News and Updates

What domains Domino’s, Mattress Firm and others bought this week

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2017-11-09 17:20

Domino’s gets a Spanish domain name, Mattress Firm buys a nice descriptive domain name and more.

A couple large companies bought domain names on Sedo over the past week, but their purchases weren’t the biggest. The top sale was Mommy.com for $100,000. But as I ask below, is this an end user sale? Should it even be considered a domain name sale?

Other end user purchases this past week include a .co for nearly five figures and a four letter .com that is also a word in Indonesian.

Let’s get to the list…

(Like this end user list? You can view previous lists like this here.)

Mommy.com $100,000 – Can we call this an end user sale? Can we even call it a domain name sale vs. a website sale? The Whois record is private. There’s an operating site that has information for parents, but there was a similar site before the transaction. Sedo broker Dave Evanson told NamePros that the deal was for the domain name only, but that doesn’t mean the buyer did not value existing SEO value from the previous content.

LegacyLife.com $30,000 – The domain name is still being transferred but the price suggests it’s an end user. My guess is the buyer is one of the many life insurance companies that use the name Legacy Life.

Raise.co $9,500 – RAISE is a French firm that invests in mid-sized companies. It uses the domain name RaiseFrance.com.

MinCoins.com $5,000 – The email address used to register the domain links to Tomin Group, a company that specializes in water filtering.

AstraDirect.eu €4,999 – AstraDirect Leasing und Service GmbH in Germany.

BestSleep.com $4,500 – Mattress Firm, a large mattress chain.

GEContracting.com $4,260 – Green Energy Contracting, LLC. I wonder if the GE conglomerate will take issue with this domain?

Ilmu.com $3,395 – Ilmo is Indonesian for Science. The Whois record is private but a holding page says a site is coming soon. The buyer got a good deal.

Axerc.com $2,999 – Axelrod Capital is a cryptocurrency investment firm.

Technium.net €2,500 – DMG MORI is a Japanese technology firm. I can’t find a reference to Technium on its website.

Dominos.es €2,200 – The Domino’s pizza chain.

CoreData.eu €2,000 – AI Corenet Limited in Cyprus. From its website: “Core Data Services (CDS) is a data and statistics provider with an emphasis on low-latency, real-time sports data feeds.”


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Domain name company Donuts tops Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2017-11-09 15:13

Three-year revenue growth tops 59,000%.

A lot more Donuts than a few years ago.

New top level domain name company Donuts ranked #1 on this year’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 from Deloitte.

Rankings were based on three-year revenue growth from 2013-2016. The timing worked out great for Donuts. It launched its first new top level domain names in early access and general availability in early 2014, but sunrise and some brand protection offerings began in 2013. It had a small base of revenue to work off of.

Still, its 59,000% growth rate is impressive. The minimum revenue required in 2013 to qualify for this year’s Fast 500 was $50,000. Even at the minimum, that means Donuts’ 2016 revenue was about $30 million. But the number is certainly much higher than that.

In May of 2016, the company disclosed to me that its premium domain sales were generating $9 million in annual revenue and represented 15% of sales. Assuming sales is in line with revenue, this suggests about $60 million in annual run rate near the beginning of 2016. Given the growth in sales during the remainder of 2016, I suspect the number is much higher than $60 million.

The margins on this revenue are substantial, too. The company had about 40 employees at the beginning of the year and other expenses are minimal.


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Mommy Makes Six Figures But 8 of the Week's Top 10 Domain Sales Went to 3-Letter .Coms

DN Journal - Wed, 2017-11-08 23:21
3-letter .coms went on a rampage this week, piling up 11 entries on our Top 20 Sales Chart. Still, nothing quite compared to Mommy (.com).
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Why Aren't We Fixing Route Leaks?

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-11-08 22:55

In case you missed it (you probably didn't), the Internet was hit with the Monday blues this week. As operator-focused lists and blogs identified,

"At 17:47:05 UTC yesterday (6 November 2017), Level 3 (AS3356) began globally announcing thousands of BGP routes that had been learned from customers and peers and that were intended to stay internal to Level 3. By doing so, internet traffic to large eyeball networks like Comcast and Bell Canada, as well as major content providers like Netflix, was mistakenly sent through Level 3's misconfigured routers."

In networking lingo, a "route leak" had occurred, and a substantial one at that. Specifically, the Internet was the victim of a Type 6 route leak, where:

"An offending AS simply leaks its internal prefixes to one or more of its transit-provider ASes and/or ISP peers. The leaked internal prefixes are often more-specific prefixes subsumed by an already announced, less-specific prefix. The more-specific prefixes were not intended to be routed in External BGP (eBGP). Further, the AS receiving those leaks fails to filter them. Typically, these leaked announcements are due to some transient failures within the AS; they are short-lived and typically withdrawn quickly following the announcements. However, these more-specific prefixes may momentarily cause the routes to be preferred over other aggregate (i.e., less specific) route announcements, thus redirecting traffic from its normal best path."

In this case, the painful result was significant Internet congestion for millions of users in different parts of the world for about 90 minutes. One of the main culprits apparently fessed up, with CenturyLink/Level 3 quickly issuing a reason for the outage (I pity "that guy," being a network engineer at the world's largest ISP ain't easy).

Can't we fix this?

Route leaks are a fact of life on the Internet. According to one ISP's observations, on any given day of the week, between 10-20% of announcements are actually leaks. Type 6 route leaks can be alleviated in part by technical and/or operational measures. For internal prefixes never meant to be routed on the Internet, one suggestion is to use origin validation to filter leaks, but this requires adoption of RPKI and only deals with two specific types of leak.

Source: Job Snijders, "Everyday practical BGP filtering" presented at NANOG 67From a contractual and operational perspective, Level 3's customers and others affected are presumably closely scrutinizing their SLAs. Maybe this episode will incentivize Level 3 to take some corrective action(s), like setting a fail-safe maximum announcement limit on their routers to catch potential errors. Perhaps Level 3's peering partners are similarly considering reconfiguring their routers to not blindly accept thousands of additional routes. Although, the frequency or other characteristics of changes in routing announcements might make this infeasible.

Another potential solution requiring broader collective action is NTT's peer locking, where NTT prevents leaked announcements from propagating further by filtering on behalf of other ISPs with which it has an agreement. It's an approach that is mutually beneficial. Much of the routing chaos could have been prevented if peer locking arrangements had been in place between NTT (or other large backbone ISPs peering with Level 3) and any of the impacted ASes (e.g., Comcast had ~20 impacted ASes). NTT has apparently had some success with the approach, having arrangements with many of the world's largest carriers of Internet traffic. In one case where they deployed peer locking, the number of route leaks has decreased by an order of magnitude. Moreover, the approach is apparently being replicated by other large carriers.

Regardless of the solution(s) implemented, the complexity of the problem space highlights the ongoing importance of understanding routing data governance and operator incentives to engage in filtering. We also need to be able to empirically assess over time whether or not specific approaches relate to observed variance in different types of route leaks.

Originally published in the Internet Governance Project blog.

Written by Brenden Kuerbis, Internet Governance Researcher & Policy Analyst at Georgia Tech

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Poland to Test a Cybersecurity Program for Aviation Sector

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-11-08 21:08

During the two-day Cybersecurity in Civil Aviation conference, Poland announced an agreement to test a cybersecurity pilot program for the aviation sector as Europe's European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) civil aviation authority face increasing threats posed by hackers to air traffic. "We want to have a single point in the air transport sector that will coordinate all cybersecurity activities… for airlines, airports, and air traffic," said Piotr Samson, head of Poland's ULC civil aviation authority. "Despite the assurances of experts in the field, computer systems failures triggered by hackers or accident have caused flight chaos in recent years. Poland's flagship carrier LOT was briefly forced to suspend operations in June 2015 after a hack attack." See full report.

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Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Apologizes for Data Breach, Blames Russian Agents

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-11-08 18:52

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer apologized today at the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing regarding massive data breaches at the internet company, blaming Russian agents. David Shepardson [reporting](http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-databreaches/former-yahoo-ceo-apologizes-for-data-breach-blames-russians-idUSKBN1D825V) in Reuters: "Verizon [which] acquired most of Yahoo Inc's assets in June ... disclosed last month that a 2013 Yahoo data breach affected all 3 billion of its accounts, compared with an estimate of more than 1 billion disclosed in December. In March, federal prosecutors charged two Russian intelligence agents and two hackers with masterminding a 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts, the first time the U.S. government has criminally charged Russian spies for cyber crimes."

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Valuable IMI.com domain name lost in UDRP

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-11-08 15:59

Bad decision in a three-letter .com UDRP.

I just wrote about PCO.com being saved in a UDRP despite the domain name owner not responding. This was before I saw a similar case in which a three-letter domain name was lost in a UDRP.

National Arbitration Forum panelist Neil Anthony Brown QC has ordered the domain name IMI.com transferred to Irving Materials, Inc.

Brown generally provides a nuanced and well-reasoned opinion in UDRPs, and I’m surprised by the result here.

To be fair, the domain owner didn’t respond. Still, a quick look at the facts of the case strongly suggest this was not cybersquatting and the domain was not registered in bad faith.

It appears the current owner is the original registrant from 1994. Its business was originally called Internet Marketing, Inc., hence the domain name choice IMI.com. It subsequently moved its business to PartnerVision.org.

IMI.com resolves to a page headlined “Internet Marketing Inc a PartnerVision venture”. It says the company has changed domain names and then says “Searching for other IMI Companies, try these:” followed by a list of other companies that use the IMI acronym. These links are clearly not paid links, despite the complainant arguing that they are pay-per-click links leading to companies that compete with the complainant.

The complainant latches on to a page on the site that says the domain names are for sale. It states:

PartnerVision Ventures is winding down IMI’s liquidation sale. All of the company’s patents and other intellectual property are now gone. The only assets left within the company are it’s popular domain names (www.IMI.com) and (www.IMI.info).

With brand identity coming at a premium these days, you can image what the value of such a name will bring. If you are interested in purchasing this domain, please contact us.

Note: Offers less than two million dollars will not be considered.

Selling domain names you used for your company is a perfectly legitimate activity.

Again, it didn’t help that the domain owner didn’t show up to defend its property. My guess is the owner isnt’ even aware of the complaint. Still, the panelist in this case is well aware of the differences between pay-per-click and other links and also understands the value of domain names. I’m shocked by the decision. It’s this type of decision that gives companies the hope of getting valuable domains through UDRPs, creating a sort of vicious cycle.

Hopefully the owner will fight this decision.


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PCO.com saved in UDRP despite no-show by domain owner

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-11-08 15:41

PCO.com owner doesn’t defend its property but panel makes the right decision.

A World Intellectual Property Organization panel has denied a UDRP cybersquatting complaint brought by PCO AG of Kelheim, Germany against the domain name PCO.com. Panelist Adam Taylor made the correct decision even though the owner of PCO.com did not respond to the complaint.

PCO AG argued that the acronym PCO was unique to its business, standing for “Pioneer in Cameras and Opto-electronics”.

But Taylor noted that “…the term “PCO” is far from uniquely-identified with the Complainant. And the Complainant has overstated its case when it claims that there is no conceivable good faith use to which the disputed domain name could be put.”

The domain name does not resolve. Had it resolved to a parked page with ads related to the complainant, this case could have turned out differently.

You can read Taylor’s full reasoning here.


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GoDaddy paid $50 million for two latest domain portfolio acquisitions

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-11-08 14:24

Company picked up about 300,000 domain names for $50 million.

Last month GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY) bought two domain name portfolios: Donuts’ portfolio of about 200,000 domains and a portfolio linked to Kevin Ham that had about 100,000 domain names.

The company disclosed in its latest 10-Q filing with the SEC that it paid $50 million combined for these domains:

In October 2017, we completed two domain portfolio acquisitions for aggregate cash consideration of $50.0 million, including $4.2 million payable upon expiration of the contractual holdback periods.

That comes out to about $167 per domain name.

The filing does not break down how much was paid for each portfolio, nor do I expect any future filings to contain this information.

For comparison purposes, the company paid $35.5 million for Michael Berkens’ portfolio.


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ICANN Holding Its First North American Meeting Since 2014 in Puerto Rico

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-11-07 23:39

As ICANN wraps up its Annual General Meeting in Abu Dhabi, the organization is inviting participation in its 61st ICANN meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from 10–15 March 2018. Vice President, Christopher Mondini writes: "In the wake of the recent hurricane season, the island remains resilient and determined to bounce back. Recovery efforts over the past months have demonstrated the profound strength and solidarity that run deep in the island’s cultural roots." The six-day meeting aims to focus on outreach, capacity building, and showcasing ICANN’s work to a broader global audience. The event is hosted by the Puerto Rico Top Level Domain (.pr)

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Cloudflare Uses Lava Lamps to Generate Encryption Keys

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-11-07 21:37

The web performance and security company, Cloudflare has shared one of the methods it uses to ensure randomness when generating encryption keys. Rhett Jones reporting in Gizmodo: "Cloudflare provides security and domain name services for millions of the most prominent sites on the web. The company has built a solid reputation for its secure encryption and one of the key factors in its system is a wall of 100 lava lamps in the lobby of its San Francisco headquarters. ... The most simple explanation is that a lava lamp is a great way to generate randomness. Coding just isn't great at generating random numbers because, at its heart, code requires a system to mimic chaos."

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US Department of Defense Getting Aggressive on Adoption of Cloud, Machine Learning

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-11-07 20:57

The US Department of Defense is seeking private sector's help to "vault DOD" into the world of elastic computing, data management and analytics, cybersecurity, and machine learning. In an op-ed published in Defense One, Patrick Shanahan, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary writes: "While the Department has made strides, our computing platforms are not keeping pace with private industry, or even international actors. To maintain advantage over increasingly capable and brazen adversaries, DOD must have a worldwide, secure, exponentially elastic, and resilient information environment that continually learns and adapts. We must adjust more rapidly than our opponents and deliver a superior understanding of the battlespace in order to deliver weapons on time and on target. We are aggressively pressing forward and invite the private sector to partner with us in this vital endeavor."

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AXA uses its dot-brand domain name and blockchain for new insurance product

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-11-07 19:59

Fizzy launched on fizzy.axa a couple months ago.

This September insurance company AXA introduced a new test insurance product called Fizzy. The company launched it on its own .brand domain, Fizzy.axa.

Launching the test product on a dot-brand domain name means the company didn’t have to invest in buying an existing domain name. However, if Fizzy takes off the company might need to change names or pay more to acquire the matching domain. Fizzy.com is currently used by a game company.

Adding to the interest: Fizzy is based on the Ethereum blockchain. Insurance purchases are recorded on the blockchain so they are tamperproof. Payments are automatically made whenever a contract should pay off; in this case, if a flight is 2+ hours late.

AXA notes that the product can be trusted because the decision mechanism has been delegated to an independent, tamper-proof network. I think this would be a selling point for smaller insurers but I’m not sure how important this is for a company of AXA’s size.

Using a .brand domain to spin up a test idea can make a lot of sense, but companies also need to consider if they will want to change the domain name and brand if the product advances beyond a test.


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Cyber Espionage Group, Snowbug Targets South American Foreign Policy

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-11-07 19:22

Cyber espionage group targets South American and Southeast Asian governments using custom Felismus malware. Researchers at Symantec report: "Symantec has identified a previously unknown group called Sowbug that has been conducting highly targeted cyber attacks against organizations in South America and Southeast Asia and appears to be heavily focused on foreign policy institutions and diplomatic targets. Sowbug has been seen mounting classic espionage attacks by stealing documents from the organizations it infiltrates." So far Sowbug has mainly focused on government entities in South America and Southeast Asia and has infiltrated organizations in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Brunei and Malaysia.

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This was a perfect opportunity to use a domain name forward

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-11-07 17:27

Typing in a YouTube video address is not fun. Use a domain forward instead.

The Economist magazine often includes ads promoting luxury real estate. This week there’s a full page ad for Chateau Pompadour De Menars in France. This 130,000 square foot property has 62 bedrooms (each with their own bathroom) on 35 acres. The seller is seeking offers until January 15.

Take a look at the ad:

The main calls to action are to view a YouTube video and send an email.

That’s a lengthy and complicated URL to a YouTube video. I know because I messed up four times trying to type it in my browser. This would be a perfect opportunity to use a descriptive domain as a forward, whether it’s a .com domain or a new TLD such as .video, .house or .luxury. It would also be nice to have a professional email address rather than a gmail account.

To be fair, I don’t think the seller is going to lose out on offers because of this lack of professionalism and ease of viewing the video. Someone who actually has the money required to acquire this property who is intrigued by the ad will go through the hassle to learn more. Still, a little professionalism goes a long way.

I’ll make it easy to view the video by embedding it in this post.


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GoDaddy reports earnings and domain revenue growth

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-11-07 14:33

Domain name business keeps growing.

GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY) reported earnings after the bell yesterday.

Total revenue for Q3 was $582.2, up 24% year-over-year. That represents growth of about 12% if you exclude the additional revenue from acquiring Host Europe Group.

The domain name business contributed $271.5 million and the company says most of the 15% year-over-year growth was organic. For comparison, the domains business line contributed $263 million of revenue in Q2 of this year. GoDaddy now has about 73 million domain names under management.

The company did not disclose details of either of its two domain portfolio purchases this year in its press release, presentation and conference call. Both of these purchases took place subsequent to the end of Q3. I’m hopeful that a high-level number will be disclosed in the company’s 10-Q filing with the SEC.


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CentralNic sells $3.4 million of domain names

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-11-07 14:20

Company comes through on its promise to bolster numbers by selling domain name inventory.

CentralNic (London AIM:CNIC) has sold $3.4 million of domain names from its domain inventory, the company revealed today.

The deal doesn’t come as a big surprise. The company sold £3.555 million of domain names to one buyer in the second half of last year. It needed to repeat this performance in 2017 to keep its revenue numbers in line with market expectations.

When the company reported its first half results in September it noted that it expected premium domain sales to “contribute significantly to profits in the second half.” Without more premium domain sales its revenue numbers would decline from last year.

While this worked for 2017, the question remains: what happens when the company runs out of valuable .com domain names to sell?


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New Conference Coming to India This Month Brings Domains, Bitcoin & Gaming Together in One Place

DN Journal - Tue, 2017-11-07 13:04
Domain conferences devoted solely to domains seems to be an increasingly rare species. The new Gambit conference in India is the latest example.
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Internet Goes Down for Parts of the US Due to a Misconfiguration

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-11-07 04:58

Monday saw a nationwide series of outages due to a misconfiguration at Level 3, an internet backbone company. Lily Hay Newman reporting in Wired: "Network analysts say that the misconfiguration was a routing issue that created a ripple effect, causing problems for companies like Comcast, Spectrum, Verizon, Cox, and RCN across the country. ... The misconfiguration was a 'route leak,' according to Roland Dobbins, a principal engineer at the DDoS and network-security firm Arbor Networks, which monitors global internet operations."

Update Nov 7, 2017: Doug Madory, Director of Internet Analysis at Dyn, provides additional update and analysis on the incident. "At 17:47:05 UTC yesterday (6 November 2017), Level 3 (AS3356) began globally announcing thousands of BGP routes that had been learned from customers and peers and that were intended to stay internal to Level 3.  By doing so, internet traffic to large eyeball networks like Comcast and Bell Canada, as well as major content providers like Netflix, was mistakenly sent through Level 3’s misconfigured routers.  Traffic engineering is a delicate process, so sending a large amount of traffic down an unexpected path is a recipe for service degradation.  Unfortunately, many of these leaked routes stayed in circulation until 19:24 UTC leading to over 90 minutes of problems on the internet."

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Phil Corwin joins Verisign

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-11-06 21:54

Former ICA counsel left to join Verisign.

Attorney and policy expert Phil Corwin is remaining in the domain name industry.

Last week Phil Corwin announced he was leaving the Internet Commerce Association. Today, we know why he left — he has joined Verisign as Policy Counsel.

In a short email, Corwin said that he has resigned from ICANN’s Business Constituency and from his seat representing it on the GNSO Council because he is now part of a contracted party.

He will remain co-chair of working groups on Curative Rights Protections for International Intergovernmental Organizations, and on Rights Protection Measures in all gTLDs.


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