A constant pain, a Chinese startup, and a category domain

How do you feel if you have to enter a password in order to use the free WiFi service of a store? How much pain is it when you are shopping at various stores? There is a simple solution, and, surprisingly, it comes from China. This story also reveals the ownership of a category domain.

NordVPN WW

The solution is provided in the form of a mobile app called WiFi Master Key. The first time you visit a store, you use the app to enter the password issued by the store. The password is then uploaded to the cloud and becomes available for all subsequent visitors to this store using the app. The process is automatic so that customers can focus on the shopping experience without the WiFi connection trouble. Over time, as passwords of all popular stores are stored in the cloud, you can hop from store to store while the WiFi connection switches automatically for you.

This app is the work of a little-known startup called LinkSure in Shanghai. As reported by TechCrunch, “WiFi Master Key was China’s fifth-largest app and the world’s ninth largest by monthly active users in 2018.” Its 800 million monthly active users worldwide are more than twice the entire population of the USA! This shows you the power of the internet to enable anyone to become a global player.

The WiFi Master Key creator may be small but it projects an image of a global player, by owning the brand-matching domain Wifi.com which they likely acquired in 2015. The domain was sold for $225,000 in 2006 and later had an asking price of above $1.5 million before it was acquired by the startup, so the price was definitely expensive.

Why such a big investment in a domain? WiFi.com represents the category of all WiFi products and services. “WiFi” is a common term with strong interest from consumers around the world. Owning a category domain gives you authority of that category. It tells consumers you are number one in that category.

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Originally published on Grandseeds.com

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How much do you care about masked whois and has it affected your sales?

Masked Whois

So Rob Monster started a thread about who should control a registrant’s whois? The thread also delves into how obscured whois affects domain sales.

Rob posted:

Do professional domain investors accept these extra steps and tolerate the idea that their WHOIS data is masked or otherwise obscured, effectively forcing people to contact registrants through other means?

At the same time, ad blocking software have made many conventional parking landers effectively blank screens. Some parking companies have started to pivot using landers but most parking is still an easy ad block.

I ask this because I realize that many domain sellers have had a tough few months with selling domains. It dawned on me that the drop in domain selling activity appeared to coincide with GDPR rollout which kicked off in earnest on May 25, 2018 and where many registrars simply masked everything on WHOIS.

One thing I noticed is people are all over the map in how they value public whois with relation to domain sales.

Jurgen Wolf said

As for me, the direct inquiries to my WHOIS email were very rare even prior GDPR.
99.99% – spam only.

So it is not important for me in terms of sales.

While Korganian was doing a lot better in the days of fully public whois.

Before GDPR, I had a lot more people email me or call me on the phone to purchase my domains.

I loved those quick phone sales out of the blue!!!

All the sales were to end users for a nice profit too.

Now Rob included a poll with regards to who should control whois on a domain name.

Who should decide whether WHOIS is visible?

No surprise that the registrant being in control is the leading vote getter at 85%.

Read the thread here

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From $10 domain to global player

Techcrunch is my guide to domain investment. As it seeks out and reports on upcoming unicorn startups around the world, I ride on it by studying the corporate domains of these companies to see direction in domain usage. One startup that caught my attention last week is The CareVoice.

This Shanghai-based health insurance platform competes with a new wave of Chinese startups banking on this second largest insurance market in the world. The CareVoice deploys cutting-edge technologies such as AI and big data to match consumers with health insurance providers. Since founding, it has received investments totaling $13 million. Last year, it entered the Hong Kong market and has announced plans to expand throughout Asia.

The corporate domain of The CareVoice is the brand-matching TheCareVoice.com. While the domain was registered in 2013, the company was set up in 2014 and Wayback Machine shows the domain’s first use in 2014. Therefore, it’s highly likely the company invested only about $10 to register the domain. Despite this cheap digital address, the startup is well positioned as a global player because the domain is brand-matching, based on simple, English words, and using the .com extension. This makes the brand/domain easy to remember both inside China and around the world.

The company has a Chinese brand: 康语 (Kang Yu = telling of health). However, it apparently does not own the matching KangYu.com (which is not developed). TheCareVoice.com is their corporate domain inside China. So, this example suggests that it is viable for Chinese companies to focus on their English brand and matching .com domain.

How much would it cost to buy a physical address and set up your store which is local? How much would it cost to buy a digital address (domain) and set up your store which is global? The answer is clear. This era is about the digital world and therefore global business. Anyone can start a global business at a $10 domain. Just make sure the domain matches your brand and preferably follow the EnglishDotDom domain strategy – English-based name on .com extension.

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Originally published on Grandseeds.com

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The second quarter of 2019 closed with 354.7 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains

Verisign

Verisign (VRSN NASDAQ) released their Domain Name Industry Brief for Q2 2019. The second quarter of 2019 closed with 354.7 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of 2.9 million domain name registrations, or 0.8 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2019.

 

.COM AND .NET DETAIL

The .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of 156.1 million domain name registrations in the domain name base3 at the end of the second quarter of 2019, an increase of 1.3 million domain name registrations, or 0.9 percent, compared to the first quarter of 2019. The .com and .net TLDs had a combined increase of 6.4 million domain name registrations, or 4.3 percent, year over year. As of June 30, 2019, the .com domain name base totaled 142.5 million domain name registrations, while the .net domain name base totaled 13.6 million domain name registrations.

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The beauty of short domains in sub-branding

Epik’s Rob Monster has become a popular CEO among domain investors lately. On the Namepros domain forum, you can find him even during wee hours answering questions, offering great deals, and also soliciting ideas. He knows the power of crowd sourcing, and one of his latest projects is to find a brand name for a smart search site.

Bitdefender WW

He listed a number of brand candidates for forum members to comment, but one investor raised the interesting question of why not create a sub-brand based on the “Epik” brand, such as Epik Events, Epik Escrow, and Epik Search. “Epik” is so short that sub-brands based on it are still short but have the benefit of capitalizing on the brand equity of “Epik”. Also, domains matching the sub-brands are usually available to register.

Such practice is actually done is China. Look at Jing Dong (京东), the 2nd largest ecommerce company in the world according to the 2019 study by Forbes. The online retailer owns many sub-brands, such as JD Cloud at JDcloud.com (cloud services) and JD Wu Liu at JDWL.com (logistics services). As you can see, since “JD” is very short, adding a suffix to it still makes the new sub-brand short.

Another example is Alibaba which is often referred to as “Ali” in China. Therefore, when the company creates sub-brands, it tends to use the pattern “Ali” + keyword, such as AliExpress.com for its online retail operation, AliSports.com for its sports economy, AliTrip.com for its tour services, and AliPay.com for its mobile payment platform. These sub-brands are still short.

So, a short brand/domain gives you the opportunity to tag a keyword to create a sub-brand. Just make sure you have the matching domain ready before you launch a new sub-brand. In the case of Jing Dong, the company still has many sub-brands seemingly without their brand-matching domains, such as JDJR.com for Jing Dong Jin Rong (京东金融=finance), JDFC.com for Jing Dong Fang Chan (京东房产=real estate), and Jing Dong Nong Mu (京东农牧=agribusiness).

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Originally published on Grandseeds.com

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Sedo unveils new sales landers but is it a little too late?

So with so much talk and innovation coming out of the likes of DAN, Epik and Efty when it comes to sales landers, Sedo has finally added something new to their offerings.

Today they announced new sales landers, Sedo said the following:

Overall, we’ve worked to create a minimalistic design making the sole focus of this landing page layout to aid the sale of the domains being offered.

What we deemed necessary for a more efficient sales landing page:

  • Navigation, account features, and even the search bar within the header area as you know from the general Sedo Offer Details Page have been removed. The Sedo logo is the only thing remaining in the header area. This page is just about your domain.
  • The Legal fine print has a smaller font size and combined with a lighter text color it is less distracting, but still readable.
  • On the contrary, the font size of the “For sale” information is much bigger to attract visitors’ attention.
  • The size of “Make Offer”/“Buy Now” buttons were increased to a larger width and now are highlighted in a green color making them stand out better from the neutral background.
  • We implemented a Trustpilot widget, which displays the positive Sedo-rating status. This boosts confidence in Sedo as a trustworthy business partner and marketplace, thus also increasing the CTR (Click-Through-Rate) for your domain offer.

The Sales Landing Page is responsive, fast and consistent for all domains listed at Sedo for Buy Now and Make Offer. If you want to see a live version from your own device, just visit hium.com.

Here is a look,

Sedo new sales landers

So what do you think? Personally I think it’s nice they made an effort but they have a long way to go to catch up with DAN, Epik and Efty.

There was a question on Namepros that raises a good point, “Can we add analytics for the traffic visiting? If not, its worthless to me. Just about every other place allows us to see what traffic is coming to our landers.”

I would imagine Sedo will still provide traffic stats like on parked pages but I don’t know yet.

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