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April 17, 2014

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The Lowdown Subscribe to our RSS Feed
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.

Some First Impressions as Six More New gTLDs Entered General Availability Today Including Five from Frank Schilling's Uniregistry 

Flowers aren't the only things blossoming this spring. New gTLDs continue to sprout in numbers that are threatening to put the daisy population to shame. Six more entered general availability today, with five of those coming from Frank Schilling's Uniregistry.com: .link, .photo, .pics, .gift and .guitars

The sixth new entry is .buzz from Arkansas based  entrepreneur Bill Doshier who is doing business under the name Dot Strategy. I met Bill three months ago at the NamesCon conference in Las Vegas and he is one of those immediately likeable people you can't help but root for (something he has in common with Schilling, so it's fitting that both launched their new offerings on the same day). 

Of course, being a nice guy doesn't guarantee people will buy your product, so we will have to wait and see how the registration numbers stack up on these new arrivals. I do think Uniregistry has positioned themselves to do good business with their .link offering as it is the first low cost new gTLD (widely available for $10 or less) and it also has the benefit of being generic enough to be used with almost any keyword. 

The other four Uniregistry releases are two to 

three times higher and are limited to specific verticals so those will likely be more reliant on end users. .Photo appears to have potential, especially given that .photography has become one of the three most popular new gTLDs released to date (along with .guru and .berlin). On the downside, .photo has to compete with both .photography and .photos, which was also recently released. It would be a lot easier road if only one those very similar TLDs existed but this is going to be a common plight in the new gTLD space with more similar (and likely confusing to end user) groupings in the same vertical on the way.

Doshier's .Buzz is taking the opposite approach from .link. with base registration prices at most places I looked in the $35 range - a premium number for domains not carrying a premium label. That alone will make them a much tougher sale (and will pretty much remove it from the the radar of those domain investors who are

dabbling in new gTLDs). 

Also, considering that even with over 100 new extensions available now, we haven't even begun to scratch the competitive surface with hundreds more on the way this year alone. That is going to create a brutal environment for some registry operators, especially those that don't have the resources the bigger players do. It will be interesting to see how they adapt as the pie gets cut into more and more pieces.  

(Posted April 15, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140415.htm

Companies in the News: Verisign, Famous Four's .PARTY, Heritage Auctions & DomainNameWire 

We have several bases to touch today. Let's start the trip around the horn with Verisign's release of their latest Domain Name Industry Brief covering the final quarter of 2013. This report is always packed with interesting information on domain registration trends. 

In the 4Q-2013 report Verisign (the operator of the .com and .net registries) revealed that 5 million domain names were added to the Internet in the closing quarter of last year, bringing the total number of domain names registered worldwide (in all extensions) to 271 million. That is 18.5 million more than the previous year's total, representing a healthy 7.3% jump in year over year global domain registrations.

.Com continues to be the world's most popular TLD (by far) with 112 million domains registered, about five times more than any other extension. 

With the universe of domain names continuing to expand, operators of the hundreds of new gTLDs that have started coming online hope to grab a piece of the pie for themselves. Many operators are battling rivals for some of the more appealing extensions, but one such battle for .PARTY has ended with Famous Four Media winning the rights when its last competitor, Oriental Trading Company, Inc., agreed to bow out (a move that is almost always accompanied by substantial compensation. 

Famous Four's parent, Domain Venture Partners, has applied to operate 57 TLDs and has now won 

rights to 13 of those. They expect to open registrations in the .PARTY extension by the end of this year.

Elsewhere, Heritage Auctions, the giant mainstream auction house that became the first of the big three (including Christie's and Sotheby's) to sell domain names, held their second domain auction Wednesday (April 9, 

2014). The online event wound up generating over $448,000 in sales. The biggest purchase made was LK.com at $287,000. Other standouts were GunParts.com at $57,500 and Smart.org at $20,125.

One other note today - our friend Andrew Allemann at DomainNameWire.com is currently conducting the 9th annual Domain Name Wire Survey. The survey always produces a great deal of insight into the various strategies domain owners are employing, what they think about how things are going in the industry, which service providers they prefer, etc.

The more people who participate the clearer the picture, so I would encourage everyone to take the brief survey. You'll need to act quickly though - this year's survey closes at the end of the day Tuesday, April 15.

(Posted April 10, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140410.htm

DomainNameSales Sets a New Record for a .Net Sale Banking $500,000 for Mobile.net and Booking Two Additional Six-Figure Sales

DomainNameSales.com (DNS) Vice President of Sales Jeff Gabriel has confirmed the company has sold Mobile.net for $500,000 in the highest .net sale on record. Gabriel credited DNS broker Andrew Mathias for making the landmark sale of a domain that was owned by DNS Founder Frank Schilling. The public Whois record now shows Steven Renner of Minneapolis as the owner of the domain. The previous .net leader was Sex.net, sold for $454,500 in 2006.

Mobile.net was one of three six-figure sales  

DNS made in the opening quarter of this year that Gabriel was able to tell us about (others were subject to non-disclosure agreements). The ones they were able to disclose were BOE.com at $120,000 and 106.com at $107,000. Those will all be charted for the first time when our new weekly domain sales report comes out tomorrow (Wednesday, April 9, 2014. We also be charting many more notable DNS sales from 1Q-2014. 

With Mathias's sale of Mobile.net, DomainNameSales can now claim that brokers on their current team made all-time top sales in .com, .net and .org. Gabriel himself sold the highest .com (Sex.com at $13 million) and the highest .org (Poker.org at $1 Million) when he was at Sedo

(Posted April 8, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140408.htm

First Come First Served .CO.COM Land Rush Begins Tomorrow - Second Heritage Auctions Domain Sale Happens Wednesday

A couple of notable domain sales events will be happening over the next 48 hours. First up, the new .CO.COM registry opens their 90-day Land Rush period at 12 noon (U.S. Eastern time) tomorrow (Tuesday, April 8, 2014). Unlike many previous land rushes, this one will be all first come, first served (no auctions). So, if you are willing to pay the land rush price (which will vary depending on the domain) you can get it immediately if someone else hasn't beaten you to it. Prices will drop to standard rates (set by the more than 200 registrars that offer .co.com domains) when General Availability begins July 8, 2014. 

.CO.COM CEO Ken Hansen thinks the thing that sets .co.com apart from the hundreds of new gTLDs now coming to market is its .com TLD. Hansen said, "Last year over 30 million .com domains were registered. Most of those names were very long, hard to remember, and not ideal for marketing. When given a choice, many users will opt for the shorter name with a .co.com extension."

.CO.COM CEO Ken Hansen

Hansen thinks .co.com will fair particularly well in the 69 countries where “double dot" extensions (like Great Britain's .co.uk) are already popular with registrants.  

Heritage Auctions has been promoting Wednesday's domain name auction with ads in mainstream publications like this one in the New York Times.

While  .CO.COM is getting ready for their Land Rush, Heritage Auctions, who became the first of the Big 3 mainstream auction houses to sell domains last fall, will be holding their second domain auction online Wednesday (April 9, 2014).  After raking in more than $1.5 million with their inaugural event last November, Heritage Auctions will try to top that with a new catalog of premium domains that includes 103 lots

None of the nation's three biggest mainstream auction houses (Sothebys, Christies and Heritage Auctions) had ever offered domains before HA took the plunge and went all in with the launch of a dedicated Domain Name and Intellectual Property Division headed by veteran domain investor Aron Meystedt

This is viewed as a landmark event because Heritage has the deep pockets necessary to promote the high value of top tier domains to the mainstream business community (which they have been doing with ads like the one at left in the New York Times). 

Perhaps even more importantly HA has a reputation for identifying and offering high value assets to a wealthy clientele that is now seeing domain names placed on the same top shelf as fine art, rare coins, sports memorabilia and other investment quality assets.

Meystedt believes that the value of domains as corporate "brands" is just as (or more) important than their investment value, so that has been his emphasis in selecting names for Wednesday's event. While an investor may be able to buy a domain for $100,000 and eventually sell it for $500,000, there have been several instances where corporations have built businesses worth $100 million or more around a memorable domain name (a notable example is Business.com. The domain name alone was sold for $150,000, then again for over $7 million and finally had a business built upon it that sold for $345 million).

(Posted April 7, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140407.htm

Three for Three?: Frank Schilling Offers Yet Another Way for Domain Owners to Make Money

Frank Schilling's story is well-known, from initially making his fortune as a domain investor (detailed in a December 2007 DN Journal Cover Story) to his expansion into providing domain services for his fellow investors (a move chronicled in a second DN Journal Cover Story in November 2012). He has already produced two big hits as a service provider, first with a disruptive domain monetization service (Internet Traffic), followed by an innovative domain sales platform in DomainNameSales.com.

He is now trying to make it three for three as a domain registrar/registry operator (offering new gTLDs) at Uniregistry.com. At first glance, the registrar/registry operations didn't appear to offer domain owners a way to make money in the way that Schilling's PPC and domain sales platforms did, but with the announcement of a new Uniregistry affiliate program on his blog Thursday, Frank has covered that base yet again. 

Frank Schilling
Uniregistry Founder 

Those who sign up for the program can put Uniregistry links on their own websites, landing pages, social media posts, etc. and earn a commission any time someone clicks that link and registers a domain name. While that is standard procedure with a lot of affiliate programs, Schilling, as we have all come to expect, came up with a way to add significant value to the equation - you not only get paid when they register the domain, you get paid the same commission every time they renew it.

The amount of the commission will depend on the extension registered, with the highest rates being paid for registrations in Uniregistry'd own new TLDs. Uniregistry's VP of Partner Operations, John Smrekar, who has been spending a lot of his time helping build the affiliate program into one that will stand out from the crowd told us, " If they register one of our offerings, like the new .sexy or .link TLDs, you get 35%. For .Com and .Net it is 30% and for all other TLDs it is 20%. Most importantly, we are paying affiliates the same commission every time the domains purchased are renewed, so each domain registered is like a commission stream."

In his blog post Schilling talked about not finding his career calling until he was in his 30s and finally stumbled upon the world of domains. Ever since he has examined every conceivable way to make money with domains - including affiliate programs. He wrote about his eureka moment that led to Uniregistry's affiliate program, wondering "what if there was an affiliate 

John Smrekar
Uniregistry VP, Partner Operations

program that paid the affiliate for the sale and then treated them more like a registrar-reseller in the future; compensating them again when the name is renewed? Now you’ve got a model that can get website owners to invest, to put their shoulder to the wheel and sell some names in volume – creating a business inside our business. What if that affiliate program could payout across legacy extensions like .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info too! That would “really” be great!! Well I couldn’t find a generous affiliate program like that folks – so I had to make my own."

The doors have just opened on his latest enterprise, so it's too early to know if Schilling will hit another one out of the park with Uniregsitry and its affiliate program but, if you look at his track record over the years, betting on him has been a lot more profitable than betting against him.

(Posted April 4, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140404.htm

The Domain Name Association Completes Its Board With New Members from Afilias, Web.com, Neustar, Amazon & Asiamix Digital

The Domain Name Assocation has finalized its 12-member Board of Directors with the election of five new Directors. The DNA has been operating with an interim board since the trade group was founded last year by ARI Registry Services, Donuts, GoDaddy, Google, Rightside and What Box? to "educate the public about the expansion of domain names" (that, of course, referring to tidal wave of new gTLDs that began arriving this year). Many other members have joined since then and the newly constituted board will represent the full membership.

The newly elected Directors are:

Philipp Grabensee, 
Chairman of the Board 
Afilias Limited

Bob Wiegand
Senior Vice President, 
Web.com

Jeff Neuman
VP, Registry Services
Neustar, Inc.

Stacey King
Senior Corporate Counsel
Amazon

Vladimir Shadrunov 
Director of TLD Projects 
Asiamix Digital Ltd.

The DNA's Chairman of the Board, Adrian Kinderis, said, "The new members make our board stronger and will allow the DNA to address our industry's challenges and move forward energetically on our educational initiatives. Because our board members represent a range of important geographies and industry sectors, we are well positioned to act on international concerns and deliver truly global solutions."

Membership in The DNA is open to organizations involved in all aspects of managing domain names, including top-level domain name registry operators, registrars, resellers, and registry service providers. DNA leaders say organizations are joining to collaborate with peers, share best practice and ensure mutual success through this period of major growth of the Internet. DNA membership is organized as a multi-tiered structure to accommodate various levels of interest and desire for participation in the work of the DNA.

The DNA's mission is to "promote the best interests of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet." More information is available on The DNA website

(Posted April 3, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140403.htm

Clubbing the Competition? Land Rush for New .CLUB gTLD Buoyed By Major Marketing Push 

I wasn't able to make the 2014 Domainfest Conference that is currently underway in Hollywood, California (the first one I've ever missed) but I'm hearing that the new .CLUB gTLD that opened its Land Rush period today can be seen just about everywhere you look at the show. This comes 

as no surprise to me because, among all of the new gTLDs out there so far, none has taken the very high profile that .CLUB has. They were also a major sponsor at the last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Florida and you've probably seen their ads on most of the popular domain industry websites. 

I've always said that the .CO registry created the playbook for successful introduction of a new TLD (in their case a re-purposed ccTLD) with the marketing blitzkrieg they launched when that extension was reborn as a globally oriented business TLD. So far, it looks like .CLUB has taken more than a few pages out of the .CO manual with hopes of generating the same kind of recognition and return on investment .CO did. 

While it will take some time to see if that happens it is clear the .CLUB registry believes in their product and are sparing no expense to burn it into people's minds. With dozens of new gTLDS here now and hundreds more coming this year alone, odds are it is going to take that kind of all in commitment to rise above the crowd. 

Speaking of DomainFest, in our Show Preview last week we didn't touch on the domain auction that NameJet is running in conjunction with the show. The lots in that auction will be closing Wednesday and Thursday (April 2-3).

NameJet said all of the lots have low or no reserves. Keep in mind that if you want to place bids over $2500, you will need to be pre-verified, so do that now if you see names in the catalog in that range that you want to take a run at.

(Posted April 1, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140401.htm

New DNJournal.com Facebook Page Offers Followers Exclusive Content and Alerts When New Articles are Published 

DN Journal has had a presence on Facebook since 2007 however, since I joined before the popular social media platform started offering company pages, I have always posted DNJournal updates on my personal account. The reason I signed up in the first place was a suggestion 

from Dr. Chris Hartnett, that this new platform would be a great place for those of us in the industry to stay in closer contact.  

That setup worked fine for quite awhile because the vast majority of people on my friend's list were domain people. However, over the years, non industry friends and family also discovered Facebook and connected with me there as well. For a long time now they have been wondering "does this guy post anything" that isn't related to "domains" - and, oh by the way, what the heck is a "domain" anyhow!

The other problem, with the growth of the industry, was getting dozens of friend requests from people I didn't know, making it impossible to know who I should add and who I shouldn't. As a result, I wound up adding some I should not have (spammers, etc.) and not  adding some well intentioned people that just wanted to follow DNJ.

So, I finally parted the waters over the weekend and launched the new DNJournal.com Facebook Page that anyone can follow just by Liking the page. I knew I also need to 

Screenshot from the new 
DNJournal.com page at Facebook
.

give Facebook users a reason to Like the page (beyond the usual site updates that are already available through our RSS Feed and popular aggregation sites like Domaining.com. So, I'll post some exclusive content (and comments) there like the Photo of the Day feature that was added today. 

Over the past 11 years DN Journal has assembled a massive domain industry photo library with more than 100,000 images in it - many of which have never been published before. I'm sure many would enjoy seeing some of those historic photos, so I'll pick an interesting one and post it on our Facebook page each day (or as close to daily as possible).

Friends Donna Mahony and Sam Aidun greet each 
other at the 2007 DomainFest conference in 
Hollywood, California.

Those shots could be about anything but will often be relevant to something happening that day. For example, the 2014 Domainfest conference is opening today in Hollywood, California at the Loews Hotel where the first globally oriented event in the DomainFest series was held back in 2007. The show moved to the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica from 2010-2013 so this week's show is a Hollywood homecoming. To mark the occasion our Facebook Photo of the Day is from opening day at that landmark show in 2007 (the photo at left, courtesy of Marcia Lynn Walker, is different than the Facebook Photo of the Day but would have fit in there perfectly too).

In short, I hope you will check out the page, will Like it and will find it an interesting and entertaining resource going forward. Of course, I still have one very big problem. Now that I will no longer be posting DN Journal news and information

on my Personal Page, I have to come up with something else to post there once in awhile and I have no idea what that is going to be. Even I don't care what I had for dinner last night! 

(Posted March 31, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140331.htm

The Lowdown on DomainFest: Conference Organizers Talk About What Has Changed and What's Ahead Next Week in Hollywood

The final countdown to the 2014 DomainFest conference in underway with the show set to kick off Monday morning (March 31) in Hollywood, California at the Loews Hollywood Hotel.

As you know, things are always changing in the domain business and the conference field is no exception. While this will be the 9th run for DomainFest, the show organizers from Oversee.net (and their DomainSponsor monetization unit) are switching things up this year with 

changes in dates and the show's name, location and format (multi-track for 2014). To get the Lowdown on why the changes were made and what's in store for attendees I connected with Oversee.net CEO Debra Domeyer and  Senior VP Dwayne Walker for the special pre-show interview below. 

DN Journal: Debra and Dwayne, with DomainFest just days a way, first let me thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to give us this pre-show update. Before we jump into what you have planned for 2014 DomainFest, let's catch up on the changes that have been made since last year's show. The 2013 event, titled Webfest Global for the first time, was held in early February, in what had become the traditional DomainFest time frame (late January/early February). This year you have gone back to the original DomainFest name, moved the dates to early spring and switched the location from Santa Monica back to Hollywood where the show ran for several years before moving  across town to the oceanfront Fairmont Miramar where it has been held since 2010. What led to the name, date and location changes for this year's conference? 

Debra Domeyer (CEO, Oversee.net): When you run a conference for 9 years, the challenge is to keep it fresh. Attendees are always our top priority and it’s essential that our conferences continue to offer a valuable experience and lots of fun and networking. So we cleared the board and looked at this from a new perspective. We realized that DomainFest is a very strong brand and needed to be the centerpiece of our conference series. The growing strength of the domain industry also played a huge part in our decision-making. Hollywood was always a favorite for attendees. 

DN Journal: With your move to early spring, a new conference, NamesCon quickly filled the January gap and drew well in Las Vegas, where the next T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference will also be held in late May. This created an unexpected situation for many show goers - three west coast conferences in the first six months of the year. There was also the just 

Oversee.net CEO Debra Domeyer
at Webfest Global 2013

completed ICANN Singapore conference in March. Even though the industry is back in expansion mode, there is only so much money to go around. Has the bigger crowd in a shorter time frame had any noticeable effect on DomainFest 2014?

Oversee.net Sr. VP Dwayne Walker
at Webfest Global 2013

Dwayne Walker (Senior Vice President, Oversee.net): We’ve had a very positive response to the conference with its new date. There is so much interest in domain names today that our industry is rapidly going mainstream. This is good news for domain owners, online businesses, startups and investors. Our format with different tracks is attracting new attendees to the conference. Clearly, the focus on startups, raising money, running online businesses, gTLDs and monetizing Internet traffic has created a buzz. We expect that attendance at this DomainFest to be larger than last year’s DomainFest. There are also a record number of companies sponsoring DomainFest this year!

DN Journal: DomainFest has a long record of success built upon on world famous keynoters, a solid agenda, unique social events and an attractive location in Los Angeles. Looking at the agenda,  that would appear to be one thing that remains 

the same. Tell us about some of the agenda highlights you are particularly excited about this year.

Dwayne Walker (Senior Vice President, Oversee.net): Our agenda really hits the hot topics for our industry. In a departure from the past couple of years, we are running multiple tracks so we cover all the subjects that are important to our industry. We have experts covering gTLDs and Registrars, Domain Monetization, Successfully Running Online Businesses and Start-ups.  We’ve been able to attract speaker experts with deep knowledge in their respective fields. And for the first time, we have a startup track with some very memorable names in the world of venture capitalists.

Our first keynoter is best-selling author, successful online business entrepreneur and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary is a terrific speaker with millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Stay tuned for a “ jab," in Gary’s  lexicon--anything of value — a joke, an idea, shared information, an introduction. We are also happy to welcome .CLUB Domains CMO Jeffrey Sass; Dan Schindler, Co-Founder of Donuts; and Rich Merdinger, Vice President, Domains for GoDaddy; Daniel Negari CEO of .XYZ and .College as keynoters on the second and third day, respectively, of the conference

There’s also an online premium domain name auction in partnership with NameJet with some great domains available for sale. 

DomainFest has always been known for its networking and social events. That tradition is alive and well. On Monday night,  .CLUB is hosting a welcome reception to kick off the .CLUB land rush. On Tuesday, there’s a private concert with Grammy-award winning rock band Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington.  And we close out the event with our networking party at the Hollywood famous SkyBar, one of LA most beautiful venues. 

DN Journal: The main topic of 

Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington
will play at Domainfest Tuesday night (April 1)
Photo courtesy of StoneTemplePilots.com

discussion in just about all industry circles this year is the arrival of new gTLDs. After a long recession, many are hoping that new gTLDs will help fuel a new growth spurt in the industry.  Are they, at the early stage they are in now, having a positive impact on DomainFest in terms of attendee and sponsor interest?

Dwayne Walker (Senior Vice President, Oversee.net):  .CLUB being the platinum sponsor of DomainFest says it all. During the conference .CLUB will launch its Land Rush period with thousands of premium quality names included at Land Rush prices. Other gTLDs are sponsoring as well: Donuts, .bar and .rest, and .xyz & .college. All in all, we have a record number of sponsors this year.

Attendees are very interested in gTLDs. We are running three days of panels on this subject because the topic is so hot. The speaker/experts who are participating cover a very broad range of topics that include:

•  The New gTLD Land Grab – Panelists provide an overview of the gTLD landscape and the players.  The moderator is Daniel Schindler, Co-Founder & Executive Vice President of Donuts Inc. Panelist include Steve Banfield, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Registrar Services for Rightside, and Raymond King, CEO of Top Level Design, LLC.

•  Winning Registry Strategies – Listen to the top registry strategies. The moderator is Karen Bernstein, Principal, Bernstein IP. Panelists include Colin Campbell, CEO of .CLUB Domains LLC; Daniel Negari, CEO of .XYZ and .College; and Daniel Schindler, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Donuts Inc.

•  Rising Stars – Experts debate which gTLDs are the clear winners in the market and which are the ones to watch and why. The moderator is Tina Dam, Co-Founder of MyTLD. Panelists are Aaron Grego, CEO of Punto 2012; Joe Alagna, Vice President of Channel Development for 101Domain.com; and Bret Fausett, Esq., General Counsel for Uniregistry, Inc.

•  Untapped Opportunities for Promoting gTLDs - This session focuses on using new business models to generate revenue. The moderator is Andrew Allemann, Editor of DomainNameWire.com. Panelists are Melissa Dafini, Marketing Strategist for Punto 2012, and Bob Mountain, Chief Revenue Officer for Afternic.com.

•  Self-Regulation within the DNS Industry – The moderator is Raymond King, CEO of Top Level Design LLC. Panelists include Akram Atallah, President of the Global Domains Division for ICANN, and Reg Levy, Vice President of Compliance and Policy for Minds and Machines.

•  ICANN Update on gTLD Rollout – This panel provides information on what ICANN is doing.  This discussion features Akram Atallah, President of the Global Domains Division for ICANN.

•  The Next Generation Registrars and Registry Services – This seminar provides insights into the engines behind gTLDs.  Panelists are Rich Merdinger, Vice President of Domains for GoDaddy, and Ben Crawford, Chief Executive Officer for CentralNic PLC.

•  Risks and Limitations – The panelists share their thoughts on brand, trademark, and legal issues involved in owning gTLDs. The moderator is William A. Delgado, Partner, Willenken Wilson Loh & Delgado LLP. Panelists include Karen Bernstein, Principal of Bernstein IP; Kelly Hardy, North American Business Development for .ME; and Don Moody, J.D. and M.S., New gTLD Disputes.

•  How Long Until This Pays Off? – Experts discuss building long-term value around gTLDs and when to buy, hold, resell and flip. The moderator is Victor Pitts, Director of Domain Services for Above.com. Panelists are Alan Dunn, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Divestments for Domain Holdings, and Pinky Brand, Vice President of Strategy and Partner Relations for TLD Registry Ltd.

DN Journal:  One other question about the industry at large. We are sensing a renewed optimism about how things are going in the industry, including seeing a lot of large aftermarket domain sales (with several seven-figure sales reported this month alone) and all of the activity surrounding new gTLDs. Oversee is in a position to know what is happening in multiple industry categories. Based on your own business, how have things been going over the past year and what is your sense of how things will trend through 2014?

Debra Domeyer and Dwayne Walker:  We see very positive trends for 2014. We believe that the value and success of domains, online businesses and the Internet economy in general will continue to increase. 

Growth image from Bigstock

DN Journal:  Thanks again for your time and sharing your insight. Is there anything else you would like to add before about DomainFest 2014?

Debra Domeyer and Dwayne Walker: We’re really looking forward to a great DomainFest conference filled with tremendous speakers, panels, attendees and of course networking – we’re really looking forward to seeing everyone!!  

(Posted March 27, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140327.htm

Rick Schwartz Says Domain Investors Will Be Top Dogs When T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West Returns to Las Vegas in May 

With the 2014 T.R.A.F.F.I.C West just two months away, show co-founder Rick Schwartz sent a letter out to previous attendees over the weekend with an update on plans for the big event May 28-31 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is sweetening the pot for this year's show by offering two Early Bird ticket packages that come with free nights at the world famous Bellagio where the 2013 conference was also held. The offers - good only until Friday, April 4 - are a $1495 

ticket that includes two free nights at the Bellagio or a $1595 ticket that will give you three free nights there.

To claim the free rooms you first register for the show, then book your rooms. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will then issue a credit for each night that will appear on your room bill. Many will be at the Bellagio the entire week. T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West will again have two days or pre-show Cabana Networking May 27 & May 28 that I have always found to be worthwhile, so we will get into town early enough to take advantage of those as well.

Rick Schwartz
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder

One thing that has always set T.R.A.F.F.I.C. apart is its single-minded focus on domain investors. The arrival of hundreds of new gTLDs has naturally turned a lot of people's attention to new registry operators but T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s focus remains the same. Schwartz underlined that in his letter writing, "We are a domain name investment show. We don't focus on registries or registrars but they are always welcome to participate and provide you valuable information for your business. Their job is to focus on us. Serve us and keep us in the loop. Understand their role and respect the fact that the choices are overwhelming and there has to be a reason to do business. A vision."

Schwartz added, "T.R.A.F.F.I.C. welcomes all gTLD companies to come and make their case why YOU should invest with THEM. They will have stage time to explain their visions and talk intelligently to the

#1 domain investor group in the world. Those without answers need not apply. We don't play games and we don't play favorites. We open it up to all."

By the way, this is the 10th anniversary year for the pioneering conference that staged the industry's first major gathering back in October 2004 when Schwartz and fellow T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu welcomed their first guests to the debut event in Delray Beach, Florida.

(Posted March 25, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140325.htm

NamesCon Returning in 2015 - Las Vegas Show Will Run January 11-14 at the Tropicana Hotel

After a very successful debut show this past January at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas the NamesCon conference today announced dates for a  return engagement in 2015 on the show's Facebook page. The conference will return to the Tropicana for an event that will get underway at 12 noon on Sunday, January 11, 2015 and continue through Wednesday, January 14.

Ultra low pricing was a key  part of NamesCon's winning formula in 2014 and it looks like it will be again in 2015. They have already put tickets on sale at an ICANN 49 special rate of  just $199 through April 1, 2014. After that you can still snag a $299 Early Bird rate through the end of May.  

NamesCon Founder Richard Lau

NamesCon Founder Richard Lau will again host the 2015 show. The domain industry veteran, aided mightily by Jodi Chamberlain and Jothan Frakes, managed to pull factions from every corner of the industry together for the crowd pleasing multi-track inaugural event that ran January 13-15, 2014. The organizers were able to land six  keynote speakers and produce 30 business sessions (featuring 100 speakers) in their first trip around the track. The show also featured a variety of social and networking events that drew very favorable reviews.

NamesCon was also able to secure an astonishing $79 a night room rate at the Tropicana Hotel. 2015 room rates are not yet available on the NamesCon site and I will be surprised if they are that low again. Prior to the 2014 show, the Tropicana had just finished a major remodeling and were cutting some great deals to get people to sample the impressively revamped facility. Even so, I would bet 

NamesCon still manages to lock in a below market rate for 2015. They have already shown the Tropicana they are capable of bringing hundreds of people from all over the world to the property at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. While NamesCon had over 500 people for their debut show, they are expecting over 800 in 2015. 

(Posted March 24, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140324-2.htm

Finalists Named in Domainers Choice Award Balloting - Field Narrowed to Top Three in 16 Industry Categories

The first stage of balloting for the 2014 Domainers Choice Awards was completed over the weekend with the field narrowed to the top three nominees in 16 different industry categories. The award winners will be selected in a final round of voting that will run May 8 through May 30, 2014 (only those who participated in the initial round of balloting are eligible to vote in the final round).

To insure fairness, the May balloting will be handled by an independent third party, Votenet.com. The winners will be announced and recognized at a June 28th Awards Dinner that will be held at the Dana Point Yacht Club in Dana Point, Calfornia. Tickets for that event are now on sale and can be ordered online through June 7, 2014.  

Here is a complete list of the final Domainer's Choice Award  nominees:

Domain Ambassador

  • Elliot Silver
  • Frank Schilling
  • Richard Lau

Best Industry Conference

  • Namescon
  • Domainfest
  • Traffic

Best Industry Customer Service Rep

  • Bari Meyerson
  • Joe Higgins
  • Paul Nicks

Quiet Champion

  • Brian Gilbert
  • Nat Cohen
  • Phil Corwin

Best Domainer Resource

  • DomainTools.com
  • NameBio.com
  • Whoisology.com

Best Domain Auctions

  • GoDaddy.com
  • Namejet.com
  • Sedo

Best Domain Marketplace

  • Sedo.com
  • GoDaddy.com
  • DomainNameSales.com

Best Domain Financial Service

  • Escrow.com
  • DomainCapital.com
  • Agreed.com

Best Domain Publication

  • DNJournal.com
  • TheDomains.com
  • DomainNameWire.com

Best Legal Services

  • Zak Muscovitch
  • John Berryhill
  • Dave Winslow

Most Helpful Resource for Newcomers

  • NamePros.com
  • DomainSherpa.com
  • DomainInvesting.com

 Best Domain Industry Forum

  • DNForum.com
  • NamePros.com
  • DomainState.com

Best Parking Solution

  • InternetTraffic.com
  • ParkingCrew.com
  • RookMedia.net

Best Independent Broker

  • Mike Robertson
  • Ryan Colby
  • Andrew Rosener

Best Brokerage

  • DomainNameSales.com
  • DomainAgents.com
  • MediaOptions.com

Favorite NEW gTLD

  • .app
  • .club
  • .web

(Posted March 24, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140324.htm

Last Chance! DCA Nominations Close Saturday Night + Southern California Domainers to Meet Again & Larry Fischer Reels in Big Check for Chat.com 

Here is a final reminder that nominations for the 2014 Domainers Choice Awards close tomorrow night (Saturday night, March 22) at 12 Midnight U.S. Eastern Time (9pm Pacific time). The top three nominees in each of 16 industry categories will move on to the final round of balloting that will run May 8-30.

It is also important to remember, as I told you when nominations opened two weeks ago, that if you do not at least register your email address at the DCA site during this nomination phase, you will not be able to vote in the final round of balloting. So, do it now so you will have a say in who takes home the hardware!  

Here's another important date, March 29, 2014, especially for those who will be in the Los Angeles area that night. That's when the Southern California Domainers Group will hold their next meetup. The event will get underway at 7pm at the Loews Hollywood Hotel (located at 1755 N. Highland Avenue in Hollywood) where attendees will be treated to a talk from DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker.  

The Loews Hollywood Hotel will also host the 2014 Domainfest Conference that opens the following Monday (March 31). If you happen to be arriving in town for that show a couple of days early, and act quickly, you might be able to reserve a spot at the Southern California Domainers meetup. There is room for 65 guests and as of this writing 57 spots were filled (you can see who has already registered to attend in the right hand column of the sign up page). 

One other note today - congratulations are in order to  veteran domain investor/developer/broker Larry Fischer, of GetYourDomain.com who just co-brokered a massive sale of Chat.com (Michael Berkens has more background on the sale of this already well established website in a post at TheDomains.com). 

Fischer worked with co-broker DigitalDNA to sell the domain on behalf of CBS Interactive. Unfortunately, the sales price was subject to a non disclosure agreement but there is little doubt the price was measured in millions of dollars.  Over the years Fischer has been involved in many other mega deals that you probably haven't heard about because transactions at these nose bleed levels are almost always subject to NDAs. Even so, make no mistake, Larry is one of the best in the business at what he does. He is also one of the nicest guys in the industry, living proof that the old adage, "nice guys finish last" is a lie. 

Larry Fischer
GetYourDomain.com

(Posted March 21, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140321.htm

Rockin' Day for Domain Registries! Neustar Buys .CO, TLD Registry Takes Bow in Macau & Sun Rises on .XYZ

Wow! What a big news day for domain registries - one that culminated late this afternoon, right after the stock market closed, when Neustar (operator of the .biz and .us registries) announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire .CO Internet S.A.S., the administrator of .CO domains. for $109 million

Neustar already had an existing partnership with .CO Internet to provide back end registry services and infrastructure support - a contract that earned Neustar $4 million in revenue last year. It was also reported that .CO  exited 2013 with an annual revenue run-rate of $21 million, so you can see why Neustar valued .CO so highly.

Since its global launch in 2010, the number of .CO domains has grown to more than 1.6 million with registrants in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. 

Juan Diego Calle
CEO, .CO Internet S.A.S.

The remarkable growth of .CO (a TLD assigned to Colombia that re-launched as a global offering in 2010) is a credit to the masterful marketing job done by CEO Juan Diego Calle, VP Lori Anne Wardi and and the entire management team and staff at .CO Internet. We have often pointed to it as the "textbook" example of how to launch a new TLD.

Lisa Hook, President and CEO at Neustar said, "The acquisition of .CO Internet is a natural fit for us given our successful partnership over the past four years and our domain name expertise. By combining .CO Internet’s innovative domain marketing capabilities with Neustar’s distribution network and technical resources, we will be able to broaden our registry services and the .CO brand worldwide, while creating shareholder value.”  

The acquisition is subject to standard closing conditions and is expected to close within one month. Following the acquisition, .CO Internet, 

as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Neustar, will continue to manage the .CO domain extensions from its headquarters in Bogota, Colombia.  

While Neustar and .CO Internet S.A.S. are celebrating their deal, the TLD Registry team is in Macau throwing a big party of their own surrounding the launch of their two new Chinese TLDs, Dot Chinese Online (.在线) and Dot Chinese Website (.中文网).  The festivities there include a two-day Landrush celebration and a live/online hybrid premium name auction tomorrow (March 21). .CLUB Domains (their strategic partner) and Afilias are sponsoring the auction event with all auction lots online now at Sedo.

The new TLD Registry extensions got a very nice jump start earlier this week when an agreement was reached with the the Chinese central government's own registrar that agreed to buy 10,226 domain names in each of TLD Registry's Chinese TLDs, one meaning "online" (.在线) and the other "website" (.中文网). 

TLD Registry CEO & Co-Founder Arto Isokoski (standing) with Chinese officials in Beijing who signed a deal to buy over 10,000 domains in each of TLD Registry's two new extensions. 

The domain names sold by TLD Registry include the names of every city in China with populations of over 200,000 people, all 3,000 counties, all provinces, all municipalities, all Special Administrative Regions, and a number of key locations such as mountains. In addition, names such as "Invest in [Name of Place]", "[Name of Place] Tourism", "[Name of Place] Information" and "Place [Transportation]" were included.

Daniel Negari
.XYZ Founder

While TLD Registry was getting their launch party underway in Macau, the new .XYZ Registry, founded by Daniel Negari, celebrated the start of .XYZ's Sunrise registration period for trademark holders today. The .XYZ Sunrise period, that ends on May 20, 2014, gives companies that have registered their marks with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) the opportunity to register their corresponding .XYZ names before the general public.

Following the sunrise, .XYZ will have a 14-day Landrush Period where individuals, businesses, and trademark holders alike can priority register domain names which were not taken during sunrise.  

With hundreds of new gTLDs coming online this year, one of the biggest hurdles for new registry operators is getting "shelf space" at the leading registrars, especially industry giant Go Daddy. Negari has done very well on that front with nearly 200 registrars around the world agreeing to offer .XYZ domains, including Go Daddy, Network Solutions and 123-reg. Registrations are also available 

through brand protection agencies such as Corporation Service Company (CSC) and MarkMonitor. A list of .XYZ's featured registrar partners can be found here

(Posted March 20, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140320.htm

With U.S. Exit Who Will Oversee the Internet Now? Plus, What's Inside Frank Schilling's New Domain Registration Service at Uniregistry.com?

Since the news broke Friday night (March 14, 2014) that the U.S. Government was planning to give up its oversight of ICANN (the body that administers the domain name system), the pros and cons of the move have been discussed and debated all over the Internet. Even though ICANN policy can have a dramatic impact on the fortunes of domain investors, the majority of them have never paid close attention to the inner workings of the organization (just about any industry blogger will tell you that a story with "ICANN" in the headline generates considerably fewer clicks than the average topic).

However, the news that the U.S. plans to loosen its grip on ICANN (and by extension, The Internet, itself) has been one of the few exceptions because of the patriotic overtones involved. Even so, a lot of people I talk to are still primarily interested in what the move means to them and their business. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published the best breakdown I've seen thus far on how this development will (and will not) change the Internet world we've come to know and love. The piece by Gautham Nagesh titled ICANN 101: Who Will Oversee the Internet? covers everything from (for the complete beginner) what ICANN is to when the change in U.S. oversight will happen, what happens after that and how it will affect U.S. businesses and the operation of the Internet.

If you are not an ICANN insider it is a good way to get a handle on the basics and decide whether or not this is an issue you want to head to the front lines to fight for or against (plenty of people are already there and the battle will rage on for some time to come as there are many details still to be sorted out and decided on).

Frank Schillng
Uniregistry Founder

Elsewhere today, Frank Schilling's new domain registration service, Uniregistry.com, has launched in Preview mode, which has allowed some test users to access the site with a password and poke around ahead of the public launch that could come at any time now. I was able to do so last night and found the site had a very clean, easy to navigate interface that will appeal to many domain investors.  

Features are still being added to the site ahead of the public debut so I can't yet speak to whether or not Uniregistry will have everything that is important to me. However, the fact that Frank is a domain investor with a very large portfolio of his own leads me to believe anything that is  important to domain investors will likely get incorporated at 

Uniregistry in fairly short order. History has already shown us that his domainer-friendly investment background helped Frank develop disruptive products in his previous service offerings covering domain monetization and sales (DomainNameSales.com). 

Like most large portfolio owners, I need a very competitive wholesale price to help ease the pain at annual renewal time. Bulk pricing information is not yet posted on the site, so, wanting to test Uniregistry's Support response anyhow, I used it to send a question on how to get that information. I got a very quick response from industry veteran Sevan Derderian (who recently joined the Uniregistry team). He said that for now those interested in bulk pricing can send an email to sales@uniregistry.com to get that information and that in the near future a permanent link will be added to the site's Contact section.

Also important to those who invest in a variety of extensions (especially with the  flood of new gTLDs now arriving on the scene) is having a registrar that supports a wide variety of extensions. While Uniregistry - again in Preview mode - supports many both new and traditional gTLDs (including their own new strings like .tattoo and .sexy), I immediately 

Sevan Derderian
Uniregistry.com

noticed there was no support for ccTLDs. So, I tried the Support system again and again got a very quick response, this time from Heather Pierre who assured me, "We will be supporting ccTLDs and they will be coming soon. We have focused on launching with some of the top TLDs along with some of the new gTLDs, but will be offering other TLDs shortly. If there are any particular ccTLDs that you are interested please let us know and we could possibly provide you a better update as to when they would be available."

While everything is not in place yet, it appears to be on the way. I expect Uniregistry will hit most, if not all, of the other marks that are important to investors including security and easy transfer in and out options.  Uniregistry is also breaking some new ground by offering free WhoIs privacy. It's not an important feature to me as I don't use it, but it is highly valued by many and could be a real money saver for those who require it. 

By the way, Uniregistry is the name of both Schilling's new gTLD registry operator (which will administer a number of strings with the next five, including .link and .photo, arriving in general availability April 15, 2014) and his domain registration service. The registrar has taken over Uniregistry.com while the registry has moved over to Uniregistry.link.

Update 3/19/14: The Uniregistry.com website is now open to the public, so you can check it out for yourself.

(Posted March 18, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140318.htm

Berlin Becomes the World's First City to Have its Own TLD: Starting Tuesday Berliners Can Register .BERLIN Domains

Here come the geos! There has been a lot of debate about which new gTLDs will have the best chance to survive in the sea of new domain extensions that has started to form.  However, many industry observers believe that geodomains - TLDs that represent a major city or 

geographical area - are about as close as you can get to a perfect fit for new TLDs. Like ccTLDs, but even more localized, city domains like .nyc, .berlin and .paris will give local businesses, service providers and individuals a way to connect the dots between their name and their location. 

Some of these new geo TLDs, like the one that has the honor of being the first of its kind to enter general availability - .BERLIN - will be limited to businesses and citizens (or those who serve them) with local contact information. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hakan Ali
Founder & CMO, InterNetX

Berlin oriented organizations and individuals can freely register domains representing Germany's capital city - a thriving metropolis of 3.4 million people.

Hakan Ali, founder and CMO of InterNetX, a leading international registrar that is based in Germany,  believes .BERLIN will be a big hit thanks to the city's creativity and broad range of startup companies (well over 500 at last count).  Ali noted, "Berlin is the hub of the innovative German IT scene and is an internationally known brand. Even during the pre-registration phase, .BERLIN was one of the most popular TLDs among the hundreds of new endings." 

The idea of a top-level domain devoted to the German capital has been on the table since 
1999. However, it would be another 13 years before ICANN announced an application process
that opened the door for a huge wave of new gTLDs. In January 2012, dotBerlin GmbH submitted the application for .BERLIN and on January 8, 2014 www.nic.berlin launched as the first page with a .BERLIN ending. This was followed by a Sunrise period for trademark holders, and now, starting tomorrow, .BERLIN registrations open to all Berliners.

You can learn more about .BERLIN domains at this page dedicated to the new TLD: www.internetx.berlin.

(Posted March 17, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140317.htm

You Think a Good Domain Name Is Expensive? How About a Mobile Phone Number That Sold for $2.12 Million This Month!

The domain afterrmarket has been enjoying a resurgence in recent weeks. In the past two weeks alone we have reported the sales of Whisky.com at $3.1 million, Youxi.com ("games" in Chinese) at $2,430,000 and 37.com at $1,960,800. Nosebleed territory for sure, but how 

Cellphone Money image from Bigstock

many of you k new that some mobile phone numbers also sell at stratospheric levels, just like the best domain names?

A perfect example of that came last week when the United Arab Emirates mobile phone number 050-777-7777 was sold in an auction for a mind-bending Dhs 7.82 million which comes out to $2,120,000 at today's exchange rate. Why is that such a good number combination? To dial a mobile number within the UAE, you dial 050 and then the number. The string of seven lucky 7's should be self explanatory.

A Yahoo News! report on the March 8 sale said the multi-millionaire Emirati buyer did not wish to be identified (no wonder, since everyone now knows his phone number can you imagine how many people are already trying to call him)!

While it was the most expensive one, that was not the only high dollar mobile phone number purchased in the auction of "VIP" numbers released by UAE mobile service provider Etisalat. A total of 70 mobile phone numbers were put up for bid in a sale that generated more than Dhs 20 million ($5.44 million).

While $2.12 million for a mobile phone number is mind boggling, 050-777-7777 came with some extra perks. Etisalat also gave the buyer 22,500 local minutes per month for two years, 2,250 international minutes per month over the same time frame and 100GB of data per month for two years. In addition, 22,500 local text messages and 300 incoming roaming minutes per month for two years were included in the deal. Hey, for $2.12 million why put any restrictions on it - give the guy unlimited talk and text - heck, I get that on my $79 plan! 

P.S. Hat tip to George Hong for the lead on this story.

(Posted March 14, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140314.htm

Heritage Auctions Steps Back Up to the Plate With 2nd Major Domain Auction That Opened Today

Heritage Auctions (HA.com) became the first major mainstream auction house to sell domain names last fall when they held their inaugural domain auction and racked up over $1.5 million in sales. Now they are back with their second 

 

major domain auction that got underway today with more than 100 high end names on the block, including Tablets.com, Future.com, LK.com, Digital.com, DEC.com and Cola.com, to name just a few. You can view the full catalog here. Most names have reserves that will be made public for everyone to see seven days before the auction. There are also some names that have no reserve price. The new online only auction will conclude at 2pm (U.S. Central Standard Time) on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.

Aron Meystedt, Founder & Director,
Domain Name & Intellectual Property Division
Heritage Auctions (HA.com)

Aron Meystedt, the Founder and Director of HA's new Domain Name & Intellectual Property Division, told us, "The domaining community might be curious as to why some names made the auction and others did not. The ultimate goal is to build this division to where our client base of over 850,000 affluent buyers is excited about domain names. So, you will notice many names that fit the departments on the HA.com website - coins, currency, art, wine, comics, gold, silver. Those are all categories with affluent buyers."

Meystedt also noted, "We picked less ecommerce names this time and more generic branding names that are perfect for naming a company, a product or a service.   I tried to select names that didn’t require the pitch related to domain investing and monetization - names that our clients may like to buy and use right away."

"With that said, there are great deals for domainers in this auction," Meystedt, who is a 

domain investor himself, added. "There are over 10 three-letter .com domains and nearly all of them are at prices domain investors would like.  There are some solid names for development as well as a huge geographic name at a bargain price, in my opinion. So, yes,  there are names for investors in this auction!"

(Posted March 12, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140312.htm

Nominations Opened Today for the 2014 Domainers's Choice Awards - Winners to be Chosen in 16 Industry Categories

Nominations for the 2014 Domainer's Choice Awards opened today and will remain open until midnight March 22, 2014. DCA Founder Donna Mahony of DomainBoardroom.com is bringing back the awards program for the first time since 2008 when winners were recognized at that year's Domainfest Global conference in Los Angeles.

The DCA program is getting an extensive and impressive overhaul for 2014. In a first for any industry awards program, a third party,  Votenet.com, will tabulate and verify the final round of balloting in 16 different categories with the winners to be recognized at a June 28th ceremony in Dana Point, Calfornia

 

In order to nominate a person or individual you must register with your email address (you email address will be kept private and no other information is required to register). After nominations close on March 22, the top three vote getters in each category will move on to the finals. That final round of balloting, overseen by Votenet.com, will run from May 8 to May 30, 2014. This is important: If you do not register during the nomination round (by March 22), you will not be able to vote in the final round - so go ahead and register now if you want a say in who takes home the trophies.  

(Posted March 8, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140308.htm

Inside the House That Domains Built: Frank Schilling Opens the Doors to His Grand Cayman Home 

London's Financial Times published a very nice profile of legendary domain investor Frank Schilling today. The article focuses primarily on  Frank's more recent starring role as a leading provider of domain services through DomainNameSales.com, his new gTLD registry operator - Uniregistry.com, and his soon to be launched domain registration service - Uniregistrar.com.  

Most of our readers are already familiar with Frank's domain exploits (he was profiled it two DN Journal Cover Stores, the first in 2007 and another in 2012 that covered his bold move into providing services for his fellow investors). So, it is likely the most interesting part of the new story to you will be the fascinating look into Frank's family life and his gorgeous waterfront home on Grand Cayman that was captured in the article's photos. 

It is an inspiring view of what is possible when a bright man with a good heart and a passion for his work meets the right opportunity (an opportunity presented by domains - a business   that Schilling believes still offers great opportunity to build new fortunes in the year's ahead).

Uniregistry.com Founder Frank Schilling   

As beloved as Schilling is in the domain community, when anyone has had the kind of astounding success he has had, some around him will be afflicted with jealousy - that's just human nature. However, even at this stage of the game, I still haven't met anyone who more people have been happy to see succeed (and wish even greater success to) than Frank. You can chalk that up to a humble nature and never forgetting where he came from (in case you didn't know already, he did not have a lot of money before he found his calling in this business).

 

Before he arrived in this industry Schilling had tried his hand at real estate, then the electronics business and even selling wholesale glass, but in domains the former film student found the opportunity he had been looking for. 

Though he has already scored incredibly big as a domain investor, Schilling believes the best is yet to come by producing new names (TLDs) and offering them to a market that he believes still has enormous room for growth. Schilling told Financial Times reporter Christopher Kompanek, "“Only 1% of the (world's) population owns a domain name – some own more than one. I have hundreds of thousands of domain names, and I’m one man. I’m betting that there might be interest for 2-3% of people to have them. Somebody has to make those names for the residents of the future. There aren’t enough good ones in the spaces that are already held.”

Now we could sit here all day and argue whether or not new gTLDs are the answer residents of the future will be looking for (if you read the blogs, you know that many spend their days doing just that, and that's fine - it's an entertaining debate). Still, even if you think he is making a huge mistake, don't you have to admire a man who is willing to put his money (tens of millions of dollars worth of it) where he truly believes the future is?

If he's right, I'm pretty sure people will be happy for him, just as they are now, and if he turns out to be wrong - even if he loses his last penny - I'm 100% sure he will still have a huge circle of friends and admirers who won't forget how he treated people on his way up the ladder.  He's earned that, an asset you can't put a price on, and that's why Schilling will still be a rich man no matter how this movie ends. 

(Posted March 7, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140307.htm

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming! 37.Com Sold to Chinese Company for Nearly $2 Million

Just yesterday, in our latest weekly domain sales report, I told you about the first two 7-figure domain sales reported this year - Whisky.com at $3.1 million and Youxi.com ("games" in Chinese) at CNY 15 million which equals $2,430,000 at current exchange rates (in case you missed it, the  remarkable full story of the Whisky.com sale by the Castello Brothers is detailed in our current Cover Story). 

Now, less than 24 hours later, we have confirmed a third blockbuster 7-figure sale. A Chinese maker of browser based games, 37Wan, announced they purchased 37.com for CNY 12 million, which comes to $1,960,800 as of this writing (the seller is believed to be a U.S. company incorporated in Delaware that holds many other prime numeric domain names). 

 

Our Asian market expert, George Hong of Guta.com, spotted the first report of the sale today on Chinese news site Sohu.com, who noted that the purchase price is a drop in the bucket for 37Wan as the company is believed to have earned a profit of around $36 million in 2013. 

Hong then located a much more detailed follow up report at another popular Chinese news site,  EEYY.com, complete with photos from a celebratory "brand launch"  press conference hosted by 37Wan co-founders, Mr. Li Yifei and  Mr. Zeng Kaitian, that also featured a number of Chinese movie stars. 

Mr. Yifei said that upgrading the company's domain from 37Wan.com to 37.com was important for several reasons (the word "wan" means play in Chinese). One, it is easier to remember and thus easier for new players to find on the web. Two, the company is  expanding into global markets and 37wan.com would not have been easily understood by international audience. And three, they noted the greater success two other Chinese companies,  JD.com and VIP.com, achieved after upgrading to those short acronyms, further encouraging them to change the name to 37.com. 

George Hong

One other note, if you are a regular reader you have been seeing Mr. Hong's name in our reports frequently since George (who is originally from China), started helping us uncover and confirm domain sales in the rapidly growing Asian market. For those of you who do not already know him, George has been in the domain business for several years (he is a frequent conference attendee) and he also works as an IT professional in Philadelphia. George is also a math whiz, holding both bachelors and masters degrees in mathematics. He also passed his PhD qualifying exam before the growth of the Internet caught his attention and prompted him to switch to IT and domains. Math's loss and our gain! 

(Posted March 6, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140306.htm

The 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival Begins Friday - Sedo's Jeremiah Johnston Set to Speak About New gTLDs on Monday

The huge SXSW Interactive Festival begins its five-day 2014 run Friday (March 7) at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas. Sedo's long time General Counsel Jeremiah Johnston will be in Austin to talk about new gTLDs in a session titled The Discussion’s Over: New Domains Are Here that will be held at 12:30pm CST Monday, March 10 in Ballroom E.  

Johnston has been with Sedo since 2004 and served five years as Chief Operating Officer and head of marketing until 2011. He also represents Sedo as a founding member of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA), now in its sixth year, and sits on the Board of Directors in the role of association President, working to shape the future of domain names in the regulatory and political space. 

The program synopsis for Johnston's SXSW session notes, "Years of discussion and debate have come to a close and a historic expansion of the Internet is underway. The domains we've become accustomed to since the Internet’s birth – extensions like .com, .net and .org – are no longer the only game in town. New top-level domains (TLDs) have started to launch for business and personal use, and hundreds should be available by year’s end. This session will help you understand new TLDs, explain why you should care, and give you everything you need so you're not left behind by those in the know.

With new TLD developments happening daily, you’ll hear the latest news and learn about unique issues that accompany their launch such as string contentions, Internationalized Domain Names, the debate over open and closed registries and how to beat the crowd for the best new domains. You’ll get practical advice about when you should spend money on domains that will advance your brand, and when you should – or shouldn’t – invest in defensive registrations."

Jeremiah Johnston
Sedo General Counsel

 

(Posted March 4, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140304.htm

Web.com Swallows SnapNames, Afilias Gets .Green & Domains90210 Opens Auction Site Based in Beverly Hills 

As we were heading into the weekend well-founded rumors began circulating that Web.com had purchased domain auction platform SnapNames from Luxembourg-based KeyDrive S.A. The news became official today when Web.com confirmed the acquisition of SnapNames at an undisclosed price (Web.com did say the company expects this transaction to be immaterial to 2014 financial results.) 

SnapNames, established in 2000, offers daily online auction sales of expiring, deleting and privately-

owned domain names. KeyDrive had acquired both SnapNames and registrar Moniker.com from Oversee.net two years ago. Web.com already shares ownership of another major domain auction platform, NameJet, with DemandMedia's Rightside unit and owns registrars NetworkSolutions and Register.com outright. 

At least for now, SnapNames and NameJet will continue to operate as separate entities. In a letter to clients this morning, SnapNames CEO Craig Snyder wrote, "As we move ahead in the 

David L. Brown
Chairman, President & CEO, Web.com

integration of the two businesses, we ask that all current SnapNames customers and partners continue to use their existing contacts. SnapNames and Moniker will continue to cooperate similarly to how they have in the past.  Domain names currently accessible through the Moniker interface will remain accessible through that interface.  We will promptly communicate any changes as they are made available. For support contacts, hours and portal access please continue to visit: Snapnames.com/support.jsp.

Web.com Chairman, CEO & President David L. Brown said, “We are very pleased to bring SnapNames under the Web.com umbrella. This acquisition enables us to enhance our existing domain related assets and provide additional services for customers who are looking for specific domain name addresses. In today’s expanding domain resale marketplace, SnapNames is a global industry leader with experience and expertise in domain lifecycle management and auction services.” 

In another notable marriage of a different kind, registry operator Afilias has won the hand of the coveted .green new gTLD. TheDomains.com reported this morning that DemandMedia's  United TLD Holdco Ltd withdrew their application for .green, leaving Afilias as the sole applicant for the extension (this after another suitor, Minds + Machines, dropped out of what had been a three-way auction last week). Afilias had to pay undisclosed but substantial sums (believed to be in seven figures) to the parties that agreed to withdraw from the auction, clearing their path to what looks to be one of the most attractive new gTLDs. 

One other note today, Beverly Hills, California domains sales platform Domains90210.com has debuted a new auction format on the site. Listings are currently names held by Domains90210 founder Claude Dauman, who has been building online businesses since 1996. 

In a post on his blog Friday, Dauman noted the 1,400 listings On Domains90210 feature a number of 2-letter acronyms, including PJ.net, MH.net, UF.net, Be.tv, PO.tv and HV.tv, as well as many 3-letter acronyms, single word and two word category defining domain names.

(Posted March 3, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140303.htm


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