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E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
Why the best names become available at 6:30 a.m.

Thousands of good Web addresses become available every day at about 6:30 a.m. EST. This little secret has spawned its own industry of profitable e-businesses selling e-mail lists of the latest data to hopeful Webmasters who want an easy-to-remember name.

Lee Hodgson, owner of, a site that tracks Internet domains, says many short names are now being given up by speculators who registered them one year ago at the height of the high-tech bubble. A quirk in the master registry of Web addresses reveals a few days in advance which expiring names are becoming available. (A link to Hodgson's technical explanation of this quirk is given at the end of this explanation.)

Several companies scour the registry, which is available online, to predict when expiring names will "drop." The Domain Name Resource Directory, a portal that follows the Internet secondary market, has compiled a list of 43 such e-businesses that publish daily lists for a fee.

Which of these services is the best value? That's a tough question, but the Directory gives special notice to four sites: Daily Expired Domains, DNS Research, Domains Weekly, and Unclaimed Domains. Each offers a daily e-mail listing for about $50 per year. In addition, if you're looking for just one name, Domains Bot sells one-month subscriptions for only $19.95.

Finally, for those who've become totally frustrated with finding a good dot-com name, registering a dot-org name may be acceptable. One official of the Internet's governing body, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),, has opined that dot-org should be restricted in the future for nonprofit corporations only. But Josh Elliott, CEO of Basic Fusion, a company that provides services to Internet registries around the world, says this view is misplaced. Historically, he says, dot-org has been "open to anyone who can't register a dot-com name."

One of the Internet's founding documents, RFC 1591, describes dot-org as a "miscellaneous" domain. This makes it appropriate for individuals and some businesses that can't find a reasonably short dot-com name.

ICANN promised to have new suffixes, such as dot-biz, available by last January. But with that plan currently in disarray, using "name dropping" or a dot-org name may be attractive alternatives for new e-businesses.

Lee Hodgson's Technical Explanation of Expiring Names:

Domain Name Resource Directory's List of 43 Services:

Daily Expired Domains (service is $59.95 indefinitely):

DNS Research ($49.95/year):

Domains Bot ($19.95/month):

Domains Weekly ($49/year):

Unclaimed Domains ($49/year):

Basic Fusion:

Internet Document RFC 1591 by Jon Postel:


"B2B Exchanges" was a best-selling book when it first came out in hardcover, and now it's even better at a lower price in a new, revised paperback edition. Its co-authors are principals of the Bermuda Stock Exchange, an all-electronic trading system for pre-IPO companies.

The book's view is that exchanges, which bring together multiple buyers and sellers, are the business model that will survive the current dot-com shakeout. The authors cite their experiences with such exchanges as,,, and to show how others can succeed.

These business models boil down to Seven Secrets for Success, rules that by themselves are worth the price of the book. Because they're so valuable, I'll simply give you the seven rules right here:

1. Stay focused -- specialize in a vertical market.

2. Play to win -- you need to dominate your niche.

3. Maintain commercial neutrality -- stay independent.

4. Ensure transparency, integrity, and self-regulation.

5. Add value by building a virtual community.

6. Make the right strategic partnerships.

7. Operate as a virtual corporation.

Any book can be criticized for offering advice that's more easily said than done. But the authors' real-world experience defends them from such a charge. "B2B Exchanges" contains page after page of valuable e-business knowledge that was gained the hard way.

B2B Exchanges: The Killer Application in the

Business-To-Business Internet Revolution

By Arthur Sculley and W. William Woods (Harper Business)


1. Online public records may be becoming too public

2. Workshop shows how to protect your privacy

3. New service publicizes your availability for hiring

4. 24 percent of customers' e-mails go unanswered

5. Computer/stereo/set-top box combo is big business

6. offers prize: trips to the 2002 Olympics

7. has hope, but results are mixed

8. Service provides e-mail-to-telephone convenience

9. 26 million visit genealogy site in its first 2 days

10. Humor site reveals today's wackiest auction items

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 InfoWorld contributing editor Brian Livingston. 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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