Browne has long recognized that the digital realm creates new ways to inform our experience of the fine arts. In 1999, he launched CollectFineArt.com to connect artists and potential buyers.
With a curatorial eye towards the future of digital connoisseurship and luxury experiences, he also began in 1999 to build the CollectTheBest.com portfolio. "As the digital world becomes increasingly mobile, would it be possible to make it really easy to find exactly what you're looking for?" he wondered. He began building CollectTheBest.com, a new model to unite the finest of luxuries with the fine arts. The strategy centered on creating a portfolio of luxury domain names, most of which started with the keyword "Collect" or ended in "Best.com." Along the way, he acquired numerous web addresses that incorporated important artists' names. Examples include: CollectRembrandt.com, CollectGaugin.com, and CollectDegas.com.
As Browne was developing his business model, the popularity of mobile phones, tablet computers, and online multimedia experiences proliferated. Suddenly, smartphones were everywhere. "There must be a better way than cluttering these small screens with display ads," he reflected. One way to deliver interesting messages on mobile devices could be to use branded domain names: CollectDiamonds.com, InvestInTheBest.com, and CollectAtAuction.com.
As the CollectTheBest.com portfolio grew beyond a thousand fine art and luxury domain names, Browne recognized that the time had come to offer the domain name collection for sale. "The portfolio is fully developed, and the timing is perfect for the right buyer to operationalize the business model," according to Browne. As a result, he will make the entire CollectTheBest.com portfolio available for sale in October, 2013.
Among the 1,200 CollectTheBest.com luxury domain names, some 150 incorporate the names of artists. Browne grappled with how best to protect the integrity of artists' names, which is an important part of their legacy. In the end, he made the decision to offer to return these artist-related domain names to any contemporary artist who directly asks him (though for obvious reasons, not any agents or dealers).
Regarding his first such transfer, "I think this the right thing to do, irrespective of any fair use laws. An artist should have an opportunity to obtain and control their domain name," Browne noted. "With the coming proliferation of more than 1,000 gTLDs (extensions like .ART, .EXCHANGE) control of your own dot-com name is likely to become even more important." He plans to continue to offer to transfer these until CollectTheBest.com is sold.
Browne has direct contact with only a few of these artists, and as a result, Aldis Browne selected NetStar Marketing Group to provide support for this initiative to get the word out. Accordingly, NetStar Marketing Group urges artists to review Browne's collection of artist-related domain names at RespectTheBest.com. Contemporary artists may contact Aldis@ArtConsultant.com or the writer, below, to request the transfer of their domain name.
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