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July 27, 2018

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The Lowdown
June 2018 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.

Update on How Gary Millin's World Accelerator Continues to Develop Some of the Web's Best .Com Domain Names

It was interesting to see a familiar name pop in a Forbes.com article yesterday (June 28, 2018) by Serenity Gibbons titled Your Business's Domain Matters: How To Make The Right Choice. The story featured an interview with Gary Millin, the CEO and Founder of World Accelerator, a company that owns and develops some of the best .com domains on the Internet. They do that in a unique way - rather than selling names they invest capital and mentorship in creative and industrious entrepreneurs who become partners in turning great category defining domains into thriving businesses.  

If you have been in this industry any length of time you know people can take "liberties" with the definition "great" when it comes to domain names but I've never seen anyone argue the point with domains in the WA portfolio or those serving as the foundation for fully developed businesses operated by companies WA partnered with. Doctor.com, Lawyer.com, Revenue.com, Mail.com, USA.com, London.com, Paris.com and India.com are just a few examples. 

If you haven't seen the list before you are no doubt floored that any one entity accumulated so many great domains, just as I was back in 

Gary Millin
CEO/Founder, World Accelerator

2012 when I wrote an article about Gary Millin and World Accelerator's business model (that was followed by an update on their operations the next year). Since several years have passed since then it was a pleasure to read Gary's latest comments in Forbes and to get back in touch with him myself today.

Millin has now spent well over a decade bringing together talented teams, big vision and top branded domains. Gary gave me updates on some of the many projects he started and continues to be involved with:

Mail.com: Gary Millin founded Mail.com with Gerry Gorman and took Mail.com public on the NASDAQ in 1999.  Mail.com now offers free personalized web based email at great domain names to over 20 million users globally.  

Doctor.com: Millin is Chairman of Doctor.com,  co-founded the company in 2012 and launched it  in 2013. Doctor.com is a market leader helping thousands of practices of all sizes and hospitals build their digital presence and improve patient experience with services like the first universal online scheduling platform.

Graphic from WorldAccelerator.com

Lawyer.com: Finding a lawyer can be stressful so Lawyer.com was built to offer users an advanced proprietary lawyer matching service that makes it easy to quickly and efficiently find and hire a qualified local lawyer. The Lawyer.com team, led by CEO Gerry Gorman, continues to work with World Accelerator and has recently expanded its offering with high value business services for lawyers.  

Scientist.com: Scientist.com started working with World Accelerator and Gary Millin in 2016 when they rebranded from Assay Depot to Scientist.com.  Now they run a dynamic

marketplace to more efficiently connect companies with the right Scientist for a project, something that was formerly a cumbersome task. 

India.com:  India.com was formerly part of World Accelerator and now is one of the largest news and portal hubs for India, covering categories including entertainment, news and sports with a global reach that was accelerated by getting the ultimate geodomain for that booming nation.

In the Forbes article Millin details why a great domain and the right partners makes success stories like these much more likely to happen. While we often talk about how much things have changed in the domain world, that is something that is a constant you can still count on.

(Posted June 29, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

MERGE! Announces a Half-Dozen Additions to the Speaker's Roster for Their 2018 Conference in Orlando

Last weekend  I spent a couple of days at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista Hotel at Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida where the 2nd annual MERGE! conference will be held September 14-19, 2018. It gave me a chance to get a close up look at the show's impressive new venue (the debut edition was held at the Marriott World Resort in Orlando last fall). I am putting together a separate article about the hotel and Disney Springs to 

show you what to expect in September but today I want to share an update on the speaker's line up that I just got from MERGE! Co-Founder Jothan Frakes

In addition to a couple of keynoters I told you about earlier this month Jothan confirmed a half dozen more featured speakers today (you will find the full speaker's roster on the MERGE! conference website where you can also track the latest additions to the agenda as they are made). Frakes was excited to announce that Microsoft's Cole Quinn will be coming to talk. Cole manages 50,000+ domains and 8 DotBRAND TLDs for Microsoft, is the incoming president of the Brand Registry Group and is on the Board of Directors of the Domain Name Association

A well-known figure in the domain world, Kellie Peterson of Automattic was also added. Kellie manages the Registrar of WordPress and is a highly experienced veteran of the hosting, registry, and registrar industries having played key roles with Neustar, Endurance International, Name.com and other leading providers.  

Martin Kuechenthal, the CEO and co-founder of Lemarit, will be speaking too. Martin is an internationally respected expert on domain names, brands and trademarks, is a member of the Board of Directors of DENIC (.DE) and a long-standing member of the International Trademark Association (INTA).

Above (left to right): Cole Quinn, Kellie Peterson and Martin Kuechenthal.

Below (left to right): Dr. Gregg McNair, Michael Palage and David Szetela.

Another speaker (who our readers will be very familiar with) will be Dr. Gregg McNair, the PPX International Chairman who was profiled in a 2009 DNJournal Cover Story.  Gregg's list of accomplishments has grown considerably longer in the years since then and he can speak with authority on any topic related to domains, the internet and the business world at large. 

Michael Palage of Pharos Global can also be expected to draw a crowd. Michael is a member of the Board of Directors of the Blockchain Special Interest Group of the Internet Society. The industry veteran is also a former ICANN Board Member.  

The latest addition to the MERGE! lineup also includes David Szetela of FMB Media who will share a sure to be popular session on AI-powered PPC Advertising and Search. David is well-known throughout the the Search and SEO sectors.

Registration for MERGE! is open and you can find all ticket details here

(Posted June 22, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Latest Verisign Report Says Total Domain Registrations Continue to Grow Despite New gTLD Nosedive

Verisign, the administrator or the .com and .net domain registries, has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 1st quarter of 2018. Verisign reported that 1Q-2018 closed with approximately 333.8 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs) -  an increase of approximately 1.4 million domain name registrations (a 0.4% rise), compared to the previous quarter (4Q-2017). The number of registrations grew by approximately 3.2 million domains (a 1% increase)  year over year.

Verisign's .com and .net TLDs outperformed the overall market. They had a combined total of approximately 148.3 million domain name registrations at the end of 1Q-2018 (with approximately 133.9 million .com registrations and approximately 14.4 million .net

registrations), That represents an increase of approximately 1.9 million total .com and . net domain name registrations (a 1.3% rise), compared to the previous quarter and a combined total increase of approximately 4.6 million registrations (a 3.2% jump) year over year.

The news was considerably less rosy for new gTLDs. The number of new gTLD domain registrations at the end of 1Q-2018 were approximately 20.2 million - a loss of 5.3 million domains (representing a 20.7% decrease) over the past year. 

ccTLDs on the other hand, performed better than the overall market year over year. There were approximately 146.3 million country code domains registered at the end of  1Q-2018. That is a gain of about 3.2 million domains (a 2.2% increase) over the past 12 months. 

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 first quarter 2018 Domain Name Industry Brief, as well as previous reports, can be obtained here: Verisign.com/DNIB.

(Posted June 14, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Photos & Highlights from the Closing Days at the 2018 NamesCon Europe (Domaining Europe) Conference in Spain

After opening Thursday at the Sercotel Sorolla Palace Hotel in Valencia, Spain, the 10th anniversary edition of the Domaining Europe conference (that transitioned to its new NamesCon Europe name this week)

continued with another full business day Friday (June 8, 2018) and closed today, Saturday, June 9, with a Tour of Valencia.

We ended our Day 1 post Thursday by noting that attendees were on their way to a gala evening dinner at the Marina Beach Club in Valencia. NamesCon has since posted some photos from that event (the photos in this article are all from NamesCon's Twitter feed or Facebook posts unless noted otherwise).

Above: A scene from the NamesCon Europe Gala Dinner at the Mariana Beach Club in Valencia, Spain that closed the opening day of the show Thursday night (June 7, 2018). Left to right are Sue White, .CLUB CMO Jeff Sass, NamesCon President & CEO Soeren von Varchmin and Akram Atallah (Global Domains Division President at ICANN). 

Fenestra CEO Ashley Mackenzie opened the business sessions Friday morning (June 8) by detailing why she believes  Fenestra, built on blockchain technology, could save billions of dollars for advertisers by creating transparency and trust to advertisers' media supply chain.

Above: After Ms. Mackenzie's talk, an expert group of domain industry veterans took their places on stage for a panel discussion offering an Inside View on Dropcatching. That session, moderated by Braden Pollock, featured David Chelly (Lecturer, Paris Business School), Erik Lambrechts (Co-Founder & CEO, Catchtiger.com), Ivo van Soest (CEO & Founder, Sonexo) and Shaun Wilkinson (COO, Nidoma.com).

Below: Next up at 11am Joe Styler (Community Manager for the Aftermarket, GoDaddy) presented Aftermarket Best Practices fro Making Money. Joe shared what GoDaddy learned by operating their own portfolio of over 700,000 domains, including how best to acquire, price, list, and sell your domains based on their data and experiments over the past few years.

Above: In another Friday morning highlight Nidoma.com COO Shaun Wilkinson conducted a Charity Domain Auction to raise funds for the Hope Childen's Centre in Kenya. Attendees donated a total of 22 domains to the auction, enough to raise €4,150 to help finish building a secondary school at the Centre. If you would like to support the cause, online donations can be made here

After a coffee break, GGRG.com brokerage and consulting CEO Giuseppe Graziano took they stage with another excellent presentation - Short .com Domains: Understanding Supply and Demand of an $8B Market. GGRG publishes The Liquid Domain Market Overview, a collaboration between Escrow.com, GGRG, Intelium and ShortNames, that explains all the key metrics that drive the value of the most-traded domains in China so investors can anticipate the market and become a successful domain investor.

Above: In a session just before the Friday Lunch break, .ECO International Director Lars Steffen dissected the Global Internet Economy. Steffen noted that in our hyperconnected world, no sector of the economy is untouched by technology and only those who adapt quickly to technological change will be successful and went to detail how is Europe performing in that regard.

Below: After the lunch break, DomainMagnate.com Founder Michael Bereslavsky provided advice on How to Buy Profitable Websites. Michael covered different aspects of buying and maintaining established websites including common mistakes to avoid, how to choose, due diligence, finding good deals, planning and maintenance and more. You can view a video of Michael's full talk here.

Above: The afternoon sessions continued with this presentation on Monetization: A Key Domain Strategy for 2018, delivered by Adam Wagner (Account Manager, Team Internet AG). Adam explained how domain parking influences cash flow, affects sales negotiations and investment planning and why together they all determine investment results of a domainer.  

Below: SmartSites.com Co-Founder and CEO Alex Melen followed with The 3 B's of Developing Domains: Buy, Build, Benefit. This session provided advice on how to develop your domain to create recurring revenue while also increasing the domain value.  Melen also covered domain development, SEO, PPC, SMM and ran through a real life example of the revenue and value-creating potential of developing your domains. Photo is a screenshot from a YouTube video of Alex's talk.

Above: In a special Cultural Event before the show's final business session, a professional charcutero and ham cutter let attendees experience (and taste) the Spanish art of ham-cutting (vegetarian cuts were also available). Photo courtesy of Alex Melen.

Below: After that savory snack the final business session of NmesCon Europe/Domaiing Europe 2018 got underway - tips on Choosing the Correct Domain for your Marketing Strategy. Two of the panelists in that session were, at left, Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon and Divulga Founder Ramón Rautenstrauch.

While the business day was done - the night was still young. It started with DomainingEurope Founder Dietmar Stefitz (above) hosting a Handover Reception in which he officially passed the conference baton to NamesCon President and CEO Soeren von Varchimin. Soeren will oversee the show's ongoing operations under the new NamesCon Europe banner.

Below: After the Handover Recption the multi-talented von Varchmin (2nd from left) brought his bandmates in the Lords of Uptime - Judah Johns, Carlos Almaral and guest singer Franky Smet van Damme onstage for a very well received acoustic concert. The one-hour event also served as a fundraiser for the Children's Hope Centre. From there it was on to an all-night Disco Party for attendees! 

Above: NamesCon Europe/Domaining Europe 2018 officially closed with a leisure day today (Saturday, June 9) that included a Tour of Valencia by bus and boat, as well as a lunch that featured Spain's national dish: Paella Valenciana. Photo courtesy of the .GLOBAL Regustry.

Below: A street scene from beautiful and historic Valencia, Spain from today's Tour. 

Above: Last but not least, it has been a Domaining Europe tradition to take a Group Photo at each event, so attendees gathered under blues skies and the bright Valencia sun for this shot of the conference class of 2018

Our congratulations to conference Founder Dietmar Stefitz on what he has built over the past decade and we are wishing all the best to NamesCon as they carry the European torch forward for decades to come.

(Posted June 9, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Photos & Highlights from Opening Day at NamesCon Europe (Domaining Europe) 2018

The 10th anniversary edition of  the Domaining Europe conference got underway today in Valencia, Spain under its new NamesCon Europe banner. In a joint effort, the show founded by Dietmar Stefitz, is running under both names this

year but the conference will conclude with Stefitz handing the reigns over to NamesCon for all future events.

This 2018 edition, that is being held at the Sercotel Hotel Sorolla Palace, will run through Saturday. It started with a bang today with a busy schedule of business sessions (nine in all) that were followed by a gala dinner tonight at the Marina Beach Club. I wasn't able to make it over to Spain for this year's show but have been following it on NamesCon's Twitter feed and their Facebook posts. Unless noted otherwise, all of the photos below are from NamesCon's social media posts today. 

Above: The day began with a 9:30am Keynote speech from 
Akram Atallah, the Global Domains Division President at ICANN.

Below: At 10am, DomainMarket.com CEO and veteran domain investor Michael Mann spoke to the audience via a Skype feed. His talk centered on the standards he uses to value .com domains for resale.

Above: Next up Thursday morning (June 7) was .CLUB Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Sass who talked about the relative merits of "brandable" domains vs. keyword domains. His company's Names.club marketplace specializes in the latter category.

Below: The CEO of another new gTLD registry operator, .GLOBAL's Rolf Larsen, followed with a talk on how to value premium domains in new gTLDs.

Above: In the final morning session, Donuts Inc. Senior Broker Jebediah Burnett (right) was interviewed by moderator Braden Pollock. Donuts has logged several six-figure new gTLD domain sales and Burnett talked about how they were able to put some of those high-end sales together.

Below: After a coffee break the afternoon session got underway at 1pm with a session about the effects of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and what it means for those in the domain business. The participants were (left to right) Michele Neylon (CEO & Founder, Blacknight), Thomas Rickert (Rickert Law Firm) and moderator Kevin Murphy (DomainIncite.com). Photo courtesy of Lars Steffen.

Above: After the lunch break it was back to business with NameMotion.com CEO Antonio Villamarin providing a non-technical talk on how to apply Artificial Intelligence to high frequency domain name investments using public data, private data and investing in data science and mathematics.

Below: The next session was devoted to Domain Portfolio Valuation and featured (left to right): moderator Braden Pollock, Antonio Villamarin (Namemotion.com), Alan Shiflett (Senior Manager Aftermarket, GoDaddy), Ana Paula Vazquez (Country Manager, Sedo) and Adam Wagner (Account Manager, Team Internet).

Above: A 5:30pm Coffee Break gave attendees a chance to get a caffeine boost to carry them through the closing business session and the evening's gala dinner.

Below:  The final opening day business session was all about Domain Monetization. It featured (left to right) moderator Braden Pollock, Michael Bereslavsky (Domain Magnate), Freddy Schiwek (CEO, Zonat S.A.), Yancy Naughton (Founder, HasTraffic), Joel Ghebaly (Head of Product Management, Sedo) and James Tuplin (Director of Business Development, Bodis).

NamesCon Europe will resume Friday morning at 9:30am (local time in Valencia) with another full round of daytime business sessions and evening social events on tap. The event will conclude with a leisure day Saturday that will feature a Tour of Valencia and a paella lunch. 

(Posted June 7, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

VPS Web Hosting

Photos & Highlights From the 2018 Global Digital Summit in Xiamen, China

One of China's  most important annual domain conferences, the 2018 Global Digital Summit, ended in Xiamen over the weekend. The two-day event that ran June 1-2 at the Swiss Hotel attracted domain experts and company leaders from around the world. Our friend George Hong, from popular domain brokerage company Guta.com, has an office in Xiamen and was kind enough to provide us with an excellent selection of photos and highlights from the big event.

GDS 2018 focused on a wide range of hot topics including domains, blockchain technology applications, new media marketing, cross-border integration and innovation of digital assets, digital media and digital ecology.

Above: A wide angle view of attendees in the main ballroom 
for the start of GDS 2018 in Xiamen, China.

Below: View of the stage from the audience during the GDS 2018 opening ceremonies.

Above: Peng Wang from Ali Cloud Domain giving a well-received presentation 
on The Development of the Global Digital Economy Industry.

Below: In another session, Jian Zhang from Baidu Cloud presents The Exploration of ABC  (covering AIBig  Data and Cloud Computing) at Baidu in the Digital Era.

Above: Cryptocurrency was another popular topic at GDS 2018. Here Linke Yang from Bitcoin China gives an informative talk on The Future Development of Blockchain.

Below: In between the business sessions, attendees enjoyed spending time in the busy Exhibit Hall.  This participant is checking out some Virtual Reality games.

Above: One thing that sets the major conferences in China apart from others is their marvelous showmanship. We often refer to conferences as "shows" - but in China they are, from an entertainment standpoint - actual SHOWS in the classic sense. Here an artist delivers a Sichuan opera face-changing performance in the Exhibit Hall.

Below: It looks like MMX.co CEO Toby Hall and .CLUB VP Michele Van Tilborg might be working up a routine of their own! 

Above: I mentioned that we owe George Hong from Guta.com the credit 
for getting these GDS 2018 photos to us. Here is George 
and the Guta.com team at their booth in the Exhibit Hall

Below: Back on stage in the main ballroom, .CLUB Founder Colin Campbell put domains in the spotlight, detailing how the wide variety of new gTLDs available today can help small and medium-sized enterprises boost their brand and growth their businesses on the web.

Above: An Experts's Forum on the latest Trends in the Global Domain Industry featured (left to right): Host Jim Wang (GoDaddy), George Hong (Guta.com), Dave Evanson (Sedo), Shifang Yuan (Yuming.com), Zhipo Zhang (Jinpai.com), Jun Yang (West.cn) and Mr. Cai (Ename.com).

Below: During this session George Hong said the investor market has returned to rationality while the end user market is developing healthily. In terms of total value of domain sales over the past 5 months, George said they have been the best 5 months of his domain brokerage career, largely due to strong demand from the blooming Blockchain industry. Hong added, "We are living in a time with all kinds of opportunities.  Be open-minded. Fully leverage our areas of expertise to invest wisely and patiently.  

During this same session, Shifang Yuan said he believed 3-letter .com domains are especially suitable for Blockchain related projects as many cryptocurrency names are three letters. Zhipo Zhang advised keeping up with the times, adding "the earlier you invest the more you will gain."  

Dave Evanson, Jun Yang and Mr. Cai all noted that the demand for domains from end users is steadily growing.

Above: Another popular panel discussion provided an Exploration of the Entrepreneurial Development of Blockchain.

Below: GoDaddy VP Bob Mountain in the audience at GDS 2018.

Above: This Forum group tackled Problems and Trends of Marketability in the Digital Age.

Above & Below: Global Digital Summit 2018 closed Saturday night with a Gala Dinner Show at the Swiss Hotel in Xiamen - the perfect way to wrap up another great event in China.

(Posted June 4, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

MERGE! 2018 Conference Adds a New eCommerce Track Devoted to Subscription Box Businesses

When the annual MERGE! conference returns to Orlando, Florida this summer (September 15-18, 2018 at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista Hotel in Disney Springs, adjacent to the Magic Kingdom)  it will have an all new track that will be of interest to anyone looking to develop a subscription based ecommerce business. These increasingly popular online businesses - known as Subscription Boxes - are attracting scores of entrepreneurs who love the recurring-revenue model. We are even seeing entire conferences devoted to the sector now, including SubSummit that happens to be winding up today in Denver, Colorado.

Merge! Co-Founders Jothan Frakes
and Ray Dillman Neu (at right).

As most of you know by now, MERGE!, launched by domain industry veterans Jothan Frakes and Ray Neu last year, is a multi-faceted conferenc that covers an extraordinarily broad range of internet business topics including Domains, Digital Branding, Website Development, End User Experience, New Business Startups, IP Technology, SEO Design, Security and Hosting to Blockchain,  CryptoCurrency and more - now including Subscription Boxes. 

As a consumer it is quite possible you already use a subscription box service like Dollar Shave Club (shaving products) Birchbox (beauty products) or Coffee.Club (obviously coffee).  As an entrepreneur if you are interested in starting a similar business yourself (or need help improving one you already have), Neu told us, "This conference is for you. It will provide an opportunity to listen to world class Subscription Box speakers and

network with  Subscription Box entrepreneurs. Seminar topics will include Platform Management, Web Design, Packaging, Shipping, Customer Acquisition, Domain Names, Branding and much more. 

Neu added, "Along with the opportunity to mingle and learn from other Subscription Box Entrepreneurs we will be featuring a Keynote Speech by Subbly CEO & Founder Stefan Pretty. Subbly is a popular subscription ecommerce platform and Stefan, who hails form Scotland, is a bootstrapper that has worked closely with subscription box businesses big and small for the last four years. He has great crossover knowledge of starting a business from nothing and making it a success."

"We will be featuring other successful boxes and speakers from that industry (to be named later). It will be a base for the subscription box community to network and learn from one another. Even our other featured speaker, Norman Farrar ((AKA The Amazon Growth Guy), is a subscription box expert. .CLUB will also be involved with their subscruiton-based clubs like Norman's own Soap.club and Bill McClure's Coffee.Club," Neu noted.

Registration for the MERGE! conference is open now and a special spring price of $379 will be available through June 20. It will then rise to $499 through September 1. After that, and at the door, the regular conference rate of $879 will be in effect.

Stefan Pretty
Subbly Founder & CEO

(Posted June 1, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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