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October 22, 2017

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The Lowdown
September 2017 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.

.US Fans Invited to Attend Neustar's Annual Online Town Hall Meeting Devoted to America's ccTLD October 5th

Neustar, the administrator of the United States of America's official country code domain, .US, will hold their annual live Town Hall meeting at 3pm (US Eastern time) on Thursday, October 5, 2017. The meeting is open to anyone who has an interest in the future of the .US extension and should be of particular interest to those who have invested in .US domains. 

A Neustar announcement about the meeting on Circle ID said, "The annual town hall is part of Neustar's commitment to a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder model of domain registry 

management. It's also an important aspect of ensuring that .US continues to be a vibrant namespace reflecting America's diversity, creativity, and innovative spirit. Attendees have the opportunity to collaborate, share expertise and ideas, and discuss topics of interest and public service goals."

Speakers will include Becky Burr, Neustar's Chief Privacy Officer and member of the Board of Directors of ICANN, who will give a presentation on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as it applies to .US and the registry community,  Shane Tews (Host, Chair .US Stakeholder Council), Crystal Peterson (Director, Registry Services Neustar) and Kimberly Miller (Council Secretariat, Senior Associate General Counsel Neustar).

You can expect a rundown of the current state of the domain industry and .US, policy considerations for domain growth, and community outreach to establish top civic priorities for future direction. You can register for the free webcast here.  

(Posted Sept. 29, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Internet Commerce Association Selects Kamila Sekiewicz as New Executive Director and Fills 3 Open Seats on the Board

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) - the non-profit trade organization that protects the rights of domain name investors, website developers and related companies - has announced the appointment of a new Executive Director and election results that filled three open board seats.  In a letter to members the ICA announced that Kamila Sekiewicz, who has been serving as the organization's Operations Manager, has been promoted to Executive Director. Board member Daniel Law has been serving as Interim Executive Director while the ICA sought the right person for the full-time role - one they found in-house in the highly regarded Ms. Sekiewicz.

At the same time, the ICA conducted elections to fill three board seats that each come with a 2-year term (two other seats were filled last year with the election of Zak Muscovitch and Jay Chapman. They, along with Jeremiah Johnston (Sedo.com) complete the six-member board). In this year's election, members selected Law to one seat, paving the way for him to reassume the role he had on the board before agreeing to temporarily fill in as Executive Director. Another went to Nat 

Kamila Sekiewicz
Executive Director
Internet Commerce Association

Cohen, who ran for re-election. Nat is a pioneering domain investor who has been a long time champion of the ICA. New board member Bob Mountain, the Chief Revenue Officer at Afternic, completed the newly elected trio- one that works hand in hand with ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin who has done a remarkable job in a position he has held ever since the ICA was founded 11 years ago.

(Left to right): Elected to new 2-year terms on the Internet Commerce Association's Board of Directors were Daniel Law, Nat Cohen and Bob Mountain

Ms. Sekiewicz noted, "Since I joined the team, the ICA has undergone a number of developments, including the addition of individual memberships, Board expansion and the reinstitution of an Executive Director position. These changes resulted in nearly doubling our member base, increased member involvement and broadening the scope of issues we address. Thanks to the strong member base and Board and Phil Corwin’s continued advocacy, we are now in an excellent position as we gear up for our largest advocacy effort yet in the push for UDRP reform."

Kamila added. "In my role as ICA’s Executive Director, I hope to contribute to ICA’s further growth. My hope is that an ICA membership becomes a natural step for anyone with a stake in the domain name industry: be it private domain investors, domain brokers, registrars, registries or monetization companies. We already have an excellent membership base but to continue our work, we will need continued, elevated industry support and involvement. I look forward to the new role within an association that gives the domain name industry the legitimacy it deserves and a voice to those whose livelihoods it provides."

(Posted Sept. 27, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Final Agenda Released for NamesCon's 1st Conference on the Chinese Mainland October 12 in Shanghai

A couple of days before the inaugural Merge! conference gets underway in Orlando, Florida (on October 14), NamesCon will be staging a big one-day event on the opposite side of the world. NamesCon China 2017 will be held Thursday, October 12, 2017 in Shanghai, China at Hyatt's Andaz Xintiandi Hotel where it will run from 9am to 5pm local time. This will be NamesCon's first event on the Chinese mainland.

I just got a copy of the conference's final agenda (.pdf file) today. After registration, it will begin with a welcoming speech from World Hosting Days/NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin. That 

will be followed seven keynotes talks, a pair of panel discussions and a farewell party - making for a very busy day in Shanghai! 

The keynote speakers will include Guo Feng (Senior Research Follow of CAICT, MIIT), Giuseppe Graziano (GGRG Domain Brokerage), Hui XiangLong (Deputy Secretary-General of the Internet Society of China), George Hong (Founder, Guta.com), Lv HongZhe (GM of Teleinfo), Qu Yang ( Director of CAICT, MIIT) and Manoharan Arunachalasamy. The panel discussions will cover Domain Trends in China and What Is My Domain Worth?

NamesCon has partnered with Racënt (who operates the largest portal for the cloud and domain industries in China) to bring the event to this key region. Show organizers noted, "The demand for websites, domains, content generation, and hardware are going to make China the largest technology market in the world over the next few years and NamesCon China will be at the forefront of this growing trend."

Ticket prices for NamesCon China 2017 are a bargain starting at just $22.09 for standard admission and topping out at $127.59 for a VIP ticket. You can register here

(Posted September 22, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Memo From Merge! With Big Show in Orlando Just 24 Days Away Last Call Issued for Low Cost Rooms

Merge! - the big new multi-pronged mega show from NamesCon Co-Founder Jothan Frakes and THE Domain Conference Co-Founder Ray Dillman Neu is now barely three weeks away. The extravaganza at the Marriott World Center Resort in Orlando kicks off on Saturday, October 14 and continues through the following Wednesday. Today I got a note from a member of the conference team letting me know the show's contract with the Marriott for a block of $129 a night rooms expires at the end of the day Friday (September 22). If you plan on going and don't reserve a room by then the cost will nearly double.

Here are some other useful hotel tips. Merge! attendees have the option to accept or decline the usually mandatory $25 a day resort fee. If you pay it you will get to use the shuttle to all four Disney parks (shuttles leave every hour), a $10 laundry credit, a bucket of balls at the driving range, a daily bottle of water in your room and free wifi. Of course, being internet professionals we all need wifi but if you don't need the other resort fee perks you can decline the fee and still get free wifi if you are a Marriott Rewards member. If you are not one, it is free to sign up and would be worth doing for the wifi alone (plus you will get your first points for your stay at Merge!). By the way - for those wondering how this Marriott fared during Hurricane Irma - just fine - and damage free!

Above and below: Views of the Marriott World Center Resort in Orlando 
where the Merge! conference will be staged October 14-18, 2017. 

The speaker's lineup for this extraordinarily ambitious show (that is actually many conferences being offered under one ticket) features a wide range of experts from fields including Domains, Digital Branding, Website Development, End User Experience, New Business Startups, IP Technology, SEO Design, Security, Hosting, Blockchain, CryptoCurrency and more. With the wide variety of disciplines being covered most of the speakers will be new to you, giving you an opportunity to learn about many associated fields and make key new contacts during show week. You can register for Merge! here. We will be covering the event and hope to see you in Orlando too!  

(Posted September 19, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Global Domain Registrations Pass the 331 Million Mark - ccTLDs Growing Faster Than Overall Market

Verisign (the administrator of the .com and .net domain registries) has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 2nd quarter or 2017. The company announced that approximately 1.3 million domain name registrations were added to the internet in 2Q-2017, bringing the total number of domain name registrations to approximately 331.9 million across all top-level domains (TLDs) as of June 30, 2017 .

Over the past year 6.7 million domains have been added, an annual growth rate 2.1%. Country code domains (ccTLDS) had a slightly higher growth rate than the overall market. Total ccTLD registrations stood at approximately 144.2 million at the end of 2Q-2017, a 2.6% increase year over year.

Verisign's .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of approximately 144.3 million domain name registrations at the end of 2Q-2017 - a 0.8% increase year over year. As of June 30, 2017 , the .com domain name base totaled 129.2 million domain name registrations (the most, by far, of any TLD), while the .net domain name base totaled 15.1 million.

Verisign publishes the Domain Name Industry Brief to provide internet users throughout the world with statistical and analytical research and data on the domain name industry. The data above is just a sampling from the full 2Q-2017 Brief. You can get it, as well as previous reports, here: Verisign.com/DNIB.

(Posted Sept. 18, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Hurricane Irma Hammers .CLUB Building in Fort Lauderdale - Half of Roof Ripped Off But No One Hurt

Hurricane Irma tore across the state of Florida throughout the day Sunday and on into Monday morning (Sept. 10-11) But thankfully, thus far, I haven't heard of any our many domain industry friends and colleagues being injured (or worse) in the storm. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of personal and/or corporate property and belongings. I have heard from several whose homes, cars and workplaces were damaged. Some of them are also still without power and suffering in Florida's infamous summertime heat - a situation that could drag for several more days.

The most extensive damage I've heard of to date happened to domain registry operator .CLUB's office building in Fort Lauderdale where half of the roof was ripped off by Irma, leaving the contents unprotected and destroyed by the heavy wind and rain. 

Image from Bigstock

Colin Campbell, the Founder and CEO of .CLUB Domains, said, “Literally, it looks like a bomb went off. I couldn’t believe the damage. It’s truly a sad day for our company. We feel for everyone affected by this horrible storm and we are very fortunate as all our staff are safe.” 

Above: This aerial photo shows the extent of the damage to .CLUB headquarters in 
Fort Lauderdale where Hurricane Irma's winds sheared off almost half of the roof.

Above & below: Inside the damaged building ceiling tiles fell to the floor
allowing wind and and rain to come in through what was left of the roof.

The building in the up and coming Progresso/Flagler area has recently been approved for funds from the Fort Lauderdale government via the Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) to launch a tech incubator under the brand Startups.Club. The building was scheduled to be renovated for completion sometime in 2018. 

Campbell said, “Many .CLUB domain names are used by Startups. Creating a working facility specifically to support startups in the Fort Lauderdale community seemed like an ideal fit in tune with our mission, and the perfect environment to also house our global corporate headquarters. It is unfortunate we have to vacate the premises sooner than expected, but the good news is our plans to renovate and open the Startups.club facility should remain on track."

"The company will find a way to operate during this period," Campbell continued. "We are hoping we can find

Rendering of what the .CLUB building will look like when 
repairs and renovation is completed next year. 

temporary space near our damaged office. We love the Progresso/Flagler area. It’s a young creative community with a real fun vibe.”

While .CLUB's corporate offices were in the path of Irma’s destruction, the company’s technical platform and servers are located in Virginia and were not affected in any way. The company currently employs 17 people and has been working closely with a few Fort Lauderdale startups who will also now need to find temporary facilities until the building is repaired and re-constructed. 

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

VPS Web Hosting

Hurricane Irma is On the Way So We are Hunkering Down - How Things Look from Our Side of the Sunshine State

Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 Update to article below: Hurricane Irma has now come and gone and we were fortunate to get through the historic storm unharmed and damage free thanks to a late turn in Irma's direction. Sunday morning (Sept. 9) forecasters said it was headed straight at us in Tampa as a Cat 3 hurricane. However a few hours before it was due to arrive the storm shifted to our east and wound up going through Lakeland instead, leaving is with much less severe Cat 1 level rain and wind conditions.  Ironically that was back on the path they were predicting Friday when I wrote the story below. 

We are very thankful to have been among the lucky ones and our thoughts are with those throughout the state and Caribbean who have had a much rougher ride through this historic storm than we have.

Image from Bigstock

After a week of preparing for a severe hurricane I will spend the next couple of days getting things back in order and stored away for the next time (which I'm hopeful will be a long time away)! Then we can get back to a topic I'm much more fond of writing about - domains!

Original article from Friday, May 8, 2017:

As I'm sure you are all well aware, Hurricane Irma, the biggest Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, is bearing down on Florida as I write this, after wreaking havoc throughout the Caribbean. The storm is so large it will affect the entire Florida peninsula, especially if it stays on its current track and goes straight up the middle of the state (Irma is wider than the entire peninsula).

We are located just north of Tampa on Florida's Gulf Coast, so I am going to turn my attention to final hurricane preparations and it will likely be several days before I will have an opportunity to post again. Our county officials just announced they expect to see electric power lost for several days after the storm (which is due in our area Monday morning). 

The latest track show the eye of the storm coming through Polk County which is the next county to our east so we have been told to expect hurricane force winds. On the plus side, since we are halfway up the peninsula, the storm is expected to drop from a category 4 to a category 2 hurricane by the time it reaches us and, if the eye doesn't drift any closer to us, our winds will likely be category 1 - a level that is not expected to damage homes similar to ours. It's a big if as it could still shift and go right through Tampa. No one knows for sure and they won't have the best grasp of the track until the storm makes its turn to the north sometime Saturday night.

We are as well prepared for the hurricane (especially at the reduced power expected by the time it reaches us) as we could possibly be. Plenty of water, food, batteries, a generator and a hurricane reinforced concrete block home far away from any evacuation zones or flood plains (a primary reason we felt comfortable staying as long as the storm wasn't expected to be above a 1 or 2). In our area, rain is not a big concern with this storm. It is expected to move through fast but with those worrisome hurricane force winds that causes the storm surges that flood coastal areas and wind induced destruction within 50 or so miles of the eye inland.

Our bigger concern right now is with our many friends on the southeast coast of Florida in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beach area which has long had one of the world's largest concentrations of domain industry participants. Just about all experts agree that area will be hit with a strong category 4 hurricane. For those not familiar with the kind of destruction caused by the five different categories of hurricanes, this video from the Weather Channel is a great visual representation of what can be expected (when the YouTube banner ad appears over the lower part of the video, just click the X at the top right of the banner to get it out of the way):

So, we will have thoughts and prayers focused on our friends to the south. Irma is expected to reach us about 12 hours after they go through the worst of it. When things return to normal here, I'll be back with you and looking forward to talk about domains again rather than natural disasters. Right now we are wishing the best possible outcome for everyone who is in this historic storm's path.

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

DomainSherpa's Michael Cyger Announces Retirement from Domain Name Publishing

Like DomainSherpa.com Founder Michael Cyger's other Facebook friends, I was surprised to see a post from Michael this morning announcing that he had decided to retire form domain name publishing. Since entering the business six years ago Michael has done an astounding job in producing 404 extensive videos featuring a vast array of industry experts. The entire body of work has become an invaluable resource for those want to learn more about domain investing and other facets of the industry. Fortunately, the Sherpa website will remain online so that resource will remain available.

Cyger said in his farewell letter that he is looking forward to taking on new challenges, noting "As an engineer by education, nothing gives me a sense of accomplishment more than figuring out things." Michael already has a number of business interests in addition to DomainSherpa so he will have no shortage of projects to turn his attention to. One of them includes a successful print magazine devoted to his hometown, Bainbridge Island, Washington (Michael also owns BainbridgeIsland.com).

Michael Cyger
DomainSherpa Founder

While Cyger, a successful domain investor in his own right, is moving on to new pursuits he will not disappear from the domain scene. He wrote, "You’ll see me at conferences as I still love and believe in the domain name industry, and enjoy an excuse to travel. And you can contact me at Michael at WebXMedia dot com or on Twitter @michaelcyger."

That's good news and we will look forward to continue seeing Michael out and about and hearing about his latest ventures. We certainly wish him the best in whatever those may be and join with so many others in giving him a heartfelt thank you for everything he has contributed to the industry over the past six years.

(Posted September 6, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

If you've been out of the loop lately, catch up in the Lowdown Archive!

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