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September 20, 2017

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Memo From Merge! With Big Show in Orlando Just 24 Days Away Last Call Issued for Low Cost Rooms

Merge! - the big new multi-pronged mega show from NamesCon Co-Founder Jothan Frakes and THE Domain Conference Co-Founder Ray Dillman Neu is now barely three weeks away. The extravaganza at the Marriott World Center Resort in Orlando kicks off on Saturday, October 14 and continues through the following Wednesday. Today I got a note from a member of the conference team letting me know the show's contract with the Marriott for a block of $129 a night rooms expires at the end of the day Friday (September 22). If you plan on going and don't reserve a room by then the cost will nearly double.

Here are some other useful hotel tips. Merge! attendees have the option to accept or decline the usually mandatory $25 a day resort fee. If you pay it you will get to use the shuttle to all four Disney parks (shuttles leave every hour), a $10 laundry credit, a bucket of balls at the driving range, a daily bottle of water in your room and free wifi. Of course, being internet professionals we all need wifi but if you don't need the other resort fee perks you can decline the fee and still get free wifi if you are a Marriott Rewards member. If you are not one, it is free to sign up and would be worth doing for the wifi alone (plus you will get your first points for your stay at Merge!). By the way - for those wondering how this Marriott fared during Hurricane Irma - just fine - and damage free!

Above and below: Views of the Marriott World Center Resort in Orlando 
where the Merge! conference will be staged October 14-18, 2017. 

The speaker's lineup for this extraordinarily ambitious show (that is actually many conferences being offered under one ticket) features a wide range of experts from fields including Domains, Digital Branding, Website Development, End User Experience, New Business Startups, IP Technology, SEO Design, Security, Hosting, Blockchain, CryptoCurrency and more. With the wide variety of disciplines being covered most of the speakers will be new to you, giving you an opportunity to learn about many associated fields and make key new contacts during show week. You can register for Merge! here. We will be covering the event and hope to see you in Orlando too!  

(Posted September 19, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170919.htm

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Global Domain Registrations Pass the 331 Million Mark - ccTLDs Growing Faster Than Overall Market

Verisign (the administrator of the .com and .net domain registries) has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 2nd quarter or 2017. The company announced that approximately 1.3 million domain name registrations were added to the internet in 2Q-2017, bringing the total number of domain name registrations to approximately 331.9 million across all top-level domains (TLDs) as of June 30, 2017 .

Over the past year 6.7 million domains have been added, an annual growth rate 2.1%. Country code domains (ccTLDS) had a slightly higher growth rate than the overall market. Total ccTLD registrations stood at approximately 144.2 million at the end of 2Q-2017, a 2.6% increase year over year.

Verisign's .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of approximately 144.3 million domain name registrations at the end of 2Q-2017 - a 0.8% increase year over year. As of June 30, 2017 , the .com domain name base totaled 129.2 million domain name registrations (the most, by far, of any TLD), while the .net domain name base totaled 15.1 million.

Verisign publishes the Domain Name Industry Brief to provide internet users throughout the world with statistical and analytical research and data on the domain name industry. The data above is just a sampling from the full 2Q-2017 Brief. You can get it, as well as previous reports, here: Verisign.com/DNIB.

(Posted Sept. 18, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170918.htm

Hurricane Irma Hammers .CLUB Building in Fort Lauderdale - Half of Roof Ripped Off But No One Hurt

Hurricane Irma tore across the state of Florida throughout the day Sunday and on into Monday morning (Sept. 10-11) But thankfully, thus far, I haven't heard of any our many domain industry friends and colleagues being injured (or worse) in the storm. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of personal and/or corporate property and belongings. I have heard from several whose homes, cars and workplaces were damaged. Some of them are also still without power and suffering in Florida's infamous summertime heat - a situation that could drag for several more days.

The most extensive damage I've heard of to date happened to domain registry operator .CLUB's office building in Fort Lauderdale where half of the roof was ripped off by Irma, leaving the contents unprotected and destroyed by the heavy wind and rain. 

Image from Bigstock

Colin Campbell, the Founder and CEO of .CLUB Domains, said, “Literally, it looks like a bomb went off. I couldn’t believe the damage. It’s truly a sad day for our company. We feel for everyone affected by this horrible storm and we are very fortunate as all our staff are safe.” 

Above: This aerial photo shows the extent of the damage to .CLUB headquarters in 
Fort Lauderdale where Hurricane Irma's winds sheared off almost half of the roof.

Above & below: Inside the damaged building ceiling tiles fell to the floor
allowing wind and and rain to come in through what was left of the roof.

The building in the up and coming Progresso/Flagler area has recently been approved for funds from the Fort Lauderdale government via the Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to launch a tech incubator under the brand Startups.Club. The building was scheduled to be renovated for completion sometime in 2018. 

Campbell said, “Many .CLUB domain names are used by Startups. Creating a working facility specifically to support startups in the Fort Lauderdale community seemed like an ideal fit in tune with our mission, and the perfect environment to also house our global corporate headquarters. It is unfortunate we have to vacate the premises sooner than expected, but the good news is our plans to renovate and open the Startups.club facility should remain on track."

"The company will find a way to operate during this period," Campbell continued. "We are hoping we can find

Rendering of what the .CLUB building will look like when 
repairs and renovation is completed next year. 

temporary space near our damaged office. We love the Progresso/Flagler area. It’s a young creative community with a real fun vibe.”

While .CLUB's corporate offices were in the path of Irma’s destruction, the company’s technical platform and servers are located in Virginia and were not affected in any way. The company currently employs 17 people and has been working closely with a few Fort Lauderdale startups who will also now need to find temporary facilities until the building is repaired and re-constructed. 

(Posted Sept. 13, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170913.htm

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Hurricane Irma is On the Way So We are Hunkering Down - How Things Look from Our Side of the Sunshine State

Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 Update to article below: Hurricane Irma has now come and gone and we were fortunate to get through the historic storm unharmed and damage free thanks to a late turn in Irma's direction. Sunday morning (Sept. 9) forecasters said it was headed straight at us in Tampa as a Cat 3 hurricane. However a few hours before it was due to arrive the storm shifted to our east and wound up going through Lakeland instead, leaving is with much less severe Cat 1 level rain and wind conditions.  Ironically that was back on the path they were predicting Friday when I wrote the story below. 

We are very thankful to have been among the lucky ones and our thoughts are with those throughout the state and Caribbean who have had a much rougher ride through this historic storm than we have.

Image from Bigstock

After a week of preparing for a severe hurricane I will spend the next couple of days getting things back in order and stored away for the next time (which I'm hopeful will be a long time away)! Then we can get back to a topic I'm much more fond of writing about - domains!

Original article from Friday, May 8, 2017:

As I'm sure you are all well aware, Hurricane Irma, the biggest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, is bearing down on Florida as I write this, after wreaking havoc throughout the Caribbean. The storm is so large it will affect the entire Florida peninsula, especially if it stays on its current track and goes straight up the middle of the state (Irma is wider than the entire peninsula).

We are located just north of Tampa on Florida's Gulf Coast, so I am going to turn my attention to final hurricane preparations and it will likely be several days before I will have an opportunity to post again. Our county officials just announced they expect to see electric power lost for several days after the storm (which is due in our area Monday morning). 

The latest track show the eye of the storm coming through Polk County which is the next county to our east so we have been told to expect hurricane force winds. On the plus side, since we are halfway up the peninsula, the storm is expected to drop from a category 4 to a category 2 hurricane by the time it reaches us and, if the eye doesn't drift any closer to us, our winds will likely be category 1 - a level that is not expected to damage homes similar to ours. It's a big if as it could still shift and go right through Tampa. No one knows for sure and they won't have the best grasp of the track until the storm makes its turn to the north sometime Saturday night.

We are as well prepared for the hurricane (especially at the reduced power expected by the time it reaches us) as we could possibly be. Plenty of water, food, batteries, a generator and a hurricane reinforced concrete block home far away from any evacuation zones or flood plains (a primary reason we felt comfortable staying as long as the storm wasn't expected to be above a 1 or 2). In our area, rain is not a big concern with this storm. It is expected to move through fast but with those worrisome hurricane force winds that causes the storm surges that flood coastal areas and wind induced destruction within 50 or so miles of the eye inland.

Our bigger concern right now is with our many friends on the southeast coast of Florida in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beach area which has long had one of the world's largest concentrations of domain industry participants. Just about all experts agree that area will be hit with a strong category 4 hurricane. For those not familiar with the kind of destruction caused by the five different categories of hurricanes, this video from the Weather Channel is a great visual representation of what can be expected (when the YouTube banner ad appears over the lower part of the video, just click the X at the top right of the banner to get it out of the way):

So, we will have thoughts and prayers focused on our friends to the south. Irma is expected to reach us about 12 hours after they go through the worst of it. When things return to normal here, I'll be back with you and looking forward to talk about domains again rather than natural disasters. Right now we are wishing the best possible outcome for everyone who is in this historic storm's path.

(Posted Sept. 8, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170908.htm

DomainSherpa's Michael Cyger Announces Retirement from Domain Name Publishing

Like DomainSherpa.com Founder Michael Cyger's other Facebook friends, I was surprised to see a post from Michael this morning announcing that he had decided to retire form domain name publishing. Since entering the business six years ago Michael has done an astounding job in producing 404 extensive videos featuring a vast array of industry experts. The entire body of work has become an invaluable resource for those want to learn more about domain investing and other facets of the industry. Fortunately, the Sherpa website will remain online so that resource will remain available.

Cyger said in his farewell letter that he is looking forward to taking on new challenges, noting "As an engineer by education, nothing gives me a sense of accomplishment more than figuring out things." Michael already has a number of business interests in addition to DomainSherpa so he will have no shortage of projects to turn his attention to. One of them includes a successful print magazine devoted to his hometown, Bainbridge Island, Washington (Michael also owns BainbridgeIsland.com).

Michael Cyger
DomainSherpa Founder

While Cyger, a successful domain investor in his own right, is moving on to new pursuits he will not disappear from the domain scene. He wrote, "You’ll see me at conferences as I still love and believe in the domain name industry, and enjoy an excuse to travel. And you can contact me at Michael at WebXMedia dot com or on Twitter @michaelcyger."

That's good news and we will look forward to continue seeing Michael out and about and hearing about his latest ventures. We certainly wish him the best in whatever those may be and join with so many others in giving him a heartfelt thank you for everything he has contributed to the industry over the past six years.

(Posted September 6, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170906.htm

Hurricane Harvey Wipes Out Home and Possessions of Domain Industry Family - Here's How You Can Help

Hurricane Harvey, the  historic storm that wreaked havoc on Houston, Texas and beyond this past week, is expected to be the most expensive natural disaster in American history with losses running as much as $160 billion. As the fourth largest city in the U.S., Houston, as you would expect, is home to a number of domain industry professionals who were caught in the middle of the disaster. Fortunately, none to our knowledge, was seriously injured in the destruction and, miraculously, most (again, that we are aware of at this stage) did not lose their homes. 

Unfortunately, most is not all, and a well-known figure in our business, Lead Community Administrator at the NamePros forum for the past 8 years, Eric Lyon, his wife and infant son lost their home, their cars and virtually all of their physical possessions in the flooding (as did close relatives who lived across the street from them).

Eric Lyon at the 2015 NamesCon 
conference in Las Vegas

(Photo courtesy of NamesCon)

This photo shows the Lyon family's home and two cars (at top left) as the water rapidly rises (it would go much higher) during the Hurricane Harvey disaster in Texas. This shot was taken from a relative's home across the street where Eric, his wife and son had sought refuge. That house would also become completely flooded with everyone in the extended family finally being rescued by friends who boated in to to take them out after overwhelmed public first responders were unable to get to them.

As I write this Eric's family has found temporary shelter in the home of Eric's brother-in-law, but they have a long road to recovery ahead of them - one that begins with no home, no cars, no furniture and very little clothing. A domain industry colleague, George Verdugo, took the bull by the horns and opened a GoFundMe page for the Lyon family Tuesday night with the goal of raising $15,000 to help the Lyon family get back on their feet.  I am proud to say that the domain industry has responded to their plight admirably with over $10,000 raised as of this writing (barely 36 hours after the campaign began).  I would encourage you to help push it over the top and beyond by making a donation of any amount you can spare. 

Many have already stepped up. One initiative I saw just as I began writing this was NamesCon offering to donate 50% of the cost of any ticket purchased today (Thursday, August 31) for the 2018 NamesCon conference coming up in January. Many of you are going anyhow, so if you haven't ought your ticket yet, doing it today will be a big help to the Lyon family. You can use this code "Back2SchoolSale" to purchase your ticket here.

Eric and Amanda Lyon with their son at the 2017 NamesCon conference in Las Vegas.

While helping anyone in this situation in whatever way we can is the right thing to do, I would just note one other thing. Eric has a well deserved reputation for going above and beyond the call of duty to help others in any way he can (he has certainly provided invaluable help to countless industry newcomers in his role at NamesPros, on both a personal and professional level). This is a time when he and his family are the ones who need help now - let's continue to give it to them and get them back on their feet!

(Posted August 31, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170831.htm

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Internet But Were Too Embarrassed to Ask

Those of us in the domain business are generally assumed to be Internet experts but I would be the first to admit we don't know everything and might even blow an answer or two on some of the basics. For example, is the Internet and the World Wide Web the same thing? If not, what's the difference? If some of us don't know that, how wide is the "knowledge gap" within the general public with respect to this amazing medium that has changed all of our lives in such a dramatic way?

The Public Interest Registry (the operators of the .org domain) wondered about that too, so they conducted an in depth survey that revealed  consumers know significantly less about the internet than they think (something we may be guilty of as well). While 84% believed they were “knowledgeable” about the 

Image from Bigstock

internet, the findings showed most consumers fell far below that mark. For example, on that Internet vs. the World Wide Web question, only 20% knew the World Wide Web is different from the internet (The correct definition of the internet is a system of interconnected networks that allows different computers to connect with one another. The World Wide Web is an information system on the Internet that allows documents to be connected to other documents by hypertext links).

PIR's nationwide survey assessed internet knowledge among users ranging from millennial-aged digital natives to the baby boomer generation – including basic internet history facts, definitions of key internet terms and best practices for safe internet use. To combat 

this knowledge gap among consumers, Public Interest Registry has also compiled a variety of resources including a “How Well do You Know The Internet?” quiz, infographic and more into an invaluable resource called Internet 101

PIR noted, "The survey results underscore the need for widespread internet education among users and spotlight critical issues from net neutrality to global internet access disparities. Public Interest Registry’s Internet 101 Survey also reinforces the organization’s goal to provide useful information for individuals and companies on topics ranging from internet operations to online security to help users more safely and effectively harness the power of the World Wide Web."

Here are some other basic Internet facts that stumped many respondents:

  • Only 29% of participants correctly identified the meaning of HTTP, with 31% admitting outright they did not know the meaning of the term

  • 68% of people could not identify the decade when the World Wide Web was invented

  • Only 31% of users could correctly define a “domain name system”

  • Less than 50% of participants correctly identified HTTPS as a more secure protocol that’s safer to share personal or financial information

While the survey revealed a handful of widely held misconceptions about the internet, consumers did fare slightly better on the below questions.

  • Most participants (59%) correctly defined a URL as another term for a web address

  • 66% of people correctly identified a domain name from a browser, an email address and a social media handle

  • 80% of users knew that they could find official information from their Congressman at a .gov domain name

Battle of the Ages – Millennials vs. Boomers

Millennials may have grown up using the internet, but users from the boomer generation are more knowledgeable than both millennials and Generation X when it comes to basic information about the internet, from online safety to internet operations. Here are a few areas where boomers outpaced their younger counterparts.

  • More baby boomers could identify a safe site (47%) than millennial or Generation X users. 

  • 34% of boomers compared to 29% of millennials knew the World Wide Web was created in the 1980’s

  • Fewer millennials (42%) knew the correct definition of the internet than boomers (46%) More boomers knew the correct percentage of the world’s population with access to the internet than the other age groups surveyed

Public Interest Registry CEO Brian Cute noted, “The survey revealed that 50% of U.S. internet users think more people globally are connected to the internet than actually are, which is a reminder of the work that must be done to close the global internet education and the internet access gap. Public Interest Registry hopes this survey will not only educate, but also help spark dialogue around internet issues such as access, cybersecurity threats and more.”  

Internet 101 – What You Should Know   

There’s a lot for users to learn about the internet – how it works and the issues impacting future internet regulation and access. Of those surveyed, the average user has been online for 17 years, which shows that long term internet use alone does not equate to a better understanding of this powerful tool. Users must be provided the resources they need to more confidently use the internet. Below are few facts to get up to speed on the basics.

Brian Cute
CEO, Public Interest Registry

  1. A total of 47% of the world's population has access to the Internet, which amounts to approximately 3.9 billion people globally who are not online.[2]

  2. The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee in a paper called “Information Management: A Proposal.” The concept was initially deemed “vague, but exciting” by Berners-Lee’s boss.

  3. The HTTP at the beginning of a website stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, the standard over which data is sent between a browser and a site.

  4. A site that begins with HTTPS is a secure site that is safer to insert credit card info or personal information. The “S” at the end stands for secure and means that communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

  5. HTML is the standard language for creating websites, but a variety of web development languages such as Java and Python exist to help make webpages more dynamic and complex.

  6. While the internet is not managed or regulated by any one individual, organization or country, some organizations help maintain the internet, such as The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which manages internet protocols and domain name systems.

  7. The first generic top-level domains created in the early development of the internet were: .org, .com, .net, .gov, .edu, .mil and .int

  8. If you’d like to create a website, you can purchase a domain name from a registrar

For more information on the Internet 101 Survey and to test your own knowledge of the internet please visit https://pir.org/internet101/.


[1] This report presents the findings of a survey conducted among a sample of 1,014 adults comprising 506 men and 508 women 18 years of age and older. The online omnibus study is conducted twice a week among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older.  This survey was live on May 22-24, 2017.  

(Posted August 29, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170829.htm

The 2nd Edition of the Brands & Domains Conference is Coming to the Netherlands in October

Domaining Europe Conference Founder Dietmar Stefitz launched an additional conference called Brands & Domains last year in Valencia, Spain. While Domaining Europe covers every 

aspect of the industry, Brands & Domains was created to focus on one sector - .brands - those new gTLDs that are owned and operated by specific companies to reinforce their online identity. More than 500 .brand extensions are now live including .google, .audi, .canon and .philips to name just a few.

This year the Brands & Domains event expands from one day to two and moves to a new city - The Hague, Netherlands. The show will be staged at the Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus (where the  2016 Domaining Europe conference was held) on October 2 and 3, 2017. Stefitz has also enlisted two men with well established .brand expertise -  Guillaume Pahud (DotStories.com) and Martin Sutton (Top Dot Ltd.) - to co-produce the upcoming event. 

Brands & Domains describes itself as "a neutral and non-biased platform organized around three topics: Brand & Customer Protection

2017 Brands & Domains Conference Co-Producers Guillaume Pahud (left) 
and Martin Sutton

Governance and Brand Communication & Customer Experience." At the 2017 show marketers, brand executives, IP Specialists and policy makers will gather to exchange and discuss opportunities and  best practices as well as research and analysis. Representatives from registrar
and registry operators will also be on hand to connect with marketers and brand specialists to help develop and generate brand value. The objectives of the conference are to:

  • Inform brands about the existing use cases so that brands include dotBrand in their digital marketing tools landscape.

  • Raise awareness & Educate communication and web agencies about the potential of
    dotBrand domains.

  • Connect the world of digital marketing and branding with the domain name ecosystem.

Those scheduled to speak include Akram Atallah (Deputy CEO and President, Global Domains Division at ICANN), Georges Edouard Dias (former Chief Digital Officer of l’Oreal) and Tony Kirsch (Head of Professional Services and Evangelist for Neustar) to name just a few. You can see the full speakers list here

Organizers will also exclusively share the results of an SEO contest run by web agencies with the co-operation of universities and researchers. Those who wish to attend can Register here (the cost is €300). Brands & Domains has also secured a special hotel room rate of €125 per night for conference attendees. Rooms can be booked here.

(Posted August 25, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170825.htm

Cybersecurity Innovator Farsight Security Adds Two Domain Industry Leaders to Their Growing Team

It seems a day rarely passes without another company being victimized by a cyber attack of one kind or another. Wholesale data theft, denial of service attacks and other offenses routinely generates losses that can run into the millions of dollars. That has put the need for ironclad  security front and center, boosting the fortunes of companies like San Mateo, California based Farsight Security that have developed successful solutions to the problem.

Farsight, the leading provider of the world’s largest real-time DNS threat intelligence, caught my eye after seeing them enlist two longtime domain industry leaders over the last four weeks. The first was Alexa Raad, the former CEO of the Public Interest Registry (administrator of the .ORG extension) and Founder/CEO of Architelos.  Farsight named Alexa their Chief Operating Officer on July 25. Then, just this morning, we got word that veteran executive Ken Hansen, has also joined the Farsight team as Senior Account Executive. Ken has had key roles at China Springboard, Neustar and other domain industry companies. 

Ms. Raad is a tech entrepreneur with a long track record of growing revenues, scaling organizations, and developing new markets in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Farsight CEO Dr. Paul Vixie said, "Alexa has two decades of executive and technology experience in DNS and Internet governance, and Farsight is incredibly lucky to get her. We wanted a transformational leader for our sales, marketing, business development, and customer engagement functions, and, with Alexa Raad, we could not have chosen a better executive to lead our team."

Ms. Raad, who holds an MBA as well as a MS in Information Systems from George Washington University, noted,  “I am very excited to join such a distinguished team. Farsight’s reputation for providing the best threat intelligence services, along with the depth of its tech talent made it an incredibly attractive opportunity. I am looking forward to what we can achieve together"

Alexa Raad
Farsight Security COO

Ken Hansen
Senior Account Executive
Farsight Security 

Hansen will use his vast business development experience in the Farsight sales organization, helping them continue to grow revenues. Over the past year, Farsight Security has experienced significant demand for its passive DNS solutions from leading automotive, healthcare, financial and government organizations to gain new threat intelligence in their fight against global cyberattacks. Farsight DNSDB, the company’s flagship solution, is the world’s largest historical Passive DNS database with over 35 billion DNS resolutions collected since 2010. 

(Posted August 21, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170821.htm

Radix Steps Up Promotion of Their New gTLDs with Web Design Contest Offering $30,000 in Prize Money 

New gTLD registry operator Radix continues to come up with new ways to promote the nine new domain extensions they operate. Already known for their innovative Startup League program (that I've previously written about - most recently in June) Radix has just rolled out another initiative - a global web design contest called F3.space - with $30,000 in prize money up for grabs. 

Web designers, developers and existing customers are invited to submit their website built on any of the gTLDs operated by Radix: .ONLINE, .TECH, .SPACE, .STORE, .PRESS, .SITE, .WEBSITE, .HOST and .FUN. The contest will have weekly and monthly winners, chosen based on public votes as well as evaluation by a panel of  judges. Radix expects the contest to engage existing new TLD users while also promoting usage of new TLDs in the web design community. 

Sandeep Ramchandani
Radix VP and Business Head

Sandeep Ramchandani, Radix VP and Business Head, said,  “We are already actively working with the global startup community through the Startup League and with tech programmers through numerous hackathons and now -  with F3.space - we are focusing specifically on the web design community. To make this initiative even bigger, Radix will also work with Registrars and invite their customers to participate in the contest."

The judges selected for the F3.space Contest are Chad Borlase (Group Creative Director, SapientRazorfish, Toronto), Laura Müller (UX Lead, MetaDesign, Berlin) and Hakarl Bee (Group Creative Director at  RAPP, New York City).

 The submissions will be evaluated on three criteria – Form, Function and Flair (the inspiration for the contest's F3 name). The competition  is open to anyone who has an existing website on any of Radix’s TLDs, as well as those who have an interest in web  

design, including small and medium sized agencies and freelancers. The contest will be ongoing through March 31, 2018 so there is ample time for designers to build and enter a new site.

Radix said the winning designs will be showcased to an international community of designers, developers and creative thinkers, and users can vote for the designs they like the best.

Last year Radix launched the Startup League, a startup-centric program to encourage the use of new TLDs among new businesses. Today, the League has 100+ startups on board and 50+ partners from the global startup ecosystem. Radix has also been an active supporter of hackathons around the world since 2012. As a result, more than 5,000 hackathon projects have been developed on Radix domains so far. 

(Posted August 17, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170817.htm

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GGRG Releases 2Q-2017 Liquid Domain Market Report with 3-Character .Coms Now Added to the Mix

Domain brokerage and consultancy GGRG.com has released their latest free quarterly report (available as a .PDF file as well as a video produced by DomainSherpa.com) breaking down aftermarket sales and development of "liquid domain names." In past reports GGRG has defined those as being very short .com domains consisting of all letters (L) or all numbers (N) that are relatively easy to sell at prevailing market prices. With their latest report they have included 3-character (C) .coms as well for the first time. Those are domains that mix letters and numbers together like SF8.com (LLN), 88G.com (NNL) or alternating number/letter combinations  like  G7H.com or 9H5.com.

GGRG reported that 3-character category accounts for 28,080 domains, roughly the same number of domains as 3Ls and 4Ns combined (27,576). They also noted, " 3Cs were all registered years ago and have traded consistently ever since, mostly on auction platforms." GGRG also looked at how many domains from this category have been developed into active websites and reported, "the 3C category has a 13.81% development rate, the 2nd lowest in the liquid markets, but not too different than the more expensive 3Ns and 4Ns categories which present 

GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano

development indexes in the 15% range. LL domains remain once again the most developed category at 36.39%, followed by CCs at 28.65% and 3Ls at 27.43%.

On the sales front, GGRG said, "According to Escrow.com, 3C domains rank surprisingly as the most traded category for the quarter with $5.8 million USD in gross volume, which could be the result of large end user sales or portfolio transactions. For the same period, ShortNames.com reported over $700,000 in disclosed 3Cs sales, featuring the highest turnover per category ever reported at 2.7% (758 sales). The overall liquid market turnover is slightly up at about 0.9% (5,512 transactions) for the quarter."

Image from Bigstock

GGRG added, "Even if we do not account for 3Cs transactions, the aggregate value of disclosed transactions grew 50%, from $8 million to over $12 million. The majority of this can be attributed to a notable $3 million increase in 3Ls sales, which this quarter featured a significant number of disclosed end user sales - most notably fly.com, sold for $2.89 million. Escrow.com confirms this trend by reporting $4.7 million in 3Ls transactions last quarter."

The GGRG report also includes a Forecast section you will want to check out to see what they are predicting for the year ahead. That came with this bit of advice - 

"the most successful investors will be the ones able to pick the right domains with end user potential, rather than purchasing in bulk and waiting for capital appreciation." Again you can get the free full report (with much more info including graphs and charts) in text or video formats here.

(Posted August 15, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170815.htm

Closing Day Photos & Highlights from the 1st NameSummit Conference in New York City

The debut edition of the NameSummit digital branding conference ended Tuesday (August 8, 2017) at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan Hotel in New York (you will find opening day photos and highlights here). The event was co-founded by Steven Kaziyev (NewYorkMedia.com) and Jason Schaeffer (ESQWire.com) with invaluable support from Co-Producers Ari Goldberger (ESQwire.com) and Andrew Rosenener (MediaOptions.com). Jodi Chamberlain (32Events.com) was also brought onboard to direct the show. 

The founders and producers are all domain industry veterans but with NameSummit they wanted to expand their horizons beyond domains to also include all aspects of starting and operating a business online, including domain acquisition, website development, SEO, social media, marketing,  management and more.

Above: Despite being a first year show, NameSummit was able to attract A list speakers from all of the fields the conference set out to cover.  A perfect example of that came right off the bat Tuesday morning when conference Co-Founder Jason Schaeffer (left) kicked off Day 2 by bringing  Sedo CEO Tobias Flaitz on stage for a Fireside Chat in which the leader of the domain industry powerhouse discussed The Evolution of the Domain Industry and Branding Trends

Below: A view from the audience as the closing day of NameSummit 2017 got underway Tuesday morning (August 8).

Above: The second Tuesday session on Influencer Branding and Social Currency featured two stars from that category - Greg Yuna (at left), who is widely known as Mr. Flawless after being given that nickname by boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, and Gerard Adams (The Millennial Mentor) who founded popular social impact startup accelerator FOWNDERS. Gerard became a self-made millionaire at age 24. Yuna is an Instagram star who is known for selling custom medallions, watches, diamond and gold pieces to heavyweights in the music and sports world.

Below: Next up was Tony Kirsch, the Head of Professional Services and Evangelist for Neustar, who covered .BRANDS - TLDs and the Evolution of Digital Super Brands. Neustar administers or provides backend services for many top level domain extensions including many owned by corporate brands, as well as generic and geocentric extensions like .co, .biz, .us and the new .nyc, to name a few.

Above: In a special lunch hour coaching session, the audience learned about the Body of Power - Branding Through Body Language from Stacee Mandeville of Red Leaf Coaching. Stacee provided proven strategies for building your personal brand through physical communication skills.

Below: After lunch the hot topic of Blockchain was tackled by an expert panel is a session titled Disruption in Digital Advertising and Marketing and the Wolk Exchange. The session featured (left to right) Peter Borovykh (Blockchain Solution Architect at Blockchain Driven), Harish Thimmappa (SVP of Revenue at Wolk.com), Alex Mashinsky (Founder & Managing Director at Governing Dynamics) and Rob Monster (DigitalTown.com).

Above: Attendees KW Boswell and Lyra Simmonds pay close attention to the advice being offered from the experts on stage during the Tuesday business sessions at NameSummit.

Below: The Tuesday schedule continued with New Domain Usage Case Studies: Three Leading New TLD Registries Share Insights and Real World Examples. Those registries were represented by (left to right) Matt Bamonte (Donuts), Jeff Sass (.CLUB) and Victor Pitts (MMX.co). 

Above: Legal matters were also well covered at NameSummit. This session, featuring five highly experienced Internet/IP attorneys, was titled Starting Up and More - Protecting You and Your Business - From TMs to Social Media Law. It featured (left to right): Jason Schaeffer (NameSummit Co-Founder and IP Attorney at ESQwire.com), Brett Lewis (Lewis & Lin LLC), Daliah Saper (Saper Law), Stevan Lieberman (Partner, APLegal.com) and Ari Goldberger (Founder, ESQwire.com).

Below: The next session featured another quintet - this one detailing a Marketing Strategy Holistic Approach for Clients to Maximize ROI. It featured (left to right - participating in a group photo at the end of their discussion) Moderator Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com), Alex Melen (Co-Founder & CEO, Smart Sites), Roberto Blake (RobertoBlake.com), Michael Mahler (Senior Strategist, Ajax Union) and Michael Suarez (Senior Strategist, Ajax Union).

Above: At 4pm it was time for the final business session of NameSummit 2017: Name Selection - Identifying Great Names for Branding - How Domains Can Propel Your Business. The session featured moderator Jason Schaeffer (standing at left) and (seated  left to right on stage) Amanda Waltz (Executive Director, North America, BrandIT), Dave Evanson (Senior Broker at Sedo), Loren Stocker (TollFreeMarket.com), Larry Fischer (GetYourDomain.com) and Joseph Peterson (Director of Operations, Epik.com).

Below: With NameSummit business now officially concluded attendees started filing from the ballroom to an adjacent hall where a Farewell Cocktail Party was just getting underway.

Above: Time to Say Goodbye (until next time)! (left to right) Jodi Chamberlain (32Events.com), Karen Bernstein (KarenBernsteinLaw.com) and Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz (ExcellentDomains.ca).

Below: Some of the guys formed a trio of their own (also arranged by height - purely coincidental though, as none of us has the organizational skill to plan something like that!). Left to right are Jeff Sass (.CLUB), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com) and Larry Fischer (GetYourDomain.com).

Above: On her way out Karen Bernstein (who lives in New York) was asked by George Verdugo (VisitSpace.com) for her opinion of the show. Karen gave it a big thumb's up!

Below: Finally, a big Thank You to NameSummit's Co-Founders - Steven Kaziyev (left) and Jason Schaeffer - for being such great hosts and for putting on a wonderful debut event that helped all of their guests expand their horizons (in both the virtual world and the real one). The same goes for NameSummit Co-Producers Ari Goldberger and Andrew Rosener as well as Show Director Jodi Chamberlain who teamed with Steven and Jason to make it all happen!

(Posted August 8, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170808-2.htm

Opening Day Photos and Highlights from the Inaugural NameSummit Conference in New York City 

The opening day of the inaugural NameSummit digital branding conference is in the books. The two day event began at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan hotel in New York on Monday (August 7, 2017) on a stormy day in the Big Apple.  The weather was bad enough to force cancellation of several flights at nearby airports but spirits were high in the Hilton ballroom and attendance steadily rose throughout the day. Attendees were attracted by an agenda that covered virtually every aspect of launching and 

operating a business online, including domain acquisition, website development, SEO, social media, marketing and management.

Above: After NameSummit Co-Founders Steven Kaziyev and Jason Schaeffer welcomed attendees to their first conference in New York, Brett Napoli from Ambition Insight took the stage in the first business session - Taking Focused Action: Strategies to Grow Your Internet Presence Today. Brett covered all of the bases with respect to  successfully creating, managing and distributing your content online.

Below: The weather outside was frightful but by noon the Hilton ballroom was nearly full after many New Yorkers braved the elements to join attendees who had flown in from around the country for NameSummit.

Above: In the next session SEMPO Research VP Marc Engelsman (left) and Chairman Mike Grehan give attendees insight into Understanding the Need for Integrating Content and Intent Marketing.

Below: While the scope of NameSummit goes well beyond domain names alone, plenty of major league domain investors could be spotted in the audience including industry pioneer Larry Fischer (GetYourDomain.com)

Above: Those interested in leveraging the power of video were able to learn from one of the best when master Author, Educator and Content Creator Roberto Blake took the stage to provide tips on Leveraging YouTube - Understand What It Takes to Thrive.

Below: NameSummit scored a coup by landing national TV commentator, author and attorney Lisa Bloom as their featured speaker to start the afternoon session Monday. It no doubt helped that one of the most well-known figures in the domain industry (and the moderator at NameSummit) is Lisa's husband Braden Pollock! Lisa's topic was Protecting Your Number One Asset - Your Personal Brand. She also talked about the widely heralded work her firm has done, especially on behalf of women who have been subjected to abuse or discrimination (very often working pro bono for causes she believes in). Her well received talk, in front of the largest audience of the day, had an especially touching moment when a female attendee stood up and, weeping, thanked Lisa for the extraordinary help she had given her. 

Above: In the next afternoon session .CLUB Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Sass captured immediate attention - and that was just appreciation for the title of his talk - Naming You Startup? Stop Drppng Vwls & Making Sh*t Up! Fortunately Jeff's talk was equally creative and informative, no doubt winning more fans for .CLUB, a mission that has taken him all over the world since the new gTLD was founded.

Below: At mid-afternoon the subject changed to Making the Most of Digital Marketing with Google with two well qualified experts covering the topic in depth - Google Agency Development Manager Timothy Jordan (left) and Michael Venezia, Digital Marketing Director for Cool Nerds.

Above: Conference Director Jodi Chamberlain (32Events.com) added a special member to her team for NameSummit, her son Noah! With the early start this young man is getting we may be looking at another Frank Schilling here!

Below: Back on stage, the next panel tackled Creating Brand Equity Through Digital Marketing. Left to right are moderator Braden Pollock, Michael Melen (Co-Founder and COO at SmartSites, and Alex Melen (Co-Founder and CEO at SmartSites) and You Tube guru Roberto Blake (RobertoBlake.com).

Above: The new .NYC domain extension was a must cover subject for New York based NameSummit. This panel covered the new gTLD inside out. Left to right are Lori Anne Wardi (Vice President at Neustar, the administrator of the .NYC Registry), John Colascione (CEO at LongIsland.com), Art Malkov (Co-Founder & Digital Director at Souvenirs.NYC and Silicon.NYC) and NameSummit Co-Founder Steven Kaziyev (NewYorkMedia.com).

Below: These days everyone understands the importance of social media outreach but not necessarily how to do it successfully. That was covered in the next session - Social Media Management and Monetization Across Platforms. It featured (left to right) moderator Braden Pollock, Gerard Adams (The Millennial Mentor), Ryan Malone (Senior Manager for Sales/Operations at Likeable Local) and David Zaretsky (Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Scientist at Snips Media).

Above: At 5pm a day closing Cocktail Party got underway with the celebrants including (left to right) Steven Kaziyev (NameSummit Co-Founder), Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz (ExcellentDomains.ca) and Steven's lovely wife Zhanna Shiman.

Below: While the cocktail hour had started, the business day still wasn't over as some special sessions ran concurrently including Rob Monster's talk about Smart Cities - a Smarter Way to Do Business - Local First. Rob is the CEO at both Epik.com and Digital Town.

In other sessions that ran concurrently with cocktails, Loren Stocker (TollFreeMarket.com) talked about Business Texting - the Next Wave of Communication, and Geoffrey Gonzalez (Senior Director Sales at Natcom Global) went over The Route to Monetization via Evergreen Shirt Form Video and the folks from FOWNDERS were there to provide personal coaching.

Last but certainly not least, NameSummit Co-Producer Ari Goldberger (left) took the stage to propose a toast to his ESQwire.com colleague - conference Co-Founder Jason Schaeffer (right) and Jason's fellow Co-Founder Steven Kaziyev, for the remarkable job they did in putting this show together in an extraordinarily short period of time (the show was announced just four months ago when we broke the news).

As I write this, the second and final day of NameSummit is just getting underway. I will have all of the closing day photos and highlights for you in my next post from New York

(Posted August 8, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170808.htm

First NameSummit Digital Branding Conference is Underway in New York - Early Photos from the Big Apple

The inaugural edition of the newest conference on the industry show circuit, NameSummit,  got underway this morning at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan Hotel in New York City. The morning sessions are still underway as I write this with a full slate of afternoon activity to follow before the opening day closes with a cocktail party this evening. I will have photos and highlights from all of the day's sessions in my next post from the Big Apple but wanted to give you a flavor of what is going on as well as New York's role as a conference co-star.

Above: NameSummit Co-Founders Steven Kaziyev (left) from NewYorkMedia.com and Jason Schaeffer from ESQWire.com, welcoming their guests to the first edition their new digital branding conference at 9:30 this morning in New York.

Below: Part of the audience on hand as NameSummit got underway this morning at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan Hotel in New York.

Above: Having the show in New York City gave NameSummit immediate appeal and the Hilton could not be a more convenient location with so many major attractions within easy walking distance - often no more than a couple of blocks away.

Below: I got into town Sunday morning so I could take advantage of the show location and a beautiful summer day to explore the immediate surroundings on foot. Times Square is always a good first stop to absorb some of the city's energy so I headed south and was there within five minutes 

Above: Of course walking requires fuel. Fortunately New York has food booths or trucks on virtually every corner (and often in between) so no need to worry about going hungry!

Below: As the morning wore on the Sunday crowd got bigger and bigger so by the time I headed north to my next stop I was already engulfed in a sea of humanity. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but I always get an energy boost from being in the middle of it.

Above: My next stop was the Rockefeller Center where you could easily spend a full day at the shops and restaurants, going to the Top of the Rock (74 floors up) or visiting some of the world famous entertainment venues like the NBC studios that are located there.

Below: A close up of the beautiful gold statue by the Rockefeller Center Concourse

Above: The entrance to the NBC Studios where The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is staged.

Below: Just one block over from Rockefeller Center is the iconic Radio City Music Hall.

Above: From Radio City I strolled  a few blocks over to see the historic Ed Sullivan Theater which is now the home for CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Below: While all of the modern pop culture locations are fun to visit it is still hard to beat a timeless landmark like St. Patrick's Cathedral.

So that will show you the immediate neighborhood where NameSummit is taking place through tomorrow evening (August 8, 2017). While Sunday was a beautiful day to be outside a major storm is reportedly on its way in as a I write this. That will make this a good day to be inside and fortunately, NameSummit will make it a day where there is nowhere else I would rather be!

(Posted August 7, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2017/dailyposts/20170807.htm


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