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Thread: Rick Schwartz auctioning Flowers.mobi with no reserve

  1. #1
    Founding Member Dave's Avatar
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    Default Rick Schwartz auctioning Flowers.mobi with no reserve

    This just in:

    http://www.ricklatona.com/2010/09/10...-f-f-i-c-miami

    Should be interesting to see how much it goes for...obviously it would be shocking if it went for anywhere near what he paid for it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave View Post
    This just in:

    http://www.ricklatona.com/2010/09/10...-f-f-i-c-miami

    Should be interesting to see how much it goes for...obviously it would be shocking if it went for anywhere near what he paid for it!
    Another high-profiler abandoning .mobi. He has no need to sell, so considering he is a pure domainer, selling now at the bottom of the market with no reserve can only mean one thing: he is cutting his losses.

    I would be surprised if this went for any higher than $x,xxx.

    Thanks for sharing, Dave!
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    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    The venue expects it to sell for cheap as well: "So now you can own this famous name with back links and a story at a fraction of the price." I expect they are correct as well. A domainer like Rick thrives on natural traffic and with .mobi he ain't getting it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Kello View Post
    Another high-profiler abandoning .mobi. He has no need to sell, so considering he is a pure domainer, selling now at the bottom of the market with no reserve can only mean one thing: he is cutting his losses.

    I would be surprised if this went for any higher than $x,xxx.

    Thanks for sharing, Dave!
    I find it more provocative than selling out. It would be great to see 1-800-Flowers get it. Probably ain't going to happen but one can hope.
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    Administrator Andres Kello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scandiman View Post
    The venue expects it to sell for cheap as well: "So now you can own this famous name with back links and a story at a fraction of the price." I expect they are correct as well.
    I completely agree, plus, a domain this generic should not need to be hyped with "backlinks" and a "story" to be valuable.


    Quote Originally Posted by think View Post
    I find it more provocative than selling out. It would be great to see 1-800-Flowers get it. Probably ain't going to happen but one can hope.
    I actually think they will buy it for two reasons: 1) they had bid on it when Rick bought it for $200,000, and 2) they can get it today for less than 90% of what it would have cost last time they tried to buy it just a few years ago. In fact, if they don't buy it, I think that will be even more damning news than Rick's sell-off (knowing he's going to lose over 90% of this investment and what that could possibly mean for his reputation as a sharp domainer).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Kello View Post
    I actually think they will buy it for two reasons: 1) they had bid on it when when Rick bought it for $200,000, and 2) they can get it today for less than 90% of what it would have cost last time they tried to buy it just a few years ago. In fact, if they don't buy it, I think that will be even more damning news than Rick's sell-off (knowing he's going to lose over 90% of this investment and what that could possibly mean for his reputation as a sharp domainer).
    Completely agree.

    I'm looking at it in the same light at Games.mobi. It sucked to see it sell for a fraction of the price it was going to sell for just a year earlier but it was good to see it go to a development company with active plans for it. Games.mobi might not be the most awesome mobile game site but it is better than a non resolving page or a parking page.
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    My frank post on Latona's site:

    It’s a tough market to be selling a top Mobi or any newer TLD. Obviously this name will sell at a big loss. Dot Mobi in particular has become virtually worthless on the wholesale level. As one who’s invested in Mobi here’s wishing you well with the sale.


    On the positive side, the search term “flowers” is a great mobile keyword so it could be a great buy for the right development or business company. Will 1-800-Flowers be invited to bid?
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    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Kello View Post
    I completely agree, plus, a domain this generic should not need to be hyped with "backlinks" and a "story" to be valuable.
    Maybe Bixby Snyder will get in on the action: I'd buy that for a dollar!


    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Kello View Post
    I actually think they will buy it for two reasons: 1) they had bid on it when when Rick bought it for $200,000, and 2) they can get it today for less than 90% of what it would have cost last time they tried to buy it just a few years ago. In fact, if they don't buy it, I think that will be even more damning news than Rick's sell-off (knowing he's going to lose over 90% of this investment and what that could possibly mean for his reputation as a sharp domainer).
    That's assuming they even know about the auction to begin with, plus they have already moved on: http://ww30.1800flowers.com/template...ersionTag=true

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scandiman View Post
    That's assuming they even know about the auction to begin with, plus they have already moved on: http://ww30.1800flowers.com/template...ersionTag=true
    If memory serves me correctly, they already had a mobile version when Flowers.mobi was auctioned the first time around.

    As for them knowing about this auction, they definitely will (if they don't already) since they've already gone head-to-head for this domain with Rick at another TRAFFIC conference, so they know Rick and they know TRAFFIC and they know Flowers.mobi. If anything, Rick will make sure to let them know he's auctioning it. He'd be stupid not to knowing that they had bid on it when he bought it, and he definitely ain't stupid.
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    Mobility Regular limomobi's Avatar
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    Maybe 1-800-flowers will want it. It goes with flowers.com. The owner is rich. So why not bet on flowers.mobi. Having a foot on a successful .com and another foot on a .mobi which might do great b/c of mobile web, is not a bad idea. If I were him, I'd get it period. Money is chump change for someone like that. I see mobile web being promoted everywhere these recent 3 months. So it would be a good idea to get it. Especially if the .mobi is going to be 90% lower in price. It will be interesting to see since I won flower.mobi but lost it to the fiasco of the botched auction in 2007. Maybe it was a good thing I lost it as it appears today. Maybe not in 10 years from now. I don't know how I feel about all of this since I really don't know how to feel when I paid and then got reimbursed for flower.mobi later on.

    Why don't I have flower.mobi now? The truth was I never ever got any sedo or mTLD.mobi e-mails to claim any of the names I won. Not a single one. It is waaaayyy in the past. So I don't dwell on it. If it was meant to be, it is meant to be. Since it wasn't meant to be, than it isn't meant to be. Do I still like the name. Certainly.

    I just checked. Flower.mobi appears to be owned by mTLD.mobi still. They won't release it. I think they hope .mobi becomes more popular with go.mobi or just mobile web in general. Then and only then, will they start to auction the premiums again. Will I be interested in flower.mobi then? I think I'll always like that name. 2007 and 2010 are different years. There is a major recession in the U.S. so that effects what I do.

    I hope flowers.mobi does well. Can a person bid via internet and phone. Or does one have to be present?

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    Mobility Regular Accent's Avatar
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    The Mobi market is in panic mode already.
    Does Rick see a further collapse in Mobi prices?
    Or is the clever B-----d trying to start one???

    A low sale price for Flowers will do that.
    Even more people will give up and dump.

    At some time the carpetbaggers will show up
    and rake in great domains for next to nothing.

    And this, remember in an extension owned by Affilias
    - which assures registrar placement right next to .Info,
    a long list of major businesses who use the extension,
    a registry that, despite its' flaws,
    is the only one actively promoting their extension
    and investment exposure to the Mobile web,
    which everyone still expects to outgrow the PC web.....

    In Five Years.
    Lots of time for manipulation before then.

    Rick also owns Fun.mobi and some other big-time Mobi domains..
    I do not know if he would deliberately depress a market
    and then secretly buy, don't know his business that well.

    So I am, umm, speculating.
    http://tibetanjewelry.mobi
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    Administrator Andres Kello's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Accent View Post
    Rick also owns Fun.mobi
    Rick doesn't own Fun.mobi.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accent
    and some other big-time Mobi domains..
    Does anyone have a list of the .mobi's currently owned by Rick?
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    I think this may sell for a high price!

    Why?

    Well first, Rick is a decent businessman, not famous for losing lots of money on a domain (= not famous for making poor decisions). He also seems to have good timing, buying his .com domains very early and waiting out the naysayers. He has written about being patient and that his domain investment took a long time to mature. He specifically said about whether his flowers.mobi investment was a good idea - 'ask me in 5 years'. Well we are not at 5 years yet, so by his own words you can say that this asset has not matured yet. And of course, we are at the all time bottom of the .mobi sales market, mobi prices practically cannot go any lower, there is no where to go.

    So why would Rick, sell at the bottom of the market?
    It doesn't appear that he is a forced seller.
    Why would he tarnish his business name with such a loss, potentially a huge loss?

    IMO, just looking at his track record, his long term outlook, his cultivated image, the only reason to sell would be because he has a hunch that he can get a good price for it, even make a profit.

    Is this feasible?

    Well, forget for a second domineer price expectations, and other recent mobi sales prices, and even forget domaining. Look at the domain itself and consider the business potential by developing such a generic name. The right company could build a location based mobile flower ordering + delivery service with huge potential. Do we agree? So combining this domain with a large company that has the resources to build such a platform, IMO makes $200,000 quite reasonable, when other generic .com names sell for 7 figures.

    When this domain was first bid on it was a risk to the bidder, as the mobile space was in its infancy, now the industry has expanded somewhat and the path ahead is a little clearer. The opportunities to build substantial mobile focused businesses are very real. So, has flowers.mobi's inherent development value increased or decreased over time? In 2007 no one knew about .mobi, now some people do, yes not as many as we would like, but its growing and usage is growing. I think anyone on this forum that has built a site on a mobi domain will tell you traffic is rising.

    One of the highest bidders for this domain was flowers.com. They felt it made sense for them, back then, to want to secure this name, to either develop or to fend off any competition. Does this still make sense? Maybe it does, or maybe now that it is common to just use your existing .com domain combined with device detection, maybe it doesn't? It has been said that the best value for a .mobi domain might be for those that do not already own a generic .com in the industry that they operate. So potentially this domain could be more valuable to someone other than flowers.com

    A few more things. Rick mentions- "in the interest of full disclosure. Jim McCann the CEO and Founder of Flowers.com will be our keynote speaker at TRAFFIC in Las Vegas". So Rick knows and respects the CEO of this company. Maybe he is still in contact with him, maybe they have discussed this domain? It is sitting idle in Rick's portfolio, surely this is something that flowers.com have not forgotten?

    But as stated, this name is potentially more valuable in the hands of some other business than flowers.com. So how crazy is this scenario - Rick has received or sought offers from other companies interested in this domain, and feels that there are at least two bidders with deep pockets that want this name badly?

    Crazy?

    Or is it more likely that Rick is happy to lose a **** load of cash on a domain by unnecessarily selling at perfectly the wrong moment. Is that Rick's style?

    At this stage after all that has been written about this domain over the years, it is even a famous domain. The sale of this domain at a decent price will generate a lot of press. So to say that this domain with all its inherent development value and notoriety will be worth $x,xxx, I think is unrealistic. Surely we are underestimating the 'Domain King'?

    In any case, this auction will be very interesting!
    Last edited by youmo; 09-11-2010 at 07:11 AM.

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    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    So why would Rick, sell at the bottom of the market?

    Why would he tarnish his business name with such a loss, potentially a huge loss?
    One loss won't impact his reputation, especially since he made no outlandish predictions about .mobi. He made a speculative investment and we'll see if it is a winner or loser for him soon enough. My guess is a loss, the sales pitch doesn't exactly exude confidence. I can't see someone paying $200k for a famous name with back links and a story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Accent View Post
    So I am, umm, speculating.
    Yeah, so am I, and it is fun speculating about big name speculators.

    I doubt very much Rick is pressed for cash right now. If he has had interest and offers behind the scenes this might be a good decision - if he knows there are two or more bidders who have already offered him the floor price he is willing to accept he will be happy, unless they then don't turn up at the auction.

    In his blog post that Andres linked to he said his approach was "follow the money" and he saw it going into mobi and followed it.

    I don't see one loss hurting his reputation, it shows he knows how to cut losses, not spend on redecorating a sinking ship. But seeing it sink very publicly might get a few more to leave the ship.

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    Senior Member noonoo1's Avatar
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    Rick owns 868.mobi and f r e e p u s s y.mobi

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    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    the only reason to sell would be because he has a hunch that he can get a good price for it, even make a profit.
    If you really think this domain without a reserve has even a 1% chance of selling above $200,000, then I have a lot of .mobi's to sell you right now before the prices go up after this soon-to-be record-breaking sale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scandiman View Post
    One loss won't impact his reputation, especially since he made no outlandish predictions about .mobi.
    Yes, but there is no point to sell right now. Its an awesome name, and he owns other mobis. Why not dump the rest too? I believe I read that his partner Howard Neu also owns mobs.

    It seems that most of Rick's names sell via direct negotiations and some of these sales remain private, this sale would be much more public. This is not just one more domain, this would make the industry news and be talked about negatively if its a flop. I doubt Rick would choose to be associated with this. He could just hold the name until market conditions improve.
    As Vance pointed out on another thread, it looks like TRAFFIC made less income from ticket sales at the last conference than $200,000. So its not a small amount of money to be thrown away. Vance also pointed out, that dotmobi were INVITED to talk at Traffic in Dublin. They got to explain their efforts and most likely Pinky and Rick would have met.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Kello View Post
    If you really think this domain without a reserve has even a 1% chance of selling above $200,000, then I have a lot of .mobi's to sell you right now before the prices go up after this soon-to-be record-breaking sale.
    He doesn't need a reserve if he is confident he has choreographed at least two potential buyers. Can you pre-bid at Latona's? Maybe they have a decent proxy bid already?

    This may not be record breaking, but I doubt it will be $x,xxx as you believe.

    Its my opinion that there is way too much negativity on this forum. Great generic names sill have the same development potential that they had the day the TLD was created.

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    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    This may not be record breaking, but I doubt it will be $x,xxx as you believe.
    Fair enough, I'll give Rick the benefit of the doubt as he definitely has the marketing skill and connections to make this a five-figure sale (if anyone could, it'd be him), but I personally wouldn't buy it for five-figures even if it was offered just to me for a quick $10,000. Regardless, I'm definitely not holding my breath for a six-figure sale let alone a record-breaking sale. He's good, but I don't think anyone is that good.

    Quote Originally Posted by youmo
    Its my opinion that there is way too much negativity on this forum.
    That is because most of the discussion has been fact-based and a lot of facts have unfortunately turned negative. Feel free to counter with more fact-based "positivity", everyone would love to hear some. But I don't think members here have any more room left in their guts to swallow more - pardon my French - bull****.

    Quote Originally Posted by youmo
    Great generic names sill have the same development potential that they had the day the TLD was created.
    Yes, but without a lot - if not most - of the inherent, promised, implied, and hyped benefits that they had the day the TLD was created. That is undeniable and the current mood and market simply reflect that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andres Kello View Post
    Fair enough, I'll give Rick the benefit of the doubt as he definitely has the marketing skill and connections to make this a five-figure sale (if anyone could, it'd be him), but I personally wouldn't buy it for five-figures even if it was offered just to me for a quick $10,000. Regardless, I'm definitely not holding my breath for a six-figure sale let alone a record-breaking sale. He's good, but I don't think anyone is that good.

    That is because most of the discussion has been fact-based and a lot of facts have unfortunately turned negative. Feel free to counter with more fact-based "positivity", everyone would love to hear some. But I don't think members here have any more room left in their guts to swallow more - pardon my French - bull****.

    Yes, but without a lot - if not most - of the inherent, promised, implied, and hyped benefits that they had the day the TLD was created. That is undeniable and the current mood and market simply reflect that.
    I agree with all above. Regarding the price though, we all see plenty of names (non .mobi) that sell for ridiculously high prices, that don't outwardly make sense. One of Rick's recent post talks about virtualtours.com as a $1m plus name. To me its a terrible name, but apparently to someone else its the perfect must have name. These are the bizarrities of this industry. Add in the fact that it really is a good domain, and that Rick is the most successful domain deal maker in history, and I say it goes high. However I am making a lot of assumptions. Also a lot of what i am saying is semi-independent of the TLD.

    But generally as a business, I think a mobile flower selling platform could be very lucrative. With a decent development and marketing budget, you could easily pay off the $100k or $200k for the name.

  22. #22
    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    He could just hold the name until market conditions improve.
    It stands to reason that if his opinion of .mobi were so positive then he would be buying like crazy in this down market rather than trying to sell. I haven't seen his name show up in the whois in years.

    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    He doesn't need a reserve if he is confident he has choreographed at least two potential buyers.
    Or he's using the no reserve tactic to garner as much attention as possible. There's multiple ways to look at this that are equally legitimate.

    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    This may not be record breaking, but I doubt it will be $x,xxx as you believe.
    The question for me isn't about breaking records, it's about making a profit or not, and who the new owner ends up being.

    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    Its my opinion that there is way too much negativity on this forum.
    As a mobile web entrepreneur using .mobi, I care about the facts whether they are good or bad. There's a lot of good going on with .mobi, but there's no denying that .mobi is feeling a lot of pain right now as well. I'm for a hype-free zone, got to take the good and bad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scandiman View Post
    It stands to reason that if his opinion of .mobi were so positive then he would be buying like crazy in this down market rather than trying to sell. I haven't seen his name show up in the whois in years.
    Not really, there is a big area between selling and buying, called holding. I think with his names, holding (or development) is the right place to be, unless a good offer comes along. Rick seems to have patience, so why would he sell at the bottom of the market?

    I can't think of a reason that makes sense.
    Cut his losses, is not a good reason as I don't see any ongoing losses, the asset has already depreciated in terms of domainer resale value.

    Regarding the reserve, I think you're right, they are looking for attention, so that we little guys think we have a shot at this name. I suspect that we don't. I hope we don't.

    I hope these guys show up to the auction-

    http://www.interflora.co.uk/page.xml...ame=help_about
    http://ww1w.1800flowers.com
    http://www.teleflora.com
    http://www.ftd.com
    http://www.proflowers.com
    etc

  24. #24
    Senior Member gogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    Great generic names sill have the same development potential that they had the day the TLD was created.
    I don't agree because they no longer have the following advantages:

    1. preferential treatment in mobile search
    2. not being transcoded by carriers
    3. being on a guaranteed mobile domain - which with wide adoption could lead to typeins by people looking for mobile content.

    Those three potential advantages would have meant a mobi name got more traffic - a big advantage for a domain name. It didn't happen.

    The whole mobi thing was about following the money, assuming mobi will be big IF this happens and IF that happens. The facts aren't negative or positive, its the interpretations and predictions that are. Mobi has always been big on ifs and short on facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gogo View Post
    I don't agree because they no longer have the following advantages:

    1. preferential treatment in mobile search
    2. not being transcoded by carriers
    3. being on a guaranteed mobile domain - which with wide adoption could lead to typeins by people looking for mobile content.

    Those three potential advantages would have meant a mobi name got more traffic - a big advantage for a domain name. It didn't happen.

    The whole mobi thing was about following the money, assuming mobi will be big IF this happens and IF that happens. The facts aren't negative or positive, its the interpretations and predictions that are. Mobi has always been big on ifs and short on facts.

    I totally agree that awareness of the TLD is shockingly low considering its 2010. Like all of us I also am disappointed at the effectiveness on dotmobi marketing efforts. Now we just have to hope that slow and steady wins the race.
    At least the mobi zone file is growing.

    Regarding your advantages-

    1. preferential treatment in mobile search
    I would imagine that google's algorithms would be able to distinguish a non-mobile formatted site using a mobile domain. If their algorithms incorporate such factors as location of server and speed of content loading, I guess they can see if a site is formatted for mobile or not, and if the search originates on a mobile phone, potentially rank the mobile formatted site more highly. But just preferentially favoring a .mobi domain without reference to its content is obviously not in the interests on a google user.

    2. not being transcoded by carriers
    What do you mean? You want to put a pc site on a mobi domain and hope a carrier transcodes it for you, why?

    3. being on a guaranteed mobile domain - which with wide adoption could lead to typeins by people looking for mobile content.
    Well this has been discussed time and time again. I personally don't think that the trustmark was a big factor. I don't think the end user visiting the site knows anything about this. They just think or have read that mobi = mobile (if they have heard of it at all). But more importantly, lets not get back into that endless discussion, really, its dead, it was unenforceable.

    You can pick out that one sentence from what I have written and start back hammering mtld if you want. I am just commenting on Rick's intentions.
    Last edited by youmo; 09-12-2010 at 12:37 AM.

  26. #26
    Founding Member Scandiman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    Not really, there is a big area between selling and buying, called holding. I think with his names, holding (or development) is the right place to be, unless a good offer comes along. Rick seems to have patience, so why would he sell at the bottom of the market?
    I'm very familiar with holding, but that doesn't address my point. If he (or anyone else) is optimistic about .mobi then the current market probably represents a good time to acquire strong keywords for low prices.

    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    I can't think of a reason that makes sense.
    Cut his losses, is not a good reason as I don't see any ongoing losses, the asset has already depreciated in terms of domainer resale value.
    If he doesn't see the market for .mobi recovering then he might as well get it over with now and put whatever cash he can get from it into other investments he has more confidence in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scandiman View Post
    If he doesn't see the market for .mobi recovering then he might as well get it over with now and put whatever cash he can get from it into other investments he has more confidence in.
    Totally agree.

    I think Rick does not see the market recovering, unless action is taken immediately! This domain caused probably the most hype in dotmobi's history. It is also probably the most famous .mobi name... yet it is still a parking page!

    Maybe Rick has spoken with Flowers.com? Who knows? If they end up buying it, whether it be at a profit or loss (very very likely a big loss IMHO), and go on to use it and promote it, then it could be a big booster for .mobi, helping his other investments such as Tickets.mobi.

    When people read about dotmobi and see, 'Flowers.mobi - the highest selling name', then visit the site and see a useless 'parking page', it can only be negative!

    Maybe he has realized that if this domain had sold to Flowers.com for even half of what it sold for back then, & they went on to use it and promote it, then .mobi would have stood a much better chance of becoming the 'defacto standard' (haven't heard that in a while).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scandiman View Post
    If he doesn't see the market for .mobi recovering then he might as well get it over with now and put whatever cash he can get from it into other investments he has more confidence in.
    Totally disagree.

    He does not need $10,000. He does not need whatever cash he can get for it. His business is about waiting for the right moment. If this sells at market rate to a domainer, then its not the right moment. We are barely out of the recession, mobile commerce has barely begun. So he can wait if he chooses. To me the obvious thing to do is wait not sell.

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    Thing is, with Flowers.com & Flowers.mobi they could corner the web and mobile web space for flowers.

    Not having Flowers.mobi always leave the possibility/opportunity open for someone else to corner the mobile web space.

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    Quote Originally Posted by youmo View Post
    Totally disagree.

    He does not need $10,000. He does not need whatever cash he can get for it. His business is about waiting for the right moment. If this sells at market rate to a domainer, then its not the right moment. We are barely out of the recession, mobile commerce has barely begun. So he can wait if he chooses. To me the obvious thing to do is wait not sell.
    True, I actually think that now is the right moment to sell tho... at a loss... if he knows that the right end users will be there (to get the name into an end users hands). If it sells to a domainer then I will be very disappointed!

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