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Clean.tech leads Sedo’s end user chart for last week.
Last week’s end user sales at Sedo were led by a new TLD sale at $30,000. A solar power company bought clean.tech.
Here’s a look at some of the domains end users bought. See prior end user lists here.
Clean.Tech $30,000 – Electrious is a solar power company. It says it applies artificial intelligence to solar power.
CSelect.com $10,500 – Seliant ApS offers online tests to assess potential employees. This might be a name for one of its assessments.
HomeStatus.com $7,775 – Simple Commands is a home automation/smart home provider. For now, the domain forwards the domain to SimpleCommands.com.
Prodin.com $7,000 – Prodin is a Guatamalan company that makes car waxes, shoe polish, kids art products and more. It appears to have used the domain ProdinCA.com before buying this domain.
Plomero.com $5,980 – Plomero means plumber in Spanish. A Miami plumber bought the domain. This was a great buy.
Dedicated-Servers.com $5,000 – Hosting company LayerHost.
JoyClub.it €4,250 – Purchased by F&P GmbH, a German full-service creative agency. The domain is presumably for a client.
GreatGig.com $3,500 – Varsityplaza, which forwards this domain to jobs search site GreatGigs.com. It was smart to buy the singular version of the domain name.
Franke.id $2,500 – Forwards to Franke.com, a Swiss company that manufactures and installs kitchen equipment such as stoves and hoods, commercial kitchen systems, high-end coffee systems and water filtration systems.
KidsConcept.de €2,500 – Forwards to KidsConcept.com, a Swedish children’s furniture and room decor manufacturer.
CashlessCampus.com $2,000 – Gabbart Communications, a website company that produces and hosts K-12 school websites. It is based in Durant, Oklahoma.
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Aron Meystedt is on to something here.
Domain investor Aron Meystedt, who used to sell domains on behalf of Heritage Auctions, is selling fractional shares in the domain name NNR.com.
Meystedt is selling 300 shares in the domain for $100 each, valuing it at $30,000.
He has thought through some of the limitations of this type of deal. For example, he will refund the money if the domain is stolen or lost in a UDRP.
Meystedt is also working on an exchange in which people can sell their shares to other investors.
It’s a good concept and Meystedt appears to be trying it out as a minimum viable product. When expanded further, such a system would allow domain owners to obtain liquidity in their assets that might not sell for a while. It will also allow investors to own a part of domain names they might otherwise not be able to afford.
Whether it’s Meystedt or another existing aftermarket platform, it would be interesting to see this idea fleshed out more. Among the issues a fractional-ownership system will need to address are:
- Legal implications
- Tax implications
- The strike price at which the domain must be sold. Can the main owner deny an offer that would deliver 3x returns to owners?
- Secondary market sales of fractional ownership
- Security/escrow of the domain
- Who should pay for UDRP/legal defense costs
I imagine the legal and tax compliance costs of doing this one-off would be too high, but a platform could make it work.
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Some long numeric domains may work in corporate China
Long numeric domains can work in China, but not usually.
Generally speaking, long numeric domains are difficult to remember and use for Chinese companies. However, like anything in life, there are always exceptions. A small number of long numeric domains may work if they are meaningful.
Some Chinese companies use numeric domains. For example, in the 2018 Top 100 Chinese Internet Companies Report (2018年中国互联网企业100强分析报告), the following seven companies use numeric domains.
- 360.com by 360 Total Security
- 58.com by 58.com
- 2345.com by 2345.com
- 37.com by 37 Games
- 4399.com by 4399
- 6.cn by 6Rooms
- 253.com by Chuang Lan 253
However, note that these names are all four digits or fewer. Therefore, I consider any domain longer than four digits as a long numeric domain. A long numeric domain is difficult to use unless you can create meaning for consumers to associate the two. A good example is a domain sold recently in a domain auction: 365765.com.
This name is interesting if you break it into two parts: 365 and 765. They roll off the tongue when said in Chinese. When I saw this domain, I decided to use the rhyming method to see if I could create meaning for it. In other words, I tried to find Pinyin phrases that sound similar to the numbers. The result is shown below.
365765 = 想礼物，取礼物 (Xiang Li Wu, Qu Li Wu = Think of gifts, take the gifts)
The “comma” makes it easier to say in Chinese. This domain may be used for a gift-related business.
Be aware that rhyming means the resulted Chinese phrase sounds similar to but not exactly as the number. A certain imagination is required. Also, when this number is used outside China, its meaning will be lost. For this reason, I have not seen any long numeric domain used by major Chinese brands. Long numeric domains are likely used for trading among speculators but not sold to end users.
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Young, hip, digitally native brands love swag – t-shirts, jackets, notebooks, and promotional products with their corporate logo.
So why, Jeremy Parker and Josh Orbach asked back in 2016, isn’t there a young, hip, digitally native way to sell swag to those brands?
That was the a-ha moment that prompted Parker and Orbach to launch Swag.com, a New York-based company that has grown to over $6 million in sales in four years. They expect their sales to double in 2020 to $12 million.
They found a way to enter the highly fragmented and competitive promotional products market by focusing on a basic rule: Don’t call what we sell promotional products, call it swag.
“No young person is calling it promotional products anymore. They’re calling it swag,” Parker said in an interview. With the Swag.com domain name, his company is the first result that appears when someone searches online for the word swag. “We’re getting a lot of people to our site without having to pay for them,” with ads, Parker said.
The word swag has long been used to mean loot, as in something robbers grab. In the promotional business it is said to stand for “stuff we all get” or “souvenirs, wearables, and gifts.” The HBO series Silicon Valley included several memorable moments featuring characters rhapsodizing about the wonders of swag.
Parker says the exact origin of the term is debatable. But one thing is certain, he said. Swag.com is a great domain name. “It has a cool feel to it and it’s insanely memorable.”
The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) puts the size of the promotional products industry at $28 billion. That includes all the pens, water bottles, mouse pads, phone chargers, tote bags, hats, shirts and other giveaways handed out at trade shows.
But companies, especially startups that want to build their corporate culture, are ordering high-end jackets, backpacks, or electronic devices with their logos as gifts for employees or favored customers.
Swag.com has put company logos on Bellroy backpacks, Sonos speakers, Allbirds sneakers, and even a custom bicycle.
Parker and Orbach decided to target the office managers at startups and tech companies who were looking for better quality, curated items that can be imprinted or embroidered with a logo, rather than thousands of inexpensive throwaway items.
The promotional products industry is highly fragmented, with over 38,000 businesses in the United States, and with no single company having a market share of greater than 5 percent, according to research firm IBISWorld.
The combined revenues of the four largest companies in the industry – 4Imprint Group PLC, Halo Branded Solutions Inc., PFG Ventures LP, and Bensussen Deutsch & Associates LLC – make up less than 12 percent of the 2019 sales, IBISWorld reported. The industry, the IBISWorld report noted, is also characterized by a low level of technological change.
The Swag.com founders believe that gives them an opportunity.
Parker’s first job after college, 12 years ago, was working for a large promotional products company. “I learned the ins and outs of the industry and I saw how old and broken it was,” he said in an interview. “Every sale was done through catalogs, email back and forth, phone calls, very old school.”
The typical buyer of promotional products a decade ago was a 45 to 50 year old office manager, Parker said, and that buyer didn’t mind the old way of doing business.
“Over the last 10 years the industry has not changed, but the buyer has changed,” he said. “The buyer is now a 22 to 25 year old millennial.”
Those buyers, Parker said, don’t want to page through catalogs or place orders by phone. They want to be able to do everything on their laptops or phones, and find promotional products that make them, and their companies look good.
Parker and Orbach’s first move was to acquire the Swag.com domain name. Without that name, Parker said, their plan to reach millennial office managers wouldn’t work. The owner of the name initially wanted over $1 million for it, but Parker and Orbach eventually were able to buy it for $200,000.
Next, they talked to as many millennial office managers as possible to learn how to build the kind of promotional products digital platform they wanted.
Then, they set out to land some big name customers that would attract other digitally native clients.
They staked out the Facebook office in New York until they won a $3,405 order for T-shirts, making Facebook their first customer. Then they visited WeWork, and when asked ‘Who else have you worked with?’, they replied “Facebook,” and won WeWork as their second customer, with an order for $19,548 for WeWork summer camp t-shirts.
Their first year in business they did $365,000 in sales, all done the old-fashioned way, with face-to-face meetings and cold calls to office managers. The second year, 2017, they launched their e-commerce site and did over $1 million in sales. In 2018, Parker said, they did over $3 million in sales and this year Swag.com is on track to double last year’s results, with between $6 and $7 million in sales.
October was the company’s strongest month to date, with over $700,000 in sales, Parker said. The company expects to double sales again next year, to $12 million.
Now, Parker said, potential customers are calling Swag.com, rather than the other way around. “This is the first year we haven’t made one outbound sales call,” he said. “Every single sale has been inbound.”
The company is not yet profitable, Parker said, because it is investing in growth, particularly in tech innovations for its e-commerce platform.
Swag.com has raised $2.8 million in venture capital from investors.
Tech innovations the company has invested in include a patent-pending color detection software that matches the colors in customer logos to the corresponding color in the Pantone color identification system. That information then goes to the vendors Swag.com uses to supply the t-shirts, water bottles and other products so they can get the logo colors right.
“It’s very important,” Parker said. “Coca Cola needs to be Coca Cola red. If they go Staples red it would be a problem.”
The company recently launched a “Swag inventory” service that lets businesses who need to keep promotional items on hand for new hires, or employee work anniversaries buy in bulk, and replenish items as needed from Swag.com fulfillment centers.
“We think of Swag Inventory like a online swag closet,” Parker said. “We do all the heavy lifting for them. They no longer need the swag closet.” Swag.com will keep track of what items they have in stock and ship them to offices, or sent them out as customer rewards, as needed, he said.
“Our belief is Swag Inventory is going to be game-changing, by locking customers into a longer order cycle,” he said.
Other promotional products firms offer some of the services found on Swag.com, such as inventory tracking, and “swag in a box” - a boxed collection of company logo items for new employees or clients. Many use the term swag on their home pages to boost search results. But Parker and Orbach have something they don’t have, the Swag.com name.
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Google launches .new domain shortcut registrations for businesses
Businesses will be able to register their own domains with an extension of .new to take users to a website for creating content.
Users of G Suite can easily browse to a web page for a specific product simply by adding the extension .new to the name as a shortcut. Type docs.new in your browser, and you're taken to a Google Docs page where you can create a new document. Type sheets.new, and a page for Sheets pops up where you can create a new spreadsheet. Type sites.new, and a page for Google Sites appears where you can create a new web page. Now, Google is bringing that same quick and convenient type of web page shortcut to all businesses.
SEE: Domain Name System (DNS) Policy (TechRepublic Premium)
During an initial limited registration period starting December 2, 2019, and running through January 14, 2020, any company will be able to register a domain name using the .new extension. The .new domain serves the same purpose for businesses as it does for Google's own G Suite. It's designed to easily take users to a page for creating online content or generating some type of action. In fact, all .new domain names must be used for action generation or online creation flows, according to Google's .new Domain Registration Policy.
As some examples, Spotify will offer a .new shortcut called playlist.new to let you create a new playlist to add songs to your Spotify library. eBay will provide a .new shortcut called sell.new to help you find the right product up for auction or sale. Webex will offer a shortcut called webex.new as a fast way for Webex users to start a personal online meeting from any browser. And OpenTable will provide a shortcut called reservation.new to allow you to make an OpenTable reservation at a nearby restaurant.
Businesses with specific trademarks don't even have to wait until December 2 to apply for a .new domain. During the sunrise period starting on October 29, brand owners can register domains that have an exact match trademark verified in the Trademark Clearinghouse. Businesses with brands that meet these requirements should check with their domain registrar for information on how to register.
Following the sunrise and limited registration periods, Google will offer a general registration period in July 2020. Businesses that want to register a .new domain will have to provide Google with information about how they intend to use the domain and how it complies with Google's .new Domain Registration Policy. The .new domain names will be awarded in batches, and companies will receive specific instructions on how to register those names.
Registering a .new domain
In general, though, the process for registering a .new domain should work similarly to that for such domains as .app, .page, and .dev. Type whats.new or get.new in your browser. At the Google Registry page, type the name you wish to use for the page, such as your company or brand name. The registry will tell you if that domain name is available. If so, another page pops up with links to a number of domain registrars. More than 30 registrars will be available, and Google will publish a list of them prior to the limited and general registration periods at whats.new. Choose your preferred registrar and follow the steps to register your domain. Like.app, .page, and .dev, the .new domain extension will use HTTPS to ensure that all data is secure and encrypted.
How will you know if your page meets Google's requirements as explained in its .new Domain Registration Policy? Before registering, you'll want to review the following questions:
- Will the page be used for action generation or online content creation?
- Will the page take the user directly into the action generation or content creation flow?
- Will the page resolve to the action within 100 days of registration?
- Will the page allow Google Registry to verify compliance at no cost?
If you're still not sure, Google advises businesses to look at some of the early registrants to see how your page would compare. Here's the full list of the early adopters available starting sometime on October 29:
- Playlist.new: Create a new playlist to add songs on Spotify.
- Story.new: Write about what matters to you on Medium.
- Canva.new: Create beautiful designs with your team.
- Webex.new: For an easy, fast, and secure way to start your personal meeting room from any browser, try this shortcut from Cisco Webex.
- Link.new: Instantly create trusted, powerful, recognizable links that maximize the impact of every digital initiative using Bitly.
- Invoice.new: Create, customize, and send customer invoices directly from the Stripe Dashboard.
- Api.new: Prototype and launch your ideas for new Node.js API endpoints with this shortcut from RunKit.
- Coda.new: Simplify your team's work with a new doc that combines documents and spreadsheets into a single canvas.
- Music.new: Create personalized song artwork for OVO Sound artist releases, pre-save upcoming music, and play the latest content with a single click.
- Sell.new: Help people get exactly what they want through eBay.
- Reservation.new: Make an OpenTable reservation at the best restaurants near you.
- Repo.new: Developing fast? Open new GitHub repositories and gists in record time.
- Word.new: With , you can write with confidence, knowing intelligent technology can help with spelling, grammar, and even stylistic writing suggestions.