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November 28, 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.

One of Our Readers Will Get Free Coffee for the Next Six Months as Coffee.club Celebrates The Launch of Their New Subscription Service

Three weeks ago I told you about Bill McClure's decision to spend $100,000 (over 10 years) to buy the rights to the Coffee.club domain name from the .CLUB Registry. Bill, already a big player in the coffee business via his Coffee.org, wanted the new name to serve as the foundation for a new coffee subscription service. He said the new venture would launch by the end of the month and true to his word Coffee.club has gone live, just in time for the long Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.

 

To suit the deep discount theme prevailing throughout the retail world over the next four days, Coffee.club is celebrating their launch by offering a 40% discount on all subscription orders placed from Friday, November 28th through Monday, December 1st. Subscribers choose their favorite roast, pick a plan (determining how often they receive two 13-ounce bags of fresh coffee, then brew and enjoy when they arrive. 

Bill McClure
Coffee.club Founder

Coffee.club is the first company incubated under Startup.Club, a .CLUB Registry program that gives entrepreneurs an easy, more affordable way to fund the purchase of a category-killing .CLUB domain and build a company around it. McClure has taken the ball and run with it. Under his direction Coffee.club promises to deliver "some of the freshest organic, ethically sourced roasted beans on the market today." 

With more than 54% of Americans drinking coffee on a daily basis he certainly has a vast market to tap into - and it will be a lot easier for Bill because he already knows the ropes in the coffee business.

McClure told me that one of the primary reasons he made the deal was .CLUB's commitment to help him market Coffee.club far and wide. They have already started doing that and, believing that the best way to build the business is to have people experience it first hand so 

they will tell their friends and neighbors about it, they are giving away some free 6-month memberships (valued at over $300 each). They offered us two of those, one for me to try and another for one of our readers to enjoy. If you want to enter the free drawing and your name is pulled from the hat, Coffee.club will send you two 13-ounce  bags of fresh roasted Arabica coffee, twice a month (four bags a month) for six months. That is just under 20 pounds of free gourmet coffee delivered to your door. Please note that only U.S. addresses are eligible for the drawing.

Image from Coffee.club

To give everyone an equal change to win you can send one entry from now through 11:59pm U.S. Eastern time on Monday night (December 31). All I will need is your email address to give Coffee.club to contact you for your delivery information and your coffee selection. Other than sending the winner's email address to Coffee.club, I will delete all other email addresses sent in once the entry period has ended in order to protect your privacy. 

To send an entry just send the words Coffee.club in an email to editor at dnjournal.com. We will put all of the addresses in a spreadsheet that will have a number next to each name. We will then use Random.org to generate a random number (from 1 to whatever the total number of entries is) and the free coffee will go to the number corresponding with the same numbered line in the spreadsheet. 

The coffee you receive will be small-batch, hand-roasted Third Wave Coffee Arabica beans delivered just days from being roasted (the Third Wave Coffee movement claims the highest form of culinary appreciation of coffee, allowing customers to taste the subtleties of flavor, varietal and growing region). McClure said, "Coffee connoisseurs have a passion for freshness and taste, and that passion deserves a club of its own." 

.CLUB officials and buyer Bill McClure the night they announced a $100,000 deal for McClure to acquire Coffee.club during the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Miami Beach November 1. Left to right are .CLUB CEO Colin Campbell, McClure, .CLUB CMO Jeff Sass and .CLUB VP, Business Development Michele Van Tilborg.

McClure also had kind words for .CLUB saying, "The Coffee.club domain name is incredibly brandable, memorable and marketable, and Startup.CLUB made it easy for us to acquire the name, and leverage marketing and business support from the .CLUB team.”

(Posted Nov. 27, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141127.htm

LogicBoxes Schedules Webinar to Unveil Automated System that Helps ccTLD Registries Sell More Domains - Also Today, a Stolen Domain Alert

While new gTLDs are getting the lion's share of attention since they started going live earlier this year, LogicBoxes believes there is also a great growth opportunity for ccTLD registry operators thanks to a new automated system designed to help them sell more domains. Clifford deSouza, the Senior Business Development Specialist at LogicBoxes said the company's ccTLD Automation Solution gives registries a dedicated retail storefront and a complete end-to-end automation platform to seamlessly run their business.

DeSouza noted, “ccTLDs have consistently shown great growth for the past few years. In 2013 alone, ccTLD base registrations grew by 13.1% over 2012." DeSouza added that Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and 

Europe have had the fastest rates of growth, yet  many ccTLDs from those regions don’t have an optimal distribution network or the necessary technology to automate business activities. "Having already successfully worked with ccTLDs such as .CO, .MN, .HN and .BZ, we are confident that other ccTLDs can also leverage our solution and ensure success, DeSouza said. "Also, once integrated, the ccTLD Partner will be in an advantageous position to promote its TLD to LogicBoxes’ existing base of 100+ Registrars and 100,000+ Resellers.” 

Registry operators that would like more information are invited to attend a free webinar on Thursday, December 4th. There will be three different sessions so operators in different time zones around the globe can attend at a convenient time. One will be for Asia & Oceania, another for Europe & Africa and third for North and South America. Topics to be covered include:

  • Analysis of current industry stats and expected trends for the future

  • Why the traditional registrar channel may no longer be enough for ccTLD success

  • What you need to do to realize the full potential of your ccTLD

  • Case studies on success stories of other ccTLDs

Domain thief graphic from Bigstock

One other important note to pass along today - an old friend who is well-known throughout the industry, Ian Andrew of Traffic Names Limited (operator of DotcomAgency.com) asked us to alert you that three premium 3-digit numeric domain names -  224.com, 452.com and 605.com - have been stolen from the UK company's registrar account. Should anyone offer to sell you these domains, do not buy them as you will almost certainly end up losing both your money and the domains. 

The domains disappeared from the company's account in August and Andrew have been working on getting them back since then, but as of this writing they still have not been recovered. The thief transferred the domains out to a Chinese registrar (ename.net) apparently after somehow obtaining the company's User ID and password.  

(Posted November 24, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141124.htm

Z Whiz! Z.com Sells for Nearly $6.8 Million in Biggest Domain Sale Reported So Far This Year

This is how you close out the year on a high note! With less than six weeks left to go in 2014, the year's biggest domain sale and one of the five highest cash sales reported since we started tracking and verifying domain sales 11 years ago was announced today. GMO Internet, Inc., one of Japan’s leading Internet services providers and operator of the country’s largest domain registrar, purchased Z.com from the Nissan Corporation for a stunning 800 million Japanese yen, which equals $6,784,000 at  today's exchange rate. 

 

Nissan had once used Z.com to promote their popular Z series sports cars (I bought two of them myself, a 260Z in the 70s, then a 280ZX in the 80s), but had left the domain dormant in recent years. In their press release, GMO Internet said they will use the domain to "spearhead GMO Internet Group global growth strategy, and securing “Z” under the .com Top Level Domain, provides the Group with a powerful tool to build a strong global brand."

We will add this sale to our Year to Date Top 100 Sales Chart when our next weekly domain sales report comes out Wednesday evening (November 26). At that time, Z.com will also take over the #5 position on our list of the biggest all cash domain sales we have reported (prior to the fall of 2003 no one was verifying reported domain sales and there were many instances of claimed sales that later proved to be bogus, so we cannot vouch for any sales reported prior to that time). 

(Posted November 21, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141121.htm

Legal Brand Marketing Lands Best Law-Related .co.com Domains in Win-Win Deal with Registry

It is widely believed that the success of new registry operators rests on end user adoption and development in their namespace. That's why operators of the .co.com registry, who created new namespace by sub-domaining a premier .com domain, are happy about a deal they announced with Legal Brand Marketing (LBM) today. LBM acquired 14 of  the very best law-related .co.com domains (including Law.co.com and Lawyer.co.com) from the registry for an undisclosed price. LBM (a leading 

publisher of law-related websites and provider of marketing services to law firms including lead generation, website development, graphic design and domain names) plans to build out every one of the newly acquired domains. The 14-domain portfolio includes:

Law.co.com
Attorney.co.com
Attorneys.co.com
Lawyer.co.com
Lawyers.co.com
DUI.co.com

DWI.co.com

Divorce.co.com
Bankruptcy.co.com
Injury.co.com
Accident.co.com
Accidents.co.com
DUIattorneys.co.com
DWIattorneys.co.com 

Braden Pollock
Founder, Legal Brand Marketing

Legal Brand Marketing Founder Braden Pollock is well-known in domain investment and development circles and is often called on to speak or moderate sessions at leading conferences (we published an in depth profile of Mr. Pollock in our November 2011 Cover Story). At last count, Pollock held a portfolio of some 13,000 domains - many of those developed, including several outside of the legal realm like ScienceFiction.com. With respect to his latest acquisition of the .co.com domains Pollock said, "We are very pleased to have the opportunity to develop the very best law-related keyword domains into websites” 

co.com LLC CEO Ken Hansen said. "New .co.com websites are going live every day. Given the reputation and track record of Braden Pollock and the Legal Brand Marketing team, we are especially pleased about their plans to develop this legal domain portfolio."

(Posted Nov. 19, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141119.htm

Time to Break the Ice - NamesCon Invites Trademark Association President to Keynote at January 2015 Show

With the 2015 NamesCon conference now less than eight weeks away, more key components of the January 11-14 event at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas are falling into place - with the latest one sure to surprise some observers. Today NamesCon organizers named J. Scott Evans,  Associate General Counsel at Adobe Systems and President Elect of the International Trademark Association (INTA) as one of the show's keynote speakers (Mr. Evans will have assumed the INTA Presidency by the time he addresses the NamesCon audience).

In bringing Mr. Evans to Namescon, conference Co-Producer Jothan Frakes (whom we referred to as the "domain world's leading diplomat" in our July 2014 Cover Story) hopes to bring two camps that have traditionally been wary of each other closer together. Frakes told us, "My objective is to help people in the conference get a better understanding and appreciation of the INTA and (hopefully) create positive friction leveraging the networking opportunities at the conference to help improve the relationships and close or at least narrow the chasm between the perspectives of intellectual property interests and the entrepreneurial domain interests."

Frakes added, "J. Scott has an amazing background, including helping create UDRP. It 

INTA President-Elect J. Scott Evans
will be a keynote speaker at NamesCon 

is my hope that by attempting to bridge these worlds there can be some gains in the area of improved industry perceptions of the entrepreneurial marketplace, plus there are many IP lawyers coming, and the benefits of friendly first contact that started 10 years ago when I mashed up these worlds at the Domain Roundtable are getting an opportunity to benefit again."

"To use a food metaphor, when I was served a salad with pears in it the first time, I thought it was a bizarre concept, but I tried it, and it was one of the most amazing salads I ever had," Frakes said. "This is exactly that type of situation, and I think that the audience will really appreciate J. Scott as a dynamic speaker, plus having such a massive, prestigious, well established organization like the INTA participate on this level at a domain industry gathering like NamesCon is another unprecedented event. Conference Richard Lau, Co-Producer Jodi Chamberlain and I are all delighted to welcome J. Scott to the NamesCon in January."

Mr. Evans will join a distinguished group of keynote speakers at the upcoming 2nd annual edition of NamesCon (the show made a successful debut at the Tropicana in January 2014). Also delivering keynotes will be Howard Lefkowitz (CEO, 1DegreeWorld.com), Frank Schilling (Founder, Uniregistry), Khaled Fattal (CEO, MLiGroup) and Jennifer Wolfe (IP strategist and author) - an impressive roster that will likely expand further between now and opening day at NamesCon January 11.

(Posted Nov. 18, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141118.htm

Marketing Matters: TLD Registry Honored for Efforts to Spread the News About New TLDs and Their China-Friendly Extensions

With the success of new gTLDs hinging on public awareness that hundreds of new domain options are now available (with hundreds more on the way) - a common criticism of many new gTLD registry operators has been that they are not doing enough to market both their own extensions and the new gTLD program in general. However, that charge has never been leveled at TLD Registry, the owner and operating registry for Dot Chinese Online (.在线) & Dot Chinese Website (.中文网). TLD 

Registry is one of the relatively few new gTLD operators that have been continually beating the publicity drum and investing huge amounts of time and marketing money in an effort to give their offerings the best possible chance of success. 

Their campaign has taken company leaders around the globe. If you were at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Miami two weeks ago you saw TLD Registry representatives and their trade booth there, if you were at the World Domain Day conference in Hyderabad, India in August, TLD Registry was there and if you came out for one of the Brandma's China New gTLD Roadshow events held this month in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen, again TLD Registry was there.

Their "full court press" has not gone unnoticed. This past Thursday (November 13) at Brandma's stop in Xiamen, TLD Registry won the brand protection company's award for Best Marketing by a New gTLD.

 

TLD Registry's China GM Jin Wang (left) and CMO Simon Cousins (center) receive their Best Marketing Award from Brandma CEO and ICANN board member Ching Chiao Thursday (Nov. 13) in Xiamen, China.

While presenting the award, Brandma CEO Ching Chiao praised the advances that TLD Registry has brought to the entire industry of fully-Chinese domain names, saying, "No other registry has helped the awareness of the importance and value of Chinese domains as TLD Registry"

TLD Registry's China General Manager Jin Wang in turn praised the work of other registries present on the promotional roadshow, including CNNIC (which administers .cn, .中国 (".China") .公司 (".company") and .网络 (".network"), Donuts (the largest single new gTLD registry), Rightside, Uniregistry, Huyi (owner of .商标 (.trademark"), and .世界 (".world"). 

With respect to our primary audience - domain investors, if you are among the early birds that  have decided to dabble in new gTLDs and shoulder the risk that comes with new companies and markets,  it has often been said that the quality and commitment of a registry's management team is as important (if not more so) as the extension itself. Teams that are "all in" on getting the word out to help drive demand and end user success stories are the ones most likely to produce a return on your investment. 

(Posted Nov. 17, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141117.htm

NamesCon Tickets for Just $399? Yes! IF You Register Before Midnight Tonight

From what we are hearing it sounds like just about everybody is going to be at the 2nd annual NamesCon conference coming up January 11-14, 2015 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. At this time a year ago, less than 100 people had pre-registered for the debut show held last January. Fast forward 12 months to today and over 400 people have already registered with a crowd in excess of 800 expected.

That inaugural NamesCon conference was a major success, largely due to an exceptional value proposition that included low registration fees and a remarkable $79 a night hotel price at the historic host hotel that is located right on the Las Vegas Strip.

The newly remodeled Tropicana had given NamesCon a good deal on rooms and conference space so the hotel could showcase its stylish $200 million makeover. Having accomplished that mission last winter, I expected they would present NamesCon with a much higher rate card this year, generating 

 

expenses they would have to pass on to registrants. That didn't happen - somehow show founder Richard Lau was able to hold the line and again offer a remarkable conference bargain - especially for those who sign up a few weeks ahead of time.

Having said that, if you want to take advantage of the $399 registration fee the show has been offering, you will have to do it by midnight tonight (Saturday night, November 15). The deal is even better for those who attended the debut conference last January  (your loyalty will be rewarded with a $299 ticket until midnight).  Tomorrow the rate goes up to $599, so there is $200 in it for you if you act now. With the expected number of registrants continuing to be revised upwards, you would also be wise to lock in your room will you can still do it for just $79 a night (I booked five nights long ago). 

Just as they did last January, Richard and fellow conference producers Jothan Frakes and Jodi Chamberlain are putting together an ambitious agenda filled with business sessions and social events you won't want to miss. I hope to see you and perhaps "capture" you on camera there!

 

At work at the 1st NamesCon conference last January. With a much bigger crowd and more ground to cover at the January 2015 show, I may have to pay a visit to that Massage Station!

(Posted Nov. 15, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141115.htm

Archeo Domains  Rings Up $1.6 Million in 3rd Quarter Sales - Says When it Comes to Domains Size Matters

Archeo Domains reported today that they closed $1.6 million worth of domain sales in the recently concluded 3rd quarter of 2014. Archeo released their results in a newsletter that also provided some insight into how domain length affects sales. They said that domains ranging from 8 to 12 characters generated 60% of their sales with 9-character domains being the most popular. We weren't surprised to hear that - after all DNJournal is a 9-character name! :-)

Though those lengths accounted for the most sales, the highest prices, as you would expect, went to shorter domains, though the difference was less than you might have guessed.  Archeo said their 4-character domain sales went for an average selling price (ASP) of $30,000 but those at 15 characters were just a tick lower with a $29,000 ASP. When you stretch it out to 23 characters it's a different story with the ASP dropping to $3,000

Archeo also used their quarterly newsletter to make a case for premium domains to their end user clients (52% of small businesses still do not have a website)! Archeo told them "Having a website not only helps establish credibility and attracts new customers to your products or services, it also serves as a powerful marketing tool that works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With no additional employees or as with most small business, operating solo, a website is like having an entire team that is on and working while you're sleeping, on vacation, or spending time with your family. This is an efficient way to keep your virtual doors and new opportunities open, even when your actual business may be closed!

With respect to domain selection, Archeo offered some tips in this graphic:

 

(Posted Nov. 13, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141113.htm

Power.com Sold for Nearly $1.3 Million in One of the Year's Biggest Sales 

Thanks to George Kirikos we are able to report that the domain Power.com has been sold to Power Integrations, Inc. for $1,261,000 (Power.com now redirects to the San Jose, California based company's existing website at PowerInt.com). Power Integrations, a supplier of high-performance electronic components, had net revenues of more than $90 million in the recently completed 3rd quarter of 2014.  

Mr. Kirikos, who has uncovered many previously undisclosed high end domain sales while poring over SEC filings, did it again when he found the Power.com purchase listed in Power Integrations's third quarter 10-Q filing with the SEC. From the nameserver change date, it looks like the deal closed in July of this year. 

Coincidentally, I ran into  Scott Smith, who co- brokered the Power.com sale with

Power image from Bigstock

WebsiteProperties.com, at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East  conference two weeks ago in Miami Beach. At that time Scott told me he had made the sale but he couldn't give me any details due to a non disclosure agreement. George has now filled in the blanks.

At $1.261 million, Power.com is the 6th largest sale reported so far this year and the 9th seven-figure transaction to have been made public in 2014 (we will be adding it to our YTD Top 100 chart after our next weekly domain sales report comes out Wednesday evening). Thanks again to Mr. Kirikos for sharing this information.

(Posted Nov. 11, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141111.htm

China Calling! With New Bridges to Help You Cross the Language Barrier the Booming Chinese Domain Market is Beckoning 

China's increasingly important role in the domain aftermarket has been one this year's biggest stories. Chinese buyers have been front and center in many of 2014's biggest deals. In the 1st quarter alone, buyers from China spent $2.43 million for 37.com, another $2.43 million for Youxi.com, $950,000 for 100.com and $800,000 for WAN.com, just name a few. They were buying more than just .coms too. In the same quarter the top seven ccTLD sales were all Chinese .CN domains, led by Game.cn at $512,307 and WAN.cn at $247,830.

China image from Bigstock  

As a result buyers in the U.S. and other countries around the world are becoming more interested in tapping into the booming Chinese market. It was a hot topic at the recently concluded T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Miami Beach where three experts on the Chinese market conducted one of the show's most popular sessions - Demystifying the Chinese Domain Market - on November 1st.

(Left to Right) Simon Cousins (TLD Registry), Jeremy Marx (Beyond the Dot) and domain broker George Hong (Guta.com) helped demystify  the Chinese domain market for T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East attendees earlier this month in Miami Beach.

New gTLD registry operator TLD Registry (whom Simon Cousins serves as Chief Marketing Officer) also had a prominent corporate presence with a booth at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. where they filled guests in on another area the company believes presents an opportunity - registrations in two Chinese language new TLDs that they administer - .在线 (.online in Chinese) and .中文网 (.website in Chinese). Though the TLDs are new they have already enjoyed some early success, particularly with the Chinese .online extension that, as of this writing, ranks among the top 15 new gTLDs in total registrations. (You can hear more about the Chinese market from Simon in a new podcast at DomainNameWire.com).

TLD Registry booth at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2014 in Miami Beach

TLD Registry fully understands that if they want to attract buyers who do not speak Chinese they have to hurdle the language barrier. They have addressed that problem with a dedicated website at ChineseLandrush.com (the latest version 3.1 has just been released). The site has an ingenious tool that lets you type in any keyword in English - that is then converted to simplified Chinese - including a list of available domains in the Chinese .online or .website extensions.  

Though still in short supply, bilingual brokers like George Hong at Guta.com are also making it much easier for non Chinese speakers to buy and sell in the burgeoning Chinese market. With a lot of the obstacles now getting cleared away it is starting to look like a no-brainer to look more toward the Far East. You've probably heard the apocryphal story that Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, said, "because that's where the money is!". These days a lot of the money is obviously in China. The good news is, if you are a buyer who has a knack for recognizing good domains or are a seller with the kind of names that Chinese buyers are looking for (short numeric domains, for example), you could end up with a big payday that - unlike Willie Sutton's - will be perfectly legal!

(Posted Nov. 10, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141110.htm

Why Bill McClure Agreed to Pay $100,000 for Coffee.Club 

A strange thing happened Saturday night (Nov. 1) in the middle of a T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference Dessert Party on the show's final night at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. While chatting with some friends there was a commotion on the stage of the ballroom where the party was underway. I looked around to see an old friend, Coffee.org owner Bill McClure, and three top executives from the .CLUB registry yelling excitedly about something. It was an impromptu celebration with no live microphones on the stage so it took a few moments to get a handle on what was going on. After piecing together shouts of "Coffee.club $100,000!", "biggest .CLUB deal to date," etc. I went over to find out if what I was hearing was true (after all it was November 1st not April 1st).

I climbed up the stairs to join the group on stage where McClure and .CLUB executives Colin Campbell, Jeff Sass and Michele Van Tilborg confirmed they had completed a deal to send the domain Coffee.club to McClure for $100,000, to be paid out over 10 years at $10,000 per year.

 

Bill McClure speaking during the Meeting of the Chiefs session that closed the final business day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2014 Saturday (Nov. 1) in Miami Beach.

Cheers! (with coffee of course): We took this shot immediately after .CLUB officials and buyer Bill McClure announced a $100,000 deal for McClure to acquire Coffee.club Saturday night in Miami Beach. Left to right are .CLUB CEO Colin Campbell, McClure, .CLUB CMO Jeff Sass and .CLUB VP, Business Development Michele Van Tilborg.

While the deal was just finalized and announced Saturday night, the two sides had been talking about it for some time. The free financing arrangement was something .CLUB already had in place with their Startup.club offering that is designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to acquire and build a business on a premium .CLUB domain. Still, paying $100,000 for a new gTLD domain over any length of time is a major commitment accompanied by a high degree of risk. 

On Sunday morning, Bill McClure (right) told 
DNJournal's Ron Jackson he had no buyer's remorse. 

To make sure he didn't have any buyer's remorse, I waited until the next morning, at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s Farewell Breakfast Sunday, to get back together with McClure to see if he was still as excited about the deal as he was Saturday night. He was, and after talking with him, I began to understand why he believes he actually cut a pretty good deal for himself. 

In almost all cases, when you buy a domain name, you are on your own to make something out of it. Odds are you won't hear another peep out of a registry or registrar unless you miss a payment or your domain is up for renewal. That will not be the case here. As it happens, McClure is just 

the kind of guy .CLUB needs. He is an end user with a very successful existing coffee business whose new venture will put the .CLUB extension in front of a lot of people. As such, McClure said .CLUB has agreed to spotlight Coffee.club in many of their marketing efforts. Since they are one of the few new gTLD registry operators who have actually spent significant money on marketing (in fact on Saturday they won the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Award for Best Marketing by a New gTLD, as well as the Most Promising New gTLD award) that is a big value add to McClure, 

There is little doubt that despite making a big sale. .CLUB has as much on the line here as McClure does. McClure and many others at the party, including T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz, noted that Coffee.club will be something of a "canary in the coal mine" for

.CLUB.  The name is a perfect fit for the coffee club McClure intends to build on it and it will be backed by a guy who already knows his way around the coffee business as well as anyone in the country. So the thought many expressed out loud was that if Coffee.club can't make a new gTLD successful then nobody can. For that reason, every new gTLD operator, not just .CLUB, should be rooting for McClure to succeed.

McClure, who told me he had been thinking about setting up a coffee club for some time, doesn't plan to waste any time in putting his plans for the domain into action. He told me he will have a live site up on Coffee.club within a couple of weeks. He has done that before - a prime example coming just a year ago when McClure bought Bouquet.com at the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Las Vegas conference and quickly had a profitable business up and running on it. Of course, that was a .com. Can he do it again with a new gTLD? And what about possibly losing traffic to CoffeeClub.com? The latter domain, registered in 2000, is currently an inactive blog (the most recent posts are dated 2013) that has ownership information shielded by WhoIs privacy. Right now there are just as many questions as answers - so it will be very telling to watch this particular case play out in the months ahead.  

(Posted Nov. 5, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141105.htm

Endurance International Group Reveals Purchase of BuyDomains.com from NameMedia 

One of the best-known companies in the domain space, BuyDomains.com, was sold by NameMedia to the Endurance International Group (Nasdaq:EIGI) in the recently concluded 3rd quarter of 2014. The previously undisclosed sale was revealed when Endurance reported their 3Q-2014 financial results this morning. 

The exact price paid for the well established domain aftermarket platform and the nearly 1 million domains in the company's portfolio was not disclosed as the acquisition listed as one of three companies Endurance purchased for a 

 

total of approximately $77 million. However, BuyDomains is believed to have accounted for a very high percentage of that total.

Jason Miner
will run BuyDomains.com for EIGI

The rapidly growing Endurance International Group, who earlier this year acquired Directi for $110 million, is a leading provider of hosting, domain and online business services offered through a family of well-known brands that includes Bluehost, HostGator, iPage, Domain.com, A Small Orange and ResellerClub. EIGI said it supports over 3.8 million subscribers and is able to tailor solutions for small businesses at every stage and level of sophistication. Endurance is headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, not far from BuyDomains's location in Waltham, Massachusetts.

By selling BuyDomains, NameMedia has now effectively exited the domain business, having sold their other major aftermarket platform, Afternic, to Go Daddy in September of last year. That doesn't mean we have seen the last of some of NameMedia's well-known management team members though. According to Domain Name Wire, Chief Operating Officer Jason Miner will stay on to run BuyDomains for Endurance. 

(Posted Nov. 4, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141104.htm

Photos & Highlights from Saturday's Final Business Day and Sunday's Farewell Breakfast at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East in Miami Beach

The 2014 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference  -  the 10th anniversary edition of the pioneering domain industry trade show - concluded over the weekend at the beautiful Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach. Saturday was the final day of business, one that included the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C Awards ceremony. After a big dessert and coffee party Saturday night, the show closed with one our favorite events, the traditional Farewell Breakfast, on Sunday morning. I have photos and  highlights from all of the weekend activity for you in today's post (you can find Friday's day 2 highlights here and Thursday's opening day highlights here).

The final business day Saturday opened with T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s popular Two-Minute Elevator Pitch opportunity.  Every entrepreneur in the audience was invited to take the stage and tell the audience about their new business or the latest offerings from their existing company.

In the next session I took the stage to share the latest 

Scott Smith of UbiNames.com  was among the business owners who took advantage of the Two-Minute Elevator Pitch session that kicked off the final business day at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2014 on Saturday (November 1).

domain aftermarket sales trends. I covered the quarterly results from the first nine months of this year. You can access all of the information I discussed in these three newsletters that we pubkshed just before T.R.A.F.F.I.C.: 1Q-2014, 2Q-2014 and 3Q-2014

DNJournal.com Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson fills the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. audience in on 2014 domain aftermarket sales trends. In short, the market has been booming this year with the total $ volume of sales reported thus far in 2014 running almost 20% ahead of the same time frame last year.

After talk it was time for presentation of the annual T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards to those selected in industry wide voting for excellence in their respective categories. This year, several took home trophies in two categories. DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker was one of those. Adam won the highest individual honor - Domainer of the Year - and also took home the Developer of the Year award. 

Adam Dicker (right) with one of the two trophies he collected from T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founders 
Rick Schwartz (center) and Howard Neu (left) on Saturday morning (Nov. 1, 2014).

Two corporations also scored double wins. Frank Schilling's Uniregistry.com claimed the Sponsor of the Year Award while his DomainNameSales.com platform won for Best Overall Domain Solution.  Frank was unable to attend the conference but Uniregistry's Director of Registrar Sales, Sevan Derderian, was on hand to collect the hardware. 

Also hitting the Daily Double was the new .CLUB Registry that has been, by many standards, the most successful new GTLD released to date. .CLUB won the voting for Most Promising New gTLD and for Best Marketing of a New gTLD. Things got even better for them at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. when they announced a deal to sell Coffee.club to Coffee.org's Bill McClure for $100,000 (to be paid over 10 years).

Uniregistry's Sevan Derderian accepted both the Sponsor of the Year Award and the Best Overall Domain Solution Award (for sister company DomainNameSales.com).

.CLUB team leaders (left to right between Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu) Jeff Sass, Colin 
Campbell
and Michelle Van Tilborg, accept their two T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards for excellence. 

Sedo's Dave Evanson won the Broker of the Year Award, making this the third consecutive year a Sedo broker has taken that trophy home. Dave also won it in 2012, then Negar Hajikani did it in 2013 before Dave scored his repeat win this year.

Domain Broker of the Year Award winner Dave Evanson (3rd from left) with 
2013 winner and Sedo colleague Negar Hajikhani at Saturday's Award ceremonies.

Another major T.R.A.F.F.I.C. honor is induction into the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Hall of Fame. Two individuals are voted in each year. This year's inductees are attorney John Berryhill and DomainSherpa.com's Michael Cyger, who also won this year's Blogger of the Year Award. Michael could not attend the conference so his friend (and now a fellow HOF member) Adam Dicker accepted both awards for him.

Above: Seven current T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Hall of Fame members were on stage when this year's two inductees - John Berryhill and Michael Cyger - were announced. (left to right, after the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. cop model) are Howard Neu, Rick Schwartz, Michael Berkens, Michael Castello, Ron Jackson, Adam Dicker and Chad Folkening. Adam Dicker accepted the award for Michael Cyger who could not attend.

Below: New Hall of Fame member John Berryhill was at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. but had to fly out before Saturday's award ceremony. This shot is from Friday's Rick Schwartz Roast when John aimed a hilarious series of good-natured barbs at the guest of honor. 

In addition to the two voted into the Hall this year, the late great Ren Warmuz of Trellian.com and Above.com was installed in a special memorial tribute that follows his premature passing thislast October after a long battle with cancer. As part of the ceremony a great music video produced during Ren's days as a talented singer/musician in the 1980s was also shown. Ren's Above.com friends and colleagues Nancy Bianchi and Victor Pitts were on stage to represent Ren during the tribute.

Two other special awards were handed out Saturday morning. Richard Lau (who could not attend) was named winner of the Bandit Berkens Goodwill Ambassador Award and Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz of ExcellentDomains.ca received T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s first Women in Domaining Award.

Above: Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz accepts the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Women in Domaining Award.

Right after the awards ceremony, business sessions resumed with a Domain Name Broker Roundtable that featured (on the dais, left to right in the photo below) Alan Hack, George Hong (Guta.com), Tessa Holcomb (Igloo.com), Dave Evanson (Sedo.com) and James Wester (DomainGraffiti.com). Panelists offered advice on the best ways to get your listed domain names sold.

Simon Cousins from TLD Registry 
helping Demystify the Chinese Domain Market

In the next session, three China  experts spoke to help Demystify the Chinese Domain Market. George Hong of Guta.com returned from his appearance on the previous Domain Brokers panel to join Simon Cousins from the TLD Registry and Jeremy Marx from BeyondTheDot.com.

George was kind enough to give us a link to his slide deck for this session that has a lot of information on the booming Chinese market that you will find interesting. You can access that .pdf file here

During my session on domain sales trends at the start of the day I noted that the top seven ccTLD sales in the first quarter of this year were all Chinese .cn domains.

TLD Registry, a new gTLD registry operation that administers the Chinese language extensions meaning "online" and "website" has also gotten off to a fast start as Mr. Cousins detailed. 

In the final business session of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2014 it was time to "Meet the Chiefs" a long standing show ending session that brings leaders or top representatives from multiple companies together to discuss a variety of industry issues. 

This year's Meet the Chiefs panel featured (L to R) Bill McClure (Coffee.org), Dave Evanson (Sedo.com), Victor Pitts (Above.com), Gregg McNair (Igloo.com and others), John Ferber (DomainHoldings.com and others) and Michael Castello (Castello Cities Internet Network).

A Fontainebleau Hotel staff member loads up the 
dessert tables
for Saturday night's party.

With business now done, it was time to relax and do some casual networking among friends old and new at a Saturday night Dessert Party at the Fontainebleau Hotel. Two huge tables laden with an irresistible range of delightful desserts attracted guests like moths to a flame. No one got burnt but their waistlines may have suffered some damage! Those desserts were like potato chips - you couldn't eat just one!

After this party, those who could stay awake after ingesting so much sugar headed up to Gregg McNair's suite where the gregarious Aussie entertained into the week hours of the night.

Below: Guests at the dessert party included (L to R) Victoria Castello, her son Michael Castello, Natalie Lambert's mother Arefa, Uniregistry's Natalie Lambert & Luis Petzhold.

Donuts.co's Daniel Schindler and Andee Hill (EscrowHill.com) at the Dessert Party.

Are you starting to get the impression that there is a lot of good  food at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conferences? If that wasn't proven yet again Saturday night it was Sunday morning (Nov. 2) when show attendees gathered for final time before scattering to their homes around the globe. They were treated to T.R.A.F.F.I.C.'s traditional Farewell Breakfast, an event that encourages guests to fuel up for their trip home and spend a couple of hours table hopping around the room to say their goodbyes until next time.

Above: Adam Dicker and Diana Jackson at Sunday's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Farewell Breakfast

Below: People made a point to seek out T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Hostess with the Mostess Barbara Neu to thank her for making their show experience the best it could possibly be. Braden Pollock was one of the first in line for a hug.

Before the conference, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz announced this was the last show he would be a part of. Over the past decade T.R.A.F.F.I.C. has helped launched countless careers, companies and deals. Not knowing when I would see him again as he heads into "retirement" I made sure to personally thank him for helping create and grow our industry - and also get a picture with the King to mark the end of a remarkable decade.

Rick Schwartz and DNJournal.com's Ron Jackson at Sunday's Farewell Breakfast.

I also would have gotten a photo with Rick's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu who will now carry the ball forward but he was busy photo bombing other shots! You can see what I mean in the photo below (anyone named Howard put your hand up!). This started out as a shot of Larry Fischer, Braden Pollock and Tracy Fogarty (all seated) when others among the last to leave started spontaneously filling in the gaps behind them! If three's a crowd - then 16 is an even better crowd!

And so another T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show is in the books, but we have more to come. We'll be doing a full show review pulling the whole week together along with many great as yet unpublished photos that will give you more insight into a very enjoyable and rewarding week on Miami Beach. 

(Posted Nov. 3, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141103.htm

Photos and Highlights from Day 2 of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2014 Friday in Miami Beach, Florida 

After opening Thursday evening (Oct. 30) with their traditional Welcome Party at the Fountainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach, the 10th anniversary T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference got down to business Friday (Oct. 31). The day began with opening comments from show co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu.

The first full day of business at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East began right after breakfast Friday 
(Oct. 31) when show co-founders Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu welcomed their guests.

Immediately after, the first panel discussion, covering The Domain Aftermarket got underway. Those on the dais included (left to right in the photo below) Scott Pruitt (NameJet.com), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), moderator Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com), Tessa Holcomb (Igloo.com) and Larry Fischer (DirectNavigation.com). Larry is also seen in the inset photo at left.

Panelists filled attendees in on the latest trends in the domain aftermarket which has enjoyed a powerful rebound from the recession over the past two 

years. I provided the latest sales data that underscored that surge. You can review that data yourself as we recently published it in three newsletters (one for each quarter of the year to date -  1Q-2014, 2Q-2014 and 3Q-2014).

In the next session, DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker flew solo, telling one of the conference's biggest breakout audiences How to Turn a Domain Name Into a Business in Less Than 90 Minutes. Something he was able to do within the session's 90-minute time frame.

Above: Adam Dicker conducting his one-man seminar Friday on how to
 turn a domain name into a full fledged business in 90 minutes.

Below: A view of part of the crowd at Adam's session.

This year's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference will be remembered for being more than just the show's 10th anniversary event. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz also announced that it will be he last time producing the show. He plans to transition into a quiet retirement with his partner, Howard Neu, expected to carry the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. flag from this point forward. To honor Schwartz in his last lap around the track a Rick Schwartz Roast was held during the Friday lunch break. Ten of his well-known industry colleagues (and an additional masked "mystery roaster") poked (mostly) good natured fun at the industry icon.

Those on the dais for the start of the Rick Schwartz Roast included (left to right): Braden Pollock, Victor Pitts, Adam Dicker, Pinky Brand, Michael Berkens, Howard Neu, the guest of honor (Rick Schwartz), Gregg McNair, Ari Goldberger, John Berryhill and Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz. A mystery roaster entered later and remain masked throughout the event.

With lines like Adam Dicker's "Rick sometimes gets carried away...but not far enough!", Ari Goldberger's "Rick Schwartz is retiring from what!? (insinuating he hasn't worked for years), John Berryhill's "I only make fun of the ones I love, so I won't have much to say today" to  Braden Pollock's "We all love you - just not as much as you love you!", Schwartz at times was near tears from laughing (at least we think it was from laughing)!

Roastee Rick Schwartz cracks up during the Rick Schwartz Roast Friday.

After the comic relief provided by the Rick Schwartz Roast, it was time to buckle back down in three afternoon business sessions, starting with a solo lesson from Chris Derose on Crypto Currency and Commerce.

Chris Derose explains crypto currencies like bitcoin to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. attendees 
who share an interest in the topic with many others in the domain business.

Next up, Rick Schwartz, apparently fully recovered from the wounds suffered during his "roasting" earlier in the day, joined Michael Berkens (TheDomains.com) and Adam Dicker (at right in the photo below) for a cautionary session telling attendees about various internet abuse, schemes and scams they needed to beware of. 

In the final business session of the day, and one I personally found to be one of the most interesting of the show, three key figures in the new gTLD space - (left to right in the photo below) Daniel Schindler (Donuts.co), Jeff Sass (.CLUB) and Simon Cousins (TLD Registry) - detailed why they are bullish on the sector (and their specific TLDs) and what they are doing to try to increase public recognition. 

One criticism of many new TLD operators has been that they have invested little in marketing. .CLUB and TLD Registry have been among the few exceptions to the rule, and Schindler said Donuts, the biggest new gTLD operator, plans to spend millions on marketing in the year ahead. That will be good news for new gTLD investors and operators alike as they all try to clear the high hurdle of widespread public recognition.

With the day's business now out of the way, it was time for fun once again and there was more than enough of that to go around at the first ever T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Halloween Masquerade and Ball, held at the Fountainebleau Friday night. Attendees, being the creative types that they are, went all out with their costumes in a wildly entertaining event.

Cruella de Ville (Judi Berkens) with her canines in tow at the Masquerade Ball, including two Yorkies and an unusually large Dalmatian (Michael Berkens!). .Club's Jeff Sass (at right) might want to keep his distance unless he wants to wind up at the end one of Cruella's leashes too!

To give guests an added incentive to get dressed up, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. offered a $1,000 cash prize for Best Costume, as selected by fellow party guests. Not surprisingly, Judi & Michael costumes scored high, taking the runner up spot. The winner was Isis & Pharaoh (Diana and Ron Jackson), thanks entirely to Diana's sewing and art design ability. Ron's role was akin to that of a mannequin as Diana made his costume (as well as hers) from scratch - then showed him how to (for the first time) pull on a skirt and sit still for the application of makeup and eye liner!

(L to R): T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu, his lovely wife Barbara and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz with costume contest winners Diana Jackson (Isis) and Ron Jackson (Pharaoh- or maybe that should be spelled Fauxroah).

As you would expect, the masquerade ball produced a ton of great photos. We will share many more of those with you in our upcoming complete T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2014 review article. Day two of the conference is continuing as I write this. There will be a Dessert Party tonight, then the show will close with the traditional Farewell Breakfast Sunday morning. I'll have photos and highlights from Saturday and Sunday for you in my next post, which you can expect to see around mid-day Monday (have lots of photos to go through!)

(Posted Nov. 1, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20141101.htm


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