5 With... Jay Westerdal, CEO, .Movie | DomainInvesting.com
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5 With… Jay Westerdal, CEO, .Movie

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Many months ago, I interviewed DomainTools founder Jay Westerdal in one of the first “5 With…” interviews I did. Since then, Jay sold his company to Thought Convergence, which has moved right to the top as one of the domain industry’s leading companies. Their services run the gamut – parking (Trafficz), conference (Domain Roundtable), domain auctions (Aftermarket.com), tools (DomainTools), and many other products and services.

Jay is also involved in another project as CEO of the .movie registry, which hopes to secure the .movie gTLD. The general premise is that every year, hundreds of movies are released via different channels, and many struggle to match the .com domain name with the title of their movie. The .movie extension would allow production companies to choose the name of their movie in the .movie extension. An example of this would be that Paramount Pictures could register StateOfPlay.movie instead of the dumb domain name they chose, StateOfPlayMovie.net.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I interviewed Antony Van Couvering, founder of Minds + Machines, a gTLD consulting company, and CEO of .NYC. If you have any interest in gTLD domain names, that’s another interview you might want to read.

EJS:1) Who is involved in .Movie and are there any movie studios involved as partners or passive players?

JW: We have talked with a number of studios so far and they like our vision. There are six major studios which we have a good working relationship with at this point and expect that to grow. We have raised or got commitments for just over $5 Million dollars from Investors and we might be interested in raising more. I am not going to mention the investors by name but most people reading your blog would recognize their names. Our vision is very clear. We want to create a namespace where movie goers trust that they can direct navigate to a movie just by knowing the name of it. BacktoTheFuture.movie would work in this situation along with every other example of a movie name. We are going after two TLDs .Movie and .Film and with one registration the registrant would get both domains.

EJS: 2) Will the .Movie registry have a directory of .Movie sites classified by genre, release date…etc?

JW: No, we are a pure registry with no special tools. We will leave organizing the world’s data up to smart people like Google, Yahoo, MSN, or the like. We want to be just a TLD for movies. Every movie should have a type-in domain at our registry with no speculators allowed.

EJS: 3) Will the .Movie registry offer special development tools for website owners?

Nope, we offer nameservers for the TLD and the things you would expect from normal TLDs like .COM or .INFO. Just the basic DNS stuff along with a ultra strong UDRP which favors studios.

EJS: 4) How will .Movie compete with Movie.com/Movies.com?

JW: We are not competing with Movies.com, we are a TLD for movies. Every domain in our TLD will be owned by the movie owner. We are not operating a website, we are enabling direct nav websites for movie studios. I think the vision for this started because I was a domainer with a lot of ICANN experience, I got frustrated looking at trailers for new movies coming out and seeing that they had horrible domain names. So I decided I would help the movie industry and create a TLD
just for them with no outsiders allowed in to clog up the good domains.

EJS: 5) Do you expect to run a TM landrush, and how will domains be awarded, ie CasaBlanca.movie where a TM might not be valid?

JW: We expect Warner Bros. Pictures will register Casablanca.movie. We are not encouraging registrations inside this space unless the registrant owns film rights to a movie of the same name. We will present big hurtles to register in the space and we expect only a few outsiders to come in, domains like Google.movie might actually go to the Google search engine which indexed the movies rather then a film about Google.

Our goal would be to allow movie companies to register great names like Ducks.movie for just $10. Keeping speculators out will require the mind of a domainer because we want to keep the space open for anyone but only encourage movie studios and special edge cases like search engines. We would not want Google coming in and registering Search.movie they should be using their trademark instead. Generic domains would go to a studio that had a film named Search or The Search. Unless you had a trademark in the space don’t expect to come it. Even with a TM we know there are loopholes like registering TMs just to come in and speculate; we will guard against that and throw speculators out. More information can be found on our website www.dotmovieregistry.com.

EJS: 6) How long do you think it will be until we see these type of gTLD approved by ICANN?

JW: I expect this TLD to be approved in 12-24 months and operating in the root.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and professional domain investor. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a domain investing company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com.

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Comments (26)

    David J Castello

    I respect the fact that Jay would only charge $10 for anyone registering a dotMovie name. However, if he were to register 1000 movies (no small feat – in fact, I think it would be extremely difficult because most companies will not want to work with anything outside their brand) the gross would only be 10K.

    April 21st, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Francois

    The idea behind ths gTLD is good.

    But like David, I think numbers doesn’t match here or we are missing something Jay doesn’t reveal.

    Let say 10,000 films are registered per year (being much more optimist than David), it’s only a gross revenue of $100k.

    How can investors bring 5 millions to a business that will need half century to simply earn this gross revenue!?

    April 21st, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    dcmike77

    I was just about to say the same thing. “Maintanence” costs alone for gTLDs is like $40k annually – excluding the $100k+ startup fees. And if .movie were to charge $100 per domain, they may just go back to .com instead.

    This business model just doesn’t seem to make sense. But perhaps Jay can clarify for us.

    -Mike

    April 21st, 2009 at 1:51 pm

      Elliot

      @DC Mike

      IMO, it’s promising. If there are 5k movies released a year (indy and major production) that’s a lot of registrations ongoing. There are also millions of movies of all kinds. If WB or Paramount partnered and agreed to buy .movie for all releases, it would gain market traction and they would make good money.

      April 21st, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Steve

    All of these new extensions will just drive more traffic to the .com version of the domain. Interesting idea, and after advertising the new extension they may get some traction but ultimately the dot com will still get the natural traffic. Most movies just put the word movie before the .com and it works pretty good. Supermanthemovie.com . Warner bros seems to like this format.
    Cheers!

    April 21st, 2009 at 2:15 pm

      Elliot

      @Steve

      I agree but I also think that Superman.movie better than SupermanTheMovie.com. It would also behoove them to buy the .com when available.

      April 21st, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Tobias

    “Open registration will be available for $10,000 if a registrant wanted a .movie domain”.

    I would guess they will just charge studios a hefty membership fee to allow them to register $10 names.

    April 21st, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Steve

    Elliot,
    Yes but it will take some BIG dollars to burn that extension into the minds of the general public. Deep, deep pockets are required to pull people away from .com. All the best with the venture as always. It’s a big mountain they will have to climb.

    Best from Canada!!!

    April 21st, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Michael Carter

    $5mm is a big hurtle to overcome as well

    April 21st, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Tim Davids

    They could require an affiliate link on the page someplace where peeps buy that movie and Jay gets 50 cents or whatever…

    April 21st, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    claude

    Nice idea, however, try to get more than one movie studio to agree on absolutely anything. Formats, talent, unions, talent agencies, remember blue ray?

    Good Luck!

    April 21st, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Sell Domain Data

    Well, one important fact Jay forgot to mention how about he will justify the 5M investment; Sell private data, archive whois data and then sell it, sell studio’s contacts, sell their private info. Did I miss something else?

    April 21st, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    RegulationAuthority.com

    An on going registrations will defi get ‘em revenue however I dont think investors are looking for “ongoing REVENUE” here. They are probably looking at the profit they may earn if this venture gets big and someone from film industry goes on to acquire this registry from them. Can this be done or ICANN wont let it happen?

    April 21st, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Steve M

    Interesting idea, Jay; though like others I’m not seeing enough income to support such an operation.

    I would, however, suggest a reg fee of at least $99/yr; and perhaps as much as $995/yr. For the “industry exclusivity” and “speculators locked out” platform as you describe it; and given the 25+ million most major pics cost these days, this is a tiny cost/investment.

    As for marketing such an extension, remember everyone that their movename.movie would appear on all their TV, radio, and print media; which they’re already paying for anyway.

    Bottom line is that; given Jay’s industry success; he and his team just might be able to pull this one off.

    April 21st, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    dcmike77

    Huh??

    @ elliot

    “I agree but I also think that Superman.movie better than SupermanTheMovie.com. It would also behoove them to buy the .com when available.”

    You were the same person who didn’t like .tv, and now it seems like you’re saying the opposite.

    It’s the same concept!

    -Mike

    April 21st, 2009 at 7:28 pm

      Elliot

      @DC Mike

      I have come to like .TV (although I am not an investor/buyer) because I have seen many .tv domain names advertised both on TV and in marketing collateral. I believe that if every motion picture company (or almost every company) buys .movie domain names as a default, the general public will start to visit them. With a small # of companies in the industry producing most of the movies, all new releases using .movie would get people to use the extension.

      Just as I would encourage a company to buy alternate spelling domain names when possible, I would also encourage .movie buyers to buy the .com when available for brand/product protection.

      April 21st, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Bo Wellen

    “Well, one important fact Jay forgot to mention how about he will justify the 5M investment; Sell private data, archive whois data and then sell it, sell studio’s contacts, sell their private info. Did I miss something else?”

    That info is not really private though is it? Are you also mad at people who keep old phone books?

    April 21st, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Kevin

    Brilliant idea Jay!

    Surprised no one else seems to see where the “cash cow” money will be made. I got where the real goldmine on this concept will be instantly.

    Wishing you great success!

    April 22nd, 2009 at 2:40 am

    Trond M.

    @ Steve

    “Yes but it will take some BIG dollars to burn that extension into the minds of the general public. Deep, deep pockets are required to pull people away from .com. ”

    Let’s keep in mind that BIG dollars is what the movie industry is all about… if anyone has what it takes to get a new TLD into the public’s awareness, it surely must be Hollywood. They are already spending huge amounts on movie trailers, in addition to the vast distribution they have through rental DVDs and so on – all they have to do is start using .movie across all channels.

    By the way, it is gTLD cases like this that will create mainstream awareness that .com is only one of many extensions, hence diluting the value of .coms going forward. Pretty soon it might not be so common to type in keyword.com and assume that must be the best site for what you’re looking for…

    April 22nd, 2009 at 5:12 am

    George Pickering

    If the major movie studios starting using .movie, then it will help adoption of .tv.

    April 22nd, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Francois

    We all know Jay is ALL except idiot, and it has prove it many times in the past.

    So sure there is some terrific idea behind this, I don’t think he convinced investors just with the above post. Or like Kevin sugested we are all morrons here, starting by me.

    By the way Kevin, you who look likes a bit more clever than the average domainer and claim having immediately discovered the “cash cow” why not explain what we are all missing?

    April 22nd, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Kevin

    @ Francois

    Sorry if I sounded like making you feel like a moron Francois. That wasn’t the intent.

    I’ll check with Jay first, in case, before saying what I saw as the biggest rev mine, to be sure he doesn’t mind it being publicly stated.

    April 22nd, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Steve M

    Hmmmm, Kevin.

    You and Francois got me thinking…

    Don’t know why they couldn’t at some point in each movie’s release/availability time line post the entire movies on their site…with a nice rev share between the parties for included ads…and/or download and/or DVD sales of the movies as well.

    .Movie…the place to watch, discuss, comment on, & buy movies.

    Now that ought to generate some serious coin.

    April 22nd, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Steve

    a (dot)movie seems like the most logical place to go if you wanted to download/live-stream a particular movie …

    …wanna watch “Back To The Future”?; go to BackToTheFuture.movie

    There’s likely plenty of $$ in that type of business model!

    April 23rd, 2009 at 6:35 am

    Bruce

    I have to say, the .movie domain sounds like a flop to me. If it were .movies then maybe. I have http://www.wierdsciencemovie.com so if I had http://www.weirdscience.movie it is limited to that movie. If I had wierdscience.movies, then I could have an entire directory of movies that contain weird and science. Let’s take religious.movies… means something. Religious.movie doesn’t float my boat.

    May 14th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    David Smart III

    I’m David Smart III, and I’m a Seattle Artist/Writer. I work with many talented Hollywood film artisans. Thanks’ to the help of Mr. Westerdal, and his Family Foundation. I am able to reclaim my lost life of collaboration with my colleges.

    During the Recession of 2010, Mr. Westerdal reached out and saved me from a world of homelessness and a self inflicted peril with drug and alcohol addiction.

    The road to recovery was rocky, but after taking a close personal inventory, and following Jay’s advice to enter into rehab, the world is becoming more promising.

    I was recently in Hollywood and was able to share some exciting details to a captivated audience of Jay’s .movie project, as well as his instructions for corporate responsibilities, for any organizations he involves himself with.

    Coupled with the sheer amazement of my return to glory, and his venture capital incentives, Jay Westerdal promises to be the kind hearted, domain name KING. And I am in his debt.

    Thanks’ Jay

    January 25th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

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