Domain News: Open vs. Closed gTLDs

Should applicants have the ability to choose “open” or “closed” for their new gTLDs?
Open vs. Closed gTLDs
As ICANN works to launch the new gTLDs, the domaining community, among many others, has become increasingly concerned with the issue of “opened” and “closed” generic top-level domains (gTLDs). The argument includes apprehension about whether or not a private company should have the ability to own a new gTLD and close ownership to any other parties.

If companies, such as Amazon, have the ability to own general keyword gTLDs like .book, then others are at a disadvantage. In this example, authors, publishers, critics, and more miss out on the opportunity to tap into the .book web space.

This raises the issue of the internet being a free market and open for all to use. Much like Google’s “Free and Open” initiative, people wonder whether giving companies the option of open and closed gTLD ownership threatens their ability to compete and browse online.

We already expect the way we search to change with the introduction of thousands of new gTLDs, but are uncomfortable about the uncertainty that the new gTLDs present. Is giving applicants the right to determine whether their gTLDs will be open or closed threatening our online freedom by offering them too much power, or have they simply earned the right to choose by paying for and applying through ICANN’s process?

At this point, there is no straightforward answer and no sides being favored. While private companies may support their ability to make the decision, others will continue to be upset by the risk that this option presents.

As the gTLDs continue to launch, we will have to wait and see what applicants choose to bring their new gTLDs to the market, and what others choose to monopolize the web space for the time being.

Afternic Weekly Sales: March 18, 2013 to March 24, 2013

Weekly Domain Sales Breakdown
Domain Sales for the week of Mar 18, 2013 to Mar 24, 2013
Sold

Afternic’s sales totaled $1,056,772.

The top public sale for the past week was ulive.tv, which sold for $27,000.

The Specials category came in first, accounting for 16% of all domains sold in the past week, followed by Business at 13%.

Below please find the list of highlighted public domain sales.

Weekly Sales

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Afternic Weekly Sales: March 11, 2013 to March 17, 2013

Weekly Domain Sales Breakdown
Domain Sales for the week of Mar 11, 2013 to Mar 17, 2013
Sold

Afternic’s sales totaled $1,200,994.

The top public sale for the past week was Eluxe.com, which sold for $33,500.

The Shopping category came in first, accounting for 13% of all domains sold in the past week, followed by Business at 11%.

Below please find the list of highlighted public domain sales.

Weekly Sales

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Our Interview with Neil Kavanaugh, VP of Afternic Sales and Customer Service

This quarter we interview Neil Kavanaugh, the VP of Afternic Sales and Customer Service.
Neil Kavanaugh

Q: Neil, please share your story at NameMedia with us! What brought you here?
I worked in Sales Management for nearly 7 years at the search engine Lycos.com during the exciting boom times of the Internet in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. It was a tremendous experience. I had the privilege of developing partnerships with exciting up-and-coming web companies as well as some of the world’s biggest brands.

After leaving Lycos.com, I knew I wanted to continue working within the online space.  In late 2005, I received a call from a former colleague, inviting me to join him at NameMedia where he was just named CEO.  I jumped at the opportunity, and nearly 8 years later, I’m thrilled to still be here driving our sales efforts.

Q: How does a typical domain broker’s day go at NameMedia?
Every one of our nearly 20 brokers works extremely hard. Our group is split into several teams, managing relationships with our various customers to sell our six million domains in inventory. Additionally, we have our Afternic Agent division, which assists companies who wish to purchase domains not currently listed for sale in the secondary market.

We are fortunate to have the most experienced and knowledgeable sales team in the industry. Our staff size allows for nearly 24/7 phone coverage to capitalize on the impulsive nature of the domain market.  Our goal is always to answer every domain inquiry as promptly and aggressively as possible. As a result, being a broker here at NameMedia is not a 9-5 position. In fact, our sales team averages more than 60 hours a week logged into our call center. While it certainly can be a challenging job, the fact that we conduct $50 million+ in domain sales each year can also make it a very lucrative one.

Q: So, what are the main sources of leads your team handles?
Our primary lead source is the “for sale” link on the parked domain landing pages. Most people’s first instinct when looking for a specific domain name is to type it into a browser to see if it is available or being used. By placing a very clear “for sale” link at the top of the page, we make it extremely easy for that prospect to connect with a broker to discuss the availability and pricing on a specific domain.

Of course there are many other ways folks search for domain names, and we try to make certain we have all other channels covered as well. Be it through our extensive registrar and partner network, or our proprietary sales platforms, we try to be everywhere domains are searched for to offer the broadest possible lead funnel. Our strong relationships with small business focused registrars place us in front of the coveted end-user domain buyers. Combine this with our talented and experienced brokers, and it’s easy to see why we have a median sales price nearly double that of our nearest competitor.

Q: How exactly can the NameMedia brokerage team support an Afternic partner?
We have dedicated sales resources to service each of our partners, as well as those in our reseller network, to help our partners maximize premium domain revenue. If a reseller partner has a lead on a premium domain sale, one of our brokers can help them negotiate and close the sale. We can even provide premium domain sales for our partners by taking calls from their customers directly, either specifically for premium domains or during non-business hours. Every partner gets a dedicated domain sales account representative to ensure that they have a contact person at NameMedia.

Q: And what if the partner wishes to handles all inquiries in house?
We provide on-going training programs for our partners to teach them how to educate their customers and negotiate the sale of premium domains. We’ve trained reseller sales and customer service teams, and both typically experience double-digit sales increases when they train their internal teams using our best practices for premium domain sales.

Q: What’s your one crucial piece of advice for new partners and distributors getting into premium domains?
First and most important, use best practices when you add premium domains to your web site. Customers who use best practices sell on average 10-times more premium domains than customers who do not. Second, leverage your customer-facing teams, which should know how to talk with their customers about premium domains to improve user experience and increase revenue and profits. And lastly, talk with your NameMedia account manager to make sure you’re taking advantage of all the premium domains services that are available to you.

Education Domain Investment

It’s never too late to start learning.
Education Domain
Today, education doesn’t stop after you’ve received a high school diploma or a college degree. It expands far beyond the traditional textbooks and subject matter to include new educational experiences such as cooking, dancing, and fitness classes to name a few. Education has taken on entertainment value and has become an outlet for consumers to learn and experience more beyond their career oriented path.

This peaked interest in new adult education classes presents the perfect opportunity to invest in a new education domain name. With an education domain, the development potential is endless. Whether you choose to offer a directory of classes available in a consumers’ local area, or promote a specific educational experience through your individually developed course offerings, the possibilities are limitless for revenue generation.

As the popularity of educational activities continues to grow, now is the time to invest in an education domain. By taking advantage of an educational domain you can open up numerous learning experiences and share your own expertise outside the conventional classroom setting. Consumers’ newfound excitement in a fun learning environment creates a lucrative opportunity for domain investors. Regardless of whether the course is conducted online or not, an education domain name is necessary to spread the word about your educational offerings.

Think beyond the traditional expectation of learning, and utilize the new demand for entertaining education. Connect with consumers who are searching for an experience that is both fun and conducive to learning, by investing in an education domain today!

From Australia to Israel, the Afternic Partner Network is Getting More Global

global network
Afternic greets spring with a bang as more partners join the world’s largest domain distribution network. This time it’s Instra, a leading Melbourne-based registrar that supplies domains to buyers from more than 250 countries worldwide, and DomainTheNet, Israel’s leading registrar and brand protection service based in Tel-Aviv. Both partners now offer more customer choice and a wider suite of services with six million premium domains for sale available on their websites. Still more partners are currently gearing up to launch, so watch this space for more news soon!

To add to the excitement of bringing new partners on board our rapidly growing partner network, Afternic is thrilled to see existing partnerships growing with Endurance Group’s exclusive launch of Premium Promotion services this spring. We are pleased to report that Domain.com customers can now list domains they are selling across the entire reseller network with a single click, benefiting from Fast Transfer eligibility and an expanded network of buyers, thus maximizing the chance of selling their domains quickly and easily. Compared to lengthy escrow processes common at legacy marketplaces, Afternic’s Fast Transfer technology delivers unprecedented simplicity and transparency, which means more sales and more satisfied customers.

See You in Rust!

world hosting days
Afternic is excited to attend the world’s largest hosting industry event, held at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany on March 18 – 21. At World Hosting Days we will be joined by over 4,000 experts and decision makers from within the hosting and related industries to talk about the fantastic opportunities offered by premium domains. Did you know that premium domain buyers spend, on average, 5 times more than primary domain customers on value added services? BlueHost, Host Europe, Host Monster, and other major players are already using premium domains to increase the lifetime value of their most profitable customers. See how you can do the same – contact us to arrange a meeting during the show.

World Hosting Days is a packed, three-day conference and a huge trade fair, with many of Afternic’s premium network partners exhibiting and sponsoring the event, including Tucows, eNom, and EuroDNS. It is also a great platform for business and networking opportunities that catalyze interaction, partnership discussions, and the search for new solutions. To top it off, World Hosting Days are held in an adventure park within the heart of Europe. Where else can you strike a major deal and then go for a roller-coaster ride during lunch break? Safe travels and see you soon!

.PW and .MENU Domains Available for Purchase Through Afternic

pw
As the industry moves closer to the launch of new TLDs, Afternic is already in market with the next-generation of premium domain services. This month we are excited to support the.PW “Professional Web” launch that is going into General Availability on March 25th. Top Premium Domains from the .PW reserve list will then be available for sale at fixed prices on our websites and throughout the Afternic distribution network. Your Afternic account manager will be in touch to discuss how you can take advantage of these great new Premium Domains.

As more new TLD applicants recognize the importance of premium domains for the success of their TLDs, they are turning to Afternic to provide them with premium domain strategies. This gives applicants like WhatBox? the best possible reserved list for their new TLD .MENU.  .MENU and other TLDs that choose Afternic benefit by promoting their Premium Domains on the world’s largest domain reseller network. This gives our TLD partners the maximum revenue potential and a clear go-to-market strategy that is in line with the industry and end-user needs. We are looking forward to more new gTLD projects in 2013 and beyond!

Trademark Research

The importance of doing research before you buy.
Research
If you are in the market to purchase a new domain name, or multiple new domain names, you might want to consider conducting some of your own research before jumping on a good deal. While it’s tempting to immediately take advantage of a great domain opportunity, gathering some background on the name is crucial. Whether you plan to resell the domain, or use it for development purposes, be sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.

When purchasing an expired or aftermarket domain name, the possibility exists that there is someone who holds a trademark or patent on the keyword of your prospective domain. Even if another company does not hold an official trademark, you’ll want to avoid any of the following possibilities that could result in more trouble than the domain is worth.

Legal Action

In the instance that a company or brand actually does have a trademark and does not own the domain name, you’ll probably want to steer clear. If the company has been waiting for a particular domain to expire so that they can scoop it up, the bidding war certainly won’t be worth your time and chances are the name is much more valuable to them than you.

The last thing you want after developing your website is a notice of legal action being taken against you for infringing on a trademark.

Competition

If the domain appears to be trademark free and you’re still considering purchasing it, you’ll also want to determine if there are any companies with similar names that might cause confusion for the consumer. By conducting a simple search online, you can see what companies target that specific keyword and determine whether you can work around their competition, or if you need a more standout domain name.

Introducing .MENU to Market!

Afternic and NameJet work with WhatBox? to launch the new .MENU TLD.
.MENU
After months of waiting, the time is almost here for the first launch of a new English language TLD. Thanks to a favorable prioritization number at the ICANN draw, WhatBox? is beginning to prepare for the introduction of their new top level domain, .MENU!

They have teamed up with NameJet, the leading domain name auction platform, and Afternic, the world’s largest premium domain marketplace, to facilitate the sunrise and landrush auctions. These auctions with help bring .MENU to the market targeting restaurants and food enthusiasts with the goal to build the culinary environment online.

While NameJet General Manager, Matt Overman, expresses excitement at helping in the .MENU auction, he also comments on the promise of holding future TLD auctions throughout the rest of this year.  Erik Ludwick, co-founder of WhatBox?, shares his enthusiasm about the TLDs stating that, “NameJet and Afternic [have] teamed up to offer the perfect solution for attaining both initial success during the launch phase and sustained adoption of .MENU.”

We hope that the combined effort of Afternic and Namejet, will continue to provide new TLD owners with the peace of mind to roll out their new gTLDs on the market. We look forward to the release of more TLDs, and working with the new owners to provide them with the “perfect solution” as well.

For more information, the full press release can be read here.