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January 30, 2019

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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.

Photos & Highlights from Day 2 Monday at the NamesCon Global 2019 Conference in Las Vegas 

The NamesCon Global 2019 conference continued Monday (January 28) with another full day and night of business and social activity at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas (you can see photos and highlights from day 1 Sunday here) and we have all of the photos and highlights for you in this post.

Above & below: The day began with one of the highlights of the entire conference, a keynote speech from India's acclaimed young billionaire entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia. The Co-Founder of Directi is know for many other business successes including Radix Registry and Flock. NamesCon titled Bhavin's talk Insights & Inspiration with Bhavia Turakhia and that is exactly what he delivered to a very appreciative audience in the Keynote Hall.

Above: At 11am GoDaddy Aftermarket VP Paul Nicks provided his annual Domain Trends and Insights in the Keynote Hall  with a  treasure trove of information on domain sales trends based on GoDaddy's massive database of completed sales. It is always one of the best hours at NamesCon and fortunately Paul was kind enough to post his entire presentation online. You will want to check that out here: www.X.co/namescon19

Below: In another interesting session that ran at the same time on the RegistryOffice stage, Domain Sales Optimization Strategies were discussed by an all-star panel that included (left to right): Dave Evanson (Sedo), George Hong (Guta.com), Braden Pollock (moderator), Todd Cantwell (Afternic/GoDaddy), Yancy Naughton (HasTrafiic.com) and Simon Saleem.

Above: After the lunch break, in another highlight of the conference, domain broker Kate Buckley (BuckleyMedia.com) delivered an extraordinarily informative and entertaining keynote address called Storytelling Sales: How to Spin a Yard and Land a Whale. Kate has landed many whales in sales terms. We told her life story in a DNJournal Cover Story last year. 

Below: Also at 1pm, on the RegistryOffice stage, the topic was Domain Connect - an Open Standard for Configuring DNS. It featured (left to right): Christopher Ambler (GoDaddy), Lisa Box (WP Engine), moderator Jothan Frakes (The DNA) and Timothy Heeney (Microsoft).

Carvertiser Founder Mac Nagaswami (above) and NamesCon Founder/interviewer Richard Lau (below), took the stage at 2pm for a Fireside Chat titled Betting on a Busboy: Domain + Idea to $5 Million Annual Revenue. Mac's fascinating book-worthy story of what he went through to land his must-have domain - Carvertiser.com - and, once he got it for a few thousand dollars, building it into a multi-million dollar business, was one of the best I've ever heard. Kudos to both him and Richard for one of the best hours at NamesCon Global 2019.

Above: Also at 2pm, on the RegistryOffice stage, moderator Dr. Paul Mockapetris (DNS/SMPT), center, welcomed Elliot Noss (Tucows), at left, and Toby Hall (CEO, MMX) to the dais to talk about the Trendline On the Global Importance of DNS and Domains.

Next up on the RegistryOffice stage at 3pm was a domain appraisal session that attracyed a wall to wall crowd. Titled What Is My Domain Worth? it featured, left to right, Mark Thomas (VIPBrokerage), Dave Evanson (Sedo), moderator Braden Pollock, Joe Styler (GoDaddy) and Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com).

Above: Monday was also brought us the domain industry equivalent of the Oscars with some major awards handed out. First, Escrow.com handed out their annual Masters of Domains Awards. These are given to each of the top ten domain brokers/sellers in terms of total dollar volume transacted on the Escrow.com platform. The #1 seller in 2018 was Andrew Rosener from MediaOptions.com. At the time the awards were handed out Andrew was on the RegistryOffice stage participating in the What Is My Domain Worth? session that you saw above this picture showing MediaOptions Business Development Coordinator Tess Diaz accepting the award on Andrew's behalf from Escrow.com General Manager Jackson Elsegood. Information on the entire top ten is available here.

In a related note, Escrow.com released a fascinating report today called Alternative Investing - A Comparison Between Traditional Instruments and Web Domains. This is a must read for anyone who wants to make the case for domains as a proven investment class asset that has outperformed more familiar assets over a long period of time. You can get a free copy of the report by just going to the Escrow.com home page and entering your email address in the "latest domain market report" box. While at NamesCon, I talked with Escrow.com President Matt Barrie about the findings in this report and several other key industry topics and will soon be publishing his insightful comments in a separate article.

Above: Back on the Awards front, right after the Escrow.com awards were handed out, the Internet Commerce Association  (ICA) presented their prestigious annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award for "extraordinary efforts in championing the rights of domain registrants." I don't think there is anyone in the industry that will be surprised to hear the award went to attorney John Berryhill - one of the first attorneys to specialize in domain related legal issues and - approaching 20 years later - still one of the world's most consistently successful at defending his client's rights. John is at center above with friend and fellow pioneering domain attorney Ari Goldberger (left) who introduced John with a touching tribute, and Lonnie Borcks's brother-in-law Jonathan, who flew to Las Vegas to participate in honoring the memory of the beloved domain investor Lonnie Borck.

Above & below: Monday's final order of business was the annual NamesCon Live Domain Auction conducted by NameJet and RightOfTheDot.com. Once again, Wayne Wheat (the best auctioneer I've ever seen in any field) conducted the sale and wound up calling an event that produced over 90 sales totaling in excess of $2.3 million. The top sales were OL.com ($900,000), Leads.com ($435,000), DomainNames.com ($370,000), DJs.com ($170,000) and Stop.com $110,000. The sale is not over yet either. The extended online auction will continue through February 13, 2019 at NameJet.com.

Above & below: With the business day done, evening social events moved to the forefront including the Internet Commerce Association's Annual Dinner that was held at the Las Vegas House of Blues. Well over 100 ICA members turned out for the event (their biggest turnout to date). The ICA is the non-profit trade association dedicated to protecting the rights of domain registrants.

Above: Among the familiar faces in the crowd at the ICA Annual Dinner were noted domain attorneys Howard Neu (left) and Gerald Levine.

Below: The dinner's Man of the Hour, as the newly minted Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Winner, was John Berryhill. With dinner hosts Braden Pollock and ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz looking on, John used the occasion to pay back Ari Goldberger for the glowing introduction Ari gave him earlier in the day when John received the award. 

As many of you know, Berryhill's legal skills are exceeded only by his lethal sense of humor - demonstrated once again when John told the true story of having a heart attack last summer while biking - an incident that he was very lucky to survive. As John told it, while in the ambulance being rushed to the hospital he pondered the distinct possibility that his time on earth was coming to an end. He said he also wondered how we would all remember him and perhaps whether a John Berryhill Memorial Award might even be created. Taking it a step further, John wondered who might win such an award and came to the conclusion that it might well go to his rival, Ari Goldberger. John declared that terrifying possibility gave him an overwhelming will to live and he credited that for his survival - drawing a huge laugh from the audience, including Ari who appreciates a great joke even if it is at his expense! 

In my next post from Las Vegas I will wrap up our NamesCon Global 2019 coverage with all of the Tuesday (January 29) photos and highlights, along with the lone Wednesday event (an 11am-1pm Expert Roundtables Brunch). I'm looking forward to that, especially after seeing Monday prove yet again that there is never a dull moment in this business!


(Posted January 29, 2019) 

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