Domain Name Wire

Domain Name Wire

Displaying archives for the month of "July 2014"

  • An update on Moniker

    1. BY - Jul 22, 2014
    2. Domain Registrars
    3. 11 Comments

    I’ve transferred many of my domain names out. I’m working on the rest.

    ExitIt’s been 7 weeks since domain name registrar Moniker switched to a new platform. 7 weeks since Moniker broke.

    The company has fixed a lot of the problems, even if confirmation messages were clearly written by a coder. But as I’ve written before, I’ve lost confidence in the registrar. I’m transferring my domain names out.

    I just completed my second batch of domain names and have now transferred out several hundred. It has taken hours of my time to figure out which domain names I plan to keep, unlock the domains (which you can now do in bulk), set up forwarding again at the new registrar, etc. I also have to reset my sales listings for these domains at Afternic. Not to mention thousands of dollars in early renewal fees I’ve paid.

    Moniker customers have a reason to be mad. This isn’t a simple case of “oh, customer service went down hill. I’ll use another company.”

    It’s like a bank suddenly reported the wrong balances in your bank account and left you to figure out where the errors were.

    The most frustrating domains for me are the ones expire in the next 6 months. I’m not sure if I’ll renew them or not. But I don’t want to keep them at Moniker any longer, so I go ahead and pay to transfer them anyway.

    This past week I received two renewal invoices totaling about $100 for domain names I was transferring out. (The “renew at expiration” option in the drop down box actually means “renew 10 days before expiration.”)

    Yet when I looked up the domains in whois, they hadn’t actually been renewed. Nor where they showing up as renewed in my account.

    I called support and they said they can’t renew domain names that are “pending transfer”, so I’ll get refunds on them.

    Add these renewals to the list of things still broken at Moniker.

    The good news is that phone support picked up in under 10 minutes and was actually able to help me rather than just submitting a ticket.

    More surprising are the domain names that were apparently renewed for a year despite expiring under the old Moniker system. I wasn’t charged for them, but Moniker had to pay for the renewals.

    What a mess.

  • Comparing home appraisals to domain name appraisals

    1. BY - Jul 22, 2014
    2. Domain Sales
    3. 4 Comments

    Appraising homes is easy compared to valuing domain names.

    HouseTexas doesn’t have an income tax. But the state needs revenue from somewhere, and in Texas that “somewhere” is mostly property taxes. Every year I have to pay about 2.4% of my home’s value in property taxes.

    This steep rate creates a bit of a dance each year. The counties appraise homes by an automated system, kind of like Estibot. Then you have to argue with the county that the computer-generated appraisal is wrong.

    That’s how I spent my morning. Arguing that something I own is worth less than an appraisal.

    It strikes me as a sharp contrast to what we’re wired to do. We spend our days arguing with people that our domain names are worth more than other people think the are.

    The truth is, the county’s version of Estibot isn’t that bad. Unlike with domain names, comps are reasonably easy to pull. Even though many of the homes on my street are 20 or 30 years older than mine, there’s a model for taking this into consideration.

    I’m looking at my appraisal right now along with a sale of home across the street. The county knows how much that home sold for last year. Then it adjusts.

    First it adjusts for the quality of the build. Then the condition, age, home features and size. That comes up with a number.

    Try comparing just two houses like this and you might get a wacky number. So they compare it to about five homes in the neighborhood.

    A perfect number? No. But it’s directionally correct.

    I can’t say the same thing about domain name valuation. (I’m not just talking about Estibot here. Estibot does a fine job of highlighting the factors to consider in domain valuation).

    The issue with domain valuation is two-fold: an almost complete lack of comps and the unique nature of every single domain name. There are no square feet to compare. No depreciation to adjust for. Each domain name is completely unique.

    Indeed, we work in an extremely inefficient market. That creates great challenges and opportunities.

  • These 10 domain names in this week’s HA auction are worth their reserve

    1. BY - Jul 21, 2014
    2. Domain Sales
    3. 7 Comments

    These ten domain names strike me as fairly priced for the right buyer.

    Heritage AuctionsHeritage Auctions holds its next domain name auction on Thursday, July 24.

    It’s getting quit a bit of press around this auction, thanks in part to the Bitcoins.com domain name. There’s a $750,000 reserve on that one. It will be interesting to see if someone steps up to the plate.

    Whether or not it sells, the press will shine some light on other good domain names in the auction. Here are ones I like at the reserve prices:

    SEM.com $290,000 – the price tag is steep, but Search Engine Marketing is a big business. This three letter domain name is worth the price to an SEM company.

    Moped.com $60,000 – I struggle with this one a bit. Do people still call them mopeds or do they say scooter? Is the plural better?

    Bristol.com $35,000 – part of a large pharma company name (Bristol-Myers Squibb), the name of a big town in England and a famous raceway. Lots of potential buyers for this one.

    DWI.org $15,000 – .Org works with this domain name.

    Bitcoin.club $10,000 – it’s hard to set a value on .club domain names. But this is just 16 bitcoins.

    Downline.com $8,500 – this one has been for sale for many years and has been offered in a previous HA auction. I believe the MLM industry still uses this term, and the price is right. The reserve is lower than in the first HA auction.

    GemMint.com $5,000 – a popular sportscard term that should play well with Heritage Auctions’ crowd.

    AntiqueGallery.com $3,000 – many antique galleries use the term in their company and/or domain name. This a deal for any of the larger ones.

    MintCondition.com $2,000 – wow, a great one for the collectables market. From the “too good to be true” department, this domain was added to the auction in error.

    CoinStores.com $500 – a small price to create a directory of coin dealers.

  • New TLDs this week: .Tokyo, .Moe, .Consulting and more

    1. BY - Jul 21, 2014
    2. Uncategorized
    3. 2 Comments

    Two Japan-focused domains kick off the week.

    It’s another busy week for new top level domain names, including a big .city domain name hitting registrar’s shelves on Tuesday.

    Tuesday

    Tuesday sees the launch of two Japan-focused domain names…in English.

    The biggie is .Tokyo, by far the most populous city TLD to enter general availability thus far.

    At least one Domain Name Wire reader thinks it will take a big shift in habits for people in Japan to promote or actually type in a .tokyo domain name…or any domain, for that matter.

    We’ll have to see.

    One thing is for sure…the price is right. 101domain.com has these for only $13.99 a year.

    .Moe.Moe also launches on Tuesday. It’s not a domain name for people named Moe. According to its website:

    The word “moe” (in Japanese: “萌え”; pronounced as “moh-ay”) is a slang word rooted deep in the Japanese Otaku culture. It has often been used to mean a particular type of “adorable” or “cute” towards fictional characters, people, animals, etc.

    I’ll leave it up to someone from Japan to tell me how popular this term is. Domains are about $20 retail.

    I believe that Valuetainment AG will launch .Voting on Tuesday as well. Its website is very uninformative, but 101domain.com shows the domain becoming available on Tuesday. It is charging $69.99 per year.

    Wednesday

    Rightside launches two domain names on Wednesday: .Kaufen (“Buy” in German) and .consulting. The latter should do quite well over time despite its length. Lots of consulting companies use “Consulting” in their names.

    Donuts has four domain names coming off EAP and four more entering.

    .Media, .pictures, .associates and .lease all revert to regular pricing Wednesday.

    .Reisen, .toys, .university and .town enter EAP.

    I think University will be interesting. Universities rushed to protect their domain names when .xxx came out several years ago as new of the domain name made the rounds with IT administrators. Will the same thing happen with .university?

    (Thanks to Calzone for much of the information used in this post.)

  • ICANN Finally nabs Domain Registry of America, termination likely coming

    1. BY - Jul 21, 2014
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 10 Comments

    Domain Registry of America hits a wall.

    ICANN has finally managed to suspend a scourge of the domain name registration business, Brandon Gray Internet Services (dba NameJuice.com).

    You might not know the company by that name, but if you own domain names then you’ve likely received postal mailings from Domain Registry of America (DROA). The deceptive notices trick people into thinking they need to renew their domain name by responding to the notice. Doing so results in a transfer of the domain name to Brandon Gray registrar…and the pricetag is hefty.

    The company has been doing this for over a decade. Register.com sued the company way back in 2002.

    Many people in the ICANN community have been begging ICANN to take action for years. So why now?

    For all its faults, you can credit the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement for this one.

    The 2013 RAA placed stricter controls on registrars as it relates to resellers. Accredited registrars can no longer turn a blind eye to activities undertaken by their resellers (or to hide behind resellers, as may be the case). This includes resellers undertaking deceptive advertising practices.

    ICANN is also questioning (pdf) how the company obtained mailing addresses for so many domain name registrants. (In other words, it scraped whois to get the records).

    The registrar is immediately suspended (although it hasn’t updated its website to reflect this) and may be terminated soon. ICANN sent a breach notice (pdf) along with the suspension notice. It has onerous requirements to cure the breach, including providing details behind all of its marketing activities.