bitcoin insigniaBitcoinWallet.com, a domain that you’ll remember sold for $250,000 back in February of this year, is now open for business.

Price Givens, who identified himself as a founder, seems to have introduced the new site to the bitcoin community just two days ago via a thread on the forum BitcoinTalk.org.

My name is Price Givens and I’m a founder of bitcoinwallet.com.  I’d like to present bitcoinwallet.com to the community with these features:

1. Replacing traditional public addresses with a simple user name.  My bitcoin address (along with my alt coin addresses) is price.bitcoinwallet.com.

2. A simple JSON API that allows developers of third party apps to systematically discover the public addresses (for all coins) of any user based on their user name.  https://price.bitcoinwallet.com/api

Read more …

When the sale of BitcoinWallet.com initially broke, the site CoinDesk among others reported that it had been purchased by Austin, Texas entrepreneur Alex Charfen. It is not clear if Givens is a partner of Charfen, whether they are co-founders together, or whether the domain changed hands since the original sale.  The domain is now under whois privacy.

When it comes to bitcoin, I am a relative novice, but I do believe there is something uniquely interesting of note here.  If I’m not mistaken, what BitcoinWallet.com has done, is essentially apply the logic of DNS to a bitcoin walleting system.

DNS as you know, is the system that allows unique numeric identifiers in the form of IP addresses to resolve to easy to remember domain names.  In point 1 from the quoted forum thread above, Givens seems to indicate that BitcoinWallet.com is the first to allow what had otherwise been unique numeric wallet identifiers to resolve to friendly subdomain names.

Having not delved too deeply into bitcoin before, I am not familiar with other bitcoin wallets, but it does sound like this is quite a radical, albeit elegant, innovation.

The second thing you will notice, if you visit the site and attempt to sign up for a new user account, is that they have implemented a model based on monetizing premium usernames.  Here, from the sites Terms of Use:

4. PREMIUM USERNAMES
We offer our users premium usernames for an upfront fee and an additional annual maintenance fee. A premium username is a username comprising of 4 or less characters (for example, “Joe”). Usernames comprising of 5 or more characters (for example, “Jonathan” or “J.Smith”) are free. If you have a premium username and fail to make the annual maintenance payment when due, then we reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to assign you a new non-premium username and to make the premium username available to other users. In the event that we change your username due to non-payment, we will notify you upon such change.

You will of course recognize this as similar in form to the model that many new gTLD registries have adopted (e.g. .guru, .venture), which is to apply premium pricing to what may be perceived as the most sought after names.

There have been a string of recent posts emanating out of the wake of this year’s DomainFest where keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuk challenged the audience with his notion that domain names may not maintain the same relevance to internet business in another 5 to 10 years time, as they do today.

Whether or not you agree with that sentiment, the brilliant execution of BitcoinWallet’s wallet-to-naming convention in the form of friendly, shareable subdomains, should make one thing clear:  Naming, in and of itself, in whatever form it takes, is and likely will remain a cornerstone of how businesses, brands, and people continue to navigate, interact with, and gain visibility on the web, for the foreseeable future.

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Recent Dynadot Whois Anomaly

December 3, 2013

Back from the fray with an interesting observation this evening.  Doing some domain administration across my portfolio and I noticed that all of my .com and .net domains registered through Dynadot are showing a “Last Updated” date of 1970.

I’m not certain whether the difficulty is at the registrar level or with Verisign, or both, since the problem doesn’t seem to be occurring for my .org domains, nor for any .com or .net domains I have at other registrars.

In any case, let’s hope such a problem never crops up on the Creation Date which would no doubt result in a bunch of scammers pawning fake ‘aged domains’ they just registered.

dynadot whois

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For those of us involved in the craft of domaining, our brains tend to perk up when a domain crosses our path in the analog world, whether good, bad or ugly.  Here are a few examples of domains I’ve recently sighted in the wild that caught my attention …

LoveThySandwich.com – Over on the East Side I asked a colleague where to go for lunch one day and she recommended a place called Gourmands.  It’s a local pub that she informed me served good sandwiches and pub grub.  While there, perusing the menu, my eyes landed on their website address.  Of course I was expecting it to contain the actual name of their business somewhere in the domain.  Barring that, I might have not been so surprised to see instead, a generic term such as ‘AustinRestauarant.net’ or similar.

Assuming they either couldn’t obtain or couldn’t afford the exact-match Gourmands.com, and didn’t want a second-tier name such as GourmandsPub.com or Gourmands.info, they opted instead for something much catchier.  Frankly, Gourmands, I love thy domain.  It made me laugh out loud, literally, and I had no trouble recalling it long after I’d scarfed one of their sandwich’s and chased it down with a pint of Guinness.

FreakingHouse.com – Put this one right into the ‘catchy brandable’ bucket as well.  While at the doctor’s office (not to worry, I’m fine), in the waiting room the television suddenly blared a very in-your-face commercial about someone wanting to buy “any house, in any condition.”  It’s a shame I can’t find the actual commercial on YouTube, but suffice to say it ended with someone yelling the catch phrase pictured below, and flashing the domain FreakingHouse.com across the screen.

Freaking House

The reincarnation of Crazy Eddie?

Wisely, it looks like the same company also owns the variant FreakinHouse.com (freakin’).  That’s a good thing, too, because to be entirely honest, I’m not 100% sure whether the domain they advertised on their commercial was FreakingHouse.com or FreakinHouse.com.  If they only owned one or the other, I’m sure they’d be leaking traffic.

Pecans.com – Last, but certainly not least is this premium generic.  On the road this weekend I drove through a town called Goldthwaite Texas, population 1,846.  It was the kind of town it takes about 30 seconds to drive through the center of. So you can imagine the heavy double-take I did as I passed a large billboard at the edge of town directing passersby to the Pecans.com shop.

It was almost incredulous to me that a small retail shop virtually in the middle of nowhere was operating on such a flagship domain. Unfortunately I didn’t stop to snap a photo, but I managed to dig up another very similar one plastered across a truck trailer, to give you an idea.  Though, it turns out they do have an online store as well, and I have to surmise it must draw them more traffic online than actual traffic to the town of Goldthwaite.  So if you don’t actually have time to visit Goldthwaite Texas yourself, you can still get some of Cousin Ruby’s “To Die For” Pecan Cobbler for only $17.99. That’s the beauty of online business. It can be operated from anywhere in the world, and you can sell globally.

Pecans

Cousin Ruby’s big rig

Have you seen any domains lately with a story behind them?  Do share.

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HostingCon 2013 Attracts Over Two Dozen Domain Companies

June 3, 2013

HostingCon, the web hosting industry’s premier annual trade show and conference will be held later this month, from June 17 – 19, in sunny Austin TX. Scanning over the list of attendees I counted 25 companies in all representing the domain industry.  Companies in bold will also be exhibiting. .CO Internet 101Domain .ORG, The Public […]

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Registries Across the Board Are Raising Rates This Summer

May 29, 2013

Today I was surprised upon opening a registrar’s newsletter to learn that the following gTLDs are all set for price hikes in the coming months  … Verisign .NET will increase by $0.51 as of July 1st .NAME will increase by $0.60 as of August 1st PIR .ORG will increase by $0.55 as of July 1st […]

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One Thing I Learned Today From the Spartan Sprint

May 19, 2013

I don’t often write outside the topic of domain names on this blog, but here’s one.  There’s a moral at the end. I ran a race today called the Spartan Sprint.  It’s essentially a race of the ‘Tough Mudder’ variety which I’d guess is a name more folks will be familiar with.  It’s a distance […]

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A Special Thank You From DBRFunFest 2013

May 7, 2013

As I sit in the Orange County Airport awaiting departure back home to Texas, I want to take a moment to say a special and very sincere THANK YOU to all of the wonderfully generous sponsors whose contributions helped make DBRFunFest, not only possible, but incredibly memorable. One of the great things I found in […]

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A List of 7-Word Domains That Have Sold

April 27, 2013

Common wisdom holds that the shorter the domain, the better.  However there are some examples of very long domains that have sold in the past. According to the DNSalePrice.com record of publicly listed domain sales, the longest domain names that have ever been reported sold contain 7 words, and there are four such sales on […]

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Speculating on Domain Forum Wanted Threads Is Generally a Bad Idea

April 2, 2013

I’d like to share a situation I ran into today on a domain forum, that might help anyone new to domaining. Recently I posted a thread in the ‘Domains Wanted’ sub-forum, and today I received a private message from a forum user there who had submitted two domains to me earlier in the week.  In […]

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