Category : e Commerce

Domain Names Dot REALTOR e Commerce Personal Branding - Domain Names

Shopping on .SHOP

In February of 2015, the Internet community was shocked to find out that someone paid $25,001,000 in an auction to acquire the new Top-level Domain (TLD) for .APP (Dot APP). That someone, of course, was none other than Google. And just last month, on January 27, 2016, the new TLD for .SHOP (Dot Shop), was sold at auction for a whopping $41,501,000. The winning bidder was GMO Domain International, Inc from Tokyo. They outlasted Amazon and Google in a bidding war that went 14 rounds, the final round going from $36,800,000 to $46,000,000.
https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/auctionresults

We are talking some serious money here in the ecommerce space, a space in which there are now over 12 million new TLDs.

How do we even get to the auction stage? First, for anyone to apply to operate a new TLD, there is a $185,000 application fee. In the event more than one applicant applies for the same domain (called a ‘string’), those competing entities move to a string contention status under ICANN rules. ICANN is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable.

According to ICANN, “Auctions are the mechanism of last resort to resolve string contention within the New gTLD Program. ICANN expects that most string contention will be resolved through other means before reaching an Auction conducted by ICANN’s authorized Auction service provider, Power Auctions LLC. However, there is a possibility that significant funding will accrue as a result of several Auctions. Auction proceeds will be reserved and earmarked until the Board determines a plan for the appropriate use of the funds through consultation with the community. Auction proceeds are net of any Auction costs. Auction costs may include initial set-up costs, auction management fees, and escrow fees.”

212 of the 233 contention sets are now resolved, the majority having self-resolved, but a few were resolved via ICANN’s auction process (“the method of last resort”). In some cases, contending applicants  formed joint ventures in their efforts to resolve string contention. In other cases, some applicants withdrew after receiving some compensation from the surviving applicant — hopefully in an amount to at least compensate the withdrawing party for their $185,000 initial application fee.

In one case of a contention over the new TLD .coupon (Dot coupon), the battle was between Donuts, Inc and the Coupon.com company. Donuts prevailed. According to an SEC filing, Coupons.com received $4.8 million dollars, apparently based on a privately negotiated agreement. As one pundit noted, it only cost Coupons.com $185,000 to file its application for .Coupons TLD, making this the best coupon the company ever redeemed.

And what about the $41,501,000 winning bid for .SHOP – who got that money? Well, ICANN of course. In fact, in the 15 auctions that have concluded since June 2014, ICANN has amassed $101,357,812 in net proceeds. Some of the top auction winning bids besides Google’s .APP, were .TECH for $6,706,000, .REALTY for $5,588,888, and .MLS for $3,359,000 by CREA. https://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/auctions/proceeds

According to ICANN, “Possible uses of auction funds include formation of a foundation with a clear mission and a transparent way to allocate funds to projects that are of interest to the greater Internet community, such as grants to support new gTLD applications or registry operators from communities in subsequent gTLD rounds, the creation of an ICANN-administered/community-based fund for specific projects for the benefit of the Internet community, the creation of a registry continuity fund for the protection of registrants (ensuring that funds would be in place to support the operation of a gTLD registry until a successor could be found), or establishment of a security fund to expand use of secure protocols, conduct research, and support standards development organizations in accordance with ICANN’s security and stability mission.”

With more than 1500 TLD applications submitted to ICANN in the first round, there are sure to be companies that do not turn their TLDs into successful businesses. But with such a large amount of investment money at stake, we can expect to see a lot of ecommerce activity built around many of the new TLD ventures.

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Data Licensing e Commerce Sales and Selling Uncategorized

New PayPal User Agreement – July 1, 2015

Do you use PayPal either as a consumer or a merchant? If so, PayPal has announced modifications to the PayPal User Agreement effective July 1, 2015 that all users must agree to as a condition to using PayPal’s services. If you don’t agree, you cannot use PayPal.

Advance word on the planned modifications has created quite a stir among not only account holders but also the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) who in a June 11, 2015 letter to PayPal expressed serious concerns that “these amendments may violate federal laws governing the use of autodialed, prerecorded, and artificial voice calls, including text messages.” For details: https://s3.amazonaws.com/ftc-materials/FCC+Ltr+To+PayPal+6-11-15.pdf

There are two controversial provisions in the proposed PayPal amendments found at  https://www.paypalobjects.com/webstatic/ua/pdf/US/ints/ua.pdf

The first is a very aggressive policy with respect to users consenting to ROBO calls and text messaging – “You consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained…(and allow us to) contact you with offers and promotions.” Currently there is no opt-out mechanism.

The FCC noted that: “If PayPal plans to make autodialed, prerecorded, or artificial voice calls or text messages to its customers, please be aware that federal law places strict limits on such communications. For more than two decades, federal lawmakers have sought to protect consumers from harassing, intrusive, and unwanted calls and text messages. The FCC recognizes that “automated or prerecorded telephone calls [are] a greater nuisance and invasion of privacy than live solicitation calls,” and that “such calls can be costly and inconvenient” for consumers. FCC regulations therefore require that before a company may make any prerecorded or artificial voice telemarketing calls to residential phones or autodialed, prerecorded or artificial voice calls or texts to wireless phones, the company must obtain the prior express written consent of the recipients.”

The FCC concluded that “PayPal ‘s amended User Agreement does not give consumers notice of their right to refuse consent to calls that require consumer consent from PayPal, its affiliates, and its service providers. If PayPal fails to include this required notice and/or fails to allow its users to refuse such consent, we are concerned that consent is in fact a condition of purchase of PayPal’s service and thus violates the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and could subject PayPal, its affiliates, and its service providers to penalties of up to $16,000 per call or text message.”

In light of these serious concerns of the FCC, it is possible that the proposed amendments to the User Agreement will be modified with respect to the ROBO call provisions. Users will want to carefully read the July 1 amendments to see if the FCC concerns have been addressed.

Another controversial provision in the proposed amendment covers Intellectual Property rights. Although the essence of this provision has been in existence for a long time, most users will be reading it for the first time and may be surprised with the over-broad language. For example: “When providing us with content or posting content in each case for publication, whether on-or off-line using the Services, you grant the PayPal Group a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and intellectual property rights and intellectual property rights you have in the content…in any media known now or in the future.”

Although broad in scope, the provision is not much different from what is found in many social media forums. At the present time, it is hard to envision what type of content that users provide that can be monetized (such as in the form of derivative products). However, in the age of big data, and the fact that PayPal may be in a growth mode now that it has transitioned into a separate company from its original parent eBay, Inc, PayPal could be laying the groundwork for future uses.

Time will tell what the long term effect will be with the new mandatory amendments to the PayPal User Agreement. One thing for sure, PayPal has taken a big hit in the Public Relations arena.

 

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e Commerce

Zero Moment of Truth

What is ZMOT and what does it have to do with search? Ask Google.

http://bit.ly/VzmKZ5

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e Commerce News Online Sales Publishing

Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post – What will this do to online sales?

Information is the currency of the Twenty First Century, and Jeff Bezos has taken another step forward in online publishing and three-dimensional marketing with his purchase of The Washington Post. What we may now begin to see will be traditional newspaper content used in the sales process, if Mr. Bezos is successful.

The devil will be in the detail and execution…But that is nothing new and the results could be revolutionary. Especially as entities continue to collect information on what we like, what we do, what we read and what we think.

Think about every noun (person, place, or thing) in any/all articles in The Washington Post potentially linked to more information and sales for products and services mentioned directly or indirectly in the articles. The four key elements of successful marketing are that the marketing be frequent, anticipated, relevant, and personal. The marriage of these two entities, Amazon and The Washington Post  (granted, under separate ownership) will allow for amplification of these four key elements in a way never seen before. It is exciting to think about the possibilities.

The Newspaper Industry has been on a downward spiral over the last 15 years. The Newspaper Industry failed to identify and utilize use the power it possessed at the dawn of the Web to carve out its place in the future. This is a critical lesson for the real estate and MLS industry. Determine and utilize your strengths today, to secure your place in the future.

Three dimensional marketing and linking to additional information has been around since the creation of the Web. What is different here is the degree to which it can be done, in a timely and relevant way. When the CEO of a leading, innovating, technology giant personally purchases a major brand newspaper in the DC market, the possibilities stretch one’s imagination.

For example, consider each Section of the newspaper as a product or service category (Sports, Business, Homes) which can lead a reader/consumer through a series of clicks to a purchase.

Maybe The Washington Post will be looking for a syndication data feed to go along with its online “Home” Section.

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