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Saturday, June 15, 2013

The "Digital Archery" Revolution...That Didn't Happen (Yet).

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

On  March 31, 2012  I purchased the domain name and I was set to make at least a million dollars in my sleep.

ICANN had just announced the "Digital Archery" program  as part of the selection process relating to the new GTLD applications. Digital Archery was a mechanism developed by ICANN to determine the processing time or batch slots for each gTLD application using "target time variance." Digital archery was approved by ICANN during a special meeting of the ICANN Board on March 28. 2012.

Within days- the first Digital Archery providers announced their own specialized service. At least a half a dozen different Digital Archery services popped up literally overnight.  The new providers were charging (i'm not kidding) from  $15,000 to $25,000 for a single successful batching result.  With upwards of 2000 applications to be processed and batched- the "Digital Archery" revolution was well on its way. The Internet was about to see something that maybe it had never seen. The ICANN organization had proposed a technology and vernacular that had never been used or tested and was in the process of spurning a 20-50 million dollar cottage industry. 

However, as often happens with new ideas (at least the first try) ICANN suspended the program on  June 23, 2012. Following complaints that there were unexpected variances in the results of the process due to various circumstances, including network latency.

So what will become of Digital Archery? If you ask me it was probably great idea whose time hadn't come yet. Nor had its proper purpose.

After my Digital Archery dream came crashing down. I decided to throw together a few ideas of what might be the proper application for the "Digital Archery" technology. First of all from the ICANN Wiki- This is what Digital Archery is:

The process was to be completed in the following four steps:[5]
  • Step 1: Applicants will enter their batch preference and a target date and time into the batching system accessed via TAS. For example: Target Date: 11 June 2012 and Target Time: 08:00:00 EST
  • Step 2: Applicants must re-enter TAS as close as possible to the original time stamp to generate a message to the batching system. The online batching system will then record when this message was received. For example: Message Received Date: 11 June 2012 and Message Received Time: 08:00:03)
  • Step 3: The secondary time stamp will be calculated by the system using the time variance between step one (when the applicant entered his/her target time) and step two (when the message received date/time was generated/recorded). The example shows that the secondary time stamp between step one and step two is 3 seconds. An application will be included in an earlier batch to be processed if the time stamp is closer to 0, if the applicant selected to participate in the earliest batch to be processed.
  • Step 4: The batching selection process will combine the applicant's batching preferences, the secondary time stamp and the geographic region of a specific new gTLD application to determine which applicants end up in which batches. 
ICANN created this process. It is their baby. What could and should be some real life applications?

How about gaming/lottery application? What I refer to as a "Skilled Lottery." For example see below for my proposal which can be facilitated with an app. This proposal requires some modifications to the ICANN technique however the mechanism is basically the same:

The Digital Archery App; Facilitating the "Skilled Lottery" Disruption.
A "cloud based" app.

This is a real game of digital archery with strategy, skill (and luck) involved. 

Object of the gaming application is to hit the target in prescribed time. (think video game graphics)
You can adjust trajectory, distance and timing for your "archery shot".
Composite score based on time sensitivity and closeness to target (archery) (time/target variance)
You pay per click (shot). Combine app with "micro payments" service.
There is a daily winner who wins the pot (just like in most lotteries)
Purse is based on take.
Real-time scoreboard and purse.

Anyone looking for a new disruption? This could be it.

I'm going to hang onto that domain name for a little longer. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Will "Low End Smartphones" (and "PAYG") save .MOBI?

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

I recently purchased the domain name PAYG.MOBI and that got me to thinking about the .MOBI domain extension and the real world potential of that top-level domain. "PAYG" of course refers to the "Pay-As-You-Go" mobile services model-which is a very big industry and projected to get much, much bigger.

According to the Afilias website- Over 1 million+ individuals and businesses use .MOBI as their preferred mobile domain.  That's hardly a reason for any of us to be mourning the demise of the .MOBI extension. However, some have speculated on the limited opportunities for growth potential for that domain extension and I wanted to do a little research to see what the real potential for the .MOBI extension is.

There have been some previous notable sales for .MOBI domain names which have shown the relative "strength" of that domain extension at that point in time.

Below are a few of the all-time (reported) .MOBI sales: $616,000 for $401,500, for $200,000 -$101,000) -$82,000) -$51,000) – $150,000 – $145,000 – $50,000 – $5,000 $110,000 $33,000

Granted, most of these are "all time sales" and none of them took place in the past 3-4 years. However, is there a chance that .MOBI will make a "comeback"?

I wanted to pass on some information on the mobile phone  industry and where I see that the .MOBI domain extension may be tagging along for the ride with this enormous growth in the "Low End Smartphone" and "PAYG" niche.

A quick search on Google finds that the term "PAYG" gets about 2,410,000 results to date and growing 2,480,000 results on the search engine. PAYG is the commonly accepted abbreviation for "Pay As You Go" related services. Wikipedia describes PAYG services as "Pay as you go (PAYG) is a system for businesses and individuals to pay installments." More commonly today are Mobile PAYG services such as PAYG mobile or cellular services. (or no contract mobile services). By the way, the term "Low End Phones" returns over 2,000,000 results on Google and growing. "Low End Smartphones" returns nearly 1,000,000 results. Low End Phones are projected for explosive growth in developing markets. The next version iof ANDROID will be aimed at Low End Phones in emerging markets. (Updated June 14, 2013 with this announcement from Google).

Now its interesting that PAYG mobile services (smartphones) are a massive market and growing exponentially. One marketing research company just recently predicted that there will be 1 Billion "Low End Smartphones" purchased yearly by the year 2018. That's only a few years away and that is only the phones considered to be at the low end category or under around $150. By the way, most of these low end smartphones will be some sort of "PAYG" type service. That is no-contract or contract free. Another way of saying PAYG or Pay-As-You-Go. 

So to clarify, thats one billion PAYG  (Low End) smartphones purchased per year. How much revenue is that? Even at a $100/phone average price, that would be 100 Billion dollars per year in sales just for the unit sales. Not a bad sized potential market for that relatively "small" PAYG/smartphone niche.

Can .MOBI  capitalize on that target market? Will their marketing and sales department shift into high gear and ramp up their advertising and promotion for that market category of businesses, services, applications and users?

From my calculations .MOBI appears to have a very comfortable and probably  growing market share. However, the .MOBI domain extension also appears to have an opportunity to become a big-time domain name player with unlimited growth potential. Based on my little research project here I can comfortably say that .MOBI does have at least one more fan. That's a start.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Is the Internet Running Out of Domain Names?

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

The common chorus your hear rattling around the Internet is that we are running out of good domain names. Or that the good names are already registered. That this domain name shortage is part of the reason that ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is in the process of dramatically expanding the options for available for domain name extensions. To the tune of upwards of 1000 new domain  name extensions.

My practice is that I generally do keep a listed of approximately 20 to 50  unregistered domain names  or "UNREGS" as I call them-at all times. Some of the names have been on my list a year before I ultimately did register them. Some names were on my list for 6-8 months and someone else registered them before me. Sometimes I'll keep a name on the list for a while and then drop it. I would say most of the names I keep on this list are ultimately dropped or not registered. The list has on more than one occasion  "ballooned" to over 100 names. Why do I do this?  Probably because I just am not ready to register that particular name yet. Maybe I'm not "sold" on the name yet or am not convinced that it will be likely to be worth my registration fee which is generally under 10 dollars.

That leads into one of the most common questions that many domainers ask which is "Are there any good hand registered (or currently unregistered) domain names left?"

Lets take a look at a few recently released stats on the domain name Industry for some guidance.

According to a Verisign industry brief released April 2013:

"The fourth quarter of 2012 closed with a base of more than 252 million domain name registrations across all Top-Level Domains (TLDs)."

The base of country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDS) was 110.2 million domain names.

Without getting too much into numbers there are approximately 20 different TLDs available that are not country codes. (such as .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, .tv, .edu, .gov, .mil, etc.)

There are probably at least 200 country specific TLDs (ccTLSs) available for registry. 

According to Verisign .com and .net TLDs reached a combined total of approximately 121.1 million domain names. Approximately 100 million for the .com extension. Now its interesting to see how many (potentially great/valuable) domain names that might leave on the table (or unregistered)?  

My simple formula below tells me that there are many (probably many thousands) of good to great domain names left or still unregistered. Even in the .com version. 

This formula below works for any domain extension. But lets say this is for .com:

To give you an example of the potential there are 11,881,376 possible combinations of 5 character English/Latin  alphabet words/domain names. (Or 26*26*26*26*26) which is how you arrive that that number of possible combinations.  Take it one more character  to six letter domain names and you have 308,915,776 possible combinations. Thats over 300 million which is more than all domains currently registered. Just up to six letters. How many combinations when you get to 7? 8? 9? or 10? When you go to 7 characters you get over 8 billion possible combinations.

That also doesn't count using numbers in the domain names which are of course used as well. Domain names can be much longer than that- however lets keep the numbers within reason.  Unless I'm mistaken, that is enough (seven character) .com domain names for every person on earth to own their very own domain name.  Not to mention the other 220 plus TLD and country code extensions that are available. By the way, that also doesn's count 6,5,4,3,2 and 1 character names that would need to be included in my examples. So my numbers are actually all much lower than reality. However, the numbers do make a point 

 Do you still think that all of the good domain names are already registered?