Fine wines and Internet domain names go together well

Fine wine and Internet domain names seem to be worlds apart – but they are not so distant anymore when it comes to valuation: The price of a sought-after bottle of Bordeaux and the value of a catchy .COM domain follow very similar paths, as a comparison of the Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index and my Internet Domain Name Index (IDNX) reveals.

Overall, prices for both goods depend on the world economy and on consumers’ disposable income. When connaisseurs have money to spend on the fine sides of life, the advertising industry and (subsequently) domain prices flourish as well. The correlation of monthly changes in the the Liv-ex 100 and IDNX is a high 0.36, while the correlation in levels is 0.82.

Maybe one should think of wine as a great natural diversifier for domainers: When your domain net worth decreases, so does the cost of a comforting glass of nice French red.

Cheers to that & Happy 2012!

Wines and domains: a good combination?


In search engine world, domains become brands

A colleague sent me an impressive white paper on domains’ role in guiding search engine users. Samuel Ieong et. al. show that domains convey trust: When users are presented bits of information in a search result list, they tend to click on links to well-known domains even if more relevant results are presented very close by. They claim: “Viewing content on the Internet as products, domains have emerged as brands.”

Quick Dutch summary: “Wat de boer niet kent, dat clicked hij niet”.

The paper can be downloaded here:

Neelie Kroes' explanation on why she believes von Guttenberg to be a good advisor for Europe's "No Disconnect Strategy" strategy

Last week, I mailed Mrs. Kroes, inquiring about her peculiar choice of advisors. I wasn’t the only one taken by surprise, it seems. Please find her reply below:

Thank you for responding to the announcement of my invitation to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to assist me in our “No Disconnect” Strategy. We have had many reactions and some very useful suggestions, but I am not able to respond to each one individually. But I take them seriously, I value the opportunity the Internet gives you to voice those concerns, and I believe they deserve a response.

First, what is most important to me is the No Disconnect Strategy itself. Because my focus is on people who are suffering, and people whom we can help.

My invitation to Karl-Theodor to help me take this work forward is my choice, and it’s about how we can help people who struggle without the most basic rights you can think of. In the past I’ve worked personally with him, and I know he is capable of coming up with and delivering excellent ideas. I also know that we need someone with his international outlook and contacts to help us push these issues forward: someone who understands the highly relevant security and foreign affairs world. This does not preclude other people and ideas from being involved; far from it, I want to build grass-roots coalitions and capacities.

Some of you have already suggested names of activists we should get in touch with: thank you for doing so, we will follow up. I congratulate those who are working in this field, especially those on the ground. There are individuals who are so brave and resourceful, and organisations doing great work. This invitation does not diminish their achievement in any way; nor should it inhibit their work. Part of Karl-Theodor’s role will be to reach out to those people, to ensure that their work gets the proper support and recognition. And so I hope those people are able to share their ideas and experiences.

Second, others have taken issue with actions or decisions Karl-Theodor has taken in the past. My invitation does not mean that I condone plagiarism. I leave him to answer questions about his PhD thesis. But I do know that all of us make mistakes we regret, and that the only way individuals and societies can move forward is through recognition, forgiveness and focussing on good things that can be done in the future. He has paid the price, resigning from all political offices and being stripped of his doctoral degree. So my invitation is about what Karl-Theodor can do for suffering people in the future, not what you or I think about his past.

Meanwhile, one does not need to agree with all his past statements about internet policies while he was German Minister for the Economy. While all serious people share the goal of tackling child pornography, I accept that there are different views about the right way to do so online. And this debate needs to be calm and rational precisely because it is a very emotive topic.

But I hope you would agree this is far, far from the situation that people continue to face in non-democratic countries. These are people whose access to communications networks has been inhibited, blocked or spied on merely to repress fundamental freedoms and silence political dissent. And it is this that will be the focus of his work.

Third, let me clarify the conditions of his position, as I stated on Monday. There is no payment, no staff, no special treatment. He will be providing advice and assistance to me in a personal capacity. We will keep costs to a minimum, and I can assure you I’ll squeeze him for every good idea and every piece of feedback he has.

So I’d like to put this issue in its perspective. Across the digital agenda spectrum, quite a few people already advise and assist me in different areas, on media freedom and pluralism, young entrepreneurship, cloud computing, media futures, and others. People from Germany and across the world; people from all different political parties and those of none. Because I believe in taking advice from a wide spectrum, and linking together the many different stakeholders from different areas of expertise – whether that expertise is in technology, Internet activism, foreign affairs, healthcare or whatever.

So, please see my invitation for what it is: adding one more person with talent to the good ideas and the momentum for internet freedom. Don’t let this one choice determine your overall view of this strategy, nor of the Digital Agenda, nor the European Commission. The world is more complex than that. Judge Karl-Theodor ultimately on the quality of the advice he provides. Judge me, and hold me accountable, for the decisions I take on the basis of that advice.

Kind regards,

Neelie Kroes

Moving to Boston, working for SEDO, researching at MIT

It’s been in the making for a while, but now everything is final: In January, I will move to Boston.

I will work on automatic domain appraisals and price design at (great data, great product, great company) and will be visiting at MIT’s Center for Real Estate. My research will be all about “virtual real estate” – needless to say that I am thrilled about this opportunity.

Guest Blog Post on Scientific American

On Rushes and Riches: The “Wild West” Era for Internet Domain Names Is Over as Efficient Markets for This “Virtual Land” Have Emerged

On April 22nd, 1889, large areas of what is now Oklahoma were officially opened up for homestead settlement. At high noon, thousands of pioneers raced from the territory’s borders into pristine land, claiming lots on a first come, first serve basis. Within hours (!), first cities emerged around railroad stations or at other well connected spots, quickly establishing local governments, basic infrastructure and property rights. Despite opposing laws, land claims were directly sold off in secondary markets.

Read my full blog post at the Scientific American website – klick here.

Proudly presenting IDNX, the first Internet Domain Name Index

Today, my newest project will launch: IDNX is the first high quality price index for internet domain names.

  • Each month, it calculates the latest trends in domain prices.
  • It is the appropriate benchmark for estimating changes in the value of your domains.
  • IDNX is based on data for more than 200,000 domain sales today, more to come in the future

For the full story, check out the project’s website or the brand new working paper.

Seminar at University of Amsterdam

On June 14, I was invited to give a presentation of my working paper on local price dynamics within cities at the University of Amsterdam’s Real Estate Group. The seminar was a great trigger to work on the paper again and to implement some new ideas beforehand (check the latest PDF). But even more, I am very grateful to the feedback provided by Peter Englund, Marc Francke and all other participants of the seminar. I greatly benefited from their discussions, comments and suggestions – UvA, Thank you so much!


On March 25th, I defended my dissertation titled Beyond Booms: Fundamentals and Mechanisms of Housing Markets in Decline.

I would like to thank Maastricht University, my family, my friends and colleagues for making this day a wonderful final chord for my years in Maastricht.

I am very grateful to prof. Franz Palm, prof. John Quigley, and prof. Peter Schotman for serving on my evaluation committee and for their invaluable feedback. The esteemed members of the corona, prof. Yongheng Deng, prof. Antoon Pelsser, prof. Dennis Bams, prof. Stefan Straetmans, prof. Jaap Bos, and dr. Sanstad, are thanked for their time, friendliness and, above all, for their challenging questions.

Gentrification and its discontents

Fears of gentrification are aired in the rapidly changing Berlin neighborhood

I have seen the “fuck yuppies”-tag on so many walls in Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and even cozy Alt-Treptow.

Fear of gentrification in Berlin

This is a bit more elaborated statement on a board indicating the construction of new residential units on a piece of vacant land in Alt-Treptow. It says “Aufwertung = Verdrängung” which roughly  means “neighborhood improvements drive out current residents”.

Probably the best way to keep your rent down is to throw your garbage on the street in front of your house. Or put some graffiti at your neighbors freshly painted walls, as the tag below explains: “Wertminderung” means “depreciation / loss of value”.


Boring economist might suggest to increase the home ownership rate to overcome the conflict between incumbents and new residents.

PS: I was so proud of this post’s title – and now I have to realize that others have used it before. Bummer.