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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Did I Release a Big Fish Domain Name?

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

I am releasing into the wild a domain name (TMCH.CO) that I have held for the past two years.  Below is my registration record from the WHOIS database:

Domain Registration Date:                    Wed Mar 14 23:01:33 GMT 2012
Domain Expiration Date:                      Thu Mar 13 23:59:59 GMT 2014
Domain Last Updated Date:                  Wed Mar 19 17:03:23 GMT 2014

TMCH is the acronym for the Trademark Clearinghouse. 

For those of you who have been in outer space, the wilderness or deep under water for the past few years the "Trademark Clearinghouse" (TMCH) is a rights protection mechanism developed and sponsored by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which is the governing authority of the Internets naming and numbering system. Basically domain names.

Some of you did read my recent post titled Domaining 101:When to Fish or Cut Bait. I wanted to follow up on that post with a related post regarding why I am letting this particuar domain name (TMCH.CO) expire.
Sometimes a fisherman will let a seemingly valuable fish go back into the ocean and no one will understand why they did that. Or even more likely, no one else would have seen the release or even know that it happened. So for the record, I'm about to let what some may consider a big fish (domain name) go back into the ocean and I will give a brief explanation.

So there is a short answer and a more drawn out one.

The easy answer is that the domain name is missing the letter "m" in the name. That is it is not a .com name. It is a .co name. I have written on the continued value of .com names and the .com domination of the domain name marketplace and the Internet. You could find some of these posts here:

The Dot Com Paradigm
The Dot Com Firewall
Is Dot Com Dying a Thousand Deaths
The Dot Com Kingdom
One Thousand Splinternets

I should add that it's very likely that the following domain names could be worth a good deal of money on the open market (no, I do not own them).

TMCH.ORG (.org is of course for non-profit)

(I would hazard a guess that each name  could easily go for 6-7 figures on the open market. The TMCH and ICANN are both non-profit organizations so the .org could even be more valuable than the .com in this case.)

So why am I letting TMCH.CO go?

Because it isn't .com or .org.

How much is TMCH.CO worth on the open market?

Not very much and that is my whole point.

The truth is that TMCH.CO has been offered to nearly every major player in the Trademark Clearinghouse industry and most of them multiple times. There has been  level of interest in that domain name that borders somewhere below indifference. So I had to take a realistic view on what that domain name is really worth. In addition, the domain name has been freely available for each and every day of the past two years on a parked auction page. Anyone could have bid on the name at any given time over the past two years. How many bids did I receive during this period? Zero. Nada. None. Zilch. A pretty clear message to me.

Could the name eventually be worth something? Probably. Especially if a party invested the money and resources into advertising, marketing and brand building of this .co domain name.

Now, I'm sure that there are many .co domain names that hold value and some probably very valuable. In fact, the .co registry was recently sold to another party for over 100 million dollars.  

But there's part of me that feels like the zealous baseball fan who so readily throws the opponents home run baseball back onto the field as a form of protest and support for his own team. Maybe I'm rooting for .com just a bit too much.  Maybe I'm just a poor sport or a dot com fanatic.

However, in this case, It's quite easy for me to say that there is no demand for TMCH.CO and so I will gladly let it go.

So long TMCH.CO. I will miss you and watch you grow.

Have a good life. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Domaining 101: To Fish or Cut Bait?

By Duane J. Higgins, ceo

As a long time domain name investor I'm constantly reminded of the valuable process of "fishing and cutting bait" with my own domain portfolio and specific domain names. It really is a constant process of culling, cultivating and enhancing the portfolio. Particularly when a specific domain name comes up for expiration or renewal.

A definition from Wikipedia of my favorite colloquialism is below:

Fish or cut bait is a common English language colloquial expression, dating back to the 19th-century United States, that advises for swift decision-making (to act or not to act), and cautions against procrastination and/or indecisiveness. The meaning of the expression has expanded over time and can be interpreted in a number of different ways depending on the context. 

Thinking about this healthy process got me to thinking about other popular colloquialisms that are often bandied about business circles and relate to the business world and everyday life.

(By the way, I had to look up colloquialism myself for this definition): 

plural noun: colloquialisms
a word or phrase that is not formal or literary, typically one used in ordinary or familiar conversation.

Here is a list that I found of more traditional colloquialisms from

Many of these expressions are I'm sure "older than the hills" (5th from bottom). However I would say in most cases truer than ever. ( have cut the ones from this list that are less applicable to business practices)

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
A diamond is forever
A fate worse than death
A fly in the ointment
A friend in need is a friend indeed
A good man is hard to find
A leopard cannot change its stripes

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
A nest of vipers
A picture is worth a thousand words
A piece of the action
A pig in the poke
A pound of flesh
A sight for sore eyes
All that glitters is not gold
All the worlds a stage
Alls well that ends well

Caught between a hard place and a rock
Come hell or high water
Dead as a doornail
Drop in the bucket

Dumb as a box of rocks
Dumb as a rock

Half hearted
Has the cat got your tongue?
Heard it through the grapevine
Hell in a handbasket
In a pickle
Its raining cats and dogs
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer
Law of the land
Let the cat out of the bag
Life is like a box of chocolates
Lifes too short
Like a chicken with its head cut off
Like a fart in a whirlwind
Like a moth to a flame

Like two peas in a pod
Living on borrowed time
Long in the tooth
Loose lips sink ships
Lose your marbles
Mad as a hatter
Make no bones about it
Mind your Ps and Qs
My cup of tea
My minds eye
Old as the hills

Stubborn as a mule
Stupid is as stupid does
The left hand doesnt know what the right hand is doing.

To "fish or cut bait" is not on this particular list. However, it is a process that I have used quite consistently with my own domain name portfolio  over fifteen- plus years of domain name investing. Generally, my domain portfolio has  fluctuated somewhere around five hundred names during most of this time. With my total domain name purchases being upwards of 10,000 total names to date.

How did I do that when my current portfolio numbers only around a few hundred domain names?

Buying, selling, trading, holding and letting many thousands of domain names expire. 

"Fishing and cutting bait"

As for my continued domain investing strategy. To date I have run my domain name business solely as a break even proposition.  Regularly buying domain names and letting others expire at the same time. Any profits were reinvested. A zero sum game. Basically no profits and no losses either.

So what is the end game?  

The end game is a refined domain name investing strategy that it took me 15 years to develop.

That is invaluable.