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August 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano

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

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

Image from Bigstock

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

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

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

(Posted August 15, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted August 8, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted August 8, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Posted August 7, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

NameSummit to Emphasize Key Role of Domains at Next Week's Digital Branding Conference in New York

The new NameSummit conference that I first told you about April (with an update four weeks ago) gets underway next Monday, August 7, 2017 in New York City at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan. The two-day event will cover a much broader range of subject matter than we normally see in domain conferences - basically everything related to launching and operating a business online, including domain acquisition, website development, SEO, social media, marketing and management. The scope is so 

broad NameSummit is describing itself as "A Digital Branding Conference" rather than a domain conference.  Show Co-Founder Jason Schaeffer said the show is built around the idea that "everyone is an influencer whether you have 1 million followers or just one, whether YOU are the brand or work for one, we are covering what you need to build your brand, reach and messaging." You can check out their full agenda here.

(Left to right): NameSummit Co-Founders Jason Schaeffer and Steven Kaziyev and 
Andrew Rosener (who is Co-Producing the conference along with Ari Goldberger).

I think Schaeffer (from ESQWire.com), Kaziyev (NewYorkMedia.com), Rosener (MediaOptions.com) and Goldberger (ESQWire.com) were wise to expand the reach of the event, especially with its location in New York City where so many companies associated with the various facets of building and marketing a business are located. With the cross pollination between those fields and its face to face networking opportunities, NameSummit should appeal to a broad range of internet professionals in the Big Apple.

I'm sure some are thinking that sounds good but many (if not most) domain investors are not interested in developing a business - they are perfectly content with simply buying and selling domains. Why would they want to go to a conference where a lot of the content will be devoted to areas they may not be that interested in? Before I even had a chance to ask that question, Jason Schaeffer mentioned to me, "Underlying everything at NameSummit will be the consistent message that you need a domain name and home for your content, so we are striving to provide a positive platform for domains and gTLDs. That’s precisely why we created this event."

It's a great point, especially in a time when some new business owners think a Facebook account is all they need for their online presence (overlooking the obvious fact that doing that essentially turns the keys to your business over to Facebook rather than keeping your enterprise under your control where it belongs. If Facebook decides you have violated their rules in some way - real or imagined - they can instantly put you out of business online which - in today's world - pretty much means out of business all together."

At NameSummit, you can help the organizers reinforce that 

Image from Bigstock

message, but of more immediate importance, you can meet face to face with a lot of people getting ready to set up and brand a business - people for whom you may just happen to have the perfect domain name for their enterprise.

Also, I've always believed domain investors would be wise to develop at least one website. It is a great skill set to have and if you hit on an idea that attracts an audience you could create a new revenue stream that could come in very handy in between the ups ands downs that come with relying purely on domain sales and monetization. You can learn how to do that at NameSummit and do it a comfortable setting where you will see many of those domain industry faces you've become so familiar with over the years including, to name just a few, Tobias Flaitz (Sedo CEO), Rob Monster (Epik CEO), Jeff Sass (.CLUB), Lori Anne Wardi (Neustar), Ari Goldberger (ESQWire.com), Larry Fischer (GetYourDomain.com), Brett Lewis (Lewis & Lin), Amanda Waltz (BrandIT), Victor Pitts (MMX), John Colascione (LongIsland.com) and many more. 

I will also be there to cover the event from start to finish for our readers (with daily photos & highlights in this column) and am also looking forward to seeing all of you who can make it in person. I'm sure it is going to be time very well spent!

(Posted July 31, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

.Boston Set to Bow With Sunrise Next Month - MMX's Victor Pitts Unveils Premium Domain Opportunities

Back in March veteran domain industry executive Victor Pitts took on a new role as Director of  Premium Sales, Americas at Minds + Machine Group (MMX) (over the past 13 years Victor has made many friends while representing well-known companies including  Moniker, iGoldrush, DomainIt, ICM Registry and Above.com). At MMX Pitts is currently laser focused on the upcoming roll out of the new .boston TLD that will enter Sunrise next month (August 2017) and General Availability on October 10, 2017

Pitts is excited about the company's opportunity to manage a TLD dedicated solely to one of the greatest cities in America and the world (one that is also home to several leading companies in the domain industry). "Since the American Revolution, Boston has been the birthplace of many American leaders. The history is rich and you will find houses and buildings in Boston that are hundreds of years old next to modern skyscrapers. It is a beautiful sight to see," Pitts noted.

"Fast forward to 2017, and you will find large groups of tech startups launching in centralized areas like Kendall Square, Downtown Crossing, and Seaport, infusing 

Victor Pitts
Director of Premium Sales, Americas
Minds + Machines Group Limited

the city with the highest level of entrepreneurial energy in recent memory.  Business owners and individuals have long had a strong sense of identity and community, showing their togetherness and pride in being Boston Strong," Pitts said. 

That high degree of pride in what Boston stands for is a key reason why Pitts expects .boston to be successful. Ahead of the official launch MMX has already started taking pre-orders on premium .boston domains. He provided the domains below as examples of those being made available:







Pitts said anyone interested in discussing premium .boston domain opportunities, can contact MMX for more information at this link http://mmx.co/solutions/premium-names/

(Posted July 28, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

New MERGE! Conference Continues to Come Together - Here's the Latest on the October Event in Orlando

I just got an update on the new MERGE! Conference coming to Orlando October 14-18, 2017 from Jothan Frakes, who co-founded the event with Ray Dillman Neu. They've made a lot of progress since my last show update six weeks ago. MERGE! will incorporate much more than Domains with Legal, Branding, Development, User Experience, Investment, Appraisal, Startups, Technology, Design, Security and other disciplines all added to the mix.  

The first bit of news to pass along is that ticket prices for the event at the Marriott World Center will be increasing on August 1, so if you want to attend the innovative event it would be a good idea 

to take advantage of the current $499 base rate before it expires. You can register here.   

This week the unveiling of a WHIR networking event at MERGE! has created a lot of excitement in the cloud, CMS, and hosting worlds. TheWHIR has an event tomorrow (Thursday, July 27) in Toronto and upcoming events in Denver and Vancouver as well, culminating in the Orlando MERGE!.  Frakes noted, "TheWHIR has a fantastic track record in building the value of in-person interactions and their events facilitate community by providing a fun and comfortable environment to meet, mingle and do business face-to-face."

MERGE! Co-Founders Jothan Frakes (left) 
and Ray Dillman Neu.

Frakes said the conference's multi-track format has also undergone a lot more evolution that is detailed on their new website at MERGESHOW.COM. The many tracks available in what is actually a multi-show event for the price of one ticket, are designed to encourage cross-networking among the various groups of attendees so you can accelerate your connections into those areas to develop leads and make the right connections.

The CMS Summit event at MERGE! is adding an impressive roster of

speakers from Joomla, Drupal, Concrete 5, Automattic, Magento and more.  Meanwhile with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies currently all the rage, the BlockChain Roadshow at MERGE! will be part of a focus on Blockchain technology and innovation in next big things.

Frakes and Neu are also placing a lot of weight on Inclusion and Diversity - topics Frakes said, "are super important yet unfortunately draw smaller crowds because of the inconvenient topics." Frakes continued, "We embrace all cultures, orientations, preferences, and genders, and that's important, but we don't want to waive a flag about that, but rather quietly operate in the spirit of being inclusive about our participants, because that should be the new normal."

"I feel it is good to focus on the show, and not manipulate people with the many do-gooder things we're accomplishing along the way, like the IAEF.org support or the efforts for balance of panels. We have a code of conduct for the show that follows leading practice, and we want all to know they are of course welcome at our event.  Reinforcing that welcoming attitude and focusing on what the topics are and having leading experts share their wisdom and experience is important.  Let's make it commercially attractive to be inclusive and make that the new normal."

Image from Bigstock

"By it's design, MERGE! is intended to be diverse in content, and highlight the benefits of embracing concepts and disciplines beyond a narrow, industry-specific focus. We highlight that the essential growth that companies look to in the balance of the year and into 2018 is likely to be found in the areas that your business might organically expand into," Frakes said.

There will be tracks about community relations, attracting and keeping the right talent, and other classical Diversity/Inclusion topics within the schedule, as well as a number of internationalization and universal acceptance topics. The focus there will be on highlighting the commercial markets, which will attract larger crowds by inspiring growth and opportunity.

Image from Bigstock

The addition of a Latin-Hispanic-Spanish focused sub-event called 'Confluir' is also a new development, on that will provide exceptional speakers and connections with successful Hispanic business owners, engagement with the Spanish speaking market, and interaction with regional opportunities in the Latin Americas. Alfredo Pinochet, Jochen Kieler and George Verdugo will be part of this, as well as regional ccTLDs and successful cloud hosting and other businesses from the region.

In another highlight, Allegravita's China Bootcamp will feature Simon Cousins, a familiar face to many conference goers and a frequent contributor of photos and updates from various conferences throughout Asia, who will share crucial wisdom on embracing the markets and opportunity in the global economy.  

MERGE! is less that three months away but Frakes and Neu plan to add still more sessions and tracks to the agenda before show time. The roster of moderators and speakers has expanded considerably since our last update with the addition of David Sams, Larry Fischer, Andee Hill, Bill Sweetman and Derek Newman. With more to come will update you periodically as the big event in Orlando continues to draw closer. 

(Posted July 26, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Hitting the Sweetman Spot - How Much Should a Startup Expect to Pay for the Domain They Desire?

Most professional domain investors have a pretty good idea of what price range different kinds of domain names would fall into but the vast majority of buyers have no idea. That's why it is commonplace for owners of, say, a 3-letter .com, to get offers of $50 to purchase an asset that consistently sells in the five to six figure range. In an effort to save everyone some time, industry expert Bill Sweetman, founder of the Name Ninja domain brokerage and consulting service, has put together a free Startup Domain Name Price Guide in a handy, easy to understand, infographic format designed to quickly educate startup business buyers who have never been through the process before.

Sweetman hopes the guide will help those  entrepreneurs avoid sticker shock from having unrealistic expectations about the fair market value of today’s most desirable domain names.

Bill Sweetman
Name Ninja

Sweetman's guide covers different types of domains that are popular with startups such as one-word .com, two-word .com and invented .com. For each type of domain, Name Ninja’s guide outlines the typical price ranges, from domains that might be unclaimed and available to register for only $10 all the way to extremely popular domains requiring an investment of six-figures or more.

Below: A snippet from Name Ninja's Startup Domain Name Price Guide. You can click on the image to bring up the complete infographic or click here for an even larger high res image of the file. 

“It’s important for startup founders to have a realistic budget in mind when commencing the naming process and hunt for the matching domain,” Sweetman said. "Startups will save themselves a lot of time and stress if they align their name and domain choices with their budget. If you’ve got your heart set on a one-word .com domain name, you’re likely going to need to invest at least six-figures. Why? Those types of domains are in short supply and have very high demand."

Sweetman's advice is based on daily requests he gets from potential clients seeking Name Ninja’s help in buying a desirable domain for their business. Name Ninja is one of a select few independent professional service firms focused on helping serial entrepreneurs, startup founders, and corporate marketers acquire domain names that are owned by third-parties. 

(Posted July 24, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Registered Domain Names Pass the 330 Million Mark as Growth Continues But at a Slower Rate

Verisign, the administrator of the .com and .net registries, released their quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (covering the 1st quarter of 2017) this week. The brief is always a must read because it encompasses all domain extensions, not just those operated by Verisign.

The company reported that approximately 1.3 million domain name registrations were added to the internet in 1Q-2017, bringing the total number of domain name registrations to approximately 330.6 million across all top-level domains (TLDs) as of March 31, 2017.

That increase represents a growth rate of 3.7% year over year (11.8 million more domains registered than at the same point in 2016). The number of registrations rose 0.4% from the previous quarter (4Q-2016). That is slower than the 6.8% year over year rate (and 1.8% increase from the previous quarter) that we saw at the end of 4Q-2016.

.Com remains, by far, the most popular TLD in the world with 128.4 million of them registered at the end of 1Q-2017. The next largest gTLD, .Net, stood at 15.2 million.  Those two combined totaled approximately 143.6 million, an increase of 0.8% year over year - still moving forward though the percentage growth rate for .com/.net combined was also a good bit slower than that of the market as a whole.

ccTTLDs (country code domains) as a group also grew more slowly than the market at large. Approximately 143.1 million ccTLD domains were registered as of March 31, up 1.7% year over year and 0.3% from 4Q-2016 (as with .com/.net, the ccTLD growth rates are down from the previous quarter's report).

(Posted July 21, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Can a New Cryptocurrency & Blockchain Technology Topple Google? A Startup Launching Next Week is Counting On It  

I first met serial entrepreneur Colin Pape at the 2009 GeoDomain Expo in San Diego, where the Founder & CEO of the ShopCity.com local community commerce platform came to share information about the innovative company he had started the year before. ShopCity is still going strong despite Pape having to simultaneously focus on an anti-trust complaint he lodged against search engine giant Google in 2011. Pape contended that Google rigged its search results to make it hard for consumers to find local sites in the ShopCity network.

That experience left Pape convinced that someway, somehow a viable alternative to Google had to be created. On the surface, given Google's dominance in search, that would seem to be an impossible task, but Pape believes the emergence of blockchain technology and crypto-currencies has created an opportunity to completely remake the search landscape. In fact in his latest venture, he intends to make it happen with the team he has assembled to bring Presearch to the market. The project will officially liftoff at 10am on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 when an Initial Coin Offering will begin to build funding. 

Colin Pape
Presearch Project Lead

The company describes Presearch as an open,  decentralized search engine that rewards community members with Presearch Tokens for their usage, contribution to, and promotion of the platform. Their website notes, "Presearch has an innovative go-to-market strategy to target the most frequent searchers - web workers - and gain early adoption, on our way to releasing future versions of the open source platform that will utilize a blockchain-based index, curated by the community." 

Here are some key bullet points outlining the strategy:

Decentralized Search Token Ecosystem
  • Open and transparent ranking factors enable content creators to access a level playing field, and users the choice of which data sources to utilize.

  • Community-driven decision-making process ensures that everyone’s interests are aligned, and the best content is surfaced and displayed.

  • Ability to vote on and fund dev projects provides ability to influence and improve the platform, and earn tokens for contributing.

  • Tokens can be purchased during the Presearch Token Crowdsale July 25.

  • Tokens will be issued to early adopters to reward usage and promotion of the platform.

  • Token-holders will be able to vote on decisions, suggest / fund dev projects
    Devs will receive tokens for contributing to features / projects.

  • Advertisers will be able to purchase targeted, non-intrusive, keyword sponsorships with DSTs


The full details on Presearch are available in this comprehensive White Paper (.pdf file). While many will find it hard to imagine anyone putting a dent in the massive machine that Google has become, Presearch has already made believers of some important supporters. In fact, earlier this month Presearch was featured on CNBC with Tim Enneking, the Managing Director of Crypto Asset Management, picking Presearch as one of his three recommended plays in the crypto world.



The core tenet of the Presearch strategy is that The Community Knows Best. In the weeks and months ahead they will be putting that belief to the test. As daunting as the task may seem, there is some precedent - after all David did defeat Goliath.

(Posted July 17, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

.TECH Goes Hollywood with Marketer to the Stars Sheeraz Hasan Launching New Venture on Radix TLD

As new gTLDs continue to battle for market share results have varied widely among the many different registry operators. Some continue to gain ground while others have had setbacks. We are still early in the game but most agree that in the long run, the success of new gTLDs 

is going to depend on them being adopted and developed into useful websites. That's why Radix Registry is excited about a new venture launched by marketing and advertising whiz Sheeraz Hasan on Radix's .TECH extension.

Hasan, who is known for successfully creating huge social media amplification for

Fortune 100 companies through celebrity endorsements and social media influencers, has set up shop at HOLLYWOOD.TECH - an especially relevant domain as the business aims to be a bridge between Hollywood celebs, social influencers and technology companies for brand endorsements.

Sheeraz Hasan

Radix said that Hasan, who has overseen campaigns for some of the most recognized brands, celebrities and government agencies in the world, has a direct network to social media influencers that reach over 3 billion people across all social media networks. He also manages marketing campaigns and works directly with a number of world-famous celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Priyanka Chopra, Zendaya and the Jackson family, among others, generating over $2 billion in earned media. That has prompted ArabianBusiness.com to include him in their list of  the Top 100 Most Influential People in Dubai.

While his other venture, Sheeraz .Inc, works with brands across sectors, HOLLYWOOD.TECH will focus only on tech companies looking to amplify their brand through celebrity endorsements on social media. This is the 5th venture Hasan has launched on a .TECH domain.


Explaining his affinity for the extension Hasan said, “What is better than HOLLYWOOD.TECH as the name for a website that brings together two vastly successful giants of our modern world: Hollywood and Technology! The name is concise yet descriptive, and just perfect for my business debut in the tech sector.”


Suman Das, who is the Brand Manager for .TECH domains, said, “We are thrilled to have successful entrepreneur Sheeraz Hasan use www.hollywood.tech for his venture. As technology makes its way into each and every sector, .TECH is fast becoming the choicest domain name for brands looking for a short, memorable and meaningful name that instantly creates an impact.”


Radix launched .TECH two years ago and can now point to many companies that have adopted the TLD, some examples being www.ces.tech, www.cta.tech, www.tnw.tech and www.viacom.tech, as well as social media influencers like www.edgar.tech, www.dom.tech and  www.andru.tech, SEO experts like www.seo-hero.tech (the global winner of the WIX SEO Hero challenge) and tech startups like www.dadi.tech (an open source content management company). 

Suman Das
.TECH Brand Manager

Radix is part of the Directi Group, which is currently valued at $1.4 billion. In addition to .TECH, Radix operates the .ONLINE, .STORE, .WEBSITE, .SPACE, .PRESS, .SITE, .HOST and .FUN registries.

(Posted July 14, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Bad News in HeidiPowell.com Case - Looks Like So-Called Celebrity Will Succeed in Stealing Grandmother's Domain

Many of you have been following the disturbing case involving Washington State grandmother HeidiPowell that I wrote about in February. Many others in both our industry and in national media have also covered this sad story. To briefly recap, Heidi's husband registered the domain name HeidiPowell.com for her as an anniversary gift in 2005. Last year a minor "celebrity" also named Heidi Powell came along and tried to buy HeidiPowell.com from the grandmother who declined the offers as the name has obvious sentimental and practical value to her. So, the "celebrity" responded by suing the grandmother and a court battle has been going in ever since, complicated by a 2012 bankruptcy the original Heidi had to go through.

Heidi Powell

The "celebrity" Heidi took advantage of that by telling the bankruptcy judge he should order the grandmother to sell the domain name to her and divide the money among her creditors. A final hearing was held on that motion Wednesday (July 12) and I was shocked and saddened to see Heidi come back from it and have to report this on Facebook (where she is a friend): "It did not go our way...The judge approved the sale of my domain to her. Proof positive that if you have all the money in the world you can do anything to anyone and get whatever it is that your heart desires, no matter who you hurt in the process. A year process to be exact."

Heidi continued, "We may appeal if we can find pro bono representation that will take it but need to wait for the audio (from the judge's ruling)  before that decision can be made. We believe the judge may have split the domain and my email up, where I would be keeping the 

Attorney David Weslow has helped Heidi

email part of the domain and she would get the domain for website purposes but not even our attorney totally understood it. Very confusing. We will be sorting that out when the audio shows up in an estimated five or so days."

Many in our industry have rallied around Heidi with both time and money since this all began (with attorney David Weslow (WileyRein.com) especially notable in that regard) and Heidi's thoughts were with them as she concluded her post with this, "Thank you from the depths of my soul to each and every one of you for caring about us and being our champions. We may not be rich monetarily but we are richer than anyone because of the love of caring friends, relatives and even strangers throughout the world that have stood beside us."

I hope this will not be the end of this - no one deserves to have their identity stolen in this way. 

(Posted July 13, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

BrandIT Makes Another Big Move - Jochen Kieler Comes On Board as Partner and Chief Strategy Officer

Last month I told you about a Europe-based leader in the corporate domain management business - BrandIT - acquiring popular domain brokerage company Igloo.com. In another big move designed to expand the company's reach worldwide BrandIT has just announced a new partnership with highly respected domain industry veteran Jochen Kieler who will also serve as BrandIT's Chief Strategy Officer

Kieler most recently served as the Chief Sales Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development at European domain powerhouse Key-Systems. Kieler has specialized in International Corporate Management with over 16 years of experience in the Domain and Internet Industry with Key-Systems, InternetX and others.  Also known as an advisor to brand owners, domain investors and registries, Kieler is a regularly featured speaker at domain and hosting events around the world.  He was also a member of the Advisory-Team/Sales & Marketing at nTLDstats. Jochen is also the Co-Organizer of the German roundtable, Stammtisch.Domains and Co-Owner of NoticiasDeDominios.com, the best source of information for the Spanish-speaking domain community.  

At BrandIT, Kieler will be overseeing BrandIT’s international expansion and help strengthen operations as they grow.

Jochen Kieler
BrandIT Partner & CSO

The company, with clients worldwide and offices in Switzerland (HQ), Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Brazil and North America is known for its Domain Portfolio Services and expertise in Online Brand Protection and Enforcement and well as Legal in Digital.

BrandIT CEO Jesper Knudsen said, “We are so excited to welcome someone of Jochen’s caliber to BrandIT as we always seek to attract the most highly skilled people in the domain industry. Adding his expansive knowledge is crucial to continue and maintain the reputation BrandIT has as a leading provider in the Domain Industry."

BrandIT CEO Jesper Knudsen with newly appointed CSO & Partner Jochen Kieler.

Kieler's arrival is the latest example of BrandIT's focus on attracting the talents of industry leaders, a campaign that previously resulted in the addition of Legal in Digital expert Caroline Perriard and continued with Amanda Waltz and Tessa Holcomb coming on board in last month’s acquisition of Igloo.com. 

In addition to creating a distinctive presence in his home country - Germany - Kieler will help bring the current blending of Igloo services into the BrandIT portfolio to a successful conclusion. Kieler said, “I have been following BrandIT since it’s foundation and have long admired their excellent reputation and growth. The first big important step in going global was the Igloo.com acquisition and I now look forward to partnering with BrandIT.  Our vision is to have the best reputation in the industry world-wide.”

(Posted July 11, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

NamesCon's Next Stop: China! Last Event Before NamesCon Global Coming to Shanghai in October

A major Chinese domain conference - the Global Domain Summit - just ended in Xiamen Sunday (July 9) but another one will be staged just three months from now, on Thursday, October 12, 2017, when NamesCon will present a one-day event in Shanghai. This will be the latest in a series of regional shows that complement NamesCon's multi-day main event in Las Vegas that has been re-christened NamesCon Global. The 

latter event is set for January 28-31, 2018 at the Tropicana Hotel where is has been held since NamesCon debuted in 2014.

NamesCon China will be held at the five star boutique hotel Andaz Shanghai Xintiandi in Shangahi (a concept by Hyatt). For this conference NamesCon has partnered with Racënt who, as the operator of  the largest portal for the cloud and domain industries in China, will bring vital regional experience to the event. Racënt also worked with NamesCon's parent company, World Hosting Days, to stage WHD.China in Beijing on May 23rd. 

Some of the 990 skyscrapers that 
grace the Shanghai skyline.
(image from Bigstock)

Between the WHD and NamesCon brands the company now presents ten annual international events ranging from invitation-only corporate executive retreats to global blockbuster meetings like WHD Global and NamesCon Global.

NamesCon said Shanghai was chosen for the upcoming China show because, "This amazing, modern location is the largest city and metropolitan area in the world. Shanghai is also a major financial, industrial, and communication center with the largest fiber internet cables in mainland China arriving on its shores. And of all the cities in China, Shanghai is one of the most welcoming and friendly — providing the perfect backdrop for the first NamesCon China."

The domain aftermarket saw a huge influx of Chinese buyers in the second half of 2015 that created something of a market frenzy that has since subsided with prices coming back down to earth. However, NamesCon organizers believe China's growth story is just beginning. Their NamesCon China website noted, "The domain market in China is unique, dynamic, and ripe with opportunity. NamesCon China 2017 will be a new exploration that builds a bridge — bringing both regional and international companies together in a spirit of cooperation and mutual success. The demand for websites, domains, content generation, and hardware are going to make China the largest technology market in the world over the next few years and NamesCon China will be at the forefront of this growing trend." 

Tickets can be purchased through the NamesCon China site now, priced at just $20 for general admission and $120 for a VIP pass (a small service fee is also added).

(Posted July 10, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Biggest Italian Domain Name Sale Ever Reported Comes to Light - Price Obliterates Previous Record

A few weeks ago I met Shaun Wilkinson, the Director of English Speaking Markets for Nidoma.com, for the first time at the 2017 Domaining Europe conference in Berlin. Nidoma, who is based in Cologne, Germany, provides domain registration, drop catching and brokerage services. The company has been especially strong in Italy, no doubt helped by CEO &

Co-Founder Simone Ferracuti's intimate knowledge of the market (Simone is a native Italian). 

At the show, Shaun told me that last year Nidoma had been involved in the biggest Italian ccTLD (.it) domain sale ever reported and he hoped to get clearance to share the details with me. Those details came in a Skype call from Shaun today when he revealed that Nidoma had purchased Casino.it from a client themselves, paying €400,000 ($452,000 at today's exchange rate). That makes it the first six-figure .it sale reported to us and obliterates the previous high water mark - also set by Nidoma in April 2014 when then sold Like.it for €55,000 ($75,900 at the exchange rate then in effect).

Image from Bigstock

Nidoma.com CEO & Co-Founder Simone Ferracuti (above left) and Director of English Speaking Markets Shaun Wilkinson worked together to complete a €400,000 deal for Casino.it.

While Nidoma routinely sells domains for others they almost never buy domains themselves. Wilkinson said an exception was made in this case because it was part of a specifically structured deal to move the domain on to a new owner. That occurred later in 2016 when Nidoma completed a sale to the current owner for an undisclosed sum.

Both Ferracuti (who spent five years with Sedo as their Country Manager for Italy) and Wilkinson (also a Sedo alumnus) expect high dollar Italian sales to become more commonplace as time goes on. Wilkinson said, "The Italian domain market is underdeveloped but has a lot of potential, so we were extremely pleased to complete a sale that was many times higher than the previous largest recorded sale for a .it. We hope to see the market develop to the stage where six figure sales are no longer so uncommon.’

(Posted July 5, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

VPS Web Hosting

First Name Summit in New York City Now Just a Month Away - Here's the Latest on What's Coming to the Big Apple 

In April I told you about a new digital branding conference (incorporating domains and development related disciplines like SEO, social media and marketing) that is coming to New York City this summer. With the big event at the Hilton Midtown Manhattan, Name Summit, now just a month away a lot of the agenda details that weren't available in my original report have since been filled in. 

One of the biggest developments is veteran domain broker Andrew Rosener from MediaOptions.com  

coming on board as a Co-Producer, joining conference founders Steven Kaziyev (New York Media) and Jason Schaeffer (ESQwire.com) in that role while Jodi Chamberlain (32Events.com) serves as Conference Director.

Regarding the addition of Rosener to the NameSummit production team, Ms. Chamberlian said, "Andrew's years of industry experience, knowledge and professionalism are top notch. He is a close colleague to both Jason and Steve which has made this trio an amazing one to work with. This new partnership brings more value to the event as Drew has a strong eye for 'smart' business and his desire to not only support the conference but join in as a partner speaks volume to the direction it has taken."

Regarding the show agenda, Jodi added, "We are covering everything including Influencer  and Social Branding, SEO, Adwords and even a panel on how Blockchain is being used to change paid advertising and search.  Participants will also get start up and business coaching from FOWNDERS.com and a great personal business coach, Stacee Mandeville."

"Our speakers list is 99.9% completed. To give you just a few examples, we will have serial

Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com)
NameSummit Co-Producer

entrepreneur, angel investor and philanthropist Gerard Adams, widely known as the "Millennial Mentor," on stage with Greg Yuna (known as "Mr Flawless") covering personal branding, and Gerard will also speak about Fownders, his new organization that helps startups and young entrepreneurs receive the knowledge, tools and support they need to become successful. Fownders will also have a booth in the Networking Lounge along with providing mentorship sessions from their team at no charge."

Sedo CEO Tobias Flaitz will be featured 
in a Fireside Chat at NameSummit

"The first day of the conference will be geared towards Digital Branding topics while day two with be more domain centric and will also include a legal panel to discuss brand and business protection. One of the first sessions on opening day will feature SEMPO's Marc Engelsman & Mike Grehan providing advice on an Integrated Marketing Mix," Ms. Chamberlain continued.

" Day two will begin with a Fireside Chat with Sedo CEO Tobias Flaitz who is coming over from the company's headquarters in Cologne, Germany, and a special lunch presentation from  Neustar evangelist and Head of Professional Services Tony Kirsch. Day two will be capped with an exclusive live auction that will include a few no reserve .NYC domain names as well as a handful of special .com domains (with reserves), including WallStreet.com."

"The full agenda is now online here. In addition to learning from so many industry experts there will, or course, also be ample opportunities to network with other attendees."

Jodi concluded, "We are also thrilled with the sponsor support we are getting from so many leading companies and organizations including Verisign, The DNA, SEMPO, Sedo, Fownders and Nominet. One more thing - to celebrate the 4th of July we are offering everyone $100 off the current ticket price, dropping the cost from $299 to judt $199!. Here is a link to the registration page where the discounted price has already gone live. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in the Big Apple!"

(Posted July 3, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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