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The Lowdown
October 2020 Archive 
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Welcome to the The Lowdown from 
DN Journal
- your source for notable news 
and information from all corners of the global domain name industry! 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal 
Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.


A New Online Event - Radix Converge 2020 - Will Bring Domain Industry Partners Together November 5

Covid-19 continues to block large scale face-to-face meetings in the physical world but the domain industry has rapidly adapted with innovative online events that are proving to be the next best thing to being there. In addition to full-blown global conferences like NamesCon Online in September, more targeted meetings that bring a single company's leaders together with their partners and customers around the world are emerging. A prime of example of that is the first Radix Converge event that will be held online Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020

The new gTLD registry operator's CEO, Sandeep Ramchandani, Founder Bhavin Turakhia, Director of Channel Partnerships Neha Naik, Director of Brand Operations Suman Das and Head of Premium Domains Karn Jajoo will all be speaking during the two-and-a-half hour event that will rin from 11am - 1:30pm U.S. Eastern time (16:00 - 18:30 UTC). 

 

 

 

 

 

Radix, whose TLDs include .online, .store, .tech, .website and many others, is also promising a "special surprise" in an unnamed 45-minute session slated to start at Noon (U.S. Eastern time, 17:00 UTC). The event will all feature a Networking Lounge (opening at 1:15pm U.S. Easter time, 18:15 UTC) that will give attendees a chance to network with industry friends, on video, across multiple lounge tables. 

Bhavin Turakhia, one of the global domain industry's most successful entrepreneurs, will be the last to speak and he will do it in an Ask Me Anything session that will no doubt be a highlight of the event. You can see a detailed full agenda here

Since this event is designed for Radix partners and customers the required invitations were automatically sent out to them, however Radix Manager of Channel Marketing Clifford de Souza told me that anyone from the registrar, domainer or blogger community is welcome to request an invitation by dropping a note to contact@radixconverge.online

Bhavin Turakhia
Radix Founder

(Posted October 30, 2020) To refer others to†the post above only†(and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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New Guta.com Premium Domain Sales Report Finds Mixed Results at the High End of the Market

International domain brokerage firm Guta.com has released their latest free  quarterly Premium Domain Sales Observation Report (.pdf file) covering the 3rd quarter of 2020. With offices in both the U.S. and China, Guta, founded by CEO George Hong, has an ideal vantage point to see what is happening in the domain aftermarket in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Their reports focus primarily on .com domain sales in these categories: 1-4 Numbers, 1-3 Letters, 2 Characters and one-word English dictionary domains.

In 3Q-2020, ending September 30, Guta reported sales of rare and expensive 2-letter .coms has continued to climb slowly since the first quarter of the year. 3Q saw eight sales in that category, including LT.com, a domain that reportedly sold for seven figures (USD) though the  exact price was not disclosed.

In other categories, Guta noted, "Two to four number .coms and two-character .coms (one character being a letter 

and one a number) - the types of domains that the Chinese buyers typically are interested in - did not do well in the 3rd quarter. The sales count of NNNN .com dropped to the second- lowest level since 2018. For the first time in the past 11 quarters, there was no publicly reported sales of any NNN .com, NL .com, or LN .com domains."

 

Guta.com Founder George Hong

The report added, "The sales count of LLL .com and one-word English .com domains dropped in Q3 2020 compared with the previous quarter, however both categories saw more transactions in the six-figure USD range. Additionally, NAS.com (at $720,000) topped the list of publicly reported domain sales for the entire year to date. Meanwhile, the end-user purchase rate of one-word English .com domains rose to its fourth-highest level since 2018.

Guta closed the report's executive summary by saying, "In summary, while the demand for short numeric and two-character .com domains fell to a historic low since 2018, end-users were actively buying other types of domains and possibly at increased budgets."

The get specific examples of sales results for all of the categories Guta covers and a more detailed account of the 3Q results, check out the full report here


(Posted October 27, 2020) To refer others to†the post above only†(and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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SAV.com Launches New Drop Catching Service With No Backorder Fees

A few months ago I told you about a new domain marketplace that marked registrar SAV.com's entry into the aftermarket sales game. Now the company, founded by industry veteran Anthos Chrysanthou, is expanding into the drop catching business of reeling in potentially valuable expired domain names for customers the instant they are returned to the available pool. 

Every aspect of the domain industry is highly competitive so Chrysanthou has had to take a different tack to stake out a territory of SAV's own. With the registration service, the marketplace and now the drop catching service, he has done that by slicing prices to the bone. He actually went even further with the new drop catching service, eliminating fees entirely. A customer can backorder as many domains as they want with no backorder fee. If SAV is successful in catching the domain, and no one else has back ordered the same name, you only pay the normal one-year registration fee to activate the domain. If multiple users submitted backorder requests for the same name, SAV starts a 10-day auction, open to anyone, with auctions having a starting bid of $6.95 for .coms. 

Chrysanthou said this move is aimed at attracting more of the entrepreneurs and SMBs that SAV 

Anthos Chrysanthou
Founder & CEO, SAV.com  

focuses on. "By eliminating backorder fees, we are removing one of three causes of friction that entrepreneurs and SMBs experience when it comes to launching an online presence," Chrysanthou noted. " In this instance, that friction is related to the fees associated with submitting and fulfilling backorders for domains on their short list.  While backorder fees may not be huge when compared to the branding and marketing value of desired domains, entrepreneurs and SMBs think of backorder fees as an unpleasant, even unfair cost."

Anthos added, "We have another reason for attracting creators to Sav.com with zero backorder fees and among the lowest registration and renewal fees.  We want them to keep coming back and exploring domain buy-now and auction options in our domain marketplace.  I encourage domain investors to give Sav.comís registrar and marketplace a test drive to see just how much extra cash we will put into their pocket."

(Posted October 26, 2020) To refer others to†the post above only†(and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Domain Community Invited to Submit Nominations for ICA's 2021 Lonnie Borck Memorial Award

The Internet Commerce Association will be presenting their 5th annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award in January (as in past year's the honoree will be presented during the year's first NamesCon conference). The award will go a person who has helped foster a sense of community within the domain name industry. Anyone can submit a name for consideration using this online form before the November 7, 2020 deadline. After nominations close, ICA members will vote on the top three submissions and the ICA Board will select the winner.

The ICA established the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award in 2016, shortly after the late great domain investor and humanitarian who unexpectedly passed at the age of 47. Lonnie was universally loved for his generosity and selflessness. 

Lonnie Borck

The first three Lonnie Bock Memorial Award recipients were chosen based on their exceptional efforts in "championing the rights of domain name registrants" and as such came from the legal arena. Starting with the 2020 award, presented last January, the criteria was broadened to include every corner of the domain industry. 

Previous winners of the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award:

2017 - David Weslow

2018 - John Berryhill

2019 - Kathy Kleiman

2020 - Ron Jackson

Now you can help choose the 2021 winner and you are also welcome to share the form link with your industry colleagues.

(Posted October 22, 2020) 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/2020/dailyposts/20201022.htm

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Latest Liquid Domains Market Report from GGRG.com Shows Jump in Both Public and Private Sales 

GGRG.com, the Lisbon, Portugal based domain brokerage and consulting firm headed by Giuseppe Graziano, has posted the 17th edition of their Liquid Market Report (LMX). The new report covers aftermarket sales results for "liquid" domain in the 3rd quarter of 2020. GGRG defines liquid domains as short .com domains comprised of 2-4 letters, 2-5 numbers or a combination of 2-3 characters mixing letters and numbers. 

The LMX, presented in infographic format, reported just over $3 million worth of publicly reported liquid domain sales in 3Q-2020. That represents a 2.4% increase over the previous quarter. However, the LMX found a much larger 48% surge  in private 2Q-2020 sales in terms of 

total dollar volume reported by Escrow.com (Escrow.com does not report individual domain sales prices). They handled over $13.3 million worth of liquid domain sales in 3Q-2020. 

There has been much speculation over the years about what percentage of the aftermarket is represented by publicly reported sales? No one knows what that number is but these numbers may provide a clue. The private sales total at Escrow.com alone is over four times more than the publicly reported total for this slice of the market. No telling how much bigger the private number would be if we knew the dollar volume from unpublished sales transacted through other financial service providers. However, this does underscore what we've said for years - publicly reported sales are just the tip of a very large iceberg

Fred Mercaldo
CEO & Founder
Geocentric Media

In a related GGRG note, Giuseppe Graziano recently published the latest article in his series of in-depth domain industry interviews with an excellent profile of geodomain pioneer Fred Mercaldo. Fred, the CEO and Founder of Geocentric Media,  is a long time friend who was featured in a 2013 DNJournal Cover Story. He has been a very busy guy since then, so Giuseppe's piece provided a great update on what one of the industry's good guys has been doing in recent years, as well as the fascinating path that brought him into the domain industry in the first place. Like almost everyone else in this business, Fred came into it from a different field. In his case, many different fields, including the insurance, real estate and art! Be sure to check it out.

(Posted October 20, 2020) 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/2020/dailyposts/20201020.htm

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Finalists for 2020 .ORG Impact Awards Named With Top 5 Selected in 9 Different Categories

The 2nd Annual .ORG Impact Awards will be handed out over the course of a "Ten Days of .ORG" online celebration that will begin November 30, 2020 and culminate with recognition of the .ORG of the Year award winner on December 11. Prior to that grand finale, winners will be named in nine different categories that have now been narrowed down to these five finalists in each

.ORG launched the program that honors "remarkable organizations and individuals making the world a better place" in 2019 when Impact Award winners were chosen in three categories. By expanding the number of categories to nine this year, .ORG will recognize websites that have excelled in these areas: Combatting Coronavirus, Fighting Hunger and Poverty, Championing Equality, Equity and Inclusion, Promoting Education. Advancing Environmental Sustainability, Promoting a Safer Internet, Innovation Award, Outstanding Volunteer and .ORG Newcomer of the Year. The Impact Award winjners will get to select a non-profit or NGO organization of their choice to receive up to a $30,000 contribution (depending on the award category). Nonprofit entrants are welcome to select their own nonprofit as the beneficiary of that donation. Individuals, for-profits and community groups are welcome to select any nonprofit they believe in to receive the donation.

The 2020 .ORG Impact Award, .ORG of the Year, recognizes a not-for-profit or nongovernmental organization nominated in one of the other nine categories using the .ORG domain, and honors outstanding achievement as evidenced by results and/or contributions to its sector, constituents, community or society at large. 

Jon Nevett, President and CEO of the Public Interest Registry (the administrator of .ORG), noted, "In this year marked by so much challenge and change, mission-driven .ORGs are making even more of an impact on the communities and causes they serve and support. We celebrate their contributions and recognize that .ORGs are making their communities a better place. This year, we saw an extremely impressive group of submissions (more than 500 were submitted) showcasing the diverse and inspiring work taking place in the .ORG community around the world, and we want to thank everyone who participated in the .ORG Impact Awards."

Nevett said that each of the 45 finalists spread across nine categories represent the best of what .ORGs have to offer in making a meaningful difference in their communities and the world, adding, "We are awed and inspired by their achievements and look forward to announcing the winning .ORGs later this fall."

PIR CEO Jon Nevett (at right) with 2019 .ORG Impact 
Award honoree, actor & philanthropist Taye Diggs.

(Posted October 16, 2020) To refer others to†the post above only†(and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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GoDaddy Resumes Releasing Their Top Domain Sales - $400,000 Sale of Ingles.com Tops 1st List

When GoDaddy was a private company, they used to release a list of their top aftermarket domain sales each month. That stopped in 2015 when they entered a required quiet period before they went public with a nine-figure IPO. Unfortunately, after the quiet period ended, 

  

GoDaddy did not resume releasing their top sales. This past summer the company delighted domain investors by announcing they would start sharing their top sales data again in October. 

Well, here we are and true to their word GoDaddy has just released a list of their top 20 domain sales for the month of June (these includes sales made on GoDaddy's Afternic and Uniregistry platforms as well as their home site). Presumably, we will now see a list each month, likely dating back four months like this one - a window that allows time for their high dollar transactions to close and get the domains transferred. This welcome move brings a lot more transparency to the domain aftermarket and is very important to the industry as a whole as it adds data that shows just how valuable top quality domains can be. 

The new list is topped by a half dozen six-figure sales, led by Ingles.com at $400,000 - a deal that will rank as the 4th biggest domain sale reported so far this year when we release our updated YTD Top 100 Chart Wednesday evening. Here is the complete GoDaddy list:

ingles.com $400,000
lendable.com $125,000
vaninsurance.co.uk $106,769
wbs.com $115,000
fivenines.com $100,000
vaninsurance.com $100,000
hfm.com $90,000
kalibari.com $80,000
insurancecapital.com $59,995
makey.com $53,000
autofun.com $50,000
appify.com $50,000
skrt.com $50,000
nopain.com $47,500
mygarden.com $40,000
hifashion.com $39,999
protek.com $39,982
variable.com $36,000
acaglobal.com $35,420
booktopia.com $35,000

We will be listing all of these sales and adding those that qualify for the top sales charts in our next bi-weekly domain sales report that comes out tomorrow evening (Wednesday, October 14).

(Posted October 13, 2020) To refer others to†the post above only†(and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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NamesCon Announces 3 Shows for 2021 - Face to Face Meetings to Resume After Online Event In January

We still don't know when the current Covid 19 pandemic will end, but NamesCon organizers, who produce the domain industry's biggest conferences, expect to start welcoming attendees in person again by July. After staging a very well-received three-day virtual conference - the first NamesCon Online - last month, NamesCon has decided to move forward with three events next year - each with a different format. 

The schedule kicks off January 27-29 when NamesCon Online returns for another trip around the virtual track. Then, assuming that Covid-19 will finally be under control

by next summer, attendees will finally be able to meet face to face for the first time since NamesCon Global 2020 last January when NamesCon Europe 2021 re-opens the real world doors July 15-17 in Budapest.

2021's biggest event, NamesCon Global, was originally planned to be a live conference in Austin, Texas in January but Covid squashed that possibility. So, organizers have decided to move the Global conference to Autumn 2021 with a location and exact dates still to be determined. That show is being planned as a hybrid event, meaning the show will be open to both attendees on site and those who want to participate online from their own homes or offices. Call it the best of both worlds

A screenshot from NamesCon Online 2020 in September.

In the meantime, NamesCon Online has proven to be an invaluable substitute and, having done so in September, I would expect to see their registration numbers take a big jump in January. Look for registration to open before the end of October. 

As for NamesCon Europe 2021, many of you will recall that Budapest was supposed to host a 2020 Europe show in August but it had to be cancelled because of Covid. Now, that historic and stunning city will get a another opportunity wow domain investors from around the world next summer. 

Whether it is online or in person, we look forward to see as many of you as possible at NamesCon's 2021 events!

(Posted October 8, 2020) To refer others to†the post above only†(and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Seller of Voice.com at $30 Million Predicts Massive Boom in Domain Values in the Decade Ahead

In the summer of 2019 Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSTR), a public company with a $1.5 billion market cap), rocked the domain world when he completed  a record-shattering $30 million sale of Voice.com. That more than doubled the previous all-time record for a cash domain sale. The interesting thing is that Saylor believes that kind of price appreciation for top tier domains is nothing compared to what we will be seeing in the decade ahead. 

We learned this in a fascinating new interview at DomainSherpa.com in which MediaOptions CEO Andrew Rosener (who also owns DomainSherpa) sat down with Saylor for a wide-ranging in-depth discussion that ran for almost two 


MicroStrategy, Inc. CEO Michael Saylor (left) 
and MediaOptions CEO Andrew Rosener.  

hours. If you want to cut to the chase, you can go straight to the final half hour in which Saylor laid out in detail why he thinks domain values are headed for a nuclear level explosion over the next 10-15 years (for those who prefer reading to watching video, DomainSherpa also provides a full text transcript of the interview).

Saylor thinks Voice.com will be worth hundreds of millions in 10 years but, as the holder of many other top tier domains, he believed the $30 million sale now was a good strategic decision. "I felt like we needed to put a peg in the market to set it," Saylor said, "I'm like the guy that sold the first Picasso so that people would know that Picasso is art, but Iíve got the vault of the other Picassos. I would rather commercialize them for 100X the money and this is a wake up call so people will realize that domains are insanely valuable. For everybody thatís spending the billions of dollars on Google and Facebook advertising because their domain is weak - yeah they might want to repurpose some of that energy to do it the right way." 

Rosener, one of the world's top domain brokers and most astute analyzers of domain value, has never been one to be swayed by hyperbole, so what he had to say about the talk should be enough to make anyone want to listen. "This is the most important and valuable conversation I've ever had in my domain name career," Rosener stated matter-of-factly. "I think this interview has the potential to open a window that has been nailed shut for decades, straight into corporate board rooms worldwide. On the back of Saylor's record breaking sale of Voice.com and his recent purchase of $500 Million in Bitcoin to switch his corporate treasury to the Bitcoin Standard, Michael is on the radar of every corporate executive in America as well as every single crypto currency investor on the planet. It is one thing for us to espouse the benefits ourselves. It is another thing entirely when the most spotlighted public CEO in America right now says it in his own words - and he does not mince words!" 

You can see and decide for yourself with checking out the interview here.

(Posted October 6, 2020) To refer others to†the post above only†(and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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