There are subtle cues around us every day that the Internet is changing the World:
Quote: "In its heyday, it occupied five floors of the Time & Life Building in Midtown Manhattan; today its staff takes up a corner of one floor... Life is moving its huge archive of photographs. onto the Web, where consumers will be able to download them free."
Reading these passages are striking for me. As a child I remember a copy of Life magazine being in most homes on my block. When I saw Netscape 1 for the first time in 1993, I knew immediately that the Web would change the world because of its ability to share pictures from any location with anyone, anywhere. Even today that is a powerful core tenet of the Web. The Internet has taken the life out of print (pun intended).
I think 'the rich' shop online for the same reason that people look for Porn online: Annonymity.
When I was poor and younger I would walk down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and I feel totally outclassed. I'd see people leaving stores with their big shopping bags and wonder what those people do for a living. "I wish I could afford something to fit in the BIG bag."
Today I feel awkward for the opposite reason. Walk out of Prada on Rodeo with so many bags you can hardly carry them and you begin to feel more like a target than a symbol of success (the BH store will let you park in back if you call ahead to avoid that awkwardness). Shop online and you don't have that concern.. the rich don't worry about the Fedex charge. Fedex is alot cheaper than fueling the jet.
Reports suggests that only 30% of the rich would click on a PPC ad. Interesting how that contrasts against a previous Spannerworks report that suggests the rich are more likely to click on paid search advertising. I suspect that the other 70% of rich folks didn't know they were clicking on a PPC ad or their assistant did the clicking.
.. and regardless of your religious views, it's a good ruling for domain registrants. Taken to its illogical conclusion, anybody parodying anything or providing info could be taken to task under ACCPA.
As a quick sidebar; I think the ACCPA is a dated law that doesn't clearly allow for circumstances such as this and (in many circumstances) steamrolls registrant rights by instilling fear. The people writing this law did so during a period when the net (and domain space) was still evolving. There was no counter-balancing voice at the time to speak against over-reaching trademark holders interests. This particular law simply serves to drive many US centric entrepreneurs to start companies away from America. THAT is ultimately bad for the US economy. The world is changing and America's economy needs domain name related laws that recognize registrants rights and help to foster entrepreneurialism; while still controlling wholesale trademark abuse (which is clearly unacceptable).
The keyword is balance. Generic name-holders need laws that protect against Cyberbullying by over-reaching, covetous latecomers, just as much as TM holders need laws to protect against squatters.. Cyberbullying is a problem that is going to amplify by orders of magnitude as the Net continues to evolve and as latecomers finally come-around to realizing the opportunity that they missed.
I ran it up from $13,000 to its $15,000 reserve this AM, then I got distracted with some blogging and and some errands -- a couple of other folks ran it up to $19,000 where it sold. Good buy IMO. It would probably have topped 30k with the usual suspects bidding at Snapnames.com .. my bad.
Firstly.. Subprime in the US has not imploded.. Not yet anyway.. This is just the beginning of a big real estate/mortgage market/capital market correction. Ask me why I'm not worried.. I'm not worried because difficult markets reinforce the need for advertisers to pay more to generate business. Part human nature, part business instinct. What happens when you make less money from domain name traffic? You double down and work harder to find new names generating traffic and (initially anyway) paying more at auction, paying more for leads. A wise businessman once told me: There is no such thing as saving your way to prosperity.
Recessions and corrections impact advertising but only nominally relative to the overall economy. In the final analysis you have to spend money to make money.
Remember my philosophy, If you're not growing, you're dying.
I was talking to Vern this weekend about blogging and he said, "Man your blog writes itself". There are so many funny stories in this biz that most people will never know. The domain industry is still so young. There are many untold wild-catter fables. The entire space reminds me of Old Las Vegas.
Take domain tasting .. the "new plague of the modern Internet". Tasting started out so innocently back when people had less money than there were generic names in the sea. It was hard to make money from generic domain names back in the mid 90's. There were no PPC programs. Internet advertising (in general) was yet to be born.
Before I had any domain names, I had a curiosity about the domain industry and I had ambition. I hungered to learn more about names and the big name holders. If I could meet the players that ruled this new world, perhaps I could offer outsourced services to them. My curiosity heightened after reading stories that leaked to the late 1990s press about domain names selling for 100's of thousands (or even millions) of dollars.
One of the biggest name registrants in the mid 1990's was a company called 'Mail Bank'. They had registered some really amazing first and last names for the purpose offering email addresses and custom webspace to consumers. The idea was pretty simple, get your email Firstname@lastname.com and website http://you.lastname.com for some small monthly recurring sum.
The company was started in Vancouver, BC (domainer hot-bed) by a guy named Jerry Sumpton. Jerry knew what a good name was but he didn't have a lot of money. Back then Network Solutions (based in San Diego) was the only registrar in town and they operated the NSI registry (Internic) as well. Jerry figured out that you could sign up for a 'business account' through Netsol and buy names on credit (getting a monthly bill from Netsol). When the bill came 30-45 days later, Jerry would just ignore it and some time later, the names would get deleted for non-payment. He would then buy back the names he thought were good, effectively kiting the payment system. The best names with lots of email accounts would always get renewed regardless.
In the mid/late 1990's, kiting the Network Solutions payment system became more difficult because the adult operators of the day figured out that you could register female first names like "Sally", "Mary", "Jessica" and point them to Porn-site entry pages; making pretty good money selling porn subscriptions to 'gentlemen' looking for Sally, Mary and Jessica surrogates. Aside from having trouble keeping his female first names, Jerry faced new drop snipers like "the Watermelon Farmer" Scott Day and "Canadian Sniper" Garry Chernoff who bought names to keep. After a young man named 'Yun Ye' came on the scene, nothing good could be kited any longer.
Jerry ultimately sold his interest in MailBank.com. He told me his story in the early 2000's .. Mailbank went on and re-branded into 'Net Identity' which was acquired last year by Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows (in a simply brilliant move). The selling price was cheap given the business and organic traffic flow that those names generate.
So when people today tell you: "Nothing good can come from Domain Tasting", I encourage you to remind them that at least 1 major Internet concern was built on the foundation of that practice. That concern was acquired for 18 million in cash by Tucows and will be worth 100's of millions one day.
The modern history of the domain business sure reminds me of the history of Las Vegas and its fabled strip. These are only the Vegas 1950's of the domain biz.. Wait till the domain industry's Steve Wynn arrives to leave his footprint on this space. You ain't seen nothing yet.
It's funny what you remember about the domain business. I remember Garry Chernoff hanging on the phone with me years ago and him emailing a snippet from his coveted .com hold list. This was an older list so all the names in the list had popped (deleted) already. Garry and I scrolled the list together (a section from the letter ' s ' ) and up came shrouds.com .. I can still hear Garry going on about "Shrouds" and all the great things that term represents.. "They can be engine shrouds, there are religious shrouds.. I bet you could create a business just selling 'shrouds' of one kind or another" .. then he said.. Hey, it's still available!.. why don't you take that one Frank?"
I reached for my credit card to buy what would probably be a worthless domain name. Garry hastily got off the phone and I perused the rest of the list opting to buy one other name: "Sleepdeep.com" (I had just sold an antique brass bed privately and thought I might open an Internet based sleep/bed shop one day). The next year I couldn't afford my renewals and I let sleepdeep.com expire.. I meant to let shrouds.com drop too but accidentally hit the renew button. Sleepdeep.com went through its expiration cycle and was gobbled up by Yun Ye.
Yun sold his names to Marchex, so now sleepdeep.com lives in Seattle.
Moral is, If you believe in your names, pay your renewals (even if it hurts a bit). I believed in sleepdeep.com more than shrouds.com but was just too dumb to renew the correct one. In retrospect I should have kept both.. This funny little story is to show that we all get it wrong sometimes. The difference between success and failure is just getting it right more than getting it wrong.