laptop-new-extensionsImagine websites like Mercedes.Benz, Coca.Cola, Bud.Light, White.House, Disney.World. What if, instead of rolling out a handful of new domain extensions (like the proposed .xxx, .nyc, .web, etc.) each year, all possibilities of domain extensions were instantly available.

In this scenario, instead of picking from existing domain extensions like .com, .net, .org, you could simply choose a name to go before the dot, and a name to go after the dot. You could register Bluth.Company or Moes.Tavern for your business. You could register Kenny.Powers as your personal website or Bedford.Falls for your city.   The possibilities are almost endless.

This system could also disrupt current country code values, especially for the less adopted cTLDs.   Imagine being able to register .usa instead of sticking to .us. or .britain instead of .co.uk.

One of the reasons that new extensions have been relatively unsuccessful thus far is because it is hard to get the word out to the masses. Each new extension (think .mobi, .tel, .museum, .aero, .jobs or .travel) must face this uphill battle alone and attempt to tell the world that they exist. Years after launch, many people still have never heard of these new extensions that are currently available.

What happens if, instead of attempting to announce every new top level domain extension, the public begins to understand that two words connected by a dot signify a website address.

So how would it work? The new system would be similar to the old system in that you pick the part that goes before/to the left of the dot. Next, instead of choosing from a small list of possibilities for the extension, you would pick whatever you want to go after/to the right of the dot. If the combination was not already taken, you could register it. If the extension to the right of the dot did not exist, it would be created instantly. You could register whatever you want and create any extension you want.   Want to register pickle.donkeyknife as your site? Probably not – but you could.


So, would this really be a dot com killer?   Maybe eventually, but probably not anytime soon and perhaps not in our lifetime.   Even if this new system were possible, global advertising dollars and brands would likely still only promote their .com websites.   New TLD extensions have mainly been a footnote in the domain name story thus far and have served to reinforced the importance, trust, authority and value of a .com domain name.


laptop-offersLast Thursday, I received an email from my (redacted) account rep saying, “I hope this email finds you well. I have a buyer looking to buy a domain name and I’d like to include yours- **********.com- in my pitch to him. Would you be interested in selling this name at $700?”

I replied, “No thanks, I get pretty regular offers on that name and they are generally much higher. None that have tempted me to sell yet though.”

She replied, “What’s your asking price? Buyers will lowball you all day long if there isn’t a price expectation on there.”

I said, “If you have a buyer that wants this specific name, tell them to make their best offer and it needs to be a significant offer. If they are not looking specifically at this name, please offer them other names as I am not interested in selling to a buyer who is just looking for a deal on random names.”

She said, “It’s not just this specific buyer. If you’re looking for substantial offers from our marketplace, I recommend setting a price expectation on this name. otherwise, buyers will just lowball you all day long.”

I said, “Thanks for the advice, but as my ‘account manager’ you should be working to get me the maximum price for my names. If you are trying to help someone else get the lowest possible price at my expense, then you are not really servicing my account, you are servicing theirs and that sounds like a conflict of interest.”

She said, “Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office and will respond to your inquiries upon my return on Monday, March 8th, 2010. Please note that your email will not be forwarded. For immediate assistance, please contact my associate **** ******* at ****.*******@(redacted).com. I look forward to responding to your inquiries upon my return.
Have a great day!”

Out of the office? That was an unexpected twist just over an hour later. I got the first email inquiring about the name from her on Thursday at 2:58pm and she was already out of the office by 4:04pm that same day.

Friday, the next day:
I figured that she would respond on Monday when she returned, but then today I got an email inquiring about that same domain name directly from a company interested in purchasing it. I asked the buyer if they were the same ones that were trying to buy it through (redacted) on Thursday and they said yes.

So, is my (redacted) account manager simply trying to help me sell a name, or is she helping the buyer get the best deal possible by saying that this is just one of several names that she wanted to present to him?

I don’t have a problem with (redacted) trying to broker names, and I have had several good $xx,xxx sales in the past after being approached by a (redacted) broker, but I think it might be best if my account manager is not also the broker working for the other party.

Slow weekend, then Monday:
I got a response from my (redacted) account manager saying, “We have buyers and sellers looking to purchase domains all the time. If you are not interested in selling, then it’s not a big deal. We (redacted) can pitch other domains to the buyer. I would like to help you sell your domains at the best price to you possible. Feel free to name your price and I’ll see if the buyer is interested. If not, I’ll relay the message back to you and it’s up to you to decide what you would like to do from there.” Fair enough, if that is the full story, but she definitely still avoided telling me whether or not someone was directly inquiring about my specific domain name.

Fast forward to today:
After contacting me directly, the party interested in this domain has now made a  five figure offer as compared to the $700 suggestion presented to me by my (redacted) account manager.

I expect a few more chapters in this story, but for now I am not selling – I don’t like these games. Perhaps I should be less skeptical, or maybe I just need a new account manager – or a new parking company. 😕

2023 Update:  I did not publish this one back when I was actively blogging, and 13 years later now that I am publishing it seems pointless to call out a company that may no longer be employing this account manager.  Although my blogging days are mostly over, I reread this draft and decided to publish it now (with the names redacted) to show that sometimes brokers claiming to work for you do not necessarily have your best interests in mind.  I decided to not sell the domain name at that time, I did request a different account manager, and ultimately ended up pulling all my domain names from this company.  The company itself is not the problem, and they have delivered plenty of sales and parking revenue to domain owners over the years, this was simply a case of an account manager who may have valued a quick commission over the lifetime value of a client.


laptop-netsolTen years ago today, I registered my first domain name.   At the time, registrations cost $70 for two years.   Check out the scan of the invoice below.   Also, you did not have to pay right away.   You could actually register a name and they would send you a bill in the mail.   This resulted in the earliest form of “domain tasting” where someone could “register” a name and then try to sell it before they had to pay the bill.   If they sold it, they would pay the bill when it arrived and transfer the name to the buyer.   If they did not sell the name, the would simply not pay the bill.


Also, in case you are wondering, the domain I registered is one I use for my personal email address.   I still like it, but it does not have much resale value.   I didn’t start registering more valuable names until a few years later.


Sold!The auction for Video.us ended at 12pm this afternoon, and this time it sold for $12,000. The name sold for $75,000 last year and then $18,500 earlier this year.

Check out Ron Jackson’s recent post on DNJournal.com for more information about the strange history of this domain name:

In the past 15 months, two previous owners lost big bucks after buying Video.us only to see the registry delete the domain for Nexus/WhoIs violations. Now we will see if the third time is the charm for this star-crossed domain. The story began in April 2007 when a European company bought the domain from its American owner for $75,000 (the highest reported price for a .us domain to date).

Read more…


Let go of your JUNK domainsThere has been some talk lately about the need to trim the portfolio, but few specifics about how to do that. Well, I would like to offer some specifics. Keep in mind that these are just some guidelines, and I do not suggest you listen to everything I say. I don’t even follow all of these suggestions all the time 😉 . Hopefully this list will help you with the decision process, but the bottom line is that there are no strict rules when deciding on what to keep and what to let go (or what to not register in the first place).

PPC Names: Parked names that make more than their renewal fees are generally worth keeping. Keep an eye on the renewal prices though, because they will likely increase by 7% a year for the foreseeable future.

Trademark and Trademark Typo names: These names are often more trouble than they are worth. Dump them now.

Non .com Names: Many people will tell you to primarily invest in .com names, but that does not help you if you already own non .com domains. If you own domain in an extension other than .com, check to see if the other extensions are also taken. The best names are generally registered in .com, .net, .org, .info, and even .biz. If you own the .biz and the .net is still available, consider dropping the name. If you own any extension and the .com is available, consider dropping the name.

Do you own all of the extensions? Some people like to own the series, or every extension of a domain name, including the .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz. .mobi, and the .us (or other country code). First, if you own all the extensions, chances are there is a reason they were all available. Second, sometimes it is better if you own the .com and other people own the other extensions. Sometimes they will develop a site and inadvertently increase your visitor count, and sometimes they will just want to buy your .com name. If your main business uses the .com name, then it is ok to register the other extensions to protect your name, but if you are simply registering all of the extensions because you think it will make your .com name more valuable, consider dropping the non .com versions.

Country code names: Keep the name if it is a strong keyword in the cctld of the country you live in. Avoid cctld names that try to brand themselves as something else. For example .Bz. .cc, .la, .im, .me names. A possible exception is .tv, but be sure to invest in a strong generic domain and watch out for high and potentially uncertain renewal fees.

Brandables: These names are called “brandables” because they are currently meaningless and must be heavily promoted or advertised by a company before they make sense. Why would a company pick the name you own instead of just making up another meaningless and available “brandable” name. Consider dropping all but a few of your favorites.

Does the name receive any visitors, or does the name have a heartbeat? According to Frank Schilling, these are “names which somebody will either type into their address bar because the string means something to them, or names which people look-up the whois record of, to see who owns it. Names which compel other human beings to take some form of action.” This is perhaps one of the most important concepts that you should apply to your entire portfolio.

One character makes a difference. Atlanta.com is extremely valuable, Atlanta7.com is not. Order makes a difference. PetFoodSupplies.com is in the correct order, SuppliesPetFood.com is not.

New domain extensions such as .mobi, .asia, etc.: While it is possible to profit from any extension, it is also important to note that the majority of investors in extensions such as these will be stuck with renewal fees for years before they will simply drop the name without an offer. There is very little or no traffic coming to these names, so you will either need to develop or sell to an end user before renewal fees eat away all of your profit.

Short domain “sellouts” like the “The official final countdown for L-LL and LL-L.” Most of these types of names appeal to newer domainers, and the potential for a good end user sale is very low. You will be lucky if you make your money back, and this will likely be a very expensive lesson for quite a few people. I am not talking about quality LLLL.coms or shorter names here, I am referring to names like N-N-N.com, L-L-L.net, NN-N.com, N-NN.com, LLLLL.net, etc in the current market.

Are there advertisers? If you go to Google and type in your domain name without the extension, are there advertisers for that term or terms? Ideally, you should see three advertisers at the top before the search results, and quite a few advertisers in the column on the right side of the page. If there are no advertisers, consider letting the name go.

There are many other factors to consider, and sometimes you have to just go with what you believe in, regardless of what anyone else tells you. So, what do you think, and what criteria do you use when deciding if you should register or renew a name?

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?

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