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Capital Buzz: Internet names that will move the dot

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 28, 2011

Entrepreneur Alexa Raad, former chief executive of the nonprofit .ORG, the Public Interest Registry, recently launched a consulting company called Architelos aimed at helping current and new players in the Internet address and naming industry.

Raad said a whole new set of domain names is about to hit the scene, and they will be different from the "left of the dot" addresses we've been accustomed to, such as washingtonpost.com or ebay.com.

Major brands and others may soon be able to obtain a top-level domain in either their own name or a generic approximation. Think: .ebay, or .auctions, .apple or .tunes.

This is simply one of the many changes facing a small, lucrative yet highly regulated business that is now facing rapid changes as well as deregulation.

"This is similar to having an apartment, identified by an apartment number at a fashionable complex. No matter how nice and spacious your apartment is compared to all others in the complex, you as the tenant do not set the rules on security, exclusivity or access, etc. Those who own the apartment complex do, and you along with all other tenants live by those rules," said Raad, who was reached in Sydney while on business.

Architelos will be run from Leesburg by Raad, and from Los Angeles by Chief Operating Officer John Matson.

Calling India

Cvent founder and chief executive Reggie Aggarwal earlier this month flew off to India, where he will run his company's 400-person satellite office in suburban New Delhi through March 22. Aggarwal transplants his wife and family to India every year, allowing him to dig into Cvent's foreign operations, help with the hires and visit with family and friends. The software company, which serves the event management sector, is up to 700 employees and grew revenue by more than 40 percent in 2010. Cvent plans to hire 175 new employees this year, with about half in the U.S. headquarters and half in India.

"We interviewed 3,000 people in the past 3.5 weeks," said Aggarwal in an e-mail from India. "The market is starting to boom here (GDP is forecasted to grow 9 percent) and a lot of companies are hiring -- IBM is trying to hire several thousand in just New Delhi for instance. Accenture is trying to hire 10,000. Salaries are up about 15-20 percent this year, but some good talent is there. You still need to interview a lot of people to get to the ones with the right skill sets. We received about 5,500 applications/inquiries for 80 jobs. I try to meet with most of the candidates that we hire to make sure we keep the right DNA at Cvent."

The Buzz hears

About changes in local PR . . .

Karen Riordan has been named president of SmithGifford, a nine-year-old Falls Church-based advertising agency. Riordan recently left her post as president of Arnold Worldwide and joins founders Matt Smith and Bruce Gifford, who started the firm nine years ago and have grown it into $27 million in annual billings. The three advertising veterans have been colleagues at various agencies for 20 years. Smith and Gifford worked at Hawley Martin in Richmond, which was later bought by Arnold. SmithGifford clients include Roy Rogers Restaurants, Brown's Car Stores, the National Geographic Museum and Middleburg Bank.

Four members of the Qorvis senior management team have left the firm to launch Bluetext LLC, an integrated communications firm including public relations, Web design and online marketing services, located in Upper Georgetown. Don Goldberg, Michael Quint, Jason Siegel and Rick Silipigni have varied backgrounds. Goldberg is a crisis communications specialist who was a senior congressional aide and is a veteran of the Clinton White House. Quint is adviser to many technology companies. Siegel is a Web designer and digital strategist. Silipigni is a business development and sales executive who worked for the Washington Redskins and WTOP radio.

Also . . .

Burke-based Sun Design Remodeling Specialists posted its best January in its 23-year history with $2.5 million in signed agreements, according to Chairman Craig Durosko. All are residential projects in Northern Virginia. Leading the list is a $1 million renovation that will doubled the size of a 3,000-square-foot Fairfax home now valued at $710,000.

Yo, sushi!

Executives from London-based YO! Sushi restaurants are exploring possible sites in Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Chinatown, East End and Clarendon, with an eye toward opening a place in the Washington area by the end of the year. YO! Sushi, which serves sushi and other Japanese food on a conveyor belt traveling 3.1 inches per second, is planning to open its first U.S. restaurant in Las Vegas. It has more than 50 company-owned U.K. restaurants and more than a dozen franchises across Ireland, Russia and the Middle East. Quilvest, a France-based private equity group, is the majority owner.


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