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Cybersquatters already hitting .co

Kevin Murphy, July 21, 2010, Domain Sales

Just over 24 hours after the general availability launch of the .co top-level domain, the secondary market is already beginning to fill up with dodgy domains.

Aftermarkets including Go Daddy and Sedo are currently listing some names that are unarguably typosquats of famous brands, and plenty more that very probably wouldn’t beat a UDRP complaint.

Go Daddy Auctions currently has almost 200 .co domains listed, Sedo over 500. Of those, I managed to find a few dozen dubious registrations, mostly on Go Daddy.

It beggars belief that, with millions of decent greenfield domains available, somebody had the failure of imagination to register wwwgoole.co. But they did. It’s currently listed on Sedo.

Other probable typosquats found on Sedo this evening include yahhoo.co, listed with a £10,000 price tag, as well as yayoo.co, geogle.co and barclys.co.

Go Daddy has listed some more obvious brands: poptarts.co and tostitos.co for the foodies, sanfranciscogiants.co, washingtonnationals.co and seattlemariners.co for the American football baseball fans.

Somebody who pays way too much attention to Rick Schwartz registered bpoilspill.co for the quick flip.

Cartoon characters for sale include mariobros.co and goofy.co. Celebrities duncanbannatyne.co and mikeposner.co both get squatted.

Yahoo, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft all get targeted, with yahoomaps.co, iphonedeals.co, facebookme.co and bingsearch.co all receiving price tags between $5,000 and $50,000.

For the Brits, centerparcs.co, virginuk.co and bbciplayer.co are also all up for auction.

Bear in mind that these are just the domains that have been registered and listed for auction in the first 24 hours. There’ll be plenty more not yet on the market.

I’d estimate about 5% to 10% of Go Daddy’s .co auctions are currently UDRP fodder.

This is why trademark holders hate new TLDs.

Kredit.com sells for a fraction of Kredit.de

Kevin Murphy, June 15, 2010, Domain Sales

Kredit.com, which means “credit.com” in German, has been sold via Sedo for a fraction of the price that Kredit.de sold for about 18 months ago.

Sedo reported today that the domain changed hands recently for €220,000, which works out to $271,000 at today’s exchange rates.

For comparison, the German ccTLD equivalent, kredit.de, went for €892,500 in December 2008, also via Sedo. At the time, that amount translated to $1.25 million.

A generic ccTLD selling for roughly 5x the .com is a fairly uncommon occurrence, perhaps demonstrating how strong the .de namespace is locally. I can’t imagine such a wide discrepancy in valuations between a generic .com and .co.uk.

Kredit.com was originally registered in 1996. It’s currently parked, with an Irish address listed in the Whois.

Microsoft launches Kinect without Kinect.com

Kevin Murphy, June 14, 2010, Domain Sales

Microsoft has revealed that its long-awaited gaming platform previously known as Project Natal will be officially known as “Kinect”.

While the company has a trademark on the word, it does not currently own the domain name kinect.com.

It’s registered and redirecting to CAHG, which appears to be an advertising agency specialising in the pharmaceutical industry.

Kinect is widely recognized as a global leader in interactive marketing and promotion and serves as the Interactive Agency of Record for many market-leading brands in the US, Europe, Asia, South Africa, and the Middle East.

I expect lucky CAHG could shortly find itself on the receiving end of an offer it cannot refuse.

There is some precedent: four years ago, when Nintendo launched the Wii, the domain wii.com belonged to Weyerhaeuser, a forestry products company.

It took a few months for the name to change hands, for an undisclosed sum.

Charity e.co auction kicks off with $10k bid

Kevin Murphy, June 7, 2010, Domain Sales

The four-day auction of the domain name e.co started less than an hour ago at Sedo, and it has already attracted a five-figure bid.

.CO Internet, the Colombian firm behind the newly liberalized .co ccTLD namespace, is using the auction to plug its upcoming landrush, which kicks off June 20.

Juan Diego Calle, CEO of the registry, previously said e.co is “perhaps the shortest, most memorable digital brand in the world”.

Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the charity of the winning bidder’s choosing.

Due to the high-profile nature of the auction, wannabe bidders have to fill out an application form before posting their bids.

The bidding will conclude during a live event at the Internet Week show in New York this Thursday.

Coupons.info sells for over $17,000

Kevin Murphy, May 27, 2010, Domain Sales

Go Daddy might be currently giving away .info domains as freebies when you buy a .com, but that doesn’t mean they’re all worthless.

Coupons.info has just sold through Sedo auction for $17,600, easily the priciest recent .info sale I can recall.

It looks as if the transaction closed yesterday, with the domain now redirecting to its new owner’s existing site at allcouponsdirect.com.

The seller had held a reserve price of $7,000, so I’m guessing he’s a happy bunny today.

E.co up for charity auction at Sedo

Kevin Murphy, May 26, 2010, Domain Sales

Sedo is to host a charity auction for the domain name e.co, under a deal with .CO Internet, manager of the newly relaunched Colombian ccTLD.

The auction will run from June 7 to June 10, with the final hour hosted live at the Internet Week show in New York, simultaneously webcast to the Internet Retailer and TRAFFIC conferences.

The winner of the auction gets to choose which charity the sale price is donated to.

Juan Diego Calle, CEO of the registry, said e.co is “perhaps the shortest, most memorable digital brand in the world”, which is hard to argue with.

You’ve got to hand it to .CO Internet, and to its PR outfit BM, they’re doing a hell of a job keeping the pre-launch .co buzz going. New TLD applicants take note.

Could we see seven figures? It seems quite possible.

Let’s hope the winning bidder throws the money at a worthy cause and doesn’t blow it on a donkey sanctuary or something.

Sex.com writer Kieren McCarthy buys sexdotcom.com

Kevin Murphy, May 17, 2010, Domain Sales

If you’ve written a book called Sex.Com, what domain name do you use to promote it?

For former ICANN staffer Kieren McCarthy, the answer to that question is now sexdotcom.com, which he has just picked up for a bargain $360 in a Sedo auction.

He has previously promoted Sex.com: One Domain, Two Men, Twelve Years and the Brutal Battle for the Jewel in the Internet’s Crown on sexdotcom.info, but says it makes more sense to use the .com.

The book, which is very entertaining, chronicles the fight for control of sex.com between original registrant Gary Kremen and the conman Stephen Cohen, who stole it in the mid-1990s.

McCarthy tells me he’s had some Hollywood interest in his story, so his new domain could turn out to be a worthwhile investment.

Slots.com bidding starts at $4 million

Kevin Murphy, May 6, 2010, Domain Sales

The week-long auction of slots.com is underway, and the two first bidders have already pushed the price over $4 million.

It was announced yesterday that SnapNames had grabbed the rights to auction the domain. A reserve price of more than $5 million has been set.

Given that online gambling is basically a license to print money, it’s no surprise that many of the biggest domain sales every have been in this market.

Casino.com reported sold for $5.5 million, while Poker.org went for $1 million last year, the highest-ever price for a .org domain name.

The slots.com auction has a little over six days left on the clock.

Bido going, going, gone

Kevin Murphy, May 4, 2010, Domain Sales

Budget domain name auction house Bido has said it will close its doors tomorrow.

“Bido is ceasing operation as of May 5, 2010. All transactions and accounts will be gracefully finalized and closed,” the company tweeted.

The FAQ on the company’s web site carries the same message.

There’s no word yet on why it’s closing down, but my bet would be it is a cashflow issue.

COO Jarred Cohen just emailed to say that “The reason is nothing beyond obvious, the volume wasn’t sufficient to warrant operation.”

Bido raised its minimum price from $28 to $38 a few days ago, suggesting that it wasn’t really happy with its revenue performance.

According to Bido sales I’ve been looking at recently, not much more than $50,000 a month was passing through its service.

Clearly Bido’s cut wasn’t enough to profitably sustain the company.

Second-tier TLDs gain aftermarket traction

Kevin Murphy, May 4, 2010, Domain Sales

The average aftermarket selling price of domain names in second-tier TLDs is creeping up, according to the latest numbers from Sedo.

Sedo’s latest quarterly sales review shows that namespaces such as .biz, .info and .org are selling for far better money than they were a year ago.

In fact, the median selling price of .biz, .org, and .net domains is now higher than that of .com.

The price of .biz names, which only accounted for 1% of overall sales, has almost doubled in the last four quarters, up 97% at $537.

The .info namespace fared almost as well, recording a median price of $418, up 91% on the $219 recorded in the second quarter of 2009.

The long-established .org has also appreciated over the last 12 months. Its median price rose 45% to $550.

While there’s no doubt that .com is still where the high-end money is, the median price for a .com was only $510, a 24% increase over the same period.

Sedo has started reporting median prices because big one-off sales can have an impact on the mean averages it also reports.

Its full Q1 Domain Market Study report can be downloaded here.