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The Lowdown
June 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.

Results from the NamesCon Europe 2019 Live Domain Auction Released - Online Auction Still Underway 

NameJet and RightOfTheDot.com again joined forces to conduct a live and online domain auction as part of the 2019 NamesCon Europe Conference that concluded in Cascais, Portugal Saturday (June 22). The live event was held on the first night of the show (Thursday, June 20) but we've just now gotten the final results from that sale called by veteran domain auctioneer Wayne Wheat (the online auction continues through July 2, 2019).

The live auction produced $297,000 in sales with the catalog generating a 55% sell through rate. The top sales were 8T.com at $76,000, 4M.com at $36,000 and a pair of 3-letter .coms - ZIZ.com and ZLZ.com - that sold for $25,000 each.


Auctioneer Wayne Wheat calling the 2019 NamesCon Europe Live Domain Auction, 
presented by NameJet and RightOfTheDot in Cascais, Portugal June 20, 2019.

A complete list of the domain sold is in the table below:

Domain Sold For


Sold For



























































NameJet and ROTD are also expected to conduct the next NamesCon live auction during the 2020 NamesCon Global conference that will be staged in Austin, Texas January 26-29.

(Posted June 27, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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Photos & Highlights from NamesCon Europe 2019's Show Closing Beach Party in Portugal

The 2019 NamesCon Europe conference finished its 3-day run  Saturday (June 22) with a closing day Beach Party in scenic Cascais, Portugal (you can see photos and highlights from Thursday's opening day here and the ones from day 2 Friday here). 

The 11th annual event attracted 160 industry leaders, service providers and domain investor/developers from throughout Europe, as well as others who made the trip from the U.S., Australia, India and a variety of other countries from around the world.


The day long Beach Party centered around surfing with many guests getting their first opportunity to try the sport after taking a class led by two of Portugal's top pro surfers. (All photos in this article are courtesy of NamesCon Europe).

Above: (Left to right) Pro surfer Alex Unwin (Moana Surf School), NamesCon President and CEO Soeren von Varchmin and Pro surfer Andrew Cotton at the NamesCon Europe Beach Party Saturday in Cascais, Portugal.

Below: Unwin and and de Macedoa conducted a Surf Class so NamesCon guests could get some basic tips before heading into the Atlantic Ocean.

Above: Internet Commerce Association Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz getting warmed up before testing her newly acquired surfing knowledge in the Atlantic Ocean.

Below: School is out! Time to pick up a board and catch a wave!

While domain people are experts at surfing the web I have to admit I was expecting to see a lot of wipe outs when our friends tried riding real waves. Instead, a lot of them looked just as comfortable surfing in the real world as they do in the virtual one. That is conference moderator Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com) looking good above - but then Braden is from California so he probably should be disqualified! And Giuseppe Graziano (below), founder of the GGRG.com brokerage, is from Lisbon, just down the beach from from Cascais, so he was probably no stranger to a surfboard either.

Above: Morgan Linton (MorganLinton.com) is also a California resident but I would not DQ him because he took on an added degree of difficulty, shooting a video of himself while surfing! That is Ray King (CEO at Top Level Design) looking on in amazement.

Below: Pro surfers Alex Unwin and Andrew Cotton like what they are seeing from their students so far!

Above: Now, I am not going to try to tell you that nobody wiped out, but the way Mark Ghoriafi (.GLOBAL Marketing Manager) did it, I think you have to give him a 10 for the unique dismount (or maybe that only applies in gymnastics)! 

Below: Yow know the old saying - if at first you don't succeed, try again. Well, I think Mark may have been the guy who came up with that line. He will keep trying until he gets the job done and he did that again Saturday.

Above: Of course, you didn't have to go surfing. Many were content to watch the action while hanging out on the beach with a cold drink and friends. Case in point (left to right): Jeff Gabriel (Uniregistry), Alan Dunn (NameCorp.com) and Elliot Silver (DomainInvesting.com).

Below: Meanwhile, back out on the water Kamila Sekiewicz proved that pre-game stretching routine paid off in the ocean!

Above: Paul Nicks (VP & GM of the GoDaddy Aftermarket) had a big week. A couple of days before NamesCon Europe began his company helped close the highest reported all cash domain sale ever made with Voice.com at $30 million. When the weekend arrived Paul was still flying high - this time on a surfboard in the Atlantic off the coast of Portugal.

Below: Like Nicks, Michael Cyger (DNAcademy.com) came over to Cascais from the U.S. Michael was so steady on the board it looked like he could ride it all the way back home to Seattle!

Above: .GLOBAL Registry Founder Rolf Larsen looked like he was conducting an orchestra while surfing Saturday, but we learned today that Rolf had just orchestrated a sale of the .GLOBAL registry to Afilias, who has been proving the registry's backend services! No wonder he was hitting so many  high notes Saturday!

Above: By the end of the day only a handful of survivors were still standing (with the others presumably carried away on the outgoing tide). Left to right are Morgan Linton, Christa Taylor (dotTBA), Ray King, Michael Cyger and Rolf Larsen.

Below: OK, so we made up the the washed out to sea part - everyone made it back healthy and happy (they just came ashore in groups of various sizes, just like the waves they had spent the day riding).

If you haven't been to a domain conference before you may wonder what surfing and a day at the beach has to do with domaining. It is all about building long term relationships and outings like this have proven to one of the best possible ways to do that. Many will tell you those relationships (that often blossom into personal friendships) have been the most important thing they have gained from taking these opportunities to meet colleagues from around the world face to face and spend time with them in both business and social settings.

NamesCon will provide another opportunity to do that with their marquee NamesCon Global event in Austin, Texas January 26-29. 2020. They have also already announced the location for next year's edition of NamesCon Europe. It will be in Budapest, Hungary (exact dates still to be set) with Rome to follow in 2021 and Cologne, Germany in 2022

(Posted June 24, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Photos & Highlights from Day 2 of the 2019 NamesCon Europe Conference in Cascais, Portugal

The 2019 NamesCon Europe conference continued Friday (June 21) at Portugal's historic Pestana Cidadela Cascais hotel in the beautiful waterfront resort town just north of Lisbon (you can see photos and highlights from Thursday's opening day here). The 11th annual event, that concludes with an all day Beach Party Saturday), has attracted 160 industry leaders, service providers and domain investor/developers from throughout Europe, as well as several who made the trip from the U.S. and other points around the globe. 

This show, originally known as  


Domaining Europe, was founded by Dietmar Stefitz, who turned the reins over to NamesCon after co-producing last year's 10th anniversary event with them. Here are some photos and highlights from the second day of the 2019 conference Friday (photos are courtesy of NamesCon Europe except the evening cruise shots at the end that are credited to their contributors):

Above: Day 2 Friday began with what had to be a first for any domain conference - A conversation conducted by NamesCon President and CEO Soeren von Varchmin with Pro Surfers (left to right) Andrew Cotton, João de Macedoa and Alex Unwin, titled At One with the Forces of Nature. Cascais is a center of surfing culture in Portugal and NamesCon always tries to give attendees some of the rich flavor of the unique cities that the show visits. Attendees could take what they learned from the pros Friday and apply their tips in an actual Surf Class that is part of the agenda for Saturday's conference closing Beach Party

Above: It was back to domains at 11:50am when Morgan Linton took the stage to provide advice on Using Tools to Better Track Your Domain Sales Funnel

Below: Next up, Pavel Ciocan, Head of Development at Internet.bs, drew a crowd to his session on Making Domains Simple Again - a practical demonstration of unique solutions to managing large portfolios of domain names.

Above: In the last session before the afternoon lunch break, another popular Domain Sherpa Review gave attendees insight into the key elements that make specific domain names valuable. This session featured experts (left to right): Tess Diaz (Domain Sherpa), Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com) and broker Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com).

Above: A look at one corner of the Exhibit/Lunch area before attendees started streaming in for the Friday afternoon lunch break. It was also a popular spot for one on one meetings when the rest of the crowd was in the adjacent Session Room listening to speakers.

Below: Top Level Design CEO Ray King (at right) chatting with a friend in the Exhibit area Friday.

Above: Back in the Session Room at 2:30pm, a panel discussion got underway called No Exit: How to Maximize your Portfolio’s Value Without Selling. The panelists examined ways to determine if your domains could be more valuable to you as a source of recurring revenue rather than assets to be be sold off. This discussion featured (left to right): Moderator Braden Pollock, Dave Roberts (ProtectedParking.com), David Warmuz (President and CEO, Trellian/Above.com), James Tuplin (Director of Business Development, Bodis.co) and Yancy Naughton (Founder at HasTraffic.com).

Above & Below: After the afternoon coffee break, the final business session of NamesCon Europe 2019 brought everyone back to the Session Hall to hear about Navigating Appraised Value vs. Market Value of Your Domain. The experts detailed the difference between your appraised value and the actual market value of a domain, helping you sharpen your expectations if you decide to sell. This session featured (left to right above): veteran domain entrepreneur/investor Ammar Kubba, Joe Styler (GoDaddy), Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com), Morgan Linton and moderator Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com). When they were done it was time to toast a job well done and the conclusion of the business portion of this year's show.

Above: NamesCon President Soeren von Varchmin and Founder Dietmar Stefitz took the stage for some closing comments and to break some news. Soeren revealed that locations have already been chosen for the next three editions of NamesCon Europe. The show will go to Budapest in 2020, on to Rome in 2021 and Cologne in 2022. I like those choices and am already making plans for Budapest, with a pre or post show side trip to Prague (a short flight from Budapest, but I will probably take the train as I love rail travel in Europe).

Above: While the business sessions were done the the show was far from over. Now the focus would be entirely on social events starting with an evening sailboat cruise Friday sponsored by Lisbon-based brokerage GGRG.com. This vessel took guests along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline that attracts so many people to this part of Portugal. (Photo courtesy of Mark Ghoriafi).

Below: LegalBrandMarketing.com Founder and NamesCon Europe Moderator Braden Pollock and his wife Lisa Bloom staked out a prime spot to enjoy the Friday evening cruise. (Photo from Braden's Facebook page).

Above: A view of the Cascais shoreline from the GGRG.com saiboat.

Below: .GLOBAL Registry CEO & Founder Rolf Larsen (left) and .GLOBAL Marketing Manager Mark Ghoriafi on deck. Thanks to Mark for these two shots!

With Day 2 in the books there was still one day left to go at NamesCon Europe 2019 - one that would be dedicated to a day-long Beach Party in Cascais Saturday. We will wrap up our conference coverage with some shots from that event in our next Lowdown post.

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

Photos & Highlights from Day 1 of the 2019 NamesCon Europe Conference in Cascais, Portugal

The 2019 NamesCon Europe conference got underway Thursday (June 20) at Portugal's historic Pestana Cidadela Cascais hotel, located in the beautiful waterfront resort town just north of Lisbon. The three-day event, that continues through Saturday, has attracted industry leaders, service providers and domain investor/developers from throughout Europe, as well as several who made the trip from overseas. 

This is the 11th annual edition of the show, originally known as Domaining Europe, that was founded by Dietmar Stefitz, who turned the reins over to


NamesCon after co-producing last year's 10th anniversary event with them. Here are some photos and highlights from the opening day the big event (all [photos are courtesy of NamesCon Europe):

Above & below: Opening Day Thursday began at 10am when NamesCon Europe welcomed guests from around the world to Cascais. On stage to kick things off (left to right) were NamesCon President & CEO Soeren von Varchmin, conference Founder Deitmar Stefitz, show moderator Braden Pollock and Monte Cahn (President of RightOfTheDot.com who teamed up with NameJet to conduct the NamesCon Europe Live and Online Domain Auction that would be the day's final event).

Above: In the first business session at 10:30am, Karn Jajoo, Senior Manager at Radix, delivered a presentation titled Five Years and Counting. The title refers to two things - the new gTLD registry operator's first TLD entered sunrise five years ago this month and Karn joined the company at the same time in June 2014. Jajoo spoke about things he has learned along the way, including the peaks and valleys in a half decade spent navigating this ever changing but always fascinating business.

Below: Giuseppe Graziano, CEO and Founder at brokerage GGRG.com. was next up at 11am. Giuseppe talked about Liquid Domains; Understanding Supply and Demand of an $8 Billion Market. Graziano defines liquid domains as very short .com domains (typically made up of no more than four letters or numbers) that are always in demand. GGRG issues a free quarterly report on the latest activity in that segment of the aftermarket.

Above: At 11:20am, a wider view of the domain brokerage business was provided in a session titled On the Basis of Trust: What to Look For in a Domain Broker. It featured (left to right) Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com), Alan Shiflett (GoDaddy), Michael Gargiulo (VPN.com), Dave Evanson (Sedo), Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com) and moderator Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing). All of these experts have booked multiple high end domain sales. Just this week, Shiflett's company, GoDaddy, had a hand in the biggest cash domain sale ever reported, Voice.com at $30 million, and Evanson closed the biggest non .com sale of the year - Casinos.org at $400,000 - for Sedo.

Above: The afternoon sessions began with a highly anticipated Conversation with a Domain Investing Titan: Frank Schilling, in which Soeren von Varchmin interviewed Schilling, the legendary domain investor who went on to become Founder and CEO of Uniregistry. Schilling was the subject of two DNJournal Cover Story profiles, the first in December 2007 and another in November 2012.

Below: During his session, Schilling fielded questions from the audience. VPN.com's Michael Gargiulo was among those who took the opportunity to get expert advice and opinions from Frank.

Above: After a lunch break, it was back to the Main Hall for a panel discussion on Dark Horses & Long Shot Opportunities: Where to Invest in Today’s nTLD Market that brought Jeff Sass (.CLUB), Kathy Nielsen (Neustar), Rolf Larsen (.GLOBAL) and Toby Hall (MMX) to the stage. In this shot Larsen (at left) and Hall share a laugh with moderator Braden Pollock (right).

Above: While the business sessions are always a source of useful information, most attendees say networking is the #1 reason they go to conferences. NamesCon Europe makes sure there is plenty of time for that, including coffee breaks at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. During the break just before the final business session of the day, Internet Commerce Association Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz (center) catches up with friends in the courtyard.

Below: At the same time, conference Founder Dietmar Stefitz (at right), was clearly fascinated by something .CLUB Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Sass was showing him on a mobile device.

Above: At 3:30pm, in a case of extraordinarily fortunate timing, NamesCon Europe was able to bring three GoDaddy executives to the stage for a session called Ask Me Anything About GoDaddy’s Aftermarket or Afternic. They were (left to right) Paul Nicks (VP & GM of the GoDaddy Aftermarket), Alan Shiflett (Senior Manager) and Joe Styler (Senior Manager, Aftermarket Community). While this session was already on the agenda, it took on added importance when, earlier this week, it was announced that GoDaddy's Domain Broker Service was able to help close the biggest all cash domain sale ever publicly reported - Voice.com at $30 million (you can see our list of the all time Top 20 reported sales here). So, that was a topic the audience obviously wanted to hear more about. Nicks was happy to address the sale and Morgan Linton captured a five-minute video clip of Paul's comments you can watch here

Above and below: The opening day at NamesCon Europe 2019 closed with the Live and Online Domain Auction staged by RightOfTheDot.com and NameJet, with veteran auctioneer Wayne Wheat (above) orchestrating the live sale, as he has done at almost every major live domain auction in recent years - a good thing because nobody does it better. In the shot below Ammar Kubba falls under Wayne's spell and places a bid as Dr. Gregg McNair looks on. While the live portion of the auction is over (we haven't yet received a list of results), the extended online auction continues through July 2, 2019 with nearly 500 premium domain names still available.

Above & below: After the Live Auction ended a Post Auction Reception was held that stretched well into the evening. In the top shot we spotted Sean Stafford (ThreatWave.com) at left and Trellian/Above.com President David Warmuz at right. Next to David is Tess Diaz from MediaOptions.com/DomainSherpa.com. Below we have a great photo of Helga Neumer (left), the Senior Marketing Manager at NamesCon who plays a key role in producing all of the NamesCon events around the world, and the equally vivacious Dr. Hani Armstrong, the Marketing Director at Barefruit.

Above: So, Day 1 at NamesCon Europe 2019 is now in the books. In one of the day's many memorable moments, organizers rounded up a sizeable group of guests for this class photo in the courtyard (for a larger version of the image, click the photo or this link). Tomorrow we expect to have the photos and highlights from day and night 2 activities (Friday, June 21). So check back in with us for that!

(Posted June 21, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Undeveloped.com Becomes DAN.COM With Launch of Their New Domain Automation Network

Popular domain marketplace Undeveloped.com announced a major transformation today. The Amsterdam-based company has adopted a new name - DAN.COM - to match an innovative new blockchain-powered Domain Automation Network (built in partnership with IBM) that was also unveiled for the first time.

Their press release said, "The Domain Automation Network solves the most significant problems in the domain industry by creating a new backend infrastructure to handle both

...is now


simple and complex domain transactions and transfers, fully automated and transparently powered by blockchain. The domain industry nowadays finds itself in a very outdated and inefficient state. It suffers from complicated workarounds which make it inefficient. Usable and available registered domains are hard to find and have become too expensive."

It continued, "We created a platform where making a change of control and ownership of digital brands is easier, safer and instant. The use of blockchain technology makes it possible to automate processes required to provide trust-less domain transfers, also referred to as escrow. Escrow automation also makes it possible to introduce new domain purchase and use models like renting domains, lease to own, fractional domain ownership and domain exchange in a scalable and frictionless way."

The release also noted, "There are 334 million registered domains, of which 147 million are unused! The average price on the secondary market for a domain is €2,759 ($3,093) which means there are €405 billion illiquid assets. Time for disruption, and that's what DAN.COM will bring to the table."

You can read a more detailed description of the service in an in-depth article that the company published on Medium.com in conjunction with today's announcement.

(Posted June 19, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

$30 Million Sale of Voice.com Sets New Record for Highest Cash Price Paid for a Domain Name

In a sale that obliterated the record for the highest cash price paid in a publicly reported domain sale (since we began tracking the aftermarket in 2003), Voice.com has changed hands for $30 million. The news came in a  press release from seller MicroStrategy Inc., a public company listed on the NASDAQ (under the symbol MSTR). The buyer was Block.one, a company that is using Voice.com to launch its new blockchain-based social media platform called Voice. 

The press release noted that GoDaddy "facilitated" the transaction on May 30, 2019. Paul Nicks, the VP & GM of the GoDaddy Aftermarket, noted on Twitter that the company was paid an undisclosed


Image from Bigstock

commission (above and beyond the $30 million) to help consummate the deal via its Domain Broker Service.

Marge Breya, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for MicroStrategy, said, "Block.one has made a smart strategic decision in choosing Voice.com to be the internet domain name for its new social media platform. The word ‘voice’ is simple and universally understood. It’s also ubiquitous ― as a search term, it returns billions of results on the internet. An ultra-premium domain name like Voice.com can help a company achieve instant brand recognition, ignite a business, and massively accelerate value creation." MicroStrategy also noted it owns a portfolio with many other top tier one-word .com domains, including Alert.com, Hope.com, Strategy.com, Speaker.com and Glory.com, to name just a few.

Prior to the Voice.com sale, the highest verified all cash domain sale we have seen was Sex.com at $13 million in 2010. We have seen other sources list sales of developed online businesses (like Insurance.com and CarInsurance.com) or domains paid for with stock (that in some cases was worthless or close to it) or cash/stock combinations (like PrivateJet.com) as cash "domain sales." Wikipedia's list of top "domain" sales is full of this kind of misinformation that unfortunately keeps getting repeated across the web. We maintain a list of the top 20 verified cash domain sales made since we began our weekly domain sales reports in 2003. 

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

NamesCon Global Announces Dates and Opens Registration for 2020 Show in Austin, Texas

At this year's NamesCon Global conference (in Las Vegas last January), conference organizers announced the big event would be moving to Austin, Texas next year with the dates and venue to be announced. Today NamesCon filled in the blanks, announcing that the conference will be held January 26-29, 2020 and based at the Capital Factory in downtown Austin. Adjacent sites, located within a five-minute walk, will also be 


utilized for various conference activities like keynote addresses and the live domain auction. An official show hotel has not yet been named but there are many to choose from in the immediate area around the Capital Factory, a very popular location for tech conferences of this kind.

In conjunction with the move to Austin NamesCon is also adopting a new tagline - The Domain Economic Forum - to emphasis this is will be a domain-focused conference highlighting the economy that is built around domain names and serving as an invitation for the domain industry’s main players to re-establish themselves in the context of a larger tech sphere. The announcement noted, "Together we'll make the most of the entrepreneurial and creative elements of this tech-forward city. Through industry-leader keynotes, expert panels, hands-on workshops, and a live domain auction, you'll come face to face with the entire ecosystem of the domain-name economy like never before."

A view of Austin, Texas from the NamesCon Global website. The conference will get 
a major makeover when it is staged in Texas's lively capital city next January.

NamesCon Global 2020 also just opened the doors for registration. They are offering early-bird tickets for $349. The price is scheduled to go up to $499 on July 31.


(Posted June 13, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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PIR Announces New .ORG Impact Awards to Recognize Achievements in the .ORG Community

The Public Interest Registry, the nonprofit manager of the .ORG domain, has launched The .ORG Impact Awards, a new program designed to recognize .ORG domain name owners who are using the Internet to empower change around the world. From individuals to large corporations, and small community groups to multinational NGOs, purpose-driven achievements from members of the .ORG community will be honored through this inaugural program.  Nominations are now being accepted from nonprofits, corporations, community groups and members and will remain open through Friday, July 12, 2019.

Nominations Open
Through July 12, 2019

The PIR announcement noted that "unlike other industry award programs, The .ORG Impact Awards does not seek to profit from submissions. In fact, winning individuals and organizations will receive up to $5,000 in a monetary contribution to the nonprofit of their choice, and finalists will receive two complimentary invitations to attend The .ORG Impact Awards Ceremony at The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. on October 10, 2019 where winners will be announced. Finalists in the “Individual” category also will be offered travel assistance."

Achievement will be honored in the following award categories:    

Individual Awards honor the contribution of an individual to their organization or the broader sector:

  • Innovator Award 

  • Rising Star Award

  • Outstanding Volunteer   

Sector Awards recognize organizational and team accomplishments:

Initiative Awards celebrate achievement in a specific online niche area:

  • Best Social Media Campaign

  • Top #GivingTuesday Campaign

  • Outstanding Online Fundraising Campaign

  • Outstanding Microsite

  • Outstanding Website Redesign

  • Best Integrated Communications Campaign

  • Best Use of Partnerships/Celebrity Endorsements

  • Outstanding Multimedia Content

  • Outstanding Community Relations Campaign 

PIR President and CEO Jon Nevett said, “The .ORG Impact Awards is an opportunity to convene organizations of all types and sizes from around the world to learn from each other, celebrate each other’s accomplishments and strengthen the work being done through .ORG to make the world a better place. The mission-and affinity-driven .ORG community is vast, diverse and incredibly innovative in how it harnesses the power of the Internet to improve the lives of people near and far, and we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on these accomplishments to help strengthen these stellar .ORGs for the future.”

All award entries must be submitted through a form on The .ORG Impact Awards’ secure online platform and should highlight activities occurring between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019. Nominators may submit to more than one category/subcategory, but each submission must be original. All submissions must be in English and there is no cost for submission.

Jon Nevett
PIR President & CEO

For official eligibility criteria and rules of The .ORG Impact Awards program, as well as submission requirements, deadlines and judging information, please visit https://orgimpactawards.org/


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Final Countdown to NamesCon Europe 2019 Underway - Here's What to Expect from the Big Show in Portugal

Last year was a transitional one for NamesCon Europe. It was the 10th anniversary edition of a show originally founded by Dietmar Stefitz under the  Domaining Europe banner. Three months before the 2018 event in Valencia, Spain Dietmar decided to turn the reins to his baby over to NamesCon with last year's event jointly hosted and run by both the show founder and the NamesCon management team. 

With the upcoming 2019 conference (June 20-22 in Cascais, Portugal, just outside Lisbon) being fully produced by the NamesCon team, we wondered how it will both differ and remain true to the show's traditions established over the past decade. To get the answers we connected with NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin, Senior Marketing Manager Helga Neumer and show founder Dietmar Stefitz for the interview below. 

Soeren: The soul of this European domaining event remains true to its origins - a close gathering of friends and colleagues in a beautiful place to make connections and share knowledge. We’re adding some new elements this time to mix it up a bit, so you will be able to learn new things and then use them right away!


Clockwise from top: NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin, Senior Marketing Manager Helga Neumer and show Founder Dietmar Stefitz.

Founder Dietmar Stefitz will return to this year's event but it will be in a much less taxing role this time around.

Dietmar: I will be in Cascais as an Ambassador for the event. For me the event is usually the end of all the work that has to be done to produce a conference. It all starts a minimum of six to nine  months earlier, with looking for the venue, lining up speakers and sponsors and getting ready to welcome guests. This year I had an easy task as all the work has been done by the team at NamesCon, especially from Helga Neumer, who took over the event organization, backed by a crew of over 20 people .

Helga has never been one to complain about her workload, in fact the first thing she wanted to talked about was a new experience guests can look forward to in Cascais that will be fun as well as informative.

Helga: This is the first time that NamesCon Europe will feature surfing. Nobody says “surfing the net” anymore, but we can do it with real boards in Cascais.  

DNJournal: When it comes to changes, one of the obvious and most exciting ones will be having the conference staged in the Lisbon area for the first time. In addition to being one of the fastest rising tech centers in the world, Lisbon and the region around it is consistently citied by the leading travel magazines as one of the 10 most beautiful places in the world to visit. Tell us about your decision to select that area, and your specific resort location in Cascais, and how you think that will impact the conference experience for NamesCon Europe 2019 attendees?

Helga Neumer

Helga: We wanted a location that people would really want to visit, but also a place that’s easy to get to. Lisbon is one of the most popular destinations in the world right now. Besides being the home of Web Summit and the new home of so many tech professionals, and I guess Madonna, it’s just such a hot place to be right now. The energy is amazing! Cascais is only half an hour from Lisbon on the train, but it feels like another world! The beautiful landscape and ocean are peaceful and relaxing, and we found that the setting really helped us focus. Attendees will have the same experience. The Cidadela Pestana Cascais is different from any other venue we’ve seen. It’s a beautiful little world inside the walls of an ancient fort, and it’s only a few meters from the seaside. You won’t want to leave!  

DNJournal: You have once again put together a diverse agenda filled with expert speakers and panel discussions. Tell us about some of the topics chosen and why you are putting them front and center at NamesCon Europe this year?

Soeren: This time, NamesCon Europe is totally investor-focused. We wanted to send a really clear message that this event isn’t just about the C-Suites of service providers, but rather it welcomes the domain investors who make this whole ecosystem work. So we chose topics for our expert panels that would be of keen interest to domain investors, and that will deliver insights they can apply right away. So anyone who is serious about making a future for themselves in this industry should join us. Go to NamesCon.com/europe and register!  

DNJournal: NamesCon is the only major domain conference that is still staging a live premium domain auction and you had a very successful one at this year's NamesCon Global event in Las Vegas. Because they are major undertakings, very few of the regionally focused shows have offered them but you are going to be doing it at Lisbon. What are your 

Soeren von Varchmin

expectations going into the sale and how can buyers and sellers participate (will it be for onsite bidders only, or have an online component as well)?

Soeren: There will be an extended online auction, but of course the main action happens live. This time the list of names is really tightly curated, so it’s super-premium stuff only. Names like audio.com, thriller.com, zlz.com, and seniordating.com are available, and quite a few, like alright.com and human.info, have already blown past their reserves—the game is in full swing!  

Helga: Live auctions like this are difficult to organize, but our friends at RightOfTheDot and NameJet are total pros at this. The catalog and auction details can be found here.

Surfing image from Bigstock

DNJournal: It looks like you are planning to take full advantage of your beautiful surroundings as the entire closing day on Saturday, June 22, will revolve around a beach party. Every survey of conference attendees has shown they consider networking opportunities to be the most important reason to attend events. That often happens in the host hotel's hallways but by taking everyone outdoors where they can socialize in a spectacular environment you may be setting a new standard. What led to this unique way to wind up the Lisbon event?

Helga: When you have a beautiful beach right there, you have to use it! The 

beach party will also include surfing, where we’ll be joined by professional surfers to give us tips. We tested the waves already and they’re very good for beginners!

Soeren: Yeah, two of our keynote speakers are Andrew Cotton and João de Macedo, pro surfers who have ridden some of the biggest waves in the world! These guys are amazing!

Helga: What makes NamesCon Europe so cool is that the networking, socializing, and scheduled sessions join into one another. You get a lot done, but it doesn’t feel like work! Why can’t every day be like that?  

DNJournal: Good question! Is there anything you would like to add about what's ahead at NamesCon Europe 2019?

Helga: Registration is still open at namescon.com/europe. Hotels and flights are still easy to get, too - you can get a business-class flight for as cheap as $2,000. There are many hotel options within a few minutes of walking to the venue. Pack business cards, sunscreen, and a swimsuit. Increasing your domaining skill set is about to get a lot more fun, and we’re so happy to be building on Dietmar’s fantastic legacy!

Soeren: Also, if you’re going to ICANN65 in Marrakech, there are several flights a day between Lisbon and there. If you join us for NamesCon Europe Thursday through Saturday, there are two short, direct flights on Sunday! We can’t wait to see you in Cascais, and we look forward to showing you around and opening this new chapter in the event’s history. It’s history that you’re all helping us write!

Dietmar Stefitz

DNJournal: Speaking of history, let's give Dietmar the last words as he has lived the entire history of this event, starting with its birth in Valencia, Spain and on through subsequent stops in The Hague, Netherlands and Berlin, Germany that helped turn it into a conference truly designed to serve the entire continent.

Dietmar: When I handed over Domaining Europe to Soeren to be NamesCon Europe, we agreed that the event should be held every year in a different European country. Lisbon is the first step of this show tour. Helga did a great job in finding the venue, which is a 17th-Century fortress that’s been converted into a 5-star luxury hotel and arts district. 2020 will be in another European country, which could be France, Italy or one of the many European countries. Europe is very different from the USA, as every country has its own domains (ccTLDs) which are a good combination with other domains for investors. It is also 

interesting for investors to meet people from other countries every year, which makes networking even more interesting! 

DNJournal: Thank you all for your time and wishing you and your NamesCon Europe all the best as the show enters its second decade this month in beautiful Cascais, Portugal.


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

Photos & Highlights From the 2019 Global Digital Summit in Xiamen, China 

China's 2019 Global Digital Summit wrapped up over the weekend at the Swiss Hotel in Xiamen (a city known as the "domain capital" of China because so many industry companies have offices there). The event got underway Friday afternoon (May 31) with informal networking, followed by an evening reception. International domain broker George Hong of Guta.com (who has offices in both Xiamen and the U.S.)


spoke at the conference and he was kind enough to send us some photos and highlights from the show, assembled by talented members of the Guta staff,  to share with you.

Above & below: Global Domain Summit organizers welcoming domain industry guests from around the world to the first day of business at the big event Saturday morning (June 1, 2019) in Xiamen.

Above: The first order of business was a comprehensive Industry Report delivered by Feng Guo from MIIT/ICANN GAC.

Below: Right after Feng's talk, Jian Zhang from Baidu Cloud took the stage to provide advice on the intelligent upgrading of enterprises in a presentation labeled ABC 3.0.

Above: The Saturday morning sessions continued with Google's Yong Bai providing insight into the Intelligent Age of Digital Marketing.

Above: In the final morning session Saturday, Jianou Yan, the Chairman and CEO of Bizcn, the organizer of Global Digital Summit, hosted a Forum that covered Integration & Promotion of Domain Names, Cloud Computing, Cross-Border E-commerce Industry.

Below: The experts on stage for that panel discussion were (left to right): Jianou Yan, Yitan Yan (Baidu Cloud), Shuo Wang (Centralnic) and Emma (Socilink). 

Above & below: The lunch break provided attendees with an opportunity to spend some extra time in the Exhibit Hall. June 1st was Children's Day in China so several attendees brought their kids along so they could have a great time together.

Above: After fueling up on the treats in the Exhibit Hall, GDS guests were ready to head back to the Main Hall for the afternoon sessions Saturday.

Below: Those included a well received talk on Diversified Development of Global Domain Name Investment from by Matt Overman, Senior VP at Donuts Inc., who came over from the U.S. to address GDS guests.

Above: In another popular Saturday afternoon session, Guta.com Founder & CEO George Hong was one of five experts on stage for a Forum on Trading Trends Shared by Global Domain Trading Platforms.

Below: That expert panel included (left to right): George Hong, Jim Wang (Godaddy), Yiming Yang (Sedo), Jun Yang (West.cn) and Edmon Chung (.asia). 

The questions the panelists tackled at this session included: 

  • Compared with 2018, has the domain name trading market of 2019 had any obvious changes? What are the main causes of these changes?

  • In what aspects can global domain trading platforms have better cooperation and communication? Will the trade friction between China and the US affect the domain name industry?

  • What challenges or opportunities do guests see in the business development of their respective companies? The forecast for domain name market trends in the second half of  2019?

Above & below: Global Domain Summit organizers want their show to be fun and entertaining, as well as informative. One way they did that was by holding a Lucky Drawing periodically between sessions Saturday afternoon. Several fortunate guests took home some nice prizes to go along with their memories of the 2019 event.

Above: The annual Industry Awards ceremony is also a big part of the Global Digital Summit. In one of the final sessions of the 2019 event a coveted set of awards for the year's Most Popular Overseas Domain Name Service Platforms went to Godaddy, Sedo, Afilias, Webnic and Guta.com. Company representatives were on hand to accept their awards.

Below: With another successful event in the books, it was time for the Closing Ceremony at Global Digital Summit. While this marked the end of official business, there was still more to come on the social side as you will see in the closing photos.

Above & two photos below: Scenes from the VIP Guests Dinner and Show that was held Saturday night (June 1) to celebrate another successful year for Global Digital Summit and their attendees.

Again our thanks to the Guta.com team who provided all of the great photos in this article - and congratulations to Global Domain Summit on presenting yet another world class event.


(Posted June 4, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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