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E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
Sales of domain names flounder in depressed market

The downturn in Internet businesses is one of several factors that have affected the resale price of Internet domain names, says Doug Wood, executive partner in the New York new media law firm of Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood.

Noting that 99 percent of the names for sale at sites like GreatDomains have no bids, Wood says there are several reasons for the recent drop in sales prices, some of which can actually benefit Internet businesses:

1. The expectation that new suffixes, such as .biz and .info, will become available this year has undercut the demand for .com names.

2. New rules make it difficult for third parties to register names that are trademarked in hopes of selling them at a higher price to the companies that own those trademarks.

3. Several countries have recently started allowing anyone in the world to register names that end in the suffixes for those countries. "There's no longer a rush to buy," Wood notes, "because you can get" using a suffix marketed by a Seattle company.

Despite the reduced prices that many domain names are fetching, however, some players in the secondary market say they're doing fine.

"Business is better for Afternic now than it was six months ago," says Shonna Keogan, communications director for, which owns domain auction company Afternic. Keogan says Afternic's sales are actually up because the company made a conscious decision to focus on sales less than $1,000.


Hall Dickler's virtual law library for cybermarketers:'s partial list of "not-com" suffixes:

Afternic's page of domain name sales news:, registrar of dot-cc names:

Directory of registries for every suffix in the world:


In his new book, "Multiple Streams of Internet Income," Robert Allen boasts, "Sit me at the keyboard of any computer in the world with access to the Internet, and in just 24 hours I'll earn at least $24,000 in cash." Because he's also the author of "Nothing Down," the controversial but best-selling real estate investment book, Allen has some experience with this kind of marketing.

In fact, to promote his book he actually did sit down at a keyboard on live TV and sent out a single, detailed message. He received almost $100,000 after 24 hours.

What's the trick? It took him nine months to attract the 11,500 opt-in subscribers he e-mailed, who then sent payments for his services. I feel that's fair, though, because Allen spends the rest of the book explaining how he did it and how others can, too.

Although the book contains a modicum of hype mixed with common sense, it's remarkable how much true marketing expertise Allen includes within his pages. He lists numerous marketing sites and newsletters (page 145) and recommends affiliate directories to help sites create sales without the need to stock or ship products themselves (page 191). No matter how experienced you are with e-commerce, you're certain to learn something new from this book.

"Multiple Streams of Internet Income"

By Robert Allen (John Wiley & Sons)


1. Yahoo seeks revenue by charging for real-time quotes

2. Firm finds opinion leaders in discussion groups

3. Dot-coms failing at same rate as other businesses

4. Supreme Court to decide freelancers' rights on Web

5. Only 20 percent of b-to-bs will survive by 2004, IDC predicts

6. AltaVista tweaks search rules but has phrase problem

7. Cyberthefts to jump 10 to 100 times by 2004, Gartner says

8. E-tailers need stores to survive, U.K. study says

9. Eighty companies compete to deliver wireless content

10. TV stations shifting campaign coverage to the Web



I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. A man from Dallas has created a wildly popular Web site that plays all 53 livid messages his ex-girlfriend left on his voice mail over a three-week period. Misery must really love company because, as "Newsweek" describes it, the site zoomed from nothing to 2 million daily hits within just 10 days.

"Newsweek" interviewer Erika Check remarked, "You realize that no woman will ever date you again." But the site's owner, Mark McElwain, says he's now getting date offers from women all over the country.

According to McElwain, his attorney says the site is legal, presumably because the woman's name is undisclosed and she knew she was being taped when she left the messages. To me, that doesn't make it OK, but it does prove there's a market for sick and twisted Web sites. The whole story is at

Newsweek's interview with a vengeful Webmaster:


E-BUSINESS SECRETS - Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: E-Business Secrets is written by consumer advocate Brian Livingston, an "InfoWorld" contributing editor. Research Directors: Ben Livingston (no relation) and Eryn Paull. Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets:

Windows 2000 Secrets:

Win a book free if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints:


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