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.Scot dumps GBP over Brexit

Currency fluctuations force DotScot to reprice its services in the Euro.

It’s fascinating to watch the upheaval Brexit is having across the economy and then with domain names. You’ve probably already heard that UK residents might have to surrender their .EU domain names after Brexit, although that’s still up in the air.

Here’s another example: DotScot Registry Ltd, the small non-profit that runs the .Scot top level domain name, is switching its fees from Sterling (GBP) to the Euro (EUR). The currency switchover happens on March 29.

DotScot director Gavin McCutcheon explained to Domain Name Wire that currency fluctuations with the pound sterling are impacting its business. In an email he wrote:

…by far and away our largest overheads are denominated in USD (ICANN fees and escrow fees) and EUR (back-end services, etc), whereas our income has up until now been denominated in Sterling. Because of this we are hugely exposed to volatility in the exchange rate between Sterling vs. the Euro/ US Dollar and the best guidance we have is that there is expected to be a high degree of volatility in Sterling following Brexit…

Indeed, Sterling is still down about 17% since the Brexit vote even though it has rebounded from its lows.

McCutcheon notes that registries have to give six months’ notice of any price change, so should the GBP fall substantially, it would be stuck in limbo for a long time.

He wrote:

Ultimately our registrants need price stability and what we are doing has the aim of ensuring that we can maintain a stable base-price moving forwards, which will also make life easier for our registrars who benefit from – and require us to provide – stable pricing too.

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

7 ways to sell your domains – DNW Podcast #229

Hobi Michalec shares tips to sell your domain names.

dnw-podcastThis week I chat with domain broker Hobi Michalec with domain brokerage Lumis. Hobi shares 7 methods to sell your domain names. While you’ve surely thought of some of them, I learned a lot from listening to these tips of the trade. Hobi also has some advice for people who struggle to get on the phone to close sales.

Also: Unlimited .org prices? Tucows buys Ascio, AppDetex raises funding, dot-brands, Honeywell and more.

This week’s sponsor: Name.com.

Subscribe via iTunes to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, view on Google Play Music, or click play above or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

A dozen tax deductions for domain investors

Domain investors may be able to deduct these expenses associated with their business.

Image with word Tax and Tax Deductions for domain investors

U.S. tax returns are due April 15 this year, which means it’s crunch time.

If you’re like me and are still waiting for K-1s from investments, you can extend your tax filing deadline to October 15, 2019. Just be sure to make an estimated payment with your extension request.

Hopefully you had a great year with your domain investments. While working on your taxes, here are some business expenses to consider. Please note that I’m not an accountant and you should always check with a qualified tax professional before filing your taxes.

  1. Domain conferences – Did you go to Namescon last year? Perhaps an ICANN meeting or Merge? Add up the cost of admission, hotel, airfare, and ground transportation to report on your expenses.
  2. Annual domain registrations – These add up! Get all of your domain registration receipts together.
  3. Internet access – Whether at home or an office, consider if your internet access bills should be deducted as an expense.
  4. Home office – Have a room (or area) in your house that you use exclusively for your business? Talk to your accountant about taking a home office deduction (which may include a portion of your utilities and house maintenance, too). This deduction applies to both homeowners and renters.
  5. Mobile phone – A lot of domain transactions take place on the phone. If you use your mobile phone for business, you may be able to expense a portion or all of it.
  6. Domain services and software – Subscribe to DomainTools, Efty, keyword finders, or other recurring services? Don’t forget to tally these expenses.
  7. Web hosting – Especially for domainer-developers, your AWS or hosting bill is an expense.
  8. Meals and Entertainment – Did you go to a business lunch with someone? 50% of these expenses can be deducted.
  9. Legal expenses – It sucks if you faced a UDRP in 2018. The good news is you can deduct these expenses.
  10. Office supplies – Even if you don’t have an “office” per se, you may use various supplies in running your domain business. Think paper, printer ink, etc.
  11. The cost of tax preparation – You might have read that people can no longer deduct tax prep fees on their taxes. My understanding is that this does not apply to businesses that pay an accountant to prepare their taxes.
  12. Business taxes – While state and local tax deductions are now limited to $10,000, this doesn’t apply to taxes certain businesses pay. Double check with your accountant to see how this applies to you.

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Pardon my French, but WTF DJ Snake?

 Domain Name Wire: DJ Snake and Pardon My French tried to get PardonMyFrench.com through a domain dispute. A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found against William Samy Etienne Grigahcine, aka DJ Snake, in a dispute over the domain name PardonMyFrench.com. DJ Snake is part of a collective of French DJs called Pardon My French. Pard...

.Scot dumps GBP over Brexit

 Domain Name Wire: Currency fluctuations force DotScot to reprice its services in the Euro. It’s fascinating to watch the upheaval Brexit is having across the economy and then with domain names. You’ve probably already heard that UK residents might have to surrender their .EU domain names after Brexit, although that’s still up in the ...

7 ways to sell your domains – DNW Podcast #229

 Domain Name Wire: Hobi Michalec shares tips to sell your domain names. This week I chat with domain broker Hobi Michalec with domain brokerage Lumis. Hobi shares 7 methods to sell your domain names. While you’ve surely thought of some of them, I learned a lot from listening to these tips of the trade. Hobi also has some […] © DomainNameWir...

A dozen tax deductions for domain investors

 Domain Name Wire: Domain investors may be able to deduct these expenses associated with their business. U.S. tax returns are due April 15 this year, which means it’s crunch time. If you’re like me and are still waiting for K-1s from investments, you can extend your tax filing deadline to October 15, 2019. Just be sure to make […] © D...

Did Zoom pay $2 million for Zoom.com?

A clue in Zoom’s IPO filing hints at Zoom.com purchase price.

Late last year video conferencing company Zoom acquired the domain name Zoom.com. A new clue suggests that the company might have paid $2 million to acquire the domain name.

Media Options acquired the domain name last year and filed a trademark application to launch a domain name consulting service. Then it sold it to Zoom Communications, which uses the domain Zoom.us.

Zoom just filed to go public and its S-1 filing shows intangible asset purchases of $2.018 million in the fiscal year that ended January 31, 2019.

Intangible asset purchase on Zoom S-1 filing

George Kirikos pointed out on twitter that $2.018 million is exactly what the company would have paid if it used Escrow.com to complete a $2.0 million transaction:

It’s possible that Zoom acquired other IP last year, but $2 million seems about right for this domain name given the circumstances.

The last known sales price for Zoom.com was $350,000 in equity back in 2010. That included the domain name and some intellectual property.

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Did Zoom pay $2 million for Zoom.com?

 Domain Name Wire: A clue in Zoom’s IPO filing hints at Zoom.com purchase price. Late last year video conferencing company Zoom acquired the domain name Zoom.com. A new clue suggests that the company might have paid $2 million to acquire the domain name. Media Options acquired the domain name last year and filed a trademark application to launch ...

Challenges of “.brand” domain names

The structure of domain names and ICANN rules hamper .brand domains.

Image with the words www.brand

Earlier this week ICANN posted a notice from Honeywell that it wants to terminate its .honeywell domain name. These domains–with a trademark after the dot–are commonly referred to as .brand top level domain names.

They were shoehorned into the existing framework for top level domains, making them hard to use in innovative ways. A couple of the comments on my post about Honeywell’s withdrawal point these out.

One commenter, who goes by the name Snoopy, questioned what should go left of the dot in a .brand domain for the company’s main website. He said www.brand is a possibility.

John Berryhill responded and pointed out some of the challenges of .brand domains:

Right, but they’d all have to adopt the same protocol in order to have a hope of “guessability”. But you are spot on with the words being in the wrong order, as I have also heard from the brand manager for a major automobile manufacturer. Many more .brand TLDs are going to be dropped since they were obtained on the basis of there being a limited time window to apply for them, so quite a few of the applications were simply exercises in avoiding a lost opportunity to obtain something they could figure out later if they wanted to use. (and, yes, urged on by the ICANN consultant corps)

In order to advertise the “home” destination in a .brand TLD, the brand owner, with potentially billions of value in the goodwill associated with their brand, has to pick some other word and give it ‘top billing’ on their marquee, ahead of their brand. I’s particularly tough if you are, say, Yamaha, and make everything from concert pianos to motorcycles. It would be one thing if DNS wild-carding were allowed, but it’s not since ICANN’s revenue model is based on registration volume of 2LDs. That also rules out any “TLD as database” applications, such as being able to use (product-serial-number).brand in service, support or warranty applications.

Having control of one’s own DNS data to the top-level may be of some marginal utility, but there is precious little practical value .brand TLDs. Now, of course, someone with something to sell may pop up here and argue otherwise, but one can’t deny the fact that you have better odds of seeing a snow leopard than a .brand TLD with any substantial use. It is going to become more difficult to foist these on brand owners against the growing wasteland of discarded .brand TLDs, so I can certainly understand the urgency.

One of the better pitches for these things was by Joe Alagna, then of Centralnic, who would explain that early email addresses, such as through Compuserve, would look like “(numeric)@compuserve.net”, which made no brand impression. Later, one could get “(brand)@earthlink.net” which included the brand, but still advertised Earthlink. Then, it became easier to get addresses like help@brand.com, which eliminated the ad for the provider, but still implicitly ‘advertises’ Verisign as the .com registry. Joe could get you to buy sand in the desert if you listen long enough.

The thing is, generic TLDs like .com are just that – generic. Nobody associates any particular brand with .com or other gTLDs (unless they are in the domain business), so they are blank canvases which do not detract from the commercial impression of a URL or email address.

This will be a challenge unless or until ICANN changes how these domains can be used. Even then, it will be an uphill battle.

For the pro-.brand view, listen to this podcast.

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

When the search bar goes away

The anticipatory web will change how people access and use the World Wide Web.

Screenshot of Jetblack from Walmart

I’ve been warning for a while that the greatest threat to domain names is new technology that requires less searching and browsing.

Owners of premium domains have been hurt as browsers switched from an address bar to a search bar. But what if people don’t need to search or visit a web browser at all? What if computers anticipate our needs and do the searching for us? I call this the “anticipatory web”.

The Wall Street Journal published a story today about Jetblack, a personal shopping service from WalMart. It lets people in New York City ask for product recommendations and order stuff via text message. A team of agents responds to the messages, picks up stuff, and delivers it the customer.

It’s a money-losing venture with a long-term goal: using artificial intelligence to handle the future of web interactivity:

Walmart is using Jetblack’s army of human agents to train an artificial intelligence system that could someday power an automated personal-shopping service, preparing Walmart for a time when the search bar disappears and more shopping is done through voice-activated devices, said Jetblack CEO Jenny Fleiss.

Some people confuse the idea of voice browsing with what we’re really talking about here: systems that can anticipate or respond to your needs without a visual browser.

Maybe that’s via text message:

“When I’m laying in bed at night and I’m thinking about something, rather than going to Amazon and searching, I just text,” said member Julia LeClair, co-founder of a high-end fashion e-commerce site and mother of a 1-year-old. She has asked for recommendations on which sippy cup to buy and for help planning her daughter’s recent birthday party. Jetblack recommended a theme, decorations and party favors, and then ordered the items for delivery.

and

Through the dialogue, the system is learning which follow up questions to ask, said Ms. Fleiss. For example, if a shopper asks for a new stroller, the system might learn to next ask “For how many children?” and “Do you need your child to nap in the stroller?”

I envision a time when your phone or voice assistant reminds you that it’s your mother’s birthday and asks, “Would you like to deliver a dozen roses for $29.95”?

Yes.

And that means one less trip to a visual browser, scanning search results and clicking on a domain name.

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Brazil company guilty of reverse domain name hijacking

Company went after the .com version of its country code domain name.

Reverse domain name hijacking graphic

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found a company in Brazil guilty of reverse domain name hijacking despite the owner of the domain name not responding to the UDRP.

Panelist Wilson Pinheiro Jabur made the finding against 2XT Tecnologia e Comercio de Informática Ltda, which owns the domain name passagenspromo.com.br. The company filed the case against the matching .com domain, passagenspromo.com.

The domain was registered in 2013 before the Complainant started using the mark. The domain means “promo tickets” in Portuguese.

The Complainant characterized the domain as typosquatting and argued that the registrant intended to sell it to the highest bidder given that it did not take any steps to acquire trademark rights over the term.

Historical Whois records can’t confirm the original registrant of the domain due to Whois privacy but the domain has always been registered at PublicDomainRegistry.

The Complainant basically agreed that it was registered in 2013, which is fatal to its case. In finding reverse domain name hijacking, the panelist wrote:

In the present case, the Panel considers that the Complainant has been guilty of RDNH due to the fact that it has failed by a large margin, since the Complainant knew or at least should have known that it did not possess enough evidence to prove at least one of the essential elements contained in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

The Complainant’s representative quoted UDRP case law and the Panel thinks it is unlikely that he was unaware of (i) the consensus set forth in section 3.8 of the WIPO Overview 3.0; and (ii) the current overwhelming view of UDRP panelists as to the need to prove registration and use in bad faith.

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Lawsuit claims Verisign shouldn’t have transferred domain name

Suit alleges that domain name wasn’t owned by defendants named in class action.

Screenshot of Radaris.com

Bitseller, a company in Cyprus, says that Verisign shouldn’t have transferred the domain name Radaris.com as requested by a court and is asking (pdf) for at least $500,000 in damages.

The backstory is interesting. In 2014, attorneys filed a class action lawsuit against organizations that is said were running Radaris.com. The lawsuit claimed that Radaris, which aggregates public information about individuals and businesses, was not complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

In 2017 the court issued a default judgment against the defendants in that case and ordered Radaris.com to be transferred to the plaintiffs. The domain’s registrar, EuroDNS, refused to transfer the domain. So, according to the new lawsuit, the plaintiffs took their court order to Verisign and got the domain transferred.

Bitseller says that it operates the Radaris website and that the domain is registered by a company called Accuracy Consulting. Historical Whois information supports that Accuracy Consulting was the registrant of the domain.

Yet, despite neither Bitseller nor Accuracy being named in the original lawsuit, the domain was transferred. Bitseller and Accuracy got the court in the class action case to determine that the domain should be returned.

Bitseller eventually got the name back but argues that it suffered great losses from not having the domain name. It says that Verisign could have easily verified that Accuracy was not named in the lawsuit.

Verisign’s defense in this case will likely be that it was just complying with a court order as it always does. That court ordered stated:

To the extent that the registrars do not assist in changing the registrars of record for the domains under their control within 1 business day of receipt of this Order, the top-level domain (TLD) registrars [sic] (or their administrators) for the Subject Domain Names within 5 business days of receipt of this Order shall change or assist in changing the registrars of record for the Subject Domain Names to a registrar of Plaintiffs’ choosing.

© DomainNameWire.com 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

When the search bar goes away

 Domain Name Wire: The anticipatory web will change how people access and use the World Wide Web. I’ve been warning for a while that the greatest threat to domain names is new technology that requires less searching and browsing. Owners of premium domains have been hurt as browsers switched from an address bar to a search bar. But […] © Dom...

Brazil company guilty of reverse domain name hijacking

 Domain Name Wire: Company went after the .com version of its country code domain name. A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found a company in Brazil guilty of reverse domain name hijacking despite the owner of the domain name not responding to the UDRP. Panelist Wilson Pinheiro Jabur made the finding against 2XT Tecnologia e Comerc...

Lawsuit claims Verisign shouldn’t have transferred domain name

 Domain Name Wire: Suit alleges that domain name wasn’t owned by defendants named in class action. Bitseller, a company in Cyprus, says that Verisign shouldn’t have transferred the domain name Radaris.com as requested by a court and is asking (pdf) for at least $500,000 in damages. The backstory is interesting. In 2014, attorneys filed a cl...

Honeywell calls it quits on new top level domain name

 Domain Name Wire: Company tells domain name overseer that it doesn’t want .Honeywell anymore. American conglomerate Honeywell (NYSE: HON) has decided it doesn’t want to run its own top level domain name after all. The company informed (pdf) ICANN last month that it wishes to terminate its agreement to run .honeywell as a top level domain n...

16 end user domain name sales up to $25k

 Domain Name Wire: A Black Friday site, a gaming company and an apartment community bought domain names last week. Sedo had a variety of end user domain name sales this past week, including a rare appearance by .travel. As usual, it was an international list of buyers. Here are the end user sales I found. You can view […] © DomainNameWire.com 201...

AppDetex raises $10 million in Series B

 Domain Name Wire: Company that fights domain registrars over access to Whois data pockets $10 million. Brand protection company AppDetex has raised $10 million in a round led by First Analysis. It has raised $17.5 million to date; a prior round was led by EPIC Ventures and Origin Ventures, which also participated this time. AppDetex is best known [...

More cybersquatting cases but fewer domains at WIPO in 2018

 Domain Name Wire: Filings up but number of domains down at largest UDRP organization. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has issued its annual release about how many cybersquatting cases it heard under UDRP and similar policies. WIPO’s headline says it’s a record, and that’s true when considering the number of cases (3,4...
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