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The Lowdown
August 2019 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.

Guta.com Releases Their Q2-2019 Premium Domain Sales Report & Unveils New Office in Xiamen, China

Our friends  at international domain name brokerage Guta.com have been busy this summer. They have just released their latest quarterly report (covering 2Q-2019) that details their observations of the premium domain sales market. With offices in both the U.S. and China, Guta has a birds eye view of conditions in both of those key markets. 

Speaking of offices, Guta.com has also just completed a move from their original office in Xiamen to a top tier new space that company Founder George Hong and his team are very excited about. I will give you an inside look at the company's new digs, but first here is a summary of Guta's new quarterly report that has some surprising news about what has been happening in one of the most popular segments of the market - two and three-letter .com sales.

The summary (that concludes the Guta report) noted, "The sales of premium one-word dictionary domains remained strong and among them was a record-breaking $30 million domain sale of Voice.com that will be talked about and referred to in years to come. However, the markets for two-letter .com and three-letter .com domains were slow. The trading volume of LL .com domains was significantly lower compared to the same quarter last year. The total LLL .com domain sales count in the Chinese market fell to the lowest level among the past six quarters. In sharp contrast, the sales count of NN .com, NNN .com, NNNN .com and NL/LN .com domains all have reached the highest level since 2018 ("N" stands for a number, "L" for a letter)."

The Guta summary added, "Most of these sales were traded within the Chinese domain market, followed by the second most sales from American sellers to Chinese buyers. It is also worth pointing out that, due to the slowing economy and, more importantly, the escalating trade war with the U.S, the dollar-yuan exchange rate has been rising since the beginning of May 2019. If the exchange rate keeps climbing, it might create a negative impact on price and/or demand of future domain sales between the Chinese and the Western markets."  

You will want to see all of the specific date in the Guta report and you can do that here (.pdf file).

George Hong
Guta.com Founder & CEO

Now, about that new office in Xiamen. George told us, "As a domain brokerage firm, we are glad that we can work anywhere, anytime and serve our clients worldwide. However, coming from a solid IT background, I still firmly believe that Face-to-Face meetings/interactions are important in the digital age. That is also why we spent a lot of effort in finding and choosing offices so that our team members can sit & work together and interact with our clients and partners face-to-face. After spending 3 years at our previous office in Xiamen Software Park, we recently moved into a new office in the state-of-the-art China Aviation Zijin Square (Also called W Square), located in the heart of a new central business district in Xiamen. This 24/7 guarded, 5A class office building, located in a safe and convenient area, truly empowers our team members to come and work in a comfortable ocean view office anytime while we can have peace of mind."

Above: A wide angle view of the China Aviation Zijin Square in Xiamen.

Below: A ground level view of the building where Guta.com's new office is located.
(all photos in this article courtesy of Guta.com).

Above: This sign welcomes vistors to Guta.com's new office.

Below: Guta.com Founder & CEO George Hong settling in at his new office.

Above: Guta.com team members at work. The floor to ceiling windows give them a beautiful view of the ocean as the shot below, taken from the Guta office, shows you.

Above & below: If you visit the Guta.com offices, odds are you will spend some time in the reception area. George noted, "In China, especially in Fujian Province (where Xiamen City is located), tea culture is very important. You can see a tea set in almost every office in Xiamen. Serving tea to our guests is the basic hospitality of the local people."

After tea, visitors can head out to see a wide variety of attractions that are all within walking  distance of the office. Some of George's favorites are:

·         Banlam Grand Theater, an international top- class performance venue.

·         Xiamen International Conference Center, Venue of the 9th BRICS summit.

·         Xiamen Financial Center

·         Branch offices of most major Chinese banks

·         Approximately 10 gyms, six of which have swimming pools.

·         2 Yoga Studios

·         2 beaches

·         2 Shopping Centers

·         1 Cinema

·         Dozens of dining places, including some of the finest restaurants in Xiamen 

·         Two Starbucks and one Luckin coffee shop

Some of you are probably already looking into airline tickets, but If you can't make it to the other side of the Pacific to meet George and his crew in person, you can do it in the U.S. soon. They will be in Austin, Texas, for the 2020 NamesCon Global conference coming up January 29-February 1. Thanks to George and his team for the inside look at their new space!

(Posted August 19, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2019/dailyposts/20190819.htm

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Domain Packages Begin Filling the Gap Between Sales of Individual Domains and Entire Portfolios 

When top tier domains are put up for sale  are put up for sale  owners almost always try to sell them individually on their own merits. Occasionally, however, some will offer an entire portfolio of domains for sale like GeoCentric Media did in April when they put a package of 20 big city .com geodomains up for sale in a single lot (a month later they added LosAngeles.com and SanFrancisco.com to the lot) priced in the $20 million range. That kind of approach is normally a one-time occurrence, but there are indications we may see similar strategies more often going forward. 

Image from Bigstock

At least one brokerage we know of, Warren Mae Premium Domains, is streamlining the idea, filling a space between portfolios and individual domain sales with tighter packages of closely related domains plus some additional added value assets (like related toll-free phone numbers) with the idea that ownership of the package gives the buyer a powerful broad-based market position with a single purchase.

For example, Warren Mae is marketing Thin.com, Thinner.com and Thinnest.com together in a single package that also includes seven toll-free phone numbers  that incorporate THIN on the keypad - 833-367-THIN | 833-468-THIN | 877-THIN-373 | 877-THIN-356 | 877-THIN-347 | 877-THIN-368 | 877-THIN-866. Warren Mae Co-Founder Katie Bond contends, "Real branding power includes capturing market dominance. Field leadership requires the usage of domain packages. A premium domain generates organic search and a domain package strengthens the brand by using multiple URLs, all with word variations of your company name. Packages that are completed with a block of identifying toll free numbers further increase positioning." 

Katie Bond
Warren Mae Premium Domains

The company expects the package to sell in the seven-figure range which seems reasonable given the boom in one-word .com demand we've seen recently, most notably in the $30 million sale of Voice.com in June, an all-time record cash sale of a single undeveloped domain name.

The Thin.com package is owned by entrepreneur Gerard Armond Powell, the founder of the highly regarded Rythmia Life Advancement Center resort in Costa Rica. Having built that five-star property's online presence on a one-word .com (Rhythmia.com), Powell understands the power of domain names from personal experience. “You can maximize returns and decrease advertising costs all while maintaining the same sales and conversion rates," Powell said. 

Image from Bigstock

Memorability gives owners of one-word .com domains a huge edge in marketing. Bond noted, "Marketing strategists can no longer bet on the fact that a clever business name might be remembered. In the early days of the Internet, it was trendy to create custom domains with unusual spelling or quirky names. But that phase died out with the “yodeling Yahoo guy” ad campaign. Valuable domains must emit clarity, not only across the board but also across the Internet. Domains with easily recognizable words also emote trustworthiness even before the point of sale."

Katie added, "The ‘premium domain packaging’ advertising model addresses a badly needed solution in a crowded online market. Rather than just buying a building, you take over the whole neighborhood. Companies looking for alternative routes to increase website traffic can leverage these so-called ‘sister-sites’ to 

capitalize on language association. SEO strategy is no longer enough to get a site to the top of search results. Consider that your competitors are probably using the very same keywords in their metadata and copy. Although savvy web consultants try to offer guaranteed search rankings, search engines (namely Google) regularly update their algorithms and organic search wins every time."

"The additional domains in the premium package can serve in multiple capacities as well. From design concepts to user experience, they can be used as a space to beta test anything (and everything), as needed. Consider that site updates or new product rollouts can often include bugs or interface issues. Having multiple sites can be used as an additional platform for research before implementation. Extra sites can assist in refining marketing scope, which saves in unnecessary advertising expenses for both short and long term campaigns."

If the GeoCentric Media or Warren Mae approach bears fruit, we may see a lot more of this marketing approach going forward.

(Posted August 8, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2019/dailyposts/20190808.htm

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PIR to Host a .ORG Community Forum & the Impact Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C. October 10

The Public Interest Registry (PIR), the administrator of the popular .ORG TLD, will be hosting a pair of special events on Thursday, October 10, 2019 in Washington D.C.  The first one will be the inaugural .ORG Community Forum, a free event that will run from 9am-4pm at Hilton's Madison Hotel (it even comes with a free lunch for those who register for one of the limited number of seats)!

 

The Community Forum will allow attendees to share ideas, knowledge, and causes on the internet. It will also provide an opportunity to collaboratively explore common areas of interest and find ways to navigate through any challenges facing their .ORG websites today. The program will include four sessions in the Dolly Madison Ballroom (running 30-60 minutes each) that will cover: Website vs. Social Media, Leveraging Video on Social Media, Brand Reputation for Online Brands and Defending Against Disinformation Campaigns. Featured speakers will include Event Host Chris Baldwin (10x Digital), Julia Campbell (J Campbell Social Marketing), Roberto Blake (Create Awesome Media, LLC), Statton Hammock (MarkMonitor) and Brian Wanko (InterAction.org).

PIR will maximize audience engagement with plenty of interactive Q&A sessions and networking opportunities. If you attend you can expect to take away inspiring ideas and insights to improve the strategy, operation, and execution of your .ORG community work. The event is open to anyone who wants to make a positive impact within their their local community, on a global scale or anything in between.

The second special event on October 10 is the invitation-only .ORG Impact Awards Ceremony that will be held that evening at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks away from The Madison Hotel that is hosting the free daytime Community Forum. 

We first told you about the new .ORG Impact Awards program when nominations were opened in June. It is designed to recognize .ORG domain name owners who are using the Internet to empower change around the world. Winning individuals and organizations will receive up to $5,000 in a monetary contribution to the nonprofit of their choice. Nominations closed on July 12, so now the community is just eagerly awaiting the Awards Ceremony to find out who won.

A hat tip to our friend, veteran event producer Jodi Chamberlain from 32 Events.com, for the information. Jodi is helping PIR with the staging of these two special events in the Nation's Capital that will be a highlight of the year for the .ORG community.

(Posted August 6, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2019/dailyposts/20190806.htm

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The Weekend Was Nirvana for Domain Investors With Meetups On Both Sides of the Globe and an Industry Pioneer Online

A pair of notable domain industry meetings on opposite sides of the world were completed over the weekend. In one, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz returned to the meetup game five years after T.R.A.F.F.I.C. wrapped up its historic decade-long run in 2014. Rick's new event, the 1st annual Asheville Profesional Domain Investor's Meetup, held at the Omni Grove Park Inn in scenic Asheville, North Carolina, was a much different kind of gathering than 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. It was more intimate by design so the 80 guests who flew in from around the world could spend more face-to-face quality time with other industry pros. 

Instead of the usual highly structured conference agenda it followed a more free form pattern that let people do business and socialize at the same time in a variety of laid back settings around Asheville, a city that has become one of America's hottest vacation destinations. I regrettably was unable to attend this first event myself but enjoyed seeing Morgan Linton's series of videos that provided some great insight into how things went. Alvin Brown from TheDomains.com was also there and he posted a nice review of the meeting today. TheDomains Founder Michael Berkens (who, like Schwartz, has a summer home in Asheville) played a major role in helping fellow industry legend Schwartz pull the meeting together.  All of the photos and comments I saw posted by others on Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc. also gave the meetup very good reviews so it looks like Rick has another winner on his hands (no surprise there, of course)!

While the Asheville meeting was going on, domain investors from across India and beyond were in New Delhi for the 6th annual DomainX conference at the Eros Hotel. As it has in the past, DomainX again garnered good reviews posted by its attendees on social media outlets. Speaker Harmandeep Singh from the Delhi School of Digital Marketing (at right in the photo below) posted several nice shots from the show on Facebook

Even if you missed those meetings over the weekend you can still get some invaluable advice from one of the top domain investors of all time online. In another excellent edition of Australia's Domainer Show, Castello Cities Internet Network Co-Founder Michael Castello was interviewed in an hour-long podcast you really won't want to miss

Michael, who was there at the very start of the domain investing business in the mid 1990s, covered a tremendous amount of ground in his discussion with Co-hosts Rob Kaay and Ed Keay-Smith. In addition to the inside stories about his sales of Whisky.com ($3.1 million) and Room.com ($1.5 million), Michael explained why he picked the domains he did at a time when virtually everything was available. He also detailed why he believes domain are more important to an enterprise's success now than they've ever been before. He provides his unique insight into many more topics that make this one of the best programs you will hear all year, so be sure to check it out

(Posted August 5, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2019/dailyposts/20190805.htm

Radix TLDs Produced $1.36 Million in Premium Domain Sales in the First Half of 2019

Radix has released a new report (.pdf file) detailing premium domain sales results in the first half of 2019 for the nine gTLDs the company administers (.store, .tech, .space, .site, .store, .website, .fun, .press and .host). Radix reported $1.36 million in total premium sales over the six-month period, a figure that is on par with how those TLDs performed in the previous period (H2-2018).

The report cited .online, .tech and .site as their highest grossing TLDs with new premium registrations accounting for approximately 40% of total premium sales revenue.  More than 80 of those sales were made at $2,500 or more  Most of those premium level registrations were sold through Radix's registrar partners with industry giant GoDaddy accounting for 46% of the premium Radix sales. Radix also reported a renewal rate of 78% for premium domains registered in or before 2018.

The company's highest one time sale in this period was Gaming.tech at $20,000 via Sedo. Their full report (linked at the top of this post) has an in depth breakdown of their H1-2019 results that will give you a more granular look at how their individual TLDs performed.

(Posted August 2, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2019/dailyposts/20190802.htm

Sedo Selects Michael Robrock to Fill Newly Created Position as Chief Operating Officer

Domain industry giant  Sedo announced an important addition to their management team today when they named appointed Michael Robrock to their management board and a newly created role at the company's Chief Operating Officer (COO). Robrock will oversee all of Sedo's  customer-facing departments including Sales and Operations. 

Robrock has held several high level executive positions over the past two decades including CEO roles at MixCon ag and Trendgroup GmBH. Sedo's announcement noted, "Michael brings with him immense experience and knowledge from the domain and online marketing industry. One of his main priorities will be Sedo’s customer experience and how to maintain an exceptionally high level of support."

Sedo CEO Matthias Conrad added, "With Michael Robrock joining us in the newly created COO role, we are pleased to welcome a fellow industry insider and domain veteran with 20+ years of experience."

 

Michael Robrock
Chief Operating Officer, Sedo

 

(Posted August 1, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2019/dailyposts/20190801.htm


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


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