House of Cards Moniker.com , the ICANN accredited registrar will hold the first silent auction of premium online gambling domains at the Casino Affiliate Convention in Amsterdam. All attendees at the convention, which takes place the first week of May, will be provided with a password to allow them to bid on the available domains, according to online reports, Those unlucky enough to be unable to attend the Amsterdam extravaganza will be able to bid on Moniker’s website for $99.
There are quite a few notables on the block. Such easy to remember generics as Poker.com, Winner.com, Slots.com, and Jackpots.com will be up for grabs at the online casino marketing event. VegasSportsBook.com will also be available as well for those entrepreneurs who are content with not actually being there; naturally, behavior such as operating an online sportsbook is frowned upon in Sin City itself.
PlayersClubs.com, ePoker.com, BettingOdds.com, Bingo.us, Gambling.org, PokerLessons.com, Wager.co.uk and HorseTracks.com. are some of the other potentially savory sites waiting to be scooped up. We can only assume domain tasting has been going well for Moniker.
Moniker’s founder and CEO Monte Cahn noted, "As individuals continue to participate in online gaming and entertainment, the need for a marketable domain name is now more important that ever. Events such as this silent auction at CAC 2007 are critical events for online gamers who are interested in increasing the scope and reach of their online business."
Monte is something of proselytizer as far the online “real estate” boom goes, but there is plenty of Kool Aide to go around. Never mind that most domains are used purely for email, and that unlike real “real estate,” the number of potential domains is infinite, whereas the number of potential physical addresses available is finite. That only makes a good name that much more valuable, the thinking goes.
Monte does have some statistics on his side. In 2006, the domain industry accounted for $850m in annual revenue, a number that is predicted to reach $2bn by 2010. Large scale domain owners have been rising, though much of that is undoubtedly domain tasting - a controversial practice in which registrars trawl for quality domains by purchasing domains in bulk, and then take advantage of ICANN's five-day grace period to get refunds for whichever ones don't get enough action to merit holding onto.
It is indisputable that the spread of the internet around the globe has been good for the registrar business as a whole. According to Cahn, a record 112 million domain names are now registered, a figure that represents a 30 per cent increase from the previous year, and more than 100 domains sold between 2004 and 2006 for double their previous value.
But it is also indisputable that what is good for the registrar is not necessarily good for the registrant. Those seeking to build an ecommerce site need branding more, not less, than others, due to the cacophony of information that is the world wide web. Would you rather use Ask.com or Google?
Whether or not Poker.com will ever hold a candle to established sites such as PartyPoker.com - not to mention a truly global brand like Harrah’s - remains to be seen. Clearly, someone will make money here, but whether it’s Moniker or the lucky winner only time will tell. ®