Unmasking an SEO spammer and rewarding their competition (a case study)

 

 

This is a great article that needs to be read from beginning to end. Enjoy

 

Unmasking an SEO Spammer

 

 

 

How to Get the Lowest Prices at GoDaddy

 

GoDaddy has a bunch of pricing tiers and discounts. The best deal depends a lot on the size of your domain name portfolio.

If you’re a domainer, you shouldn’t be paying list price for domain name registrations at GoDaddy (or any registrar, for that matter).

Since a lot of readers use GoDaddy, I thought it worthwhile to run down the various discount options at the registrar.

Price is one of the most important considerations when choosing a domain name registrar, according to last year’s Domain Name Wire survey. (Pssst…take this year’s here.) GoDaddy doesn’t always win on pricing, but below are some of the ways to make sure you’re not overpaying.

Coupons

There are a many coupon-clipping domainers out there, and good GoDaddy coupons are plentiful. For example, right now if you search Google for “GoDaddy”, you should get an ad link for a $.99 .com.

But these coupons come with catches. They usually only work for one registration and you rarely find big discounts on renewals.

Yes, you can game the system. There’s even a guy selling a guide on eBay about how to get up to 5 domains at GoDaddy for just $4.31 each (72 copies sold!).

But let’s be honest. This is a real pain, and not scalable if you have a big portfolio. I bought the above mentioned guide to learn more, and the time spent reading it and following the process is worth more than the money saved.

Think about the opportunity cost of wasting time chasing these coupons and deals. Unless you get some ego boost from being able to game the system, it’s not worth doing this unless you’re just trying to register a name or two.

Bulk Pricing

GoDaddy offers all customers bulk discounts when they buy or renew more than 5 domains at a time. Pricing for .com registrations and renewals drops to $8.29 at the 100 domain mark…that’s 100 in a single transaction.

This is a great price that matches other GoDaddy discount programs, but the bulk thresholds can be tough to meet. Unless you register or renew domains in large batches, the standard bulk discounts won’t save you as much as other GoDaddy programs.

Premier Services

GoDaddy’s Premier Services program provides a lot of benefits, including personalized account management, added security and discounted pricing.

To qualify at the Gold level, you need 250 domains under management and you have to spend $5,000 a year at GoDaddy. At this level you get .com domains for $9.09, but you have to reach out to your account manager to perform transactions in order to get the discount.

There’s also the Platinum level, which doesn’t have a fixed requirement but is reserved for large portfolios and important accounts. These customers will soon get Domain Discount Club (see below) pricing for free. This means they get lower pricing and can take care of transactions themselves through the website.

Domain Discount Club

Domain Discount Club is a paid program that gives you discounts on domain name purchases at GoDaddy. GoDaddy recently changed the pricing on its Domain Discount Club to $120/year.

The program gives discounts on .com and basically all domain names, including new TLDs.

.Com domains are $8.29 a year with the program (plus the 18 cent ICANN fee, of course). That matches bulk pricing at the 100+ domain level, but you get the pricing even on a single domain name.

Discounts on new TLDs can be substantial given their high regular registration prices. GoDaddy isn’t known for having the lowest prices on new TLDs, but the Domain Discount Club pricing looks good. I spot checked some of the domains against registrars that traditionally have lower prices on new TLDs and found that GoDaddy’s pricing with the membership beat them.

The discount program also includes a free GoDaddy Auctions membership ($5 value) and the highest level of rev share with GoDaddy’s parking, for what it’s worth.

Which is best?

Obviously, the best deal is to qualify for GoDaddy’s Platinum level of Premier Services, which gives you the Discount Domain Club pricing for free. But most people won’t qualify for this. If you have a sizable portfolio, and even if you qualify for Gold Premier Service, you can make a pretty good business case for paying $120 a year for the Domain Discount Club.

BY Andrew Allemann – Feb 19, 2015

.Top domain apparently using spam to get to the Top

 

New TLD registry sends spam to people who have registered other new TLDs.

How do you get attention for your new top level domain name in a crowded field? One new top level domain name company has apparently resorted to sending lots of unsolicited email — and likely scraping Whois to do it.

.Top is currently ranked #9 in terms of registrations, surely helped by a 99 cent price tag at some registrars. The company behind it, Jiangsu Bangning Science & Technology Co., Ltd., is also raising awareness by sending spam to people who own other domain names.

Check your spam folder, and you might see what I mean.

I’ve received multiple emails from the registry, pitching .top domain names and referring me to registrars that carry .top (such as 1&1) to register the domain names. At first I figured I was on a list because of this blog, but the address one of the emails was sent to is mostly used in whois.

After posing the question on Twitter yesterday, it indeed appears that the .Top registry is getting email address from whois in order to send spam about .top domain names. It also appears the targeted whois records are for .XYZ domain names.

I’ve confirmed that at least one email from .top went to an email address only used in whois, and the email below shows that .Top was specifically targeting .XYZ registrants with its spam:

Dear registrant,

Hope this mail finds you well.

We see that you registered some .xyz domain names. Would you be interested in another attractive and popular new gTLD, .top? Though only two months old, .top has had the 2nd biggest world wide daily registrations so far.

You can register your desired .top domains on either one of our registrar partners like 101domain, onlinenic, key-systems and one week later 1&1.

If you find your desired domains are reserved or you would like to purchase premium domains, including one/two/three-character, word and all sorted cool ones, please feel free to contact us.

The above email was sent from a representative of the registry’s “Overseas Channel Division”. The .Top registry is based in China.

BY Andrew Allemann – Feb 18, 2015

 

Cons of Registering Political Domain Names

 

Every election cycle, and even months or years prior to an election, thousands of domain names are registered by people hoping to cash in on registering the “right” domain names. This is especially the case with the US Presidential election, where people attempt to register domains related to the presumptive candidates.

There are three cons to registering political domain names that I want to share with you. I know that there are many readers who read this blog that are fairly new to the business of domain names, and I want to share some of the reasons I think it is unwise to register political candidate domain names.

If you disagree with any of these reasons, or if you have other reasons, you are welcome to share them in the comment section.

Bad publicity – I don’t know about you, but I would be a bit embarrassed if CNN or Fox News wanted to interview me about a candidate domain name I owned. Perhaps this is because I don’t really like politics, but it’s something that I would consider a negative, especially if the interview poked fun at the registration!

Legal trouble – I would imagine there are ways to use domain names containing the names of famous people, but selling them could be problematic, depending on how litigious the candidate is.

Most “good” ones already gone. Let’s face it, regardless of the negative implications, most of the “good” candidate domain names and speculative domain names have been owned for years. I am sure there are many Hillary Clinton domain names registered, and there are many names that speculate on a potential Vice Presidential candidate as well.

Some people, such as Kerry Edwards, conveniently owned a coveted domain name without election considerations. However, it seems that the majority of registered domain names are from speculators. There’s certainly nothing wrong with speculating, and there are ways to use these domain names, but I think the cons outweigh any pros.

By Elliot Silver ⋅ February 13, 2015

I do agree with the points Mr. Silver made, as I own 2 Political Domains much more generic: DemocraticNominee.Com and RepublicanNominee.Com, I hedged my bets by being generic.

 

Domain name subject to garnishment

A Minnesota Appellate Court recently weighed in on an emerging question in the online world – is a domain name and the Web site associated with it subject to a garnishment order? The court said yes, meaning successful plaintiffs now have an additional asset to look to for collection purposes.

 

A civil lawsuit has three basic elements – liability, damages and collectability. Liability assigns responsibility – i.e., did the defendant breach the contract? Damages simply means what amount is the plaintiff due for the breach. But the third factor, collectability, may be the most important. That is, can you collect the damage award? It’s great to get a big damage award, but the euphoria can fade pretty quickly if the defendant doesn’t have the money to pay it.

 

Plaintiffs who get a judgment have the legal right to satisfy the judgment through post judgment collection actions. For example, a court can put a lien on the defendant’s property and the plaintiff can foreclose. A court might also issue an order garnishing the defendant’s wages, which means a part of the defendant’s paycheck goes to the plaintiff until the judgment is paid off.

 

The question about domain names and Web sites centered around the nature of the property. What is it exactly? Although there’s not a lot of cases that address the point, the few that have considered it have not been consistent.

 

In the Minnesota case, a company called Sprinkler Warehouse Inc. sued Systematic Rain Inc. Sprinkler claimed Systematic had improperly used Sprinkler’s copyrighted material on the Systematic Web site. Sprinkler obtained a $156,000 judgment and proceeded to enforce the judgment. It sought a writ of garnishment to obtain Systematic’s domain name and Web site, both of which were registered in the name of James Palm, the CEO of Systematic.

 

The trial court ruled the domain and Web site were not subject to a garnishment order, and Sprinkler appealed. On appeal, the court held domain names are property, in that they are well-defined interests and the right to use them is transferable and subject to claims of exclusivity. In addition, the court found domain names are also subject to intellectual property protection. And in the appellate court’s view, given that Minnesota law subjects to garnishment any tangible or intangible property of any kind not specifically exempt, there was no reason the domain name and Web site couldn’t be used to satisfy a judgment.

 

But Sprinkler didn’t get exactly what it wanted. Sprinkler wanted unfettered ownership of the Web site and domain name. The appellate court, however, ruled the proper method was to transfer the Web site and domain name to a receiver who could then sell it and return the proceeds to Sprinkler. The court said this method would eliminate any temptation on the part of the plaintiff to abuse the process. It’s not entirely clear, but it may be that the court wanted to avoid the prospect of Sprinkler holding the domain name and Web site hostage. By submitting it to a receiver sale, the court essentially guaranteed a fair market value for the property.

 

It is still early in the game on this issue, but if more courts adopt the Minnesota approach, it could be a big weapon for litigants, especially in intellectual property battles.

 

Jack Greiner:  is a lawyer with the Graydon Head law firm in Cincinnati and represents Enquirer Media in First