The Above.com website was not vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug

The Above.com website was not vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug that impacted so many trusted services.  We monitor our services 7×24 for any suspicious activity and will take immediate action on any possible network intrusion.

We recommend that our clients take the following best practices to heart when conducting business online.

  1. Update their passwords frequently, and don’t use the same passwords over and over
  2. Do not use easy predictable passwords
  3. Do not leave your computer unattended
  4. Be careful when access secure websites from public networks
  5. Examine the URL on any forms you are completing to insure that the form has not redirected to another website
  6. Keep your virus definitions up-to-date and run frequent virus scans on your computer

 

New gTLD Panel Summary from Domainfest – “When Will They Pay Off”

I had the privilege of moderating a panel at DomainFest on the topic of new gTLDs called “When Will They Pay Off”.  I was fascinated by the topic of this session, and when asked to help assemble panel, I was anxious to do so.   Our esteemed panel included Alan Dunn, SVP Acquisitions and Divestments, Domain Holdings.  Pinky Brand, VP Strategy & Partner Relations, TLD Registry Ltd., and Steven Kaziyev, Managing Director, YourBrand.com.  I have known each of the panelists for many years and knew that they would bring a different perspective to the conversation.

We agreed to keep our focus on the question from a domain investor perspective vs. profitability from the perspective of a registry or registrar.  With that in mind, we all agreed that we have no certainty when these things (domains) will page off. There are many unknowns.  Unknowns such as how will Google and other search engines handle the new TLDS.  Unknowns such as whether there will be click bias against new TLDs from the public. Unknowns such as our much traffic leakage there might be from websites using the new gTLDs to the .COM counterpart.  These are reasonable concerns that do need to be addressed.

I think the group was somewhat satisfied that Google would resolve technical issues regarding fairness to the new gTLDs, but only time will tell regarding the other concerns.

The panelist agreed that there would likely be a lift in value resulting from usage  provided there are many gTLD domains developed into quality websites.  Public awareness and a search engine footprint are requisites for acceptance of a new TLD. Those new TLD registries can influence a lift in value of their TLD by creating some market demand through smart marketing.

When asked what domain investors could do to increase the value of new gTLD domains, the consensus was to develop the domains into a quality website.  The analogy is that in real estate, developed property is usually worth more than undeveloped property.  There were different views expressed regarding how fast an investor should develop with a new domain.  Do it fast and you seed the search engines with indexed websites that create visibility with the public, and you might even get a marketing boost from the registry that is looking for shiny websites to highlight their TLDs.  Another view was to take a wait and see approach and then invest in the gTLD, which has had some public interest demonstrated.   The later approach is less risky and time consuming.

The panel recognized that building and managing a website is hard work and does require skill sets that many domain investors do not have.  They advised to find contractors, employees, or partners to make things happen right.  Pinky Brand told the story of Blinds.com which was involved in.  The domain owner paired up with a local window shade and blinds company who had not internet presence.  Together they are doing great business on an awesome website using a fantastic domain.  That is thinking out of the box!

When asked to speculate on the whether the future value of a new gTLD domain investment would be worth in 1 year and 5 years from the time of investment, the panelist all pointed to past with other TLDs.  In general, all domains appreciated in value regardless of the TLD when developed.  That makes sense as you gain backlinks, page rank, repeat visitors, and brand recognition.  Pinky reported the success of a very recent domain name auction of new Chinese character gTLDs has raised US$182,000 from 33 auction lot sales. Bidders in the room and around the world paid between US$2,000 and US$25,388 for valuable Chinese character domain names in the Dot Chinese Online (.在线) and Dot Chinese Website (.中文网) TLDs. More people from around the world are coming online and domains are the best investment for a business brand, so values should only go up.

Steven Kaziyev, projected that multi-keyword .COM domains might actually increase in value because of some TLD confusion.  He explained that each new gTLD domain likely would have meaning on both the dots as in <Accountants.club > would like experience traffic leakage to <AccountantsClub.com> and that the owners of these new gTLDS would want to protect their investment by securing the .COM version of the domain and perhaps pointing it to their new gTLD website.  This has me reconsidering my view on some longer tail .COM domain investments.

I enjoyed moderating this panel and appreciate the contributions of each panelist and DomainFest for giving the topic a forum.

When do you think these new gTLDs will pay off? Your comments are welcomed.

 

We Are Heading To Where There’s T.R.A.F.F.I.C. !

Above.com will be a sponsor of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, with the next show May 27–31 in Las Vegas.  The T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference has been the gold standard for the domain investment business since 2004, so expectations are always high for this event.

I recall the feeling of many attendees following the last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Florida, where there were new faces in attendance, and the mood was one of excitement and optimism.   There was plenty of lively debate regarding the merits of new gTLDs vs. .COM.  It was apparent that the world of domain investors was changing yet again.  This energy did not end with the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, but instead rolled right into the newcomer conference – NamesCon.

I had no doubt that the NamesCon conference would be a good conference from an organization perspective.  That show had three dynamic people at its core in Richard Lau, Jodi Chamberlain, and Jothan Frakes.  What opened my eyes a bit wider was seeing the sponsorship engagement and the number of domain investors in attendance.  It seemed that they too had that glimmer in their eye that I saw back at TRAFFIC.  GREAT SHOW!  People were optimistic about the future of domain investing.

We were delighted that Oversee.net announced their DomainFest was officially on the calendar. DomainFest has always been a good conference for Above.com to attend because there are so many clients with business models based upon domain parking.  I was concerned that there was too little time to prepare for the show, and I could only imagine how crazy that Oversee was in the weeks leading up to the show. I was quite impressed with the DomainFest conference.  Impressed not only that Oversee pulled together a fantastic conference in a very short time frame, but even more so with the continuation of energy that I saw at both NamesCon and at TRAFFIC.

Now we come full circle back to the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show.  I am curious whether that feeling of optimism and the energy to make things happen will be as evident this time around.  Above.com is committed to the domain investment community and that is why we participate in all of these conferences.  Note I did not say that we “attend” but instead I said that we “participate”.  We do so because the domain investment community is OUR COMMUNITY.  The excitement, optimism, and energy felt by OUR COMMUNITY feels good!

Please join us in Las Vegas for the next T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference.

Improving Lead Generation with Keyword Loaded Domain Names

How much targeted traffic are you missing because of your domain name selection? 

Domains are more than just a name!

  • Domain names impact website’s search engine footprint, affecting ranking
  • Domain names affect perceptions of trustworthiness, affecting clicks, traffic, and conversions
  • Domain names can be memorable, increasing chance for repeat business or viral marketing
  • Domain names are descriptive and can be very targeted to an audience
  • QUALITY DOMAIN NAMES are the best investment for online business brand that want clients to reach them on any platform or device, regardless of the browser they are using, or search engine of preference.

Domains for you!
Above.com invites you to the “Lead Generation Domain Auction” hosted online at http://www.above.com/marketplace/leadgen.html.   Inventory selected specifically for Lead Generation industry.   Bidding will be open to the public from March 17, 2014 until April 16, 2014 at 12pm PT.

At LeadsCon? Get Auction List!
Visit Above.com/Trellian at LeadsCon booth #237 to get a hardcopy of the auction inventory or download now at Inventory Sheet – Lead Generation Domain Auction.

Is There Value in Affiliate Marketing?

Is There Value in Affiliate Marketing?

I agree with most who would say yes, when the affiliate is able to get the attention of a market and direct that market to the best suited products.  Affiliate marketers who understand how traffic is targeted and directed to websites from within the search engines and external to them, will know how to fully capitalize on the system to the benefit of themselves, their subscribers, and the upstream affiliate programs.

When tooled with a strong keyword loaded domain name that ties in with the products and services you are selling, the affiliate marketer’s job gets a little easier.  Keyword rich domains help search engines to know what the website is about, and this is a prominent factor of Google’s published search ranking algorithm.  Affiliate would be wise to review the inventory listed in the “Affiliate Domains” auction hosted at Above.com (http://www.above.com/marketplace/affiliate.html) for match against current or new affiliate campaigns and opportunities.

Affiliate marketing continues to rapidly grow, drive demand for global brands, and evolve in step with a changing world. Affiliates are getting better at segmenting traffic based upon geographic access points, and whether the access is via mobile or not. The industry is Forrester, which conducted the study, forecasts U.S. affiliate marketing spending will increase by a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 17 percent between 2011 and 2016, growing to $4.5 billion.

No doubt that the Affiliate Marketers have contributed to the success of may online retailers and services because of their market and technology reach and knowhow. the All signs continue to point to a health future as the industry’s bellwether tradeshow “Affiliate Summit” continues to sell out show after show, year after year. The biggest affiliate forum is http://www.abestweb.com continues to add new members and topics to discuss.  Large affiliate networks such as LinkShare, Commission Junction, Amazon, and ShareASale keep adding new programs and affiliate members. It is a competitive environment where the affiliate marketer needs to use everything available to them for a competitive edge, in a lucrative and thriving market.  Solid keyword domain names give some of that edge.  Do visit the “Affiliate Domains” auction.  You will be glad that you did.

“Lead Generation Domain Auction” will be 2nd Themed Auction hosted by Above.com

The second “Themed Auction” of 2014 will be the “Lead Generation Domain Auction”. The auction inventory will be targeting organizations, which stimulate and capture online interest in a product or service for developing sales pipeline.   Bidding will be open to the public commencing March 17, 2014 and ending on April 16, 2014 at 12pm PT.

The first Themed Auction of the year was launched at the “Affiliate Summit West” conference in Las Vegas.  The auction, suitably named “Affiliate Domain Auction”, ends on February 14, 2014 at 12pm PT.  Bidding is open at http://www.above.com/marketplace/affiliate.html.  This auction inventory contains keyword rich domains that are matched to many common industry verticals used in affiliate programs. These powerful keyword driven domains can drive organic traffic by virtue of its SEO attributes.

ACCEPTING DOMAIN SUBMISSIONS NOW!
We are seeking submissions for a March 2014 Themed Auctions hosted by Above.com.  The “Lead Generation Domain Auction” will be our second Themed Auction in 2014.  Domains selected for this auction will be under an exclusive sales agreement from the point of acceptance into the auction until 30 days after the close of the auction. A 15% commission fee will be deducted from all domains sold at or above your reserve price.  This fee includes domain escrow.    Please submit your domains and your reserve price to “sales @ above.com”.

DomainFest 2014

DomainFest 2014

Meet the Above team at DomainFest 2014! This annual show, hosted by DomainSponsor, will be held in Hollywood, California, from March 31st – April 2nd.

This year they’ve put together an impressive agenda that covers the latest business, online marketing and technology drivers in the industry. They will be featuring hot topics such as domain and startup investing, alternative funding sources for startups, new gTLDS, acquiring and converting web and mobile customers, increasing domain monetization and much more.

This show is for everyone – from domain experts and investors, to newbies just starting out. We hope to see you there!

For more info, visit: www.domainfest.com

“Themed Auctions” have advantages in reaching targeted domain endusers

PROBLEM – SO FEW BROKERS FOR DOMAINS VALUED At $30K and LESS:
It is understandably hard to find reputable domain brokers willing to broker domains that are valued at $30,000 or less.  With few exceptions, each domain broker will start their brokering process by first gather intelligence on a domain to understand both its history and potential. This intelligence will help the broker match the domain to a list of prospective buyers.  The broker must then contact potential buyers in a way that will more likely get their attention and gain their trust.  In many cases, the broker must literally educate the prospective buyer about domain value and applications.  The broker may need to repeat this process across hundreds of prospects in order to get the right one with the interest, budget, and power to close on a sale.  These upfront time and resource investment by the broker in selling a domain name often goes unrewarded.  This risk assumed by the brokers, makes them more focused on selling pricier inventory.  Domains valued at $30,000 or less requires a more cost effective method of selling to end-users.

THE COMMON SOLUTION: The most prevalent cost effective solution in the industry at the moment to sell this price range of domains is via a cooperative domain sales network such as GoDaddy/Afternic and Sedo.  This approach uses domain registrars to serve up alternative domain suggestions to their clients who attempt to register a domain.  The logic is that people will consider buying a similar domain from their network should the targeted domain string not be available for new registration.  This method of sales is 100% reactive to demand, as there are no proactive promotions or market stimulation.  The results are massive auction inventory build-up, but little inventory churn.  Likewise most domains using this method require a BUY NOW price, so there is no competitive bidding for the domain.

THE PROBLEM FOR BUYERS: Many businesses operate their online properties using inferior domains.  These businesses through ignorance of opportunity swim upstream by paying for traffic, rather than gain targeted traffic by effectively using a domain name.  I have seen many businesses budget $10,000 per month to buy traffic, when that same traffic could be obtained through the acquisition of a few select domain names at a lower price.  Even when buyers “get it”, they still may be on guard for domain broker solicitation from people they do not know.

THE ABOVE SOLUTION: We believe the solution to the problem is to run a schedule of “Themed Auctions” which are domain auctions targeted at identifiable buyer groups and where there may be opportunity for some strategic collaborating.   Above.com will conduct a series of themed auctions throughout 2014.   While not a new concept, themed auctions can be very effective in connecting the right buyers and sellers.  Themed auctions are vastly more cost effective to promote and have a much greater chance reaching the intended buyer because the marketing message can be better concentrated on specific buyer groups.  Many ideas would work for themed auctions to the benefit of the large buyer groups.  In some cases, it may be beneficial to work in partnership with an industry event, or some industry representative group, in order enhance the chances to reaching qualified buyers. We are open to doing what is needed to cost effectively move domain inventory to the satisfaction of both our buyers and sellers.  Ideal partners should be representative organizations, whether they are trade conferences, industry forums, user groups, or any established representative trade organization.  They provide additional value to their constituents, and foster an entrepreneurial environment that benefits their stakeholders.  Partners influence domain selection, help promote the auction to their members, and receive a share of the auction commission.

We will be announcing the first few upcoming 2014 Themed Auction schedule soon with the intent of having ongoing Themed Auction throughout the year.  Selection of the themes is predicated upon several factors, including size of market, how focused demand is, reserve price and selection of inventory.

The first announced Above.com Themed Auction is the Affiliate Auction at http://www.above.com/marketplace/affiliate.html.  This auction was announced at the recent Affiliate Summit West conference in Las Vegas. Bidding is open to the public. This auction ends on February 14, 2014 at 12pm PDT (UTC – 8).

If you would like more information about the Above.com Themed Auctions, please contact us at http://www.above.com/contact.html.

 

January 2014 Trade Show Schedule

Meet the Above team at the two upcoming shows in January:

Affiliate Summit West 2014

Affiliate Summit West, Las Vegas, January 12-14

Affiliate Summit is the leading trade show for the affiliate marketing industry. Affiliate Summit was founded by Missy Ward and Shawn Collins in 2003 for the purpose of providing educational sessions on the latest industry issues and fostering a productive networking environment for affiliate marketers. More info:www.affiliatesummit.com

NamesCon 2014

NamesCon 2014, Las Vegas, January 13-15

Hosted by Richard Lau, NamesCon is a conference that brings together companies, representatives, and individuals in the Domain Name industry, especially Registries and Registrars. January 2014 marks the first ever event for NamesCon. More info:www.namescon.com

TOP-10 SHOWCASE domains for week ending Nov 22, 2013

SHOWCASE NAMES
Domain  Price 
cafearea.com  $         25,000
shoesformen.com  $         25,000
overdiet.com  $         20,000
seafoodlunch.com  $         15,000
goalkeeper.net  $         12,500
demoroom.com  $         10,000
fitnessroom.com  $         10,000
konacrystals.com  $           5,000
instantkona.com  $           5,000
hawaiiancoffee.org  $           5,000

These domains and more are available in the Above.com Domain Marketplace at https://www.above.com/marketplace/.  The Above Marketplace Report is our weekly newsletter showing the top ten domains in various categories such as traffic, revenue, page rank, and showcase names. You can register to receive this newsletter at http://www.above.com/marketplace/signup.html.