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Interview with Brett Lewis – I have asked various parties within the domain industry to take part in some interviews to give us a little background about themselves, where they see the industry heading and how they feel the current market for domain names are our twentieth interview is by Brett Lewis.
Brett E. Lewis, Esq. graduated magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School, where he was a published member of the Brooklyn Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. Mr. Lewis has over twelve years of experience in Internet law, trademarks and copyright law, domain name disputes and technology litigation, and has given speeches and published a number of articles in the field of domain name law. Following law school, Mr. Lewis worked for a year as a law clerk for United States District Court Judge David G. Trager, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Mr. Lewis then took a position with the Wall Street law firm of Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts (now Pillsbury Winthrop). In 2002, Mr. Lewis left the firm to take a position as Assistant General Counsel at the domain name registrar, Register.com, Inc. Mr. Lewis left Register.com in 2005 to start his own practice, and formed Lewis & Lin, LLC in 2011. Lewis & Lin, LLC is a five lawyer IP and Internet boutique law firm focusing on domain names, trademarks, start-ups and copyrights. Lewis & Lin, LLC also owns and operates TrademarkAttorneys.com. Mr. Lewis is also the principal of C Street Film, Inc., a film production company.
Don’t Forget to check out all the other Interviews completed on RobbiesBlog.com – Cant Believe we hit 20 Interviews already big Thanks to all below!
Mike Mann, Darren Cleveland, Monte Cahn, Braden Pollock, Craig Rowe, Xavier Buck, Jodi Chamberlain, Fred Mercaldo, Tommy Butler, Michael Castello, Rob Grant, Tom Chapman, Ira Zoot, Victor Pitts, Shane Cultra, Nico Zeifang , Chris from AntiCareer.com, Eric Borgos, Jacob Fedosky aswell as todays interview by Brett Lewis
What are your current thoughts on the Domain Aftermarket? i.e. Sales and Enquiries etc – General Mood of Domainers / End users?
My sense of the aftermarket from personal experience as well as keeping tabs is that reported sales for high value domains are down, but that there are still six and seven figure deals being made. The marketplace is going to be absorbing a whole bunch of new gTLDs. My gut sense is that very few of the new gTLDs will catch on, and that by flooding the marketplace with hundreds of new choices, ICANN will only enhance the value of .com domain names — people will flock to what they know. The global economy is still not right and probably won’t be for a decade. There will be realistic sales to end users, but less speculating.
Where do you see GTLDS in 3 years time?
In three years, there will be chaos. With hundreds of new gTLDs coming on line, there will be a wave of speculating on trademark domains. Lots of wannabe domain name investors will waste a lot of money. ICANN will make lots of money. Companies will need to decide which names to go after. Phishers will have lots of opportunities to register the exact trademark names of companies in a wide array of gTLDs, so consumers will need to heighten their vigilance about falling for scams. All of this chaos and confusion will drive consumers to the security of .com domains.
What are you or your companies investing in? i.e. Dot Com only Domains – Typo – etc?
I’ve come close, but have managed not to invest in domain names for the most part, since I represent so many clients in the business. I did invest in TrademarkAttorneys.com two years ago, and am in the process of having a site redesign done. The site went from nothing to generating roughly $100k in business-per-year, but it can do a lot better. Investing in something that I could leverage in an area of expertise made a lot of sense for me. I spend so much time on it that I have to love it. I can’t imagine developing a site about something I had no interest in. At this point, I would only buy something related to law or film, and there would have to be a business case behind the decision.
Do you believe in Parking or Developing?
There’s still money to be had in parking, but clearly not what it once was. I would not expect parking ever to go back to what it was, and there’s certainly risk any time a business is dependent entirely on Google for its existence. My sense is that there are better opportunities in smart development, built around real websites with a business purpose.
What is your favourite domain personally or company owned?
I should say TrademarkAttorneys.com, but I am secretly most proud that I registered Douchebag.me. I refuse to sell Douchebag.me for any amount of money, so please do not even try to buy it from me.
If you were starting out in the domain space today what are your 3 top tips?
My first tip would be to learn as much as possible about the business before registering a single domain name. My second tip would be register fewer high value domains over lots of hand-registered ones. My third tip would be not to get involved in the business unless you have a passion for it. All of the successful domainers do.
What’s the next big thing that your companies are working on?
I’m working on some pretty exciting film projects. My production company just shot some web clips for someone in the domain space, and I have a feature film coming up in the Spring. I’d love to do a Web site for independent film, but that’s just a dream for now.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
In ten years I am going to look exactly like Greg McNair, only taller. I’ll be doing film projects and I’ll still have my firm. I can’t see giving up either one.
What has been your biggest challenge in the domain business?
My biggest challenge in the domain business has been overcoming the prejudice against baldness.
What do you feel has been your largest accomplishment in the Business / Personally?
I’ve had some great cases. LV.com, WarGames.com, Shocking.com, Haywood.com. We’re counsel in the ChickfilaFoundation.com case, currently pending with WIPO, which involves a parody site and a humorless corporation. It’s the most gratifying to be on the side of a registrant against an overreaching trademark complaint, or to help a client who has been scammed to recover a domain name or get their money back. If you are talking about largest accomplishment in business, though, it would have to be starting my own firm and growing it to five lawyers. There is nothing better than having your own business, which is something that anyone who has had success in the domain industry also knows.
I would like to say a big Thank You to Brett Lewis for taking part in this interview for RobbiesBlog.com – Please check out Brett Lewis over at TrademarkAttorneys.com should you ever need legal advice in regards to Domain Names and trademarks contact Brett Lewis from Lewis & Lin, LLC where he or others partners can be contacted on 1-888-648-MARK for legal advice.