Paul Nicks’ inventions related to name spinning and appraisals get patent protection.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office today issued two patents to GoDaddy related to name spinning and appraisal.
U.S. Patent number 8,447,701 is titled “Appraising domain names using comparative data” and 8,447,702 (pdf) is “Domain appraisal algorithm”.
The patents have lots of overlapping material. They cover name spinning to create permutations of domain names as well as multiple aspects of automatically generating a domain name appraisal.
Here’s a summary of some of the aspects of domain valuation that the patent describes:
The appraisal may be accomplished by breaking the valuation of the domain into five logical groupings, possibly including evaluation of “5 P’s” related to the domain name. Evaluation of “precision” may include the number of distinct keywords found, the length of the name and the number of keywords found in the dictionary. Evaluation of “popularity” may include various search engine search result metrics and tracking of words searched per month. Evaluation of “presence” may include the age of the domain, and the rank of the web site according to web ranking services or software. Evaluation of “pattern” may include the number of premium characters, the part of speech (such as noun, plural noun, verb, adjective, etc., possibly considering if the domain is a one word domain), the relationship of vowels and consonants etc. (possibly considering if the domain is a 4-5 character word). Evaluation of Pay-Per-Click, or PPC, may include the maximum number of pay-per-click bids from various advertising tracking services or software, and the number of ads returned within search engine searches. A dynamic multiplier based on registration statistics for each of several top level domains (TLDs) may then be applied to the domain evaluation. This multiplier may be used to give a very accurate measure of domain scarcity to let a user or evaluator know how rare a domain name is.
Paul Nicks, Director of Product Development GoDaddy.com’s Aftermarket, is listed as inventor on both patents.
Damn! What a creativity you have Paul 😉
I am wondering what is the interest of such patents describing processes that are already largely used for years on domain appraisal services.
Paul Nicks says
@Francois, although the goal of appraising a domain (or keyword splitting etc) may not be unique, the process by which each company does this is unique. The patent is for this unique process, not intended to cover all means by which a domain may be appraised.
Michael Marcovici says
Domainindex and Estibot do the same for many years, the patent is a joke there is hardly any innovation at all, many other domain related services use the same procedures for many years already.
Andrew Rosener says
@Paul – it would appear that the criteria you cover in the appraisal patent are very similar to those that we have been quite open about using for years in evaluating keyword domain names. Godaddy would have a very difficult time enforcing such a patent considering the prior art that exists from many other companies using similar methodologies, such as mine!
Wait didn’t Monte Cahn invent domain appraisals ?
“We invented the first domain appraisal system and have done over 380,000 appraisals to date,” Cahn said. “The criteria from our system are now used in more than 95% of all domain appraisals on the web. Our appraisals are also accepted by the IRS to value charitable domain donations.””
Steven Newman says
This is typical of Paul and Godaddy to use their strength and might to push the little guy around.
Godaddy has too much power and unless some other companies step up their game, it’s only going to get worse.
Andrew Allemann says
@ Steven – it’s a patent, not a lawsuit. As far as I know GoDaddy has never used a patent to “push the little guy around”.
Steven Newman says
@Andrew Allemann- You are correct…it’s a patent, not a lawsuit.
a patent is the first step to a lawsuit…
GD has new ownership, unlimited funds, and the ability to do whatever they want, when they want and to who they want.
What you say makes sense when appraisals are of high quality, but with all due respect, it look likes people say they are far to be the best domain appraisals around.
Never have godaddy appraise your domains. Always have your appraisals done elsewhere, especially automatically generated ones. Heck godaddy appraised my domain NatGas.co for something like $50 or $100 (sorry, it was months ago but something like that) and the dot com is listed for $400,000. Yes i understand dot com is king but $50? What do you think NatGas.co is worth? They also appraised my domain CloudComputing.co extremely low too. Something like $100+. Really? Amazon paid a lot of money for Cloud.co. What is your opinion of CloudComputing.co?
Paul Nicks says
@Steve – So, a patent I submitted, as an engineer, 3 1/2 years ago is somehow symbolic of my personal need to push the little guy around? I have 7 other patents pending, some related to appraisals, that all were submitted prior to the new ownership or my own ascension to anything resembling a leadership role in GD. Hopefully if/when those come through they won’t also typify my need to keep the little guy down.
This is why innovation is dead in America, and why lawyers are still employed, sad to see godaddy go down this road, these systems have been in place years before godaddy submitted their patent request, and we all know it;-)
Patent trolls, one more way for lawyers to get rich on other peoples work, only in the US!
Andrew Allemann says
A couple things:
1. If GoDaddy were to start using their patents in a “bad” way it would be fair to call them out. Up to this point they’ve only used their patents defensively to respond to a patent lawsuit.
2. Even if they were suing over patent infringement, they wouldn’t be patent trolls. Patent Trolls are non practicing entities…companies that haven’t created anything and their business is suing.
BTW, I own PatentTroll.com and PatentTrolls.com 🙂
Joseph Peterson says
People are right to be concerned about the potential for abuse in advance of actual abuse.
Since plenty of companies do use excessively broad patents on abstract processes to stifle competition, there is a legitimate perception of risk with this GoDaddy patent. Even if GoDaddy hasn’t used patents to bully the competition, others in their position commonly do; and there is a risk that GoDaddy one day might.
It seems to me that the only features of GoDaddy’s appraisal algorithm or name spinner worth “copying” have always been common sense and are in widespread use. Of course, I haven’t looked at their patent application. But patent rights would have to be very narrowly conceived in order to protect the rights of the rest of us.
Personally, I use GoDaddy as primary registrar; so I definitely have no ax to grind. Let’s hope for fair play.
It seems that some of you have forgotten (or never knew…) that not too long ago (10 years lets say?) Go Daddy WAS the little guy… And through their support of the same “Little Guys” they became the giant they are today. Sure, the ownership may have changed and the domaining industry surely has as well, but to bash a company who the majority of us use (and benefit from) in some form or another just because they get a patent issued is a bit extreme, wouldn’t you agree?
Every large company was one person’s dream at some time but building a success doesn’t earn you a pass to do whatever you want.
They are claiming and patenting methods that seem to be widely discussed and in use prior.
Michael Marcovici says
I dont believe Godaddy needs to go after the “small guy” but the impairment for the small guy already happened. From an investment perspective GD now increased and secures its assets, while others using the same technology for longer than GD, have now impaired the value of their investment and are constantly at least theoretically at risk to lose the base of their business.
If “the small guy” now wish to sell their business or get an investment it will certainly have negative impact.
Amen. Software patents is evil, they inhibit the development. Thank god we don’t have this in Europe.
Goddady is the king of patents in domain names and all approved by the kings of the House of U.S. national security, from whom, is an ironic way of thinking always wrong which moves millions of dollars each year, it is easy to patent something in return should receive.
Patent Certificate $ 19 fee to purchase domain names all extensions, mainly dot-com gTLD unexpired fixed payment is $ 25,000 with or without bill.
Patent Trademark Filtration towards gTLD domain names, to use domain parking among others, to do the official agencies of the United States anything, everything is money as usual for them, the power of the patent is a demand, it is impossible to put one in this form if you yourselves know the strategic keywords that we can find something that will never be known and be ahead of us in Google, this is never deleted.
Now that two more patents for domainers that if all you know the vast majority do not believe in the valuation, the more authentic the subprime existing before and always sign the same.
Let’s face it
Rebekah Cross says
Joe, you are illiterate.