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May 22, 2007



FYI current OVT w. ext. numbers
google.co 55366
google.om 20002
google.con 10681
google.cm 10084
google.xom 7605
google.cpm 4124

***FS*** I would settle for recouping the traffic from .xom and .cpm based on our logs.

David Wrixon

Totally agree.

Get behind the Verisign DNAME proposals and get these Aliased back to Dot Com on the basis that they should be reserved to Verisign and Its Successors on the grounds that they are confusingly similar.

It was confirmed at a SSAC meeting that all that is required is the policy, the root servers are already packing the software.

I think you will find that the New TLD Policy proposals will bring all this together so that the goal you seek is within reach. To get it enacted, however, both Verisign and ICANN or more specifically the GNSO need to be lobbied.

Rob Sequin

Just read the story at http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/100050989/index.htm?cnn=yes and have to say this is a pretty positive article for a typosquatter, .cm squatter and domain taster.

Do we want Mr. Lam as the poster boy for the domain industry?

I think a lot of people are going to read this article and feel dirty afterwards.

I did.

NOT a great day in domain history if you ask me.

***FS*** While I clearly don't like the .cm issue .. that belongs to the Cameroon Government.. Kevin's enterprise helps them monetize it. It's not his. The emotion you are articulating is how "I feel" about Google and Microsoft for their .xom, .cpm .nett hijacks in the browser. As you grumble about this gent and the govt of Cameroon, I invite you to send a note to Bill Gates asking for your traffic back from his 'useful' browser.


I had to take a shower after reading he'd filed for a patent on it.



I think its a great article and can only help the market for generic keyword domains. It does show a bit of the negitivity of typos etc...but it also shows that market is drying up and TM holders will and are going on the offensive.

I think it shows that "tasting" and "typos" is not the way to go...but he (Ham) like many others including some today use this method as a "stepping stone" to help self fund themselves to bigger and more "ligit" domain activities. This method is just becoming way too "problematic" today and will and is slowly die out.

All and all the article is very positive for the domain industry.


BTW: Is John Berryhill just all over the "domain planet" or what...LOL Way to go John!

***FS*** Ha ha .. I'm going to call John Dr. Domain from now on :)

Sahar Sarid

"**FS*** Ha ha .. I'm going to call John Dr. Domain from now on :)"


I just call him "Dr. John" .. it helps push typein traffic to a certain a domain :)


Frank --
Would you say that http://com.com was a good domain based on the CTRL + Enter shortcut that is built into all browsers? Would you suggest also that CNET forward http://7mile.com.com to you since that is where they were trying to go in the first place? Suggesting that traffic after the dot be forwarded to the correct owner based on who owns the domain will be very tricky. Where should shopping.xpm go? Shopping.com or Shopping.net? .xpm after all is nothing, so who is to decide? Should Shopping.com get it since they are the larger company? Just trying to play the devils advocate here, but I am sure that you remember the days when some local flower company thought that you should give them flowers.com simply because you do not own a flower shop and they do(this is totally hypothetical). I mean what is the real difference to the end user that knows nothing of direct navigation, if they type in eloan.cm or eloan.cpm? Only difference is Yahoo makes 25% on one and google and microsoft share 100% of the other, and nobody is getting sued.

***FS*** Ha ha excellent points and very well thought out.. You could take it a degree further and say that somebody who developed a site at domain.net and looses the traffic to the .com that the .com holder is getting error traffic. I think the kind of error traffic we are speaking to here is the most pernicious. If you buy a domain name for $100,000 you don't want a browser mfgr. damming the river upstream for your traffic utilizing a typo variant that serves no other practical purpose. At the very least, they should offer to link to the correct site. Then again, if we all accept that this browser gaming is acceptable then I say fight fire with fire by creating authoritative shadow domains to forcibly take the traffic back from the broswers and redirect it to the indtended location. Incidentally, CNET only recently activated their com.com error traffic wildcard.. it was inactive for years - they woke up to it and started to game with it about a year ago.


this has to the worse domain story of all time.


Frank, two questions that might seem basic, but they're bugging me:

Regarding the section in the article about trying to get .co (Columbia). I went to some registrars and saw that one can only get .com.co, .org.co, etc. Didn't see a way to buy just plain .co.

So, that leaves the entire .co open, then? Meaning, whoever makes a deal with Columbia gets a wildcard for every name possible followed by .co?

Second, regarding .cm. Can't trademark holders just register their names followed by .cm? Or, for that matter, can't regular folks do that too? Meaning, snap up every generic word followed by .cm?

***FS*** This is novelty is not about registered names but rather the wildcarding of unregistered domain nmaes. The effect (experience in the browser) is the same of course. So while you and I can't register domainname.co .. a wildcard insert could allow for it while the .com.co .com.org names still resolve. In regard to .cm .. Yes! Anyone can register name.cm (as somebody has already done with google.cm) .. this is just about unregistered names. If Kamal registered every .cm name through the registry the wilcards would be over-riden. This only works for unregistered names.

Edwin Hayward

Nobody can register .cm domains NOW as far as I can see - the official Cameroon domain registry site has been switched off (it's accessible, but there's nothing there)

http://info.intelcam.cm/ is the official .cm registry and it's down. http://www.intelcam.cm/ just gives a "it works" page.

So while somebody may have *historically* registered Google.cm, there's no chance of any current trademark owners getting their TMs in .cm since .cm registrations have been turned off in favour of this wildcard traffic grab.

***FS*** You probably need a phone and a cashiers check to register those.. Then again, maybe they changed it post-story.

Colin Pape.com

This article is not what I was hoping for at all - I thought this would be something that blew the doors open on the benefits of domains and turned millions of non-owners into owners.

It's too bad that it was so focused on the negative aspects of the industry and squandered the opportunity to showcase domain investors who operate above-board and who add value to the internet by developing domains into destinations.

This article just set the industry back by a good year, destroying lots of goodwill with non-domainers that people like Frank have been working hard to generate in the process.

While $300 million is a lot of money for an individual, it is nothing compared to the revenues of corporations that actually build things and operate functioning businesses that employ people. The focus on this figure, in my mind, understated the importance of the domain industry and made it seem pretty small-time.

It's too bad - so much good could have been accomplished.

Some comments:


And Michael Arrington's post on Techcrunch:


owen frager


Eerie as it is, the question I asked you was a coincidence. I had no idea there was even a Cameron extension three days ago-- I just thought my shaky hands ended up discovering another 404 and wondering whether Yahoo, MS or Google were now using a ppc page to handle these errors more discretely since you and others have unmasked the issue.

In the end, PPC domainers whether Yu, you, I, Rick or Ham -- whether .com, dotTv, dotcm-- whether typo, tm legit or infringed- can't make a dime unless Yahoo and Google deliver it.

So the bigger story here, as magazines are failing and Fox/CBS etc are scratching their heads trying to figure the Internet out, how did an entire media and ad industry get hijacked by a few guys and some domains?

And if Kevin Ham -- one man, a bright idea and a keyboard-- can get advertisers to pony up $50m a year plus 30-40% more to the media brokers-- why is MS paying $6B for an ad network that makes $150m a year and has less than 2% of the advertisers you'll find on Ham's network?

I only want to know what's in the water in Vancouver? Is it those Harrison Lake Hot Springs?

owen frager

see I can't even spell Cameroon and neither can spell checker. That's the first problem about "invented" names and trying to play the typo card (Verizon, Flickr etc.). Do you think an MS program will ever not call out "google" as a typo?


Thanks for answering the questions, Frank. You just saved me a night of staring at my computer, scratching my head :)


Frank's comments on TechCrunch regarding Michael's post:


"I agree with a few others here Michael. You make yourself look foolish when you unfairly and inequitably malign an entire industry because of the actions of some.

A few short years ago you made your living in the dirty domain industry. While I understand that your employment tenure in the industry may have shown some unsavory facets and your exit from the Canadian company you worked for may not have been to your satisfaction, calling the entire industry ‘dirty’ makes you no friends and garners you no respect by those trying to shape it in a positive way.

I look at all the worthless bags of smoke that you pump on this forum, all the investors you sell down the river in these Web 2.0 jokes. Who’s dirty Michael?"

Frank....even when your dissing someone, you do it in the most articulate way...classic :)

***FS*** he had it coming.

Dominik Mueller

The article hasn't done any good for the domain business, in my opinion. It's certainly well-written and researched and Paul has done a great job writing it (from a journalist's point of view), but I don't agree with anybody saying this article is a good article for domaining only because it reaches a wide audience. In fact, this is where the problem is. Many of the misinformed readers will be confirmed in their opinion that the domain business is a shady business.

For example, take Michael Arrington's post on Techcrunch.com, titled "The .CM Scam":

"Business 2.0’s Paul Sloan has been digging into the .CM domain name scam. (...) This is actually one of the cleaner scams occurring in the extremely dirty domain name business."

Link: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/05/22/the-cm-scam/

I just don't have a good feeling about the domain business being associated with terms such as "scam" and "extremely dirty business". But that's exactly what people from outside the industry think we are doing. Earning quick cash from shady deals and TM infringements.

Regarding .cm, I know that it's legally okay. However, ethically it might not be. Just take this comment from an IT professional from Cameroon on Paul Sloan's The Key:

“… The average Cameroonian cannot afford a .CM domain name because they cost between $300 well over $1,000 per year in some cases, while one can easily get a .com, .ca or .co.uk extension for less than $10 today.

It is no doubt that shoddy deals like this have kept prices high so much that 90% or more Cameroonians will never own or operate a .CM domain name.


The average Cameroonian resident earns less than $100 month, and given the impact of the Internet as tool for empowerment, Mr. Ham is providing a disservice to the people of Cameroon and other similarly exploited nation. …”

Link: http://blogs.business2.com/sloan/2007/05/yahoo_outsmarts.html#comments

So it seems that the citizens and many businesses of Cameroon cannot afford to buy .cm domains and therefore cannot do anything against the government making money from the typo traffic.

As I posted on my blog, I've done business with Kevin myself. I highly respect him and my criticism is not against Kevin Ham or his company. He is only providing a service to the government of Cameroon to help them monetize their ccTLD’s traffic and, as said, this is legal.

I just want domainers to realize that the Business 2.0 article hasn’t done any good for our industry. Well, the first half, which is about generic domains, might have had a positive effect, but the rest of the article concentrating on agoga.com is rather negative. The CNBC clip has been even more negative, reporting on nothing but typosquatting. They did not even mention Microsoft and Google making money from unregistered domains, domains that cannot be reached and typos of domain extension (.xom, .cpm, etc.) that do not even exist!

After all, I’m afraid the article has undone some of the last months’ work of domainers and the ICA who tried to push our industry forward and who have done their best to get the domain business perceived as a matured and earnest business. I hope this hasn’t been to big of a step back. The TRAFFIC conference in New York is just around the corner. It’s an important event for the domain business and a good chance to continue the dialogue with Wall Street and Madison Avenue.


Having a look around at all the coverage and comment post the Business 2.0 story, I think it's unfortunate (but of course understandable) that the focus of attention is the .cm expose rather than the amazing success story that is the Vertical Axis/Hit Farm enterprise. They have flown under the radar of many in terms of how big they really are, so it's great for the industry that they're now in tune with the zeitgeist and 'coming out'. You can be sure that while everyone is still huffing and puffing about Cameroon and Colombia, astute investors will be looking at those (total) numbers and concluding that this is one hell of a business model. I think this industry is about to get a whole lot more interesting.


I guess we finally know who "Vaxis" is on SnapNames. Because of the Vancouver, British Columbia location of Vaxis....I thought it was Yun Ye, using up is $164 mil to rebuild his portfolio.


Please digg.


Mr. Arrington took a shot at our industry and needs to be spanked.

WTG, Frank.


Great picture of you in the Business 2.0 article.

John T.
Irving, TX

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