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January 2009

The State of the Industry January 2009: 15 Leading Experts ... Predict What Will Happen in 2009
To make sense of what happened in 2008 and where we are headed in 2009 we called on 15 of the most successful people in the domain industry for our 5th annual State of the Industry report. Our panel of experts includes key company founders, CEOs, developers, investors and attorneys. The all-star roster includes (alphabetically by last name): Monte Cahn, the Castello Brothers (Michael and David), Phil Corwin, Michael Gilmour, Ari Goldberger, Rob Grant, Dr. Kevin Ham, Dr. Chris Hartnett, Michael Mann, Andrew Miller, Howard Neu, Rick Schwartz, Tim Schumacher and Divyank Turakhia. With so many top minds gathered in one place this is a report you can't afford to miss!

Rob Grant (

Rob Grant, a Lake Placid, New York based real estate broker owns the world's best collection of real estate related domain names. The former Madison Avenue advertising executive, who is also an active domain developer, told us "When we look back at 2008 and try to fathom the historic events that unfolded, I think history will show that we reached a major turning point for the U.S and the world. In 2008 the American financial system, and, ultimately, the global financial system experienced a near fatal meltdown. The collateral damage this caused was so deep that it will take several years for our economy to recover. Entire industries were eliminated, seemingly overnight, highlighted by spectacular failures like Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and the collapse of the entire Investment Banking sector. In many respects what we witnessed in 2008 was the equivalent of a deadly financial comet striking at the center of the worlds financial markets and flattening Wall Street. In the aftermath, we lost a lot of big dinosaurs."

"In the new economy that emerges from these ashes, the question now, is who is left standing... And how will this impact the domain industry? If you're a dinosaur, your days are numbered. That much is certain. Old legacy industries like the newspaper business have seen the collapse of major publishing empires like the Tribune Company as advertising revenues disappear and migrate full force to the web. Even venerable institutions like the 100 year old New York Times appear to be teetering on the brink. But what's bad news for dinosaurs is very good news for domains. As the dust settles on 2008, many old industries will be replaced by new efficient business models. Domain names will move to center stage and play an increasingly important role in this new economy," Grant said.

"In effect, domain names will become the new brands of the 21st century. As online ad spending continues to grow at the expense of traditional media, businesses from Fortune 500 companies to small main street vendors will finally understand the strategic importance of owning a descriptive domain name. This, in turn, will transform the value of domains in a very significant way. Domain names will shift from being historically passive inert investments (earning marginal ppc revenue) to fully functional retail platforms and end user web sites. Development will take center stage."

"Parking companies will have to adapt and reinvent themselves. Those companies that do survive will have to develop new ways to mine the value of domains including the formation of strategic 'development partnerships' with portfolio owners. These same companies will also have to forge direct relationships with major advertisers and agencies in order to circumvent the monopolistic control that Google and Yahoo currently exert over the domain channel. This will create chaos in the domain space and lead to disruptive, exciting new business models which will benefit both advertisers and domain companies," Grant said.

"All of these changes will ultimately serve to unlock the pent up and explosive value of domains. These new brands of the 21st century will emerge in full force in 2009 & 2010. Powerful generic domain names will look and feel like true media properties. As we enter the new year, the domain industry will continue to grapple with many of the same issues it has been faced with in the past (including the threat of CADNA and over reaching trademark laws). However, despite these issues, we are remarkably fortunate to be at the forefront of a new and emerging industry. For every old world dinosaur that disappears in this new economy, a powerful new domain stands ready to take its place," Grant concluded.


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