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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.

Remember CFIT? Buy its domain for $250

Kevin Murphy, April 29, 2010, Domain Sales

Remember CFIT? The Coalition For ICANN Transparency is an ironically opaque organization created and backed by Momentous.ca, owner of Pool.com.
It emerged in 2005 to sue ICANN and VeriSign on antitrust grounds, around the same time as they were negotiating .com price increases.
I’d almost forgotten CFIT existed, until CEO Mark McLaughlin mentioned it on VeriSign’s Q1 earnings conference call last night.
The antitrust lawsuit is still pending, after CFIT won an appeal last June. Tenacious organization indeed.
Its domain name did not have the same longevity, however.
CFIT.info now belongs to a domainer, who appears to have picked it up last December. I offered him twenty bucks for it today and he countered with a $250 offer, which is a bit rich for me.
Whatever PageRank it accrued from all its press coverage appears to have dried up, and its parking page is not especially inspiring.
Any takers?

ThePirateBay.org to sell for $10 million

Kevin Murphy, April 27, 2010, Domain Sales

A failed corporate calendar company, Business Marketing Services, says it has made a deal to buy controversial Bittorrent domain thepiratebay.org for $10 million.
This is a strange one. On the face of it, the deal looks like a reverse acquisition with a shell company, designed to get The Pirate Bay a US stockmarket listing.
BMS is listed on the OTC market. According to its last 10-K filing, Hans Pandeya bought a controlling 78% interest in the company this January, for $325,000.
Pandeya is the majority shareholder of Global Gaming Factory X, the Swedish company which last June said it was going to buy The Pirate Bay for $8 million.
That deal, which was widely questioned at the time, does not appear to have ever closed.
Today, BMS said it will buy the thepiratebay.org domain name, and has issued a promissory note in the value of $10 million, deliverable on June 30, 2010.
That’s the same date that GGF thinks it will close the acquisition
Are you following this? Basically, GGF is buying thepiratebay.org, and BMS is buying it off GGF on the same day, assuming the cash exists. Both firms are owned by Pandeya.
As for BMS, it’s a phenomenally unsuccessful company that tried, and failed, to build a business making corporate-branded calendars.
The company is so small it’s barely there. Check out its last 10-K.

We planned to initially print 3,000 wall planners for each industry group that we targeted and distribute them to members of the targeted industry or profession free of charge. Our plan was to generate revenue solely through the sale of advertising space on the wall planners. These wall planners would have been produced upon our sale of all the available advertising space. To date, we have not produced any wall planners… As of December 31, 2009 we had $946 in cash.

This outfit couldn’t even print 3,000 calendars, and now it is the shell into which The Pirate Bay will be reversed.
BMS said it is planning “to use the acquired assets to launch a paid for service with licensed content based on next generation filesharing technology”.
The Pirate Bay was the internet’s most popular source of bootleg torrents. Its back-story is all very complicated.
Wikipedia’s probably your best bet.

Band loses domain, gets $300k anyway

Kevin Murphy, April 27, 2010, Domain Sales

A British pub band forgot to renew its domain name, but wound up £200,000 richer anyway, courtesy of an original work from the popular graffiti artist Banksy.
According to the Bristol Evening Post, Exit Through The Gift Shop was gifted a painting valued by Sotheby’s at £200,000 ($307,000) after it agreed to change its name to avoid a clash with the title of Banksy’s new film.
But was there also another benefactor, the person who caught exitthroughthegiftshop.com when it dropped and sold it to Banksy?
The band’s drummer said:

“We had lost the domain name as we had forgotten to renew it, and when we phoned up to ask to buy it back, the man said no, that we wouldn’t be able to afford it, and that he was the agent for the person who had the domain name.”

Whois records show that exitthroughthegiftshop.com dropped in March 2008, when it was promptly re-registered by somebody who hid behind an eNom privacy service.
The domain was transferred to its present owner (no, it’s not Banksy, I checked) two days before it was due to expire in March last year. Presumably, it was sold.
Did a domainer make a killing in artwork?

A timely domain drop – iquitfacebook.com

Kevin Murphy, April 23, 2010, Domain Sales

The domain name iquitfacebook.com is dropping this weekend, and it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
Facebook has walked into a bit of a privacy nightmare by announcing it will start to give third-party sites access to user data, leading some people to quit the service.
The site has already been called “Privacy Enemy Number One”, and there are dozens of other pieces of commentary and news picking holes in the new Facebook features.
Widely followed Googler Matt Cutts also raised eyebrows when he said he had deactivated his Facebook account today, and others are following suit.
“I just deactivated my Facebook account using the guide at http://goo.gl/rhpE Not hard to do & you can still revive it later,” Cutts tweeted earlier today.
Is there an opportunity for an enterprising domainer to capitalize on a trend here?
The name iquitfacebook.com is pending delete this weekend. It’s listed on SnapNames with an April 24 deadline, and has already attracted six bidders on Namejet, with a high bid of $79.

Flying.com sells for $1.1 million

Kevin Murphy, April 7, 2010, Domain Sales

Flying.com has been sold to UsedAirplanes.com for $1.1 million.
UsedAirplanes said in a press release that it will spend the rest of the year turning the domain into a social media site for flying enthusiasts, through which it can market its used plane listings.
According to the press release, the domain last changed hands in September last year, for $845,000, which gives the seller a very nice return on a quick flip.
“The amount of traffic Flying.com will generate will obviously enhance the amount of leads our brokers will receive for their used airplanes and aircraft,” said CEO Mark Horne.
While it’s undoubtedly a category killer for aviators, the domain doesn’t currently seem to rank highly in search engines for the term “flying”.
The related domain Fly.com sold for $1.8 million in January 2009. Last week, Pilot.com was sold through Sedo for $300,000.