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The State of the Industry 2019: 21 Experts from Across the Industry Assess 2018 and Predict What Lies Ahead

By Ron Jackson

Welcome to our 15th annual State of the Industry Cover Story! Every January since 2004 we have called on leading experts from throughout the domain industry to see what they viewed at the most important developments in our industry (or their sector of it) over the past year and what they are predicting for the new year ahead.

As always, we called on corporate leaders, operators of sales platforms and brokerages, domain investor/developers, registry and registrar representatives and legal

Image from Bigstock

experts. We were fortunate to again assemble an all-star panel for you, one that features 21 outstanding men and women who know domains inside out. To keep things fresh we mix up our line up every year. In fact this year you will find commentary from 14 experts who were not in last year's line up. 

So, let's get to it! It's time to evaluate what happened over the past 12 months and get an idea of what to expect in the new year ahead, starting with an introduction to the experts who have graciously taken time out of their busy schedules to share their insight with you. 

 

Our 2019 Panel of Experts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Row 1: (left to right): Joe Styler (GoDaddy), Christian Voss (Sedo), David Warmuz (Trellian/Above.com), Gregg Freeman (DomainCapital.com). 

Row 2: George Hong (Guta.com), Brooke Hernandez (Uniregistry) Ryan McKegney (DomainAgents.com), Reza Sardeha (Undeveloped.com)

Row 3: Kate Buckley (Buckley Media), Hobi Michalec (Lumis.com),  Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com), Cate Lim (Global Investment Consultant/Domain Broker).

Row 4: Sandeep Ramchandani (Radix), Robbie Birkner (Hexonet), Frank Michlick (DomainCocoon.com), Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing).

Row 5: Michael Castello (CCIN), Michael Mann (DomainMarket.com), Deepak Daftari (eSiksha.com), Howard Neu (Domain Attorney).

Row 6: Karen Bernstein (Domain Attorney, Bernstein IP).

 
Domain Investors

We have loosely grouped our experts into five categories (though many cross boundaries between one or more categories). First we'll hear from several corporate leaders, followed by a group of outstanding domain brokers (or operators or aftermarket sales platforms). We will then, on page 2,  hear from registry and registrar representatives, domain investor/developers and top legal experts

Corporate Leaders

Joe Styler
Aftermarket Product Manager, GoDaddy.com

GoDaddy is of course the 800-pound gorilla in the domain registration world but they are also one of the most important players in the domain aftermarket - a sector that Joe Styler has spent the past decade helping to build into the indispensable powerhouse it is today.

Joe Styler
Aftermarket Product Manager
GoDaddy

2018 was an exciting year in the Domain Industry. GDPR, a European privacy law, was introduced which had an impact on the public WHOIS information and the domain transfer process. Many companies are still grappling with the balance of compliance with the privacy law and access to domain owners for various reasons. In 2019 ICANN and the various stakeholders will need to continue to work on a solution that keeps your information private in keeping with the current law, look ahead to new proposed privacy laws working their way through various government bodies, and find workable ways to verify domain ownership and continue to secure domains via transfers. I believe choosing a good registrar that provides flexibility, compliance, and security is paramount moving forward in the coming years.  

While we have seen continued growth in aftermarket sales over the past year, I believe it will continue to be more and more important to get your domains listed for sale in various marketplaces. Platforms like Afternic alert

potential buyers that your domain name is for sale. Additionally,  putting up a sales landing page on the domain as the WHOIS continues to evolve with various states of privacy.  

In 2018, internet users became much more aware, and critical, of how companies were using their data. Between controversies on social networks, large-scale data breaches and changes to visibility of business pages, companies realized they needed to have be in control of their online presence. This, once again has helped highlight the importance of a good domain name.  

This, accompanied by the uncertainty in the stock market lately, will lead to continued growth in aftermarket sales across the industry. As people continue to look for new side hustles and companies and individuals seek quality domain names for their ventures online.  

I am looking forward to an exciting year in 2019 full of continued opportunity for domain investors around the globe.  


Christian Voß
CMO, Sedo.com

Christian Voß  is the Chief Marketing Officer for another domain industry institution, Sedo.com, a company famous for its global domain sales and monetization platform. In recent years, Sedo has also played a major role in increasing consumer recognition of new gTLDs.

Christian Voß
CMO, Sedo.com

At Sedo we are coming off one of our most successful years, an especially strong year sales-wise with several big ticket sales like Files.com and  Plants.com just to name a few. And there have been already a few large deals in 2019 like Taxes.com & ILL.com with more closing soon. These big sales accolades are occurring not only for us but also within the domain space in general. Even if the global economy as speculated moves towards a recession, domain names have demonstrated good inelasticity compared to other investment options. 2018 saw a little bit less of an emphasis on the Chinese market than preceding years but nevertheless, we view this market as gaining back its momentum in 2019. This will be despite the economic challenges facing China in regards to its trade war with the U.S. In 2018, we built out our Chinese sales team to be able to service those customers even better. We’re also continuing to drive sales and marketing efforts within the Indian market is as they expand further and move beyond .in into more adoption of .com.

During the last year, Crypto domains continued to be a dominate trend among sales, and we looked for ways to support this bourgeoning market sect. We hosted a crypto domains auction and also

added .ETH domains as a category within our search parameters. The popularity of cryptocurrency has ebbed and flowed along with many of the world’s economies. We’ll all be paying close attention to these markets to see how they trickle down to impact the domain markets. 

In 2018, we continued to be event-centered in our marketing initiatives and were able to showcase ourselves and our services at over 35 events globally including NamesCon, several ICANN  and CloudFest meetings, SXSW, Global Digital Summit in China and many more marketing and end consumer related events. This face to face interaction with industry partners, established domain investors as well as customers, corporates and domain newbies is paramount in maintaining our standing as the dominant marketplace and domain service provider. Participating in a variety of international conferences as we have done over the past several years allows us to foster awareness of the importance of quality domain names beyond what can be grasped from viewing our website.

In the next few months, we’ll arrive at the first full year of dealing with the GDPR restrictions. Much like many in our industry, this was an exercise in evaluating our systems in order to make improvements on the domain ownership verification process. It was a challenge but one we feel we came out on top from and will continue to make adjustments to better our customer experience. Through our extensive background and expertise, we have an advantage of data already in place making this transition more streamlined and customer-friendly but there’s still work to be done and room for growth.  

And lastly, in the last quarter of 2018, we introduced our first phase of our Expiring Domains Auction feed. In conjunction with our registrar partners, we’re able to provide thousands new domains daily that are all available for very low prices and which are of particular interest especially for SEO. 

Christian Voß looking ahead to 2019...

We foresee the demand for quality domains will continue, but this interest is for meaningful, brandable domains that can make an impact in a company’s overarching marketing strategy. There’s been a slight downward pressure on valuation of other types of domains that should not be ignored moving forward including non-premium .com and gTLDs largely due to many competitive alternatives being available. And in conjunction, I also want to mention that price transparency for sellers and buyers is a crucial element that the industry as a whole needs to make strides in improving the quality of information distributed. Our increasing domain sales as fixed priced sales show the importance of reliable and trustworthy price suggestions.   

A movement towards consolidation of services within various companies is supporting the proliferation of more one-stop-shops for all domain-related needs. Small registrars will be bought by bigger allowing services and tools to be made available for a larger audience. This will foster the cross-selling of domains and related functions like hosting, SSL, emails, etc., which will in turn stimulate more mergers of existing brands and service providers. At Sedo, we pride ourselves on facilitating the ability to buy, sell and park domains but we also have our SedoMLS reseller network and other complimentary services. Our SedoMLS network enables our Registrar partners to extend their reach putting more eyes on their domains while also mutually benefiting buyers with more extensive inventory. As the global market gets bigger local expertise, personalized touch and trust-building on an individual customer basis should never loose its importance.  

Data protection and security is a major ongoing focus surrounding all digital fronts as several major players faced scandals. This fares well for our industry and strengthens the argument of taking ownership of digital assets including owning your own domains versus placing all of your efforts into Social Media and leaving up to an outside platform.  

2019 is the 20th anniversary of Sedo.de going online and we’re very excited to celebrate this milestone in our company’s history. Such a feat could not be have been possible without the relationships and bonds we’ve built within our industry – Registries, Registrars, sellers and buyers all over the world. Our partnerships continue to grow and will extend Sedo’s lifespan for another 20 years or more. Stay tuned for events and other promotions to honor our 20th year! 

David Warmuz
Founder & CEO, Trellian.com and Above.com

Trellian.com Founder David Warmuz celebrated the company's 21st anniversary in 2018. David, who serves as CEO of both Trellian its popular domain monetization, aftermarket and brokerage platform, Above.com, launched Trellian with his late brother Ren and their remarkable journey was detailed in the November 2017 DNJournal Cover Story

David Warmuz
CEO, Trellian.com & Above.com

Looking back at 2018, many domain portfolio sales and acquisitions continued at a high rate, however we did see the multiples drop significantly from mid 2018, which have now stabilized. New portfolios moved to Above in 2018 saw decent growth in revenues, in particular those that utilized to Above.com Maximizer service.

Demand for domain traffic from Direct Advertiser once again broke all prior records and we saw even more direct advertisers entering the space to buy domain traffic. With large Brands and Affiliates leading the way. Great time to capitalize on this popular monetization trend.

2018 definitely saw some gaps in traditional parking monetization and one clear leader emerged, forcing the others to work even harder. As a result we look forward to seeing what they release in 2019 to be more competitive as this can only benefit domain portfolio owners.

Looking further ahead into 2019, I feel is likely the best year for domain monetization after a long time of lower revenues from traditional parking. 

With new optimization solutions, improved  existing parking services and the continued growth in direct advertiser demand, 2019 is looking great for traffic domain portfolio owners.


Gregg Freeman

Chief Operating Officer, DomainCapital.com 

Gregg Freeman
COO, DomainCapital.com

Can you imagine how much weaker the real estate market would be if no one could get a mortgage? There is a parallel in the domain industry where DomainCapital changed the game over a decade ago when they started offering financing for top tier domain names, helping fuel an immediate upward surge in aftermarket sales. COO Gregg Freeman has been behind that effort from the start and is still at it, as busy as ever, today. 

After 12 years in the domain industry, financing is still an underutilized resource. Reseller market conditions have created an atmosphere where domainers want to sell almost exclusively to end users and these target companies are finding the names they desire to often be priced to perfection. Whether it be for domain owners looking to leverage or expand existing portfolios while waiting for the appropriate offer or for end user companies using debt to extend their reach for the perfect name, we provide capital for these solutions. 

We appreciate having the opportunity to participate in this State of the Industry cover story, as this is an industry that we are passionate about, that we support and most importantly that we understand!  Domain Capital is here to help domainers and to grow the domain industry. 

 

Domain Brokers & Aftermarket Sales Platforms

George Hong 
Founder & CEO, Guta.com

George Hong, a native of China who lives in the U.S and maintains offices in both countries, is intimately familiar with key buyers and investors on both sides of the Pacific. When Chinese buyers became a major force in the domain aftermarket - especially at the high end of it - a few years ago, George's brokerage company, Guta.com, was experienced tremendous growth that catapulted the firm into the top tier of brokerage services.

George Hong
Founder & CEO
Guta.com

In 2018, many high value transactions have been publicly reported as crypto or blockchain related end users acquisitions. A buying spree from crypto companies drove up prices and demand for generic domains such as one-word dictionary .com, 2-letter .com and 3-letter .com domains. The buying spree slowed down in the second half of the year.  

English dictionary word domain name transactions increased worldwide; many high value sales, such as ice.com, prime.com, ring.com, art.com, duck.com, coins.com, meet.com and files.com, were reported.  

As noted in our new Guta Premium Domain Sales Observation Report, Chinese buyers dominated in 2018, accounting for the majority of domain name purchases in LL.com, NL.com, LN.com, NN.com, NNN.com and NNNN.com categories.  

The following highlights from Guta's 2018 sales help illustrate the purchasing power of Chinese buyers:

●     Guta brokered 8  2-letter .com domain sales, all purchased by Chinese buyers. 7 of those were let go by sellers in the U.S.

●     Guta brokered 86 4-number .com domain sales, all purchased by Chinese buyers. Sellers were from several different countries.

●     Guta brokered 2 3-letter dictionary .com domain sales to Chinese buyers. One was sold for 7 figures in USD and another sold for high 6 figures in USD.  

Finding who owns a domain through looking up Whois records became difficult in 2018 because of GDPR. Individual buyers were relying more on domain companies, such as brokerage firms with international connections, to buy domain names on their behalf.  

George Hong looking ahead to 2019... 

We witnessed a surge in premium domains sales in 2018 with quite a few of the domains being bought by end users. I expect end user acquisitions of premium domains will continue to grow at a fast pace in 2019. However, Coming into 2019, there are storm clouds globally: a bear market in stocks, a bear market in crypto, a weakening economy, a number of issues with the global economy including a messy Brexit and the ongoing trade tensions between China and the US. Quite a few issues will have a direct or indirect impact on domain market. As a domain professional, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are operating in a world that is full of uncertainty.

I think investors will be cautious in 2019. It might not be a bad idea to hold some cash under this kind of economic condition.  

Some governments are implementing strict foreign exchange controls. We are aware that buyers from many Asian countries are experiencing difficulty converting from local currencies into USD and then wiring out the funds. In the future, many buyers of high value domains may no longer be able to use USD to fund purchases. Buyers and sellers might be forced to seek alternative payment methods, such as Bitcoin.  

At Guta, we value collaboration—within our team, and with our partners. Guta has been co-brokering high value deals with many partners in recent years. Three different brokers worked with Guta to close USD 7-figures transactions in 2018. We would love to collaborate with existing and new partners to get more deals done in 2019.


Brooke Hernandez

Senior Domain Broker, Uniregistry.com

We are happy to have Senior Domain Broker Brooke Hernandez representing Uniregistry.com (now re-branding the the simpler name Uni - suggestive of the fact that are involved in so many aspects of the domain business. Besides operating multiple TLD registries and a domain registrar (with monetization services), Uniregistry also runs one of the world's busiest domain sales platforms. Brooke brokered one of 2018's highest profile sales (and the highest new gTLD sale reported to date) - Vacation.Rentals at $500,300.

Brooke Hernandez
Senior Domain Broker
Uniregistry.com

With the passing of another year, it is always interesting to see how things played out in the domain industry. Certain trends continued such as number domains, 2, 3, 4 character domains selling at a rate more than years past with Crypto domains remaining popular. The new trend that I found interesting to watch unfold was the popularity of cannabis or cannabis related domains. It certainly should not be a big surprise to see some domains such as canja.com to not only be used to promote cannabis products but a lifestyle. 

We did see certain gTLDs have large sales with buyers taking an unconventional marketing path with the non .com domains. I found it refreshing to see many companies purchase gTLD domains for brand protection as well, like Cars.Digital did. Yet .com domains are still the strongest domain purchases we saw.  

The coming year I believe there will be more cannabis domains sold as more states start making it legal for recreational use. I think we will start seeing more “social/political movement” domains selling due to current affairs worldwide like Brexit and social justice campaigns which are hot topics in the press. Sometimes a hashtag 

just isn’t enough. The .com will continue to rule supreme but I do look forward to seeing some more new gTLD sales take place and used for alternative marketing strategies.


Ryan McKegney 

CEO, DomainAgents.com

DomainAgents.com has been making waves ever since the company was founded by brothers Ryan and Phil McKegney in 2012.  In both 2017 and 2018 DomainAgents won awards presented by Escrow.com as one of the top ten brokerages in total sales volume worldwide on the Escrow.com platform.

Ryan McKegney
CEO, DomainAgents.com

In 2017 we all watched Bitcoin and crypto explode and, along with it, interest in crypto and blockchain domains. However, as the price of crypto fell, so did some of the enthusiasm for the related domains, but a lot of money had been made and we saw some of that reinvested back into domains.  

.ai domains had a moment in 2018.  At DomainAgents, we saw the number of inquiries on .ai domains increase by over 1,000%.  Much like .io before it, .ai is popular with technology startups and the domains provide an instant level of branding.  

.com is still king, of course, and the high end of the market did very very well in 2018. new TLDs are still struggling to find a place in the secondary market as many of the premium domains sold were not from investors but from the registries themselves.  Hopefully we have reached the end of the nTLD hype cycle and the days of $0.01 domains are behind us.  

GDPR was the biggest story of 2018.  While it wasn't the apocalyptic event that some feared,

it made life more difficult for everybody. While GDPR and the Whois should reach some sort of resolution this year, I would never bet against gridlock at ICANN.  We will probably still be talking about it in 2020.

Ryan McKegney looking ahead to 2019... 

Everyone is watching the larger economy and trying to read the tea leaves.  In the US, employment is up, but threats of a trade war and uncertainty around Brexit and China loom large.  What impact it has on domains is anyone's guess.  In the short term, we might see people looking to minimize risk by selling some assets or by being more conservative with their purchases.  

There are reasons to be optimistic though.  There are big tech IPOs in the works from Uber, Lyft, Slack, and others that should inject money back into the startup ecosystem.  A slowdown in the general economy could also mean more people looking to start their own small businesses.  

One trend that looks to continue is the dominance of massive, largely automated, portfolios run by GoDaddy, HugeDomains, and a handful of others.  These portfolios have huge amounts of data to work with and use it to run at slimmer margins at scale than the average domainer.  It's continuing to get harder for new domainers to enter the industry.


Reza Sardeha

CEO,  Undeveloped.com

Amsterdam based domain sale platform Undeveloped.com is celebrating their 5th anniversary this month. CEO Reza Sardeha's company made an immediate splash when they debuted in Europe in 2014 and they have been expanding their services and growing like wildfire ever since. Today, with their client base now circling the globe, the firm is positioned to grow even faster in the years ahead.

Reza Sardeha
CEO, Undeveloped.com

At Undeveloped we strongly believe that old processes and structures are preventing our industry from reaching its optimal potential. For example, a timely announced new privacy policy like GDPR wasn't handled accordingly at all by our industry, causing some ad hoc processes to determine the end implementation across the board.   

This has caused the market to become even less efficient and caused some serious problems making domains harder to transfer from one party to another. We shouldn't take this lightly, the harder we make it for domains to transfer, the less liquidity we'll see in an already illiquid market. In almost all other internet industries we see continuously increased efficiency by the adoption of new technology and or innovation. But not in our industry. Unwanted and unnecessary lock-ins are unfortunately still the norm at the biggest registrars.  

It's time we stop accepting some of the old processes that aren't relevant anymore for the sake of the progress of our industry.

Looking ahead to 2019...

We're most excited about launching our blockchain powered Domain Automation Network in early 2019.  With the Domain Automation Network, we're solving some of the most significant problems in our industry by creating a new backend infrastructure to handle both simple and complex domain transactions and transfers, fully automated.   

We aim to offer access to this network to anyone via a simple API. The Domain Automation Network has its own registrar to keep domains in escrow and its own payment gateway. You could see the Domain Automation Network us as the Stripe of the domain industry. Anyone can easily build their own domain marketplace for example and use the Domain Automation Network's API to handle all their domain payments & transfers from one person/registrar to another.  

Another unique solution we've built is to use our public ledger to showcase how we'd like to see WHOIS evolve. In what we dubbed as WHOIS 2.0, our system will know and show if a domain is under a payment plan or is currently rented. This way the owner of the domain from a legal point of view isn't liable for the content on the rented domain anymore but the rentee is.  

Our Domain Automation Network also introduces an entirely new WHOIS functionality where domains can have multiple legal owners. This introduces new opportunities for domain investors to sell for example 10% of their entire portfolio to external investors, or crowdfunded domain purchases. By introducing fractional domain ownership, we want to attract more capital to our industry by turning all steady revenue generating portfolios into great and accessible investment vehicles.  

All features mentioned will be available at Undeveloped in early Q1 of 2019, while in Q3 we'll open up our Domain Automation Network for anyone to leverage the core technology that we've built. Some partners might use the network already before that timeframe. By introducing this powerful but open network, we believe we can accelerate innovation in our industry, create more value to all stakeholders in the market and make the market more efficient by replacing and automating manual processes.

Kate Buckley 
Founder & Principal, Buckley Media

In recent years it has become commonplace for Domain Broker Kate Buckley to ring up multiple sales that finish among the year's top 25. She had three in 2017 and three more in 2018 including the combination of Sleeping.com and Snoring.com that she sold for more than $1 million. Kate has a fascinating life story as well, one that we told in a 2018 DN Journal Cover Story.

Kate Buckley
Founder, Buckley Media

2018 felt a bit like “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride." Bumpy, chaotic, and unbelievable—yet with great adventures and phenomenal outcomes along the way. Most notably for our industry, generic .COM domain sales surged to regain their rightful place as supreme virtual real estate/IP assets with a vast field of six and seven-figure domain sales (think: jump.com, ice.com, yes.com, GoTo.com, and many, many more).   

Why? There are mass defections from prominent social media platforms such as Facebook, and monoliths like Amazon are increasingly understood to be dangerous monopolies. Companies who want to stand out from the clutter and free themselves from the tyrannical shackles of walled-in social (why would you want to send traffic to build someone else’s company instead of your own?), and over-inflated ad words are investing in the prime real estate of great domains. I saw this myself with $1M+ sale of sleeping.com and snoring.com. A premium domain owner already (CPAP.com), the buyer knew without a doubt that these premium domains would help him further carve out his own empire. 

Looking ahead to 2019..

The biggest challenge I see is the uncertainty of the economy, particularly as relates to venture capital, a major driver behind high value domain sales. Venture capital investments into United States-based companies grew to $99.5B in 2018, the highest level since 2000, according to CB Insights, a data provider (New York Times). Are we at a tipping point? Perhaps, but I don’t see it affecting high quality domain names in any meaningful fashion over the next few years. And I’m extremely bullish on domains for 2019. But not just any domains—the cream of the crop: the ultra-premium .COM aftermarket: high-value, consumer-facing, generic one and two-word .COMs. The domains that make a difference.  

Due to current market factors and bellwethers of consumer behavior, I predict 2019 will see banner six, seven, and eight-figure domain only and domain-centric company sales (think art.com's recent acquisition by Walmart) as companies seek to claw back and stake out their own indisputable territory in both mindshare and market share.   

Another important benefit to owning these mega generic (and geo) premium domains is their inherent trust factor. Particularly in the age of bots—Studies suggest that less than 60% of web traffic is human, and a healthy majority of it is bot—a great domain signals trustworthiness and authority. I can't think of one mega generic or geo domain that was ever abused or fraudulent. There's too much value in the name to ever gamble the asset.  

The bottom line: Great brands tell stories, great brands stand for something, great brands make their customers’ lives easier. A great domain makes all three of those mission-critical factors much more achievable. 2018 saw more and more companies finally understanding this. 2019 will see more of the same. 

Hobi Michalec 
Co-Founder, Lumis.com

Hobi Michalec
Co-Founder, Lumis.com

In the two years since Hobi Michalec and his brother Slade founded the Lumis Group, the company has become one of the continually brightening lights in the domain brokerage business. Their clients now range from Ivy League universities to C-level executives and industry investors around the globe.

As a domain broker we've noticed a strong, healthy, and upward trend in aftermarket domain name sales. A healthy start-up community certainly helps domain sales. However, in addition to this, we're seeing a much stronger understanding from companies with a historic existence acquire powerful and short domain names, effectively removing them from existence.

For 2019 UDRP reform is important for investors and end-users alike as domain names are emerging as an asset class. With higher sale prices and ultimately asking prices, I would not be surprised to see more frivolous UDRP filings.


Andrew Rosener 

CEO, MediaOptions.com

Year in and year out, few domain brokers have been as consistently successful as MediaOptions CEO Andrew Rosener. The only reason you don't see his name far more often on our weekly sales charts is that he deals primarily in the kind of high end domains that come when non disclosure agreements when they change hands. 

Andrew Rosener
CEO, MediaOptions.com

2018 was an absolutely incredible year!  Record breaking in fact.  We did more than double our total domain sales in 2018 than we did in 2017, which itself was a record year for MediaOptions! We put our money where our mouth is and we placed big bets in line with our expectation that the best domain names would continue to go up in value and those bets paid off.  Our brokerage business grew exponentially as well, making up nearly 75% of our total sales where historically it was around 40% - 50%.  

The most important macro event of 2018 from my perspective, as it relates to domain names, was the collapse in trust among consumers (and businesses) with Social Media. Businesses need a touch point with their customers and it was only a matter of time until businesses would wake up to the fact that if you don’t own that touch point, you can’t control your relationship with your customer or the data you exchange with them.  

In my prediction last year (2017 looking ahead at 2018) I said, " I believe 2018 is going to be a very exciting year in Domaining!  2018 is going to be the year that companies & brands take back their identity.  Take control of their branding & 

message.  Take control of their customers & data. They will move away from the social media dependence and allowing 3rd parties to control their brand, message & data.  Move away from the “walled gardens” and with that, I believe, they will come to realize the value & importance of premium domain names more than ever before.  This will be reflected in higher valuations, greater scarcity & more deal flow."

Andrew Rosener looking ahead to 2019..

If 2017 & early 2018 were the year of Crypto takes over domain names, 2019 will be the year that cannabis and CBD takes over domain names.  There are BILLIONS of dollars about to pour into the Global Cannabis industry and very sophisticated operators getting into the space from totally unrelated industries.  Talent and capital in this space is going to spark a ton of major domain sales next year I predict.  We are already seeing some of it on our domain name market at Ganjapreneur.com, sales and inquiries have been picking up steadily.  

Overall, I am extremely bullish on the best of the best .com domain names.  I like to say the top 2%. As I mentioned last year and I now hear others in the industry repeating recently, like Rick Schwartz on his blog, the divide between the top .com domains and everything else is getting exponentially wider.  I think in 2019 there will be virtually no liquidity for anything but the best domain names. That being said, I think the best names will sell for record breaking prices and I think we’ll look back at 2018 / 2019 as the tipping point where Internet Real Estate begins to overtake physical real estate in value and importance, or at least becomes more widely understood. 


Cate Lim

Global Investment Counselor/Domain Broker 

As one who speaks seven languages and has a broad knowledge of both sides of the world, as well as a diverse cultural background, Cate Lim has had an active role in bridging the West and East business worlds. Cate applies her international knowledge, skills and experience on real estate of two elements: “brick and mortar” real estate and digital real estate (domains). Her clientele includes (but is not limited to) startups, venture capital, domain investors, internet companies and investment firms.

Cate Lim
Golbal Investment Consultant
& Domain Broker

What I considered to be one of the most significant events in 2018 is domainers in China are starting to notice and appreciate the value of one-word(.)com. Many Chinese clients message me via WeChat asking "Do you have good one-word(.)coms for sale? Due to language barrier, this market used to be only interested in short-numbers, short-letters, and pinyin domains; so this is a big leap. Blockchain and cryptocurrency relevant domains are also highly sought after in the Mainland, however the demand plunged since the second half of the year.

The value of premium domains will continue to rise but their sales will slow down in 2019. The trade war has caused quite a stir in the global economy since the fourth quarter of 2018, particularly in the US and China; and domain industry will not be exempted from the ripple effect. Market slow down will stop existing businesses from upgrading their website domains to premium ones, while at the same time drive startups to invest in new gTLDs which cost much less. Because of this, we can expect a lot of room for growth in new gTLDs in 2019.


Continue to Page 2
  for 

Registries & Registrars:

Sandeep Ramchandani (Radix), Robbie Birkner (HEXONET) and Frank Michlick  (DomainCocoon.com). 

 Domain Investor/Developers: 

Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing), Michael Castello (CCIN), Michael Mann (DomainMarket.com), Deepak Daftari (eSiksha.com)

Legal Experts:

Howard Neu (Domain Attorney, NeusNews.com) and Karen Bernstein (Domain Attorney, Bernstein IP).

 

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