Entries Tagged 'Life on the Net' ↓

Funny copywriting blog


That’s the address of Kelly Parkinson’s copy blog. With topics like the 34 stages of editorial enlightenment and a 7-point check list to bring your about page up to code, this one is fascinating and funny. She also has a marketing guru dog. Recommended.

Sushi.com Unsold??

The fabulous top-level domain sushi.com was up for bids at flippa.com. The buy it now was a cool ONE MILLION AND A HALF dollars. (A million only goes so far these days.)

It reaches the nice sum of $915,000 and IT DIDN’T SELL.

Must be nice. Would you turn down $915,000 for your domain name, no matter how top-of-its-category it was? I wouldn’t.

Check out the insane bidding. What’s more it took only 18 days to reach these blue-blood-nosebleed heights.

Sorry I wrote this. Now I crave tekka maki and sashimi.

Domain appraisal scam

Apparently, people noticed my attempt to sell myadportfolio.com at Sedo. The wrong people.

email from space-investments.info.


I’m an official broker of an investor from Southhampton (UK). He is going to buy your myadportfolio.com.

My client has $469,000 budget for 25-30 domains. Please specify your asking price in the subject of your message.

Our company is in hosting business. We also provide brokerage services for investors.

I’m working with many domain investors. If you have other domains for sale please email me the list. I may offer your domains to my clients.

How can we send money to you? I think an escrow service is the most secure way for both parties.

If it’s your first time sale I can help you with the escrow/transfer process.

Best regards,

Alex Mortman

Investments Department

Director Investor Relations

Cloud Computing & Web Hosting

Bernstrasse 39
Phone: 32 993 12 46

A nice touch was that when I typed in his site address, it went to an apparently totally legitimate Swiss hosting company. But its domain was not called space-investment.info, of course.

Yet there are many red flags here. But my optimism ignores them!

Why would a domain broker have a crummy hyphenated dot info address?? And hey, doesn’t the UK have any good domain brokers — ya gotta go to Switzerland? I have a price already on Sedo; there’s no need to ask for the price. Finally, why would he tell his investor’s total budget for many sites??

Answer to that. He wants me to do the math and ask $15,000.

Second email. Sent well after Swiss business hours on a Friday.


$XXXX – Ok. Great!

Before we proceed my investor needs only one thing from you:

As you may know all major domain brokers does not allow listing above $1000 or higher if you don’t have an official appraisal. Since the sale price is not low in our case, my client needs an official certificate of price (appraisal). He also needs to know you have no trademark problems. It won’t be a problem since I know an official appraiser that offers this option (trademark infringement verification) for free as a part of the appraisal service.

I’m also interested in a good valuation and a high sale price because my client pays me a commission (10-15% of the sale price) on every domain purchase. So I’m not interested in low sales too.

Of course, you should not use a free automated service like Estibot or similar services. My client won’t accept them. I was working for Estibot and knew they were using automated scripts for free appraisals. In our case we need a real manual valuation.

Several years ago, to avoid mistakes and wasting money on useless automated services I asked in Google answers about reliable manual valuation/TM verification services. Please read this: http://www.archive-google.com/threads/threadview85379264.htm (Domain Broker is my nickname)*

The process is very easy:

1. Go to the appraisal site and order the valuation with the TM verification. Submit your domains to them and let them know you have a buyer with $XXXX offer so you need the appraisal near this value. In this case you won’t get a low value. If the appraisal comes higher you can increase the price accordingly. It will be fair.

2. Then send these results via email and we’ll proceed with the deal.

If you are new to the appraisal process I can help you with a[sic] step by step instructions.


I wasn’t expecting an appraisal request. I was expecting negotiation, haggling if you will.

Tell the appraisal service the appraisal value you want??? Say what? The charge for the “appraisal” is 79 Euros.

“If you are new to the appraisal process” is a spin on the classic vanity-press ad line “if you are a new author.” Love it! (Of course, you’re a new author, no established author would fall for this.)

Now I did some detective work. His site was registered this month. And another site flagged as phony asia-web-hosting.biz was registered last year to the same person in Switzerland who gives a hotmail contact address.

See more on this now getting-pretty-darn-classic scam:



*This forum site is real interesting. My browser objected that it was a phishing site. And on the board, our hero, Domain Broker, asks for the name of a good appraisal site and gets it from another poster who provides a helpful trap, uh link. They congratulate each other on a $39,000 domain deal they’ve just concluded too! Oh, brother.

Wait, that was a $39K deal transacted without a good appraisal? That’s way more than $1,000, but somehow no problem.

The dark side of marketing

Mostly, I like to think about good marketing — advertising that sells a useful product or service. Heck, even Bud Light Platinum, which seems to be the child of Bud Ice and Bud Light.

However, there is another kind of advertising — unsolicted email advertising. Uh huh. SPAM.

Friends of mine have wondered why I get red-faced and irate at the very mention of Spam (not the canned meat product which can be yummy — try their new Spam & Sausage Jambalaya.)

The reason I get so angry is I get a large percentage of spam. Of 45 emails I received the other day, 15 are spam. What’s more, they aren’t 15 ususual supplements, Russian women wanting husbands, diamond non-stick frypans. No, they are the same few emails sent over and over seconds apart. For example, apparently, my accountant’s license has been revoked. A good thing too, because I have never been certified as a CPA nor even taken a course in accounting.

Moreover, my direct deposit to my local bank — the Federal Reserve Bank, maybe you’ve heard of it — has hit a glitch.

Some of these things don’t even have a link to the site selling whatever sleezy product they’re promoting.

Anyway, I recently began using MX Guarddog — a free spam filtering service. All they ask for their constant vigilance is one lousy text link from my site. Heck, I can give them that. Very gladly if their service works.

Go to their site for all the details. You can even test it out for an entire month without giving them that text link.

In my case, setup was pretty easy. I just had to figure out how to switch over my mail servers — MX servers — to MX Guarddog’s. So far, no spam has gotten through, but I’ll see how they do long term.

Some time, I’ll review the excellent history of Spam called Spam Kings. Turns out if you’re unscrupulous you can make a buck selling just about anything.

CBS to Offer Threshold Online

CBS is trying to promote its new show, Threshold. It’s another alien mystery like the super popular Lost on rival ABC. (Lost garnered an impressive 23 million viewers for its season premiere.)

They’re actually offering as a free download , without advertising after the show airs at 9 pm on Friday nights. Threshold follows what happens when the US Navy discovers an alien spacecraft has landed in the Atlantic Ocean. It faces a tough race in the creepy alien mystery genre. (I like crime shows, but now I get my choice of investigator, city, and method of investigation — scientific or psychic. That’s too many crime shows.)

I have watched this show, and contrary to the TV critic at Salon.com, I think it is creepy but weak. Traditional sci-fi horror movies gloss over the fake science in the plot: this show revels in its hokum. One show used the “third generation copy of an MP3” as key forensic evidence. What does that mean? What is the third generation of a perfect digital copy, with no degradation or error at all? Maybe you could say “an imperfect copy of an MP3.” (Others online have been tougher on the science in Threshold.)

But does the accuracy of science hooha matter in a creepy TV show, anyway?

Blog that predicts Supreme Court nominees

According to an MSNBC news program, one blog predicted Judge Alito would be the next nominee for the nation’s highest court.

The blog is scotusblog.com

While that was impressive, the blog, composed mainly by people from the law firm of Goldstein & Howe, also foretold that John Roberts would be nominated. One of them wrote “More likely, I think, is Judge John Roberts of the D.C. Circuit, who was only confirmed to that court last year.” This was written on November 7th, 2004. Justice Roberts was actually nominated on July 19th, 2005.

Another of the bloggers, Marty Lederman, said last Friday — before his latest prediction came true — “permit me to sheepishly add that I, too, predicted a Roberts nomination back in November (in a comment to Tom’s post, which apparently no longer exists online), and again in May.”

This particular blogger then goes on to say that his predictions seldom are correct.

Last Friday, one of the bloggers, Tom Goldstein, picked Alito as the next nominee and one “likely to energize the President’s conservative supporters.” He was right on both counts.

If you want to learn about the U.S. Supreme Court on the internet, this blog would be a good place to start.

Brits Never Heard of Blogging

There’s a new survey out, conducted for Doyle Dane Bernbach in London, that says most Brits have never heard of blogging.

The survey asked taxi drivers, pub landlords and hairdressers — groups seen as followers of the latest trends — to identify common Internet terms. Seventy percent had never heard of blogging. (And a full 90% had never heard of podcasting.)*

How well does the Apple iPod ™ sell in the UK?

The results are seen as indicating that many people are not up with the latest web trends, and therefore pushing advertisers towards using the latest technology may be a mistake.

*Podcasting is downloading audio content — like a radio show — from the net to your portable music player — presumably an iPod ™ (from iPod and broadcasting) A blog is short for web log, an online journal.

College Kid Invents Instant Profit Website

In the why-didn’t-I-think-of this department is Alex Trew’s The Million Dollar Homepage ™. He made a blank webpage that’s divided into small squares like graph paper. All of it is for rent for Internet advertising space. It’s an online billboard.

Each 100-pixel parcel of his advertising landscape can be rented for $100. (I have read that it is “bought,” so the special appeal of the site may be its permanance. (In web time, I believe “permanent” is until the middle of next month.)

I just read the site’s own terms and conditions: he claims the pixel ads will be up a minimum of five years. Hmm, no links to offensive sites, no moving gifs: his whole money-making plan is sounding better and better.

The site ain’t pretty, but since its beginning on August 26th, it gets 50,000 unique visitors per day viewing the sometimes confettti-like banner bits. He claims his only advertising for the site itself has been emailing family and friends.

His ads are selling fast: there are about 190,000 pixels sold already with about 810,000 more to sell. By the way, he really did get a trademark for his Million Dollar name.

Maybe Nottingham University,where he is studying business management, should give him an honorary degree. He certainly seems to know an awful lot about conducting business on the internet already.

New Low for Keyword Ads

In a searching for news about the New Orleans disaster, the key words “New Orleans” produced a travel ad. “New Orleans Superbowl Cheaper Prices.” It takes a computer to do something this tasteless.

Apparently too, the Post Office and odirect mailer firms know not to ship DM offers into the disaster area, but keyword ads aren’t that smart.

Now maybe some human will step in and stop travel ads to the hurricane area?

Apple in Battle with Record Companies

Record companies, which had supported Apple’s iTunes, are turning against the Apple music system, according to The New York Times.

They want Steven Jobs, the founder of Apple, to see it their way and allow the hot new releases to be priced higher.

iTunes has made a name for itself with its 99 cent price for all the music it offers. Now the record companies want say, $1.49 for the latest hits, and less, possibly much less for older tunes.

iTunes is the music that the incredibly popular Apple iPod can play. The record makers say Jobs is making his profits from iPod sales, while selling iTunes songs too cheaply.

Apple has 80% of MP3 player sales — the iPod — and 75% of digital music sales.