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.
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.
This is about the data, not the politics. Why all of the fuss over data? With data, you can accurately predict the future. Being able to tell the future could be a great, competitive advantage.
Don’t be so quick to give your MLS data away to outsiders.
What is RealTown Labs Accelerated DesignLab
RealTown Labs Accelerated DesignLab is a joint venture with PredictionWorks, Inc. The laboratory is an environment with tools, models and processes that accelerate for start-up and emerging companies’ product invention, market adoption, financing and business building challenges 50% to 300% faster than conventional means.
On the Cutting Edge
RealTown Labs Accelerated DesignLab partner, PredictionWorks, Inc., is the second licensee of the GroupGenius™ suite of human performance technologies with the license covering start-up and emerging growth companies. This GroupGenius™ human performance platform has been implemented since 1998 with Fortune 500 companies by the first licensee, Cap Gemini, in 24 Accelerated Solutions Environments (ASE) worldwide. Over 1,000 events have been conducted with over 50% of the clients being repeat customers. 54 of Fortunes Top 100 companies are now using Cap Gemini’s ASE environment. The proven tradition of GroupGenius™ makes it possible for months of work to be reduced to just hours or days.
Assessments. Realtown Labs offers a powerful due diligence tool for assessing a technology company and its market. This tool is called the New Venture Accessor and was developed by our partner, PredictionWorks, Inc. It covers the seven most critical areas of investor inquiry. Each critical area has over 15 levels of inquiry. The tool has over 1,000 best practice indices that are measured. The process results in a index rating for each of the critical areas of inquiry. This tool was tested as 100 percent reliable in 10 double blind backdated manual-based validation tests in Silicon Valley by Wilson Sonsini, Hitachi Consulting and FSX.
DesignLab. A powerful and integrated application of GroupGenius™ and the New Venture Assessor is DesignLab. Through DesignLab, the invention process increases in acceleration and accuracy 4x our conventional methods. Currently RealTown Labs is serving as “home base” for RealTown Labs invention work for build-to-flip technologies.
Build-to-Flip Inventions. One significant application of DesignLab is called the “Build-to-Flip” application (“B2F”). In this B2F model, DesignLab is used to invent a technology component that incumbent companies “got-to-have” for their core systems and these incumbent have neither the “time” or “talent” to invent themselves-so they will pay millions to own outright the B2F technology RealTown Labs has invented.
What Stakeholders Should Expect From A Realtown Labs Accelerated DesignLab Event
You can do this and more. At Realtown Labs Accelerated DesignLab, we combine our world-class and patented decision-making process, innovative workspaces and unique best practices models to enable a team of innovators to discover, design and develop a build-to-flip technology.
Inventing for an incumbent provider/supplier a technology component that the provider/supplier considers a “got-to-have” core part of provider’s/supplier’s product or production systems and the provider/supplier has neither the time or talent to invent the technology component themselves.
Methodology Flyer – click this link
New Airbnb disclosure law in California
In a matter of a few years, Airbnb has developed a global presence that has attracted many enthusiastic supporters as well as numerous vocal critics, especially those living in the neighborhood. Interestingly, during Airbnb initial attempts to gain venture capital funding, it seems that Brian Chesky, co-founder, took his idea to seven venture capital firms – five threw him out the door after 15 minutes and the other two didn’t even return his phone call. After all, why would anyone give the keys to their house to a stranger who might be a serial killer? And today, that goofball idea has a valuation of $10 Billion.
Airbnb has also attracted the attention of government regulators who have attempted to assert some controls over what is called “hosting platforms.” One law recently enacted in California is of special interest to landlords and property managers. The law — Business and Professions Code Sec. 22590, 22592, and 22594, effective January 1, 2016 — requires a “hosting platform” to warn a tenant that subletting the tenant’s residence may violate his/her lease and could result in eviction.
A “hosting platform” is a marketplace that is created to facilitate the rental of a residential unit offered for tourist or transient use for compensation to the offeror of that unit, and the operator of the hosting platform derives revenues, including booking fees or advertising revenues, from providing or maintaining that marketplace. Airbnb is an example of such a platform.
This law requires a “hosting platform” to provide notice to an occupant listing a residence for short-term rental that states:
“if you are a tenant who is listing a room, home, condominium, or apartment, please refer to your rental contract or lease, or contact your landlord, prior to listing the property to determine whether your lease or contract contains restrictions that would limit your ability to list your room, home, condominium, or apartment. Listing your room, home, condominium, or apartment may be a violation of your lease or contract, and could result in legal action against you by your landlord, including possible eviction.”
The notice must be in a particular font size and be provided immediately before the occupant lists each real property on the hosting platform’s Internet Web site in a manner that requires the occupant to interact with the hosting platform’s Internet Web site to affirmatively acknowledge he or she has read the notice.
Well, that’s the latest from California. It’s a disclosure law, one that probably doesn’t have compliance or enforcement teeth.
So, what’s the status of these Airbnb type short-term rentals in your neighborhood? Are they drawing the attention of local regulators?
Connect NYC was preceded by Snomaggeden this year, but by the time I arrived at LaGuardia, the snow was all but gone. Inman Connect is one of the best events in the real estate industry and it is repeated in San Francisco in the summer. My recommendation is to buy your tickets now, make your plans, and be there. There are many events to attend in the real estate industry, many not worth the time or the money…Connect is one of the exceptions.
It all began 20 years ago at the first Inman Connect amongst the Redwoods in Northern California. There were about 50 in attendance, and I was one of the lucky ones. The Internet was first being commercialized and real estate listings were yet to be found in any numbers on the web. One of the biggest issues facing the Internet and its progress was bandwidth.
Twenty years later the attendance is in the 3,000 range. The technology vendors, industry experts, and speakers gives one an idea of how fast things are changing. As always, there were lots of new technology vendors, as well as many recognizable industry players.
The excitement grew prior to the opening, with the help of a live band.
Brad’s opening remarks are always a highlight of the event…here is how he opened this year…
The first speaker was author and marketer, Seth Godin…his message has changed little over the years and is excellent, as well as entertaining. “Be different, or charge less…and charging less is a race to the bottom you cannot win.”
The agenda includes panel after panel in many segments of the real estate industry, and some of the technologies being brought to the marketplace. Many of these technologies are adaptable to other verticals.
Major Challenges Facing MLSs Segment
A three hour session around MLS, consisting of a series of panel discussions, was enlightening.
David Charron, and a team of known MLS industry experts delivered.
Does the MLS Limit Progress?
How Many MLSs does the country need?
Today – 826
Tomorrow – 30 by 2030?
What Do Next Generation Real Estate Professionals Expect from Their MLS?
(Personally) I think what needs to be asked here is what percentage of the subscribers and participants of your MLS are NextGen…before rediging the future for a handful of the customers.
And concluding with:
Upstream from the Source
UpStream – What is it, what isn’t it?
What is the value of online forms to the owners of the online form companies in real estate transactions? Plenty. John and I have been singing the song of the value of data for years now.
Forms are where the most authoritative data resides pertaining to a buyer or a seller’s progress and seriousness of buying or selling a propery. When someone buys a property, all sorts of things occur, other purchases occur.
Underlying an offer of free forms, is the question of what will the forms provider do with the data. It is a potential goldmine…but no one talks about it.
>>After vigorous debate, the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors approved a proposal Monday to provide the trade group’s 1 million-plus members transaction management software from Realtor-owned firm zipLogix at no cost to members.
NAR’s three-year agreement with zipLogix charges the trade group $10 per member for the first two years and increases the rate by no more than the increase in the federal Consumer Price Index in the third year, according to NAR CEO Dale Stinton.
The deal is estimated to cost between $11 million and $12 million per year from NAR’s reserves. NAR’s membership count stood at just under 1.17 million at the end of October.
Starting in the first quarter, agents and brokers will have free access to the firm’s zipForm Plus software, transaction forms specific to their area, document storage through zipVault, and zipLogix’ transaction management system, zipTMS (formerly known as relay).
ZipLogix is a joint venture between the National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors subsidiary Real Estate Business Services Inc. (REBS). As of the end of 2013, NAR owned an approximately 30 percent interest in zipLogix, carrying a value of $4 million.
The proposal was approved by a vote of 455 to 217, but not until after a spirited debate ensued among board members. Several dissenting members — though not all — were from Florida, where the state association has its own forms company, Form Simplicity.
John and I have seen lots of different abuses of the MLS data over the years, in our various rolls in the Industry. Many entities receive the MLS data for specific purposes…and sometimes that mLS data is redistributed to entities that use the data, in ways not agreed to or anticipated by the owner of the data. “Gray Market” Data.
Undoubtedly, the most popular Top-level domain (TLD) is the dot com domain (.com) that you find as the extension in most web addresses. Dot com has served the Internet well for the past 30 years, mostly because it was simply available, and could be used for most any purpose. Looking at a dot com address, though, you couldn’t be sure if you were going to arrive at a business, a blog, a school, a church, a whatever.
Until recently, many businesses looking for a web presence discovered that the inventory of meaningful domain names had been heavily exhausted and they had to settle for web addresses containing hyphens, multiple words, awkward abbreviations and numbers. Fast forward to the past two years and we find there are now hundreds of available Top-level domains. We have entered an age of complete words being used as web addresses.
So, you ask: Where are these new top-level domains? Is anyone actually using them? The answer is yes, and you will start seeing more of the TLDs being activated in 2016. It has taken several years for the momentum to build, but that was also true back in the early years for dot com.
As of the close of 2015, Internet users had registered more than 11 million new domain names (what some domain companies sarcastically refer to as not-com domains). Donut, Inc, one of the largest TLD registries, said that “The second year of not-com availability has been marked by promising growth in consumer awareness and adoption. As the new domain registrations surge past 10 million, a look at the growth rates reveals a remarkable trend. Since January 2015, total new domain registrations have grown by 263 percent and the average monthly registration rate has more than tripled. Wall Street analysts forecast that not-com registrations could top 20 million by 2016.”
Here’s a random selection of the kinds of complete word domains you’ll be seeing more of in 2016. Please note that many businesses will be building marketing campaigns focused on the use of keywords both to the left and to the right of the dot, and they will be doing this while keeping active any successful dot com web address they have maintained over the years. After careful consideration, one major brand, Barclays, did decide to transition out of their well-established dot com web address and move entirely to their new Barclays TLD address.
https://www.lily.camera/ – check out the video 1.5 min – it is so cool
https://manhattan.dental/ — notice the email marketing punch they get with Smile@Manhattan.Dental
http://bluecarp.tax – Bluecarp Tax Consulting assist U.S. and Canadian individuals and entities dealing with their U.S. tax issues.
You can add to the list the two TLDs that NAR was able to acquire last year – the .REALTOR and the .REALESTATE top –levels. While most of the above examples are open for anyone to obtain, NAR’s TLDs are only available to REALTORS®. They are what the registration authority (ICANN) calls Restricted TLDs. For more information, go to www.About.realtor
As you look at your marketing plans for 2016, be sure to spend time evaluating your Domain Strategy. Let us know if we can help –
John and Saul – www.BetterCallSaul.realtor mailto:Saul@BetterCallSaul.realtor