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!

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.