Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
Not so long ago, speculating on domain names was a great way to make
a fistful of money for very little effort.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Forget chain letters, envelope stuffing or selling "12 Amazing Reports"
over the Net. Picking up a couple of strategic dot-com names and then
flogging them off to an eager, overfinanced startup or established
player was the real way to make FA$T CA$H.
Some domains such as Altavista.com swapped hands for millions of dollars --
not bad for a US$35 initial investment.
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However, since the dot-com crash of 2000 it's been a lot harder to make big
money from domain names and many of the real cybersquatters seem to have
moved on to greener pastures.
But what's happening on the local scene? Are Kiwis still snapping up
potentially valuable .nz names and sitting on them?
The man who is perhaps New Zealand's most prolific domain name speculator,
John Walker, appears to be still trying to flog the huge number of domains
he registered in the .nz namespace a couple of years ago.
Perhaps he's getting a little desperate though.
I've received a couple of reports of late that he's been emailing people
directly in an attempt to flick off his generic .net.nz names.
The pitch goes like this:
"Microsoft is about to unleash a worldwide marketing blitz for their .NET
webservices , which should create a lot of interest in anything with .NET in it"
Do we believe this?
In his email he refers prospective purchasers to a website at
but a visit to that site now suggests that whatever was happening there was
a breach of the terms of service.
Apart from John, who else has been speculating on local domain names?
Well if you go to the Domainz namesearch
page and enter "xp.co.nz" you'll see that someone with a strangely familiar name
has registered what might be considered a Microsoft trademark.
Of course "xbox.co.nz" has been registered by Microsoft -- but those clever guys
at GameZone have snapped up "x-box.co.nz"
Microsoft missed out on grabbing "trustworthycomputing.com" in the USA and they
were also too slow here in NZ, with "trustworthycomputing.co.nz" being snapped
up by a quick-thinking local just a few days ago.
Check out "tv5.co.nz" to see which network might be thinking ahead, or perhaps
looking to make a dollar out of new entrants into the TV broadcasting field.
A note to would-be speculators/cybersquatters -- if you're looking to register
the name "opentv.co.nz" (the people who write the OS for SkyTV's set-top boxes)
then you might be in luck. OpenTV Inc. in the USA seem to be late renewing
their registration and the domain is currently "on hold."
Quite surprisingly, the following techie domains remain unclaimed:
Hailstorm.net.nz, TheRegister.co.nz, Slashdot.co.nz
I suspect that a few clever people will continue to make a bit of money
through some astute domain name trading but it's no longer the road to
rapid wealth it once was.
Only the registries are getting rich these days.
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