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March 18, 2019

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The Lowdown
February 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.

TRAFFIC Co-Founder Rick Schwartz is Returning to the Conference Game With an Intimate August Event in Asheville 

15 years after launching the first large scale conference devoted entirely to domain names and five years after his last one, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder and pioneering domain investor Rick Schwartz is climbing back into the ring. However, this time he is taking an entirely different approach for the event he is putting together for August 1-3, 2019 at the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina where Rick has a second home. 

While TRAFFIC drew around 125 attendees to its first show in Florida back in 2004 (and five times that many within a couple of years) Schwartz, by design, is aiming for only around 50 dedicated domain pros (including spouses) for what he is calling the 1st Annual Asheville Professional Domain Investor's Meetup & Family Outing.

Rick Schwartz

How can you make a profit with 50 attendees? You probably can't and that's fine with Schwartz who isn't looking for one - or even selling tickets for that matter. Instead, he said everyone will pay their own way. "This is a not for profit event," Schwartz wrote. "Those that come will share the expenses. All I am doing is facilitating and financing." That meant putting out around $25,000 up front to secure the venue, dates and some key services. If 50 people come Schwartz expects the shared cost would be about $250 per person, maybe less as he added, "that cost will be going down, not up. We have a domainer friendly sponsor that will be helping out." Attendees would also have the cost of travel and the hotel room but that is true of any event. 

The Grove Park Inn nestled among the mountains in scenic Asheville, North Carolina where the 1st annual Asheville Professional Domain Investor's Meetup & Family Outing will be held in August.  (Photo courtesy of the Omni Grove Park Inn).

In a post on his blog this morning, Schwartz laid out a preliminary agenda that makes it clear this event will be all about the networking, most of which will  be done in a casual atmosphere  (with lots of great  food and beverages close at hand) in one of America's most beautiful locales. Rather than spending the day cooped up in a conference room, it will be a free flowing experience highlighted by some unique social events like a Friday night Asheville Ghost Tour and a Saturday afternoon Asheville MicroBrewery Tour, along with a chance to enjoy Asheville's great restaurants and booming night life every night.

Plans for the event came together very quickly. Schwartz first announced he was thinking about it in a blog post two weeks ago. Then, on Tuesday of this week, he announced he had reserved the venue and went on to lay out more details on what he had in mind. Reading those two earlier articles along with today's post makes a persuasive case for being in Asheville in August. Schwartz said he expected to have a registration page and hotel room reservation page (with a discounted group rate at the upscale inn) online in about two weeks. Then it will be strictly first come, first served and he expects the small allotment of spaces to fill up quickly (around 25 had already stated their intention to attend in commentary posted to his blog). The best way to get early notice would be to keep an eye on his posts at RicksBlog.com where the latest details will be announced.

(Posted February 22, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

4-Letter .Coms Hit a New High in 4Q-2018 According to GGRG's 11th Quarterly Liquid Domains Report

Domain brokerage & consulting firm GGRG.com has released their 11th consecutive quarterly report on aftermarket sales of "liquid domains."  GGRG defines liquid domains as being very short .com domains consisting of all letters (L) or all numbers (N), as well as 3-character (C) .coms that have a  combination of letters and numbers. GGRG terms these categories "liquid" domains because they are relatively easy to sell at prevailing market rates. The latest report covers sales reported in the final quarter of 2018.

For many the most surprising result from 4Q-2018 will be seeing that 4-letter .com domains reached their highest total for a single quarter since the reports began with $8.6 million in Escrow.com transactions recorded for that category. Pricing for that group has been steadily softening for some time now but it's possible the lower prices have started to attract bargain shoppers who see a long term opportunity. The next highest group, based on Escrow.com sales volume, went to the ever popular 3-letter .coms with almost $5 million in transactions, followed by the 4-number .coms at $2.7 million (that is one of the strongest quarters that group has had since GGRG started tracking).  

GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano said that

GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano 

another one of their data partners, ShortNames.com, reported nearly $1 million in 5-number .com sales which he said was consistent with previous quarters in 2018.

Looking ahead to how the quarter we are currently in (Q1-2019) is likely to finish, the GGRG report noted, "Q1 is normally a slow quarter for Liquid Domains due to the reduced activity from China caused by the Chinese New Year. Unless there are large end user transactions, we forecast a slow beginning to 2019."

There is much more data (and charts) covering a variety of metrics is the full GGRG report. You can get your free copy here.

(Posted February 18, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Remembering Millie: A Fond Farewell to the One in a Million Matriarch of Domaining's First Family 

Carmella Savanello (better known as Millie) has left the building and a piece of all of our hearts went with her - but as much we hated to see her go,  we will always love the inspiration and joy she left us with - an invaluable parting gift that will never stop giving. 

The sad news that the marvelous matriarch of the domain industry's Neu family had passed peacefully at the age of 90 came from her daughter Barbara Neu on Wednesday (February 13, 2019). While the domain industry doesn't have an official "first family", it's pretty easy to make a case for the Neus who have three generations with close ties to what is still a young business - and Millie, despite her age, made sure it stayed young (at least at heart) in such a convincing way I doubt that it will ever grow old.


Like mother like daughter. I always thought Barbara Neu was the biggest Disney fan in the world, but, judging from this photo of her mom, Millie, Barbara may have had no choice as it appears to be a matter of genetics. (Many of the photos in this article are courtesy of Barbara Neu).

The youngest member of the Neu domain clan is Millie's grandson, Ray Dillman Neu, a veteran domain investor who also co-founded the MERGE! conference with Jothan Frakes. His parents are Howard Neu, one of the world's best known domain attorneys and co-founder of the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, as well as a domain investor and developer in his own right, and Millie's daughter, the effervescent and irrepressible Barbara Neu, who has been hosting domain conferences ever since they began with the first T.R.A.F.F.I.C. show in 2004 (an event that many view as the spark that started the evolution of domain investing from a hobby business into the thriving industry it is today). Barbara also co-founded THE Domain Conference with Howard and Ray in 2015.  

Millie and Barbara celebrating Mother's Day in 2015. 

Now, if you think Millie had only a passing connection to the industry, you would be mistaken. If you went to any of the Florida conferences in recent years, you likely met Millie, whether she was helping Barbara at the registration tables, co-hosting social events or just making sure people had a good time. For those who didn't know how to do that, Millie was there to show them!

Millie never met a party she didn't like! In this photo from New Year's Eve 2011, left to right, are Howard Neu, Millie (Carmella Savanello), Millie's late husband and Barbara's father Vito, and Barbara Neu.

Above: If you met Millie, you loved Millie, and that went for everyone from the industry's biggest stars, like Uniregistry Founder and legendary domain investor Frank Schilling (seen here with Millie during the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Fort Lauderdale), to those attending their first industry event. 

Below: Another industry pioneer, Ammar Kubba, tipping his hat (actually her hat) to Millie at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. 2013 in Florida. 

Above: Millie was known for creating colorful scarves and she soon created a legion of scarf-wearing friends, including two more domain greats, Michael Castello (left) and Gregg McNair.

Below: Millie's fame went well beyond the domain industry. Yes, that is the real Shaquille O'Neal who scooped Miller into his arms when she was celebrating her birthday in 2015. Bystanders said they distinctly heard the legendary NBA star ask Millie to marry him!

Above: Sometimes it is hard to get people onto the dance floor - no one wants to be first - no one except Millie that is! When the final T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference was held at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach in 2014, it fell during Halloween, so show organizers held a costume party. As soon as the music cranked up Millie grabbed Eddie Sixto and hit the dance floor to show the kids how it's done (believe me, she could tear it up too)!

Below: The next day some of the folks who had a tough time keeping up with Millie the night before were happy to have a chance to relax in one of the Fontainebleau's poolside cabanas. Grandson Ray Dillman Neu is standing. Seated left to right are Barbara Sixto, Diana Jackson, Barbara Neu and Millie (as usual, looking like a million bucks despite staying out late)!

Above: When the Neus launched THE Domain Conference in Fort Lauderdale in 2015, the event fell during my wife Diana's birthday, so Barbara (like her mom, always looking to do something nice for someone) decided we needed to have a birthday party in our room  before the conference began. Left to right in front is Millie, her friend (and another domain great) Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz and Ron Jackson. Behind them are Howard Neu, Barbara Neu and Diana Jackson.

Above and Below: Forever Young! In the top photo is Millie at age 18. Below is Millie, still as beautiful as ever, celebrating her 90th birthday last summer with Barbara at her side. I've told many friends I've never seen a mother and daughter who were closer than these two.

Above: So now, Millie has left us (but left us far better than we were thanks to the love and joy she shared and the example she set). Now, we need to be the first ones to get out on the dance floor and, like her, show others how to take advantage of the brief time we have in this world.  Millie is off on another adventure of her own and I have no doubt she is dancing with Vito again tonight in heaven.

(Posted February 14, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

NamesCon Global 2019's Trend Report is the Next Best Thing to Having Been There

While the NamesCon Global 2019 conference attracted domain industry participants from around the world, a lot of people, for one reason or another, were not able to make the trip to Las Vegas where the big event ran January 27-30. While I filed daily photos and highlights from the show, covering activities that ran on multiple tracks from early morning until well into the night didn't leave time to include detailed breakdowns of what was said in the many outstanding business sessions that were held throughout the week. Fortunately, that information is available now thanks to an excellent (and free) 28-page NamesCon Global Trend Report that has been produced and released by the conference.

With text written by Jordan Yerman and photography by Antworx, the report, in its introduction, says "We captured  


every actionable takeaway, tweetable phrase, and inspiring quote from the NamesCon keynote stage speakers." It is a promise that they lived up to, so you will definitely benefit from checking it out. Even if you were in Las Vegas you will want to read the report because, with the show's multi-track format, you could not have taken it all in either (especially with all of the meetings you had in the hallways while business sessions were going on)! The conference itself was outstanding but getting this comprehensive recap is the cherry on top of the cake!

One other NamesCon Global 2019 note - the NameJet/RightOfTheDot Extended Online Domain Auction is still going on, but not for long. The bidding ends on Wednesday afternoon (February 13, 2019) U.S. Eastern Time, with lots scheduled to begin closing at 2pm in a final sprint to the finish that should take about two hours to complete. You can check out the full catalog here.  

(Posted February 11, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Always Smiling: We've Lost One of Our Brightest Lights But We Celebrate Charlotte Gilbert's Life

One week ago today (on Wednesday morning, January 30, 2019) I was in a hotel room in Las Vegas checking email and Facebook posts before heading out for the final session at this year's NamesCon Global conference. That's when I read a post that was such an unexpected punch to the gut that I immediately felt physically ill. For the past several months, friends of domain industry veterans Brian and Charlotte Gilbert (two of the nicest, most genuine people you could ever hope to meet) have been following Brian's detailed, loving account of their journey

to and through very high risk transplant surgery that Charlotte finally underwent last week. With Charlotte throwing everything she had into this unbelievably grueling battle, many of us were certain she was going to prevail, especially when she survived the surgery and her first steps in the recovery process were on track. Then there was a sudden turn for the worse and Brian had to share the heartbreaking news that one of the most instantly likeable people any of us has ever known had passed. 

Charlotte, who wrote a blog at the appropriately named DomainQueen.com website, was one of those rare people whose personality and ever present smile was all it took to light up every room she entered. I first met her and Brian at a TRAFFIC conference over a decade ago. While I never got to know her as well as her close friends (who call her Charlie) have, she made an indelible impression on me, as she did on everyone she met, that never went away. 

Charlotte Gilbert never had to "put on" a happy face - she was born with one that never went away. This photo was taken on the September 2011 DNCruise (a domain conference that was held on a cruise ship). If that ship had sunk I'm sure we all could have floated to the surface on her buoyant personality alone. 


Above (left to right): Brian Gilbert, Mike Robertson and Charlotte Gilbert at the September 2008 TRAFFIC Conference in New York City. That was the year that Robertson, the Director of Business Development at Fabulous.com, first met the Gilberts and they remained very close friends from that point on. Last weekend Mike raised thousands of dollars in Charlotte's name by running a distance race in Florida put on by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

Below: There is that trademark smile again as Charlotte Gilbert (2nd from left) huddled with friends at a party in the cabin of a cruise ship during the 2011 DNCruise through the Caribbean.

While losing Charlotte was devastating enough, it also left us with a deep sorrow for Brian who was one of the most devoted husbands I've ever known. He was at her side every step of the way and always kept their many grateful friends up to date on how things were going as they went through Charlotte's treatment and surgery. A big part of the nausea I felt when the news came was being unable to even imagine the sense of loss Brian would be dealing with. I wanted to immediately send condolences of some kind but I couldn't find the words needed to express the emotions that surround such a life shattering event. I finally realized I wasn't going to come up  with any because there aren't any. The best I could do was acknowledge that and try to convey it in this note about how greatly the Gilberts impacted all of us who were fortunate enough to meet them and how they will continue to impact us in the future:

"This is so heartbreaking I think it is beyond anyone's ability to describe. However, I hope the outpouring of love for Charlotte and you in all of these comments brings you some solace and peace Brian. They show what an amazing and instant impact she had on everyone she met - she was truly a blessing to all of us left behind, no matter how brief our encounters with her were. In your complete devotion and care for your beautiful wife you have similarly inspired and blessed us in a way that words could never adequately convey. We will forever be in your and Charlotte's debt for showing us the best of what the human spirit is capable of."

Brian posted this photo of him and Charlotte when he notified friends of her passing. Charlotte never stopped smiling and I'm convinced she never will. One of her great legacies will be that whenever friends think of her, they will smile too.

(Posted February 6, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

VPS Web Hosting

A Second Radix New gTLD Has Reached 1 Million Registrations with .SITE Joining .ONLINE on Their Honor Roll

Radix, the Dubai-based administrator of one of the world’s largest portfolios of new gTLD registries, has just reached an important milestone with their .SITE extension. A company press release announced that .SITE has passed 1 million domains under management and noted "This makes Radix the first nTLD portfolio registry to have two of its TLDs, .ONLINE and .SITE, in the coveted “1 million club”. The release added, ".SITE has been among the top three fastest-growing nTLDs globally with a Year over Year growth rate of 111% in 2018. It is also currently the 6th largest nTLD by domain registrations."



Dandeep Ramchandani
CEO, Radix

Radix CEO Sandeep Ramchandani said, “We are extremely delighted to have reached this milestone for .SITE. We have consistently received positive feedback from our partners that .SITE is a preferred TLD among small and medium businesses (SMBs). With the increase in the new domain registrations on .SITE, we are expecting a healthy increase in the number of renewed .SITE domains. This aligns with our philosophy of tracking long term value of a TLD by keeping renewals as a key success metric.”

An internal study at Radix showed that over 70% of developed domains on .SITE represent small to medium sized enterprises from various industries such as Retail, eCommerce, Information Technology, and Professional Services. Radix pointed to the domain ‘business.site’ that Google acquired for into its Google My Business program for SMBs globally as a key indicator of .SITE’s suitability for SMBs. Through this integration, every SMB

that signs up for the program gets a free [BUSINESSNAME].business.site sub-domain for its listing. As of January 31, 2019, a site:business.site search query on Google shows 16 million web pages on this sub-domain. 

Hillan Klein, the COO at popular domain registrar NameCheap, said, “Our 2018 Namecheap Domain Insights and Trends Report found .SITE to be among the most popular gTLDs of the year, and it has quickly become a top choice for small businesses, as well as upcoming enterprises across a variety of sectors and geographies. Congratulations to Radix for .SITE being one the first few nTLDs to surpass the 1 million domain registrations milestone.” 

Radix reported "the top three geographies that contributed to its 1 million domain registrations are the United States, European Union and China; a trend commonly seen across the most successful TLDs."

Dmitry Deniskin, VP of Emerging Markets at Russia-based registrar REG.RU, said, "Since .SITE domain sounds the same as the word ''сайт" (website) in Russian, it's a popular choice for individuals and SMBs looking for brandable domain names. .SITE domain was among our fastest growing nTLDs in 2018, which helped REG.RU become #8 in the world and #1 in Russia in the rankings of the .SITE registrars". 

(Posted February 5, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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