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August 17, 2018

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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.

New Verisign Report Reveals Total Domain Registrations Worldwide Climbed to 340 Million in 2Q-2018

Verisign, the administrator or the .com and .net domain registries, has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 2nd quarter of 2018. The company reported that worldwide domain registrations across all extensions reached approximately 339.8 million at the end of the quarter. That is an increase of approximately 6 million domains since the end of 1Q-2018 (an increase of 1.8%) and 7.9 million year over year (a 2.4% jump).

As of June 30, 2018, the .com domain name base totaled approximately 135.6 million domain name registrations, 1.7 million more than the previous quarter (a 1.3% increase). Year over year that is about 6.4 million more .com registrations - a 5% rise.

The .nets did not fare as well. They stood at approximately 14.1 million registrations at the end of 2Q-2018, about 300,000 down from the previous quarter and approximately 1 million down from the same time a year ago (a loss of 6.6%). 

Total new gTLD domain name registrations were approximately 21.8 million at the end of the second quarter of 2018, an increase of approximately 1.6 million domain name registrations, or 7.9%, compared to the first quarter of 2018. However, that rebound came after the new gTLDs had a massive year over year loss of over 20% of their total registrations at the end of 1Q-2018. At the end of 2Q-2018 they were still below the same point a year ago, but in that time frame the loss (down about 2.5 million names from the end of 2Q-2017) was cut in half percentage wise to minus 10.4%.

Total ccTLD domain name registrations were approximately 149.7 million at the end of the second quarter of 2018, an increase of about 3.5 million domain name registrations (up 2.4%), compared to the first quarter of 2018. ccTLDs increased by approximately 5.5 million domain name registrations year over year, a 3.8% rise.

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 second quarter 2018 Domain Name Industry Brief, as well as previous reports, can be obtained at Verisign.com/DNIB

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VPS Web Hosting

GGRG 2Q-2018 Report on Liquid Domain Sales Shows China Slowdown Driving Drop in Median Prices 

Domain brokerage and consultancy GGRG.com has released their latest free quarterly report breaking down aftermarket sales and development of "liquid domain names" in the 2nd quarter of 2018. GGRG defines liquid domains as  being very short .com domains consisting of all letters (L) or all numbers (N), as well as 3-character (C) .coms that have a  combination of letters and numbers. GGRG terms these categories "liquid" domains because they are relatively easy to sell at prevailing market rates.

In recent years a very high demand for these kinds of domains in China has been pushing prices upward but with a major slowdown there, that trend has now reversed. In 2Q-2017 GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano noted, "The median values of disclosed transactions recorded very large decreases in almost all categories. This calls for caution in view of the early Q3 results which are indicating sharp valuation drops for Chinese premium 4Ls."

With respect to total dollar volume, the GGRG report noted, "Escrow.com recorded $12 million in transactions, with the strongest categories being the 3Ls ($4.8M) and 4Ls ($4.3M). These values are in line with last quarter and signal a notable growth in the 3Ls category. ShortNames.com recorded $5.4

GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano

million in transactions, with the most traded categories being 3Ls, 4Ls, and 5Ns, respectively at $1.4M, $1.6M and $1.3M. The 5th percentage values (a measure of floor prices - the lowest end of the price range for each category) gave us mixed signals: on one hand 5Ns and 3Ls showed record increases (+56% and +31%), on the other, 4Ls - the category which accounts for 75% of all liquid domains - dropped 13%."

Another passage in the report indicated the inception of the GDPR last May that brought significant changes to the ownership data that was still publicly available likely affected their domain ownership analysis . GGRG noted, "For the first time, we recorded a drop in Chinese ownership, coupled with a sharp decrease in the number of domains associated with European registrants (down to 4.6% from 7.4%). This could be easily explained by the new privacy rules affecting European owners. The gainers were the "rest of the world" (+4%, from 7.7% to 11.7%), the N/A category and, in small measure, the US, which gained 1%. China remains the largest owner of liquid domains with 165,000 domains associated with Chinese registrants."

Looking ahead, the GGRG report said, "A significant decrease in the wholesale value of Chinese Premium domains might signal that the tide is shifting away from China and back to the West. Chinese owners might start to finally sell inventory. Once again, we expect Western investors and end users to focus on the most premium liquid domains when looking at buying opportunities: specifically, acronyms with Western Premium letters and Keyword domains. We retain our recommendation for investors to focus on quality over quantity."

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Photos & Highlights from the 1st Edition of the Indian Domain Summit in Kolkata, India

The rapidly growing  domain industry in India got another shot in the arm Saturday, August 11, 2018 when a new conference, the Indian Domain Summit, made its debut at the Radisson Ballygunge Kolkata Hotel in Kolkata. The one-day event was co-organized by Startup Cafe and eSiksha.com.


Indian Domain Summit Co-Founder Deepak Daftari (eSiksha.com) welcoming  attendees to the debut edition of the event Saturday, August 11, 2018 in Kolkata, India. (Unless noted otherwise, all photos is this article are courtesy of the Indian Domain Summit).

eSiksha CEO Deepak Daftari, an industry pioneer who is well-known throughout the global domain community, told us the original plan was to hold a small gathering for less than a dozen friends and colleagues in Kolkata. However, as word got out the numbers kept growing until a full-fledged conference blossomed before their eyes. Despite the very short lead time, Daftari said a capacity crowd of 115 turned out with more than half of those traveling from outside Kolkata to attend the first major industry event ever held in eastern India.

Above: View from the audience as the first Indian Domain Summit 
got underway Saturday morning, August 11, 2018 in Kolkata

Below: In the first business session Deepak Daftari conducted a Fireside Chat 
with the Head of ICANN India, Samiran Gupta (right).

Above & below: The morning sessions continued with "Success Stories From Kolkata", a panel discussion (below) moderated by Deepak Daftari that featured successful local entrepreneurs Abhishek Rungta (center, Founder, Indus Net Technologies) and (at right) Srish Agarwal (Founder & CEO, A1 Future Technologies).

Above: Indian Domain Summit was set up to be an interactive event. Audience members were encouraged to ask any questions they had during the business sessions throughout the day.

Below: The next morning session was "Success Stories from the Domaining Industry." It featured (left to right) Moderator Arun Bansal (CEO, ServerGuy), Nitin Agarwal (InformationTechnology.com), Manish Lunja (BrandPros.com) and Arvind Reddy (100DollarDomains.com).

Above: In the final session before the lunch break Rohit Goyal (Founder, SmeHelp.In) and Aishwin Vikhona (eWriting.com) took the stage to share their "Outbound Sales Stories and Domain Sales Case Studies." With Rohit (left) and Aishwin (center) is moderator and Indian Domain Summit Co-Founder Jay Paudyal (DomainKhan.com).

Above & below: After the lunch break attendees returned to their seats for a full slate of afternoon business sessions. Those began with a discussion (below) about "Domain Development, Domain as a Brand, Finding the Right Exact Match Domain." It featured (left to right) Arun Bansal, Chetan Varma (Founder, Elite Back Office Solutions) and Om Thoke (Founder and CEO, Webfosys Group). 

Above: In one of the most well-received sessions of the day Varun Kumar of Pashmina.com (at podium) presented a talk on "Transition of a Domain Name to a Successful Business." Pashmina.com is a sustainable company promoting handcrafted accessories using pure cashmere. Every piece is hand woven & hand embroidered, bringing livelihood to thousands of artisans with fair-trade and ethical practices.

Below: In another highlight of the day, Neha Gupta (Founder, Namaxis Corporation) enthralled the audience with her "Success Story of a Female Domainer." After her talk, conference co-organizer Mayur Saparia presented Neha with a memento of the Summit's appreciation for her support of the event.

Above: After a break for coffee and tea, Deepak Daftari returned to the stage to conduct a Fireside Chat with local Kolkata business star Sagar Daryani (at left, CoFounder and CEO, WowMomo Pvt. Ltd.) who shared how he turned his company into a multi-million dollar operation.

Below: Next Deepak welcomed Alpesh Shinde (Sr. Manager, Heading Aftermarket & Premier Services at GoDaddy India) to the stage where the two of them conducted a session on the "Domain Aftermarket and Expired Domains."

Above & below: The final business session at the 1st edition of the Indian Domain Summit was one of the day's liveliest. Jay Paudyal and Deepak Daftari dove head first into "Domain Name Appraisals." People always want an opinion on what their domains are worth so hands were up in the audience throughout this crowd-pleasing closing session. 

Above: After Mayur Saparia took the stage with his fellow conference organizers for some closing notes and to thank the audience for coming, those still on hand at the end of the busy day were invited to gather for this group photo. In the future, when people talk about the 1st Indian Domain Summit they will have proof they were there!

Above & below: As veteran domain conference attendees know, the show being over just means it's time for the after-party to begin! For the Indian Domain Summit that meant reconvening at the Hard Rock Cafe Kolkata to spend the evening celebrating. Photos courtesy of Arun Bansal.

Above & below: ...but wait, there's still more! When domain people get together it is really hard to get them to go home! On Sunday, the day after the show, Deepak Daftari organized a walk around his hometown - Kolkata - for a couple of dozen high energy people apparently determined to turn the Indian Domain Summit into a marathon.  Even though there were showers that day they didn't dampen anyone's spirits as witnessed (below) by (left to right): Jay Paudyal, Deepak Daftari, Manish Lunja and Arun Bansal.

In a closing note about the inaugural edition of the Indian Domain Summit, Deepak credited Jay Paudyal for joining him in turning their initial idea into a finished product with invaluable help from fellow curators Manish Lunja and Mayur Sapiria. He was also especially appreciative of GoDaddy's support as the event's Principal Sponsor. Deepak noted, "The idea was to educate and grow the community and present the new breed of young successful domainers to the wannabes as the ideal role model for them to follow. Based on the feedback and appreciation on various social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook, I think we created a lot of value of them. We also wanted to highlight the local (Kolkata area) boys to show the young domainers that there is never a dearth of opportunities!"

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.FUN Reaches 100,000 Registrations But Developed Domains Are What Radix Is Most  Happy About

I got a note  from Radix Registry this week letting me know that .FUN, one of the nine new gTLD extensions the company administers, had  crossed the 100,000 mark in total registrations. That is an important milestone for any new gTLD registry to reach but I've never put a lot of emphasis on total registration numbers because, if you compare them to other TLDs, it's like comparing apples to oranges

Some registries reach huge registration numbers by selling their domains for as low as a penny apiece (or even free). Others, with higher fees and a much lower number of registrations, could easily be a lot more profitable than those with far more registrations. There are over a 

thousand new gTLDs now and dozens of different approaches to pricing, with all registries trying to come up with the best balance to help their extensions succeed. 

While total registrations paint an incomplete picture, one measure of success that just about everyone agrees on is a high level of adoption by end users. If people are building websites and businesses on a TLD that dramatically increases public recognition for the extension. That in turn persuades more developers to adopt the TLD creating an ever widening circle of expansion.

New gTLDs are less than five years old (with many younger, like .FUN that was just re-lauched in April 2017), so they have just started this cycle but we've already seen instances of how this can work from TLDs that have been around longer and followed the development path to success. One of the most prominent has been .io, a once little-known ccTLD representing the British Indian Ocean Territory, that people in the tech sector started adopting. Others in that field and others liked the way it looked and sounded, so they built on .io too.  As a result .io has grown into a widely-known extension that does well in both new registrations (despite a very high registration fee compared to .com) and aftermarket sales. 

That is why the many examples of sites that have be built on .FUN were what really caught my eye in the information I got from Radix. Those included sites representing industries like gaming, media, entertainment, travel, technology and others. There were also blockchain startups (www.coin.fun and www.lucky.fun) and contextual domain-redirects (such as Amazon’s www.prime.fun and www.fire.fun) that use .fun domains for brand building and positioning. 

Radix originally acquired the rights to .FUN in October 2016 from Oriental Trading Company, a party supplies brand owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. Radix wanted the TLD for its broad potential in the lifestyle industry as well as the media and entertainment industry. Radix's Swati Maheshwari told me, ".FUN is one of the few new TLDs that evoke a primary human emotion giving it broad appeal. The keyword ‘fun’ is also easily understood even in non-English speaking geographies, giving it an edge in the global market for all things light-hearted and leisurely." Radix is practicing what they preach, having incorporated the concept themselves in a game you can play at www.birdie.fun

Swati said, "from apps to comedians, corporate events to luxury travel - a wide array of business sectors are using .FUN in exciting and fun ways," and she went on to provide more examples of websites that are sharing the .FUN:

1.   www.culture.fun is based in Sunnyvale, California, and helps its corporate clients build a friendly and fun working environment. It also offers to conceptualize and execute corporate events, parties, team building activities, etc. Some of its clients include Adobe, BuzzFeed, Amazon, etc. 

2.   www.hello.fun is a voice-chat app by Singapore based Bigo Entertainment. Through this app, users can create free voice chat rooms and join other groups that match their interest. 

3.   www.tenerife.fun is a luxury yacht rental service in Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands.

4.   www.ismo.fun is the official website of Finnish standup comedian, Ismo Leikola, who made his U.S. debut in 2014 at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood where he won the title of The Funniest Person in the World.

5.   www.manwalksintoabar.fun is an an experiential travel company that arranges island tours and pub crawls for tourists in Madeira, an archipelago comprising 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa

6.   www.design-lab.fun is the design portfolio of New York based Ani Liu, an alumnus of Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab with significant social media clout. 

7.   www.gogo.fun is owned by in-flight Internet subscription service, Gogo Air redirects to this Chicago based service’s ‘buy before you fly’ page meant for individual passengers.  

8.   www.playlab.fun is an American edu-tech startup that promises to create unique and engaging learning experiences for children through Virtual Reality.

9.   www.eli.fun is an Armenian business that offers travel packages and boutique experiences handpicked for couples, families, kids, etc. 

10. www.jumpingpandas.fun is a fun plug-in from Radix and 1&1.  When 1&1’s Volleyball team went to the court recently, we got together with them to create a website for the team which is called Jumping Pandas

In closing Swati noted, "It has already been over a year since .FUN was launched and the TLD has seen a healthy uptake thus-far with 36% registrations coming in from the USA and the rest from Europe, Japan, Russia and China. In November 2017, .FUN received its MIIT accreditation which made it possible for the TLD to make inroads into the growing Chinese business sector. As more and more brands look to connect with their customers with a fun-filled, light-hearted positioning, .FUN will prove to be one of the most promising nTLD for businesses across sectors and geographies."

Swati Maheshwari, Radix Registry

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Photos & Highlights from the 2018 DomainX Conference That Concluded Sunday in New Delhi, India

The 2018 DomainX conference concluded Sunday (August 5) at the Hotel Shangri-LA in New Delhi, India. After opening with an afternoon and evening of networking

on Saturday the show shifted into business mode Sunday with a full slate of presentations and panel discussions that ran from 10am to 6pm. We gathered some photos and highlights posted by conference organizers and attendees on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day to share with you.

Above: DomainX 2018 began the day Sunday with the traditional lamp lighting ceremony initiated by ICANN's India Head, Samiran Gupta (at far left). Continuing to the right are Dr. Ajay Data (Data.in), Brajesh Jain (ISOC Delhi)  and DomainX Co-Founder Manmeet Pal Singh. (photo credit: Amrita Choudhury).

Above: Mr. Gupta also participated in a special session on Internet Governance. L to R are moderator/DomainX Co-Founder Gaurav Kohli, Mr. Gupta, Dr. Data and Mr. Jain (photo credit: DomainX).

At left: The morning continued with a presentation on current domain market trends from DomainMagnate.com Founder Michael Bereslavsky (photo credit: DomainX).

Below: Next up was a panel discussion covering Web Hosting and the Cloud that featured Betrand Yella (Servers_com),  Munesh Jadoun (ZNetLive) and Ravish Gupta (WIPL). (photo credit: Deepesh Mishra).

Below: A view of the Domain X audience from the stage (photo credit: Kumar Amit).

Above: Next to take the stage was Anjali Wadwhani (LegalYaar) with a well-received talk on Internet Strategy. (photo credit: Deepesh Mishra)

Below: In the final session before the Sunday lunch break, Dr. Ajay Data (Data.in) covered Universal Acceptance, IDN & EAI. (photo credit: Deepesh Mishra)

Above: After lunch attorney Rodney D. Ryder kicked off the afternoon session with Domain Names & Web Hosting Legal Case Studies. (photo credit: Deepesh Mishra)

Below: DomainX Co-Founder Manmeet Pal Singh (at far right) participated in two of the panel discussions that followed - one on New gTLDs and another on domain valuation titled Will This Domain Sell? (photo credit: Deepesh Mishra)

A pair of individual presentations completed the final round of business sessions at DomainX 2018. Pardeep Goyal (Cash Overflow) delivered a Domain Name Sales Case Study and Amrendra Mishra (Analyzed Media) provided advice on How to Sell Domain Names by Email Marketing. The 5th annual show officially closed with the DomainX 2018 Awards Ceremony and the GameX Super 6’s Awards.

DomainX has played a major role in the ongoing rapid growth of the domain industry in India. If you have an opportunity to attend when the 2019 event rolls around next summer I think you will find your time very well spent.

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First Round of Speakers Named for New DomainingAmericas Conference Coming to Brazil in October

Back in April  I told you about a new domain conference - DomainingAmericas - that is coming to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil October 6 & 7, 2018. Since then show founder Abner Duarte of PremiumDomains.com.br has been busy putting the agenda together and assembling an all-star line-up of speakers for the event that will be held at the five-star Grand Hyatt Rio De Janiero. With DomainingAmericas now just two months away that process and other final preparations are accelerating. 

Duarte, a domain industry veteran who lives in Boston but is a native of Brazil, had this to say about why he wanted to bring a major conference to his homeland. "With more than 200 million people, Brazil is the populous country in South America. The most influential brands in Brazil are technology companies and as a domain investor, who's been investing in the South American domain market place for over two decades the market place has significantly grown over the last 20 years. Investors, startups, registries, registrars, registrants, hosting and eCommerce companies have flocked into the market, so the time is right!"

Abner Duarte
Domaining Americas Founder

To make sure everything comes together the way he envisions it, Duarte just brought veteran conference producer Jodi Chamberlain of 32Events on board to handle event logistics and speaker co-ordination in the final run up to the show. As many of our readers know, Jodi was Director of the first two NamesCon conferences in Las Vegas and has also helped produced many other major conferences, including T.R.A.F.F.I.C. events and DomainingEurope (now NamesCon Europe). Jodi was just in touch today to tell me about some of the speakers that are now  confirmed for Domaining Americas. They include: 

Rubens Kuhl (Product Marketing Manager of Brazil's .BR Registry ). The .BR ccTLD is the world's 8th largest ccTLDs in total registrations. The .BR Registry takes pride in  investing in innovative actions and projects that help improve and expand Internet infrastructure in Brazil.

Jodi Chamberlain

Alfredo Pinochet (President of LatinTLD). LatinTLD is a Registrar/Agent that focuses on the registration and management of domain name portfolios all across Latin America. Alfredo will share information on registration, renewals, transfers, appraisals, buying, recovering and various other insights within the Latin - Caribbean market.

Daniel Fink (Stakeholder Engagement Sr Manager, Brazil for ICANN). Daniel will educate guests on the role ICANN plays and it important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. 

Jeff Sass (Chief Marketing Officer, .CLUB Registry). Jeff is a senior level digital media, marketing and business development executive with a rare mix of creative &  business experience. Jeff will provide advice on how to market domains both to the South American market and globally. Jeff is also the author of Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER, an entertaining and inspiring business and marketing book that presents real, practical business and marketing tips.

Braden  Pollock (Founder, LegalBrandMarketi ng). Braden, a veteran online entrepreneur and domain investor based in Los Angeles, will serve as the event moderator, a role he has excelled in at major conferences around the world. Braden's many credits included ownership of ScienceFiction.com as well as  membership on the Boards at Epik.com and Benevolent.  

Ms. Chamberlain told us many more speakers will be added between now and the end of August.  She said, "Anyone who is interested in becoming a speaker at Domaining Americas, can email info@domainingamericas.com. We're currently reviewing profiles and will accept speaker requests until September 1st, 2018."

Tickets for Domaining Europe will be available for $275 at Eventbrite until September 1, 2018. Sponsors interested in branding opportunities at the 

Braden Pollock
DomainingAmericas Moderator

conference can download a media kit here. For general event inquiries, drop a note to info@domainingamericas.com

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HEXONET Set to Host a Special Domain Industry Cruise Event in Vancouver, Canada on August 23

Popular domain registrar  HEXONET will be hosting a special evening cruise that will launch from Vancouver's scenic Coal Harbour on Thursday, August 23, 2018. The cruise, that will run from 5:30pm to 9:00pm, will give guests a chance to celebrate domains as well as support a local charity. 100% of all funds collected from ticket sales will be donated to the British Columbia Children's Hospital Foundation, a charity HEXONET regularly supports, and HEXONET will match all funds raised! You can read more about the foundation here

While surrounded by panoramic views of the city skyline and 

Hexonet's 2018 Vancouver Cruise on August 23, 2018 will give attendees breathtaking views from mountains to sea.
Image from Bigstock

coastal mountains, you’ll have an opportunity to meet and connect with international domain industry members, HEXONET customers, and local business leaders, all while enjoying a selection of beverages and tasty bites. Attendees can look forward to a brief panel discussion, followed by an evening of networking and fun in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.  

HEXONET reps tell us they have been having an incredible year of facilitating growth, connection, and education in the domain space, and this exclusive event is part of that effort. Tickets for the event are just $20 (Canadian) but space will obviously be limited so you will want to get yours right away.

We have heard a lot of great things about previous editions of this event so we will be heading out to Vancouver to experience it for ourselves and will of course share the photos and highlights with you in this column.

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India Has Back to Back Domain Conferences Coming Up the First Two Weekends in August

Domain investors  (or those interested in the field) in India have a couple of excellent educational and networking opportunities coming up next month. The first of those, the 5th annual DomainX conference, will be staged in the nation's capital - New Delhi - on August 4 & 5, 2018. The following weekend the spotlight will shift to Kolkata for a new one day event on Saturday, August 11 that is simply titled Domain Name Conference Kolkata.

Image from Bigstock

The DomainX event, to be held at the Hotel Shangri-LA in New Delhi, will get underway at 3pm Saturday (August 4) with show Co-Founder Manmeet Pal Singh presiding over

a two-hour session devoted to domain name case studies and answering audience questions. Saturday evening will be devoted entirely to networking over dinner and drinks. 

A full day of business activities will follow Sunday (August 5) starting at 10am that will feature a broad range of expert speakers including Samiran Gupta (Head, ICANN India), Michael Bereslavsky (Domain Magnate), Anjali Wadhwani (LegalYaar), attorney Rodney D. Ryder, Pardeep Goyal (Cash Overflow) and Amrendra Mishra (Analyzed Media), to name just a few. You can view the full DomainX agenda here and also get a good idea of what to expect by checking out the photos from last year's event. You can get tickets for the event here

The new Domain Name Conference Kolkata at the Radisson Kolkata Ballygunge will get underway at 9:30am on Saturday, August 11 and continue to 5:30pm. This event is being produced by Startup Cafe Foundation and they have lined up an impressive roster of speakers for a first time event as you can see from this list:

Samiran Gupta - Head, ICANN India
Arvind Reddy - Founder, 100DollarDomains.com
Manish Lunja - Founder, BrandPros.com
Deepak Daftari - Founder, eSiksha.com
Neha Gupta - Founder, Namaxis Corporation
Jay Paudyal - Founder, DomainKhan.com
Rohit Goyal - Founder, SmeHelp.In
Varun Kumar - Founder, Pashmina.com
Chetan Varmadirector - Founder, Elite Back Office Solutions

Tickets for this event are as close to free as you are ever likely to see for an event with this kind of talent on hand - just 200 rupees (about $3 at the current exchange rate). 

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Neustar Names New President and CEO - Charles Gottdiener Succeeds Lisa Hook Who Will Remain on the Board

Neustar®, Inc., a major provider of domain registry and real-time information services, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Charles Gottdiener as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Gottdiener, who most recently was Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, succeeds Lisa Hook, who has served as President and CEO and a member of the Neustar Board of Directors since 2010. Ms. Hook will remain on the Board and work closely with Mr. Gottdiener to ensure a seamless transition.

Neustar's announcement of the transition noted, "Over the course of his 30-year career, Mr. Gottdiener has established a track record of leading information services companies to drive innovation in client solutions, increase revenue and profitability, and scale operations. In his role as COO at Providence Equity Partners, Mr. Gottdiener oversaw the firm’s portfolio company operations, business development, human resources and other administrative functions. In addition, Mr. Gottdiener served as a Board member or interim CEO of several Providence 

Charles Gottdiener
President & CEO

portfolio companies, where he focused on driving enterprise value by building a culture of operational excellence and generating profitable growth."

Prior to his role at Providence, Mr. Gottdiener spent seven years at Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) in multiple leadership roles, including President of the global risk, analytics and internet solutions business. Over the course of his D&B career Mr. Gottdiener established a track record of setting competitive business strategies, building high performing teams and launching new, innovative products to drive profitable growth. Prior to joining Providence Equity Partners and Dun & Bradstreet, Mr. Gottdiener held several leadership positions with the Boston Consulting Group, CSC Index, Ernst & Young Consulting and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Mr. Gottdiener received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College

Mr. Gottdiener said, “I am thrilled and honored to lead Neustar in this exciting phase of the Company’s growth. Neustar is unparalleled in its ability to deliver real-time, authoritative insights across marketing, digital performance and defense, as well as in risk, fraud and compliance. I look forward to working with the entire Neustar team, our partners at Golden Gate and GIC, and the Board to continue building Neustar’s leadership in the global information services market and in the service of our clients.”

Lisa Hook
Neustar Board Member,
Former President and CEO

Ms. Hook said, “Neustar has successfully completed the transformation we began in 2011 to become the leading provider of identity resolution-based information services. These efforts have been supported by a fantastic team with whom it has been both a pleasure and an honor to work. Last August, Golden Gate Capital and GIC offered us a compelling opportunity to further invest in our long-term growth and operational flexibility, and with Neustar positioned for future success, now is the right time for a leadership transition. I look forward to working with Charlie and continuing to serve on Neustar’s Board.”

Bernhard Nann, Chairman of the Board at Neustar, said, “With vast operational experience and a proven ability to accelerate business growth and drive profitability, we are confident that Charlie is the right leader for Neustar as the Company provides increasing value to our customers and a great place for our employees to develop their careers. His skills and 

experience in information services and his track record of creating a culture of operational excellence make him well suited to enhance and execute on our vision at Neustar. He will help drive tremendous value for the Company in the coming years.”

Mr. Nann continued, “Over the last 10 years, Lisa has been critical to Neustar’s successful transformation from a telecom services business into an information services provider, and we are grateful for her service and a smooth transition. We look forward to continuing to benefit from her tremendous expertise in her capacity as Director.”

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Ice.com Changes Hands for $3.5 Million in 2018's Biggest Publicly Reported Domain Sale to Date

Veteran domain brokers Brian Harbin from GritBrokerage.com and David Clements from Brannans.com have teamed up to close the biggest publicly reported domain sale thus far in 2018 - Ice.com at a cool $3.5 million. That is almost triple the amount paid for the previous YTD leader, Super.com, a name that sold for $1.2 million in March. 

Harbin represented the seller and Clements the buyer in a deal that was handled by Escrow.com and confirmed by Escrow.com General Manager Jackson Elsegood. While agreeing to allow the purchase

Image from Bigstock

price to be revealed the buyer, who reportedly has a plan in place to develop the domain, has chosen to remain anonymous for now.  

On Monday morning Harbin, Clements and Elsegood all agreed to participate in a private conference call to answer questions about the sale with the proviso that the information shared would be under embargo until 9am this morning.  

(Left to right) Brian Harbin (Grit Brokerage), David Clements (Brannans.com) and 
Jackson Elsegood (Escrow.com) were all involved in closing the $3.5 million sale of Ice.com.

Harbin told me he first met the buyer when that person bought a domain Harbin had listed for $2,500. After buying a few other domains through Harbin's Grit Brokerage in the same price range, this person wound up calling on Harbin to sell a domain for him but this one was a blockbuster - Ice.com. Harbin had done some previous deals with Clements and contacted him about this  exciting new listing. Clements happened to have an acquaintance he had met at a private event in his hometown, Atlanta, that he thought might have an interest in the domain. When Clements presented the opportunity to obtain the domain the buyer jumped on it, agreeing to the full $3.5 million asking price. Working with Escrow.com it then took them barely a week to complete the transaction which happened on July 6. 

Ice.com had previously been developed as an ecommerce platform to sell jewelry products but it became apparent to the owner that the name itself was worth more than the business. While the new owner has development plans of his own he is not ready to reveal what the domain will be used for. Whatever that may be, Clements believes the buyer now has the strongest possible foundation to build on. "For less than the cost of a single, 30-second Super Bowl ad we were able to acquire a powerful, single-word domain name with significant long-term value for our client. Major enterprises are recognizing the value and competitive advantages these premium domains deliver.”

With respect to the seller Harbin said,  “I’m enthusiastic that my client was able to fully monetize the digital asset they’d developed over 19 years – realizing significant gains over the previous sale price. I’m grateful and humbled to be part of a deal that was a win-win-win for everyone involved. And I’m honored to be a small part of the initiative to advance the domain industry by educating consumers on the value of digital assets.”

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CentralNic Acquires KeyDrive - Essentially Doubling in Size Overnight

CentralNic, a UK-based public company that is already an important player in domain registry management and the operation of retail registrars, has just gotten considerably bigger. The company's board of directors announced today that they have agreed to a deal that will allow CentralNic to acquire the entire share capital of Luxembourg-based KeyDrive S.A. and its subsidiaries for an initial consideration of $35.8 million (a figure that includes combination of cash and CentralNic stock according to a report at ProactiveInvestors.co.uk) plus a

performance-based earn-out of up to $10.5 million. The acquisition represents a reverse takeover under the AIM rules for Companies and is conditional upon shareholder approval.

KeyDrive is a global technology business and leading domain registrar that manages nearly 6 million domain names on behalf of companies, resellers and individuals. They are the parent company of several registrars including Moniker.com and DomainDiscount24.com, as well as reseller portal RRP Proxy.

CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford said, “The acquisition of KeyDrive is a milestone for the company. On completion, the enlarged group will have doubled in size and will have the technology platforms, expert staff, vision and drive to rival the industry’s traditional leaders.”

Alex Siffrin, the founder and CEO of KeyDrive will become Chief Operating Officer of the Company, and will also be a significant shareholder. Crawford said,  “I am personally excited to be welcoming Alex to CentralNic. His experience, shared values and standing within the industry will be a tremendous benefit to the group and a great addition to the management team”

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VPS Web Hosting

NameSummit Postponed - 2018 NYC Show Scheduled for August Moves to New Dates in November 

The 2nd annual  edition of the NameSummit conference was scheduled to run August 6-7 at the Westin Times Square Hotel in New York City. However, organizers have now decided to move the 2018 event to November 5-6 at the same hotel in Manhattan

Jason Schaeffer, who co-founded NameSummit with Steven Kaziyev, filled me in on the change of plans. "On May 31st Steve and I hosted our first Real Estate Summit in New York that covered everything from short sale and mortgages to blockchain for Real Estate and online branding," Schaeffer began. "Much of that one day event covered branding on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to

domain names and personal branding for agents.  The coverage had a lot of crossover and connection to what our speakers are teaching at NameSummit. Given the feedback after the event, we decided that we were going to host another Real Estate Summit in the fall."

NameSummit Co-Founder Steven Kaziyev speaking in New York City May 31, 2018 at the Real Estate Summit he also co-founded. Video highlights from that event can be seen here.  

Schaffer continued, "As we were moving toward this year’s NameSummit, the resounding feedback from speakers and sponsors was that we should seriously consider doing a fall event rather than the August dates.  While we originally chose the August dates to avoid possible conflicts with other industry conferences, in the end doing an event in the summer proved to be a big challenge with everyone wanting to take time for vacation and generally slow down.   Given the obvious connections between Real Estate and Domain Names and the fact that much of our content for Real Estate Summit related to digital branding and monetizing digital assets, we started giving serious thought to combining the two shows in the fall.  We started discussions with the Westin a couple of months ago and finally this week obtained clearance to do the new event on November 5 & 6th."

"We are very excited for the Fall show as NYC gives us the opportunity to bring the best in Real Estate and Branding together so the energy should be great and the weather will be 

Jason Schaeffer
NameSummit Co-Founder

nice.  The Westin is accommodating us too with a room rate that is only $10 higher per night than our Summer rate which is pretty good for the high season in Manhattan."


A scene from the first Real Estate Summit in New York City May 31, 2018. This event will be incorporated unto NameSummit when NameSummit returns November 5-6, 2018.

Schaeffer also noted, "Tickets will be priced the same as before with a $299 to $699 range and we will be providing light breakfast and lunch both days along with a party on Monday night.   We’ve already spoken with some Registries and they are excited about the opportunity to connect with the real estate industry to expand the discussion on domains and new gTLDs. In the end, the combined events provide an even greater opportunity for the domain industry to educate and connect with those that are going to buy and use domain names. Our focus remains on helping increase domain name usage and helping people grow their online presence, promote their brands and properties in this changing landscape."

Schaeffer said the fall event will be covering, among other things: 

Influencer Branding

Social Media Branding

Geo-Domains and Geo Targeting

SEO and Digital Media Best Practices

How Blockchain is Expanding 
Opportunities for Real Estate Investing

New gTLDs and Domain Opportunities

Short Sales and Mortgages

Personal Branding and Coaching

Domain Brokerage and Investing Opportunities

Digital Marketing for Agents and Investors

"With the combination of Real Estate Summit and NameSummit, we can help focus the conversation and bring the real property and online property worlds together. We are looking forward to hosting our domain industry friends in New York City this fall," Schaeffer concluded.

We attended the first edition of the NameSummit conference last year in New York City. Photos and highlights from our coverage can be seen here

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Buckley Media Group Closes $1 Million+ Deal for Sleeping.com and Snoring.com 

Buckley Media Group (BMG) has just closed a $1,004,450 sale of two closely related domain names -  Sleeping.com and Snoring.com - to US Expediters, the company that operates CPAP.com. At $502,225 each, BMG will have two new entries in the top ten of our YTD Top 100 Domain Sales Chart when the weekly update to that elite list is posted Wednesday evening. Buckley Media Group already occupies a top ten spot with their $335,000 sale of Inspection.com in February.

BMG Founder & CEO Kate Buckley noted, "Sleeping.com and Snoring.com were registered by my client, a private entity, in 1999. He decided he was ready to liquidate them to an end-user and retained my services to do so. While multiple companies across several industries (from mattresses to healthcare) expressed interest at a very high level, US Expediters ultimately won the domains in a highly competitive bidding environment. They operate CPAP.com so they clearly understand and expertly leverage premium domains, and were ready to substantially invest in these

Kate Buckley
Buckley Media Group

domain assets. I look forward to seeing the exponential impact that Sleeping.com and Snoring.com will have on their business.” 

US Expediters Founder and CEO, Johnny Goodman, stated:  “Cpap-pro.net was the first domain our company used to sell CPAP equipment. When we purchased CPAP.com, it made an immediate financial and brand impact for us. From then on, we understood the power of premium domains. We were able to purchase CPAP.com because we took the time and effort to email the seller in German when no one else did. That was a great deal for us."

Goodman added, “People search for the keyword “sleeping” roughly 12 times as often as they search for CPAP. We've often wished we could list sleep-related products on CPAP.com, but it hasn't always made sense or been on brand. We like the idea of a website that is your one stop shop for anything and everything relating to sleep. It folds nicely into our mission and the impact we want to have on the world."

Ms. Buckley said, “The bottom line to me is that Johnny understands the power of premium .COMs and how to strategically leverage them. He was the ideal acquirer for these powerhouse domains. Premium domains aren’t only lead generators but they are also brand enhancers and appreciating assets. All three lead to higher company valuations. As a business owner, finding these qualities in the same asset is incredibly rare. Johnny got this in spades."  

“I worked with both buyer and seller to negotiate terms and facilitate a smooth and elegant transaction which closed in record time—seven figures in 4 hours and 31 minutes via 

Escrow.com. A special thank you to Manuel and Jackson from Escrow.com who put in the extra time and personally called me to congratulate me on a 7-figure deal setting a 

new record for time closed. All parties were a pleasure to do business with, and I look forward to US Expediters putting these authoritative ultra-premium .COMs to their highest and best use,” Ms. Buckley concluded. 

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Payoneer Decides to Shut Down the Domain Escrow Service They Launched Two Years Ago

For the past two years  global payments service provider Payoneer has been trying to expand its brand by becoming a major player in the domain escrow business. Despite earning positive reviews from customers who used their services, the company apparently didn't reach the financial goals they were aiming for.

Last night I received an email from Payoneer announcing they were shutting down their domain escrow service. It was signed simply Matt Watts (with no title to indicate what his role at the company is). However, a quick check at LinkedIn showed Matt listed as Payoneer's Head of Enterprise Strategy & Business Development, starting this year. Prior to 2018 he was Head of Business Development, B2B Services. 

Two other Payoneer executives, Scott Reynolds and Brandon Abbey, were the company representatives most people in the domain world were familiar with. Just this past January they did a joint presentation about Payoneer services at NamesCon in Las Vegas. After getting the shutdown news from Watts I learned that Reynolds (who had been General Manager, B2B Services) had left Payoneer in March to start his own blockchain-related company, TangoTrade. I haven't yet had a chance to connect with Brandon (who served as the highly regarded President of Escrow.com before joining Payoneer where he has been the Director of Strategic Accounts) to see what is next for him (either in a different role at Payoneer or a new one that would hopefully keep him in our industry where he has been a leader since 2004).

In January 2018 Director of Strategic Accounts Brandon Abbey (left) and the company's GM for B2B Services, Scott Reynolds, detailing Payoneer's domain escrow services in a presentation at NamesCon in Las Vegas. 

Here is the full text of Matt Watts's email announcing Payoneer's exit from the domain escrow space:

"It’s with sincere apologies that I’m sharing news that Payoneer is discontinuing our escrow business. While we have been excited and honored to service prospects and partners like yourself, after careful review of our product portfolio have decided to commit our focus to other areas of the Payoneer business. 

If we can be of help to successfully transition our relationship to other Payoneer products that might support your business, please let us know. We offer a variety of money transfer services such as mass payouts, virtual bank accounts, invoicing with credit card and bank transfer payments, and other products, and would be happy to support exploration of our services.  

We know the transition for some may not be easy, but we are here to lend guidance and flexibility where possible. Thank you for your business to this point and understanding of our situation. We’ve appreciated all you’ve done in partnership with Payoneer."

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Did the Crypto.com Buyer Pay $12 Million? - Best WIPO Panelist Identified - .LLC Enters Landrush

On Friday  I passed along the news that Crypto.com had been sold to Monaco for an undisclosed price (but one almost universally believed to have been multiple millions of dollars). While Monaco and seller Matt Blaze have both been mum on that point, Elliot Silver at DomainInvesting.com came across a post by Cheddar.com reporter Tanaya Macheel this morning that stated the news organization had learned from an anonymous source close to the transaction that the price was $12 million. There has not yet been any public confirmation of that number from anyone involved in the sale though.

Image from Bigstock

With respect to speculation that Blaze may have gotten both cash and equity in the deal, Blaze posted on his blog over the weekend that he did not get any financial stake in Monaco as part of the deal.   

Howard Neu

In other news, domain owners who have had to defend their ownership rights in UDRP disputes have long felt the deck was stacked against them - especially in cases involving a single panelist who may have a long record of siding with complainants. in an attempt to even the playing field, many respondents pay more to get a three-person panel. On his blog at NeusNews.com, veteran domain attorney Howard Neu has been issuing semi-annual reports identifying which WIPO panelists in 3-panelist cases most often sided with the Respondent by finding there was an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking or abuse of process by the Complainant. 

Howard just released his latest report today, one that found John Swinson was the best panelist for respondents in the first half of 2018. Check out the full report for the details as well as other names of panelists who most often gave domain owners a fair shake.

Elsewhere, the new .LLC gTLD opened its landrush today with General Availability set to begin July 23, 2018. The roll out is being handled by one of the biggest domain registry operators, Afilias. A company press release noted, "With the introduction of .LLC, Limited Liability Companies will now be able to establish Internet identities which are more closely aligned with their existing identities and branding, rather than modifying their name or brand to adapt to limited choices in more crowded TLDs. .LLC registration is open to anyone; no need to wait till the paperwork is filed.  Future LLC owners can use their new domains to attract investors, develop new websites to win support or announce planned businesses and begin marketing efforts to win business and support their missions as they apply to become an LLC."

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Never Say Never! Crypto.com Owner Decides to Sell After All - Multi-Million $ Domain Goes to Monaco

Never say never! Less than 3 months ago we told you about how Crypto.com owner Matt Blaze had gotten so tired of getting unsolicited offers for his extraordinarily valuable domain he declared the name was not for sale at any price and people should just stop trying to change his mind. Blaze, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, had also made it clear that he was especially not interested in seeing anyone use the name for cryptocurrency purposes, having once stated, "many cryptocurrencies are scams, and I strongly advise against their use as investment vehicles."

What a difference 90 days - and a presumably gargantuan payday - can make. TechCrunch reported today that Monaco, a company that plans to issue a crypto Visa Card, had acquired Crypto.com from Blaze for an undisclosed price. With the purchase of Crypto.com Monaco is also rebranding itself as

Former Crypto.com Owner Matt Blaze
(Photo from Twitter)

MCO to match the name of the cryptocurrency it issues. News of the transaction triggered rampant speculation as to what the selling price was with the most common guess appearing to fall in the $5-$10 million range. Others, pointing to Blaze's reluctance to sell, think it took more than that to get the deal done.

Image from Bigstock

Blaze has not commented on the transaction and Monaco CEO Kris Marszalek would only tell TechCrunch "If it was only about money he’d have sold it a long time ago," suggesting Blaze decided that Monaco was the right home for the name he has owned since registering it in 1993. Some believe that statement may also indicate that Blaze had gotten some equity as well as cash in the deal. 

Whatever the financial arrangements were it appears Monaco can easily afford the acquisition.  TechCrunch reported, "Monaco’s ICO finished in June 2017 with the company  

raising what was then worth $25 million in crypto. Fast forward to today and Marszalek said the firm has close to $200 million on its balance sheet thanks to a surge in the valuation of cryptocurrencies."

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Photos & Highlights from the 2018 NamesCon China Conference in Shanghai

The  2018 NamesCon China conference was held in Shanghai in conjunction with its sister Cloudfest China conference June 27-29 at the Yuluxe Sheshan (a Tribute Portfolio Hotel). The event began with Digicert's Welcome Party Wednesday evening and was followed by two full days of business Thursday and Friday. Our friend, veteran international domain broker

George Hong was on hand for the show that his company, Guta.com, helped sponsor and George was kind enough to send us some photos and highlights from the event so we could share them with you.

Above & in the 3 photos below: Scenes from the 2018 Coudfest/NamesCon China 
Welcome Party
hosted by Digicert Wednesday evening, June 27 in Shanghai.

Above: The next two days, Thursday and Friday, June 28 & 29, gave attendees a chance to benefit from a wide variety of presentations, panel discussions and networking opportunities

At left: Peng Wang from Ali Cloud Domain got things started Thursday morning with a report on domain name industry development

Below: In another popular session Thursday Jian Zhang from Baidu Cloud presented an Exploration of ABC (AI, BigData and Cloud Computing in the Digital Era at Baidu.

Above: The wide ranging panel discussions at NamesCon China 2018 included this one moderated by Jun Yang of West.cn (at far left) that covered the current state of New gTLDs. China has become the best market for some of the new extensions that have been licensed to operate there.

Below: The final panel discussion Thursday focused on how to make Successful Domain Transactions. It featured (left to right): Host Yue Feng from Newg.tv, George Hong (Guta.com), Peibi Wang, Giuseppe Graziano (GGRG.com), Xiaochun Deng (YuMing.com) and Jim Wang (Goddady). 

During this one-hour discussion the panelists covered end user domain sales, the type of names end users are buying, the potential impact of New GLTDs on the domain industry if ICANN opens another round of new GLTD applications, the difference in how mainstream domaining is viewed by participants in China and the West and the future value and sales cycle of domain names.

There were many more business sessions throughout the day as well as a global online domain auction on Friday. 

At right & below: In between seminars and during afternoon tea breaks, attendees visited the Exhibition Hall to get information from service providers like domain  brokerage Guta.com (at right) or enjoy some game and entertainment provided by companies like the .CLUB registry.

Above: The purple men from .XYZ were also a big draw in the Exhibition Hall where they took on TrustAsia in some Superhero cosplay.

At left: After a busy day of conference activities, attendees re-fueled Thursday evening at a VIP Dinner Party hosted by Cloudfest China and NamesCon China.

June wound up being a busy month for NamesCon as the China show came less than three weeks after their first NamesCon Europe conference in Valencia, Spain. Events like these have made it possible for domain 

industry participants to build business relationships and personal friendships around the globe. That is something that I've always believed makes this one of the best of all worlds for Internet entrepreneurs.

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If you've been out of the loop lately, catch up in the Lowdown Archive!

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