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October 20, 2014

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The Lowdown
Sept. 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.

10th Anniversary Edition of T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Exactly One Month Away - Halloween Weekend Event Will Feature a Masquerade Ball and a Rick Schwartz Roast  

Just one month from today the 10th Anniversary edition of the pioneering T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference will get underway with the 2014 East edition at the historic Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami's South Beach.


After two days of pre-show cabana networking, the conference will officially get underway with the traditional opening night cocktail party at 6pm on Thursday, October 30.  The event continues through Halloween weekend, ending with another traditional event, the Farewell Breakfast on Sunday morning, November 2. In between there will be two special events never seen before at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick 
will be "roasted" at 
his final show next month.

Both of those will be held on Halloween, Friday, October 31 - one during the day and one at night. The afternoon event will be a 1pm lunchtime Rick Schwartz Roast in which the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder will be good naturedly grilled by some of his best friends. 

Schwartz has already announced that this will be the last T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference he will personally be involved in producing, though the show will go on under the direction of his fellow Co-Founder, Howard Neu. The Roast is bound to give Rick a hilarious send off as he rides into the sunset. There is a good chance the gloves will come off since those on the dais know Rick won't be around to kick them out of future shows! 

The Roast alone could be worth the price of admission (and by the way, to get the current registration fee ($1295) before it goes up, you will have to register by 6pm U.S. Eastern Time on Friday (October 3). Hotel rates will also be going up.

The other T.R.A.F.F.I.C. first that you will see at the 10th Anniversary show on October 31 is a Halloween Night Masquerade Ball and Dinner at the Fontainebleau. To give people a major incentive to go all in on this special evening T.R.A.F.F.I.C. will have a Best Costume contest with a $1,000 cash prize and a free ticket to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2015

We have some very creative people in this business so it will be a lot of fun to see what everyone comes up with. I know my wife Diana is already working on costumes for us, so there is no turning back now :-)

Of course the Masquerade Ball and Rick Schwartz Roast are just two of the standout items on a typically jam-packed agenda that will also include the 2014 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Awards on Saturday, November 1. We are looking forward to this landmark event and hope to see you there!

Masquerade photo from Bigstock

(Posted Sept. 30, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140930.htm

How a Double Dose of Good News Made a Memorable Beach Vacation Even Better

You never know when or where you will receive good news. Last week my wife Diana and I spent a week at one of our favorite places on the planet, Florida's Siesta Key, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, just west of Sarasota. Siesta Key Beach was named the Best Beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2011 (once a beach wins that title it is "retired" from the competition, but I've still never see a prettier one in the U.S.). I spent almost every day on that beach during the 11 years I was the sportscaster for the ABC-TV station in Sarasota, and it is still only 90 minutes from where we now live in Tampa so we go back as often as we can.

Ron & Diana Jackson on Florida's Siesta Key last week
(Photo by Barbara Neu)

Last Thursday (Sept. 25), Diana and I were walking along that stretch of beach with T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Howard Neu and his wife Barbara, who had come over from Fort Lauderdale to share the sun and sand with us for a few days (we will be doing the same on their turf next month when we head over to Miami's South Beach for the 10th anniversary edition of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C conference that runs October 28-November 2 at the historic and spectacular Fontainebleau Hotel).

Escrow.com President Bandon Abbey

While we were on the morning walk Thursday my mobile phone rang with a call from Escrow.com President Brandon Abbey who wanted to let me know he had just closed a deal (that would be announced later that day) to buy competing escrow company Agreed.com from Thought Convergence. Brandon was understandably excited to make an acquisition that brought together the only two licensed online escrow companies in the United States that have products, services, and systems specifically designed for the domain community and online personal property transactions.

In the news release about the sale Brandon said, "By integrating the technologies of our companies, we will be able to offer a more comprehensive set of options to the domain community. As the worldwide leader in providing escrow services for “the real estate of the Internet”, it is important that we react to the needs and expectations of our customers as the global marketplace changes. Agreed.com has developed unique and proprietary 

technology that our clients will now be able to enjoy, while bringing together the only government-licensed and audited, insured, and bonded personal property Internet escrow companies in the world."

In my first sentence I referred to this as good news because a deal that makes both parties happy is always welcome. Such was the case here with Ammar Kubba, the CEO of Thought Convergence and Agreed.com, also very pleased with the transaction. Ammar noted, "We’ve spent the past several years building a powerful and intuitive online escrow platform for the domain community. Escrow.com will now be able to scale more rapidly and successfully deliver additional services to the global market."

Kubba added, "I look forward to working with Brandon and his team throughout the transition and for years to come. The rapidly evolving domain industry needs a trusted third party that is neutral, transparent, and independent, which is why joining Escrow.com was the obvious choice for us. They've been in this business for 15 years, and they've clearly withstood the test of time and trust. Escrow.com has always been a pillar of the domain industry, and they’re the only ones that I would trust with our future business and that of our customers."

That wasn't the only good news we heard while on vacation. Earlier on Thursday morning we had gotten word from new DNC Holdings Inc. President Kellie Peterson that the parent company of popular registrar DirectNic.com was bringing Mike Robertson on board as Director of Business Development based at the company's headquarters in the hometown we both share, Tampa, Florida. Mike, the widely known and universally respected co-founder of DomainGuardians.com, will move from Australia, where he spent many years as an executive with Fabulous.com, to assume his new duties heading up DNC aftermarket, monetization and account management programs.

Ms. Peterson said, “Obviously, we know Mike’s abilities in managing a portfolio and brokering high value domain names (DomainGuardians recently brokered a $1 

Mike Robertson and friend kicking back 
at home in Australia (photo from an 
excursion at the 2008 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Down
conference that Mike helped produce).

million sale of BTC.com). We also have great faith in his ability to turn up new business opportunities for us. With our recent work to update and reinforce our technology, our next step is investing in our people and Mike is a great investment for us.”

Robertson said, “Having spoken with Kellie Peterson earlier this year, I know they have some pretty cool stuff that they’re looking to roll out soon. So when the opportunity to join the team presented itself, I jumped at the chance. I see it as a great way to challenge myself both professionally and personally. I’m looking forward to working with the DNC team in Tampa and helping them bring a fresh new brand to market soon.”

As a longtime friend we were delighted to hear Mike is on his way to Tampa (he is due to arrive in mid October). Once he gets here, we know of a very special beach we are sure he will like!

(Posted Sept. 29, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140929.htm

Backing from the City of Las Vegas Helped .VEGAS Draw Plenty of Attention to Their Launch 

Befitting its status as the new gTLD representing the Entertainment Capital of the World, .VEGAS had a very splashy General Availability debut Monday (Sept. 15) in Las Vegas. The new extension is also benefiting from its partnership with the City of Las Vegas who gets 10% from each .VEGAS registration.


That's why city and registry officials chose to celebrate the debut at City Hall in front of a giant 3-D .VEGAS logo display, complete with showgirls.

Dignitaries on hand for the start of .VEGAS General Availability earlier this week included (left to right): Bart Mackay (Principal, Dot Vegas, Inc.), Tyson Mackay (Vice President of Marketing, Dot Vegas, Inc.), Mike McLaughlin (Senior Vice President of Domains, GoDaddy), Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, Dusty Trevino (Chief Financial Officer, Dot Vegas, Inc.), Jim Trevino (Chief Executive Officer, Dot Vegas, Inc.) and Sky Trevino (Chief Technology Officer, Dot Vegas, Inc.).

Jim Trevino
CEO, Dot Vegas, Inc.

Jim Trevino, president and chief executive officer of Dot Vegas, Inc., said the new TLD is also getting a great reception from the community.  “We are extremely pleased with the local participation among small and large Las Vegas businesses," Trevino said. " Virtually all of the major operators on the Las Vegas Strip pre-registered .vegas domain names for the city’s leading hotel/casinos, nightclubs, restaurants, attractions, events and retail destinations."

Trevino added, "A strong sampling of family owned small businesses, governmental agencies and non-profits took advantage of the pre-registration opportunity as well.  Given the strong interest from Las Vegas concerns, we are excited about what general availability will bring, particularly since .vegas is an unrestricted top level domain.  That means there is no nexus requirement to Las Vegas for individuals, companies and businesses to secure their own .vegas TLD.”

Go Daddy Senior Vice President of Domains Mike McLaughlin, who was also on hand for the launch, said, "We’ve seen a great deal of interest for .vegas domain names driven by increased demand for new extensions, especially those that are location specific. Las Vegas is one of the most recognized brands on earth, so it has great global appeal for savvy marketers looking to distinguish their name online by associating with one of the most powerful and iconic brands in the world.”

Those interested in registering a .vegas domain name can do so with GoDaddy or any of more than 50 other domain registrars with which Dot Vegas, Inc. is contracted. The registration fees are determined by the individual registrars with prices we are seeing tending to fall in the $50-$60 range.

(Posted Sept. 18, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140918-2.htm

Igloo.com Expands Domain Brokerage Services With Acquisition of Aftermarket.com

Domain brokerage and consulting firm Igloo.com has acquired online domain sales platform Aftermarket.com from Thought Convergence, Inc. for an undisclosed price. The acquisition follows Igloo’s recent announcement of an exclusive agreement with Rook Media to provide brokerage and related services for their newly acquired DomainSponsor portfolio. 

The Igloo announcement said visitors 


to Igloo.com’s newly owned marketplace will have access to millions of names appealing to every type of buyer, adding "Igloo’s sales platform will offer custom templates, the ability to negotiate online with offer/counteroffer functionality, Buy Now for immediate procurement, and most importantly, a dedicated domain advisor to assist you at any point in the sales process.  Moreover, customer service and sales assistance for buyers will soon be just a click away with the addition of an online chat feature."

Tessa Holcomb
Igloo.com Founder & CEO

Igloo.com Founder and CEO Tessa Holcomb said, "With Igloo’s acquisition of the Aftermarket.com platform, we are incredibly excited to roll out a more comprehensive suite of services, offering a wider range of opportunities to our customers. Our clients will not only be able to acquire and sell domains, but will of course still have access to the high-touch, consultative sales team for which Igloo.com is already well known.”

Ammar Kubba, CEO and Co-Founder of Aftermarket.com and its parent company, Thought Convergence, Inc., said “The domain name aftermarket is a multi-faceted and complex ecosystem of individuals, businesses, and technology; Igloo.com’s integration of our advanced and intuitive Aftermarket platform will serve to further round out, diversify, and scale their suite of brokerage services. We know that our Aftermarket will be in good hands with Tessa and her talented team, and we look forward to witnessing the next evolution of Igloo.com, powered by Aftermarket.”

(Posted Seot. 18, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140918.htm

Busy Release Week for New gTLDs Crests With 8 More Arriving Today - Meanwhile New Study Matches New gTLDs Against .Com in Search Engine Marketing Test

We've gotten used to seeing Donuts, the largest operator of new gTLD registries, open general availability for multiple extensions every Wednesday and today is no exception with .loans, .life, .guide and .church all making their debut. However, Donuts has plenty of company today with Radix Registry rolling out .website, .press and .host and the Rightside registry introducing .republican.

Today's entrants follow eight others that opened to all earlier this week, including six TLDs from Minds+Machines; .cooking, .country, .fishing, .horse, .rodeo and .vodka. Afilias joined in with .organic (though registrants must meet special requirements to purchase those) and - in one of the most highly anticipated launches of a new city TLD -  .Vegas Inc. lauched .vegas amid much fanfare in Las Vegas.

Loans, .Life, .Guide and .Church
Loans, .Life, .Guide and .Church

With so many entering the fray at once, diving into a sea already filled with hundreds of other new gTLDs and hundreds more still to come, it is, of course, getting harder and harder for any single extension to stand out in the ever growing crowd. Each release has been a long time coming, so there is no doubt that the introduction of each one is an exciting event for the registry operator, but each one also presents them with an extremely difficult challenge - how do you break through the clutter those on the outside see? It's certainly a day for them to celebrate but the real work is just getting started. 

Study image from Bigstock

Most agree that the key for new gTLDs will be widespread development in the new extensions. The more end user sites that come online, the more the public will recognize there are alternatives to .com.  Naturally a business is going to be reluctant to use a new gTLD if they think it will hurt them in search engine ranking or marketing. That makes a new research paper - called Search Engine Marketing Study: .Com Vs. New gTLDs - that Globe Runner, an interactive marketing firm based in Dallas, Texas, just released particularly interesting.

In a blog post about the study, author Bill Hartzer, a well-known SEO expert, wrote in his final thoughts, "Our overall goal when 

setting up these tests was ultimately to determine whether using a .Com domain name or a new gTLD domain name is better when it comes to search engine marketing and Google AdWords. We are not totally convinced that one is necessarily “better” than the other."

"What we did see, though, is that Google AdWords tends to favor the new gTLDs, as they served up more impressions, for less cost, and a better average position then the .Com domain names we used. At the same time, though, when it came to conversions, the public appeared to favor the .Com domain names," Hartzer wrote.

If you scroll to the bottom of Bill's blog post you can download the full white paper there. It includes all of the data Globerunner compiled, including the actual CTR, CPC, budget, and even the keywords that we used during the tests.

(Posted Sept. 17, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140917.htm

.Green Auction Winner Afilias Puts DotGreen Community Back on the Field - Kathy Nielsen Leaves Sedo to Join the .Green Executive Team

Afilias, who last February won the rights to operate one of the best new gTLDs, .green, has made some major moves to bolster the prized TLD's prospects. If you have been following the .green saga, you know that The DotGreen Community Inc., a San Francisco based non-profit organization led by Founder Annalisa Roger, had been pursuing the .green extension since 2007. However, other applicants with deeper pockets later entered the fray forcing DotGreen Community to reluctantly end their quest late last year.

That left three applicants standing, with Aflias (who administers the .info domain and provides back end services for many others TLDs) finally winning rights to .green in an auction that also included Top Level Domain Holdings and Demand Media. Before the auction I wrote, "The eventual winner of .green might benefit by bringing some of the passionate people from the Dot Green Community aboard when the extension is launched." So, as you would imagine, I am delighted that is exactly what Afilias has done - actually going one better to partner with the entire DotGreen Community organization, giving them the responsibility to manage the extension while Afilias provides the back end services they are so well-known for. Details were announced in a press release today. 

 Annalisa Roger
Founder and CEO
DotGreen Community Inc. 


Kathy Nielsen
DotGreen Community Executive Director of Registry Operations and Channel Relations

In another smart move, DotGreen Community just added industry veteran Kathy Nielsen to its team as Executive Director of Registry Operations and Channel Relations. Ms. Nielsen has been at Sedo the past seven years, most recently serving as VP Business Development, Registry Services. She has extensive executive level experience with both public and privately held companies in the e-commerce, e-publishing and Internet domain name industries. Prior to joining the DotGreen team, Ms. Nielson was also one of the new gTLD program’s strongest advocates.

Ms. Roger said, “We are fortunate to welcome Kathy to our team.  She brings a wealth of knowledge from the domain name, digital media, and advertising industries and is excited about the value .green domain names can provide to registrants and participants in the green economy. 

The launch schedule for .green domains has not yet been released.

(Posted Sept. 16, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140916.htm

Tattoo U:  Learning a Thing or Two from a Local Tattoo Convention (There are Still Riches in Niches)

When I am reading  through our local newspaper every morning I see articles that make me think about domains in one way or another. For example, news about new trends that have strong commercial potential often send me off on a search for relevant domains, as happened this morning when I read an article about "green burials".  

Tattoo artist photo from Bigstock

Other stories may reveal domain marketing opportunities I didn't know existed - especially with so many new gTLDs coming out that are relying on niche markets for their success. Such was the case when I read a piece in the Tampa Bay Times today about a big event held at our city's convention center over the weekend - The Tampa Tattoo Arts Convention.

While I've seen a lot of small tattoo shops on street corners, I had no idea these folks had major conventions. Attendees and artists had come from all over Florida as well as from out of state for the event,  with vendors spread across the floor in their own booths (many doing tattoos on the spot). So, of course I immediately thought of Uniregistry's new .tattoo extension and what a natural tie in these

events would be for them to spread the word about the new TLD to tattoo artists, shop owners and tattoo fans.

I'm sure I'm not writing anything that Uniregistry founder Frank Schilling doesn't already know (he is always three steps or more ahead of everybody else - a talent that has made him so spectacularly successful). I bring it up because it illustrates that there are more big opportunities out there than a lot of us, including me, realize because they are in areas that are not on our personal radar. In this case, the opportunity is probably bigger for a registry operator than a domain investor but the principal is the same.

Having little knowledge of the space, I had some doubt about the viability of .tattoo (and it is 

still too early to say how viable it will be) - but I do now see that there is a huge pool of leads that congregate in central locations that make their community easier and more affordable to reach. I have always been a huge believer in finding niche opportunities (DN Journal itself was one) and this is a good reminder that those are always out there for smart entrepreneurs to take advantage of. 

Jothan Frakes

In a related note, another article in today's paper caught my attention. It was about the Super Freestyle Explosion arena concert that was held in Tampa Saturday night with a bill that included old school favorites from the 80s and 90s including Expose, Lisa Lisa and Stevie B

Why did that catch my attention? If you read our current cover story profiling Jothan Frakes, you found a whole section about Stevie B! Why? Because, Jothan worked for Stevie at the height of the singer's career and wound up touring  the country with him. Seeing Stevie B. on the local bill, right after I had written about Jothan's time with him nearly 25 years ago, reminded me of what a small (and fascinating) world we live in! Too bad Jothan isn't still touring with Stevie as I most certainly would have hit him up for some free tickets!

(Posted Sept. 15, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140915-2.htm

Give Us This Day Our Daily Domain!  Young Entrepreneur Jacob Fedosky Aims to Do That With New Project Launched Today

The last time we caught up with fast moving young entrepreneur Jacob Fedosky (in October 2012) he was off to college at Texas Tech where he also continued the domain related endeavors he began while still in his teens. Now 21, Jacob launched his latest project today at DailyDomains.com

DailyDomains is Jacob's new domain sales newsletter that is differentiating itself with a tight focus on high quality domains offered in small batches so none get overlooked.  Each newsletter will feature just 5 domains and to illustrate his focus on high value assets - Fedosky cited  Conversion.com, Stamina.com, Zut.com, TLF.com as examples of listings you will see in this opening week. 

Fedosky said, "I started the newsletter because, as a domain investor, I need two things; a reliable source of premium domains to buy and a reliable marketplace that could quickly sell my premium domains. A newsletter made perfect sense to me, but I didn't want to "mimic" the other newsletters that are already running so 

 Jacob Fedosky

I decided to run a maximum of 5 domains per day in order to keep the quality high. Also, I'm handling all transactions through Escrow.com to prevent the financing issues that other brokers have run into recently."

You can subscribe to Jacob's newsletter by visiting www.dailydomains.com/subscribe and can submit your domains for sale by email to [email protected].

(Posted Sept. 15, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140915.htm

Photos and Highlights from the 1st  DomainX Conference in Hyderabad, India

With the conclusion of the first DomainX conference last Sunday (Sept. 7, 2014) at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Hyderabad, India, Indian domain investors have dramatically elevated their profile on the world stage. 

Of course, there have always been active and successful Indian investors and entrepreneurs in the industry, many of whom have been regulars at U.S. domain conferences over the years. But now, with the emergence of the country's own shows focused entirely on the domain investment field, it's clear the Indian domain community has grown into a powerhouse that can stand and prosper entirely on its own merits.

Above, at far left: Chief guest Vinit Goenka (National Co-Convener, BJP IT Cell & India Head for verticals E-Governance, ICT Industry Interface & Policy Issues) inaugurates the first DomainX conference Sept. 7, 2014 in Hyderabad, India while the leader of the DomainX organizing team, Manmeet P. Singh from the Domain Name Owners Association of India (DNOAI) looks on. (All photos in this article are courtesy of the DNOAI).

Below (first three attendees seated left to right): Arvind Reddy, Vinay Murarka and Eldo Thomas in the large crowd attentively listening to DomainX 2014 speakers.

I was honored to participate in the conference, appearing with both Michael Castello of CCIN.com during his keynote speech and with DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker in a later session. Unfortunately, due to a massive problem with the Indian visa application system in the U.S. (caused by an incompetent company that took over visa processing this summer with disastrous results) none of us were able to enter the country to speak in person as we had planned.  DomainX organizers made the best of a bad situation that they had no control over by setting up Skype connections with U.S. based speakers so we could address our friends in India (I have read that the Indian government plans to have a new visa system in place by the end of this year that should eliminate this problem in the future). 

DomainX Keynote Speaker Michael Castello appeared on three large 
screens in the conference hall to address the audience via Skype. 

While those of us in the U.S. had to speak over the internet, many experts from India and other parts of Asia spoke in person, including another keynote speaker - leading Indian domain investor Deepak Daftari

While I can't give you a first hand account of how well things  went on site, every account I have read from people who were there gave DomainX and its line up of speakers glowing reviews. You can see those at these links: ContentOpus.com (written by Anil Kumar Pammidimukkala), YuvaEngineers.com (written by K.V.A.Sridhar), INForum.com (written by Arpit Agrawal) and DomainInvesting.com (a very comprehensive review written by keynote speaker Deepak Daftari).

Since they gave such thorough first hand reports that include every session held at DomainX  I won't go over the 

Keynote Speaker Deepak Daftari 
on stage at DomainX 2014.

same ground they covered so well, but it is obvious DomainX delivered a very well received package and did it despite charging no admission fee to attend!  Sponsor support made that possible, so kudos to the companies that helped underwrite this event in an effort to grow the industry for the benefit of all

In addition to making the trip to DomainX to speak, .Asia CEO Edmon Chung 
further supported the show's maiden voyage as one of the top sponsors.


Reason to celebrate! The entire DomainX production crew gathered for this team photo 
to mark a successful debut that laid a great foundation to build on going forward. 

Now that the appetizers have been served we are looking forward to a rich banquet of future conferences produced by India-based entrepreneurs. With the experience they have gained from their initial outings, added to the many talents they already possessed, there is no stopping them now! 

(Posted Sept. 12, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140912.htm

In Memoriam: Tina Smith - She Left a Light On For Us That Will Never Go Out 

Tina Smith at the 2011 DNCruise conference.

This is a sad day for those of us the domain industry who have had the pleasure of knowing or just crossing paths with the effervescent and beautiful Tina Smith. We got word from Tina's husband Tim last night that his wife, best friend and partner had lost her battle with breast cancer. 

Tim and Tina founded an Orlando based company called Basati.com where Heather Fontaine posted a Remembrance of Tina today, noting, "Tina leaves behind a legacy of love, laughter and compassion, which will live on in each of us who knew her.  She not only changed the world while she was here, but her leaving will inspire us to be better people, to care a 

little more, to love each other, to judge less, and to be compassionate for one another." 

Many in our business first met Tina and Tim at one of the domain conferences they attended, the 2010 Domainer Mardi Gras conference in New Orleans or the 2011 DNCruise conference held aboard a Caribbean cruise ship. While snapping photos during DNCruise I was struck by how this beautiful vivacious woman absolutely LIT UP every room she was in - she was literally a walking ray of sunshine. Rare people like Tina brighten everyone's life they touch and make an impression that never goes away.

Tim and Tina Smith at the 2011 DNCruise conference.

In announcing Tina's passing last night Tim told a Facebook group of their many friends - Tina's Warriors - "I am Who I am today because she was in my life. She pushed me, she believed in me, she loved me."

Tina, a gifted writer who chronicled her battle with cancer, also had a lot to say to Tim and her large and loving circle of friends in a post on her blog that was published today - a special goodbye she wrote, knowing time was growing short, titled If you are reading this post...

Though she has left us in physical form, Tina will, as Heather said, live on in everyone she touched along the way. Typical of their shared concern for others Tim requested that no flowers be sent. He said Tina always felt it was much better, much more productive, to donate that same amount to a worthy cause. He invited any who wish to do so to "choose one near and dear to you. Tina’s choice would be":

Libbys Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation
1718 S. Orange Ave
Orlando, Fl 32806

(Posted Sept. 11, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140911.htm

Industry Companies Plan to Give Domains a Major Push at Europe's Biggest Online Marketing Expo This Week

Europe's largest online marketing fair and conference - DMEXCO - will have a very strong domain industry flavor when it opens tomorrow in Cologne, Germany. Over 30,000 attendees from approximately 100 countries are expected to visit the 800 exhibitors who are setting up at the gigantic two-day event. 


Workers getting the Sedo booth set up for the DMEXCO Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference that runs Wednesday & Thursday (Sept. 10 & 11) in Cologne, Germany.

Sedo, who is based in Cologne,  will be have a particularly big presence, with their staff putting domains in both traditional and new gTLDs in front of the unique audience of influencers and decision makers. 

Sedo CSO Christian Voss, who is at DMEXCO, told us his team wants to make sure attendees understand the availability and importance of owning premium domains that are relevant to their clients or businesses. Their audience will include end user representatives from major brands, start-ups and eCommerce companies.

Several other domain companies have people in in Cologne for DMEXCO,  including .CLUB's  Colin Campbell and Jeff Sass and representatives from the largest new gTLD registry operator, Donuts.

Top internet brands including 

Google, Facebook, ebay, Microsoft, Yahoo, Yandex and  Baidu have booths  at DMEXCO too while consumer oriented companies like Nestle, IBM,  L'Oreal, Sony, Paypal, Philips, Kraft and Telekom have both speakers and staff on site for the big event. 

Multimedia agencies like GroupM, OMD, Mindshare, Publicis and many more will also have business sessions and talks at and around the event.

Above: Congress Hall in Cologne, Germany where DMEXCO 2014 is being held this week.

Below: An interior view of Congress Hall in the early stages of set up for DMEXCO 2014.

Sandra & Moniker from Austria's .AT registry
are ready to welcome attendees at DMEXCO 2014.

DMEXCO will get started at 9:30am (local time in Cologne) Wednesday and opening day will run until 6:30pm. Day two Thursday will also open at 9:30am but will end at hour earlier with the 2014 event closing at 5:30pm that day. 

There will also be evening social events of course with the already sold out Official Show Party slated for 8:30 Wednesday night. 

If you are interested in learning more about DMEXCO and getting information prior to future events you can sign up for a free newsletter here

(Posted Sept. 9, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140909.htm

1st DomainX Conference Completed in India - Dolly Parton Goes .Country - Kellie Peterson Assumes Presidency at DNC Holdings

The first DomainX conference was completed Sunday (Sept. 7, 2014) in Hyderabad, India at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. Approximately 350 domain investors and developers reportedly  attended the event organized by the Domain Name Owners Association of India


I had the pleasure of participating in two sessions via Skype, first interviewing keynote speaker Michael Castello of CCIN.com then, after an in person keynote from Deepak Daftari, returning to interview another long-time friend and industry leader, DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker

A view of the conference hall and crowd during Michael Castello's keynote speech 
at the first DomainX Conference in Hyderabad, India Sunday (Sept. 7, 2014).

Since I couldn't be there in person (due to widely publicized problems with the Indian visa system that also kept the other U.S. based speakers from coming) I can't give you a first hand account of how the day went, but the initial feedback has been very good. The first review from an attendee that I have seen online was published by K.V.A.Sridhar here.

I thought that one of Mr. Sridhar's most interesting observations was this - "Attendees on my table are not domainers, in fact I am the only one on my table who owns domains for flipping. Others own one domain at most for their business purpose. But the beauty is that, by the end of conference, every single one of them is planning to buys domains for domaining."

That - and the personal relationships that are built at a conference like this - is how an industry grows. The arrival of domain investor-centric conferences in the rapid growing and increasingly  important Indian market this year is a very positive development for the global domain industry and we are looking forward to watching and participating in the expansion as it unfolds. We expect to receive additional photos and highlights from DomainX and will bring you those when they become available.

Dolly Parton
Dolly image from Bigstock

On another growth front, new gTLDs continue to roll out with those who understand the need for marketing scoring some interesting coups. The new .country extension (operated by Minds + Machines and marketed in association with Uniregistry) appears to have hit a home run by landing the perfect celebrity partner in country music legend Dolly Parton.  

As part of the .country pioneer program, Dolly has registered queenof.country, dolly.country, and dollyparton.country among others. In agreeing to be a .country pioneer, Dolly will assist in the launch of .country by using her new domain names and by providing her name, image and other assistance. 

Members of the .country pioneer program receive their choice of domain names ahead of general release in exchange for their help in marketing the new top-level domain.  The program provides domain names to musicians, businesses, and organizations before the release of .country domain names to the general public on September 15, 2014

Congratulations are also in order for domain industry veteran Kellie Peterson who has been promoted from Chief Strategy Officer to President at DNC Holdings, Inc., the parent company of popular registrar DirectNic.com. In her new role, Peterson will add responsibilities for all registrar services, aftermarket, monetization and publishing units as well as lead the company in new business opportunities.  

DNC Holdings owner Butch Decossas said, "Kellie brings a wealth of strategic, financial, and business development expertise, specifically from the domain registration industry. With her business acumen and personality, she will be a huge asset to our company and our corporate strategic direction and goals.”

Peterson said, “Since the change in ownership there’s been a tremendous amount of reinvestment in not only the Directnic brand, but the technology and products that we offer. This is just the starting point and I’m looking forward to steering Directnic and the rest of our business interests into the next phase.”

Kellie Peterson
President, DNC Holdings

In a related note, Directnic.com announced they have started accepting digital or “crypto” currency. The company believes they are the first accredited registrar to accept Bitcoin alternatives, Litecoin and Dogecoin. In addition to Bitcoin, Directnic.com can now accept Litecoin and Dogecoin through their partnership with the processing platform company GoCoin. 

(Posted Sept. 8, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140908.htm

Second Half of Indian Domain Conference Doubleheader Coming up Sunday When DomainX Convenes in Hyderabad

India's first pair of conferences devoted solely to domain investing will be completed Sunday (Sept. 7, 2014) when the DomainX Conference makes its debut in Hyderabad. The event, being staged by the Domain Name Owners Association of India at the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre, follows the inaugural World Domain Day conference that was held August 24 at the Avasa Hotel in the same city.

DomainX has assembled an impressive international cast of speakers including two keynoters. Michael Castello of CCIN.com (and the subject of our February 2014 Cover Story after he sold Whisky.com for $3.1 million) will kick off the conference with a keynote talk delivered via Skype. I will join Michael for the second half of his session to do a Q & A with him and will also field questions from the audience. 

Michael and I had both intended to be there in person but there has been a major breakdown in the Indian visa system (due to a new third party processor that has proven to be incompetent) that has prevented scheduled speakers from the U.S. from getting into the country on time. Thanks to technology we can still appear and interact with the audience via Skype though.

That session will be followed by an in person keynote talk delivered by Deepak Daftari who is one of India's best known domain and angel  investors. 

I will come back for the final morning session to interview DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker (via Skype) is a session that will cover How to Make Money in Domain Name Market. Due to the time difference it will be 3am U.S. Eastern time Sunday morning when our session is wrapping up but we are confident the adrenaline rush will keep both of us up well past our normal bedtimes!

A lunch break will be followed by a very busy afternoon that is scheduled to feature individual talks (both virtual and in person) from James Wester, Pavan Duggal, Edmon Chung, Kartik Taneja and Morgan Linton. There will also be a star-studded Legal Discussion featuring an international panel and a  panel discussion about Opportunities in India for Domain Name Investing. You can get all of the details about the agenda here. (including any late updates).

DomainX and the Indian domain industry is also getting encouraging sponsor support from many companies, including Go Daddy, Verisign, Neustar, .Asia and many others.

The emergence of dedicated domain investment conferences in India is a welcome and  long overdue development. The nation is home to many brilliant domain investors, service companies and entrepreneurs and they will be in the spotlight for many years to come. 


Michael Castello
Virtual Keynote Speaker

Deepak Daftari
Physical Keynote Speaker

Adam Dicker
Featured Speaker

(Posted Sept. 5, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140905.htm

Veteran Domain Broker Kevin Kopas Joins Radix Registry as Channel Manager for the Americas

Even if you don't know Kevin Kopas by name, you have probably seen some of the results he produced during his time as a domain broker at Moniker and SnapNames. While he was at Moniker Kevin teamed up with fellow broker John Mauriello to sell KK.com for $2.4 million in the second largest sale reported in 2013. He also played a role in several six-figure sales you've seen on our charts over the past couple of years including Cotton.com at $205,000, MovingCompany.com at $195,000 and LSN.com at $100,000

Now Kopas, who has also founded and managed start-ups in the tech, sports, advertising, education and social media industries over the past 10 years, is taking on another new challenge. He has joined new gTLD registry operator Radix as the company's Channel Manager for the Americas. In his new position Kopas is responsible for building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with registrars and assisting with Radix's sales and marketing strategy to maximize the success of their new top level domains .website, .host, .press and .space.

Radix's Kevin Kopas
Channel Manager, Americas

In  that capacity you can expect to see Kevin out and about at upcoming industry functions, including next month's ICANN meeting in Los Angeles. Kopas told us, "I will be attending 

Kevin Kopas on a recent visit to Iceland

most domain-centric conferences and I will be focusing on registrar relationships and some industry specific conferences where our TLDs fit well such as Parallels and the Cpanel conference for .host. I will also be helping with the premium domain strategy for each of our TLDs." 

We first met the personable entrepreneur at the 2011 DNCruise conference that was held aboard a cruise ship that made stops throughout the Caribbean. As a certified SCUBA instructor Kevin probably felt more at home than anyone else on the boat. Though he lives in Texas Kopas still spends a lot of time on the road for both personal and professional reasons. In his new position (one that has already involved a trip to India to meet the entire Radix team) those frequent flyer miles will be piling up faster that ever!

(Posted Sept. 3, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140903.htm

Photos and Highlights from the 1st World Domain Day Conference in Hyderabad, India 

World Domain Day, a new international domain conference staged by the Indian Domain Owners Association, debuted Sunday, August 24, 2014 at the Avasa Hotel in  Hyderabad, India. Show organizers reported more than 300 attendees turned out for the inaugural event.


A panoramic view of the crowd at World Domain Day August 24, 2014  in Hyderabad, India.

World Domain Day was organized by a team that included Sanjeev Goyal, Prakhar Bindal, Vishaal Vij, Divam Sharma, Anshul Chaudhary and Arvind Reddy. The presence of many of the India's top domain investors, as well as well-known industry figures from other countries, caught the attention of mainstream media outlets, including several TV stations that sent reporters to cover World Domain Day.

World Domain Day CEO Prakhar Bindal being interview by TV5 News 
during the inaugural event in Hyderabad, India August 24, 2014.

The World Domain Day Organizing Team included (left to right): Sanjeev Goyal,
Prakhar Bindal, Vishal Vij, Anshul Chaudhary, Divam Sharma & Arvind Reddy.

We were unable to attend the conference, but you can find an excellent review of the event written by someone who was there, Anil Kumar Pammidimukkala, in this recap that has been published on the World Domain Day (WDD) website: http://worlddomainday.com/wdd-2014-recap/.

To touch on just a few of the highlights that Anil covers in more detail (with photos that Mr. Bindal graciously shared with us), WDD had an excellent keynote speaker in Dr. Govind, the CEO of the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), and one of the two members of ICANN-GAC from India.

Dr. Govind speaking at World Domain Day in Hyderabad, India August 24, 2014.

Of course, new gTLDs are going to be a major topic of discussion at every domain conference now that hundreds of new extensions have begun rolling out. World Domain Day had leaders from many new registry operators on hand to personally answer questions from WDD attendees.

Above: Four new gTLD representatives on stage for a panel discussion at World Domain Day are (left to right) Gajendra Upadhyay (Afilias), Anand Vora (Donuts), Jeffrey Sass (.CLUB) and Karn Jajoo (Radix)

Below: In another session two executives from TLD Registry discussed the burgeoning domain market in China. At left is CMO Simon Cousins (夏明),who is responsible for global and China branding, marketing and communications, and at right is CEO and Co-Founder Arto Isokoski.

In addition to a robust turnout and impressive speaker's roster, World Domain Day drew widespread sponsor participation, with global powerhouse like Go Daddy and Sedo among those supporting and sending representatives to the inaugural show. 

Patricja Krol and Dildeep Singh represented Sedo at World Domain Day 2014. Patricia, who speaks  English, German and Polish, is credited with handling several 7-figure domain name sales. 

Following their successful debut, World Domain Day organizers are already planning a 2015 event in a new location that should prove to be very popular - Dubai - most likely in March of next year.

As I previously told you World Domain Day is one of two new domain conferences scheduled just two weeks apart in Hyderabad. The next one will be the DomainX conference this coming Sunday, September 7, 2014 at the Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre. Michael Castello is scheduled to deliver the keynote there and I will be interviewing DNForum.com owner Adam Dicker (via Skype) in one of the sessions following Michael's talk. I'll have more on that show for you later this week.

While I expressed some concerns about two shows being held so closely together in the same city, WDD proved there is a great deal of pent up demand in the Indian market for the unique kind of networking and educational opportunities that only well organized and attended conferences can provide. DomainX expects to hit a home run too and if they succeed the industry at large will benefit greatly. India is obviously more that ready for its turn in the spotlight and will play an ever expanding role in the ongoing worldwide growth of the domain business.

(Posted September 2, 2014) To refer others to the post above only you can use this URL: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2014/dailyposts/20140902.htm

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