"My father is a retired attorney and his brother is
still a practicing attorney today. My grandfather on
my Dad's side was also an attorney as was his brother!
That made for interesting conversation at the dinner
table," Gabriel smiled. "My mother is a
Registered Nurse. When I was a child my mother would
work nights on a pediatric unit at a local hospital
while my father worked days as an attorney. I also
have an older sister, who is also a nurse and works in
the emergency room at a Florida hospital. At
the time I did not realize how lucky I was and still
am. I had four of the best grandparents that anyone
would hope for, grandparents that could not have been
any better to me. I was lucky to have all of them
until after I graduated college."
Gabriel boating with with his parents in 2008
my Mother’s side my great grandmother died as a
result of the Spanish Influenza in New York
City which caused my Grandmother to become an orphan
who worked at clothing stores. Her husband (my
grandfather who is still alive and is 99 years
old), was part of a large Italian immigrant family.
Back then Italians were considered second class
citizens. He was an entrepreneur - you could probably
call him more of a survivor - who never
finished grade school. He made cement blocks, started
a construction company, ran a factory that made
bullets during World War II, made and sold tools,
opened a restaurant and even managed a city dump!"
my paternal grandfather was a successful lawyer,
he had worked in a machine shop to put himself through
law school and his wife, my grandmother, worked in a
factory. Thanks to all of those family members my
childhood stories are about family vacations to Disney
World, or trips to the beach, or playing Little
League baseball (when my dad was the coach). But
looking back it was hearing the stories and seeing the
hard work that my parents always did and
hearing what my grandparents had to endure to
get where they are today. They instilled a strong work
ethic in me. That is why my sales people hear me
always say “Hard work always pays off.”
was one common thing that we shared as a family. We
always laughed. My dad always had and still has a
joke for every situation and has a personality that
can make him the life of a party. My sister and
I saw that and we were always performing, putting on
different masks, outfits or finding jokes or funny
stories of our own to tell. My mother was the same,
joining in on the fun. By seeing that and being
encouraged/supported to speak, laugh, and just be
ourselves by my entire family it instilled the confidence
I have in myself today," Gabriel said.
Gabriel on his High School Graduation Day
the downside, while Gabriel's social skills were off
the chart his scholastic efforts were less stellar.
"I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a
private school from grade school all the way through
college. My sister, who is older than me, was a much
better student, and a much better athlete than I was.
From my early years all the way through high school I
always found myself in some sort trouble. I was
not doing drugs, or committing violent acts, but I
brought my laughter/life of the party attitude to
school with me. I did not know how to separate
business and pleasure. In turn it brought bad grades
and constant attention to my immature behavior,"
Gabriel candidly admitted.
"At my high school
they would punish people with manual labor, it was
called work detail. I spent many a day after school picking
up trash around campus, or washing chalkboards to
make up for whatever I did. My high school years I got an A socially but my grades were
C level at
those years were not devoid of accomplishments for
Gabriel and and it was then
that he was first bitten by the
entrepreneurial bug. "During my high school years
I was Class President and I ended up putting
together my own little business for our class, selling
Otis Spunkmeyer cookies in our student lounge
(I got other students to do the selling, I managed
it). We ended up being the richest class and were
able to go on many different trips from the proceeds.
I realized then I had a talent and an interest in business, but nothing I was learning in school really
peaked my interest."
was hard because I was always compared to my straight
A, Captain of the Softball/Soccer team sister by
teachers, and even my parents. I don’t know if it
was a good thing at the time, but my father always
told me he was the same when he was in high school.
Flirting with girls and smoking cigarettes behind the
school was more of a priority than studying for that
calculus test. It even got to a point where I had to
attend summer school in order to keep up and graduate.
never gave up on me though. By the time I
started to apply myself and get serious it was very
hard to right the ship. I graduated high school by the
skin of my teeth and it was a beyond proud day for my
parents, sister and family and probably more of a relief
for my teachers," Gabriel smiled. "Looking
back, putting myself in those do or die situations made
me become a survivor. I became used to being under
the gun with my back against the wall."
parents weren't the only ones who saw something in
him. He was shocked when the University of Hartford
looked beyond his report card and offered him a scholarship
at the Connecticut school. Still, as was the case in high
school, Gabriel's inclination to be a social butterfly
initially produced uneven results in college. Gabriel
described how things unfolded.
to high school graduation a Senior Project was
required in order to graduate. The requirement was to
work at a company or place of employment for a number
of weeks. I became an intern at WAAF, a radio
station in Boston. I really enjoyed it, and decided to
major in Communications in order to become a radio
DJ when I went to University. After completing my
first year at University of Hartford I was able to
retain my scholarship by just .01 on my GPA. My
second year was about the same. I remember coming home
after my sophomore year was over
and my father was
looking at my report card and said, “If you fail out
of college you are going to be picking pepper out of
horseshit with boxing gloves!.” He also informed me
that he would make me enlist in the Army. If he
couldn’t make me a man maybe Uncle Sam could. That
was all I had to hear!," Gabriel laughed.
he returned to campus that fall he was a different
man. "At the beginning of my junior year I
changed majors and entered the Barney School of
Business at the University of Hartford. That was
when my life changed. I met Professor Harvey Goodman. Harvey was a
retired Wall Street trader
who taught a class about the stock market and how the
entire monetary system works. Our textbook was the New
York Times. Even though we were in the Business School we were only allowed to take
Goodman’s business class in the College of Arts and
Sciences. The reason was Harvey did not have a Masters
degree so they would not accept him as a professor in
the Barney School. We asked Harvey about this and he
said while interviewing with the Dean of the Business
School he was asked “Harvey do you have a Masters
degree? He said no. Harvey then asked the dean “have
you ever made a million dollars in a day?”
That’s all I needed to hear. I was hooked!,"
was like a switch turned on in my head. I had
to do this. I had to find my way and in order for me
to get to that place I had to get my life together.
Plus, I had to finish college in four years as well.
Over those next two years I was able to take an extra
class each semester, two classes over winter break and also studied during summer to finish. I
graduated in 4 years majoring in Finance and Risk
entry into adulthood after college graduation was tumultuous
to say the least," Gabriel continued. "Two
of my grandparents whom I thought so highly of passed
away. I didn’t really have any idea what I really
wanted to do and I found myself working in a giant
record storage warehouse company (the warehouse
reminded me of the one at the end of Raiders of
the Lost Ark). I managed the data
entry department. It was not for me but I put
some management strategies to the test."
day truckloads of boxes full of records would arrive.
Each box had to be categorized and entered into the
system. At the end of every day we were behind. The
people I managed were hourly employees who were there
just to collect a check. No matter what I said or did
I could not get them to work any harder. With constant
pressure from upper management to increase production
I told the team, “Once we are done with that pile of
records out there you can go home with a full day's
pay.” The workers finished the job shortly after
lunch. I thought I was going to be
in paper image from Bigstock
praised for getting
the job done faster than ever before instead I ended
up getting fired!," Gabriel said,
recalling the unexpectedly abrupt end to his first
full time job. As it happens there was another U-Turn
family kept asking me if I wanted to become a lawyer,
so I applied to law school. Shockingly I got in
to Suffolk Law in Boston (where my Dad, Uncle,
and Grandfather graduated). Since law school did not
start for a number of months, the plan was I would
work in a mortgage company and sell mortgages
during the day and go to law school at night. While in
the mortgage business I learned about property,
property values, income, credit, contracts,
underwriting guidelines, commissions and most
importantly sales. It took me a few months to
be able to grasp all of this, but I found myself being
one of the top sales people."
(seen here with wife Melissa on their 2005
honeymoon in Hawaii)
learned he had a knack for closing sales when he
got into the mortgage business. That ability would later
help him soar to record heights as a domain
funny thing was the first time I was the top sales
person of the month I thought to myself "I really
don’t have a firm grasp of what I am doing", so I
immersed myself in everything there is to know about
the mortgage business. A Mortgage Broker has access to
many banks. Our company had access to over 50 or 60
banks compared to a local bank who only has access to
their one pool. Each bank likes certain types of
loans, so I used to read their guidelines and I would
know which bank likes what, and most importantly what
they required in order to do the deal. I also learned
from appraisers, and would call underwriters to ask
them what their day to day job was. I felt that I
wasn’t the strongest in sales based on experience so
why not be the strongest in knowledge. I
learned that giving a bank too much information is not
a good thing. You give them exactly what they want
and make it easy for them. My turn around times were
fast. The same goes with clients. You need to make it
easy and when you get the “Yes” take it
and run! Stop talking!" Those proved
to be words to the
wise that Gabriel has his staff follow to this day.
there I found myself in a very competitive market
where our company would advertise interest rates in
the newspaper. People would call in and want that
particular rate and would leave you mid way through the
process over $100. That was frustrating. I decided to
change my strategy. Instead of selling based on
interest rate I would start to ask questions and
really get to know my client. If it was a refinance I
would find out if they had a car payment, credit
money image from Bigstock
debt and wanted some cash to
build a pool for example.
I would take all of those payments, bundle it up
and say “How about I pay off all of your debt,
get you that $20,000 you want and save you $500
a month on your mortgage payment?” I found myself
selling loans to people and they didn’t even know
the interest rate until they came to sign the papers.
The higher the rate I sold the more money the bank
would pay. I would not need to sell the most razor
thin margin deals and compete with everyone because
their deal was unique to them. I ended up not
only having one of the highest average revenue per
file in the company, but also some of the highest
the time I figured this out I was slated to go to law
school. I decided not to attend. I
thought my Dad and my family would be disappointed
with my decision, but they supported me. My parents
always told me, “Do what makes you happy. Not
what makes us happy.” That is one of the great
things about them. They always support me even to this
day and I speak to them almost daily. My father is a
real estate attorney. One of the greatest things I did
was work with him on real estate deals. To get to see
your father at home is one thing, but to also share a
conference room and work along side him with clients
is another. I loved that!," Gabriel
by his success in the mortgage business, Gabriel gave some
thought to going into business for himself. "I
actually had the license to open my own mortgage
company but decided that was something I was not
prepared to dedicate my life to, so I gave the
corporate world a try with a company called JobFox.
It was very similar to Monster.com or Careerbuilder
where people put their resumes on their site for free,
and then sales people like myself would call large
companies to sell access to the database of those
resumes. My territory was New England. At
Jobfox I learned how to research and find the key
people at companies who are the decision makers,
and got to understand corporation's time table on
also made between 50-70 cold calls a day. When
I got an interested company I would drive to their
office and do a presentation. Some of these
presentations were in front of just a few people and
others were in front of fifty or sixty. I learned at
this job that people/companies buy the same thing, but
for different reasons. I always use the analogy of
shoes. If you have three people buying the same pair
of running shoes, one might buy them for their
intended purpose, another might buy them because they
are stylish and a guy like me might buy them because
they are the cheapest!"
Gabriel deciding against going to law
school, he joined JobFox where he learned
to reel in corporate decision
makers - a skill that continues to serve him
well as one of
the world's best domain brokers.
JobFox was a great learning experience for Gabriel -
the Great Recession arrived, upsetting his
apple cart along with that of millions of other
people around the world. JobFox wound up having to lay
him off. He didn't know it at that time, but career
wise it would end up being the best thing that ever
happened to him. The domain business was about to
I was laid off I was pretty lost for a while,"
Gabriel recalled. "I didn’t want to go back
into loans and was not entirely sure what I was going
to do. On top of that an economic meltdown was
occurring. I spent my time looking back at companies
that I had either given presentations to or had
called because they had interesting business models so
I applied to them for a job. I really wasn’t getting
anywhere. I even started rototilling people’s
gardens and mowing lawns for money to pay the
bills. While looking for jobs, I used the skills I
learned at Jobfox and made an educated guess as to the
Sales Manager’s email address and phone number, sent
in my resume through the site and called. I did
this with many companies. One did a phone interview
with me then nothing for a long time. They ended up
offering me a waitresses' salary (which was less than
I was making on unemployment) and commission. I
was fine with it. I just wanted a chance and Sedo
gave me it," Gabriel said.
quickly made a name for himself at Sedo resulting
in many invitations to speak at industry events.
He is seen here at the 2010 TRAFFIC Vancouver
conference in Canada.
I started working at Sedo I lived in Worcester, Massachusetts
and would commute to Cambridge. On a regular
day I would have to leave no later than 6AM or
it would take over two hours, but on average it was
an hour and a half each way by car. I started
working in mid May 2009. I tried to learn as much of
the business I could in June and July. My first
true month selling, I sold OMG.com to Yahoo,
Server.com for $770,000 and GoldTrading.com,
totaling well over $1 million in sales. I remember my
old Sales Manager telling me my first month was a
fluke. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, but I ended up
finishing that year (7.5 months) at $7 million
in sales. My second year at Sedo I completed $23
million in sales which included Sex.com. I
will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave
me especially in the situation I was in. They gave me
a chance!," Gabriel said.
"While I was at Sedo I had the opportunity to
work along side of Tessa
Holcomb and she was a big part of my success
at Sedo. She helped me learn the business and sharpen
my sales skills. She was also a top Broker, and we
would compete every month as to who was on top. She
left Sedo mid way through my second year to work at PPX.
My entrepreneurial itch had never gone away and in stepped Gregg
Gregg and I met at
a few of the
domain conferences and the three of us - Tessa, Gregg
and I - decided to go off on our own and build a
boutique brokerage - DomainAdvisors.com (later
leaders (L tp R) Gregg McNair, Amanda Waltz,
& Tessa Holcomb at the 2011 TRAFFIC East
Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
experience I gained, and the knowledge I learned from
Gregg and this opportunity I could compare to getting
a Masters in Business. Shortly after we started,
we went to the 2011
DomainFest conference in Los Angeles,
and I remember ending up getting Legionaries Disease.
After returning from DomainFest ill, I was shivering
and sweaty building the desks for our new office. We
rented space from my father and I realized there was
no marketing department, there was no legal
department, there were no tech people it was just
us. We didn’t even have pictures on the wall.
The three of us were it. We faced a lot of challenges,
hired a great team of sales people, created sales
processes, and made it work. In the first year
DomainAdvisors/Igloo closed very close to or above $20
million in sales. To this day I am proud of that
company, what I accomplished and what they continue to
accomplish on a regular basis. I still use many
of the skills I learned there where I am now,"
he is now is Frank
as VP Of Sales for DomainNameSales (soon to be
re-christened Uniregistry Market). The move
from Igloo.com to Uniregistry required a major change
in Gabriel's personal life as well as his business
career. It meant uprooting his family from their New
England home and out of the U.S. to
Uniregistry's headquarters on Grand Cayman
island in the Caribbean. Gabriel told us how that all
with Uniregistry Founder and legendary domain investor
I worked at Sedo Frank was one of my customers. I had
a great relationship with him and Vern Jurovich.
When they heard I was leaving Sedo they wanted me to
join them then. At that time I had to build
something of my own. Two years later, I was
shaving one morning and my cellphone rang. It was
Frank. He said “Can you come down to the Caymans today?”
I said how about tomorrow? I arrived in the Caymans
and Frank and I spoke about what his plans were. He
wanted me to build him a sales team, refine/improve
the sales CRM, grow the book of business and turn it
into a sales machine. He had a tech department
in house, new extensions on the way, and was giving me
a blank canvas to do it with. When I say blank
canvas, when I got there, we were sharing a portable
home phone to do sales! His excitement is contagious,"
"The funny thing is my wife always told me she wanted
to live on a tropical island, so when I called her on
my first night in the Caymans I asked her if she was
ready to fulfill her dream? I don’t think either of
us really were. That meeting happened in mid December.
Shortly after we said our goodbyes to our family and
our friends, packed up our home and shed a few tears.
We were in Grand Cayman on January 5th, 2013. Lets
just say it was a hectic few weeks!," Gabriel
at Uniregistry's company Christmas Party
the three years Gabriel has been at DNS/Uniregistry,
the company has enjoyed phenomenal growth by
every metric. We asked him what he thought the key
ingredients were for that remarkable expansion for
such a new company? "I
think it is three things," Gabriel said.
Frank has given me the freedom to hire who I want and
when we need them. We have been able to hire a
great group of sales people from all over the
world (9 different countries) who want to get better
at their profession and are a tight knit group that
enjoys working together.
Our platform is constantly getting better. We
listen to our clients, and learn where we are coming
up short, then fix it or make it better.
We realize our relationship with our clients is a marathon
not a sprint. We look beyond just one sale. We look at
creating long standing relationships and do everything
we can to preserve them with our sellers.
As fast as Uniregistry has grown, it doesn't appear
that expansion will slow down any time soon. As I write this
they are getting ready to launch Uniregistry Market.
We asked Gabriel about that and what will set it apart
from other domain marketplaces.
first year here at DomainNameSales our sales team
completed $17 million in sales," Gabriel said.
Last year we completed $55 million. So far this year
we are almost a million ahead of where we were last
year. The reality is that every day new sellers
who are new to the platform, or who were self
brokering, are signing up to use our brokerage. The
number of domains we have under management keeps
growing and our brokers are becoming more proficient
at their trade, the system keeps getting better."
speaking at the 2015 NamesCon
conference in Las Vegas.
we focused on with the new Uniregistry Market is efficiency.
When you look at DomainNameSales CRM right now it is
slow compared to what we are about to launch. If our
Brokers are spending 8-10 hours a day working on
selling domains, then we want them spending that 8-10
hours a day focusing on good opportunities that have
the highest chances of closing. In a nutshell
the new Uniregistry is going to do just that. Even if
the number of customers does not go up, I think our
efficiency will improve considerably. That will allow
us to make even more sales and continue to deliver higher
average sales prices than that of our competitors.
In the near future we will be offering buyers the
opportunity to check out right on our marketplace as
well as offering payment plans for our sellers," Gabriel
the main thing that separates us from our
competitors is simple. We have
the best trained and
motivated sales team in the industry. We speak
over 10 languages and assign our leads to each
Broker based on the languages they speak, the time of
day, their work load and the location of the buyer.
Now that we have an office open in the UK, and
soon China, we are very close to delivering a 24
hour service. Match that with the best
technology in the world and that is a very
formidable value proposition," Gabriel said.
emergence and growth is just one example of how the
domain world is constantly changing. In recent years
we have seen the arrival of hundreds of new gTLDs.
I asked Gabriel how he viewed the prospects for the
new gTLDs, both in terms of new registrations and
their potential value as aftermarket assets.
it comes to the new gTLDs I think it is going to
mirror the car industry 100 years ago,"
Gabriel said. "There were many different small
car companies. Some became the brands we know today,
others went out of business, and others were bought up
by their competitors. I think some of the strings are
going to be very successful and others not
at all. Looking at the varying registration fees
of some of the new gTLD’s, success measured by
number of registrations might not be the only metric
to look at. I think a strong aftermarket comes with
public perception and how open they are to adopting
certain strings. I can tell you we have sold many
premium .Link, .Property, .Click and
so on for thousands of dollars each. The number of
interested buyers only continues to grow on
these. Our customers who have given us the opportunity
to sell some of the new gTLDs they have invested in
have made some very good sales as well. As an example,
last week a buyer purchased a domain similar to
(a keyword + a new TLD extension) when he
could have bought he equivalent combination of
CarPhotos.com and CarPhoto.com for less money.
He opted for the new gTLD," Gabriel noted.
an article that began with a lot of talk about
Gabriel's penchant for fun and games in his youth it
has ended with a focus entirely on business. They say
"all work and no play makes Jack (in this case
Jeff) a dull boy" so we are happy to be able to
note that aspect of Gabriel's personality has not been
extinguished (and it would be a shame if it ever was).
It doesn't sound like Gabriel is in any danger of
losing sight of what is most important in life.
Gabriel with wife Melissa and son Richard
have been very lucky and blessed to have a great
family, great friends and most importantly a wonderful
loving wife and son," Gabriel said. "I
enjoy playing golf, scuba diving, socializing, going
to sporting events, but just being able to go to the
beach or the pool with my family is something I love
met my wife 11 years ago this month. We have
been together ever since. Through all of life’s changes,
from getting laid off to being stressed about
whatever it is at work, dealing with death, sickness,
financial stress or whatever else has come my way, my
wife Melissa has been by my side the entire
time. When given the opportunity to move to Grand
Cayman and work with Frank Schilling Melissa gave up
her job and left her family so I could become
successful in my own career while she put hers on
hold. She has also given me the greatest gift
that I could ever imagine, a son. Richard is 2
years old and has completely changed my life for
the better. I cannot imagine my life without him.
All of my
accomplishments and success is great, but family
is the most important thing in my life. Without my
family, there is no way I would be here today,"
Gabriel gratefully concluded.