Domain Name Values, or… Does Amazon Want to Buy Recordstore.com?

What are the value of domain names these days…? You could always go and look at something like the Domain Name Journal and see the latest “registered” sales (click on the corresponding year to see the list of known sales… 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007). From these numbers you can see that the value for an easy to spell name for the .com TLD, in a “hot” market, still has quite a bit of value :-)! The most prized names are worth well into 7 figures, while a good .com name is worth an easy and “healthy” 6 figures….

Which brings me to the latter part of my title, “Does Amazon Want to But Recordstore.com?” You see, I’ve owned the domain recordstore.com for many years. Originally it was an idea for one thing, which morphed into another. This second idea, taking vintage sound recordings not currently available in a “usable” format (CD, tape, etc.) and transferring it to a digital format for repurposing/reissuing, never got off the ground. Lots of folks, were interested, including a couple of the majors, but….

Anyway, I digress! The market is heating up again in the music space. Apple’s iTunes is the de-facto standard that everyone else must knock from the top of the hill. Michael Robertson of MP3.com fame has a new venture out called AnywhereCD (another called MP3Tunes for that matter), and there is always talk of Amazon entering the music space. The future says that not only are big box retailers selling most of the CD’s these days (recent WSJ article about it), but that they are going to stop carrying them altogether and are going to start selling digitally and via kiosks, offering more product choice, but in less floor space!

With all of this, don’t you think that someone would want to pay good money for such a great domain in the music business…? Even though records don’t technically exist anymore, folks, even young ones, still identify with a “record store” and it’s music sales! So where are you people…? Get in touch with me, I want to sell you Recordstore.com….

But please it has value so don’t be insulting, and I won’t be greedy :-)!

Ticketmaster sues eBay’s StubHub over ticket sales

Reuters, News.com: Ticketmaster is suing eBay Inc. in Los Angeles, accusing the Internet auction company’s subsidiary StubHub of fraudulently obtaining premium tickets to sell online.

OK, I hate to be the one to say it, but “I told you so!”

Anyone I have talked to about the ticketing business since eBay’s acquisition of StubHub, knows I have talked at length about how eventually Ticketmaster is going to start enforcing their contracts and going after the secondary market. I even wrote about it in January when eBay made the purchase.

As you read these articles (and others) about this, you notice that Ticketmaster alleges that StubHub was negotiating directly with the bands and venues for inventory. If that is the case, then there’s gonna be some fireworks. 😉

The reason that I know this is because if Ticketmaster is getting into a fight, they don’t do it unless they can win. Ticketmaster is also most likely doing this on behalf of their clients, maybe even some of the promoters and venues that are allegedly selling StubHub the tickets, under pressure that they aren’t making the money in the mark-up on the secondary market for the tickets…. Ticketmaster often takes the black eye for their clients on such topics as service charges, etc. when the client knows what they are going to be (they are contractual often times) and points the finger at TM.

And there’s the fact that often a band/group/artist doesn’t “own” the seats that they are selling to the ticketing company. It’s complicated, but to dumb it down, in general — a promoter rents a venue and contracts with a band/artist/group to play. The band gets a fee and may get a “percentage of the house”, but that’s a dollar value based on value of the capacity of the building for the show, not actual tickets. They may also have a contract rider that gives them X tickets per show, but the contracts are written in a way, especially those with the promoters and venues, assuring that TM is the sole “computerized ticketing” source/provider. The contracts with the band/artist/group from the promoter often mention that the promoter, or his/her delegate etc., is the sole “seller” of tickets.

So as Ticketmaster roles out their own secondary market (they have auctions where promoters and venues offer up some of the best seats at a premium price) and an exchange system where you can sell your season seats and the buyer can easily re-print them; the secondary secondary market is going to get squeezed.

First Ticketmaster is going to make their lives very hard through legal channels. Then Ticketmaster is going to not only start promoting their secondary market for premium seats, but they are going to promote it as a primary source for secondary seats. By that I mean; since TM is the primary ticket seller for the venue/promoter, not only is there greater inventory to “pull” from, but the quality and validity can be assured.

And with the prices that are being charged for a concert ticket these days, I want to make sure that it’s a great seat and not a counterfeit ticket bought from some guy named “Vinny”…. 🙂

Time Spent with Senator Barbara Boxer

I had the opportunity to go to a luncheon today where Senator Barbara Boxer (D – California) was speaking. The luncheon was held at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and hosted by a great organization called Town Hall Los Angeles (if you are in Los Angeles, you should join! It’s one of the original, and last, speakers organizations left. This year is it’s 70 year anniversary!!!).

Regarding the event and Senator Boxer speaking, well…. I have seen a lot of political speeches in my life. Hell, I’ve seen a lot of speeches in my life :-), and this wasn’t a great one. I went to this event because I thought it might be interesting. Senator Boxer wouldn’t give a speaking topic prior to, so my thinking was that it was just going to be “yet another” speech, or since she wouldn’t “telegraph her punches” by saying what the topic was, it could have been something really interesting. Maybe a new initiative, a new bill; something exciting.

Well, I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t anything interesting. Senator Boxer talked for about a half an hour and then took questions. Her speech was canned and said nothing even remotely interesting. While she is a good speaker, it wasn’t anything special. Even in the Q&A portion of the event (one of the things that Town Hall Los Angeles is somewhat famous for is an open mic after for a quick Q&A… and any question goes and nothing is scripted and there are no “plants” in the audience (I remember a Saudi official (foreign minister if i remember correctly) being grilled about Wahhabi Islamic teachings and terrorism, and no one from Town Hall Los Angeles reacted or asked him to leave etc. (which happens in Congress (e.g. Cindy Sheehan))), she said nothing interesting and danced/spun the answers. You know how professional speakers do it, they answer the question without answering the question. Well, that’s what we got!

Oh, but don’t fret… We also got a lunch for our money :-)! Your standard cold chicken salad plate (a chilled, sliced chicken breast on a plate with a kind of caesar salad). the best part of the luncheon was that when I pulled up the valet asked me (in my new car of course) if I wanted him to leave it up front so it would be easy to leave (I wouldn’t have to wait for my car to be gotten from the garage, etc. and avoid the rush). So of course I said yes, tipped the guy extra and when it came time to leave, it was right there. I got out of the lot before most had even dealt with the parking cashier. First time my car has been the one left in front, and I liked it! The best part of the event for me….