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On June 10th, 2010, the widely publicized charity auction for the single letter domain name, e.CO, came to an exciting end – selling for a whopping $81,000 USD.SEDO as the global auction platform, bidders and spectators from around the world tuned in as the action was stream-cast live from Internet Week in New York City.“We chose e.CO to be the first name auctioned by the .CO Registry because of its historic significance,” said Lori Anne Wardi, a Director at .CO Internet. “The Internet was practically built on the letter “e” – from e-commerce, to e-mail, to e-learning, to all things “e-lectronic” – so we thought it was only fitting that the letter “e” should also help to kick off a brand new “Era” of the Internet – the .CO Era!”e.CO was the very first domain name to be auctioned by the .CO Registry – and was intended to celebrate the upcoming global launch of the .CO domain. With
.CO is the new web address that gives you a truly global, recognizable, and credible option for branding your online presence. It’s the online space where possibility meets opportunity; where people can fulfill their dreams and the world's next great enterprises will have a home. In the .CO Era, you can get the perfect web address you really want and need to build your business or brand online – you don’t have to settle anymore for the scraps of whatever domain name you can get!
According to Lonnie Borck, one of the principals of B52 Media, “I didn’t know much about the upcoming launch of the .CO domain in advance of the auction." But at the end of the day, Lonnie and his business partner, Uri Kerbel, won the auction for what they consider a “unique digital asset that’s a totally "different animal" than any other domain name they've ever owned before” (-- and for the record, they've owned many!)
(In this photo, from left to right, Uri Kerbel (Lonnie's Partner in B52 Media), Nicolai Bezsonoff and Lori Anne Wardi of .CO Internet, and Lonnie Bork and his Proud Big Brother -- proudly holding his lucky number 70!)
Lonnie expressed that e.CO is “memorable, highly brandable, and possibly the shortest web address available in the world today – all of which make it a fantastic investment.” But what really got him jazzed about winning the auction was the fact that he could choose the charity that would be the beneficiary of the auction proceeds. Lonnie chose an organization called Hatzalah (Rescue in Hebrew), an emergency medical service organization, serving large communities around the world.
While Lonnie makes his living full time as a domain investor, with a diverse portfolio of category-defining domain names -- he has also been volunteering his time for the past three years to Hatzalah. A crucial factor that Hatzalah addresses is the response time to get to the emergency on scene. Lonnie pointed out, “We often have someone on the scene of an emergency within 30 seconds to 2 minutes of the call” – which can make the difference between life and death in his hometown of Northwest Baltimore.
“I’m on call 24/7,” says Lonnie, which he admits is “both challenging and rewarding.” “In another life I probably would’ve been a doctor, because I love helping people.” The whole idea behind Hatzalah is that everyone should be treated like a family member. He continued, “We don’t respond like it’s just another call or like it’s a job. It’s as if we are responding to our family, to a brother, from any race or religion. We don’t discriminate and we don’t give up. We will do anything we can till the last possible second.”
When Lonnie talks about all the good that the donation of the e.CO auction proceeds will do for Hatzalah, you can’t help but to be inspired. “The money will go directly to the cost of saving a life,” he says, and will be used to defray the costs of “ambulances, gear for responders, administrative fees, equipment, life packs and more.”
When I asked Lonnie to summarize his e.CO experience so far, he eloquently answered:
“This whole process is like the gift that keeps on giving. It all started with the .CO Registry thinking outside the box in deciding to donate the proceeds of its very first domain name auction to charity. As a result, B52 Media got a historic domain name and made a great investment – and the proceeds of the auction were donated to Hatzalah – an organization that literally saves lives every day.”
“Think about it,” he says, “these funds could literally save a child’s life, and because a child is saved, it will impact their family and friends, which in turn will impact entire generations to come. Future generations will surely be affected by this donation -- and will hopefully be inspired to “pay it forward” by donating to the charities of their choice as well. This is how the e.CO experience has seemed to work so far – it has been fantastic!”
As our conversation came to a close, Lonnie shared with me a fable about a man who was walking down the street and saw another man drowning – but couldn’t jump in to save him because he didn’t know how to swim. The next day, he saw another man drowning, and again couldn’t save the drowning man since he still didn’t know how to swim. The man then posed a question as to what he should do in case it happens again. He was told-either learn how to swim or hire a lifeguard.
The moral of the story, as Lonnie explained, “is that everyone plays a different role in saving a life,” which is how Hatzalah works – and why this donation is so important.” He concludes, “with this donation, we can do so much. There’s endless opportunity to do good.”
And to think, all this from a single letter of the alphabet! : )
A special thanks to Shira Palka, our fabulous .CO student Intern, for researching and writing this story. Shira joined us this summer fresh out of her first year of college, as she transferred in to NYU. Now a Sophomore and full time NYC resident, Shira is eager to learn everything she can about marketing, public relations and business communication. As you can see from this fabulous blog post, Shira has a very promising career ahead of her!