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November 30, 2015

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

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

Escrow.com President Brandon Abbey Exits After 11 Years at The Helm as New Owners Make Major Changes

When Australia's Freelancer.com announced the acquisition of Escrow.com last spring many were relieved to hear the new owners were leaving staff and management at the highly regarded California based company in place. Unfortunately, as DomainInvesting.com reported this morning, that changed with surprising word that Escrow.com President Brandon Abbey had left the company after 11 years on the job (more than a decade marked by steady growth).

Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie told DomainInvesting's Elliot Silver, "Brandon has been running the business for a long period of time and is well known for doing a good job. However we think the potential for Escrow.com is much bigger. We’re moving to up the tempo of the business and run it as a high growth technology company.” Abbey hasn't yet publicly commented on the change. 

Barrie also told Silver he already has a new management team for Escrow.com in place that will be run by Product Manager Jackson Elsegood (who will report to Freelancer's Senior Director of Growth, Michael Kot). The revamped Escrow.com team will still have some familiar and welcome faces to those in the domain industry. Keith Gettle will stay in the California office and move up to Operations Manager, Mauli Fry

Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie (left) with Escrow,com President Brandon Abbey after Freelancer announced acquisition of Escrow.com last April.

has been promoted to Partnership Manager and Sandra Gordon will stay on as one of the company's top Escrow Managers.

That continuity is certainly a good thing but it is hard to imagine Escrow.com without Brandon whose constant support of everything domain-related made his name and Escrow.com synonymous. It is, of course, commonplace for major management shake ups to occur when one company acquires another but that doesn't make it any easier to see someone who has been one of the industry's institutions suddenly off the playing field (a situation we have to think will be short lived). We can only wish Brandon the best, appreciate everything he has done for so many people in this business and look forward to his next endeavor, knowing that he will excel in anything he chooses to do.

(Posted November 30, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Happy Thanksgiving! 

It's Thanksgiving Day in America - a revered holiday on which millions of Americans gather with family and friends to share food and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. The tradition dates back to 1621 when Pilgrims who landed in New England celebrated their first harvest.  I thankful for many things today including the many great people I've met and new friends I've made in this remarkable industry over the years. I wish you and yours a great day today and all the best in the weeks, months and years ahead!

(Posted November 26, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

DomainHoldings Q3 Report: Sales Prices Holding Steady & More Business Coming from Europe 

DomainHoldings (DH) has released their latest quarterly report covering 3Q-2015. The company reported over $4.5 million in sales with an average sales price of $57,500. It is encouraging to see that high average sales price hold after it surged from $49,000 in Q1-2015 to $59,000 in Q2-2015. 

As you might expect, DH reported Chinese buyers continuing to be a major force in the market as they continue to scoop up short numeric and 2-4 letter acronym domains. China accounted for 17.7% of the 3Q sales on their platform (the U.S. still produced the majority at 59.5%). However, in the quarter's biggest single surprise, DH saw the amount of their business generated from Europe surge from less than 1% in the previous quarter to a whopping 17.7% in 3Q-2015, equaling China's share.

Domains image form Bigstock

.Com still accounts for the vast majority of DH's business with an 81% share, but that is down a tick from the previous quarter when it was 84.5%. In another surprise the .net/.org category had the biggest percentage gain, jumping from just 3% in 2Q-2015 to 10% in the 3rd quarter. Some of that was likely driven by increased Chinese interested in numeric and 3-letter .net domains.

Other TLDs combined for 9% in 3Q-2015, down a bit from their 12.5% share in 2Q. DH pointed to one success story in the "other" TLD camp, saying, "The .io extension in particular seems to be gaining more momentum and is constituting a larger share of our business. In one case, we sold a notable one-word .io domain name in the high five-figure range to an end user."

DomainHoldings and their parent company, Flippa.com, released some other news in a separate release Monday, including some background on how Flippa's $30,000 sale of Mineral.com (that we charted last week) came about. DH also had some highlights from their trip to the Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland earlier this month (a conference that attracted 42,000 attendees from 134 countries). The release also noted that the combined DH/Flippa team will celebrate their 2015 marriage and successful year at an upcoming holiday gathering in Tulum, Mexico. Sounds like a great way to bring down the curtain on the old year and recharge the batteries for a new year that looks to be a very promising one on the global domain front with some exciting  things happening all over the globe.

(Posted November 24, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Finance Magnates Get Advice on Choosing Domain Names from Sedo CSO Solomon Amoako

Domain names got a lot of stage time this month at the 2015 edition of the prestigious Finance Magnates Summit that drew some 1,500 financial and trading professionals to London. New gTLD registry operator Boston Ivy presented a workshop there called Choosing a High Impact Domain Name and they couldn't have found a more receptive audience for their suite of new extensions that include .broker, .cfd, .forex, .trading, .markets and .spreadbetting, all of which are now in General Availability. 

To get their message across, Boston Ivy invited Sedo's always eloquent Chief Sales Officer, Solomon Amoako, to come to London to explain the competitive advantages that highly relevant domain names offer. A review of Solomon's speech published at FinanceMagnates.com said Amoako covered the five key points to consider  when choosing a domain name, beginning with research and analysis of the target market and demographics to better understand what names and extensions fit best. As an example, Amoako cited IG.Forex and that by adding the .forex domain it provides a straightforward way for potential customers to easily know what IG is.

Solomon Amoako
Sedo Chief Sales Officer

Second and third were keeping the domain simple and to avoid using numbers or hyphens that can confuse web users.  Next is finding a domain that fits with the community. The idea being that a TLD like .technology or .trading will allow a site to connect better with users that have an affinity towards technology or trading. Finally, Amoako advised taking into account how the domain will effect click through rates. He said domains that make it easier to understand what the company does have high click through rates on web searches. You can watch Solomon's entire presentation here: 

Amoako noted that we have yet to see much marketing of the new TLDs. However, he believes that as brands embrace the new TLDs, such as Google who purchased the .App registry, market awareness for these alternative web extensions will grow strongly. In terms of the .forex TLD, Amoako predicted that FX.Forex would be a million dollar domain in the future.

(Posted November 23, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Domain Industry Pioneer Larry Fischer is Blazing an Innovative New Business Trail with Launch of SiteChat.com

Larry Fischer of GetYourDomain.com is one of the most successful domain investor/brokers of all time but the personable industry veteran's fame may soon spread far beyond our relatively small corner of the Internet. At THE Domain Conference a few weeks ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida,  Larry wowed a lot of people (including me) when he showed them an early demo version of an exciting new web service called SiteChat that he and two co-founders have just launched in beta.

SiteChat makes it possible for web surfers to chat with like minded people on any site on the net, even if a site doesn't offer chat! People visiting the same site can converse in the SiteChat box via text with all of their fellow SiteChat users or one to one via text or video in a private room. The latter makes SiteChat a useful alternative to Skype.

At the moment, the widest range of features is available by downloading a SiteChat plug-in for Chrome (one is also available for Firefox) but you can also use the service with no plug-ins at all via your favorite browser. The plug-in places a small SC button on your browser bar that gives you quick access to a SiteChat box for whatever site you are on at that time. For

Larry Fischer

the browser version you just go to SiteChat.com, type in the URL you want to visit and click Go which will open up a chat box, along with the site, that will list  others who are there and available to chat.

The SiteChat box (called Shoutbox) has a Trending button that will show which sites currently have the most active chat activity underway. There is also a Friends button that allows you to send Friend requests. Those on your Friends list are then accessible no matter what URL they are on at the time. You can also search the web from within the Shoutbox  by just typing in a new URL or just a topic you are interested in (like domains). 

Screenshot of a SiteChat box showing a private video chat session underway.

While SiteChat opens up all kinds of possibilities for people and companies all over the web, Fischer would like to focus users on domain industry sites to study and improve the product while it is in beta. It will be easier for people to see the advantages of the platform when large enough numbers coalesce in popular locations and create a lively environment. Larry believes SiteChat is a perfect social tool for domain investors. As one example, you could go to a live auction site and discuss names up for bid, the pros and cons of each, the prices being fetched, etc. 

Website operators can also make SiteChat accessible to visitors who use Chrome or Firefox by putting a button on their website that will open a SiteChat window showing other SiteChat users who are on the site, making it easy to strike up a conversation.  For example, the graphic at right will open a new chat box for 

DNJournal.com. We have also placed the Live Chat buttons in the left side columns on our Home, Domain Sales and Lowdown pages so Chrome and Firefox users can easily access SiteChat when visiting our site (at this time those buttons can't be seen in Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Edge browsers but that should change by the time SiteChat completes its beta testing. In the interim you can access SiteChat in those browsers by going to SiteChat.com and typing dnjournal.com in the URL box). 

Website operators can also host a scheduled chat inviting people to get together at a specific date and time. Fischer said SiteChat plans to add moderating tools as well for site owners who want to cultivate their own chat community. 

Down the line, Fischer expects there will be a SiteChat app tailoring the service for mobile use. Right now, he is encouraging all of his friends in the domain world to give it a try and invites you to send your feedback to him (Larry at GetYourDomain.com). You are also likely to run into Larry on SiteChat itself as the word gets out and users begin to multiply. Having looked at it myself I have to believe this could the start of something big

(Posted November 21, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Oversee.net Co-Founder Lawrence Ng Launches OnRamp Fund - A $10 Million International Business Incubator

Lawrence Ng, the Oversee.net Co-Founder, entrepreneur and angel investor who was profiled in our March 2008 Cover Story, has just launched a new venture. OnRamp Fund is a $10 million incubator that invests in early stage startups. Unlike other funds that invest in a large number of startups, OnRamp Fund’s focus is to help its portfolio companies achieve critical milestones by working closely with select entrepreneurial teams.

A press release announcing the new fund said, "Entrepreneurs in the incubator will have the opportunity to work with mentors and advisors who have built successful companies and are veterans in their industries. OnRamp Fund’s advisors include co-founder and Chairman of Legalzoom Brian Liu, Jamie Lin, founding partner of Taiwan-based AppWorks, Eytan 

Lawrence Ng
OnRamp Fund Founder & CEO

Elbaz, chairman of Opposing Views and co-creator of Adsense, CEO of EV Connect Scott Jarus, and former CFO of David’s Bridal Gene Morphis. Entrepreneurs will be guided by a team of technology, marketing and development specialists with strong track records of bringing companies to market quickly."

Mr. Ng said, "OnRamp Fund’s international capabilities give entrepreneurs access to top global talent in technology more cost effectively than traditional venues. We know how to build highly scalable and profitable businesses from both internally generated ideas and external sources.”

OnRamp Fund has expertise in cross border and international strategies as well as online to offline marketing. With operations across the United States, Taiwan and China, the fund can assist startups that require cross border operations but lack the resources to do so. The fund release said OnRamp will also connect entrepreneurs with capital providers across the globe when they are ready for the next round of financing.

(L to R) Oversee.net's Corinne Forti with 
company Co-Founders Lawrence Ng and 
Fred Hsu
 accepting a Los Angeles 
Business Journal
Award in 2007.

As a side note, many in the domain business first met Lawrence, who co-founded Oversee.net at the age of 21, during the Domainfest conferences that were staged for many years  by Oversee's DomainSponsor domain monetization unit (a division that was sold to Rook Media in 2014).  Lawrence was always a warm and inviting host at those events.

Domainfest veterans will also remember Corinne Forti, a key team member in staging those events who always made our job easier when it came to conference coverage. Well, Corinne recently rejoined Lawrence at his asset management firm, LNG Management, a company that focuses on global opportunities in commercial real estate, private and public markets and venture capital. We are always happy to see long time innovators and supporters of the domain industry continue to excel in their business careers.

(Posted November 19, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

You Have Money Coming from Sale of a Domain You Didn't Even Know You Owned? Yes, It's a Scam

Old scams never die, they just take a vacation then come back to rope in new victims who apparently never heard the old axiom "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is."  Another one has reared its ugly head with two incidents already reported to me this week, one by a guy who lost about $2,500 to the swindlers. The other would be victim contacted me before he sent any money and saved himself a lot of heartache.

It goes like this - someone contacts the victim and tells them they are domain brokers who have sold a domain that the victim owned (usually saying it was acquired during the victim's time at 

Scam image from Bigstock

another company - with the company name likely being found by the crooks on social media or elsewhere on the web). Never mind that the victim has no recollection of registering or being involved with the domain in question in any way! I guess when someone tells them they have $47,000 coming some people are willing to "suspend disbelief" if it is going to bring them such an unexpected windfall. 

Con man image from Bigstock

The problem is, that in order to claim their $47,000 they first have to send the "broker" their 10% commission - a mere $4,700. When the guy who lost his money told the con man that he did not have that much on hand, the "broker", during one of several phone conversations they had, kindly offered to let him send just half the money now and the rest after the mark was paid for the domain. Who wouldn't jump on a deal like that (except for anyone who gave it more than 5 seconds thought, of course)!? 

So the victim mailed his money off to an address in Goodyear, Arizona. Then, the weirdest thing happened. The broker stopped answering his emails or taking his calls. Go figure! Upon further investigation, the victim learned that the "office" address he sent the money to was actually a rented mailbox in a UPS Store.

The main reason these two cases were reported to me is that the "broker" pointed the marks 

toward one of the weekly domain sales reports at DN Journal to show them the domain they claimed belonged to the victim had been sold for the amount the broker stated. That is obviously no proof whatsoever that the domain sold belonged to the person who never remembered owning it in the first place - but a small percentage of people ignore the obvious and throw caution - and their money - to the wind.  I'm just hopeful those who weren't already aware of this ruse will  remember these few words "it it's too good to be true..."

(Posted November 17, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Portfolio of 5-Digit Domains Sells for $1 Million - Chinese Domaining Masterclass Back in Session - Southern California Domainers Set to Meet Again Saturday

We continue to see some extraordinary transactions in one of the most fascinating years in the history of domain aftermarket sales. Whenever trends develop there are a lot of impressive individual sales to point in whatever sector happens to be hot at the time. However, this time  time around we are seeing large portfolios of domains in popular categories like short domains (2-4 characters) and numeric  domains (that can command respectable money even when they stretch beyond four characters).

A prime example of that came Thursday when  DomainPros.com announced they had purchased a portfolio o0f 260 five-digit numeric domains for $1,000,000 - an average of $3,846 per domain (21889.com and 36689.com are examples of the kinds of names that were included in the buy). DomainPros CEO Sai Pola said the deal, brokered by 62.com and transacted through Escrow.com, included a large number of domains that were once part of a giant numeric portfolio owned by Marchex

Pola noted, "Over the past few years, numeric domain names have experienced consistent growth due to unprecedented demand from China. Chinese investors are looking to diversify their wealth by also investing in foreign assets, with domain names proving to be among their favorites. While the price of assets such as gold and silver, assets traditionally sought after by Asian investors in general and Chinese investors in particular, has stagnated, digital assets have taken off. "

Pola added. "Investors tend to prefer digital assets as a store of value over precious metals due to their increased portability.   Therefore,

DomainPros.com CEO Sai Pola

a generational shift is taking place. Traditionally dominant asset classes such as precious metals are losing their luster, paving the way for the digital asset dominance we are starting to experience in the present. "

Speaking of the booming Chinese domain market, TLDRegistry has just released the latest blog post in their popular Chinese Domaining Masterclass series. The new article explores the significance of the number 9

The article notes, "The number nine in Chinese culture is said to symbolize limitations, however that does not necessarily give it a negative meaning. Contrarily, the number nine represents the farthest possible reach of mortal effort. It’s the largest possible single-digit number, which actually represents power and prestige. In Chinese ancient culture, a king would be referred to as “the noble body of 9 & 5.”  At the same time, Chinese people in the past would regard odd numbers within 10 as Yang (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) and regard even numbers within 

10 as Yin (2, 4, 6, 8). This means that the number nine is the biggest number for Yang, making it a very important number for Chinese people." 

One other note today - one of the world's most active local domain investor's groups - Southern California Domainers (SCD) - will hold their November meeting Saturday (November 14) at 4pm. The get together is being sponsored by 101Domain.com who will host the event at their offices. SCD organizer Jason Thompson said, "I'm excited about this meetup as it will be one of our first events held within the San Diego region. Our main speakers for November's meetup will be Joe Alagna (VP of Channel Development at 101Domain.com) and Renee Zau (Co-Founder & CEO at DonationMatch.com and 

101Domain.com is sponsoring the SCD meeting Saturday and their VP, Joe Alagna, will be one of the featured speakers. 

SamplingforGood.com). After our meetup we will head to one of the many local breweries. 101Domain.com has been nice enough to sponsor these festivities as well."

(Posted November 13, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Demand for Numeric Domains Prompts Sedo to Add Numeric Search Function & A Numeric Auction 

Interest in numeric domain names, fueled primarily by demand form Chinese buyers, has surged this year. The major domain brokerages and sales platforms are well aware of that, of course, and are taking steps to facilitate more transactions between eager buyers and willing sellers. Just today Sedo announced they have added a new search filter that will only show numeric domain names in the search results. The company noted "This is valuable for all Sedo customers but will especially impact our Chinese customers whose interest in numeric domains continue to grow at a rapid rate."

Sedo added, "Throughout 2015, sales for numeric domains, such as 7384.com or 17117.com, have increased exponentially, particularly with buyers 

Search numbers image from Bigstock

from China. In the last week of October, more than 10% of Sedo’s sales were domains containing numbers only." The new search feature can be found in the advanced search filter options in Sedo’s search engine:  www.sedo.com/NumericSearch.

With unprecedented interest in numeric domains, Sedo also announced they are "seizing this opportunity to host an exclusive Numeric Auction with .club domain names, November 12-19, 2015.  Featured names are 111.club, 333.club, 800.club and many more. These domains will be auctioned off without a reserve price, so all bidders have a chance of snatching up a numeric domain at a very low price." You can visit the auction inventory page to see the full inventory and for a complete set of details about the auction. 

(Posted November 10, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

THE Domain Conference Announces 2016 Dates  and Price Cut for Early Birds

After a successful debut show in September, THE Domain Conference (TDC) has announced plans for a 2016 encore that will bring Florida's big event back to the crowd pleasing Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Next year's event will again be in September, but a couple of week's earlier than this year's conference. It will open on Saturday, September 10, 2016 and run through Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The 2015 event earned high praise from attendees who were pleased with the programming, the networking opportunities, sponsor support that generated a bustling exhibit hall and a superb venue perfectly situated between the Atlantic Ocean and Florida's Intracoastal Waterway. Better yet, that venue offered hotel rooms starting at $109 (with free internet and no resort fee) and show founders Howard, Barbara and Ray Neu told me they have secured the same rate for 2016. 

The Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida will welcome back 
THE Domain Conference when the show returns September 10-14, 2016.

Despite everything TDC offers the Neu family is committed to keeping it affordable for everyone and there is no better time to buy than when tickets first go on sale at early bird rates as they have just done with a limited time price of just $345. That includes business day luncheons, the official Show Party and the Farewell Breakfast in the revolving room at the top of the hotel that offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding area. 

THE Domain Conference Founders Howard Neu, Barbara Neu and Ray Neu 
at the show's 2015 Farewell Breakfast atop the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 Hotel.

After such an outstanding performance in their debut show the next edition of THE Domain Conference is already highly anticipated and will be one of the can't miss events on the 2016  industry calendar.

(Posted November 9, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

George Kirikos Discovers 2005 Deal to Purchase LasVegas.com Could Net Seller $90 Million Over Time

Over the years George Kirikos has uncovered many significant previously unreported domain sales while poring over SEC filings. Today he reported hitting the mother lode - a sale that could end up being worth an astounding $90 million - when he came across details of a deal involving LasVegas.com that was made a decade ago. 

In a public SEC filing made by Remark Media, who recently acquired Vegas.com LLC, the company revealed details of a 2005 purchase agreement by Vegas.com LLC to acquire the LasVegas.com domain name over a period of 35 years extending to 2040. It showed 

Financial statement image from Bigstock

Vegas.com LLC paying $12 million up front for the exclusive right to begin using the LasVegas.com domain, followed by a series of escalating monthly payments.

For the three years after the agreement was signed, Vegas.com paid approximately $83,000 a month. For the next five years that rose to about $125,000, then, in 2013, bumped up again to approximately $208,000 a month for three years. So, as of today Vegas.com has already paid about $29 million for the domain. When the current schedule of $208,000 payments concludes June 30, 2016, Vegas.com has the right to terminate the agreement and give up their right to complete the purchase. If 

they want to stay the course, they will continue paying approximately $208,000 a month until June 30, 2040 when the domain would finally be transferred to them.

Given how much has been paid to date - and on how much more will likely be paid in the years ahead, this deal dwarfs anything we have seen to date that didn't include a fully developed business with a multi-million dollar annual revenue stream.  It's not a transaction we can put on our sales charts because we only list domains that have been fully paid for and transferred to their new owners (a step that is still 25 years away for this one) - but this is still a landmark transaction no matter how you slice it.  

As regular readers know, we also list sales of domain names only as those involving developed website businesses often involve additional assets and revenue streams well beyond the value of the domain alone. At the time the LasVegas.com agreement was made, the domain did have a relatively pedestrian website on it that produced some revenue but it is pretty obvious in this case (especially since the website was completely redeveloped for its current use by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) that the long term value of the domain itself was the only reason Vegas.com made such a massive commitment.

The bottom line is that it is a remarkable deal that shows just how valuable a great domain name can be to the right party. When some of the industry's early pioneers predicted eight or even nine figure domain sales years ago most people - even within the industry - viewed that as "pie in the sky." Details of this deal shows the pie is actually right there on the dinner table. Seems especially fitting this news broke just in time for Thanksgiving!

Cherry pie image from Bigstock

(Posted November 6, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Key Figures in China's Domain Investment Boom Compare Notes at Private Summit in Beijing

Over the past year Chinese domain investors have practically taken over the high end of the aftermarket, paying top prices for a seemingly endless array of short .com names, especially those with two to four letters or numbers. One of the top brokers of those kinds of domains, George Hong of Guta.com, has just returned from an invitation-only conference held in the iconic Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China - an event that further illustrated the insatiable appetite for  investment-quality domain names in that nation. 

As a native of China who lives in the U.S., George's fluency in both Chinese and English, along with his knowledge of the domain market in both nations, has put him in the middle of the unprecedented action.  He was kind enough to send us some photos and highlights from the 2015 Digital Assets Domain Summit that was held Saturday, October 24, 2015 in Beijing. The conference was organized by YMQ.cn, who describes themselves as "an independent third party domain assets service platform."

George Hong

Above: Conference attendees on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 24, 2015. (All photos courtesy of YMQ.cn)

Below: Attendees gather inside the Great Hall of the People

George told us, "For most Chinese people, to participate a meeting in the Great Hall of the People is once in a life time event and it was an amazing experience for me. This conference changed the status of Chinese domainers. Domaining has become a noble occupation and this conference introduced the industry to a much broader audience."

The Beijing TV station (BTV) even sent staff to cover the event and interviewed participants King Wang, founder of YMQ.cn, Jian Zhou from Xinnet.com, Yiming Mou from YMF.com, Xiaosheng Liu from WRZ.com and Donghong Chan from 400.com, who reiterated the importance of domains to trademark, brand and finance in the internet application market.

Above: YMQ.cn Founder and Conference Organizer King Wang addressing attendees.

Mr. Wang invited George Hong, John Xu ( founder of 4.cn) and Linda Yang ( General Manager at Mijia.com) to be the conference's featured speakers. 

Above: George Hong of Guta.com speaking at the 2015 Digital Assets Domain Summit.

Below: 4.CN Founder John Xu joined George Hong and Linda Wang as featured speakers.

With the Chinese stock market going down this year a lot of people have been surprised to see domain buyers spending more money than ever,  but many experts say that stock market decline has actually been a big positive for the domain business. It has caused those with substantial cash assets to look elsewhere for investments that they think will not only retain value but also have a chance to appreciate as the Internet boom continues to reshape world commerce. A YMQ.cn account of the conference said, "Undoubtedly, domains, as rare resources, are getting more and more important for improving brand image and for deepening users brand memory in the Internet era."

U.S. domain owners have long dreamed of a day when domains would be viewed as investment quality assets but, until this year,  

Speaker Linda Yang
General Manager at Mijia.com

few would have guessed we would see the first substantial move in that direction come from somewhere other than the U.S. 

During a domain auction at the 2015 Digital Assets Summit in Beijing, bidders study the auction catalog looking for investment grade buying opportunities.

Our thanks to George Hong and YMQ.cn for their insight into this important event in China.  We also continue to appreciate the work George has done in helping to build a bridge between the U.S. and China domain markets that is paying big dividends to industry participants on both sides of the globe.

(Posted November 3, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Freelancer Purchase of Escrow.com Finalized - Business as Usual at Escrow.com Includes Another Fundraiser for Wounded Veterans

In April we told you that Australia's Freelancer.com (the world’s largest freelancing, outsourcing and crowd  sourcing marketplace with 15 million users in 247 countries around the world) had agreed to purchase California based escrow giant Escrow.com for $7.5 million in cash - subject to regulatory approval. That requirement has now been met and today Freelancer announced the deal has officially closed

In their announcement Freelancer noted, "Escrow.com is the leading provider of secure online payments and online transaction management for consumers and businesses on the Internet. The company had a FY14 gross payment volume of US $265 million, net revenue of US $5 million, EBITDA of US $1.2 million and over US $2.2 billion in transaction volume to date. The immediate benefit to Freelancer is that Escrow.com will contribute to its financial results from 1 November 2015."

Brandon Abbey
Escrow.com President

While ownership changed it has been booming  business as usual at Escrow.com with the same team, led by President Brandon Abbey, continuing to steer the ship.  

One thing, beyond the escrow business, that  Brandon has thrown his and the company's support behind is an annual golf tournament in Southern California that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for wounded veterans. Brandon, who also serves as President of Orange County Supports Our Troops (a registered 501(c)3 charity) said this year's tournament to support the Semper Fi and America’s Fund will be held a week from today -  on Monday, November 9th at the Coto de Caza Golf Club.  Brandon would love to have any "domainer golfers"  in the area sign up to play and support the effort.

Last year's tournament raised $190,000 that was split evenly between the Semper Fi and America's Fund and Brandon hopes enough people will rally around the cause to drive that number even higher this year.   

Above: Among those standing out in the crowd at the 2014 tournament supporting the Semper Fi Fund and America's Fund were (L to R): retired  Master Sergeant Davey Lind (Davey is a 20-year Marine veteran who lost both legs during his second deployment to Iraq in 2007 when his vehicle struck an IED), NHL hockey great Teemu Selanne, Escrow.com President Brandon Abbey and Golf Pro Rick Booth.

(Posted November 2, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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