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Yesterday we watched a BBC-produced drama called Beethoven's Eroica on Youtube, with the tagline being "The day that changed music forever." The story is about the private, first performance of Beethoven’s third symphony on 9 June 1804 in Vienna. During the performance, Beethoven proposes to his long-loved woman who is now a widow, but she has to refuse because by marrying Beethoven, a commoner, she as a noble will be separated from her children by the unfair law. How much things have changed in a little more than 200 years! Here's the post.

August 15, 2016 (Mon)

Innovative domain services born at an unlikely place


Zhejiang in eastern China is well known. After all, China accounts for 40% of global domain sales and more than half of it comes from Zhejiang. How about Chengdu in the far west? Some of you may have heard of the famous Sichuan cuisine or beautiful women, but domain names? Most likely not.

West.cn was founded in Chengdu in 2002. In its early years, the company sold computing services. When the wave of new domain extensions started hitting China in 2014, the company moved aggressively on this new opportunity. Within just two years, West.cn has 5 million domain names of new extensions under its management, making it the No. 1 registrar of this category in the world. They even coined the term NewG (for New Gtld) which is becoming popular also outside China.

The company has launched many innovative domain services, and I'll like to describe three of them here.

Offline registration (离线注册)
This service allows investors to register a large number of domain names during a bargain sales event. For example, if West.cn is having bargain sales on November 11. Until November 10, you can submit a list of domain names you want to register on West.cn. At 0:00 am, November 11, West.cn executes your order and registers as many names from your list as possible, at the bargain price. This frees investors from having to sit in front of their computer and register manually.

Lending marketplace
This service started when the company realized they have a large number of domain investors: some have extra money sitting around and some need money to pursue immediate domain opportunity. This is mostly a closed system where domain names of both lenders and borrowers are all held at West.cn, making lending very safe. This lending service started early this year with about $21m (140m yuan) loaned in just 4 months. Return ranges from 10 to 15% and loan-to-value ratio is about 30 to 50%.

Smart domain acquisition (智能收米)
You specify the type, and quantity, and price of domain names you want to acquire. West.cn checks new domain names for sale (within West.cn?). A sale is closed when conditions are met. Example: Buyer A's instruction is to buy ten 4L .xyz domain names automatically if the price drops below 70 yuan. Buyer B's instruction is to buy twenty 4L .xyz automatically if the price drops below 60 yuan. Now, seller C comes into the market and offers to sell fifteen 4L .xyz at 55 yuan each. West.cn automatically transfers 10 of the domain names at 70 yuan to buyer A and then 5 domain names at 60 yuan to buyer B. This makes bulk buying and selling of domain names very easy.

I expect to see more innovative domain services to come out from China. That's why I enjoy reading Chinese domain news everyday.