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December 31, 2019

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The Lowdown
November 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.

NamesCon Global 2020 News Including 1st Keynote Speaker, Live Domain Auction & Fun Day Finale

After 6 years in Las Vegas NamesCon Global is ready to unveil its updated and upgraded conference  - now sub-titled The Domain Economic Forum - that will be staged in a new city - Austin, Texas - January 29-February 1, 2020. With the big event at the Omni Hotel (located in the heart of the Lone Star State's capital city) now just two months away, show updates are starting to come in hot and heavy.

On Monday NamesCon Global announced the first of what will be several keynote speakers with that honor going to James Booth, the extraordinarily successful young domain broker who runs Phenom.com. James has cleared over $30 million in sales before turning 30, with $10 million of that booked in 2019 alone. In addition to their skills in buying and selling domain names, James and his team help brands improve their online presence, starting with that critical first step - acquiring the perfect domain name.

In Austin, James will speak in a fireside chat format. He will discuss the many facets of value that a domain can offer, and the key role trust plays in forming the relationships that make deals happen. 

Phenom.com CEO James Booth

Image from Bigstock

As always, NamesCon Global will feature a live domain auction but, as with other aspects of the show agenda, there will be a new twist with the sale. For 2020 it has moved to the GoDaddy Auction platform where pre-bidding is already open. One thing will remain the same - Monte Cahn's RightOfTheDot.com will co-coordinate the live bidding action on site for the January 30 event (an extended online auction will continue to February 14, 2020). 

Among the domains already confirmed for the live auction are 

Laptop.com, Arcades.com, Ofices.com, Lasers.com and Calories.com, to name a few. If you have a premium domain you would like to submit you can do that here.

Another new wrinkle at NamesCon Global this year will be an all-day Fun Day that will close the show on Saturday, February 1. The Fun Day concept was introduced at NamesCon Europe in Lisbon, Portugal this past summer and it proved to be a big hit. Fun Day gives attendees and their partners an opportunity to spend the day casually networking and celebrating the conclusion of a productive conference. At NamesCon Global it will run from 10am to 5pm at Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden, an Austin institution famous for its sausage, barbecue and over 200 beers on tap.

Above & Below: Banger's Sausage House
 and Beer Garden - Austin. Texas

Registration for NamesCon Global is now open and if you need a ticket this would be the time to get one as they are running a 30% off Thanksgiving sale through Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving Day in the United States). That drops the normal $699 ticket price to $489.30 You can also book your hotel room at the Omni at special NamesCon Global rates starting at $229. We, will of course, be in Austin and hope to see many of you in person there.

(Posted November 26, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

New Reports from Guta.com and GGRG.com Shed Light on 3Q-2019 Domain Sales Activity

International domain name brokerage Guta.com has released their latest quarterly report covering 3Q-2019 (.PDF file), detailing their observations of activity in several high value categories of the premium domain sales market

The report focuses primarily on domain sales in the following categories: 1-4 Numbers, 1-3 Letters, 2 Characters and English dictionary one-word .com domains. For LLL .com domains, Guta only reports sales made from or to the Chinese market. Chinese investors are especially well known as buyers of the kinds of domains Guta specializes in with the exception of the one-word domains that, as you would expect, are more often sold in English speaking markets. With offices in both the U.S. and China, Guta serves buyers and sellers in both the eastern and western hemispheres.

George Hong
Guta.com Founder & CEO

In Q3-2019, Guta found that Investors and end-users generally bought more domain names than in Q1 or Q2 of 2019. The report stated, "As revealed in seven quarters since 2018, the trading volume of NNN .com, NL/LN.com and one-word English dictionary .com domains all set new records while sales of NNNN .com domains reached their third-highest level in that time frame. The sales count of LL .com reached its highest point in 2019. The only sector underperforming was LLL .com, reflecting the continued low interest in LLL .com domains among Chinese buyers."

The report also noted, "over 44% of the one-word dictionary .com domains were sold to end-users. Comparing that with Q2 2019, the end-user purchase rate almost doubled in Q3 2019."  Guta also reported, "A significant portion of the sales of NNN .com, NNNN .com and NL/LN .com were transacted within the Chinese market. The circulation rate of numeric domains in the Chinese market has far exceeded that of any other market."

The notes above barely scratch the service of the full 11-page report that you can get here.

We got another view of  Q3-2019 sales of similar domains with GGRG.com's release of their latest quarterly Liquid Domains Overview (LXDO), that is presented in an infographic format.  Lisbon, Portugal based GGRG's LXDO incorporates sales information from different sources than Guta (including information from Escrow.com) and their focus is fully on short acronyms (letters) and numeric domains. The two complementary reports provide the best currently available overview of what is happening in the high end short .com domain category (a group GGRG collectively refers to as "liquid domains'). 

This Q3-2019 edition of LXDO noted that Escrow.com reported $69.3 million in sales for the most recent quarter and $14.1 million of that came from liquid domains, indicating that category account for about 20% of Escrow's sales volume. You will also find liquidation values for the most traded categories and additional data based on $5.6 million in publicly reported sales (across 2,890 disclosed transactions. There is also an interesting performance comparison with global asset markets, including BTC.

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

Ethos Capital Acquisition of Public Interest Registry (.ORG) Stirs Controversy

I was busy assembling our weekly domain sales report Wednesday (Nov. 13, 2019) when news about the Internet Society selling the Public Interest Registry (administrator of the popular .org domain extension) to private equity firm Ethos Capital was released. Since putting the sales column to bed last night I've been reading the widespread commentary across the web about this transaction. It is an especially big deal because .org, with its importance to the non profit community, has become a widely revered TLD that no one wants to see tarnished or become inordinately expensive. 

That being the case, seeing PIR go to a very much for profit private equity company (at an undisclosed price), so soon after ICANN had removed all price caps on .org domains,  has understandably set off alarms bells - and especially loud ones because of the involvement of former ICANN executives with the Ethos management team. As a result, there is already a very high volume of articles and reader commentary on this topic that is worth the time to seek out and review.

The most in-depth coverage I've seen so far, making it an excellent starting point, are a


trio of articles that Andrew Allemann has put out at DomainNameWire. The first story I saw when the news broke was his. He followed up with a piece - The interesting connection between the .Org deal and ICANN - that has drawn an especially vocal response from readers. Completing the trifecta was a good background article on The economics of .org domain names - all within the space of 24 hours - great job Andrew! 

Also, always worth reading when anything related to ICANN comes up is Kevin Murphy at DomainIncite.com and he was in top form as usual with Selling off PIR, did ISOC just throw .org registrants under a bus? There are many more worthwhile examples (most listed with links at news aggregator Domaining.com) but those guys will help you cut to chase and see how this landmark deal is being viewed. 

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

TM.Com Changes Hands for $1.25 Million in Deal Handled by Mark Thomas at VIPBrokerage.com 

Chalk up another home run for VIP Brokerage Founder & CEO Mark Thomas. Last week we learned TM.com was pending sale and we have now confirmed that the transaction has closed. Seller TM Advertising sent the premium 2-letter .com to an undisclosed buyer for $1.25 million in a deal brokered by Mark's firm. We will officially chart the sale in our next weekly report Wednesday evening (Nov. 20, 2019) when it will also be added to our Year to Date Top 100 Chart where it will rank as the 4th highest domain sale reported so far in 2019 (assuming no higher sales are made public between now and then).

Mark is no stranger to the YTD Top 100. In fact, he already holds the #2 position on the 2019 honor roll with his $3 million sale of California.com that we reported in January. California.com spent nearly six months at the top of the elite list until it was finally displaced by the biggest cash domain sale ever reported - Voice.com at $30 million - this past June.

Mark and VIP Brokerage also has another sale in this year's Top 20 - a $300,000 transaction for NCC.com that was charted in July. So, when TM.com is added in our next weekly update, Thomas will have two of the year's top four sales and three of the Top 20 going into the final six weeks of the 2019 sales season.

Mark Thomas entered the domain business a little over seven years ago and decided to open his own shop at VIP Brokerage in September 2015. Mark said he has booked over $70 million worth of domain sales since entering the industry. The Miami based company specializes in representation, acquisition, sales and marketing of premium domain names, digital assets and business to business joint ventures. 

VIP Brokerage has an impressive catalog of exclusive listings that is filled with two and three letter .coms, one-word dictionary domains and top tier geodomains, making it almost certain that VIP Brokerage will continue to make regular appearances on the top sales charts.


Mark Thomas
VIP Brokerage Founder & CEO 

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

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

We need your help to keep giving domainers The Lowdown, so please email [email protected] with any interesting information you might have. If possible, include the source of your information so we can check it out (for example a URL if you read it in a forum or on a site elsewhere). 

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