Busy Times At Name.com

First, let me apologize to the five people in the world who read this blog. I’ve been way lax in updating here but I have a really good reason. I’ve been supah busy actually doing things. It’s crazy I know, but it’s good. But that means that we needed help and we’ve been interviewing candidates for a variety of positions for a while and have recently added some folks to the team and wow’85 what a difference it can make. I’m planning to get back to writing semi-regularly.

I’ll have a new promo code for you later this week. Watch for it.

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.

Doing Good Is Cool Again

Name.com went to London earlier this month to attend a voting party for the Webby’s People’s Voice Awards. The event was sponsored by The Public Interest Registry, the registry behind the .ORG extension, to highlight several diverse organizations that are making the Internet a better place.

As suggested by the invitation, Name.com brought along one of it’s favorite .ORGs – Idealist. Idealist.org is an interactive website dedicated to allowing individuals and organizations the ability share and exchange resources and ideas as well as locate opportunities and supporters while taking steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.

In addition to Idealist.org groups such as GreenPeace, Wikipedia, AlertNet and VideoLAN presented inspirational slide shows and summaries of their missions. Following the presentations topics including international education, viral marketing and community building were discussed during a press conference.

Alexa Raad, CEO at PIR, explains the mission of .ORG as promoting “great content that inspires, advocates and educates a newly globalized and connected world.”

Check out some of the footage from the event over at PIR.

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.

Easy Name.com Availability Checking Tools

In addition to our own cross browser domain availability checking tools, RegZap and WhoZap, we’re pleased to announce that Name.com has been included in the latest version of QualityNonsense’s Domain Lookup FireFox Extension.

Domain Lookup is a Firefox extension that helps you discover valuable generic domain names while surfing the web. Just select the text you wish to check and hit the shortcut key. Domain Lookup checks availability at your favourite registrar in a heartbeat.

If you’ve never used this extension before you’ll be automagically set up with Name.com as your default registrar by using the link above. If you want to switch to using name.com you’ll have to tweak your settings to select Name.com.

Finding ways to make registering an available domain name easier is one of our most consistent efforts and I would like to thank Richard Kershaw for including us in his spiffy tool.

Domain Roundtable Auction Results April 2008

The auction has been slow starting, but there are spurts of activity. So far the most action has been on lot #82 – Retire(d).net, which sold to the room for $23,500.

Through 90 lots there’s been 20 sales for $82,970 total. More to come.

Through 160 lots 38 names have sold for a total of $177, 520

Here are the final results. Note, several domains were revisited after the gavel originally dropped.

83 Names sold for a total of $416,012.

That’s a tenth of the total $ and about half of the total number of domains from the first DomainTools.com auction in Seattle. Attendance was down considerably from last year. I’m sure that contributed to the lack of blockbuster sales. Last year saw three high five figure deals, four six figure deals as well as a million dollar winning bid on Rebate(s).com totalling $2.5m. This year those deals were conspicuously absent. The big winner this year was Debug.com at $25k. The average sale was just over $5k.

Lot | DomainName | $

3 SecretCodes.com $4,500
4 Service.org $12,000
10 MentorOhio.com $200
12 Pintos.com $1,500
21 CleverLyrics.com $300
26 HospitalClothing.com $3,500
29 MortgageProposal.com $410
35 DataBeam.com $1,000
38 DomainNameTransfer.com $3,000
43 CamperShow.com $1,000
46 XmasToys.com $3,800
47 BusinessRefinance.com $3,100
48 EuropeanExcursions.com $500
49 FloorRemodeling.com $900
51 TradeStocks.cc $100
54 FreeNameServers.com $1,001
63 HuntingtonCalifornia.com $1,850
66 DrugAbuseTreatment.com $2,900
80 SendBulkEmail.com $900
81 NameParking.com $15,000
82 Retire.net $23,500
88 SecretIngredients.com $2,000
93 LakeMohave.com $3,000
94 KitchenAndBathroom.com $3,200
101 AutoRespond.com $2,900
102 BasicInstall.com $400
103 330.com $23,000
105 Dangers.com $7,600
108 WorldExchange.com $4,700
109 Chopstick.com $10,000
110 BigStore.com $6,000
111 TvMarkets.com $7,000
112 ToyMarket.com $4,500
115 FreeGuide.com $4,700
119 DigitalRights.com $4,000
122 Keyword.net $4,000
124 AutoDirectory.com $8,200
126 RefinanceDebt.org $1,000
129 Approvers.com $1,000
141 Crier.com $1,750
142 CollegePlacement.com $2,000
152 SiteInspector.com $2,500
156 RacingSuspensions.com $1,500
158 CuteDoggy.com $400
161 RetirementInvestments.com $2,900
164 NewClosets.com $2,000
165 MyQuote.com $10,000
170 BoundModels.com $250
171 Taliban.com $7,000
172 Fatherless.org $300
174 LakeMichiganWaterfront.com $1,200
179 GreatHaircut.com $300
180 InkRefiller.com $500
189 SwingerSpace.com $5,000
190 BuyMedication.com $1,250
193 AmsterdamVacations.com $5,000
198 Tempe.mobi $1,600
204 WirelessMouse.com $11,000
205 conf.com $6,600
209 AllergyProblems.com $5,000
221 FoodExports.com $1,000
233 TheTemple.com $1,300
243 Debug.com $25,000
247 ModelingJobs.com $16,000
254 Moral.com $11,000
256 FrenchCooking.com $4,900
257 Robbin.com $4,300
263 Shaft.com $17,000
264 Ammunition.cc $200
270 Cosmetics.net $18,000
275 CreditScoreTracker.com $2,500
280 Pallets.net $2,100
281 Skids.net $500
289 Hyperlinks.com $17,000
294 TransportShips.com $201
296 Insulators.com $11,000
303 FitnessNet.com $6,700
308 VideoArt.com $4,200
313 Famo.com $3,500
314 RomanticRestaurant.com $10,000
316 Stubborn.com $12,000
326 Complacence.com $1,000
348 Preannounce.com $400

Aside from the numbers the auction moved much quicker than last year. I’m not sure about the future of Roundtable/DomainTools auctions. They are up against the juggernaut of Moniker/SnapNames. I like the idea of the Roundtable auctions because the auction agreement is much less restrictive than Moniker’s, but at the end of the day if the bidders aren’t showing up it isn’t going to matter.

T-Minus 15 Hours to Domain Roundtable

I landed in San Francisco today in preparation for the Domain Roundtable. Name.com will have a booth this year so if you’re attending the show stop by and say hello.

Name.com’s CEO and Founder, Bill Mushkin will be participating in the CEO Roundtable to kick off the conference on Saturday at 9am:

Back by popular demand, the CEO Roundtable, featuring the heads of domaining’s most successful companies, will discuss the current economic conditions of, and predictions for, the our industry based on the recent effects instigated by the U.S. economy. Our CEOs ask and answer: What are these effects? Is this the time to be investing in other ccTLD’s? How will the international market space fare as a result? What is the best method to ensure the value of your property and portfolio in any market condition – good or bad? What does the future hold? Join our CEO panel to find out.

Michelle Miller will teach us all a thing or two about Marketing and Advertising on Sunday morning at 10am:

Proper marketing, advertising and promoting can exponentially build your portfolio’s value. Get tips on methods of how this is best accomplished with online and offline resources. With the right techniques, you can create value in almost any property.

We’ve got some pretty sweet schwag too. See ya there.

Password Security Gets Another Helper in PasswordBird

Do you worry about someone busting into your domain accounts? You should. As domain asset values continue to rise the threat to their security rises as well.
If you’re like most people you use the same password for lots of websites and services. Further, the password you use ise probably based on a special number or name in your life. Your anniversary, your dog’s name, your address, etc. All of these things are standard fare for someone trying to get into the very sensitive data you’re trying to protect. The problem with ultra secure passwords is that they are difficult to remember. PasswordBird aims to help make life easier by blending some of the important information in your life into a memorable password.

Provide PasswordBird the following data:

  • A special name
  • A special word
  • A special date

And PasswordBird provides you with an eight character password. Now those passwords aren’t ultra secure, but they sure beat using any dictionary word or short phrase which is what many people do. If you don’t like the password that was generated you can generate another based on the same information you provided or you start from scratch with a new search.

To improve the security of the PasswordBird passwords you can swap one of the letters for an uppercase and add a special character. You can test the security of these and other passwords you may want to use at PasswordMeter.