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June 10, 2014

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The Lowdown
April 2014 Archive
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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.

Top 10 New gTLDs Gobbling Up Nearly Half of Sales Leaving 92 Others to Fight Over What's Left

According to nGTLDStats.com 102 new gTLDs have at least a tiny share of the registrations that have been made to date (though for ten of those TLDs the share is about as as close to zero as you can get - a miniscule 0.01%). As of today, the top ten new gTLDs cumulatively hold 45% of all new gTLD registrations, reminding me of an argument that new gTLD skeptic Rick Schwartz has frequently made - that if you are not among the top ten, your visibility in the marketplace is going to be foggy at best. 

Today we already have 92 other extensions fighting for a a sliver of the half of the pie the top ten has left on the plate. Next year hundreds more will be competing for a morsel. Equally daunting is that the registration numbers, even for the top ten, are not exactly eye popping - they total just 286,333 for that top tier as of today. 

Several, like current leader, .guru (with 53,195), got off to a fast start only to see the momentum quickly fade. New #4, IDN 在线 (Chinese for .online), introduced just yesterday, had an impressive debut in the 30,000 neighborhood and hopes the huge market in China will give their offering stronger "legs" than some of the others have shown. 

One problem is that after the initial splash for each new gTLD, the attention is immediately diverted to a new round of releases just a week later. There is an old saying that you need to make hay while the sun shines - but the manic new gTLD release schedule gives each new extension only a minute or two of daylight.

It is still very early in the game and different TLDs may prove to be more attractive by offering  stronger keywords, better pricing, more aggressive marketing, etc. Pricing, particularly for 

Sticker shock image from Bigstock

those registries that want a share of the domain investment market, appears to be an area where a lot of TLDs need to go back to the drawing board. Frank Schilling's Uniregistry.com recently released the first value priced generic TLD, .link, under $10 at some registrars, and it has shot into the top ten - #6 today with just under 23,000 registrations. 

Others asking for hundreds of dollars up front and hundreds of dollars to renew annually are, as you would expect, languishing. Sticker shock usually leaves a poor first impression, especially when it involves an unknown new product of - at least at this stage of the game - questionable value. 

No doubt we will see a lot of adjustments as the game plays out and the individual registries get a better handle on what the market will bear. The challenge for them will be to make those adjustments before they become a footnote in the history of this unprecedented experiment. 

(Posted April 29, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140429.htm

Facebook Provides a Perfect Example of Why Domains Are More Important to Businesses Than Social Media

Ever since social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter became the hot spots to gather online, businesses have fallen all over themselves to build a presence on those platforms. Some - foolishly - have even made their Faceboolk presence their only online presence. Domain savvy people have been warning them every step of the way that allowing someone else to control their content was a recipe for disaster. Now we are seeing that prophecy being fulfilled in spades.

I always put our website first and foremost (and have advised business owners to do the same). In fact, I only got around to setting up a dedicated Facebook page for DN Journal last month. Right around the time we put the page up I started seeing stories everywhere, including this one in Time Magazine, detailing how Facebook is no longer letting the vast majority of people who Like and want to follow a company's posts see them - unless you pay Facebook for letting your own followers view the content you produce. Time said that by February 2014 an average of only 6% of a company's followers were seeing the company's posts - and it is going to get worse. Facebook reportedly wants to cut that to 1-2%. So, 98% of your followers will never see what you post (unless you pay up). You want to talk about traffic bleed!?

When you compare that to the 100%  who can see your content when you place it on a website built on your own domain name, it's not hard to see who you are better off having in charge of your business indentity - that would be you.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not mad at Facebook - they're in business just like you and I are - they need to make a profit and they can do whatever they want on their website. Don't you think you would be wise to have the same degree of control over what you create by having a website of your own built on a relevant domain name?

For a long time I've heard peole predict that social media would eventually kill domains.

Do you want a third party standing between you and people who want your product or service? Then you had better have your own domain/website and make it the primary repository of what you create.

Security guard image from Bigstock

Now that we are clearly seeing what you give up by not having control of your own content and your own site,  domains should come out of that comparison stronger than ever - in fact I would say its a no brainer.

(Posted April 25, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140425.htm

Land Rush for Two Chinese gTLDs Meaning .Online and .Website Ends Thursday - General Availability Begins Monday

TLD Registry Ltd., the company that is introducing two new Chinese language TLDs - .在线 (.online in Chinese) and .中文网 (.website in Chinese) - has announced that general availability for domains in those extensions will open Monday, April 28 at exactly 13:00 UTC (Greenwich Mean Time) which would be 9am U.S. Eastern time and 9pm in China.

General availability will follow the Land Rush 

phase of the rollouts that ends Thursday (April 24) at 03:55 UTC. That is 11:55am Thursday in China but will actually be tonight at 11:55pm in the U.S. Eastern Time Zone. There will be a three-day break between Land Rush and General Availability so TLD Registy Ltd. can analyze contended Land Rush registrations.

TLD Registry's CMO, Simon Cousins, told me, "We have booked $584,000 in premium domain name sales since our first day of Land Rush, March 20th. Our hybrid live-online auction raised $182,000 and another $402,000 has been privately negotiated in the last three weeks. You'll be seeing fully developed premium domain name sites going live in only a couple of weeks. We're looking forward to congratulating the first premium site to go live."

Cousins added, "Our strategic partnership agreement with .CLUB is working out great for both parties. The .CLUB machine is giving us strong support in English speaking territories and we're reciprocating in Chinese speaking parts of the world. We are expanding our strategic partnerships with 

agreements in the final stages of negotiation with a very complimentary Chinese registry, and another with a complimentary western registry."

(Posted April 23, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140423.htm

MI.com Changes Hands for $3.6 Million in the Biggest Domain Sale Reported So Far  This Year

We have a new leader in the 2014 domain sales race. Xiaomi Inc., a major privately owned consumer electronics manufacturer based in Beijing, China, announced today that they have acquired MI.com for $3.6 million. The year's previous leader was Whisky.com, a name that Castello Cities Internet Network sold for $3.1 million (a sale that was the subject of our February 2014 Cover Story). Xiamoi, who designs, develops and sells smartphones, mobile apps, and other electronics, bought MI.com to serve as a shorter, more memorable version of their name, a move they believe will improve their name recognition as they continue expanding into international markets. 

The Founder, Chairman and CEO of XiaoMi, Mr. Jun Lei, said that MI.com is probably the most expensive domain name ever purchased by a Chinese Internet Company. That immediately 

Number 1 image from Bigstock

triggered a rebuttal from a Chinese corporate buyer of an other high profile domain. Jun Xu, the CEO of 4.cn, who bought Game.com a few weeks ago, said in a Weibo.com post that he paid considerably more than MI.com cost. In another post Xu said the buyer of JD.com also paid more (believed to be about $5 million). However neither buyer revealed the price they did pay. If Mr. Lei said it was the most expensive purchase by a Chinese Internet Company ever reported (rather than purchased) he would likely be on solid ground.

Regardless of who is most entitled to bragging rights in China, it is a huge sale - one that we will chart in our next weekly report that comes out tomorrow evening, at which time it will also be added  to our Year to Date Top 100 Sales Chart. Once again, we owe a big thank you to George Hong of Guta.com who found this news and the comments from Xiaomi officials in Chinese media reports today and relayed the information to us.

(Posted April 22, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140422.htm

Oh My! Rook Media Buys DomainSponsor in a MAJOR Shakeup of the Domain Monetization Business 

Consolidation continues to change the domain world as we knew it. In one of the biggest mashups to date, Rook Media acquired Oversee.net's seminal domain monetization business, DomainSponsor (including a large portfolio of domains owned by DS), in a deal announced today. The price was not disclosed. DomainSponsor was founded in 2002, the same year I entered the domain business and they quickly became a huge power in the PPC space. It was such a lucrative sector that many competitors followed and even in the wake of a devastating recession and upstream providers (primarily Google) dramatically slicing payouts to domain owners, new entrants continued to join the fray (even as others were exiting). 

One of the most successful new players has been Zurich, Switzerland based Rook Media 

who we profiled in an April 2013 Cover Story. While Rook, founded in 2011, was new as a corporate entity, its five principals, are very experienced players in the domain monetization business with their bonds formed during time they spent together at NameDrive.com. I spoke with Rook Media COO Daniel Law this afternoon and he said he has been working on the DomainSponsor acquisition for two years now. Law also credited Gregg McNair, who has close contacts at both Rook and Oversee, with helping make the deal happen (McNair is involved in many industry enterprises, including domain brokerage company Igloo.com). For the foreseeable future the Rook and DomainSponsor websites will continue to operate under the same names with Rook incorporating the best features of each on the two platforms.

Debra Domeyer, the CEO at Los Angeles based Oversee.net said, “Rook Media is the perfect company to buy Oversee’s domain monetization business. They value its industry leadership, technology, clients, and talented team. Coupled with Rook’s leadership in Europe, the combined entity has an unsurpassed breadth of product offering and monetization solutions.” 

Rook Media CEO Ash Rahimi

Rook Media CEO Ash Rahimi
Rook Media CEO Ash Rahimi

Rook Media CEO Ash Rahimi said, "The combination of Rook Media and DomainSponsor is a game changer for our industry. These two companies complement each other’s strengths and will provide our customers with the best US and international domain monetization solution.  With unmatched relationships with the biggest advertising providers in the industry and our combined in-house technology solutions, there has literally never been a better way to monetize domains.” 

Oversee said that over 230 million unique users per month visit DomainSponsor’s direct navigation ad network. Rook Media believes the know-how that has allowed them to raise payment standards and realize substantial growth in the monetization space will allow them to serve DomainSponsor's current clients very well.

Oversee.net continues to own and operates a portfolio of websites and mobile apps in travel, retail and consumer finance and, with the completion of this transaction, they now expect to focus on more aggressively developing those growth businesses. 

It remains to be seen what Oversee will now do with the DomainFest conference that they have staged under the DomainSponsor banner annually for the past decade (the 2014 edition was just held in Hollywood, California). The conference was not part of the deal with Rook and 

with Oversee having now divested itself of DomainSponsor, as well as domain registrar Moniker.com and auction platform SnapNames, it would not be surprising if they decided a domain conference no longer fits their business model. 

With Easter having just been celebrated Sunday, it is also interesting to note that Daniel Law left a little "easter egg" in the comments he made in our annual State of the Industry Cover Story back in January. Law had already been working on the DomainSponsor acquisition for some time and though he couldn't talk about it openly he did say this about the domain monetization space, "It seems to me that the field is ripe for consolidation and I think one of the further challenges of 2014 will be how to take advantage of and engender this needed maturation, as well as tempering it to be a positive change clearly evident to the outside world." As of today, at least from Rook's standpoint, consider that challenge met in a big way with David essentially acquiring Goliath.

Rook Media COO Daniel Law

It seems to me that the field is ripe for consolidation and I think one of the further challenges of 2014 will be how to take advantage of and engender this needed maturation, as well as tempering it to be a positive change clearly evident to the outside world. - See more at: http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2014/january-page2.htm#sthash.DpHVPX6J.dpuf
It seems to me that the field is ripe for consolidation and I think one of the further challenges of 2014 will be how to take advantage of and engender this needed maturation, as well as tempering it to be a positive change clearly evident to the outside world. - See more at: http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2014/january-page2.htm#sthash.DpHVPX6J.dpuf
It seems to me that the field is ripe for consolidation and I think one of the further challenges of 2014 will be how to take advantage of and engender this needed maturation, as well as tempering it to be a positive change clearly evident to the outside world. - See more at: http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2014/january-page2.htm#sthash.DpHVPX6J.dpuf

(Posted April 21, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140421.htm

Consolidation Comes to the Domain Blog Business - DomainShane and AccidentalDomainer Are Merging

Consolidation has been re-shaping the domain industry for years now so it was just a matter of time before that irresistible force arrived in the blog sector of the business. I got a note from one of my favorite bloggers, Shane Cultra of DomainShane.com today to let me know that he is merging his publication with the  AccidentalDomainer.com blog. A new site for the combined entity (designed by Tia Wood) is scheduled to arrive May 1 (if not sooner) at the already familiar DomainShane.com URL. Shane and his friend Aaron of AccidentalDomainer.com, typical of down-to-earth Midwesterners, are not ostentatious types and that is reflected in the name of their upcoming joint effort which is - wait for it:


Shane Cultra

Yes, that's the name - Domain Shane + Accidental Domainer. If that doesn't pass the "radio" test I don't know what does :-)  One thing I have always liked about Shane's style is the good-natured humor that is a hallmark of his writing. Looking at the logo above, I realized the guy is even more clever than I realized. I tried to reduce the logo to a normal width but when I did you couldn't read what it said. So I HAD to run the thing in full-blown Cinemascope, giving him three more real estate than he would have gotten with a normal logo. Now tell me this guy is not a shrewd businessman! 

In fact, I just noticed I was starting to write in his style in that last paragraph - that's how pervasive his influence is! Before this gets out of hand, I will shift back to my usual Joe Friday mode and give you just the facts behind why this merger is happening. 

Cultra explained, "Aaron and I originally became friends because we both loved the same things,  Domain investing and development, and the outdoors. It was later that we realized that Aaron grew up in my original hometown, and that our families are friends and had worked together for years.  We also realized that we may be the two fastest domain investors based on our most recent marathon times. And we both enjoy the domain aftermarket. What domains are up for sale, how much did they go for, who bought them, and what ended up happening with the domains later. We both decided that rather than both of us having half assed blogs we could combine our efforts and produce some quality content. The two heads are better than one approach."

Another thing that sets both Shane and Aaron apart is that they are both real world businessmen. Shane operates a very successful plant nursery and Aaron is in the real estate business. Having a foot in both the brick and mortar and virtual worlds gives them a perspective that a lot of us don't have. That it no small thing since the majority of Main Street businesses still have no online presence. That is is a big market still waiting to be tapped and being able to understand and speak the language of both worlds gives them a leg up in that regard. 

(Left to right) Ron & Diana Jackson (of DNJournal.com) with Shane Cultra 
and blogger Jason Thompson at the 2013 DomainFest conference in Santa Monica.

Regarding the kind of content you can expect on the new blog Cultra said, "Aaron will continue to write his articles about past sales and flips and flops. And I will continue to do my lists (of good names available for purchase). But we will add more detail. Sales results each day and a weekly sales report. Who bought the domains and a look back at how they used them.  We're hoping to expand on the humor, the creativity, and the research that we've both dabbled with in the past."

Sounds like a winning formula to me, but then I was already a fan. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing  how high the new twin-engine effort will fly - and I've always been a sucker for buy one get free deals, especially when I don't even have to pay for one. That makes this the ultimate offer you can't refuse! Best of luck to Shane and Aaron.

(Posted April 18, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140418.htm

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

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

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

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

The other four Uniregistry releases are two to 

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

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

dabbling in new gTLDs). 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mobile.net was one of three six-figure sales  

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

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

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

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

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

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

.CO.COM CEO Ken Hansen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frank Schilling
Uniregistry Founder 

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

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

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

John Smrekar
Uniregistry VP, Partner Operations

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

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

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

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

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

The newly elected Directors are:

Philipp Grabensee, 
Chairman of the Board 
Afilias Limited

Bob Wiegand
Senior Vice President, 

Jeff Neuman
VP, Registry Services
Neustar, Inc.

Stacey King
Senior Corporate Counsel

Vladimir Shadrunov 
Director of TLD Projects 
Asiamix Digital Ltd.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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