As late as six months ago, the general domain community was neutral to negative about the prospects of .tv. This morning, there was a long and positive cover story in the Domain Name Journal, the major publication covering domains about Richard Rosenblatt and his plans for the .tv extension.
The full article is here, but I have excerpted the background about Richard Rosenblatt and their plans for .tv.
Despite being founded less than a year ago (in May 2006), Demand Media has already become one of true giants in the domain industry. The mastermind behind the companyâ€™s meteoric rise is a 37-year-old serial entrepreneur from Southern California named Richard Rosenblatt. Rosenblatt is best-known as the guy who transformed Intermix Media and their marquee website, MySpace.com, from a money-losing albatross into a half-billion dollar racehorse. Less than 18 months after he became CEO at Intermix, Rosenblatt had sopped up the sea of red ink and engineered a $580 million sale of the company to Rupert Murdochâ€™s News Corp.
While that was Rosenblattâ€™s biggest success, it was far from his only triumph â€“ in fact it wasnâ€™t even his first half billion dollar sale! In 1999, Rosenblatt sold a company he had founded himself, iMall, to ExciteAtHome for $565 million! That same year he became the founding investor and Vice Chairman of GreatDomains, a domain aftermarket sales company that he then quickly ramped up and helped sell to Verisign for $100 million in 2000.
At the moment, Rosenblattâ€™s eyes are squarely focused on transforming .TV into a major extension that surfers will recognize as the place to find video content. Technically, .TV is the country code for the small pacific island nation of Tuvalu, but in 2000 that country licensed operation of the extension to Verisign.
Verisign had some modest success with the TLD but decided a few months ago to turn management of .TV over to Demand Media. â€œVerisign is an important partner and we are thrilled to be working with them on .TV. It has been a collaborative process and we are working together to really build out the best possible offering that will drive .TV adoption,â€ Rosenblatt said. "We plan to make .TV ubiquitous. We are going to spend a lot of money to make .TV the domain you must have!"
Demand Media will officially relaunch the extension May 1 at the prestigious AlwaysOn Hollywood show for digital media and entertainment executives in Hollywood, California. Rosenblatt and NBC-TV personality Carson Daly, who signed on as .TVâ€™s spokesman, are both scheduled to sit on the keynote panel for the event at the Roosevelt Hotel.
The show should give .TV a tremendous amount of exposure as organizers says it will attract 700 technology, entertainment and media CEOs, studio heads, business development officers, media buyers, venture capital and private-equity investors. Leading members of the press and blogging community will also attend and over 20,000 webcast viewers from over 100 countries are expected to tune in and interact with the program.
Rosenblatt will take the opportunity to introduce a much anticipated suite of proprietary free tools that the company says will allow anyone to build a video channel with social networking features on their .TV names registered through eNom.TV or any eNom reseller site.
.TV fans are also anxiously awaiting the reinstatement of premium .TV domain registrations (high quality generic or geo names offered at variable prices to be determined by the registry). Demand Media put the premium names on hold when they took over management of the extension. Since then if you have tried to register a domain on their premium list you have had to fill out a form that promises you will be contacted when the domain is made available (you can still register any domains not on the reserved list).
Though premium registration has ostensibly been closed, sharp observers from the .TV Forum at NamePros.com say they have seen some top tier names turned over to new owners in recent weeks. Demand Media spokesperson Quinn Daly could only tell us â€œWe are continuing to respond to inbound requests and evaluate sales on a limited basis, but are finalizing our strategy to make premium names available in a more automated fashion through our platform.â€
Though the distribution mechanism for premium names remains unsettled, Rosenblatt is convinced the path to .TV success is on solid ground. â€œThere are a couple of fundamental shifts in the market place that we see coming. First, media has become more personal and community focused, so users want to build their own space and control their own social network. Second, video has exploded online with millions of users creating, viewing and sharing video content. " "Here in L.A., there was a fire recently that was burning very close to the Hollywood sign. Within an hour from when the fire broke out, there were thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube. Thousands!,â€ Rosenblatt marveled.
â€œThis is the time for .TV. We believe that the market is ready, that users will immediately understand the benefit and meaning of a .TV site. Market adoption will be driven by great examples of .TV sites and by providing very simple and easy tools to empower the user to build their own channel. See the pervasive theme here?,â€ Rosenblatt asked. â€œAgain, it comes down to giving users the ability to build their own store, or profile, or channel that they want. The great thing is that the users and technology keep evolving so we can give them much more than an iMALL store.â€
Demand Media started beating the promotional drums as soon as they took over management of .TV. There is an informational site at ChannelMe.tv and Carson Daly, who has a popular late night national TV talk show in the U.S., has been providing a celebrity push at Carson Daly.tv.
While .TV is front and center at Demand at the moment, they have their eyes on other pillars of a domain empire. â€œOur overall company strategy is to build and grow enthusiastic vertical sites by empowering the user. We are doing this in multiple ways, but they all involve combining professional content relevant to that vertical. We then snap in our social networking tools, our user publishing and multiple forms of monetization,â€ Rosenblatt said. He also told us the company intends to continue making new acquisitions that fit their strategy.