.

Moscow.comToday’s UUOPD (Unusual Usage of Premium Domains) website is Moscow.com. Moscow is the largest city in Russia and also the capital. With a metro area population over 14 million, it is ranked as one of the 15 largest cities in the world. Moscow is also the world’s billionaire capital, home to the largest number of billionaires in the world and in 2007 Moscow was named the world’s most expensive city. So why does Moscow.com qualify as a UUOPD site? Well, Moscow.com is owned by First Step Internet, an ISP in the small town of Moscow, Idaho – population 21,000. The website is used as a portal for news and information about Moscow, Idaho, but as it states on the middle of the home page:

Latest News:
There are no current news items.

🙄

Click here to read about previous UUOPD sites.

Mar102008

Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS) began registering .rs domains today, March 10 at 12 noon.

List of Accredited Registrars

Mar102008

Fox LostOn February 8, 2007, the Fox News Network announced that it was launching a business news channel. Later that day, a company by the name of Worldwide Directory Services registered the domain name foxbusinessnetwork.com. Fox news was unable to gain control of the domain because they did not register a trademark for the term until July 16, 2007.

Fox News, the cable television news channel of Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Corporation, announced its intention to launch a business news channel on 8 February 2007.

On that same day Worldwide Directory Services (WDS) registered the domain name foxbusinessnetwork.com. But because Fox News did not register any trade marks for the term ‘Fox business network’ until 16th July that year it was not entitled to force the handover of the address.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) arbitrates in many disputes over domain names and can order their transfer if three conditions are met. The name must be identical or confusingly similar to a trade or service mark held by the person who wants to gain control of it, the person holding the domain name must have no rights in it, and the domain name must be registered and used in bad faith.

All three of these conditions must be met if a name is to be transferred, and Fox failed to meet the second.

Source

I think that at least nine times out of ten, the Complainant would win a case like this, but the real lesson here is that you should always purchase your domain names, and then announce your new service. This is a mistake that keeps repeating itself in the corporate world.

The complete ruling: Fox News Network, LLC v. Domains by Proxy, Inc. / Worldwide Directory Services

Mar62008
Domain Name Industry Brief
By Ryan | Posted in News.

Domain ReportHere are some interesting statistics from the recently released Domain Name Industry Brief:

  • In the fourth quarter of 2007, there were more than four million domain names registered per month (more than 133,000 new registrations each day)
  • New registrations grew by four percent quarter over quarter and by five percent year over year.
  • The largest TLDs in terms of base size were .com, .de, .net, .cn, .uk, .org, .info, .eu, .biz and .mobi. (Are there more registered .mobi names than .us names? Another interesting mobile internet statistic here)
  • Impressive growth among ccTLDs; .cn, .ru, .es and .tv experienced double digit growth in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter.
  • In the third quarter of 2007, the registry renewal rate for .com and .net was 74 percent.
  • 23% of all .com and .net domains resolve to a parked or “coming soon” page.

Source: The Domain Name Industry Brief – Vol. 5 – Issue 1

Mar52008

Purple.comMy friend Peter at Domainers Gazette has a great series entitled CTOPD, or Creative Targeting on Parked Domains. Similarly, I often stumble upon a premium domain name that is used in an unusual way. Inspired by Peter’s naming convention, I will call them UUOPD, or Unusual Usage of Premium Domains. Today’s UUOPD is purple.com. The site is, quite simply, purple. That’s it, just purple. Well, actually there are a few hidden pages and subdomains as well as a FAQ that contains some very funny answers:

Q: I like purple! What can I do?
A: You can be a part of the purple affinity program!

Q: This is really lilac / pink / other, not exactly purple. Could you make it more purple?
A: No. (What color it appears is also dependent on your monitor and its calibration.) Actually, the page used to be #DD00FF from circa 1994 until late 2006, resulting in numerous complaints that it was not quite purple. On 6-Nov-2006 I changed it to #7D26CD based on various recommendations. It’s darker than the old purple, but more clearly purple. You can compare it to blue here.

How long has purple been here?
A: Since 1994. Here’s an old response from whois when I still used NSI.

Q: I’m at a loss. What do other people think?
A: Check it out for yourself!

Q: This is weird / useless / other.
A: That’s not a question.

Q: Are there any games?
A: Yes, there’s the Purple Game. A purple squirrel is animated on your screen. Your task is to click on him. If you are successful, you win. Win or lose, the game continues without pause. Only the squirrel knows.

By the way, I played the Purple Game and won …I think, or maybe not. 😛

Mar42008

Expiring Domain NamesOne of the more interesting discussions at DomainState is in a thread entitled “Feels like 2000 all over again.” The subject of the post is Stephen Webb who started a company called WeAre, LLC. Stephen says, “I was looking for a domain name for my business located in Charleston. I wanted to give the impression of ownership so I typed in WeAreMusic.com and it was available so was DVD, CD and IamCharleston.com. Now 13,000 domain names later we launched a new business.”

Why does this make it feel like the year 2000 all over again? Well, one of the most memorable and largest of these types of “Theme Portfolios” was created 7 or 8 years ago by Dr Lieven Van Neste, who eventually registered over 200,000 domains. He picked prefixes like “family” and then paired them with popular keywords (highschool, highway, import, etc.). Sometimes they made sense (familyminivan.com) but more often they did not (familyimport-export.com, familyhighway.com). While he may have had a few sales that helped hype his portfolio, high renewal fees forced him to let the names expire (after attempting to sell them at firesale prices at afternic and through brokers).

Likewise, I have read numerous interviews and press releases celebrating the “success” of Stephen Webb and WeAre, LLC., but I only remember reading about 3 reported sales or leases from the 13,000 domain portfolio. The portfolio also contains names like “WeAreTheAdultDiapers.com” and “WeAreClock.com” as well as more risky and possible trademark violation registrations like “WeAreTheArizonaWildcats.com”. While I certainly hope that the business works out for Mr. Webb, it is important to remember that more often than not these types of theme portfolios do not work. Anyone who scans drop lists will see theme portfolios expiring all the time, and just recently more than 5000 domains from Stephen’s portfolio have or are about to expire. Although these 5000 expiring names cost him at least $35,000 to register (at $7/name), letting these names expire shows that Stephen understands that he made some mistakes and some names in his portfolio are simply not worth renewing. For those just entering the market, the less expensive way to learn this lesson is to take some time to study the industry as much as you can before you register any domain names, read the forums and blogs, ask questions, and perhaps simply start slowly. 😉

Mar32008

SerbiaAfter the dissolution of Yugoslavia (.yu) in the 1990s, the independent country of Serbia and Montenegro (Crna Gora i Srbija in Serbian) was assigned the ccTLD .cs (yes, the same one previously assigned to Czechoslovakia). During this time, the .cs extension was never assigned an operator and was not used. The Republic of Serbia then became an independent state in 2006, after Montenegro (now using .me) left the union. According to documents on the official website (http://www.rnids.rs/include/data/list0032_en.pdf), existing .yu domains can be converted to .rs domains before general registration is opened to the public.

Serbia: Start of .rs domain registration March 10.
Serbian National Register of Internet Domain Names (RNIDS) informs Serbian and international public that registration of the new Internet domain names of the Republic of Serbia with .rs extension, will commence on Monday, March 10, 2008 at 12h noon.

RNIDS will accept requests for registration of new .yu domain names until Friday, February 29, 2008. After this date registration of new .yu domain names will no longer be possible. All .yu domain names registered until this date will continue to function normally at least until September 30, 2009.

Registration of new .rs domains will be conducted through 27 Serbian companies, which were accredited by RNIDS as the accredited registrars of .rs domain names.

List of the accredited registrars of .rs domain names, as well as detailed rules and procedures regarding .rs registration and transition from .yu to .rs, are available at Web site www.rnids.rs.

(Source: Economy.co.yu, February 28. Link to article)

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