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January 19, 2016

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The Lowdown
December 2015 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.

3rd Day at NamesCon Will Put Spotlight on 4 More Keynote Speakers, China, Women in Domaining & Water Night!

While running through some of the highlights of the upcoming NamesCon conference this week (we've already touched on the first and second days) one thing we quickly noticed is every day is busier than the one before. That is certainly true of day 3 (Tuesday, January 12) in the four-day event that runs January 10-13, 2016 at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. The Tuesday schedule will reach a crescendo with four more keynote speakers (following the four that will have appeared on Monday), a heavy schedule of business sessions, including three that will look at the exploding domain market in China and two big social events in the

evening. If you're going to be at the show, you'd better get a good night of sleep Monday night because you will probably be going non-stop in the 24 hours that follow!

The first two Tuesday keynotes will be back to back talks that start at 10am - the first featuring ICANN Global Domains Division President Akram Atallah and the second Greenberg Traurig, LLP's Marc Trachtenberg

China image from Bigstock

With the boom in the Chinese domain market this year many attendees will come to NamseCon looking for more information on what is happing there and they will certainly get that. At 11:45am Tuesday Allegravita CEO Simon Cousins will present a MasterClass: China Boot Camp for Registries and he will will return at 3:20pm for a MasterClass: China Boot Camp for Domainers.

Sandwiched between those two Masterclasses will be a 2:15pm session in which Uniregistry Broker  Ran Cui will provide advice on Selling Domains for a Profit in the Chinese Market

Tuesday afternoon will also bring two more keynote talks starting with an address from Public Interest Registry CEO Brian Cute at 1:45pm. I will be participating in the second one at 4:25pm when I will interview Donuts Inc. Co-Founder and CEO Paul Stahura in a Fireside Chat. We profiled Paul in our July 2015 Cover Story and anyone who has read that piece knows Stahura has a fascinating and inspiring life story that he will be sharing on stage.

Donuts Inc. Co-Founder & CEO Paul Stahura's "Eureka!" moment came 20 years ago while he was in Italy on his honeymoon. Paul was reading a copy of Wired Magazine that convinced him to go all in on the Internet. Stahura will be sharing his life story during a NamesCon Fireside Chat with me on January 12, 2016 at 4:25pm.

When the Tuesday business day is done things will still just be getting started at the Tropicana Hotel. At 7pm the popular Women in Domaining event will be held giving the dozens or brilliant women in our industry a chance to get together to compare notes and make new friends.

A scene from the 2015 Women in Domaining event last January at NamesCon.

Richard Lau drumming up donations for the WaterSchool at Water Night 2015 last January at NamesCon in Las Vegas.

Capping the Tuesday schedule will be the fabulous Water Night Gala that will run from 9am to 2am Wednesday morning at the Tropicana's Havana Club. Water Night is a fundraising party for the WaterSchool that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the life saving charity. In fact, as NamesCon Co-Founder Richard Lau told us in our December 2015 Cover Story profiling him, raising funds for the WaterSchool was the main reason NamesCon was launched in the first place. This has become a great event for a great cause and one you certainly won't want to miss. 

There will be much more going on Tuesday (January 12) than I have touched on in this post. You can see the full agenda here. In my next post I'll tell you about some of the key things scheduled for the fourth and final day of the big event (Wednesday, January 13) in Las Vegas. 

(Posted December 31, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Second Day at NamesCon Will Feature Four Keynote Addresses and Huge Live Domain Auction

Yesterday I told you about the new Network Lane that will make the opening day of the 2016 NamesCon conference (Sunday, January 10) something special. In addition to the "topic tables" I  highlighted, many companies will have representatives on hand at other tables to answer questions from Noon to 6pm (I understand there may still be one or two tables left. If your company wants to secure one contact Terri Potratz at [email protected]). 

Today I'll will touch on some of the key events scheduled on the second day (Monday, January 11) of the four-day conference that runs January 10-13 at the Tropicana Hotel. NamesCon believes 

in doing things in a big way and that even extends to their roster of keynote speakers. On Tuesday alone you can catch four keynote addresses beginning with a 10am talk from Dot Brand 360 Founder and CEO Jennifer Wolfe

At 11:45am in a highlight not only of the day but the entire week Uniregistry Founder and legendary domain investor Frank Schilling will take the stage. When Frank talks everyone wants to listen because few are as tuned into to every aspect of the domain business - where it's been and where it's headed - as Frank.

Frank Schilling speaking at the 2015 NamesCon conference last January.

After lunch back to back keynotes featuring Tucows President and CEO Elliot Noss and Sedo Chief Sales Officer Solomon Amoako will get started at 1:30pm and provide a perfect lead in to the 2pm Right of the Dot Live Domain Auction that will run the rest of the afternoon. With an exceptionally strong auction catalog many expect this be to the most successful live domain auction in years.

Scene from the seven-figure live domain auction at NamesCon 2015 last January
Even better results are expected for the 2016 auction coming up Monday, January 11.

In addition to the keynotes and auctions there will be a full slate of business sessions Monday (Jan. 11) - with multiple events often going on simultaneously. You can check out the full agenda here. In my next post we'll take a look at a few of the things NamesCon has in store for Day 3 (Tuesday, January 12). 

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

New Wrinkle at NamesCon: Network Lane Will Bring Attendees & Experts Together on Opening Day

The 3rd annual NamesCon conference gets underway a a week from Sunday (January 10, 2016) at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Show organizers will introduce a new Network Lane on opening day that will give attendees an opportunity to meet a wide variety of industry experts face to face and ask them any questions they may have. 

Network Lane will open at 12 Noon on Sunday (Jan. 10) and remain open until 6pm. Attendees will find four different tables set up in the meeting room with a different topic and different set of experts at each one. Every hour on the hour, a new group of experts will take over the tables and hold court on a new set of topics. It will be a golden opportunity to get a diverse domain education in the course of a single afternoon. I wouldn't be surprised if many find the value they get from the Network Lane portion of the four-day show alone worth the entire cost of NamesCon admission (which, by the way, if 40% off through Thursday, Dec. 31 - That's $599 rather than the $999 it will cost at the door).

To give you a specific example of how Network Lane will work, in the opening hour, from 12 Noon to 1pm, there will be tables dedicated to ccTLDs (Table A), Maxxing Out the Drop (Table B), Leasing a Domain (Table C) and GeoDomains/City TLDs (Table D). You can get tips at Table A from Marco Hoffman (InterNetX) and Crystal Petersen (Neustar) while Chris Ambler (GoDaddy), Trish Leighton (SnapNames/Web.com) and Barbara Sher (Web.com/SnapNames) will be at Table B. Table C will feature attorneys Karen Bernstein and Zak Muscovitch and you will find Joe Alagna (101Domain), Katrin Ohlmer (dotBerlin) and Lori Anne Wardi (Neustar) at Table D.  Then, every hour that follows will bring a new set of experts and new topics to each table. You can see the complete list of topics and experts (as well as details about each) on 

Richard Lau
NamesCon Co-Founder

the NamesCon agenda page (where you will also find that a lot more will be going on in addition to Network Lane during the first business day Sunday). 

There will obviously be plenty to keep you busy on opening day but you will also have plenty of time to kick back and relax when Rightside hosts the Welcome to NamesCon 2016 Opening Night Party from 8-11pm. 

I'll have more on each day's schedule in upcoming posts this week. In the meantime I would also recommend you read NamesCon Co-Founder Richard Lau's fascinating account of how and why NamesCon was launched in the first place. The section about NamesCon concludes our current Cover Story about Richard's remarkable life titled A Walking Miracle: After Getting a Second Chance at Life Richard Lau is Determined to Give Back. It's a great way to learn about NamesCon and Richard's inspiring background before you head out to Las Vegas. We are looking forward to seeing many of you there!

(Posted December 29, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Merry Christmas!  We Hope Your Day and That of Your Loved Ones is Filled With Joy

To our friend and readers around the world who are celebrating Christmas today we want to wish each of you the most joyous possible holiday. There is a classic poem by Edgar Guest (1881-1959), who was known as "The People's Poet," that I have often shared at this time of year because it captures the spirit of the holiday so well: 

“At Christmas
A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season's here;
Then he's thinking more of others than he's thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.” 

Christmas angel image from Bigstock

Our hope is that this day and all of those that follow, whatever your faith  may be, will be a sublime one for you, your family and friends as well!

(Posted December 25, 2015)

A New Development in the Chinese Domain Boom: New Institute Aims to Turn Inexperienced Buyers Into Better Domain Investors 

It's no secret that Chinese buyers have turned the domain market upside down this year, pouring millions of dollars into new investments with much of that money going into short .com domains containing 2-4 letters or numbers (some of the numeric strings all the way out to six figures and still drawn good money) but also extending into some other extensions, including new gTLDs. The boom in Chinese buying has, of course, delighted sellers in the west, though everyone is now wondering how long this unexpected buying spree can last.

As it happens, some leaders in China's domain industry think things have already gotten a little too frothy. They do want to see active buying and selling continue but believe a   sustainable market will depend on new investors in their country becoming better educated. If they make sound buying decisions that will generate a long term profit, both buyers and sellers will win and keep the economic engine humming. 

Toward that end Booksir (Liangji) Zhuang (seen in the book cover photo at right) teamed up with several experienced domain name investors to launch the  MIXUE Digital Investment Institute earlier this month in Xiamen. The name Mixue is a combination of "mi", which equates to domains in China, and "xue" means training or learning, so mixue can be interpreted as domain name training. 

Philadelphia-based domain broker George Hong of Guta.com, who is a native of China, was at the Mixue launch and was kind enough to  

Cover photo of Booksir Zhuang's book Dismantling the Wall of Internet that provides an extensive analysis of the current Internet situation and the opportunities it presents in China.

arrange for us to get photos and highlights from the event to share with you. Those are presented below as sent to us with the only changes being some of a grammatical nature that made the translation from Chinese to English easier to understand.

The Mixue report affirmed what I wrote at the beginning of this article, noting "At the same time  China began experiencing rapid economic development, domain name investment got started quietly and gradually gained momentum over the past few years. However, lots of new domain name investors have stepped into the industry since September 2015, with an enormous amount of money pouring into it. That has lead to an overheated domain name investment market and various domain names bought by new, and sometimes irrational, investors in China, resulting in soaring prices of domain names. To provide the basic knowledge of domain name investment, keep overheated investment behavior more reasonable, and promote the sound development of domain name investment market, the Mixue Digital Investment Institute was founded with the inaugural class meeting in Xiamen December 6-9, 2015."

Above: Photo of the inaugural class at China's Mixue Digital Investment Institute (MDII).

Below: The MDII launch was big news in Xiamen (a booming metropolis of more than 
3.5 million people) where major media outlets turned out in force to cover the event. They are seen here interviewing Booksir Zhuang

Above: Guta.com's George Hong doing TV interviews at the MDII launch.

Below: MDII founders and industry leaders on stage to officially launch 
Mixue Digital Investment Institute 

Above: Domain Investment Panel Discussion. From left to right are Zhu Yaoguang, the President of jinyuming.com,  Zhang Zhengjun, the President of A5 (A5.net),  Zhou Xiaopeng (Miller), a well known domain name investor, Xie Yongdong, the President of yumi.com, George Hong, the founder of guta.com, Booksir Zhuang, the founder of 258 Group258.com) and Wang Weilin, the president of RZ.com.

Above: During a session on “Purchasing domain names from overseas - Challenges and Opportunities” that was presented by George Hong (in foreground), America's Alan Hack (seen on screen), the President of Names Plus Marketing, joined George via Skype for a Q & A.

Above: Domain auction tips were provide by Zhu Yaoguang (jinyuming.com).

Below: Yu Jiehao, founder of 10.cn, doing a presentation 
on "Risk control in domain name investment"

Above: MDII trainees listen intently during one of the Institute's business sessions.

Below: The Domain Name Fund presentation from Wang Weilin (RZ.com).

Above: News about the domain business was spread far and wide by the large number of Chinese major media outlets at the MDII launch. They included ifeng.com, Xiamen TV, Fujian Dail and China Economic Net (CEN). The screenshot above captured some of CEN's coverage. CEN, a key central news website and a national economic web portal sponsored by Economic Daily, releases about 10,000 pieces of news every day with approximately 1 million daily visitors.

Above: Xiamen TV is one of the top television outlets
 in Fujian province with access to as many 30 million viewers. 

Below: Fujian Daily is the area's most widely read mainstream newspaper
Its daily circulation has exceeded 200,000 copies.

As China's first institute specializing in domain name investment, Mixue leaders said, "Mixue aims to serve domain name investors, expand high-quality networks in the industry, speed up integration of Chinese traditional enterprises with the Internet, improve their domain knowledge and spread to the general public the concept of the domain name as brand equity and and Internet resource. "

"The satisfaction of all trainees at MIXUE is guaranteed. If for any reason a trainee is not satisfied with the training he or she can get a full refund within 7 days after the training class concludes. No trainee in the first class asked for a refund."

Thanks again to George Hong and Mixue for giving us this insight into what is happening in China. Though Chinese buyers have already become a huge market force it is clear that the industry there still has plenty of room left to grow, especially with so many new investors entering the field and  mainstream media there covering domains at a level that already seems to exceed what we see here in the U.S. 

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

Latest Industry Brief from Verisign Revealed Nearly 300 Million Domains Registered Worldwide at End of 3Q-2015

Verisign has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 3rd quarter of 2015.The administrator of the .com and .net registries reported that 299 million domain names were registered across all extensions at the end of 3Q-2015. That is 14.8 million more domains than the number registered at the same point a year ago, a healthy 5.2% jump year over year. 3.1 million domains were added in 3Q-2015, a  1.1% rise from the previous quarter.  

Verisign's .com and .net TLDs when combined accounted for 135.2 million of the names registered at the end of 3Q-2015, a 3.4% increase year over year. 120.1 million of those were .coms - the world's most popular TLD. 15.1 million were .nets.

Total country-code TLD (ccTLD) registrations were approximately 137.8 million names at the end of 3Q-2015. That was a 4.3% rise year over year but the number was a slight decrease (minus one-tenth of 1%) from the previous quarter. There was a clear reason for that. The number of .ar domains (Argentina's country code) fell from 2.7 million to just 700,000 after NIC-Argentina starting charging fees to register .ar domains. They had previously been free of charge for both registrations and renewals. 

The Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief is available in both downloadable .pdf and infographic form. You can access both here

(Posted December 18, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Fred Mercaldo's Oakland Based Company City Brand Media Acquires Oakland.com

Fred Mercaldo has long been a key player in the geodomain space. The Scottsdale.com owner (who was profiled in our March 2013 Cover Story) is also the CEO and Co-Founder at City Brand Media (CBM), a media, publishing and management company that represents a network of more than 140 City(dot)com websites across the country. CBM, who is based in Oakland, California, just scored a major coup when they announced the acquisition of Oakland.com for an undisclosed sum.

Oakland.com will serve as the flagship site for 20 Bay Area sites including SantaClara.com, Sunnyvale.com, Sausalito.com, Danville.com, Burlingame.com, and many others. Each of those  hyperlocal community sites will feature city news, editorial features, a business directory, real estate information, restaurant listings and a comprehensive list of upcoming local events. All of the Bay Area sites are expected to go live in January 2016.

Fred Mercaldo
City Brand Media CEO & Co-Founder

Mercaldo said, "We’re thrilled to be amongst the drastically changing Oakland landscape, as major tech companies make the move to the area due to the higher priced and scarce office availability in San Francisco. Not only is City Brand Media’s home office located in the iconic 22-story Oakland Tribune Tower, which serves as a centerpiece of the Oakland skyline, but also our associated companies employ more than 500 local Oakland residents. For this reason, we feel especially grateful to be helping local Bay Area companies promote their businesses online.”

Oakland is emerging as a new hot spot for major tech companies. In September, Uber Technologies announced its plans to open a new global headquarters in downtown Oakland, which will house its 3,000 employees. “

City Brand Media also maintains a second home office in Mercaldo's home town, Scottsdale, Arizona, where the company manages Scottsdale.com, Tempe.com, Chandler.com, FountainHills.com, Mesa.com and ApacheJunction.com.

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

Brand.Bar Hosting Live NamesCon Update With Co-Founder Richard Lau and Coordinator Terri Potratz Thursday Afternoon

The 2016 NamesCon conference is coming up fast. The 3rd annual event gets underway three weeks from Sunday (January 10, 2016) at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas where it will run through Wednesday, January 13. You can get a live update on what is in store directly from conference Co-Founder Richard Lau and Coordinator Terri Potratz when they will be guests on the next Brand.Bar Happy Hour Chat hosted by Angela St. Julien. That event (held on the Go To Meeting platform) will get underway Thursday afternoon (December 17) at 4pm U.S. EST (1pm Pacific). 

(L to R): NamesCon Co-Founder Jothan Frakes, Coordinator Terri Potratz, Co-Founder Richard Lau and Producer James Morfopoulos are making final preparations for the big show next month.

There is also a big section about NamesCon, including a history of how the conference came to be created, in our December Cover Story profiling Richard Lau that was just published this morning. Richard has an amazing life story and we cover it all. If you have ever met the veteran domain investor and life long entrepreneur then you have met a walking miracle. Cancer was supposed to end his life at 30 - instead he made a recovery that left his doctors in disbelief and has since dedicated his life to giving back

A big way Lau is doing that is serving as Executive Director of the WaterSchool - a life saving charity that he has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for through WaterNight events at NamesCon. In fact, as Richard told us in the article, the primary reason NamesCon was started was to fund WaterSchool's efforts to bring a inexpensive but effective clean water solution to developing nations around the world. His illuminating and inspiring life story is one you won't want to miss.

(Posted December 16, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Alan Dunn Takes TechCrunch Readers Inside the Domain Boom in China & A New Video Introduces That Country's "Domain Captain" 

Last Thursday we published photos and highlights from a major meeting attended by some of China's top domain investors that was held in Xiamen a few days ago. As all of our regular readers know, Chinese buyers have practically taken over the domain aftermarket, bringing 

unprecedented  liquidity to several name categories while changing the definition of what makes some domain  names valuable. Take four-letter .coms with random letters excluding vowels for example. A year or two ago most considered those nearly worthless - now they routinely sell for four figures to eager Chinese buyers - even in bulk purchases. 

It is a phenomenon unlike any we have seen before and a lot of people in the West are still struggling to get their head around what this sudden change means for domain buyers and sellers. One of the smartest guys in our business, Alan Dunn of NameCorp, wrote an article for TechCrunch that was published over the weekend. His piece, titled China is Making Domain History, is one of the best written on this topic to date - especially for mainstream business people who had no idea this key corner of the Internet was undergoing such a major

Alan Dunn
NameCorp Founder

upheaval. As Alan noted it is a sea change that has made a lot people wealthy in a very short period of time and many of them are not the usual domain investment stars we are familiar with. Alan's piece is one everyone should read and share with their friends. 

The China boom has naturally triggered more interest around the world in who the major players in China are, what they are buying and why. In the year ahead you are likely to be hearing a lot more about China's domain investment pioneers who are that country's equivalent of wildly successful people like Frank Schilling, Michael Berkens, Rick Schwartz who are so familiar to investors on t his side of the globe.  In some cases the similarities even extend to nicknames. For example we have Schwartz, known as the "Domain King", and they have Peibi Wang (王培陛), who is known as China's "Domain Captain"!

In fact, just last week, China Market Consulting (a consulting service of TLD Registry) released a video interview with Wang who, in addition to being an influential and successful domain investor, is also the Founder of Chinese domain investment forum, YMQ.cn

(L to R): TLD Registry Founder Arto Isokoski, Peibi Wang and 
translator Luke Qiu at a meeting in Beijing last month.

The video, that runs less than five minutes, is an excerpt from a 90-minute discussion between Wang and TLD Registry Founder Arto Isokoski (with translation help from his TLD Registry colleague Luke Qiu) that took place last month in Beijing. In the video Wang spoke about several aspects of domain investing, including which TLDs he's been buying and how the domain investment space is different in China as compared to other parts of the world. He also goes into brief details about pinyin names, and how he wants to connect with more western domainers. That is an invitation that will no doubt by accepted by many smart investors on this side of the world.

(Posted December 14, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

An Inside Look at eName's 10th Anniversary Event Where Top Chinese Domain Investors Met Last Weekend

2015 has been "The Year of the Chinese Domain Investor." If you follow our weekly sales charts and other industry news you know that buyers from China have been the dominant force in driving aftermarket sales this year. As a result, on this side of the globe there has been increasing interest in China and learning more about the domain loving investors there who have turned the market upside down (in a good way). 

Our friend George Hong of Guta.com, a Philadelphia based domain broker who has been a key player in helping build a domain investment bridge between the East and West, is currently in China where he has been 

China image from Bigstock

attending some key events for that country's domain industry. One of largest of those was registrar eName's 10th Anniversary Event held this past weekend (on Saturday, December 5, 2015) in Xiamen. With the help of eName's event staff, George was kind enough to have some photos and highlights from the party put together for us to share with you. That report - in their own words and photos (with some minor grammatical changes to better fit the English translation) - is below:

Over One Hundred Famous Chinese Domain Investors Get Together at eName’s 10th Anniversary Thanks Meeting

China has become a big domain country. Chinese investors have gradually become the backbone of the global domain industry. eName Technology Co., Ltd. (eName) is a nationally famous domain registrar located in beautiful Xiamen, a city well known as the capital of domains in China where the domain investment market has become much hotter this year. On December, 5, 2015, eName hosted their 10th anniversary thanks meeting - “A Domain, A Dream” -  in Xiamen. Over one hundred famous Chinese domain investors gathered together for the first premier event of China’s domain industry over the past decade.  

Well known as China’s“ Domain King”, Cai Wensheng attended this meeting. Cai Wensheng is a famous angel investor and the president of Meitu. As the fourth largest mobile Internet company in China the number of Meitu users follows only  Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent  Meitu also releases a self-portrait smartphone Meitu Kiss that has great sales in Asia is great and is especially popular with female users.  

58.com Inc. is China’s first information classification website and is known as "China’s Craigs List". Their President and CEO, Yao Jinbo, also attended this meeting. 58.com Inc went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013 and completed a merger with Ganji.com in April 2015. When eName was founded Cai Wensheng and Yao Jinbo both invested in eName. Yao Jinbo once said, “The return on investing in eName has been the biggest.”  

Above: All meeting attendees in Xiamen, China (December, 5, 2015).


Above: The beautiful hostess  

Above: Yao Jianjun (Feiyu.com), Kong Dejing (eName) and Wu Xinhong (Meitu)
giving the opening speech.  

Above: eName President Kong Dejing speaking at the meeting. He told attendees, “I 
hope everyone will take domains as an honorable and great cause to do in the next decade.”

Above: In a very interesting comment, Yao Jinbo of 58.com Inc. told guests, “The domain industry has great development space. Comparing to the investment in vehicles, housing, 
domain investment circulates faster, it also cashes out faster.”

Above: Cai Wensheng of Meitu speaking at the meeting said, “ If there is a way we can 
have the domain name deep processed by turning it into a website or matching it with the trademark  to become an IP, then the value is infinite.”  

Above: Kong Dejing, John Xu (4.cn Founder), Shen Xiaohang (famous domain investor), 
George Hong (Guta.com)
, Song Yang (famous Pinyin domain investor)and Wang Weilin (Tou.com) discussing domain investment.  


Above: A scene from the Live Domain/IP Auction showing the
Ename account ID number 86666 sold for the equivalent of $13,830.

Above: A wider view of the Live Domain Auction  


Above: Logos of attending companies


Above: Editors busy recording and organizing the meeting.  

Below: Four photos of attendees taking a break for some sightseeing 
aboard a yacht cruising in the beautiful sea off Xiamen.





Below: A Laser Show  highlighted meeting After Party


Thanks to the support of all parties, eName was able to host this premier event with so many top domain investors. As a dedicated domain registrar for ten years, eName ‘s domain registrations are over 5 million, domain annual turnover has been long over 1.5 billion RMB and eName has become the leader of China’s domain industry development.

Our thanks to George Hong and eName staff for providing us with this look at some of the key faces of the Chinese domain industry. We expect to be seeing and hearing a lot more about them in the future. 

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

Michael Berkens Sells Majority of Massive MostWantedDomains Portfolio to GoDaddy in Mega Deal

In one of the biggest - and no doubt highest valued - domain portfolio sales in history, Michael Berkens (who was profiled in our June 2009 Cover Story) has sold the majority of names held in the Worldwide Media Inc. portfolio that he began assembling back in 1997 ( names that have been available for individual sale through Michael's well-known  MostWantedDomains website).  A press release announcing the deal said approximately 70,000 domains are involved in the transaction but the price paid was not disclosed. A small sampling of the names GoDaddy acquired included 373.com, Faculty.com, CarAuctions.com, iBill.com and  BikeRentals.com (as well as MostWantedDomains.com).

GoDaddy may have been motivated to make this deal after enjoying success with the portfolio of more than 200,000 domains they bought from Marchex last April. Marchex had acquired the majority of that portfolio from another private domain investor, Yun Ye, in a stunning $164 million deal back in 2005. 

Berkens said, "Since 1997, I've worked every day on building my domain name portfolio. Now it's time to focus on my other endeavors as well as family and friends. I'm extremely proud of the portfolio I built and the domain name industry has never been stronger. This is a win-win for everyone involved." Some of the other endeavors Michael referred to are the RightOfTheDot.com domain consultancy he co-founded with Monte Cahn and the highly regarded industry blog - TheDomains.com - that Michael founded in 2007.

Michael Berkens
MostWantedDomains Founder

Michael McLaughlin
GoDaddy Senior VP & General Manager

GoDaddy Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike McLaughlin said, "We're always looking at ways to improve what domain names our customers can register. Our plan is to make these names accessible to small businesses. Michael Berkens has assembled an incredible portfolio of names and has been such an integral part of the domain name aftermarket for so many years."

GoDaddy plans to list the majority of the names on Afternic's Fast Transfer Network (GoDaddy  purchased Afternic from NameMedia in 2013).  Afternic's reseller network includes 18 of the Top 20 registrars. When a customer searches for a domain name at one of those partner registrars, Afternic provides the exact name or a list of alternatives from their aftermarket inventory that are available for sale. Customers can buy one of those domains and have the name show up in their account in seconds using Afternic's Fast Transfer Network.

As a personal note, we couldn't be happier for Michael and his wife Judi who have been friends for many years and are such an integral part of the domain investment industry that it is hard to envision it without them in it. Fortunately, we won't have to as Michael, in a post on his blog about the sale this morning, confirmed he will remain on the scene, though not on the around the clock basis he has been known for over the years. Michael also noted that some health issues Judi has battled through this year played a role in his decision to sell. Fortunately Judi is doing much better now but going through something like that would remind any of us of the importance of stopping to smell the roses along the way. We think it is a smart choice and look forward to seeing Michael and Judi enjoy the fruits of their hard work for many years to come.

Michael Berkens (far left) and Judi Berkens (far right) with Ron and Diana Jackson 
(in a shot taken at our daughter's wedding in Sarasota, Florida in September 2012). 

(Posted December 7, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

After a Record Sales Month .CLUB Will Have a Lot of Domains in Our Next Weekly Report

A day after our latest weekly domain sales report came out Wednesday (December 2), .CLUB announced they had a record-breaking month in November, booking just over $1,622,000 worth of premium domain sales. Most of those sales were in the mid four-figure range but one - C.CLUB - changed hands for 

$50,000. That one will no doubt earn a place on our next all extension Top 20 Sales Chart. While it usually takes five figures (or close to it) to make that chart, the best of those sales that fell in the mid four-figure range will give .CLUB a major presence on the Non .Com gTLD Top 20

Auction graphic from Bigstock

A company release noted, "It was our first month with more than $1 million in Premium Name sales, with strong deals coming from two auctions, our registrar channel, registry direct deals (including several portfolio deals) as well as through brokers and the aftermarket. We began the month with the auction of 25 2-letter names and one 1-letter name (C.CLUB) on EJEE’s EachNic.com platform in China with all 26 names selling." With an average sale price of $7,286 per name, the EachNic auction produced over $189,000 in sales.

A second auction at Sedo featured 37 3-digit numeric domains that fetched an average price of $1,208 per name to add a little over $44,000 more to the registry's total for the month.

The .CLUB report said, "As of November 30, 2015, total cumulative sales of registry reserved premium .CLUB names to date came to $2,890,363. The highest single sale remains Wine.club at $140,000, however November’s blockbuster sales include a 7-figure package deal to a
single Chinese Investor." .CLUB is expecting this month to be a big one as well, partly because on December 16th they will be releasing an additional 13,000 registry reserved names into the registrar channel as tiered premiums, including many never before available names. 

In conclusion, the .CLUB announced noted, " the driver for November’s enormous growth has been the strong demand for .CLUB names in China. All but a very few of the names in the two auctions were sold to buyers in China, and all of the portfolio deals were to buyers in China." 

(Posted December 4, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Domaining Europe Announces New City and New Dates for Spring 2016 Conference 

After seven shows in Valencia, Spain, the Domaining Europe Conference will have a new home in 2016. Dietmar Stefitz, the founder of the popular event, told us it will move to The Hague, Netherlands next spring where it will run May 29-31 at the fabulous five-star Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus. The waterfront property, rated one of Holland's finest hotels for over a century, sits directly on the shore of the North Sea.

In recent years Domaining Europe has run every April but Stefitz decided to stage it a few weeks later to coincide with TheNextWeb conference, a massive event that is expected to draw 20,000 attendees to nearby Amsterdam May 26-27, 2016. With so many people coming from all over the world for that event, Stefitz 

wanted to make it possible for those who want to know more about opportunities in the domain world to stay over and get the scoop from industry leaders at Domaining Europe. 

The show in The Hague will get underway Sunday, May 29 with a Networking Day, followed 

Dietmar Stefitz
Domaining Europe Founder

by two days of business sessions - a DotCom Day on Monday (May 30) and a NotCom Day on Tuesday (May 31). Stefitz said all interested sponsors and potential speakers can contact him directly (Email: DJS at Bemarnet.es). 

Between the attractive new location and the dates adjacent to TheNextWeb, Stefitz expects Domaining Europe to see an increase in attendance of nearly 50% in 2016. Even so, it will be no more expensive to attend Domaining Europe than it has been in the past. Stefitz is holding tickets prices at €600 with a half price early bird rate of just €300 in effect until December 20. Those can be purchased here. Tickets includes lunches and coffee breaks during the two full business days. 

Even with the move to a world class hotel, Domaining Europe will maintain the low room rates that helped make the Valencia show popular. Stefitz secured a €125 a night rate at the Kurhaus and that includes breakfast, free wifi and use of the fitness rooms. 

(Posted December 1, 2015) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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