Blogs about the domain industry and the various players and companies within it.

A .XYZ Disaster Story

A .XYZ Disaster Story

A client recently purchased a .XYZ domain for an application that they were developing. Everything was working fine until today when suddenly the domain stopped resolving. It just so happens that in their infinite wisdom the .XYZ registry had decided to suspend the domain. So what actually happened?

When you sign-up for a .XYZ domain name you are coming under the terms and conditions of the registry. A part of the terms is they have the right to suspend a domain if they deem the domain is being used for inappropriate reasons. The stated goal is to keep the .XYZ namespace safe…..sounds interesting.

Here’s the problem. For the domain in question SpamHaus, Google Safebrowsing, SURBL, URIBL (all recommended by the registry) flagged the domain as safe. Virus Total has 68 sub-organisations that they relate to and one of these organisations flagged the domain for possible phishing reasons.

Why was this the case? It just so happens that at some time the domain had been sent to advertising networks and I’m guessing that one of these networks may have had a problem with a “spam advertiser”. This sometimes happens and the networks immediately kick these types of advertisers out. In the case of the .XYZ domain this resulted in it being banned.

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The Percentage of Advertising Revenues Google Pays Domainers

The Percentage of Advertising Revenues Google Pays Domainers

I don’t know why it’s taken me a little while to update some of my analysis but there has been a big reporting change by Google which got me a little excited. In the past Google only reported an overall aggregate Traffic Acquisition Cost (TAC) but now this has all changed.

Since Q1 2015 Google has broken out the numbers for the network members from the distribution partners. You may ask, what is the difference and where does the domain industry sit?

Distribution partners are people like Apple, who charge Google for real-estate on iPhones etc. Google has hidden the amount that companies like Apple take by publishing the amount of revenue as a percentage of the overall Google website revenues (an odd metric actually). This means it’s impossible to reverse engineer the financial relationship…..which actually makes commercial sense.

On the other hand, for the first time ever Google has released the TAC to network members and this is the segment that the domain industry sits within. According to the reports, Google is paying out between 68-70% of the advertising revenue to this channel.

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Tony Lentino Passes Away

Tony Lentino Passes Away

My friend and the friend of many, Tony Lentino, passed away yesterday. I know that I speak on behalf of the entire domain industry to pass our sincerest condolences on to his wife Emily and their children during this difficult time.

I first met Tony while training for my pilot’s license at Moorabbin airport. He was an amazing man who loved life and accepted everyone just where they were. The one thing that really struck me about Tony was his exceptional generosity and this permeated every aspect of his life.

I remember flying together from Melbourne to the Gold Coast to attend TRAFFIC downunder. My wife Roselyn and I were in a little Piper Archer while Tony and five other domainers were flying his larger Saratoga. He loved his plane (AQM) and it was an absolute joy for him to take people for a fly.

Tony's pride and joy

He didn't ask for anything from those that traveled to the Gold Coast and back. He happily invited them to jump onboard and have an experience of a life-time.

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What Brexit Means For Domain Investors

What Brexit Means For Domain Investors

Well, the news is out! Britain has just exited the European Union and the global financial shockwaves are only rumbling through the markets. It’s only been hours since the announcement but what does this mean for Domain Investors?

For a start, the forex interest in the event has been so enormous that popular website XE.COM crashed. I spent the last ten minutes trying to get any sort of activity and finally gave up. My guess is that it’s experiencing the impact of a very real DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attack from genuine requests rather than a large botnet.

Escrow.com

After flipping across to Yahoo Finance I was able to see that as of this article the Pound has dropped over 12.65% against the USD. Likewise, the Euro has fallen by 3.6% and this will mean a possible boom ride for European domain investors.

The majority of the online advertising market is still in the United States and so any advertising dollars earned will need to be converted to Euros or Pounds. If a UK based domainer earns $US1 they will effectively get an additional 12.65% free of charge.

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How Much Are Your Domains Really Worth? Part 1

How Much Are Your Domains Really Worth? Part 1

Over the last few years there has been a rush of capital into the domain industry from two major sources, Chinese investors and speculators. I have written quite a lot on the Chinese investors but have largely ignored the speculators.

Escrow.com

Speculators have hoped to win the lottery by having a domain that a cashed up major company wants to desperately buy. They hear about the successes of “old-time” domainers and dream about find the pot-of-gold at the end of one of their domain rainbows. I don’t mean to rain on your parade but this is unlikely to happen and here’s why.

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How Will a Chinese Economic Hard Landing Impact Domain Investors?

How Will a Chinese Economic Hard Landing Impact Domain Investors?

I’ve taken a great deal of interest in the Chinese economy of late and I’ve written a number of articles that outline how everything is not so good in the dragon nation. Debt continues to skyrocket, GDP is levelling off and there appears to be stockpiles of commodities that are unused. So how is this all going to impact domain investors?

Escrow.com

CNBC published an article, “Moody’s raises worries over China loans as Communist party paper calls debt load ‘original sin’”. Within the article, influential investors Kyle Bass and George Soros warn of a credit crisis in China, with Bass noting the presence of “ticking time bombs” in China’s banking system.

What really struck me about the article was the second video where an independent economist, Andy Xie, suggests that China’s real bad loan situation is closer to 20% and not the 1.5% being reported. He then went on to say that over half the loans relate to property and that all across the country buildings empty and that they are being traded like gambling chips. Everyone is hoping that someone else will pay more for the assets.

China Non-performing loans

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Domaining Europe Presentation

Domaining Europe Presentation

I had the absolute pleasure of presenting a session on Domain Monetisation at Domaining Europe yesterday. A lot of people asked if I could upload the presention to my blog....so here it is!

Click to Download the Domain Monetisation Presentation

Domaining Europe has been outstanding so far and I'm really looking forward to heading back down to meet new people, do some business an make new friends!

Escrow.com

 

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TNW and Domaining Europe

TNW and Domaining Europe

The clock is ticking until on Saturday I jump on yet another aircraft to travel to Europe and the other side of the world. I must admit that other than the 24-hour journey, I’m really looking forward to this trip as I’ll get a chance to catch-up with all of the European ParkLogic clients and friends.

Escrow.com

So what takes me to Europe? As well as a whole heap of meetings I’m heading to Amsterdam to attend TNW (The Next Web). The best way to think of TNW is that it’s the TED conference for technology. I hope to come away exhilarated and really excited about some of the great ideas and business models being presented.

ParkLogic is sponsoring Domaining Europe and it’s the second conference I’ll be attending. I’ve always wanted to go to Domaining Europe and it was great that Dietmar, the convener, decided to move it from Valencia to The Hague….which is just down the road from Amsterdam. I have the privilege of speaking on monetisation and being on a panel…..I’ll make sure that the session is lively and interesting!

If you’re attending Domaining Europe or TNW then please don’t hesitate to reach out to me so that we can schedule some time together. My schedule usually fills up pretty quickly so please contact me ASAP. I would particularly like to meet with any domain investors that monetise their traffic.

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Problems With The Domain Industry

Problems With The Domain Industry

I published an article about ChiP (Chinese Premium) domains yesterday and received a really interesting comment from a reader that I would like to unpack. For a start I would like to thank them for the effort they took in writing the comment as it’s clear they are really passionate about domains.

Escrow.com

As the comment is public, here is what they wrote:

Your advice to sell is terrible advice. And then you offer to help CHIP owners liquidate. Four-letter .com prices are positioned to move up substantially in the coming years and you recommend getting out now. You obviously needed a better translator on your China trip. SELLING CHIPS NOW AT LIQUIDATION PRICES IS TERRIBLE ADVICE. PLEASE DON'T HEED.

Yes, my advice may be terrible for a subset of the domain community that is wanting to hold their domains in perpetuity but here’s the thing. The whole point of having an asset is either it produces dividends in the form of an income stream (eg. Monetisation) or you sell the asset for more than you paid for it (ie. capital gain).

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Domainers Meet Dubai a Great Success!

Domainers Meet Dubai a Great Success!

Congratulations are in order to all of the organisers of Domainers Meet in Dubai. The conference concluded yesterday and I know that a lot of business will be conducted as a result. This good news is that there are plans in place already to run the conference next year.

From the moment I stepped off the plane at the enormous Dubai international airport I could feel the incredible surge of energy of a city and a country going places. It's hard to imagine that just forty years earlier and I would have been welcomed by sand dunes.....instead a bustling metropolis of amazing skyscrapers and spectacular architecture greeted me.

The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, stands out as a shimmering spire surrounded by an oasis of a manmade lake that contains dancing fountains which make the ones in front of the Belagio look tiny. Everything about Dubai speaks of grandeur and an amazing vision towards the future.

Likewise, Domainers Meeting is backed by a team that really believes in not just the physical expansion of Dubai but also the virtual. This theme constantly came through in the conference. It's clear that Dubai plans on applying the same amount of energy to domains and the Internet as it has to carving out the remarkable city in the physical.

I had the privilege of being the opening speaker and it was somewhat daunting as I stood looking across at the attendees. Why was this the case? Because I was standing in the sand dunes of the virtual Dubai and the people before me were eager to turn the sand into virtual gold. They were hungry to learn and apply the same levels of enthusiasm to domain names that they have applied to everywhere around us.

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