I’ll be the guest speaker at Bido on Monday. We’ll be talking about my book, The Domain Game. Please join us and you’ll be able to chat with me one on one for an entire hour. If you don’t have an account, log on to Bido.com. Click “Register” on the top right of the screen. Once logged in, go to the page for the day’s auction. Click the blue “chat” tab located under the purple bar that reads “Next Auction: …”. Then click “login to chat.”
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Good news for all those living outside the U.S. wanting to order The Domain Game. Starting July 1, the book will be available in paperback from www.eurocomdomains.com. The price is UK£9.99 (approx $19.50) and the publishers will airmail the book anywhere in Europe for £3.95 and the rest of the world for £4.95 (approx $9.65). UK postage is £2.95. To be notified as soon as the book is available please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Update 6/29: You can now order the book at Eurocombooks.com.
Whew. Xlibris, the print-on-demand publishing firm I used to publish The Domain Game, has fixed the problem with its online-ordering system and you can now order directly through the Web site, rather than calling customer service. For those of you placing orders from outside the U.S., I soon will have a new option for you, as Xlibris doesn’t appear to allow international orders via its Web site, and I’ve been told shipping and handling fees overseas are very high. Stay tuned. I know many of you who have expressed interest in my book have been concerned about these issues. Thanks for your patience.
My book on domain-name investors, The Domain Game, is now available for purchase in softcover or hardcover through this site. This caps a long process, and needless to say I’m thrilled to have a book on the market. My agent began pitching this book to publishers more than two years ago, and I began writing it in September 2006. (Note: The print-on-demand publishing firm I’m using, Xlibris, is experiencing some technical difficulties with its online ordering system. They’ve told me they’re working to get things fixed, and, in the meantime, you can order the book over the phone or by email. All the details are at this link.)
In a few days, I’m starting a new job at The Wall Street Journal and will no longer be blogging here. I want to thank all of you who’ve read the blog, posted comments and sent me tips and other information to assist me with my reporting on the domain-name market. I’ll continue to keep abreast of developments in the market for my book, which is slated to be published next year. You can still reach me at the email address listed under the “contact” heading on this blog.
The suit, filed in iREIT’s hometown of Houston, accuses the closely held company of operating more than 90 domains that are typographical variations of its trademarks, including verizonwirelessgames.com, virizonpcs.com, virizonwirles.com and verizonwirelessreabates.com. Verizon says iREIT has been displaying pay-per-click ads on the sites for various products that compete with Verizon’s. The phone company is seeking an injunction barring iREIT’s use of the names, as well as damages of $100,000 per name under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which was enacted in 1999.
The suit, filed March 23, also claims iREIT owns thousands of other domains corresponding to other companies’ trademarks, such as bankofanmerica.com, disnelyland.com and ebayonlineauctions.com. In addition, the suit claims iREIT has intentionally provided “material and misleading false contact information” when registering some of its names.
Bob Martin, the chief executive of iREIT, said in an email that “we are already in contact with Verizon representatives and plan to have a thoughtful response to them soon.” iREIT’s financial backers include Maveron LLC, a Seattle venture-capital firm co-founded by Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz; Perot Investments, a Dallas investment company founded by billionaire and former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot; and Jacobson Family Investments, the investment vehicle of a wealthy New York Family.
Earlier this year, I first reported iREIT’s ownership of large numbers of Web addresses that correspond with major corporate trademarks, including those of Google, its paid-search advertising partner. iREIT, co-founded by Martin and Marc Ostrofsky, who’s famous for selling business.com for $7.5 million in 1999, owns roughly 400,000 sites, including bands.com and officesupply.com.
Neiman Marcus, a century-old, high-end retail chain, has sued Name.com, Name.net and Spot Domains, accusing the ICANN-accredited registrars of cybersquatting and trademark infringement. It says the companies registered names such as neimanmarco.com, neimancmarcus.com and neimanmarcusl.com for themselves, displayed advertisements on the sites and offered them for sale. The Associated Press reported on the suit, filed in a Denver federal court March 15, earlier today.
The lawsuit is the latest by Neiman Marcus accusing registrars of cybersquatting. Earlier this week, Dotster, a seven-year-old registrar, agreed to a permanent injunction barring it from registering variations of Neiman Marcus trademarks, after being sued by the retailer last spring. Amid a boom in domain names, registrars have become some of the biggest speculators in Web addresses, competing with their own customers. Some have been snapping up scores of names corresponding with trademarks while engaging in a controversial domain-evaluation process known as “domain tasting.”
ICANN rules don’t bar registrars from speculating in Web addresses, but critics say the practice is a blatant conflict of interest. Some domain investors have created their own ICANN-accredited registrars, in part, they say, because they don’t trust registrars, some of which own hundreds of thousands of names, with their portfolios.
The 25 Largest Reported Sales of Domain Names*
Domain Name, Price, Year
business.com, $7,500,000, 1999
diamond.com, $7,500,000, 2006
asseenontv.com, $5,000,000, 2000
korea.com, $5,000,000, 2000
altavista.com, $3,350,000, 1998
loans.com, $3,000,000, 2000
vodka.com, $3,000,000, 2006
wine.com, $3,000,000, 1999
creditcards.com, $2,750,000, 2004
autos.com, $2,200,000, 1999
express.com, $2,000,000, 1999
mortgage.com**, $1,800,000, 2000
cameras.com, $1,500,000, 2006
tandberg.com, $1,500,000, 2007
men.com, $1,300,000, 2003
bingo.com, $1,100,000, 1999
wallstreet.com, $1,030,000, 1999
fish.com, $1,020,000, 2005
beauty.cc, $1,000,000, 2000
if.com, $1,000,000, 2000
linux.com, $1,000,000, 1999
rock.com, $1,000,000, 1998
topix.com, $1,000,000, 2007
bills.com, $964,500, 2005
forsalebyowner.com, $835,000, 2000
* This information is based on published news reports, as well as data collected starting in 2004 by DNJournal.com, the industry’s main trade publication. It should be emphasized that this list only contains sales that have been publicly reported. Most domain sales occur privately, and often the parties are prohibited from disclosing the details. It should also be noted that in some transactions, the buyer acquires not just a domain, but also other assets. This list is focused on sales of domains only.
** included the sale of hipoteca.com, Spanish for “mortgage”
If you’re interested in investing in Web addresses, Frank Schilling, one of the world’s most successful investors, has a must-read entry on his blog. He raises the question of whether it’s too late for neophytes to enter the market, and answers with a resounding “no.” Schilling, owner of such sites as spavacations.com, triathlons.com and mapas.com (Spanish for maps), writes: “The opportunities will roll out very easily and predictably to those who keep a cool head and understand that the maturation of the industry will take time.”