The Miami Herald Covers .Mobi & Concludes: “Names Are Now All But Worthless”

Domain Names are in the news again over at the Miami Herald, which covered them for a second time in a month (They wrote a story on DomainFest as well).

This time its the .Mobi extension that get covered by the south Florida publication.

Once again the domain king, Rick Schwartz is quoted extensively, this time in regards to his record setting purchase of Flowers.mobi for $200K back in 2006.

The newspapers comments on .Mobi, are less than kind:

“Schwartz and other Internet tycoons who paid tens of thousands or more scooping up domain names that end in “.mobi”, which are designed to be easily viewed on mobile screens, have found the names are now all but worthless.”

“Before the bottom fell out, there were some eye-opening sales in mobi. Poker.mobi was purchased in 2007 for $150,000 — but fast-forward to today, and it only has basic instructions on how to play the game.”

“Also in 2007, ringtones.mobi sold for $145,000 and news.mobi sold $110,000 — both of which don’t have any content besides a few ads. SportsBook.mobi, which someone bought for $129,800, still says “coming in 2007.” Casino.mobi was the star of 2009, when it sold for $135,000, brokered by Pompano Beach-based Moniker, an Oversee company.”

Mike “Zappy” Zapolin, is quoted in the article as saying:

“Those who invested in dot mobi domain names missed the moment and are pretty much out luck. Investors trying to sell those names today are just really hoping that somebody is going to be a bigger sucker than them.”

Personally I still have around 30 .mobi I acquired on the release and never bought a .mobi in the aftermarket.

Most of the domains cited by the artcile, we bought back win 2006, when .Mobi was just released and before the iPhone came out including Flowers.Mobi

While most people will put flowers.mobi on top of their worst domain purchases of all time, my spot belongs to the $135K purchase of Casino.mobi.

For those early investors in 2006, .Mobi was just a shot, which did not pan out, but it the extension did make some sense at the time.

In theory a mobile application extension seemed to be needed for the ever growing use of mobile devices. (otherwise the extension would never have been approved)

So those investors who bought .mobi based on what they saw at the time, which was a huge move by users to mobile devices coupled with an extension & Technology to create websites for mobile devices, it made sense.

However, In the case of Casino.Mobi the buyer has no excuse as that sale did not occur until 2009 well after the iPhone made it clear to most domainers that the extension purpose to exist no longer existed.

Therefore IMHO, Casinos.mobi, was buy far the worst .Mobi buy of all time.

Comments

  1. says

    Hello Mike,

    We all along could not grasp the .mobi thing. We used to and still do call the extension the .maybe extension. We still recommend that newbies in the business stick with .COMS for investment purposes and use all other extensions as just that an extension of second choice.

    Domainers will buy secondary extensions, but main line marketing companies shun them. The registrars of the world will try to block this concept, but the truth is if you want top tier you pay top tier if you sell lesser tier you get less, this is the real world regardless of what the Talking Heads Promote.

    Gratefully,

    Jeff

  2. says

    Two things came to mind after reading the Miami Herald article. One was that they noted the dotCom button on the iPhone and others. The importance of this cannot be understated. The other is that when a lot of us originally questioned the longevity of dotMobi some pro-dotMobi domainers went into a collective rage and many blogs became a temporary bastion of unprofessionalism. There was no need for it then and no need for it ever.

  3. says

    I agree, the .com button has a huge impact as a counter weight to all the new TLD’s coming out. When you use your mobile, you’re being pushed ever so slightly towards the .com and that matters as this next generation of internet users spend more time on the ‘net from their mobiles.

    It’s too bad about mobi, it was the right concept, at the wrong time – this window has now closed.

  4. says

    There are several .COMs also bought for high stakes, and now worthless, or useless, such as Russia.com (parked Godaddy), Vodka.Com, Cowboys.Com, America.com and no one is claiming .COM is dead. Domaining still on its infancy, has very delicate intrinsic rules, yet hard to define.

  5. says

    Just because the domains aren’t doing anything doesn’t mean they are worthless. All those .com domains you mentioned could be sold tomorrow for 6 or even 7 figures. They just are not utlizing them.

    The .mobi names, can’t be sold for even pennies on the dollar. There is a difference.

  6. says

    I have to agree. We purchased who.mobi for $3k at TRAFFIC auction. We thought we got a deal – especially since we almost immediately received 20-30k offers. I’m really sorry we didn’t take one of them now. This was my only real foray into .mobi. Right now, I’d love to just get our original $ back on it. Disappointing given I saw the future of social media and mobile usage (had a great dev plan for it) but the iPhone + .com button just killed it.

  7. Henry says

    All TLD’s or ccTLD’s that are one word, great keywords have value! Casino.mobi is one of those. If it was Casino.com it would have sold in the high seven figures, but this one was a .mobi. I think the keyword Casino would sell in almost any TLD in the six figures. $100,000 is not a lot of money for a keyword like Casino in any TLD so I do not think the buyer did a bad buy if that buyer develops Casino.mobi.

  8. says

    As I see more and more none .com names selling for decent money (yes, mostly single words still), having bought .mobi names and then holding at $10.00 per year on average isn’t costing anyone anything. Parked names are just waiting for time or development to catch up with them.

  9. SL says

    It seems that any blog post about .mobi immediately attracts schadenfraude comments (ad nauseum!).

    So it’s nice to see someone “man up” for a change and post the opposite side. Kudos to Sharon.

  10. Frank Dragun says

    I probably have more grey hair than the balance of all domainers put together. Every grey hair I have was earned and a lesson learned. I have learned over the years that ‘the numbers’ are what determines what goes up and what goes down. I have also learned that ‘real value’, when combined with ‘the numbers’, determines the medium to long term returns for investments.

    Despite the grey, I consider myself a fairly new entrant to the world of domain investments. But some of the flaws in the market are startling.

    IMHO, the purchasers AND holders of .mobi domains will do well. Why? Because .mobi is a different type of name that is applicable to an entirely different and larger market than a dot com. Your typical .com is for the desktop internet user. Your .mobi domain name can be used VERY effectively, 0n a m0bile device, to assist local vendors to sell goods and services to customers on a LOCAL basis. Local vendors (and there are millions of local pizza stores that could monetize pizza.mobi versus a few big pizza companies that could afford to OWN pizza.com) will support domains and development when they have something good enough worth paying for. More support means more demand and the generally accepted rule set forth by Adam Smith begins to work – higher prices. An investor might take a little longer to realize a consistent return but it will happen.

    A second issue comes into play – the growing scarcity of ‘high value’ .com names. When category grade names reach into 6 figures with consistency, cheaper alternatives will be actively sought. Good .mobi names can still be had for a song, probably for the last time. And why is it that the ‘category’ .mobi names are all gone except for a (high) price?

    Finally, buyers and sellers enter the picture. At the beginning of this newsletter, a list of names appears with “original value” and “discount selling price”. The difference in the two numbers is staggering. Since the “original” price was probably determined by a possibly defective and inaccurate algorithm(via estibot or valuate), the entire pricing mechanism is suspect. So, ‘one to one’ trading becomes the method of choice to valuate an investment – surely not the best, but the most accurate at the time of the sale.

    When order, consistency, and effective & accurate valuation methods come to domain market, you will see professional investors enter the market with endless streams of cash. That is good for all. But as long as only a dozen or so people control millions of names, and the great majority of the best ones, it ain’t going to happen.

  11. says

    Well, some of the things said above are true.
    However, the overall analysis of the TLD, and especially in relation to premium generic names, is only right a domain trader point of view, however casino.mobi was not purchased for trading. And though the newspaper was happy to mention poker.mobi’s poor site, it ignored the well developed sites and future plans and background of the casino.mobi buyer (as journalists always like to adjust reality to their scoop.)

    casino.mobi is a very relevant, catchy and most important – brandable – name for a casino related mobile site. True, the extension is not widely known by the public and people won’t run like crazy typing it into their devices. However only domainers build their business model on type-ins, other internet businesses actually do marketing…
    A tiny minority of the people may type in casino.com or whatever but they are anyway negligible. People will use a searchh engine (if someone really thinks the mobile future is in those apps, then they should learn some pc history and use common sense. but anyway that’s a different discussion.)
    And when they get the result, they may see “someonescasino.com”, “casino.com” or “casino.mobi”. Or they may see a banner or paper ad “casino.mobi”. Catchy, short, memorable and the most relevant. So? Is noMoreRelevantNamesAvailCasino.com better? or IhaveToSpendMillionsToMakeMyNonGenericDotComNameMemorable.com?
    Yes, if the domain will be just parked then it’s a waste of money. So is true for so many highly priced domains that are just parked. They may be resold but anyway this domain was bought for development. In my opinion it’s damn good for that specific cause.

    (Proper disclosure: the author is affiliated with the owners of casino.mobi.)

    Or to make it all shorter:
    “So those investors who bought .mobi” -
    Had the author read better the press release he is linking to, and with a bit of research, he would realize the who bought casino.mobi are not “investors” but rather a seasoned and successful web marketing company specializing in the casino industry.
    So if they indeed succeed in building a proper asset there and do good marketing, then the name a very good one for them. And for whoever knows this industry, the cost of the domain will be well paid back…

  12. says

    Dotmobi is Bigger than Dotcom and can stand alone.
    By Mark Sandulli info@dotmobi.us
    Dotmobi does not need Dotcom
    There are more mobile phones in the world than televisions and PCs combined

    Dotmobi is the First Top-Level Domain Designated as Global.

    Zap.mobi will evaluate each mobile website submitted from around the world for mobile-readiness using industry best practices & standards.
    The site must be approved.
    Only then will the domain become part of our search.
    So build your dotmobi sites and become part of the Worlds Fastest Mobile Search. Zap.mobi. ASAP Make sure you make your site into an app.

    Dotmobi works on its own better than dotcom.
    Zap.mobi will not allow any Dotcoms.
    Nor will it allow any sites to link to a .com that does not meet standards
    It will be the worlds first real mobile global search.
    On your cell phone customers will no longer search.
    They will simply Zap It ! at Lightning Speeds!

    Land Rush Registrations for .mobi
    September 26th to October 10th 2006
    It has only been 31/2 years since the release of the first Dotmobi domain.

    SYMBOLICS.COM March 15, 1985 Was the date of the first Dotcom
    By John C Abell March 15, 2010 | 12:00 am | Categories: 20th century, Computers and IT
    Nobody seemed in a terrible hurry to get a domain; only five were registered in all of 1985. As you’d expect, the first 100 are packed with computer companies. Apple registered its namesake, the 64th domain, on Feb 19, 1987. Microsoft waited until 1991 to buy theirs. It took six years for Microsoft to even purchase their domain.
    In 1994 the Internet came to the general public’s attention with the public advent of the Mosaic Web browser and the nascent World Wide Web, and by 1996 it became obvious to most publicly traded companies that a public Web presence was desirable.
    It was about 9 years before the dotcom really started to take off.

    History is repeating itself. Now it will be Dotmobi.us and Zap.mobi to bring to light the new World Wide Web. DOTMOBI
    I believe that .mobi will own the #1 mobile spot in the world.
    The Question Is How High Can Dotmobi fly Check This Out
    http://challenge.webtel.mobi/english/index.html

  13. says

    the question should be really what is a domain blog even menbtioning the miami herlad for? what the frig do they know lol
    also one thing i have learned is when a domain blog is desperate for traffic they post a negative mobi article
    as if it needs more lol

  14. former .mobi supporter says

    I still own a few (30-40) ‘prime’ mobi’s which I will keep as a hedge.
    But, I consider them almost worthless.
    (It hurts me to admit that.)

  15. says

    All of you who own the .mobi have to develop them. Don’t be fooled by people who will benefit from mobi not doing well. Search will always be here. We are building the new internet for the phone. It will be faster and to the point. The information will be distributed globally.
    It is called mobithinking. Dotcom is the past and .mobi is the future.
    So what should you do with your great name. Either develop it or sell it so someone can.

  16. says

    Hi Y’all,

    well i own delicious.mobi

    and the folks at delicious.com have NEVER replied to any of my e-mails offeringf the .mobi to them

    so…………..

    it’s not that valuable on the whole it seems………………..

  17. says

    own a few .mobi & .co of brands & good domains that I protect just as a hedge – picked them up cheaply, look for the cheapest place to renew them and keep it that way for anything which isn’t a .com

    the quesiton I alwsy ask is, where’s the real need for anything but .com in the commercial space? and still there’s no good answer as to an alternative. IMO .com is king and the key is search, which everything is driven by. there’s no reason for anything else especially while search (incl. smartphones) continues to drive traffic to .com

  18. jake says

    It’s March 2011 now and I’ve recently sold a bunch of semi-premium dotmobis (which I captured three months before) for about 800 USD each, mostly end user sales. So, c’mon guys, keep on dropping your inventory for me… ;-P

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