Email from GoDaddy: Anyone frustrated with GoDaddy’s new front of site changes

I just got an email from godaddy about the recent changes in their front site and their control panel:

“First of all thank you so much for all of your input regarding the recent changes made to our front of site. I know there have been some great ideas for improvement.I wanted to send you a couple of quick shortcuts that may make it easier to get where you want to go:1) Domain Manager: dcc.godaddy.com – will take you directly to the domain manager2) Expired Auctions: auctions.godaddy.comIf there are other areas you need to navigate quickly we have already submitted suggestions for your shortcuts on the login page, but in the meantime, I can get you short links that you can save to your favorites.”

I am not sure how much this helps. If you have to send an email to tell your customers how to access key areas of your website then your recent changes have failed.

Bad Domain Business #2 (sending offers to auction)

Last week I wrote about a domainer that offered me a domain name, I made an offer that he accepted and then he asked for double the money. This week I have another example of “bad domain business”.

Again I was offered by email a .biz domain that as it turns out it was caugth the previous day using a backorder service I use too. I offered $100. That was twice the price he had paid. This is the price one would expect from other domainers when offering freshly caught domains for sale. This is a flip and a flip to other domainers will not get you a high ROI.

He replied with an email that had this subject:
RE: *******.biz NOW LIVE IN SEDO AUCTION no reserve!

I clicked on the link inside the email to go to sedo and put a $100 reserve only to find out that there was no LIVE auction! The auction was starting a week later! I told him that I will not be bidding and that his subject was at least missleading. He got angry and told me I was being difficult. OK maybe I was…

Looking this week’s results of the Sedo Great Domains auction I saw that this domain was sold for 85 GBP. That is about $133. That is about $113 if you subtract the 15% sedo fee.
So he only got $13 more, lost me as a buyer (for this domain and in the future) and waited for a couple of weeks for the auction to end. Now he will also have to wait for the buyer to pay and then wait for sedo to send him the money.
Was it worth it?

One more thing. If he had made me a counter offer for $150 I would have bought the domain…

Sending domains to auction after you get a Sedo offer (or any offer) is very risky. You risk losing the buyer and also getting a price lower that you would get in a offer/counteroffer situation.

This especially applies to end users. When an end user makes you an offer at Sedo, no matter what the offer is (high or low) don’t send the domain at auction. I think there is too much risk of not getting your target price. And even if you send the buyer’s highest offer to auction and think that whatever you get above that is be a bonus, don’t. You risk losing the buyer and the potential gain is not that great. Sedo auctions don’t have many(if any) participating end users (except from your buyer) and it is unlikely that any domainer will match an end user’s offer. So what you achieve is make your buyer frustated and angry.

I have never send a Sedo domain offer to auction and never will.

GoDaddy is trying to sell me my own domain names

While I was browsing through my GoDaddy account I saw a yellow frame reading:
Godaddy NameMatch Recommended Auctions

I thought that GoDaddy is trying to sell me some domains. Nothing wrong with that. Then I had a closer look and the first domain in the list was actually mine. I remembered that I had used GoDaddy backorders to get the .org version of a .com domain I already owned for several years. All the others were similarly domains in other extensions of domains I already own and are in my GoDaddy account. This isn’t intuitive, is it?

Then I clicked on my .com domain to see what happens. Apparently my domain name is in auction and it has just 3 days and 16 hours left! Anyone that wants to make an offer must “Offer $500 or more”.

GoDaddy has deals with both Sedo and Afternic so that it can list domain names from their platforms to GoDaddy’s website and offer them for sale. I list the domain name in question in both Afternic and Sedo. Problem is that minimum offer for this domain is set at $1000 at Afternic and 10,000 Euro at Sedo.

Why does my domain appear to be in auction and why does it say “Offer $500 or more”?

Of course I didn’t try to make a bid on my domain to see if it will be accepted but it doesn’t look good.

I reached out to my Account Executive at GoDaddy to see why this is happening…

Update:
My Godaddy Account Executive told me that the domain is coming through afternic, so I had to follow up with Afternic.

I did and this is what I got from Afternic:

We are now listing all domains at Godaddy.com including unpriced domains.
The min offer was set by Godaddy.com at $500. When we get an offer we will request you price the domain.
This will give your unpriced domains a lot more exposure.
The $500 is for any unpriced domains.

It seems that the minimum offer price from Afternic isn’t being send to Godaddy. Only the buy it now price is send from Afternic. If the domain is unpriced then it shows up as in auction (that keeps restarting if the domain doesn’t sell) with a default minimum offer price of $500.

Update #2:
Afternic informed me that you opt out of the Afternic-Godaddy deal and Afternic will stop displaying your domains at Godaddy. I will have to think about this…

Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics

Sir Tim Berners-Lee inventor of the World Wide Web was presented at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

He sat in front of a computer booting the world wide web digital revolution. He tweeted: This is for everyone

This was very nice surprise by the London Organizing Committee (one of the very few except for the excellent music), blending sports with arts and culture and then the digital technology, internet and the social media.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee starred in front of the 65000 spectators of the 2012 opening ceremony that filled the Olympic stadium and the billions of TV audience.

Complaint for onelove.net denied at NAF

A Complaint made by Raising Cane’s USA, LLC was denied at the National Arbitration Forum. The Complaint was about the domain name onelove.net and the Respondent was Eddie Nguyen.

The Panel decided that the Complaint failed at the second element of the UDRP. (Rights or Legitimate Interests) Respondent argued that it purchased the disputed domain name to use as a vanity e-mail, and has used it for personal correspondence since December of 1998. The Panel found that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to enable Respondent to use the onelove.net suffix in a vanity e-mail address used for personal correspondence demonstrated rights and legitimate interests under UDRP ¶ 4(a)(ii).

The Panel didn’t make a ruling on the third element of the UDRP because there was no need to. (Registration and Use in Bad Faith) The Complaint would have failed on the 3rd element too, as Respondent registered the onelove.net domain name on December 1, 1998 and Complainant’s trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office was made December 27, 2005. Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name predated Complainant’s rights in the ONE LOVE mark for about 7 years.

This case too would have been a good example of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) but the Respondent didn’t ask the Panel for such a ruling.

The UDRP rules do not apply to subdomain names

In a decision rendered by the National Arbitration Forum the Complaint for the domain names windoows.net and windooows.com was denied.

The Complainant was NOT Microsoft as one might expect in a “windows” related Complaint. Complainant was Comfort Window Co., Inc. and the Respondent was AL-SADEQOUN LIL-TASWEEQ LLC from Jordan.

Complainant claimed that Respondent’s windoows.net and windooows.com domain names were associated with the comfort.windoows.net and comfort.windooows.com websites, and that these domain names and websites were confusingly similar to Complainant’s “COMFORT WINDOWS” mark. Respondent claimed that the websites facilitate an offer of legitimate goods and services (free window replacement estimates).

Panel decided that the Complaint failed at the “Identical and/or Confusingly Similar” element of the UDRP so the Decision didn’t need to address the remaining two elements. Panel wrote that the “domain names” comfort.windoows.net and comfort.windooows.com are not domain names, but subdomain names. The UDRP rules do not apply to subdomain names. The Panel claimed that Complainant had established rights in the “COMFORT WINDOWS” trademark, but not in the generic word “WINDOWS”.

I wonder if the Panelist would call “WINDOWS” a generic word if the Complainant was in fact Microsoft…

With respect to the two actual domain names at issue, the Panel decided that windoows.net and windooows.com are not confusingly similar to Complainant’s COMFORT WINDOWS mark. Panel concluded that relief would be DENIED and that the windoows.net and windooows.com domain names would REMAIN WITH Respondent.

Since Complanant did not present any evidence (or even alleged) that the comfort.windoows.net and comfort.windooows.com subdomains ever existed, Respondent should have asked for a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) but unfortunately it didn’t.

Google loses dispute over the domain name oogle.com at NAF

Google Inc. submitted a UDRP complaint at the National Arbitration Forum for the domain name oogle.com. Respondent was Blue Arctic LLC from Florida.

The 3-member Panel wrote that the Complainant failed to prove the third element of the Policy (Registration and Use in Bad Faith) with respect to the Disputed Domain Name. So the Panel made no findings with respect to the first or second elements of the Policy.

The Domain was registered on February 7, 1999 by Christopher Neuman (that carried on business under a fictional unregistered business name, namely Fusion3k Designs) and was later transferred to Blue Arctic LLC in late 2004. Christopher Neuman is sole member and manager of Blue Arctic LLC.

The main issue discussed by the Panel was whether Respondent was the “beneficial owner” of the Disputed Domain Name since it was created on February 7, 1999, even though the current registrant is identified as Blue Arctic LLC and the original registrant appeared to have been Fusion3k Designs.

The WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0″), para. 3.7, states:

Panels have tended to the view that formal changes in registration data are not necessarily deemed to constitute a new registration where evidence clearly establishes an unbroken chain of underlying ownership by a single entity or within a genuine conglomerate, and it is clear that any change in WhoIs registrant data is not being made to conceal an underlying owner’s identity for the purpose of frustrating assessment of liability in relation to registration or use of the domain name.

The Panel concluded that with adequate explanation and in the absence of efforts to conceal a domain name registrant’s identity, the current registrant of a domain name may be considered to have been the beneficial owner of the domain name since its creation date, despite changes in the WHOIS record.  This Panel adopts this view, although it cautions that the rule should be applied only in narrow circumstances where the explanation is not unbelievable and is supported by appropriate evidence.

In light of the above, the Panel found that the Respondent in this proceeding, Blue Arctic LLC, was the beneficial owner of the Disputed Domain Name since it was created on February 7, 1999.

Accordingly, the Panel had to determine whether the Disputed Domain Name “had been registered” in bad faith when registration occurred on February 7, 1999, despite the Respondent’s subsequent activities. It was unclear to the Panel whether, on February 7, 1999, Complainant had rights in the GOOGLE trademark. Google apparently did not own any trademark registrations for the mark on February 7, 1999.

Respondent provided a declaration clearly stating that it registered the Disputed Domain Name not “due to the existence of Google.com or the Complainant’s trademarks” but instead due to his relationship with a “young programmer named Justin Tunney, who went under the online moniker of ‘Oogle’ or ‘Criminal Oogle’.”

Panel noted that:

[i]t may be that Complainant could develop evidence of bad faith and lack of legitimate interest in a legal proceeding that would allow more evidentiary development.  The Policy, however, was not designed to transfer domain names in every case that a trademark owner might ultimately win.

Panel found that Complainant did not prevail in showing that the Disputed Domain Name “had been registered” in bad faith so the transfer of the domain name oogle.com was DENIED.

Bad Domain Business

As usual I get many emails from domainers offering me domain names for sale. I don’t even read most of them. Especially when I see a ridiculous name like vaginaladder.com or cowprinter.com. (both unregistered if you are interested) And for the ones I read, I ignore most or them.

The other day I got an email for a domain name that didn’t seem that bad compared to all the junk I get. The domain was priced at “$1,999 or nearest offer”. I replied to the email with a $300 offer.

The seller replied and told me:

…hi there and thanks for coming back with an offer $300 – now that you’ve come this far, can you come up a little bit more? I’ve had this name registered from new for 12+ years and I’d really like to see some kind of return on my investment, no matter how small it is.

I didn’t reply. So a few days later I get an email that my offer is accepted:

I’ll accept your offer of $300 for ********.com, if you are still agreeable and wish you all the best with it.

I replied OK and asked the seller on how he would like to proceed.

I then got a new email saying:

Unfortunately, I have since received several offers above $300, really sorry about this. I will be selling it next week so if you can come up on your offer, I’ll be glad to give it to you.

I didn’t reply.

And then I got a new email:

I’ll accept $600 to close the sale quickly. All the best, hope you reconsider.

I said we had an agreement at $300 and that I expected for him to keep his word.

His reply:

Thanks for coming back to me. Unfortunately, I can’t sell it for $300, I’ve paid registration costs for 12 years alone and managed the name – that all cost me well over $300! If you can come up to $600 it yours but I do have another offer and I’m pushing for the best price I can get. I won’t sell at a loss. This name is not any ordinary domain, seriously Konstantinos, think about it, this is a category killer and a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a stunning name for next to nothing. Hope you reconsider because I will sell this name, this week

I replied:

This is bad business.
Unfortunately I have to inform the domain community about your tactics.
Good luck.

The seller is John Gleeson. He is a member at http://www.dnforum.com.
I had to write his name so others will be protected in the future.

It turns out that after accepting my $300 offer he kept actively trying to sell the domain by sending emails to “interested” buyers and by posting the domain for sale several times at dnforum.com and maybe other places as well.

This is bad business for any business. Especially in the domain industry, domainers frequently only rely on our word and reputation. When I get contacted by a domainer, usually I buy, sell or trade domains without any form of contract and using just paypal. You have to keep your word or else no one will do business with you again. Bad reputation may get you $300 more today but it will cost you a lot more in the long run.

Update: Today he offered me the domain for $500. He is unstoppable!

Complaint for academia.ch denied at WIPO

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.

The Complainant, Academia Sprach- und Lernzentrum Basel AG of Basel, Switzerland.

The Respondent was academiesuisse, Demourian Achille, of Geneva, Switzerland.

Even thought both parties were from Switzerland, they both filed their Complaint and Response in English. (Complainant also filed the Complaint in German.) So the Expert determined that English would be the language of the proceedings and the decision was therefore rendered in English.

The disputed domain name academia.ch was registered on July 13, 2003.

The decision was made using the Rules of Procedure for Dispute Resolution Proceedings for .ch and .li Domain Names (the “Rules of Procedure”), adopted by SWITCH on March 1, 2004. This is not exactly the same as UDRP but quite similar.

The Complainant based its allegation to have rights in a distinctive sign only on trademark law. According to the case record before the Panel, the Complainant has a trademark application for registration of ACADEMIA and ACADEMIA SPRACH- UND LERNZENTRUM. However, contrary to the Complainant’s contention, the Complainant’s applications for the said trademarks are not granted, but still pending (status July 10, 2012). Thus, it can be noted that under Swiss law, where the trademark is not registered, no trademark rights can be alleged yet.

Further, it was noted that the Complainant applied for the registration of said trademarks on November 4, 2011, which means over six years after its registration in the commercial registry and more than eight years after the Respondent’s registration of the Domain Name.

Finally, “academia” is a descriptive word. Hence, the protection of the alleged trademarks of the Complainant may be denied by the Swiss trademark office on the ground that they constitute common property.

Consequently, in the Panel’s view, the Complainant failed to meet the first requirement of paragraph 24(d) of the Rules of Procedure and failed to establish that it has rights in a distinctive sign under the laws of Switzerland.

The Expert ordered that the Domain Name <academia.ch> remained registered with the Respondent. The Request was denied without prejudice to the Complainant’s right to re-file a request once it obtains rights in a distinctive sign under Swiss law.

I am not sure how the Complainant will get passed the fact that academia is a descriptive work and also that the domain was registered 6 years before Complainant started it’s company and 8 years before Complainant applied for a trademark, even if the trademark for “academia” is accepted.

So the Complaint failed at the first element of the Rules of Procedure for Dispute Resolution Proceedings for .ch, because the Complainant didn’t have a registered trademark. Complaints failing at the first element are becoming a trend as two more cases, for domain names kols.com and hitorque.org also failed in the first element of the UDRP last week.

Sedo sales analysis (plus comparison with Afternic)

Sedo.com’s reportable .com only sales were $606,516 USD spread over 160 domain names for the past two weeks: 7/01/12-7/15/12.

These sales are of course only the reportable domain name sales. It seems that the most expensive sales have the highest possibility on being confidential. Sedo charges 2.5% of the sales price the party that wants to keep the sale private. Nevertheless I think these reportable sales are worth a more detailed analysis. I compiled a few sublists and graphs. Please let me know what other statistics you would like to see for these sales lists. I am thinking of making one of these posts every month with the total sales of the month. One for Afternic and one for Sedo. Do you think that a combined post would be more useful? Please make a comment and let me know.

Last week I did a report on two weeks of Afternic .com sales above $1,000. This week I will do the same report for Sedo and compare the results. Sedo is a bit trickiest as it reports sales from 700 USD/EUR/GBP and above and in three different currencies. I had to convert all prices to USD and then dismiss any domain below 1000 USD so that it would be directly comparable to Afternic’s analysis. Again these statistics are for the .com domain name sales only.

Statistics

Sedo’s list includes one of the longest domain that I have seen sold. It is alongtimeagoinagalaxyfarfaraway.com that was registered in 2002 and has 31 characters!!! May the force be with it.

The average sales price for these 160 .com domains was $3,791.

The median sales price for these 160 .com domains was $2,500.

These two figures are significatly higher that the Afternic ones. The average sales price for the Afternic sales was $2,337. The median sales price for the Afternic sales was $1,800.

The average holding time of the seller was 7.73 years. This is the time that the seller has the domain name in its possession before he/she makes the sale. This is over a year more than Afternic’s 6.66 years. That is understandable if you consider the higher sales average that sedo has. (see below) So when you register a domain name be prepared to hold on to it for at least 8 years. Up to 19 years in the case of the oldest domain sold these couple of weeks.

The oldest domain on the list is witsend.com that sell for $25,000.00. It was registered on 26-oct-1993.

The youngest domain on the list is georgiasingles.com that sell for $1,000. It was registered on 31-may-2012.

Domain name sales count by year

Sedo has the domain sales count by year more evenly distributed. 2002 and 2009 stand above the rest though.

Year Domain names sold
1993 1
1994 0
1995 0
1996 3
1997 6
1998 10
1999 4
2000 12
2001 11
2002 19
2003 11
2004 9
2005 12
2006 10
2007 5
2008 5
2009 17
2010 5
2011 12
2012 8

Afternic’s busiest years were 2003 and 2004. Probably because most of the afternic sales are from the BuyDomains.com inventory. BuyDomains.com was very active in drop catching and hand regging during those years.

Average sales price by year

Sedo’s average sales price by year is also more predictable. The oldest a domain name is the highest the sales price is. Sedo’s sales prices start in 1993 and then reduce gradually up until 2012. Actually, all 8 domains that were registered in 2012 were sold for exactly $1,000.

Year Average sales price (USD)
1993 25000
1994 0
1995 0
1996 21533
1997 12760
1998 7815
1999 6147
2000 5223
2001 4397
2002 3540
2003 2911
2004 2326
2005 1946
2006 1774
2007 1570
2008 1500
2009 1324
2010 1217
2011 1112
2012 1000

Afternic started strong with 1995 and 1996 but from then on the averages were ranging from $1,510 to $3,406 with no apparent pattern for the rest of the years up until 2012.

Finally here is the complete list of 160 domain names sorted by year and then by sales price in USD:

Domain Name Registration Year Sales Price (USD)
witsend.com 1993 25000
pict.com 1996 25000
taxzone.com 1996 20600
shopfront.com 1996 19000
wardrobes.com 1997 15499
bellcapital.com 1997 14995
nextnet.com 1997 12294
funplus.com 1997 11925
jumpco.com 1997 11750
cafeterias.com 1997 10099
tackboard.com 1998 10000
riyal.com 1998 9835
mamasan.com 1998 8500
redmessage.com 1998 7500
wealthguide.com 1998 7500
scenarioplanning.com 1998 7500
spracherkennung.com 1998 7495
onlinebusinesses.com 1998 7376
erotv.com 1998 6300
documentaires.com 1998 6147
wakingup.com 1999 6147
pame.com 1999 6147
swiig.com 1999 6147
holidaysflorida.com 1999 6146
ssm.com 2000 6000
usabusiness.com 2000 6000
polarsports.com 2000 5500
greatharbor.com 2000 5250
mietausfallversicherung.com 2000 5004
facewise.com 2000 5000
udni.com 2000 5000
markmedia.com 2000 5000
autismspectrum.com 2000 5000
water-slides.com 2000 5000
matm.com 2000 5000
cubafacts.com 2000 4918
officedeskchairs.com 2001 4918
gamblingaffiliateprograms.com 2001 4800
eyein.com 2001 4750
racechip.com 2001 4500
clickout.com 2001 4500
icrush.com 2001 4500
360virtualtours.com 2001 4300
volkmer.com 2001 4100
metaline.com 2001 4000
filipinoads.com 2001 4000
multitour.com 2001 3995
prss.com 2002 3971
worldbibles.com 2002 3950
storehere.com 2002 3939
solarway.com 2002 3895
apio.com 2002 3888
naturenation.com 2002 3850
buzzrewards.com 2002 3800
edusfera.com 2002 3750
techscout.com 2002 3688
propertyfund.com 2002 3688
geteco.com 2002 3600
etqan.com 2002 3500
mytraveljobs.com 2002 3300
alongtimeagoinagalaxyfarfaraway.com 2002 3200
spoofmail.com 2002 3077
1fy.com 2002 3074
copeo.com 2002 3074
moisson.com 2002 3010
cashsites.com 2002 3000
flipcard.com 2003 3000
mindsteps.com 2003 3000
xx5.com 2003 3000
winefridge.com 2003 3000
powtek.com 2003 3000
pawnnet.com 2003 3000
mydec.com 2003 2990
visionbook.com 2003 2900
solto.com 2003 2877
grandesofertas.com 2003 2705
parknplay.com 2003 2550
worldia.com 2004 2500
new-level.com 2004 2500
wordmill.com 2004 2500
presshub.com 2004 2425
kipsy.com 2004 2397
printedtowels.com 2004 2213
krpo.com 2004 2200
perfumereviews.com 2004 2200
biglnk.com 2004 2000
partyhouses.com 2005 2000
greenelectric.com 2005 2000
aboriginalartstore.com 2005 2000
skyter.com 2005 2000
ladybox.com 2005 2000
jumia.com 2005 2000
newjerseyassistedliving.com 2005 2000
hotelea.com 2005 1899
backtraffic.com 2005 1895
crazysheep.com 2005 1860
bunked.com 2005 1849
pilotproperty.com 2005 1844
trafficpartner.com 2006 1844
atlanticpacific.com 2006 1844
krebstherapie.com 2006 1800
individi.com 2006 1800
ecarworld.com 2006 1800
vipjuegos.com 2006 1795
owncasino.com 2006 1795
reddomedia.com 2006 1711
createdinchina.com 2006 1700
apcenter.com 2006 1652
high-t.com 2007 1600
iziplay.com 2007 1600
wohn.com 2007 1599
survivaltube.com 2007 1550
jobeur.com 2007 1500
tabletize.com 2008 1500
cloudrating.com 2008 1500
hangwith.com 2008 1500
realestatesnewyork.com 2008 1500
air4life.com 2008 1500
i-sea.com 2009 1495
samnaun.com 2009 1475
hellomedicare.com 2009 1400
qirin.com 2009 1400
kingseducation.com 2009 1395
hucast.com 2009 1352
streetbeauty.com 2009 1310
welcomecanada.com 2009 1300
betnet365.com 2009 1300
testteach.com 2009 1299
thefertilityproject.com 2009 1295
moneylabel.com 2009 1295
clearviewconsulting.com 2009 1250
questionstoask.com 2009 1249
winnernews.com 2009 1229
exploreable.com 2009 1229
southrichmond.com 2009 1229
coloradospringsmortgage.com 2010 1229
luxdeco.com 2010 1229
myworkbook.com 2010 1229
holisticevolution.com 2010 1200
yfoods.com 2010 1200
acceo.com 2011 1200
inhouse-consulting.com 2011 1200
applift.com 2011 1168
nofi.com 2011 1106
covercrazy.com 2011 1100
insectescomestibles.com 2011 1100
receiptless.com 2011 1100
madisonlily.com 2011 1100
appolls.com 2011 1095
nanobay.com 2011 1095
lutherpartner.com 2011 1050
iotworks.com 2011 1028
valuera.com 2012 1000
portaromana.com 2012 1000
allergyexperts.com 2012 1000
hauptstadtmakler.com 2012 1000
georgiasingles.com 2012 1000
r4-3ds.com 2012 1000
cruise4miles.com 2012 1000
global-tickets.com 2012 1000

You can find the complete raw list here.