The Sale of .Co To Neustar Closed Today; Offices To Stay In Miami

Although it was announced a few weeks ago, the sale of the  .CO Internet S.A.S to Neustar for $109 million dollars actually just closed today.

According to the MiamiHerald.com, the “Champagne popped and bonuses flowed after .CO Internet closed its chapter as an independent company and became part of the publicly traded Neustar on Monday afternoon.”

“In his first comments to the press about the transaction, Juan Diego Calle, co-founder and former CEO of .CO, said “The timing was right for both sides, Calle said. “We are going from a very regulated environment where there are a limited number of domain extensions into a world where there is essentially an unlimited number of options for consumers,” said Calle, referring to the thousands of new domain name options coming into the marketplace. “There’s this movement by the larger players in the industry to consolidate their positions of power and be market leaders in the new paradigm, and here we are, .CO, the most appealing of the new alternatives, so you can grab that asset and make it your flagship brand.”

“And for us, we were a small company with limited resources, we were profitable, we were growing. In that paradigm with thousands of alternatives, having a public company behind us owning the asset is a huge competitive advantage.

“Calle said Neustar’s plan is to keep the offices – and the jobs – in Miami and Colombia for the forseeable future.  There are 20 full-time employees  going to Neustar, plus a few consultants.”

“All of our employees are getting better jobs than they had at .CO, better benefits … and  everyone got a sizable bonus. Letting them know they were getting the money and celebrating the transaction with them was the highlight of my career from an entrepreneurial standpoint — really very cool,” said Calle, who has been an outspoken proponent of launching and growing companies in Miami.

“Of the co-founders, Calle and Nicolai Bezsonoff, the former COO,  will serve as strategic advisors, managing the integration of the companies. Lori Anne Wardi will remain in the role of vice president, and will continue overseeing the evolution of the .CO brand, as well as help Neustar with  .NYC, New York City’s soon-to-be-launched official domain extension.”

“Jose Rasco will continue as managing director of STRAAT Investments, independent of Neustar. ”

“Eduardo Santoyo, based in Bogota, will continue to lead the Colombia office and all matters relating to government relations and Internet policy.”

“I’m over the moon,” said Wardi on Monday. “This has been our baby, we saw such potential in these two letters and what they would become. … I feel so proud every time I see a .co.”

“Before the sale, STRAAT and the co-founders were planning to open a headquarters and co-working center in the Brickell area that they call Building, and that will still open in September, Calle said. ”

“Building will house the Neustar team as well as other ventures. “The idea of Building is to attract companies in a similar life cycle as .CO. We want to fill the later-stage niche instead of going after the pure startup plays. We are considering whether to expand the concept and to take it to other cities like San Francisco, New York and London. That is a business plan we are going to be actively developing now that we have sold .CO,” he said.

Neustar didn’t  acquire the subsidiary Pop.co, which allows consumers to set up a domain name, email account and website in 60 seconds. Said Calle: “You will see more push from us to build that out. Our goal is to make it one of the leading retail sites. We have a couple of other interesting things brewing, but right now the focus is on integrating .CO into Neustar as seamlessly as possible.”

Congrats to some of my favorite people in the domain space, Juan, Lori Ann, Jose and Nicolai.  An incredible success story achieved by some very hard working, brilliant people that took on the big boys and won the .Co contract from the government of Colombia over Verisign.

Excelente Trabajo.
Nos sentimos muy orgullosos y felices de que nuestros amigos.
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/the-starting-gate/2014/04/champagne-popped-and-bonuses-flowed-after-co-internet-closed-its-chapter-as-an-independent-company-and-became-part-of-the-pu.html#storylink=cpy

Hilton Buys ChicagoAirportHotel.com For a Whopping $850

chicago airport hotel

Hilton just bought the domain name ChicagoAirportHotel.com for a whopping $850.

The domain name was listed on a Buy It Now basis through Fabulous.com

So one of the largest hotel chains in the world just picked up the bang on matching domain for one of the busiest airports in the country for less than $1,000.

If you do a Google search for Chicago Airport Hotel you will see Hilton is an advertiser under the term as well as Booking.com and Expedia.

Don’t you think Hilton spends more than $850 in adwords to advertise under the term each month?

Come on people, lets not give good domains away.

I’m not saying they would have paid $100K for it but they very well may have paid $5K or even $10K.

Hilton took possession of the domain yesterday

.Co.com Live Registrations Begin April 8th “It’s 1985 Again”™

The .Co.com registry announced that their registrations go live tomorrow on April 8th

Here is the press release:

“”The very first .com domain name registration (symbolics.com) took place in March of 1985. Back then, of course, every name was available.

Today, with over 113 million registered .com domain names, the very best .com domain names are long gone.

Businesses who prefer the familiar .com extension find it difficult, or even impossible, to find short memorable names that are relevant to their business. They often settle for an ugly, long, hyphenated, multiple-word domain name.

Things are about to change.

Beginning April 8th, co.com LLC, a recently launched domain name registry, will essentially open a new tract of land in .com.

As was the case back in 1985, businesses, organizations and individuals will once again be able to register short memorable domain names ending in .com (e.g. Joes.co.com, plumber,co.com, travel.co.com, Homes.co.com, books.co.com, anyname.co.com).

Demand for domain names ending in .com remains very strong.

Last year over 30 million .com domains were registered.

“Most of those names were very long, hard to remember, and not ideal for marketing”, says Ken Hansen, CEO, co.com LLC. “When given a choice, many users will opt for the shorter name with a .co.com extension”, he continued.

Demand should be particularly strong in the 69 countries where “double dot names” (e.g.something.co.uk) are commonplace. The company has signed on over 200 domain name registrars to distribute .co.com domain names to the public.

Learn more, and find a participating registrar, at: http://registry.co.com

“””

WSJ: If The UN Gets Control Of ICANN Your Domain Registration Fees May Increase, A Lot

The Wall Street Journal just published a story by Karl Borden who is a professor of financial economics at the University of Nebraska who warns that if the US gives up its oversight control over ICANN and the United Nations winds up in that roll, expect that fees are going to be imposed on every domain registration to support not only ICANN but UN activities.

The professor cites “As far back as 2001, a U.N. report, “Financing the Global Sharing Economy,” proposed that the U.N. be given the authority to levy a tax on “speculative currency transactions” with a projected revenue stream north of $150 billion.”

“Should the U.N. get control of the Internet and the global commerce it carries, that figure will be chump change.”

“If history is any guide, the run-up to big dollars will be stunningly rapid. One need only reference the increases in U.S. federal revenues and expenditures after passage in 1913 of the 16th Amendment establishing the federal income tax. The top 1913 rate of 7% more than doubled by 1916 to 15%, then rocketed to 67% in 1917 and 77% in 1918. It always starts small.”

“Power follows the money, and bureaucratic appetites are voracious. Who will there be to stop the process, after all? Where is the elected legislative body that will answer to the world’s population that finally pays these “fees”?

“Among the many disingenuous justifications being touted for this colossal strategic mistake is that no “government control” will be imposed on the Internet. But democratic “government control” is exactly what will be needed, and it will be absent. Constitutional governments are the means by which citizens delegate the job of protecting their individual rights, and allow them to retain at least some ability to avoid tyranny. With constitutional government it becomes at least possible for citizens to say “No—No more!” No such checks are in place for a global bureaucracy that will have the power to reach into every pocket on earth.”

At the moment ICANN charges a fee of $.18 per domain for most TLD’s.

However the ICANN fee is one of things the US has oversight control of, including the awarding of the contract to operate the .com and .net registry which expires in 2018.

The professor’s argument and I think its a good one, is if the UN has control over ICANN that fee may not stay at $.18.

A less accountable, more politicized ICANN may place a “global development fee” on each domain name registration to fund  project investments in select nations and an expanded fellowship programs of $1 which as the good professor points out could grow over time to $5 or $10 a domain or more.

A global Internet tax?

Why not?
 

Strickling, Fadi, Steve DelBianco All Set To Testify In House Hearing On ICANN Tomorrow

There is going to be a house hearing tomorrow on the US giving up its oversight control over ICANN.

The hearing is being held by the Energy & Commerce Committee of the United States House of Representatives

The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building. The title of the hearing is “Ensuring the Security, Stability, Resilience, and Freedom of the Global Internet.” Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only. The hearing webcast will be available at http://energycommerce.house.gov/

Witnesses:

Panel I

The Honorable Larry Strickling:

Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Administration
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

Mr. Fadi Chehadé:

President and CEO
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
Witness Testimony (Truth in Testimony and CV)

The Honorable David A. Gross:

Partner
Wiley Rein, LLP
Witness Testimony (Truth in Testimony and CV)

Panel II

Mr. Steve DelBianco:

Executive Director
NetChoice
Witness Testimony (Truth in Testimony and CV)

Ms. Carolina Rossini:

Project Director, Latin American Resource Center
Internet Governance and Human Rights Program
New American Foundation