CATEGORY: Domains

Aussie Government Mandates Internet Censorship Down Under

It looks like the Australian government is creating a firewall similar to the one that China has been using.

Australia says it means to restrict minors from accessing pornography and violence on the Internet, although it would give the government carte blanche over what typical Australian Web surfers are able to access on a day to day basis.

In late 2007 Stephen Conroy, Australia’s Telecommunications Minister, had said that Internet users will be able to opt out of being filtered. That said, it appears that the content filters will be mandatory for all Australian Internet users, and “opt out” could mean being added to what has been called a blacklist:

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government’s pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say.

Under the government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.

What does that mean for Name.com? The Great Firewall of China had effected some of our customers who were using URL forwarding. The issue caused some of our Chinese customers problems when trying to resolve their URL forwards in that country. We have a fair number of Australian customers as well. I’m afraid that they may experience the same type of inconvenience.

Not an incredibly big deal, but it makes me wonder if the effect of this type of Internet negativity on minors is prolific enough to warrant a governmental mandate. Is the government saying that parents and guardians of Australian minors need this type of help to control what their children look at on the Internet? Where is the line drawn between looking after the greater good of the people you represent, and blind censorship?

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is being held in Australia next month, interestingly enough. I am very curious to know what, if anything, will be said about this.

Name.com Now Offers Fastest Way to Buy Recently Deleted Domains

We’ve been working on a lot of behind the scenes improvements so that we could roll out some cool products and services. One of the first ones to drop is our new Recently Deleted Domains Service.You can search through domain names which have recently been deleted using a variety of search parameters including time since it dropped, length, keyword, extension, etc. It’s a pretty powerful tool, especially for those of you who have had your eye on a domain name but haven’t wanted to back order it.

We took it a step further and we’re also offering a Recently Deleted Domains Keyword Subscription Service. Right now you’re limited to English dictionary words. You can enter a variety of your favorite keywords as well as any you wish to block. We’ll send you an email update every 15, 30 or 60 minutes with a list of names that have dropped from the zone in that time frame.

AOL Offering Vanity Email on MCOM.com

This might not interest many of you, but if you remember Mosiac you might remember that mcom.com was their domain name back in the day. AOL has started offering some vanity email addresses of this and a few other domains. Some of which great like games.com, when.com and switched.com, others of which are – shall we say, “longtail” at best.

It’s puzzling to me that they would choose to use something like when.com for this service. There’s so much more that can be done with a short brandable generic like that. It’s a shame really. But I guess when you’re struggling and for sale you make some silly decisions.

The ’93Now What?’94 Series Intro

One of the questions I get asked over and over again by people outside of the domain name industry is “why do I need a domain?” the second most often asked question is “What do I do with my domain name?” Over the next couple of days I’ll be sharing some short articles with you. Articles targeted to those very people: end-users. Individuals and companies looking to register a domain name for a new business, a new product or any number of other reasons want to know what the can and what they should do with their newly minted Internet real estate. I owe a debt of gratitude to a talented young content writer who is here helping us out this summer. If Kevin Crane comes knocking on your door looking for a job, he’s got my endorsement and I thank him for his leg work and efforts on this series. The entirety of which will later be posted on the Name.com website.

The first and most important thing to do is make sure your domain name is secure. You spent some time and effort finding just the right domain name. You might have even paid a premium for the name in the aftermarket. Taking a few minutes to make sure that all of your contact details are accurate and that your domain name is locked from malicious changes and/or hijacking is a smart investment of a few minutes time.

Next, making sure that you know the username and password for your domain name registrar is another important item to check off. If you went through a designer or web host for your domain name you’ll want to make sure that you retain full rights to your name upon the termination of any relationship with that third party. Name.com recommends always registering your own domain names. Domain management isn’t difficult and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Finally, you may want to take advantage of multi-year discounts if your domain name registrar offers them. There are multiple reasons for doing so, including the peace of mind of having an extended registration (up to ten years) and not having to worry about annual renewals as well as the fact that Google looks favorably upon domain names which have expiration dates well into the future.

Bido.com Unwrapped

Recall Media’s one-name-per-day auction site, Bido.com bowed today with the inaugural auction of DiscountImages.com. Was is a success? Only the team over at Bido.com can say for sure. There were four bidders with a total of 20 bids on the name. That’s better than almost all of the low reserve/no reserve names at the last TRAFFIC auction in Orlando. The end result was a winning bid of $911US.

The appraisals for DiscountImages.com varied from lows of $500 to highs of $15k targeted at end-users. My own appraisal of $750-1500 was based on a variety of factors including past sales, recent offers on my own domains, industry trends and end-usage. I might have a couple of factors I’ll keep under my hat, but overall this isn’t rocket science. End-users are not the target for Bido.com and value expectations that take the end-user into account aren’t going to hit the mark here.

Does having industry expert appraisers weigh in on a name help or hinder the auction process? It might mean that some names get less, but I think it’s best for the industry as a whole. Overpaying for names means the industry is in a bubble (and look where that gets the real estate market). Having realistic appraisals and data on the likely end-use and/or development for a name presents us all with the opportunity to create a stable marketplace that will continue to grow over time.

Would I use Bido to move some of my names? You bet. There are many names in my portfolio that I either hand-regged or picked up in a drop or otherwise paid very little for. Why would I *not* take a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars for them? Are there names in this group that I’m not willing to trust the model to? Of course. But the crown jewels are few and far between. Domain investors who can be honest with themselves over their portfolio and the likelihood of a big payday for those mid-tier domains might find great success at Bido.com.

Cheers to the Bido.com/DNZoom team.

Keyword Search Headed For A Breakdown?

As the Internet swells with more information every second of the day we will find keyword search results less and less relevant. TechCrunch recently reported on the limits of keyword search and the inevitable breaking point. Direct Navigation offers any business a short cut to being found.

While the point behind that post is that the semantic web will save us all when that breaking point arrives, it’s hard to miss the alternative: Direct Navigation. Arguably, generic domain names will be seen as the authority space on the web for the associated terms. When these domain names find their way in the hands of end-users or investors who are willing to put in the time, money and effort to develop them we’ll see more people trusting their address bar to get them to relevant information.

Until that time we’ll see PPC revenues continue to fall. Why? Well, a number of reasons really, but one of the major reasons is more domains names that ever are parked with monetization companies. As a savvy Internet browser I get frustrated when I type in a URL hoping to find content and getting hit with ads. I’m hardly unique. The more ads there are the less attention is paid to them.

As a domain name investor you’ve probably got at least a couple of great direct navigation domain names. You’ve got a leg up on 99% of the websites on the Internet. You’ve got the Park Place spot versus their Baltic Avenue. Use it!

Domainers Go Social With Two Networks

ocial networking has been hot for a while now. It’s often struck me as funny that an industry that is all about networking hadn’t embraced the trend. That’s all changed. Following on last month’s launch of Randy Charach‘s Synergy Domain Club, Steve Morales has launched GeoDomainer.com.

Both networking sites are built on the back of Ning and make great use of the technology. Best of all if you have an account at one you needn’t create a new account/username for the other.

Synergy Domain Club has racked up about 135 members in just a couple of week, no doubt due to Randy’s natural knack for networking. GeoDomainer is off to a good start as well. I don’t think either site will eliminate the need to get out and meet other people in the industry, but perhaps open a dialog you can continue in person.

When you join be sure to friend me.

iGoogle as Social Network?

Google recently announced the opening of the iGoogle Sandbox with associated support of the OpenSocial API.

iGoogle sandbox supports OpenSocial 0.7, including friends and activity streams as well as a home and canvas view of your gadgets. Later, iGoogle will support the requestSendMessage function to facilitate growth of your gadget.

Is Google readying iGoogle aka Google Start Page for use as a social network? It would certainly mean they have a leg up. Millions of people already have a Gmail or Gmail for your domain account so flipping the switch to the Start Page wouldn’t require a creating a new account anywhere.

Name.com has been offering fully integrated Google Apps for about a year now. Using the Start Page as my daily dashboard allows me to manage all of the various tools I need everyday and soon I’ll start poking some of our development staff to create some tools to make that even easier.

If you want to start using iGoogle/Start Page just register or transfer your domain to Name.com today – Google Apps are free and Name.com offers the easiest way to get you Start Page going.

SimulScribe Buys PhoneTag.com: Rebranding for Growth

TechCrunch is reporting that Voice to Text messaging provider SimulScribe has acquired the domain name PhoneTag.com for $30k and is planning on rebranding under the new name starting April 25. It appears that Strong Inc. was the seller.

The name SimulScribe totally sucks for our business. People have a real challenge remembering the name and they cannot spell it, which is a real problem considering that new customers need to type in our web address to sign up. When your company offers a consumer product that relies on viral marketing, a difficult name is a really bad thing. In fact, I’m constantly amazed at how well we have been able to do with such a shitty name.

I am not sure I could be in greater agreement that this company needed a new name. I had no idea what they did based on their name. While it’s still not obvious from PhoneTag.com I at least know it has something to do with phones and it’s catchy.

TechCrunch is also running a poll on whether readers think the name was overpriced or not. As of this writing 320 respondents say no, to 87 yes.