***FS*** Thanks to you Dan... this timely pic again illustrates what many of us in the domain industry intimately understand .. Generic domain names and name-phrases often have a great deal of meaning and desirability to different people.. and for many different reasons.
Skidmark could be something you lay down from behind the wheel of your CL 65, it could be something unfortunate in your Calvins, or it could be the name of that hot new alternative band.
Delta could be an airline, a reciprocating saw, or a frat-house..
United could be an airline, a moving company or any number of insurers.
Doll House could be something children have played with for 300 years.. or a registered trademark related to beer cozies in certain countries or jurisdictions.
The most contentious disputes relating to domain names usually surround these coveted generic words and phrases which have some combination of potency, meaning, B-Factor, and Je Nai se Quoi.
The existing owners of such .com words and phrases, sometimes find themselves living modern-day scenes from a wild-west movie -- similar to the turning point where ranch owners are run roughshod over by railroad barons who's tracks came a few years later than those homesteaders.
The two-fold difference between 'then' and 'now' is the knowledge of those former inequities.. "We've seen this picture before".. and .. today's ranchers have more free cash-flow than their bean-farming predecessors. Today's domain registrants are armed with lawyers, guns and money of their own; and while not walking around with a chip on their shoulder, they are willing and able to challenge covetous latecomers effectively via the UDRP and the courts.
Most of these accidental virtual-barons have vision exceeding their railroading counterparts.
This past weeks example of Cowboys.com drove that home for me.. After the attorney for the Dallas Cowboys came down with a case of "buyers remorse" relating to his $225,000 bid for that generic and valuable URL, his unpaid bid was bested by $100,000 (implying several groups of bidders) after word of the default spread to the street (NB: I had no hand in this).
..Less known is the fact that at the previous Las Vegas TRAFFIC auction a bidder dropped his paddle and physically ran from the room after facing the winning bid for a name he couldn't afford. Another domainer chased that dead-beat out of the building in order to "buy" his winning bid at a premium!! -- because "that" gent couldn't get his own much higher bid in in-time.
It's this flash mob of hot-money and domain visionaries with wallets to match their cajones that showed me where the future of Internet media may lie. The domainer who can afford to beat all would-be comers. I'm impressed by those top tier investor registrants who aren't in this business to pump and dump their own portfolios like many new registries.. They're here to acquire your portfolio and consolidate the industry on the way to becoming the next great media franchise.
I believe the great media companies of tomorrow will have significant path-changing entanglements with some of today's domainers.. Imagine 10 years of Google traffic payments and what you could do with that collective capital, coupled with interest and leverage from ongoing cashflow/operations. Imagine 30-60 million curious walk-by visits a month from generic names that you aren't ashamed to mention publicly.
He who has the gold makes the rules.. has always seemed like a crass statement of sorts to me.. but there may be some truth in that statement as it relates to domain ownership.. If you own a generic URL, you own the gold .. or the Internet equivalent. How's that you ask?
People aren't naturally pre-disposed to beat a path to cynthiasdollhouseemporium.com .. they're "inclined" to visit dollhouse.com; and they aren't visiting myskidmark.com, they're visiting skidmark.com; and they aren't visiting hot-las-vegas-travel.com ..they're visiting travellasvegas.com. It doesn't matter how many domain names get created, because only a certain percentage will ever get "organic" type-in traffic for the keyword weight, resonance or "gravity" of the generic name itself. Disposable looky-loo drive-by visitors that you can monetize without consequence or degradation to the visitor stream. And if you own those names.. then you own that portion of the Internet.. well, the generic disposable traffic on the Internet anyway -- which is the Internet that's worth talking about. Because if you own "that traffic" and you make a mistake with your hot software mousetrap or execution, you get a redo with even more free traffic.. It's an opportunity without a shelf-life, and a parting gift in the form of break-up value to the name itself.
Free-form food for thought. Take the next week off if you already knew this stuff.