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The Lowdown
January 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.

Closing Day Photos & Highlights from the 2021 NamesCon Online Conference Friday, January 29

The 2021 NamesCon Online conference completed its 3-day run Friday (January 29) with another full slate of business sessions on multiple tracks (you can get the day 1 highlights here and the day 2 highlights here). Once the Friday work day was done attendees from more than 50 countries headed to a three-hour online Domain Social that capped a successful week for the ambitious show. Normally at this time every year, people from the global domain industry come together in person for the annual NamesCon Global conference, but

Covid-19 forced NamesCon to adapt to a new world and they have done that very well indeed. 

Above: The closing day on the Keynote Track began at 11am US Eastern time with a panel discussion about the innovative DAN.com ecosystem titled Uniting and Pushing the Domain Industry Forward Domain buyers need to be able find domains that meet their needs and sellers need better selling tools, so the founders of the DAN.com platform set about building value-added partnerships and using the latest technology to knock down the  barriers to connection between buyers and sellers. The panelists included (clockwise from top left), DAN.com CEO Reza Sardeha, Efty.com Co-Founder Doron Vermaat, MediaOptions.com CEO Andrew Rosener and DNWE.com Co-Founder Josh Reason.

Above: The next session was the last of the three State of the Industry panels I hosted at NamesCon Online. After talking to Corporate leaders Wednesday and some of the world's best Domain Brokers Thursday, I got together Friday with three successful Domain Investor/Developers to see how they navigated the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 and get their forecast and advice on where you will find good opportunities in 2021 (the series was an expansion of the 17th annual State of the Industry Cover Story we published last week). I was pleased to be able get insight from friends representing three different continents. Clockwise from top left are Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), and, in the U.S. corner, Morgan Linton (Bold Metrics Inc. and MorganLinton.com), from India, and a star on NamesCon's South Asia Track, Deepak Daftari (eSiksha.com) and representing Europe, Munich-based industry veteran Jochen Kieler (SuperSource.de). If you are a show registrant and missed this, or any of the other NamesCon sessions live, replays are (or soon will be) available to you to watch at your convenience. 

Above: The Future of Domain Monetization was the topic of the first afternoon conference. Everyone is familiar with the traditional parked page that has been utilized for so long now, but this panel of experts discussed what is in store for the future of domain monetization, covering how it will differ form today and changes that could be beneficial for domain investors. Clockwise from top left, the panel included moderator Christa Taylor (dotTBA.com), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Adam Wagner (ParkingCrew.com), David Warmuz (CEO, Trellian/Above.com) and Matt Wegrzyn (Bodis.com).

Above: Domain investors and major corporations often hold hundreds, or even thousands of domains in their portfolios. That can create a management headache but there are solutions that moderator Bill Sweetman (Name Ninja), at right above, discussed in the next session with Nisha Parkash (Online Compliance and Brand Protection Manager, Sky Limited) titled You're Doing it All Wrong: Lessons Learned from Managing a Large Corporate Domain Portfolio.

Above: People always want to know what their domains are worth, so when a session is titled What's My Domain Worth?, a big audience is sure to gather, especially when the people doing the appraisals are of the caliber featured on this panel. Clockwise from top left are Josh Schoen (Co-Founder, DNWE.com), Keith DeBoer (Brandable Insider podcast), Kate Buckley (BuckleyMedia.com), Ammar Kubba (afterTHOUGHT.com) and Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com).

Above: The show's final Keynote Track session Friday afternoon was a great Fireside Chat With Tucows CEO Elliot Noss, sub-titled, How Do We Make The Internet Better From Here?. Asking the questions was, at right above, Christian Dawson (Executive Director, i2Coalition). The session's synopsis will tell you why you should check out the replay on this one if you missed it live. It noted, "Tucows was started in 1993 and back then they weren’t even in the domains business - pretty much nobody was!...CEO Elliot Noss, has coached his organization through many shifts over the year, and knows something about surviving and thriving through change. He believes that current events have made the DNS industry the canary in a coal mine for the whole Internet and that we have a unique role to play in the coming decade as platforms, not countries, will be “making law” whether we like it or not."

As has been the case every day at NamesCon Online, additional sessions on the Breakout Track ran concurrently with the Keynote Track throughout the day. I had to miss the first two while I was onstage doing my State of the Industry Panel but will catch those in the replays. In the first, Yogi Solanki (Founder, Outbound Domains) covered Outbound Objection Handling. In the second, Darpan Munjal (Founder & CEO, Squadhelp.com) presented Data Driven Domaining: Insights & Trends for Brandable Domains.

Above: Action on the Breakout Track continued with the final chapter in Drew Walsh's 3-day Development Series: Go All in With Full Development. Drew, who runs MovingSites.com, has been a domain investor since 2001. He buys premium domain names with the sole purpose of developing them. He works to extract the value of the domain as a business rather than selling them. Drew also does a weekly live stream called Domain to Profit where he works to help others develop domains.

Above: Next up, the topic turned to Blockchain Domains & the Decentralized Web. This session covered how blockchains provide a new platform for domain registries. The panelists, clockwise from top left, were Brad Kam (Unstoppable Domains), Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com) and Julia Szyndzielorz (Senior Public Relations Manager, Opera).

Below: In the next session, James Tuplin (Co-Founder, Bodis.com) answered the question, Can You Ever Have Too Many Domains? Building & Maintaining a Profitable Portfolio. In this one James focused on how to build a revenue-generating portfolio of domains that attract web traffic.


Above: Domain investors are always looking for places to market their domains. This session tells you about what could be a marriage made in heaven if you approach it in a professional way. LinkedIn & Domain Sales featured, clockwise from top left, Tessa Holcomb (Founder, DomainAdvisors.com), Jeff Garbutt (Founder, Prime Loyalty) and Morgan Linton (COO, Bold Metrics Inc.).

Below: In the show's final session on the Breakout Track, united-domains AG CTO & Board Member Tobias Sattler (who is also Editor-in-chief at MyNext.Events and Founder of Domain Name Basics), delivered a timely talk on the COVID-19 Impact on Domain Names. Here, Tobias (at right) is introduced by energetic Breakout Track host Peter Schwinge.

Above: In addition to the Keynote, Breakout, Americas, and South Asia Tracks, many attendees were able to set up or participate in many other meetings that were held throughout the show in the Workshop Rooms. One of the best attended Friday was an Internet Commerce Association discussion about UDRP Issues. Handling that, clockwise from top left, were ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz, attorney Jason Schaeffer (ESQwire.com) ICA General Counsel Zak Muscovitch and ICA Board Member Nat Cohen (Telepathy).

With business now done at NamesCon Online 2021, it was time to say goodbye to the hundreds of registrants who logged in from around the world. Ecstatic to have produced another outstanding conference in the face of so many Covid-releated obstacles, NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin (top right), and (clockwise after Soeren), Moderators Bill Sweetman, Christian Dawson and Christa Taylor, were all on hand to provide a heartfelt farewell for now. We couldn't help noticing that Bill apparently took the occasion to adopt a new stage name- DJ HotDomains! It was obvious that Soeren noticed it and wondered if his eyes might be deceiving him! Hey, we are in a business that is all about the name, so if it works for Name Ninja Bill, more power to him. Congrats to Soeren and the entire NameCon team on a job well done and thank you for the incredible value you delivered for attendees this week.

Of course, after every NamesCon there are always a lot of people who don't want to go home, and just because this one was online, it was no exception. A three-hour special edition of Arif Mirza's The Domain Social was held immediately after the conference on Zoom and when I dropped in the number of attendees was already in triple digits and steadily growing. 

Arif Mirza (above) with help from Jothan Frakes (below) - both snapped at today's social - have been hosting The Domain Social every Friday (along with some on other special occasions) and it has helped a lot of people stay connected through the pandemic. It is open to all and you can get email notices that will alert you to every upcoming event by signing up here.

One final note, the show is over but our coverage is not. NamesCon's outstanding South Asia Track ran in what were the overnight hours in the U.S. when most of us were sleeping. So, as I did in covering the first NamesCon Online event in September, I will sit down and experience the full South Asia track via the replays so I can put together a separate post detailing those sessions. That will appear in this column one day next week. In the meanwhile, everyone stay safe and put all of the great tips you got this week to good use in 2021!

(Posted January 29, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Day 2 Photos & Highlights from the 2021 NamesCon Online Conference Thursday, January 28

The 2021 NamesCon.Online conference continued Thursday (January 28) with several special events included among the full buffet of business sessions offered across multiple tracks (you can see all of the day one photos and highlights here). Those Thursday events included presentation of the Internet Commerce Association's 5th Annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award, NamesCon's live domain auction, staged on the GoDaddy platform, and - midway through the auction - presentation of Escrow.com's annual Master of Domains Awards that recognize the

world's top ten domain brokers based on total dollar volume transacted on the Escrow.com platform.


We were there for all of it, so let us take you through the day as it unfolded. Things got started on the Keynote Track at 11am (U.S. Eastern Time) when Domain Name Wire's Andrew Allemann interviewed CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford in an informative fireside chat (below). CentralNic has been one of the industry's fastest growing companies over the past couple of years during which time they have made numerous acquisitions that have made them a company that everyone is paying close attention to now.



Ben was also one of the panelists on my first State of the Industry (SOI) session Wednesday morning when we heard from Corporate Leaders. This morning I hosted the second session in the SOI series, interviewing some of the industry's leading Domain Brokers (the series will conclude Friday morning when I talk with top Domain Investors and Developers at 11:35am Eastern).



Above: The panelists for the State of the Industry: Domain Brokers session were (clockwise from top left) Evergreen.com CEO Jen Sale, RightOfTheDot.com President Monte Cahn, NameRunway.com CEO Cate Lim, Sedo Senior Broker Dave Evanson and moderator Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com). I know I'm biased on this point but I thought it was a great session with excellent information and advice on industry trends and opportunities from every member of the panel.  If you missed the session live, it, like all NamesCon Online sessions, should be available to attendees for replay within the next 24 hours (replays of the Wednesday sessions were already up this morning).



Above: Next up Moderator Christa Taylor top left) conducted a timely session on How the pandemic has favored new gTLDs that featured Radix Head of Premium Domains Karn Jajoo (top right) and Donuts Senior Sales VP Matt Overman (row 2). They detailed how organizations are using new gTLDs to expand their online presence using analytical insights and statistical trends in numerous segments including eCommerce, social and more.



Above: NamesCon is known for reaching beyond the industry to pull in speakers who have done extrarordinary things in their lives. It is always a source of inspiration and a reminder that there are few limits on what you can do if you set your mind to to. Today was no exception when NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin interviewed Cassie de Pecol, the first woman to travel to every country in the world! (a perfect choice for a conference that draws attendees from all over the world). Cassie, who is CEO of Expedition 196 LLC and the Founder of Her International Inc., has spoken to over 16,000 university and high school students, as well as countless corporate and non-profit industry professionals since her history making 196 country Expedition. 



At 1:15pm (US Eastern time) the  Internet Commerce Association presented their 5th annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award - an honor that goes to an individual the industry recognizes for their efforts to build a sense of community in our space. The award, in memory of the late, great domain investor and exemplary human being, Lonnie Borck, is usually presented every January during an ICA members dinner at the in-person edition of the NamesCon Global conference. Since the pandemic squashed that opportunity this year, the ICA and NamesCon has to get creative and come up with a new way to bestow the award on its recipient - and they did a great job of doing that.



Above:  The Lonnie Borck Award ceremony started with a pre-produced film introducing the nine nominees who were rendered as cartoon characters whose resemblances to the real people was uncanny. Left to right they were Bob Mountain, Michael Cyger, Andrew Allemann, Donna Adams, Richard Lau, Gerald Levine, Gregg McNair, Jothan Frakes and Andrew Strong



Above: Now, with personal meetings severely limited, it was hard to figure out a way to surprise the winner (always a big part of the fun in a Lonnie Borck Award ceremony). As it happens, two of the nominees, Michael Cyger (at left) and Andrew Allemann live near each other on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. So, the ICA was able to enlist Allemann to successfully pull off their plot. Andrew called Michael and told him he would like to tape a pre-NamesCon interview with him. Using that ruse, Andrew had the camera already set up when Michael arrived. But once he started recording Allemann confessed to Cyger that he had fudged a bit on the truth. Andrew then handed him a black box. Inside it Michael was stunned to find the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award with his name on it! Well played Andrew and the ICA!


Below: While Cyger was understandably at a loss for words during the taping, ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz brought him up live on a Zoom call today in which Michael was effusive in his praise for Lonnie, what the award means to him and how thankful he was to those who nominated and voted for him. Another film clip was played in which Lonnie's wife, Ronit, expressed her pleasure at seeing the honor go to Michael. It was indeed a great choice. Michael has played an enormous role in helping knit together the unique community we all enjoy within this industry today. 




Above: The final order of business on the Keynote Track Thursday was the live domain auction that got a shiny new production coat designed for NamesCon Online, with Peter Schwinge directing traffic from an Auction Center News Desk.


Above & below: While viewers watched bids come in as each lot neared expiration, auction emcee Jonathan Tenenbaum (below), the COO at MediaOptiojns.com, called on a variety of experts, including Ammar Kubba, Braden Pollock, Shane Cultra, Michael Cyger and many others to comment on the merits of each domain. That made the whole process an education in itself as the commentators shared their thoughts on the value of  each name and whether the prices being bid were too high, too low or just about right. It can take some time to tabulate votes, verify bids, etc. so we don't yet have the final auction results in.




Above: In another special event midway through the auction, the winners of Escrow.com's annual Master of Domains Awards were announced. Awards go to the world's top ten domain brokers based on the total dollar volume they transacted on the Escrow.com platform. For the third consecutive year the top spot went to MediaOptions.com CEO Andrew Rosener. Congrats on the hat trick Andrew - that is a remarkable accomplishment! The first five was rounded out by Keith Richter (Lumis.com), Ryan McKegney (DomainAgents.com), Jeff Gabriel (Saw.com) and Steve Miholovich (NameArena.com).


As is the case every day at NamesCon Online, there was also plenty of activity on the Breakout Track that ran simultaneously with the Keynote Track. The Breakout sessions began at 11AM (US Eastern time) when Kickstart Commerce Founder Alvin Brown (below) covered The Pros and Cons of Buying and Selling Geo Service Domains.



I had to miss the next two sessions on the Breakout Track because at the time they were running I was on the Keynote Track stage doing my State of The Industry interviews with Domain Brokers. Those sessions were Michael Gilmour's (ParkLogic.com) State of Domain Monetization talk and GoDaddy Tips to Selling More Domain Names that featured GoDaddy execs Dan Adamson and Todd Cantwell. Fortunately, I will be able to catch both of those when NamesCon posts the replays. 



Above: Drew Walsh (MovingSites.com) continued his Domain Development Series with A Way to Soft Launch the Business Thursday afternoon. In part 2 of the series Drew showed some ways to create revenue with a soft business launch on your domain.


Below: Next on the Breakout Track, the SEO Benefits of Aged Brandable Domains were covered by Affiliate Marketer Craig Campbell.




Above: In the final Breakout Track session Thursday, NamesCon's Peter Schwinge introduced Arif Mirza (The Domain Social) for an eye opening session titled Exploring the Math Behind Your Domain Portfolio to See if You’re On Track for Rags…or Riches.



While the Thursday Keynote and Breakout Tracks were now done, there were still two late day sessions on the Americas Track to go. In the first one at 4pm DNAcademy.com Founder Michael Cyger (above) showed how to Make the Jump from Hobbyist to Professional Domain Name Investor.


Two hours later, .CLUB CMO Jeff Sass (below) brought four fellow experts together for a session titled Domains: Essential to Brand-based Marketing. Jeff was joined by consultant Joe Alagna (Alagna.com), Jonathan Thomas (Blacknight), Tim Smith (GM, Canadian International Pharmacy Association) and Neha Naik (Director of Channel Partnerships at Radix). The group explained how to leverage the right domain(s) to amplify your brand’s messaging, making it an essential session for marketers, brand managers, and anyone who wants to understand the power of domains in marketing. If you missed, look for the replay Friday!



...and that's still not all! While most of us are sleeping in the U.S. tonight, the South Asia Track, that fires up at Midnight (U.S. Eastern time), will be running all night! We will use NamesCon's replay system to write a separate article about the South Asia Track that will be published next week.


So, now just one day to go. We'll have photos and highlights from the busy Closing Day Friday for you in this column Friday evening.

(Posted January 28, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Day 1 Photos & Highlights from the 2021 NamesCon Online Conference Wednesday, January 27

The 2021 NamesCon.Online conference opened today with attendees logging in from more than 40 different countries around the globe. NamesCon President and CEO Soeren von Varchmin also said more tickets were distributed for this show than any in NamesCon history. Of course, the $79 price point made possible by doing the show entirely online had a lot to do that. It can easily cost $2,000 to go to an in-person NamesCon event when you add up the ticket price, airfare and a hotel room. 

Despite the rock bottom price, the NamesCon content may be richer than ever. I spent the entire day hopping from one session to another across three different tracks and also popped into another discussion in the Workshop Rooms. The amount of valuable information flowing from those panels was remarkable and I was constantly reminded of how nice it will be to have online replays of all sessions available to registrants soon. Thanks to those, we will all have plenty of time to catch up on whatever we miss live this week. 



Above: The day officially began with von Varchmin welcoming the crowd to the event, doing so from the comfort of his own home in Barcelona, Spain. While everyone was excited to see NamesCon return, the opening moments were a time for reflection as Soeren paid tribute to a friend of so many of us, the beloved founder of Domaining Europe, Dietmar Stefitz, who passed in 2020. In honor of Dietmar, NamesCon produced a moving video tribute that was shown before people down to business (as Dietmar surely would have wanted them to do). The photo below is a screenshot from that video, one that reminds us how much our unique industry is not just a business, it is also a family.




Above: To get the opening day of business under way, Soeren introduced NamesCon's two primary moderators - Bill Sweetman (Name Ninja), at top right, and Christa Taylor (DotTBA.com) in row 2.  Then the moderators for additional sessions were introduced, including Braden Pollock, Jay Paudyal (Urban Skill), Andrew Allemann (DNW.com) and Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com). 


Below: Soeren then got the things rolling on the Keynote Track by having a Fireside Chat with his Barcelona neighbor, NameAgency.com Founder Jordi Gasull. Jordi is a veteran domain investor, developer and broker who is known around the world as one of the industry's nicest guys. When I met Jordi in person for the first time at Dietmar Stefitz's 2017 conference in Berlin, I felt I already knew him well because of how many good things I had heard about him over the years.




Above: NamesCon Online 2021's first panel discussion was a State of the Industry: Corporate Leaders session that I had the honor of moderating. It was the first of three sessions I am doing this week as an expansion of DNJournal's annual State of the Industry Cover Story (the 17th annual edition was published last week). On Thursday I will have a panel featuring leading Domain Brokers and on Friday I will speak with top tier Domain Investors and Developers


I couldn't have been happier to have four of the industry's most experienced and most innovative leaders on today's panel. They included CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford (top left), DAN.com CEO Reza Sardeha (top center), Radix CEO Sandeep Ramchandani (top right) and, next to me in the 2nd row at right, GoDaddy VP, Domains (Investors & Corporate), Paul Nicks. All of their companies are experiencing extraordinary rates of growth and they expect that boom to continue in 2021.



The first afternoon session on the Keynote Track was titled We're Richer Together: Fractional Ownership as an Asset Class. The panel discussed the possibility of fractional ownership of high value domains names finally gaining traction. The idea has been bandied about for years but many experts think its time has finally come. The panelists were (clockwise from top left), Chad Folkening (Leader, RealtyDAO), moderator Andrew Allemann, MediaOptions.com CEO Andrew Rosener and DAN.com CEO Reza Sardeha.


Below: Next up, the subject was SEO Domains: A Crash Course in Valuations that featured (clockwise from top left), Sean Markey (Publisher, Rank Theory), Grace Adato (SEO Analyst, Hennessey Digital), Kalin Karakehayov (Founder, Edoms.com) and moderator Braden Pollock.




Above: By now many of you have probably heard about the red hot new audio only social media platform Clubhouse (currently available only as an Iphone app). Many domainers have already adopted the invitation-only service so this timely session, Learn about Domaining on the Clubhouse Platform, was widely attended. It featured (clockwise from top left), Jeff Sass (CMO, .CLUB Domains), Andrew Rosener (CEO, MediaOptions.com), Michele Van Tilborg, President, .CLUB Domains), Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com) and Aishwin Vikhona (Founder, iLoveDomains.com).


Below: The grand finale of the Keynote Track Wednesday was a Domain Investor's Journey, in which a panel of experienced domain investors discussed how they got into the business and found their place in it. The popular session featured (clockwise from top left) moderator Alan Shiflett (Director, GoDaddy), Mike Mann (DomainMarket.com), Jamie Zoch (DotWeekly.com), Jason Sheppard (Domain Folks) and Josh Reason (DNWE.com).




After the Keynote Track business sessions ended .CLUB presented a LIVE comedy show featuring award-winning comedians Lauren O'Brien and Jesse Egan but I wasn't able to get the Zoom link to the show to work for me. I know others did get in, so it must have been some local issue on my side. I tried to console myself by remembering Groucho Marx's immortal words (paraphrased a bit to suit the occasion), "I would never want to go to a club that would allow someone like me in anyhow!"  :-)


On a more serious note, to show you how much invaluable content is available at NamesCon Online, two of the best sessions ran before the conference even started!  Soeren von Varchmin (left, above) pre-recorded a pair of Fireside Chat interviews with pioneering domain investor/brokers - Andrew Miller (ATM Holdings), above right, and Andy Booth (Booth.com), below right, that were made available this morning as special previews before the show started. Since they were pre-recorded the replays are already available for registrants to watch. These two gentlemen have been involved in some of the biggest domain sales on record and you will want to make a point of listening to both at your first opportunity.




At the same time the Keynote Track was running, action was fast and furious on the Breakout Track with most sessions clocking in at a brisk 15 to 20 minutes each. Ultimate pro Peter Schiwinge (above)  expertly managed the traffic and moderated throughout the day. I regrettably missed the first session because, at the time, I was onstage myself over on the Keynote Track. That was a Global Domain Report 2021 – Facts & Recommendations for Domainers and Registrars, presented by Marco Hoffman (InterNerX) and Christian Voss (Sedo). Knowing how sharp these two guys, this is the first session I will be watching when the replays go up! 



The Breakout Track continued with the first part of Drew Walsh's Development Series: Starting to Capture Interest and Build a List. Drew (above), who runs MovingSites.com, offered some great advice for domain developers. Right after Drew, Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com) delivered another can't miss session - Investing in Domains as a Business, Not a Hobby.




Next up the merger of the DNA and the i2Coalition was covered by Christian Dawson (executive Director i2Coalition), above left, and Alvaro Alvarez (EVP, General Counsel & Secretary, Donuts Inc.), above right, in a session titled Stronger Voice Together: DNA & i2Coalition. The Domain Name Association began as a trade association focused on promoting growth, innovation, education around domain names. In 2020, the DNA merged with i2Coalition as the DNA recognized the opportunity to increase both resources and reach to grow awareness, adoption, and access by forming the largest Internet infrastructure advocacy group in North America.



Unfortunately, I missed a session on Blockchain DNS with Brad Kam (Founder, Unstoppable Domains) that fell during the lunch hour but got back on the Breakout track at 1:30pm (US Eastern time) for the session above titled Valuing a Domain Name According to the Iceberg Method that was presented by Clement Genty (Associate Researcher - ENSAM, Arts & Metiers). Clement's Iceberg method was created from scientific research in the context of a PhD thesis. 


In the next session (below) CentralNic's Tony Kim and Francesco Cetraro, delivered an illuminating session called Don't Leave Money on the Table: How to Maximize Your Profits as a Domain Registrar or Reseller. If you are in that business, you will want to put this one on your replay list.




Wednesday's Breakout Track concluded with the sessions above and below. Above, Neha Naik (Director of Channel Partnerships at Radix) interviewed speaker, author and consultant Ryan Foland who gave his take on New Domains in the Marketing & Personal Branding Space. Below, Michiel Grotenhuis (COO, FLATsite) discussed How Domain Investors Can Benefit From FLATsite. FLATsite is a WordPress static site generator that gives you a platform to make all of your WordPress sites faster and more secure.



As soon as the Breakout Track ended, I headed over to the Workshop Rooms to catch an excellent Internet Commerce Association presentation on Defending Domain Name Investing (photo below). The important topic was covered by ICA General Counsel Zak Muscovitch, Board Member Nat Cohen and Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz.



NamesCon Online is an around the clock show. While the ICA session was wrapping up, the America's Track was just getting started with a late afternoon session (below) on How to Value Domain Names Step-by-Step, presented by Michael Cyger (DNAcademy.com).



In a second America's Track session at 6pm (below) .CLUB's Jeff Sass moderated a discussion called Domain Names: From the Outside Looking In. Jeff talked with influential marketers from outside our industry to see what they really think and understand about domains. Jeff is at top left, with the panelists (clockwise after Jeff) including Jason Falls (Cornett), Leo Morejon (ProveItMatters.com), David Berkowitz (Serial Matters) and Elisabeth Klughardt (OpenEye).



As I write this Wednesday night, NamesCon is finally in a short lull, but the action resumes at 12 Midnight U.S. Eastern time when the South Asia Track opens! Being human (or a reasonable facsimile of one) I do need sleep, so I will have to cover that Track the way I did for the first NamesCon Online conference last September. After NamesCon concludes and all of the replays have been posted, I will watch the South Asia sessions and give those a post of their own that will be published next week. 


Right now, it is time to start getting ready for Day 2 Thursday. I will be back on stage at 11:20am (US EST) for my next State of the Industry panel featuring leading Domain Brokers Monte Cahn, Dave Evanson, Cate Lim and Jen Sale. Tomorrow night I'll be back here with the Day 2 photos and highlights for you.


(Posted January 27, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


It's Showtime! NamesCon Online 2021 Begins Its 3-Day Run Wednesday + A Domain News Roundup

'Twas the night before NamesCon and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even...who I am kidding! It's pandemonium here! We're scrambling to get the decks cleared because NamesCon.Online 2021 starts Wednesday morning (January 27). That means we will be glued to our monitors for the next three days covering the show and participating in it. I will be moderating three State of the Industry panels - one each morning - starting with Corporate Leaders Wednesday (at 11:30am US Eastern time), then leading Domain 

Brokers Thursday (at 11:20am EST), followed by top Domain Investors & Developers Friday (at 11:35am EST).  Those sessions continue the theme established in our 17th annual State of the Industry Cover Story that was released last week.


Registration for the conference is still open and the $79 price is a true bargain, especially since you don't have to worry about being able to catch every session with in the 72-hour time frame. All sessions will be made available to you in online replays shortly after the live event ends (you can see the full agenda here). I found those replays to be invaluable after the first NamesCon Online event held this past September. It all starts at 11am US Eastern Time Wednesday morning. I am planning on having daily recaps in this column each evening Wednesday through Friday.


Over the past week, while pre paring for my NamesCon sessions, putting together our State of the Industry Story, plus our latest bi-weekly domain sales report and a new in-depth interview with Sedo CEO Michael Robrock that just came out today, I didn't have a chance to get to several other items that I normally would have done separate posts about. However, here is a capsule view of each of those, along with a link where you can get more information:


With the closing of the final quarter of the previous year, January is a time when a lot of data-driven reports are released. One our favorites is Guta.com's annual Premium Domain Sales Observation Report covering activity in China. While the boom there has subsided, the key Chinese players are still making major acquisitions and sales. Guta Founder George Hong and his team have put together another excellent report for 2020.


Another one we always check out is GGRG.com's quarterly Liquid Market Overview (LMX) and the  4Q-2020 report is available now. 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. This is a category that is in consistently high demand and is tracked carefully by many professional investors.


Also on the report front, just today Radix released their latest semi-annual Premium Domains Report (.pdf file) covering the 2nd half of 2020. The company logged just over $2 million in premium domain retail revenue, with $1.15 million of that coming from premium domain renewals. They also reported revenue from new premium registrations rose 37% from the previous 6-month period. 


Mike Mann (left) & Divyank Turakhia

Before wrapping this up and switching focus to NamesCon Online for the rest of the week, I also want to point you to an excellent new video interview that Mike Mann has posted from his live streaming series. In this one, Mike sat down with the Co-Founder of Radix's parent company, Directi, 38-year-old billionaire Divyank Turakhia. Div is a domain industry pioneer who was a regular speaker and attendee on the conference circuit for many years while building his fortune. He and his brother, Bhavin, are a couple of the good guys who did it all the right way and deserve all of the success and respect they have achieved.

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


RightOfTheDot Founder Monte Cahn Announces New Live Online Domain Auction To Be Held February 25, 2021

Monte Cahn and his company, RightOfTheDot, LLC (ROTD), are synonymous with live premium domain auctions. Monte has been staging them all over the world for nearly two decades now, usually in conjunction with major domain conferences, past and present, like NamesCon, Domainfest Global and T.R.A.F.F.I.C.  For the time being, the Covid-19 pandemic has shut down in person domain conferences, but ROTD is ready to carry on with a new event scheduled to begin at 12 Noon (U.S. Central Standard Time) on February 25, 2021.

Monte Cahn
Founder, President & Director

The upcoming ROTD auction will be run in partnership with best selling author and World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat who will take the gavel to auction off 50-75 super premium domain names during a live webcast at https://ROTD.hibid.com/ that will originate from a production studio in Wheat's hometown, College Station, Texas. The webcast will be preceded by a timed online auction that will offer hundreds of additional domain names for sale.

Cahn said, “As increasing numbers of businesses move online, especially due to Covid-19, premium domain names will continue to increase in desirability and value as business owners recognize their need to have a memorable domain name to stay competitive. These live and online premium domain auctions present a unique opportunity for business owners and investors to obtain some of the best, one-of-a-kind domain names available anywhere!”

Domain name owners interested in submitting domains for inclusion in this premium auction may do so at: http://rotd.com/auction-submission/.  The deadline for submissions 

is February 18, 2021. In order to bid on a name, you will need to sign up for a bidding account here: https://ROTD.hibid.com/



World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat conducting ROTD's live domain auction at the 2020 NamesCon Global conference in Austin, Texas. Wayne will return February 25, 2021 to run ROTD's next live premium domain auction online.


Anyone who has been in the industry for any length of time knows Monte's background, but newcomers might like to know about some of the past auction sales that he and RightOfTheDot have closed. Those  include CreditScore.com ($3 million), Autos.com ($2.1million), Seniors.com  ($1.8 million), Scores.com ($1. 2million), Super.com ($1.2 million), Great.com ($900,000), OL.COM ($900,000) and many more in the six-figure range. All told, Cahn has been part of more than $550 million in domain sales over the past 25 years.


One other note about Monte. He was a member of the panel of experts DNJournal assembled for our 17th annual State of the Industry Cover Story that was released this week. In the article, two dozen industry leaders detailed how the domain business fared in the middle of a global pandemic in 2020 and what we are likely to see in 2021 and beyond. You won't want to miss. If you would like to go directly to Monte's commentary, you can do that via this link.

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


Mike Mann Recaps His 30-Year Career as a Domain Industry Pioneer in New Video Interview

Domain industry pioneer Mike Mann, who assembled one of the world's great domain portfolios and founded both BuyDomains.com and DomainMarket.com, is still going strong after three decades on the web. Last year Mann (whose historic sales include Sex.com at $13 million) launched his own You Tube Channel that features in-depth video interviews with movers and shakers both in and outside of the domain industry. The shows are generated from an 11am live stream he does every Wednesday morning. Mike had me on as a guest in November and at that time I suggested that he let me turn the tables on him and ask him the questions in a future show. The arrived this morning.

While Mike needs no introduction for anyone who has been in the business for any length time, we have had many newcomers arrive in the industry in recent years and his show is attracting viewers who aren't familiar with what it took for Mann to get to where he is today. So, with 20 shows now under his belt and a brand new year underway,

Mike Mann

I thought this was a good time to do it. So when we sat down again for Mike Mann Live Stream #21, I took Mike back to square one when his story began as a 15-year-old runaway. While Mike told his parents he was leaving, he didn't tell them where he was going! 


Screenshot from Mike Mann Live Stream #21 January 13, 2021

The first leg of Mike's escape covered thousands of miles and he has been running non-stop ever since, building businesses and selling domains that have generated millions of dollars in sales with much of that money going to his real passion - charity work. All of the amazing details are in the 35-minute interview that you see below:


(Posted January 13, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


It's January and You Know What That Means - Time to Get Ready for Another NamesCon! 

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday break and are excited to see how things will unfold for the domain business now that we've put 2020 behind us and have a new year with unlimited possibilities ahead of us now. In our industry, January has been synonymous with NamesCon ever since the popular conference series launched in 2014

Of course, with the world still in the grip of a global pandemic, things are different this January. 

We won't be traveling anywhere for the usual NamesCon Global event (currently planned for an as yet undetermined date and place next autumn) but we will still be getting together at NamesCon.Online 2021! Having already proven how effective the online format can be with an impressive inaugural event in September, the industry is gearing up of an even bigger virtual get together when the three-day show returns January 27 through January 29


Registration is open right now at what I think is an astonishingly low price - just $79 - that includes replays of all of the sessions that insure you won't miss a minute, even if you can't watch it all live as it happens. Much of the agenda has already been finalized, so you can get a good idea of the sessions NamesCon has in store for you and who will be speaking. I'll personally be playing a bigger role than ever by hosting a State of the Industry themed session every morning on the Keynote track. I'll sit down with Corporate Leaders on day one, some of the industry's best Domain Brokers on day two and successful Domain Investors on day three. Those sessions will follow the publication of our 17th annual State of the Industry Cover Story the week before NamesCon runs, giving me an opportunity to expand our printed commentary from experts the industry with the live interviews at NamesCon Online.



I'll be sharing a lot more advance information on the conference in this column over the next three weeks and I look forward to seeing you at the show - both in the live business sessions and at the  tables in the casual Networking Lounge that are also a big part of the online experience. It's going the perfect way to get the new year in the domain world off on the right foot!

(Posted January 5, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


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