Business incubator provides startup with capital, advice, office space – and the right domain name


AlphaLab, a startup incubator that is one of the nation’s most active seed-stage investors officially accepted Devotee into its startup program back in June 2010.  Here’s how Devotee works: You earn rewards by sharing things about your visits to restaurants with your friends online through Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. 

For example, you’re out with your friends or family, you open the Devotee application on your iPhone or Android phone, then check into the restaurant through Devotee and tweet about it – and for your customer loyalty, earn rewards.


Over the last several months since entering the startup incubator program, Devotee employees have been blogging about developing their mobile application, new ideas, working with a seed fund, and their day-to-day experiences. 

Originally, the group was using as their web address.  But it looks like AlphaLab has done a good job of providing the startup with resources and tips on building their brand, including getting the right domain name for their business:

Sedo reported this week that the domain name sold for $6,950 through its GreatDomains marketplace, and the startup is the new owner. 

Learning about a startup

As I mentioned earlier, Devotee has been blogging about their experiences since joining AlphaLab, and the read is interesting and helpful at times.  The company talks about the five most important startup tips they learned while attending a presentation given by Sean Ammirati, the current COO of ReadWriteWeb.  They also share screenshots of their mobile interface, other startups they share space with, and of course brand building.

One of the first changes for the startup was the addition of a mascot named Devo, for a little added branding as they say.


So why a dog?  Matthew French of Devotee writes:

Well being that we are building a fun and simple mobile software centered around loyalty, we wanted our brand to be just as fun and simple.  The core of the Devotee software is to promote brand loyalty at restaurants and small businesses through the loyal customers.  Customers will be spreading word of mouth experiences with their friends and getting rewarded for doing such, all while remaining loyal to the business.  This loyalty bond between a business owner and customer much resembles that strong bond between “mans best friend” and a dog owner. We wanted a branding solution that allowed users to immediately think loyalty when they saw our brand, so a dog kind of just made sense! 

If you have a startup and are wondering where to get started, check out AlphaLab online.  The early-stage business incubaor provides a $25,000 investment, expert advisors and mentors, educational sessions and office space as part of an intensive program in Pittsburgh.


For $70,000, buyer picks up at GreatDomains for “Web Hosting Reviews” site

web hosting

Sedo is reporting that the domain name has sold for $70,000 USD, from its premium domain auction website GreatDomains.

The domain is now host to a Web Hosting Reviews web site that was created to help people find independent, credible web hosting reviews and comments, so they could pick the right hosting company.

The new owner of the web site explains why visitors should use on the home page: “There are all sorts of hosting reviews websites that talk about or collect web hosting reviews, sites posting all kinds of ratings, or top 10 web hosting companies lists. If you spend a bit of time comparing those lists, you’ll see that most recommend a part of the same group of companies.  You might think: “That’s normal. It means those are really the best!”. Unfortunately, no. The reason that the same companies always make it to the “top” is that those companies, one way or another, pay to be listed there.”

There’s not that long road ahead for 

Though and are both established web sites and rank ahead of in Google search, is on page 1 for the phrase “web hosting reviews” – and visitor traffic isn’t far behind its closest competitors.


According to, was a web hosting review web site as far back as the early 2000s.

How popular are web hosting domains?

To give you a clue, sold in 2008 on Sedo for $392.  Two years later, the domain sold again for $7,800.


NHN Corporation Korea’s premier Internet company, new owners of

facebook like

NHN Corporation, Korea’s premier Internet company which operates some of the largest portals are the new owners of which sold during the Premium .ME auction held in November at Sedo’s GreatDomains.  The sale price: $26,500 USD. 

According to the company’s website, NHN operates Korea’s top search portal, Naver ( the leading online game portal, Hangame ( the nation’s largest children’s portal, Jr. Naver (, Korea’s the first online donation portal, Happybean ( and microblog service Me2DAY (

NHN Corporation and .ME

The company has invested extensively in .ME domains.

NHN which already owned, also acquired several other Premium .ME domains during the auction including for ($13,100), ($7,600), ($6,700), ($10,000), ($15,600) and ($8,200). might be the company’s best buy, given that Facebook has made “Like me” a well-recognized phrase throughout the world.  How the company plans to use the name has not been revealed, but given the popularity of the phrase, the company has a lot of options.

In case you haven’t seen how Facebook has grown, here’s a look at the latest statistics from Facebook.

People on Facebook
  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
Activity on Facebook
  • There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages)
  • Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events
  • Average user creates 90 pieces of content each month
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.
Global Reach
  • More than 70 translations available on the site
  • About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
  • Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application
  • More than 2.5 million developers and partners from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform
  • People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
  • Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
  • Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day
  • More than two million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites
  • There are more than 200 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
  • People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
  • There are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products
News Trademarks

Powered by the popularity of Citizen Journalism, sells at Sedo’s GreatDomains for $40,000


It can’t be confirmed until the name transfers to the new registrant, but I’m guessing YouNewsTV a site that lets people share videos, photos and stories has purchased the domain name from Sedo’s GreatDomains.  The name is currently in Sedo’s Transfer Service.

GreatDomains reported the sale of the domain name for $40,000 USD earlier today on its web site.

Broadcast Interactive Media, which owns and operates YouNewsTV, also owns the trademark on “YouNews” for the purpose of: providing customized on-line web pages that allow users to post and view messages, photographs, videos and audio recordings, and that allow users to post and view user profiles and information and to communicate with other users; and creating and maintaining customized web pages for radio and television stations.

YouNewsTV was initially launched in June 2007 in 25 different markets in conjunction with TV station partners.  The site experienced spikes in traffic shortly after its launch when citizen journalists submitted videos of tornados and photos of thunderclouds during severe weather that hit Iowa in July.

Based on a rough traffic estimate provided by Compete, receives well over 100,00 unique visitors per month, and in Dec. 2009 recorded over 250,000 visitors.

Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism (news reported by everyday people, not professional journalists) has become extremely popular with the rise of social media services and tools like blogs, Twitter, and YouTube.  YouTube itself, has helped domain investors cash in on domain names with the word “You” or “Tube” in the name. 

According to Alexa,  YouTube is the #3 most visited site in the world.   Adult sites have fared very well since YouTube’s rise.  YouPorn, is #74 out of the Top 500 sites in the world.  Of the Top 200 – RedTube is #119, FilesTube is #121, YouJizz is #146. 

“News” Domain Sales

One of the most notable sales of a domain name used for the purpose of citizen journalism, was the sale of to CNN by Rick Schwartz for $750,000.  Rick Schwartz who sold for $3MM+Equity, originally bought the name for “$70 to $100.”   In mid-2010, CNN decided to redirect the URL to

CNET News runs on the domain name  According to Wikipedia:

CNET owns many domain names, including,,,,,,,,,,, and  In 1998, CNET was sued by Snap Technologies for its use of the domain

According to the Sales History database over at DomainTools, there have been a number of “news” domain sales in 2010. sold in Oct. for $8,299., the biggest reported “news” sale of 2010, sold for $150,000 in late September.  The site is a directory of news organizations from around the world.

Other noteworthy sales in 2010 include: for $5,000 which redirects to, and for $10,000.  For a full listing of “news” sales, refer to


Premium auction at Sedo’s GreatDomains exceeds half a million dollars with 4 days left

hundred dollar bills

With 4 days left of bidding, the latest GreatDomains auction has drawn in over $500,000 in from buyers.

There are more than 200 domain names up for sale, including several two-letter domain names that hit the auction block.

The two-letter domain name has already topped $80,000 in bidding, while has reached $60,000. 

Both names could sell for a lot more. sold for $125,000 earlier this year in a private transaction, followed by the sale of in August for $100,930.

Additional highlights of the GreatDomains auction, include and bidding at $25,000 each, while the two-number domain name has a current high bid of $54,000.

At this rate, the auction which doesn’t end until December 9, could bring in one of the largest auction totals for GreatDomains in 2010. 

Over 100 of the domain names already have bids.