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The Lowdown
August 2021 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.

Three Different Domain Auctions Will Be a Big Part of the Action at NamesCon Online Next Month

When NamesCon Online returns September 22-24, 2021 domain buyers and sellers will have multiple opportunities to ply their trade. Three distinctly different domain auctions are on the agenda for the three-day event. The first one will be a low or no reserve Rapid Fire Auction that will close the opening day of NamesCon Online Wednesday, September 22. It is scheduled to run from 19:00-20:00 UTC (3PM- 4PM US Eastern time). There will be no pre-bidding and no extended auction for this sale . That means you have to be in the (virtual) room to take part. If you have domains you would like to submit sale, you can do that here.

Day 2, Thursday, September 23, will close with the traditional live Premium Domain Auction conducted by RightOfTheDot.com (ROTD) President Monte Cahn and World

Champion auctioneer Wayne Wheat. They will be running this sale from a broadcast studio with a hand-picked selection of super-premium names going on the block. This high-stakes auction attracts the high-rollers of the domain world and is always an exciting  centerpiece at NamesCon events. The auction is slated to run from 19:00-20:00 UTC (3PM- 4PM US Eastern time). If you have a top tier domain you want to sell you can submit it for consideration here.

(Left to right): World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat, Wayne's assistant Lebbeus Kemp and RightOfTheDot.com Founder Monte Cahn

The third auction at NamesOnline will be a first - the major conference debut of a handshake domain auction. The Flamingo Handshake Auction, to be held on the closing day of the conference, Friday, September 24, will give Handshake aficionados an opportunity to beef up their decentralized portfolio with high-quality Handshake TLDs - especially emoji domains and one-word destinations. Submissions for the live Handshake auction will remain open until September 17.

(Posted August 30, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Domain Sales Boom Not Limited to Aftermarket - Radix Reached New High in Premium Registration Revenue in 1H-2021

We've gotten used to seeing eye-popping prices in the domain aftermarket this year, but many registry operators are also scoring big gains with new premium registrations and renewals. Radix just released their semi-annual report on those categories, covering the 1st half of 2021 (.pdf file) and it showed the highest premium domain revenue total they've posted in one half to date. 

Just under $1.24 million came in from new premium domain registrations (the chart at right breaks down how much was produced by each of Radix's 10 TLDs). The figure was even higher for the company's premium domain renewals, coming in at $1.67 million, for a grand total of $2.91 million. Total revenue was approximately $2 million in the previous half. These numbers reflect a 43% jump in revenue from new premium registration over the previous half (2H-2020) and a 47% surge in premium renewal income over the same period. 

.Tech generated the most new premium registration revenue at $362,401 (an average cost for its 314 registrations of $1,154 each). #2 earner, .Store, had a slightly higher number of registrations (316) but, with a $282,905 total, a lower average cost at $895).

63.5% of premium names up for their first renewal were kept by their owners (the renewal cost is the same as the original registration cost). The renewal rate is over 80% for renewals in the second and third years after the initial registrations.

(Posted August 26, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


The Domain Social is Going Out With a Bang - Free 9-Day Domainer Week Event Begins Thursday

Early last year the Covid-19 pandemic had made it clear that face to face domain meetings would be off the table for the foreseeable future. That promoted Michael Cyger to create an online substitute called The Quarantine Social in March 2020. When summer arrived, Michael, who is always busy with DNAcademy.com, needed to give up the social chores, but another industry veteran, Arif Mirza, was there to pick up the ball in July. Arif renamed the project The Domain Social and every Friday afternoon since then, domain investors from around the world have come together for the Zoom-based events that he produces and hosts. While the socials have been highly appreciated, the workload finally caught up with the Montreal based branding consultant and digital marketer too. So, The Domain Social is coming to close - but not without one giant last hurrah!

Arif Mirza

To wrap up The Domain Social era in style, Mirza has organized a 9-day Domainer Week, that will get underway Thursday, August 26 and run through Friday, September 3. The days will be filled with more than 20 online sessions featuring dozens of domain industry leaders. The evenings will include Domain Socials and other special events, including a live domain auction for the ICA. All of that and the whole thing is free of charge to all! All Mirza is asking for, from those who are able, is a charitable contribution of any size that will be divided between the Internet Commerce Association (ICA), The Water School, the fight against cancer (via the Fred Hutchinson Research Center and the Canadian Cancer Society) and Third World Education (through UNSECO/EFK).

Domainer Week will open at 12:30pm (US Eastern time) on Thursday when Arif will greet attendees and lay out what is in store for the day and week to follow. The first business session will follow at 1pm when Arif (at left in the photo above) will welcome GoDaddy GM & VP (Aftermarket) Paul Nicks (center) and DNJournal.com Editor and Publisher Ron Jackson (at right) to join him for a discussion on the state of the domain business today. That session will run about 75 minutes, followed by a 15-minute Sponsor Break (even sponsorship for Domainer Week is free with any charitable contribution).

In the 2nd session Thursday, at 2:30pm, Michael Cyger and Jason Sheppard (both from DNAcademy.com) and JoshReason (DNWE.com) will take over with tips on How to Invest in Domains. Opening Day will conclude with a Domain Social scheduled to run from 4pm to 6pm (they have been known to run over). You can check out the schedule and speakers for the entire week here

Domainer Week will conclude with the grand finale - the  last Domain Social - starting at 4pm Friday, September 3 - and I will be shocked if that one doesn't run way over! To get your free access to all of the activities, all you need to do is sign up here.

(Posted August 24, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


With the Agenda Now Set and the Show Just 4 Weeks Away NamesCon Online is Ready to Rock Again

After a successful show In January, NamesCon Online is returning for a star-studded autumn edition September 22-24, 2021. The agenda for sessions that will run concurrently on two stages throughout the show was essentially finalized today when a Fireside Chat I will have with the Castello Brothers, industry pioneers, Michael and David, was slated to kick off the final day of the three-day event at 11:05am (U.S. Eastern time) on Friday, September 24. I'm looking forward to sitting down with my long-time friends for a two-pronged talk titled How The Pandemic Launched A Domain Gold Rush and Why the Public Should Benefit, Not Monopolies

With a portfolio of top-tier one-word dictionary .com domains - the hottest commodity on the current domain aftermarket - Michael and David

Michael Castello (left) & David Castello
Castello Cities Internet Network

(whose past sales have hit as high as $3.1 million for a single domain- Whisky.com) are perfectly positioned to provide insight into the current domain sales boom. Just yesterday, the highest publicly reported sale of the year to date, Hippo.com at $3.3 million, was reported. that one came on the heels of a pair of 7-figure sales that Larry Fischer posted the week before (Marketing.com at $2.5 million and Near.com at $1.15 million). 

As good as things are on the sales front right now, the Castello Brothers have always kept a close eye on the big picture and developments that are important to all independent online entrepreneurs.  Michael, in particular, has written extensively about monopolistic practices by today's tech giants that need to be reined in to assure an even playing field for all, so we will be breaking that down as well.  

For me, the only thing that could be better than sitting in on a session like that would be sitting in on two of them - and I will get a chance to do that on the same day. In the closing Stage 1 session of the conference at 2:05pm (U.S. Eastern time) on  Friday, September 24 I will join Tessa Holcomb (DomainAdvisors.com/Igloo.com), Doron Vermaat (Efty.com) and Andee Hill (ICANN) for a session titled Flip the Script: Impactful Methods to Shift Negative Perceptions of the Domain Industry.

This is an especially relevant topic for me. From the day I entered the industry in the spring of 2002, right up to today, I have always been puzzled by criticism leveled at domain investors for doing what all investors do -  invest and risk money in something they hope will one day give them a  positive return on their investments. We have certainly made great strides on that front over the past two decades but the fact that it is still an issue to any degree, is disappointing - especially when I know the character, talent and vision of so many people in this business is unsurpassed. 

Clockwise, from top left, Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), Tessa Holcomb (DomainAdvisors.com/Igloo.com), 
Doron Vermaat
(Efty.com) and Andee Hill (ICANN).

As long as this remains an issue, we need to continue our educational efforts and outreach until everyone recognizes what seems so obvious to most of us. There is no difference between domain investors and those who investin real estate, stocks, bonds, coins, art, antiques and even other virtual assets like crypto currency and NFTs. Plenty of people have made money investing in all of those things and plenty have lost money as well. That's is 100% true of domains too - like every other investment, domains are a two-way street. Thanks to industry pros like Tessa, Doron and Andee, we've come a long way and they will share their thoughts on what else we can do to get this mission completed.

There will be so much going on an NamesCon Online I haven't even scratched the surface with this first post, but I'll fill you in on much more of what is in store in a series of posts as the countdown to show time continues.

(Posted August 23, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


George Kirikos Uncovers a $3.3 Million Blockbuster - the Biggest Domain Sale of the Year to Date

The world's #1 domain sleuth, George Kirikos, has done it again. As he reported on his FreeSpeech.com blog Sunday afternoon, Kirikos presented incontrovertible evidence that a US-based insurance technology company, Hippo Enterprises, purchased the Hippo.com domain name in the first quarter of this year for $3,300,000. With that, Hippo.com charges into the top spot on the 2021 top domain sales list (we will be officially charting it when our next bi-weekly domain sales report comes out Wednesday, September 1. 

This sale eclipses the $3.15 million sale of Christmas.com that has topped our YTD Top 100 Sales Chart since February. This wasn't as easy find for George. He first found evidence that a big sale had been completed while looking through a Hippo Enterprises SEC filing. However, as he details in his blog post, after the initial reference that piqued his interest,

Image from Bigstock

he had to dig out several other bits of information from multiple sources to definitively lock down the price paid for this premium domain.

Since Larry Fischer has also announced a 7-figure sale since our last domain sales report - (Near.com at $1.15 mllion) - there will at least two seven-figure sales at the top on our next bi-weekly Top 20 Sales Chart, the first time that will have happened in a year that has now had ten 7-figure sales come to light.

(Posted August 22, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Larry Fischer Logs His 2nd 7-Figure Sale THIS WEEK and Morgan Linton Brokers a $542,500 Deal

Less than 24 hours after I published our latest bi-weekly domain sales report, Larry Fischer (GetYourDomain.com), who led this week's chart after brokering a $2,500,000 sale of Marketing.com, announced another 7-figure sale! As Elliot Silver detailed at 

DomainInvesting,com today, Larry's second blockbuster sale of the week was Near.com at $1,150,000 in a sale made to a Singapore-based company that has raised $134 million in funding through its Series D funding rounds. Ari Goldberger and Jason Schaeffer at ESQwire.com handled escrow duties on the deal.

The main theme of this week's sales report was the remarkable frequency of seven-figure sales we've seen this summer (our latest report was the sixth consecutive edition, covering 12 weeks, that has a seven-figure sale at the top of the chart). With the Near.com sale, that streak will become 7 straight when our next edition comes out September 1.  It is especially impressive when you consider that these publicly reported sales are just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.

Image from Bigstock

In yet another impressive sale, Morgan Linton let me know today that he had just finished brokering a $542,500 sale of Able.com. In that transaction, Morgan represented the buyer, whom one of Morgan's friends had introduced him to. Morgan said completing the mission - getting the owner to sell - ended up being a complex process but he got the job done. As those of you who know Morgan are aware, he is such a nice guy it is hard for anyone to say no to him (a great quality for a broker to have)!

We will be updating our YTD Top 100 Sales Charts when our next bi-weekly report is released. As of today, Larry's sale of Near.com is the 8th biggest sale reported so far in 2021 (his Marketing.com sale is #2). Morgan's sale gives him a spot among the high fliers in the top 20. It has been great seeing the sales boom this year. The only downside is I am getting calluses on my finger tips from constantly pounding the calculator keys - and the year is still young!

(Posted August 19, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Larry Fischer & Ari Goldberger Team Up to Close a $2.5 Million Sale of Marketing.com

In the 2nd biggest publicly reported domain sale so far this year, industry pioneer Larry Fischer (GetYourDomain.com) has brokered a $2,500,000 sale of Marketing.com with his long time friend, partner and domain attorney Ari Goldberger (ESQwire.com) handling the escrow. When we add this sale to our charts in our next bi-weekly domain sales report on Wednesday evening (August 18) it will trail only the $3.15 million sale of Christmas.com on our 2021 YTD Top 100 Sales Chart.

As of this writing we don't know the identity of the buyer (the WhoIs record in under privacy) and the landing page at Marketing.com simply reads "Coming Soon." Whoever, acquired it got one of the premier domains on the Internet - an area Larry and Ari specialize in (another recent example being their sale of Home.com at an undisclosed price earlier this year).

This is the 8th publicly reported 7-figure domain sale so far this year with many others undoubtedly having been made under NDAs. Of the top six sales, four are one-word dictionary domains (Christmas.com, Marketing.com, Angel.com and Exodus.com) and two are rare two-letter .coms (IS.com and EE.com).

(Posted August 16, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Campaign Led by Radix's .Tech Domains Raises $62,000 to Expand Computer Science Access in Schools

Back in May, we told you about a new program that .Tech Domains (owned and operated by Radix) was launching in collaboration with Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools. The campaign, labeled #MyStartInTech, sought to eliminate widening gaps that impact young women and students from marginalized communities who are interested in computer science. Domain.com, GoDaddy Pro and Namecheap also got behind the effort and the final results have just been announced. With .Tech Domains and their campaign partners donating 100% of .Tech domain sales proceeds in May and June, over $62,000 was raised for Code.org.

The .Tech announcement noted, 
"The tech industry is historically plagued by stark under-representation of gender, race, ethnicity, geography, and family income. In fact, Code.org data shows that as of 2020, less than half of high schools in the United States teach foundational computer science, despite the fact that the number of job openings in the space have been multiplying year over year. The pandemic has further worsened this gap; disproportionately affecting students from already under-represented groups, especially since Covid-19 forced millions into remote or socially-distanced classrooms."

Suman Das, Sr. Director of Brand Operations, .Tech Domains, said, “We are proud of the awareness we’ve been able to create with the #MyStartInTech campaign for this incredibly important issue. Amassing more than 5 million impressions, this campaign not only illustrates how deep this issue goes in the United States, but also that there is a passion to learn more about it, solve it, and ultimately create an ecosystem that prioritizes equal access to computer science education in schools.”  

The campaign was supported by many notable figures from the tech industry such as Jason Calacinus, serial entrepreneur, angel investor, podcaster; Linus Sebastian, founder of YouTube channel Linus Tech Tips with over 13.5 million subscribers, and many more.    

The campaign also included a series of educational webinars, hosted in association with GoDaddy Pro and Major League Hacking (MLH), that cumulatively garnered over 45,000 attendees tuning in to hear experts discuss the staggering statistics surrounding the lack of access to computer science in schools across the U.S., what they mean for the future of tech education, and how the tech community could come together to widen access to computer science in schools.

Elpida Moutsiou, Global Marketing Manager, Domains at Namecheap, added, “Everything we do at Namecheap is driven by our mission to keep the Internet open, free, and safe for everyone. When our partner Radix reached out to us to collaborate on a program that supports access to computer science to more young people, we just had to go all in! It is our belief that computer science is fundamental for everyone, everywhere. Code.org's mission to teach computer science to young women, and students from marginalized communities, is one we are proud to support by donating all our proceeds for .TECH domain sales during this two month period.”  

(Posted August 10, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:



Bhavin Turakhia’s Titan Raises $30 Million from Automattic to Re-invent Professional Email for Web Presence Providers

The latest enterprise of serial entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia - Titan - has just taken a major step forward with a $30 million investment from WordPress parent Automattic (a Series A investment that values Titaln at $300 million). Titan's ambitious mission is to provide the next generation of email for customers of web hosting providers, site builders and domain registrars. Bhavin, of course, has already scored big wins as the innovative founder of Radix, Flock and Zeta and Titan looks to be on the same high speed track.

Titan was born out of a vision to re-invent email, specifically to meet the needs of the small business customers that are starting with their web presence. As Titan's Founder and CEO, Turakhia noted, “For far too long, customers looking to get started with their web presence with their own domains and hosting have had no good options in terms of getting a great email experience. They’ve either had to contend with legacy platforms built more than a decade ago or buy prohibitively expensive solutions from Google and Microsoft. Titan is here to change that.”  

Over the past two quarters, Titan has become available to all customers of WordPress.com, Hostgator Latin America, and Hostinger.com, with more globally reputed hosting brands set to launch Titan shortly. Titan works with the leading hosting and site builder platforms globally to provide an Integrated Email experience that enables users to set up and access email along with their website. 

Bhavin Turakhia

A Titan news release today said that by partnering with Titan and offering customers an email experience that meets their specific needs, Web Hosts and Domain Registrars can double their profits. Through Titan's plugins, the Titan control panel can be integrated into hosting control panels and WordPress with the potential to drive a 3x lift in email attach rates.

Titan WordPress plugin

Titan also claims these advantages over existing solutions:

  • Increasing email deliverability, improving NPS - with a flawless IP reputation and an advanced abuse prevention process, Titan can guarantee email deliverability, reducing customer complaints and driving a higher NPS. in developed markets.

  • Improving customer engagement and reducing customer churn by 5% - by integrating the Titan into your own hosting panels, Titan partners can see a 100x lift in logins to their website and higher customer renewals from the increased usage.

  • Increasing brand engagement 100x - in providing hero branding to partners, partners can capitalize on their customer's daily email use and stop forfeiting that top-of-mind brand recall to Google and Microsoft.

  • Custom packaging and pricing - Titan puts its partners in control of pricing, enabling them to offer Titan through freemium bundles, low-cost stand-alone offerings in developing markets, or premium packages in developed markets.

Turakhia said, "Our partners are the key to our strategy, and I’ve found that working with partners that truly care about giving their customers the best experience ultimately have the best revenue outcomes as well. This investment reinforces our commitment to our partner-first philosophy.

Titan's Hero interface

Automattic Founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg added, "We are excited to make our largest strategic investment to date in Titan, and we are working to integrate it deeply on WordPress.com as a tool to help customers build a professional brand online. We believe in Titan’s potential to create a world-class suite of productivity tools that offer an in dashboard, customized user experience, in which it gives users and partners ownership and control over their personal data.”

Titan plans to leverage the investment to deepen and expand its product suite to deliver even greater value to its current and future customers.

(Posted August 3, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


George Kirikos Uncovers One of the 3 Biggest Domain Sales Reported Year to Date as 7-Figure Sales Continue to Pile Up 

While a lot of us spend our summer weekends relaxing, one of the industry's most successful investors, George Kirikos, seems to spend at least a portion of his poring over government SEC filings in search of important, previously unreported domain sales. In doing so, George has broken the news on so many big ones I would estimate the number in approaching triple digits now (if not already there). Over the past weekend he did it again, uncovering and reporting the details of a $1,950,000 sale of IS.com on his FreeSpeech.com blog. 

George found the key information in a filing made by ironSource Ltd., who acquired the domain in a deal  closed in the first quarter of this year. However, as he details in his article, he had to carefully go through additional materials to get all of the evidence he needed to deliver an ironclad

finding about the transaction. This kind of spadework is something Kirikos routinely does and I have too often failed to properly acknowledge that by simply saying he found the information in a government filing. By going well beyond that in his meticulous research, he has produced a treasure trove of sales information that has benefited all of us - and continues to do so on a remarkably regular basis.

George's latest filing means that, for the 5th week in a row, our bi-weekly domain sales report will include at least one 7-figure sale when it comes out Wednesday evening (August 4). As of this writing, IS.com is the 3rd biggest publicly reported sale year to date. Only Christmas.com ($3.15 million) and Angel.com ($2 million) have been bigger.

August 2, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


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