One of the longstanding debates amongst those who are fans of .COM domain names and those who accept the New gTLD domain names is whether or not the public confuses a New gTLD domain name ending with a .COM domain name. So, if you have a domain name like whatever.widgets, those who are fans of .COM domain names say that whatever.widgets will lose traffic to someone mistyping it. The argument is that they’ll type in whatever.widgets.com or whateverwidgets.com (and not type in whatever.widgets). [Read more…]
For the second time in a row, one of my domain names has been denied an SSL certificate because of it’s domain name. But, this second time, the website went down without warning, despite being on CloudFlare.
tldr; I was denied, twice, with two separate domain names, because I have the word “bank” in my domain names.
To provide a little background, I live in a small town of 3503 people (and a lot of cattle) in Texas called Mabank, Texas. It’s right next to Gun Barrel City, Texas, about an hour southeast of Dallas. Back in the late 1990s when I moved here, I tried to get ahold of Mabank.COM, but that’s being used by a bank, the Macon-Atlanta State Bank, in Macon Missouri.
I had to resort to buying (and using) Mabank.Net for one of my servers, and a few years later, I put up a website for my small town called MabankOnline.com, only updating both of those sites once every few years. Also, there are other “official” websites that are town-related websites, such as MabankISD.Net (the town’s school system), and the town’s website is at cityofmabanktx.org, which are not HTTPs.
Denied an SSL Because of the Domain
Back in November 2017, I started having issues with with one particular domain name on the Mabank.net server at HostDime. The issue was a brute force attack on one of the WordPress sites hosted on it. Support at HostDime ran a cPanel update to try and obtain a new SSL for the hostname, which uses a name server at Mabank.net.
That’s when HostDime ran into an issue:
“Due to your hostname having the word ‘bank’ in the name the validation process is going to take longer than usual. This is to prevent scammers from purchasing SSLs for a bank website which is not legitimate. We will check back again on Monday to see if the SSL was issued and if it has not then we will get in contact with cPanel and Comodo to issue the SSL.”
Then, after the SSL issue was (luckily) resolved by the support staff at HostDime, the issue with the SSL was resolved. The response from support was:
"It is unfortunate since you having nothing related to banking. Luckily, your old server already had a valid SSL issued and we were able to migrate that over to your new server without any issues."
Well, unfortunately my issues with domain names and SSL continued.
Since Google has been really trying to force all website owners to move their websites over to HTTPs (SSL), this year I decided to move a lot of the websites that I own over to HTTPs. Since I have a lot of small-ish websites that don’t get a lot of traffic, it doesn’t make sense for me to purchase SSLs for each and every site that I own. Since Cloudflare offers free SSL certificates if you use their service, it was logical for me to use Cloudflare. I use their paid service for this blog, so adding all of my other sites to Cloudflare to use their free SSL option was easy.
Back several months ago, I moved one of my small local websites (that has been up and running for over 10 years), MabankOnline.com, over to Cloudflare. I made all the necessary internal changes on the WordPress site to move it to HTTPs. For months it did fine–even kept search engine rankings that it has had for 10 years. Then, just recently, I noticed that the website was, all of a sudden, unreachable.
I logged into Cloudflare to check the status–and it apparently was up and running. I paused the site in Cloudflare, expecting it to come back on, even checked the server it was on. Nothing. I went ahead and put in a ticket at Cloudflare, trying to find out what was going on. I got a response, fairly quickly:
It looks like we have had issues renewing your certificate due to concerns over potential phishing activity based on the name of your domain. We are working with our certificate authority to resolve the issue, and I will update you as soon as I can.
In the mean time, you can pause Cloudflare to restore service.
I apologize for the inconvenience.
So, basically, Cloudflare had an issue renewing the SSL certificate for my domain name, MabankOnline.com, because it had “bank” in the domain name. And the only way that Cloudflare recommended dealing with the issue was to pause Cloudflare to restore the domain name so it would resolve:
So, what’s what I did. I needed the website to resolve and not be down–so I paused it and it now resolves. But that didn’t take care of the issue of the SSL certificate being denied.
A few hours later, as I finish up writing this post, I received an email response from support at Cloudflare:
Your SSL certificate should be reissued and you should no longer be seeing these errors. We are investigating the root cause of this issue so we can ensure this does not happen again.
Well, it does look like the website, MabankOnline.com is back up and running. But honestly, I don’t think the issue needs to be investigated by Cloudflare. They will find the root cause of the issue, which is the fact that I have “bank” in my domain name. And, there’s another BANK besides Mabank, Texas. Apparently having ‘bank’ in your domain name will get your SSL certificate denied. You usually (in my case) can get it reinstated upon appeal, but I’m kind of leery about getting another SSL certificate for some of my other “mabank” domain names.
This is exactly why I am really behind the use of the New TLD “.BANK”. This is a closed TLD (Top Level Domain), where only an approved financial institution can get a .BANK domain name. If the banks in the United States moved to a .BANK domain name, we’d all know that it’s actually a bank or financial institution if they’re using a .BANK domain name. Just like we can trust a .GOV and a .EDU domain name.
Is there anything I can do to ensure my “Mabank” domain names and websites aren’t denied an SSL certificate? This appears to be an issue that’s related to the name of the town I live in, and the domain names I’m registering and using (putting up websites related to my town).
GoDaddy has signed an agreement for the sale of its PlusServer business to funds advised by BC Partners for $456 million (€397 million). As part of the transaction, PlusServer will assume liabilities of €23 million and retain existing cash on the balance sheet of €12 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of August pending regulatory approval. [Read more…]
The New gTLD domain names have been available for a few years now. As you may know by know, I have done new gTLD research in the past because I’m generally interested in the New gTLDs from a marketing perspective. I’m not as interested in them from a domain investor perspective. Thanks to NTLD Stats, we can see how many domain names have been registered for each New TLD. That’s helpful, from many standpoints. We know which TLDs are selling. [Read more…]
Domain registries Donuts and Rightside are combining, with Donuts, Inc. acquiring Rightside Group for a purchase price of $213m. Rightside will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Donuts, which is a privately-held company. Rightside’s common shares will no longer be listed on any public market. [Read more…]
The .XYZ Registry has launched 1.111B Class, a new ongoing promotion for certain .XYZ domain names. Every domain name that’s a 6-digit, 7-digit, 8-digit, and 9-digit numeric .xyz domain will be $.99 cents to register, renew, and transfer. And that’s just not for the first year–it’s forever. That 1.111 billion domain names, thus this promotion is called “1.111B Class”. [Read more…]
Back in 2011, I reported that Microsoft bought a series of 49 domain names on one day–but what was most interesting to me was that they bought 8 SEO domain names, primarily Bing SEO domain names. These were mainly to protect their brand, I suspect. Here’s a list of the SEO-related domain names that they bought that day: [Read more…]
Have you bought a domain name, without doing the proper domain name due diligence, and put a developed it–to then find out that it’s banned in Google or has a search engine penalty? Well, according to a recent post a Search Engine Roundtable, there are people discussing this very issue. [Read more…]
I’ve written several times about various domain name email spam (scams) out there. There is one in particular, now, that seems to be very persistent with their sending of emails. The Subject of the email that you receive is usually “DomainName.com Notification” where “DomainName.com” is the name of a domain name that you own. The scam is the essentially the same–they’re trying to get you to worry that you have not paid for “search engine optimization submission expiration of your domain”. [Read more…]
In this mobile-first world that we’re in, emojis like 😉 and 🙂 are becoming increasingly popular. Google’s search results do, in fact, support emoji characters. Especially in domain names. And, since we’re all using our mobile phones now, and have emoji keyboards built into our phones, it only make sense to consider an emoji domain. [Read more…]
Are you in marketing, like I am? Do you have a marketing-related blog and want the ultimate marketing blog web address? Well, here is your chance. The dot blog domain name extension, .BLOG, is launching on November 21, 2016. If you want to purchase (pre-register) www.marketing.blog for your marketing blog, then you can do so for a mere $139,999.99 over at GoDaddy: [Read more…]
It’s been a long time coming. Dot Brand, the part of the New TLD domain name endings, are now officially here, I’d like to declare. While we have already had several Dot Brands use their branded TLDs for websites and microsites, it’s now that Google has launched their Keyword blog that I can say that Dot Brand is officially launched. [Read more…]
One of the main arguments that I keep being presented with by those who don’t like the New gTLD domain endings is this: New gTLD domain name owners lose traffic to .COM domain names. For example, if I own www.billhartzer.horse, then I will lose traffic to someone mistyping my domain name, and adding .COM to the end like this: billhartzer.horse.com. Many who are not fans of the New gTLD domain extensions (endings) claim that you should NOT buy a New gTLD domain name because you’ll lose traffic to .COM. [Read more…]
A few years ago, back in 2014, I set out on a personal quest to try to answer a question that I had: Will using a keyword rich New gTLD domain name for your website help online marketing efforts? I have to say that so far (as far as I know), I’m the only one out there who have used real world data in an attempt to answer this question. While there certainly have been skeptics and those who question the results, I knew going into this that there would people who will try to poke holes in everything I did. [Read more…]
Backordering a domain name is going to start costing more money starting soon. Both Snapnames and Namejet have announced that the price of backordering a domain name is going to increase from the base of $69 to $79. While you won’t pay the backorder fee unless the drop catching service catches the domain name for you, the price is going up.
Namejet.com sent an email today explaining their price increase: [Read more…]
One of the issues that seems to be plaguing the New gTLD domain name extensions is public acceptance. It’s a hurdle that those selling these new domain name extensions have to overcome. As the public gets more familiar with the fact that there are domain name endings other than .COM, .NET, and .ORG, I’m certain that more of the New gTLD domains names will be sold. Most websites are adopting to the fact that there are new domain name extensions out there, such as .email, and even .ninja (I own www.Bill.Ninja), and most online forms are beginning to accept email address that’s not a .COM email address. What I found hilarious, though, was the fact that some spammers don’t even understand the New gTLDs. [Read more…]
Facebook has acquired the domain name AccountKit.com and they have also just recently registered a lot of typo domain names related to AccountKit.com. Usually when a company registers a lot of typos for a domain name, they plan on using that domain name publicly–and expect that people might mistype the domain name. [Read more…]
Based on domain name registrations by Microsoft in the past few days, Microsoft appears to be working on a project called “Microsoft Madeira”. It could also be called “Project Madeira”. I haven’t seen anything related to this yet based on a Google search: [Read more…]
Google is using promoted Tweets on Twitter to promote the use of new gTLD domain names. This is the first time that I’ve seen a promoted Tweet from Google Domains that is specifically that “hundreds of new domains are available”. [Read more…]
Brands that have purchased their own .BRAND TLD (Top Level Domain) shouldn’t worry about moving their websites. I recently asked Gary Illyes, the Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, about the effect on search when you move your website from a .COM domain name to a domain on your own .BRAND TLD. [Read more…]
Again, on January 9th, Apple register another 682 (six hundred and eighty two!) nonsense domain names. I’ve been following these nonsense domain name purchases since they started purchasing them a while back. Here are a few of the domains on the latest purchase: [Read more…]
I’ve written about this before. And it’s been a while since Apple has registered a set of nonsense domain names. On December 31, 2015, they did it again, they registered 62 new domain names that consist of just nonsense characters. From what I can tell, they don’t really mean anything. Here are a few of the domains that they recently registered: [Read more…]
It’s that time of year. Holiday shopping, spending time with family and friends, and looking back at the past year. It’s been a fabulous year, and I thought that I’d mention a great deal that we are having over at Verified Domains. Between now and the end of 2015, you can take 50% off any Verified Domains service. [Read more…]
I was just interviewed by Borja for the Money Diver podcast about domain names and choosing the right domain name. As a part of this podcast, Borja and I put together a domain name related contest. [Read more…]
As you may be aware, I am a big fan of the new gTLD domain name extensions, there are hundreds of them already in General Availability. So, I was hunting around today, using the technique below, to find available domain names and names that I wish to pre-register.
I found that the first owner of Bill.Ninja failed to renew the domain name, so I was able to pick it up at a minimal cost. I consider that a huge win for me, as it’s a great, short, domain name. I even set up a short email address on it, as well. [Read more…]
This week, I’ve launched our new service called Verified Domains. Verified Domains is the first-ever service on the internet that provides comprehensive background checks for domain names. I have personally been working on this patent-pending process since the beginning of this year. Before you buy a domain name and start using it for your website, I urge you to get your domain verified. Not only will we uncover any potential problems with the domain name before you use it, we guarantee it, up to $50,000. [Read more…]
As you may already know, I am an advocate of the New gTLD domain names. Whenever possible, I recommend moving away from a .COM domain name to a New gTLD domain name if that new domain you’re moving to is “better”. Meaning that if you can get a keyword-rich domain (with the keyword in the ending), that ultimately will be the better choice for your site. The New gTLD domains, however, have been slowly been adopted, and what it’s going to take is for more and more mainstream businesses to start moving to a New gTLD. That way the public will be much more accepting of the New gTLDs. [Read more…]
On Thursday, April 16, 2015, Google announced that they are beginning to remove the domain name from the mobile search results. Rather than displaying a URL in the search results or a domain name, Google has begun to display a website name or a website name and a breadcrumb of the website’s page. Domain names generally have been removed from the mobile search results. This move by Google is wrong, and ultimately increases internet user vulnerability to potential fraud and deception. Furthermore, it undermines the whole entire Domain Name System as we know it. [Read more…]
ZDNet bought a new domain name from the domain name aftermarket (a domain name auction), and almost immediately got their trusted, authoritative, 2 year old website banned in Google. ZDNet wrote a scathing article on their site, blaming Google for the error, claiming that Google got it all wrong. But, that’s not the case. Google absolutely got it right, and was correct in banning the site in Google. Here’s how ZDNet bought a domain name, redirected their trusted, authoritative site to this new domain name, and then got their website banned in Google. [Read more…]
Laureate Education, Inc. is suing Domain Name Proxy Service, Inc. for alleged trademark infringement. Case number 2:15-cv-00879, a suit was filed on March 20th in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The Domain Name Proxy Service, Inc. address is in Louisiana, therefore Laureate Education decided that it was appropriate to file there. While the lawsuit alleges that OnlineUAEUniversities.com is infringing on trademarks owned by Laureate Education (namely the Walden University and University of Liverpool trademarks), Laureate Education has filed suit against Domain Name Proxy Service because they couldn’t contact the real owner of OnlineUAEUniversities.com. [Read more…]
Apple Pay image courtesy of App Advice.
Based on several domain names that have been registered by Apple in the past 24 hours, it appears that Apple could soon offer Apple Pay supplies to merchants. Apple registered domain names like applepaysupply.com and applepaymerchantsupplies.com, along with a host of other similar domain names: [Read more…]
From January 11 to January 15, 2015, the NamesCon 2015 domain name conference is being held in Las Vegas. I’m personally speaking in two separate sessions, and will be attending the conference all week. As with a lot of conferences that I’m attending and speaking at, I go through the list of speakers and hand pick a list of them that I think you should definitely not miss.
ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers organization that oversees internet domain names, has been hacked. In late November 2014 they were targeted with a spear phishing attack, and then this month they discovered that the compromised credentials were used to access other ICANN systems besides email. This included the Centralized Zone Data System. [Read more…]
Ever since I originally noticed that Apple was registering nonsense domain names, I have been intrigued about why they would be registering and then not renewing nonsense domain names. And it’s not just one or two domain names, or a dozen of them.
This time, Afilias Special Projects has registered 1862 new domain names in the past 24 hours, which is a significant amount of domain names. Registration fees alone for 1800 .info domain names would be at least $15,000. These new domain names, are all .info domain names, and are pointed to the Apple.com name servers, just like the other nonsense domain names I’ve been following. [Read more…]
7Search, a leading Pay Per Click Search Engine Advertising and Affiliate Network, along with a few other search and domain parking companies, have been accused of traffic stealing in eye-opening research paper titled Understanding the Dark Side of Domain Parking.
The paper, presented at the 23rd USENIX Security Symposium, was researched and written by Sumayah Alrwais, Indiana University Bloomington and King Saud University; Kan Yuan, Indiana University Bloomington; Eihal Alowaisheq, Indiana University Bloomington and King Saud University; Zhou Li, Indiana University Bloomington and RSA Laboratories; XiaoFeng Wang, Indiana University Bloomington. [Read more…]
It appears that Facebook acquired Messenger.com recently. Checking the name servers and the whois data for Messenger.com, there was a recent change to the name servers: from lovellsnames.org to facebook.com, and the registrant is now Facebook. [Read more…]
For a few months now, I have had the opportunity to have access to the Google Domains program, where you can buy (and transfer in) domain names. Google has been a domain name registrar for many, many years now, but has only recently opened up their registrar services to the public. Like many Google products, they first go through an “invite only” process. I thought that I’d tell you about my experience with Google Domains so far, and how it’s been going. [Read more…]
A New gTLD Domain Name forum has recently launched. The site, called gTLD.Link, is your everything link to the gTLDs. I’ve recently joined the forum, and so far have made several helpful connections through the site.
As you may know by now if you haven’t been following my blog, I’m a big fan of the new gTLD domain names, and especially the keyword-rich opportunities they provide. For example, I personally think that a domain name like “3Carat.Diamonds” is much “better” than “3CaratDiamonds.com”. The first one is much shorter, easier to remember, and the keywords are split up by the dot in the name. [Read more…]
There appears to be a bug in how GoDaddy is displaying the prices of some New gTLD domain names. At one point, depending on how you search for the domain name, the price will display as one price: but if you search for a .com domain name, then GoDaddy’s site is showing a different price for the same domain name. Here’s an example of this.
Would you be interested in buying DeadMau5.co and Mau5Trap.co ? I can provide proof of ownership. @deadmau5
— ToodyNoodlez (@McQuakenbake)
There are several reasons that I can come up with right off the top of my head why you shouldn’t try to sell a celebrity a domain name on Twitter. Especially if that domain name is their brand or their name. And especially if you’re a cyber squatter, looking to profit by selling the domain name. If you didn’t know, cybersquatting is illegal in the United States. And you could end up having to pay $1,000 to $100,000 per domain name as a penalty. if you’re found guilty of cybersquatting.
Chad McFatridge, who goes by the Twitter handle @McQuakenbake, posted on Twitter that he owns the domain names deadmau5.co and mau5trap.co. He sent a tweet to the famous celebrity @deadmau5: [Read more…]
New gTLD market share courtesy ntldstats.com
As you may be aware, if you read my blog regularly, you probably know by now that I’ve been a fan of the new gTLD domain names, especially keyword rich ones, since they were first introduced. It seems as though you either really love the new gTLD domain names and see the opportunities they provide, or you don’t like them. I’ve run across quite a few people who just don’t like the new gTLD domain names. Some say that their value is limited, and others have event told me that they will fail. [Read more…]
A while back, I wrote about Apple’s mysterious non-sensical domain names that were hosted on Amazon’s Cloud servers. That post was picked up by Gizmodo. Well, I noticed today, a day before the big Apple event, that may or may not include news about the new Apple iPhone 6, iOS 8, Apple NFC, and the Apple iWatch, those non-sensical domain names are saying this:
Why they’ve been switched from being a simple server default landing page to one that actually includes content (Hello being the content), is kind of interesting. Those sites are still up and running, and I bet they have something to do with Apple’s announcements on September 9th. [Read more…]
Microsoft is getting ready to launch a new site or service called Sway. Right now there’s no word from Microsoft officially about what this new product, service, or website will be. But based on the number of domain names that have been purchased recently by Microsoft and their private acquisition of the Sway.com domain name leads me to believe that Sway is launching soon.
Jamie Zoch, from Dot Weekly reports that Microsoft “used the domain buying service Brand Certified and has acquired the domain name Sway.com. No purchase price has been disclosed but it was likely six figures for the domain. The domain purchase likely took place on or about March 3, 2014 and has been hid behind the Brand Certified name since acquiring the domain name on behalf of Microsoft.” [Read more…]