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The Lowdown
November 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.

Thought Convergence Selling Off Their Top Tier .Com Domains in NameJet/SnapNames Auctions

Over 800 domains from one of the industry's best portfolios of premium domain names are going up for sale in a series of auctions on Newfold Digital's  NameJet and SnapNames platforms. The landmark sale is the result of a decision by Thought Convergence co-founders Ammar Kubba and Kevin Vo to liquidate the remaining assets of their holding company and distribute the proceeds to their shareholders. 

The term "premium" tends to get over-used when it comes to domains, but in this case the term is a perfect fit for the collection that includes Beer.com (part of a fabulous lot of 27 domains that includes "beer" in other popular languages around the world, including Cervezas.com (Spanish), Biere.com (French), Beoir.com (Irish), and many more). Then there is  AKA.com, NonStop.com, Aftermarket.com, Trainer.com, Illustrate.comHelpLine.com and hundreds more. Most of the auction lots are being offered with a low or no reserve.

You can place pre-release backorders on the various domains before their specified deadlines (those are staggered across three nights beginning  Friday night, December 3).  The live auctions will follow once the backorder period closes. You can view the domains on either NameJet or SnapNames using the following links:  

Beer Portfiolio: NameJet  ~  SnapNames / Individual Domains: NameJet   ~  SnapNames

The liquidation of the Thought Convergence portfolio does not mean that veteran domain investor/entrepreneur Ammar Kubba is exiting the domain space. Far from it. Earlier today, Ammar told DomainInvesting.com's Elliot Silver, "My company, afterTHOUGHT, Inc., still owns thousands of domain names, and we continue to invest and acquire on a regular basis. Without a doubt, I’m incredibly bullish on domain names and other emerging digital asset classes (cryptocurrencies, NFT’s, etc.)."

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


America is celebrating its Thanksgiving Day holiday today. At DN Journal we are especially thankful for all of our readers around the world. Many of you have been regularly visiting us online for almost 20 years now (January 1 will be our 19th anniversary)! While our daily interaction has mostly been in the virtual world, we also loved spending time face to face with thousands of friends across the globe until the pandemic halted in-person conferences. While Covid continues to cause problems for many, this too shall pass and we will be on the go again. In the meantime, we are wishing you all happiness and good health and and can't wait to see as many of you as possible in person again soon!

Image from Bigstock
(Posted November 25, 2021)

$400,000 sale of Overview.com Gives Braden Pollock Another Good Reason to Give Thanks Thursday 

Looks like we have another interesting bi-weekly domain sales report shaping up this week. I just got a note from veteran investor/entrepreneur Braden Pollock at LegalBrandMarketing.com, letting me know that he has sold Overview.com for $400,000. We will be charting the sale when our next report comes out Friday evening, November 26. The report normally comes out every other Wednesday but one of our primary sales data suppliers let us know there will be a short delay in sending out thieir data this week. That, coupled with Thursday being America's national Thanksgiving Day holiday, will push publication of the new report back two days to Friday evening. 

In addition to going on the next all extension Top 20 Sales Chart (at or near the top), Braden's Overview.com sale will be added to our YTD Top100 Sales Chart where it will rank among the upper third on the elite list.

Braden Pollock

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


NameCheap Launches New Domain Market With Buy It Now and Auction Options

Namecheap, the world’s second-largest domain registrar and one of the fastest-growing companies in the space, officially announced the launch of an all-new domain market this morning. The Namecheap Market, developed by the company's

technology team, gives buyers a state of the art platform to quickly search, find, and purchase high-value domain names via in-house auctions or Buy it Now listings. 

The NameCheap announcement said the new market is designed for entrepreneurs looking for the perfect domain name for a startup or new project or domain investors striving to expand their portfolio, noting " The new marketplace is the ideal destination for discovering untapped, unique, clever, brandable, and memorable domain names." 

After being quietly launched in beta a few weeks ago, the Namecheap Market is now available to everyone and currently features more than 300,000 domain auctions, as well as millions of Buy It Now listings.

 NameCheap CEO Richard Kirkendall said, “When I started Namecheap way back in 2000, I truly believed that domain names were the digital real estate of the future, and I wanted to make the process of finding and buying them accessible and simple for everyone. Now more than two decades later, many domain names have indeed become valuable digital assets, and we are once again making the process of buying and selling those assets a seamless and easy process with the new Namecheap Market.” 

With more than 20 years of highly rated customer service and 14 million domains currently under management, Namecheap has continued to increase its market share in the growing domain industry and the new market is likely to accelerate that trend.

NameCheap CEO Richard Kirkendall

(Posted November 12, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Why New High End Domain Marketplace Graen.com is Making Privacy Its Top Priority

If you have been following our bi-weekly domain sales reports over the past couple of years, you are very familiar with the extraordinary boom we have seen in aftermarket sales. The surge has been accompanied by the emergence of several new sales platforms and services that see a huge opportunity in bringing buyers and sellers together in new ways that will cut their expenses, speed up transactions and provide solutions to problems they may have had with previous options they have tried. 

DAN.com has been the most visible newcomer in the space, having rolled out an ambitious platform designed from the ground up to appeal to the widest possible audience. However, there are also some new operations that put stock in the old axiom that says there are riches in niches. Recently launched aftermarket sales platform Graen.com may be a textbook case of that. Graen founder Neil Bostick is laser-focused on the high end of the aftermarket and he believes he  has the solution buyers and sellers at that level are looking for.

Image from Bigstock

Neil Bostick
Founder, Graen.com

Bostick told us, "I’ve been a buyer, seller, & broker in the domain market since 2014 and I’ve done millions in deals since then. Since the beginning, my focus has always been on private deals (not disclosing prices) as I work extensively in the high value investor space (where confidentiality makes or breaks investments). A lot of my business has been selling super premium domains to top investors reselling 2-letter, 3-letter, & 1-word .COMs to end users, so by differentiating through private deals I’ve kept a low profile in the interest of the buyers & sellers I work with. Graen.com was formed as a higher technology alternative to what I do at my brokerage, QEIP.com, that specialize in the same types of domains that Graen.com does - 3-letter .COMs and better. For more background on my brokerage business, see qeip.com/testimonials for a small list of past clients and deals I’ve executed."

That's the high altitude overview of where Bostick and Graen are coming from, but the nuts and bolts of how the new platform can stand out among so many well established options is 

where the rubber will meet the road. "I agree," Bostick said, adding ,"there are way too many domain marketplaces currently, so it’s valid to ask me ‘Why in the heck would I start another one?!’  My answer is that out of the 50-100 marketplaces that exist, none of them do the single thing that I (and most other high value domain investors), want them to do: be private & not disclose sale or offer prices. In this, most marketplaces and brokers disclose offer prices and make sales public (for their own marketing value) and it is often at the detriment of the buyers and sellers that trust them to represent them. In this, if you are a seller offering a 3 letter .COM domain for a good deal on a marketplace, broker, etcetera, and it doesn’t end up selling, the offer price is still public and is liable to used against the seller when a future buyer comes along."

As an example, Bostick said, "A future buyer may say that you had ???.com priced at 50k two years ago, so I can only offer 40k now, even though your price is 100k (and the buyer might have paid that 100k if they didn’t know about the previous sale). Beyond that, as a buyer who is making a big investment, if you buy a 3 letter .COM or better and the sale is public AND you try to resell in the near future, all future buyers will use that sale price as a gauge to it’s value (irrespective to what the domain’s true investor value is) so your investment potential would be massively limited."

"So privacy is the first thing we changed," Bostick continued, "but beyond that, we just tried to develop the perfect platform in general specifically designed for high value domains. In this, we have buyer exclusivity (no seller exclusivity), buyers need to accredit themselves (via identity or fund verification) to unlock more than 5 listings, and we do everything on the platform (appraisals, seller vetting, buyer sourcing, & escrow) so that we can do deals faster than anyone else. We’ve closed a couple deals safely in the 5/6 figure range within 24 hours (from offer accepted to seller paid) using these methods - out of the 50-100 marketplaces that are out there, not many can claim to be able to do such big deals so quickly (or offers such full service for the fees we’re charging)."

Asked for more details on how Graen's buyer exclusivity (rather than seller exclusivity) policy works, Neil said, "If a buyer uncovers a domain, they sign an NDA and agree to not share any details about the offering (or try to go around the platform) for fear of legal action. We just ask that if the seller lists their domain on other marketplaces (or with other brokers), that they price their domain better than it’s listed with anyone else - because of our low commission and private placement, most sellers are able to. If we find a domain on our site with a price listed lower somewhere else, we will likely take it down until pricing is changed. Exclusivity is important as it maintains a place where buyers and sellers take  

Image from Bigstock

the platform seriously - we just switched the model in being the first platform to make buyer exclusivity a main differentiator. As it is a huge ‘sellers market’ in domains right now, to be a marketplace that is competing, you need to put your sellers first and foremost. That is exactly what we are doing and why we have almost 500 users on the platform already, within one month of launch."

As we noted at the top of this article, Graen is not designed for everyone. Bostic said, "To be clear, our superior marketplace experience for high value domains comes at a cost for other users - it is not a good match (or very helpful) for people selling quality domains right now (and is especially not good for people trying to list a lot of domains at once). That said, in the near future, we will be offering new premium services for the everyday domain investors including exclusive landing pages with broker representation for only 3-9% success fees with no caps on prices or quantity of domains listed."

Image from Bigstock

"We are not a marketplace with brokerage options, we are a curated marketplace (or application-only marketplace). This is a core part of our strategy that differentiates us as it allows us to maintain quality on our marketplace like no one else can. Another problem with almost all marketplaces as a buyer (and as a seller) is that they have too many bad quality domains. The effects of this are that buyers don’t spend the time finding serious deals on there and sellers won’t list good deals because they know that chances of buyer coming through the cracks is low. Since we limit the amount of listings, we can automatically get more serious user exposure to each individual listing.  Beyond that, since I still have my connections and network as a broker, I see all domains listed and work to get them sold outside of the platform (based on who I know is buying). Through this model, we can maintain a sell-through rate light years higher than any other domain marketplace will be able to," Bostick said.

Though Graen has just launched, today's Graen is unlikely to be the final iteration. "Since launching a month or so ago, we’ve changed the platform a lot based on buyer & seller feedback," Bostick noted. "For example, we previously didn’t give any ‘freebie’ investor passes (the things that allow you to uncover listings), and we now we give 5. We also now have implemented new value attributes (including comparable sales on each listing) and we have implemented an affiliate program to incentivize users to band together as a community and mutually benefit from referrals. We are still taking feedback as one of my main assets is our full time development team that includes our CTO and two full time coders - so if anyone has any suggestions for the platform, if it fits our model recommend it and you may be able to see it live within a week!

(Posted November 11, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


IT.com Put Its New Domain Registration Platform in the Spotlight at WebSummit 2021

Over 42,000 people, representing leading tech companies from around the world, gathered in Lisbon, Portugal this week for the massive Web Summit 2021 conference that ended Thursday (November 4). Intis Telecom, the new owners of IT.com (just purchased in a $3.8 million transaction we told you more about earlier this week), was there to showcase their new prize acquisition.

Intis is now using IT.com to sell third level domain registrations under the marquee name. For example, names like keyword.it.com can be registered at a retail cost

of $49. Intis also owns UK.IT and throughout this year the company has been buying up two-letter .IT domains in other extensions including .hn, .to, .ax, .sb, .uy, .tn, .by, kz, .ae and .broker with the prices they paid for IT in those TLDs ranging from $2,000 up to $25,000. The new 3rd level registration service will be offered on all of those extensions as well.

Above: Web Summit 2021 attendees visiting the IT.com booth at the international event held this week in Lisbon, Portugal.

Below (left to right): Dignitaries in this shot from the IT.com booth at Web Summit are Munir Badr (Owner, AEserver.com), Andrey Insarov (Founder and CEO, IntisTele.com and IT.COM), Sergey Nesmachny (Business Development Director, WiFly.net) and Alexey Sergeev (Founder, sigmasms.com).

Web Summit won't be the last place where IT.com will have a high profile. The company plans to sponsor, exhibit and meet attendees at a variety of key events in the  telecommunications and domain name industries over the course of the upcoming year.

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


Measuring Success: Domain Registrations Are Surging But What Happens When It's Time to Renew?

Life is good for a lot of people in the domain business these days. Aftermarket sales are booming, savvy registry operators are seeing total registrations rise in their TLDs and competitive registrars are watching their domains under management (DUM) soar. 

While sales, registrations and DUM are the metrics we hear most often, there is another one that is especially critical in measuring true success on the registration side of the business. That is domain renewal rates. If most of your customers, whether they are investors or developers, are consistently renewing their domains that's the best news of all for a TLD operator. Renewal rates are especially important for new gTLD (nTLD) registries that offer a low,

Image from Bigstock

introductory first year price before trying to collect their regular rate at renewal time. That's when the rubber meets the road and registries see if customers see value in their TLDs.

We got some extensive data-based insight from Neha Naik, Sr. Director of Channel Partnerships at Radix, into what one of the more successful operators of multiple TLDs has been seeing on the renewal front. 

Neha noted, "When Covid hit in early 2020, domain names, along with all sorts of digital products and services, saw a sharp boost followed by a sustainable acceleration in growth. A report by McKinsey claimed that 10 years worth of progress in terms of ecommerce transition was achieved within the first three months of the lockdown. IBM said it was worth 5 years of digital progress. Adobe said that's between 4 to 6 years.

With this came heightened activity in new business formations and existing businesses going online to maintain continuity. This led to a direct increase in the demand for domain names and other products related to building websites.

The overall domain market saw a significant jump in new registrations in the first few months. At Radix,  we saw that .online and .store had the most uptake, growing by over 60%* between 2019 and 2020. Our other TLDs including .site, .fun and .tech also saw a spike in registrations."  

Neha Naik
Sr. Director of Channel Partnerships

"Historically, major events like this have been the trigger for disruption and change, Neha said. "This time around, the pandemic ushered in a new spurt in doing business online to the extent that owning a website was no-more a good-to-have. It was a must. After all, do you even exist if you are not available online in a post-pandemic world that we live in?  

It has been over a year since we witnessed these major market shifts. Looking at the domain registration and renewals data since then led us to some interesting insights about the market in general and our TLDs in particular. When reviewing 1st time renewal rates for nTLDs registered in  the Jan - June 2020 period, the aggregate first time renewal rate remained steady, very similar to 2019. Details of the collection of data and the methodology used is explained in the notes below.**

The nTLDs that make up the top 10 in terms of absolute renewals (based on a monthly average) also remain the same. Most of them, however, have seen significant growth in their 2021 monthly renewal numbers (absolute count of renewals). Specifically looking at Radix TLDs, we see that .online, .store and .site have seen a 60%+ increase in absolute first-time renewals, and .tech has seen a growth of 35% for the same period."

Putting this into perspective, below is a stacked view of the first time renewals for .online in comparison with other nTLDs, and ranked by the absolute number of 1st time renewals.   .online has 60% higher first time renewals compared to the next ranked nTLD. Other Radix TLDs make up for over 30% of the top 10 renewals market share.

"As renewals and renewal revenue are much more concrete indicators of market success versus sheer registration volume, we took our study one step further to determine the renewal revenue generated for Registrars," Neha said. "In order to do this, we used the 3rd party renewal data and applied standard renewal costs across registrars, assuming that the margin across TLDs will be more or less the same. We then stacked up all nTLDs in the order of those that generate the most renewal revenue for the industry as shown in this graph:"

".online leads the charts by adding over $2.3 million in first time renewal revenue (this does not include the registrar markup on registry cost), followed by .store at rank 2, adding over $1.2 million in first time renewal revenue. This revenue only includes 1st time renewals and doesn’t account for annuity premium renewal revenue either," Neha added.

"It is worth noting that .online alone accounts for 26% of overall renewal revenue amongst the top 10 nTLDs. And the 4 Radix TLDs that appear in the top 10 above account for 54% of the total renewal revenue generated by the top 10 nTLDs," Neha noted.

"While these are promising numbers, we will continue to track the performance of renewals through the next few months as well. We are eager to see how things shape up as we move beyond the peak of the pandemic." 

Neha commented on why Radix examines their renewal results in such detail. She said, "At Radix, we have a fundamental belief: you cannot improve what you don’t measure. Constantly looking at the scoreboard is how we track the health and growth of the business. That the domain industry is the most measurable industry in the world only makes data tracking a lot more comprehensive."

"We understand that a TLD’s renewal performance is also an indicator of the quality of its domains under management. Ultimately, the true measure of success for any nTLD is qualitative usage, a goal fulfilled by marketing strategy and focus on renewals. This philosophy has led to many innovative marketing initiatives that are reflected in the awareness campaigns we have executed in the recent past. From startin.tech to pitch.tech to academy.get.online, Radix’s marketing campaigns are about enablement of new businesses." 

"After all, the growth in the domain industry is dependent on the growth in businesses, old and new, going online. For us and the industry on the whole, it’s a unique opportunity to be at the starting point of the web presence of a business and we’re excited about the times ahead," Neha said in closing.

* This compared new registrations numbers between 2020 and 2019, and excludes registrations from Chinese registrars.
* All data excludes data from Chinese registrars. Given that the China market has differential pricing and other market nuances, the geo has been left out of this study.

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


Update on $3.8M IT.com Sale Including Payment Plan and New Use of Domain to Sell IT.com Sub-Domains

Just minutes after we completed our latest bi-weekly domain sales report we got a quick note from veteran broker James Booth letting us know he had closed a $3.8 million deal for IT.com - the highest publicly reported price for a domain sale so far this year. Since then I have gotten more details on the transaction and am able to tell you that James served as the broker for the seller. The buyer was represented by Igor Furdyk who, in addition to being a veteran domain broker, is a Project Manager at Intis Telecom (the domain buyer) and also Head of Sales for the new domain registration service that, as of today,  began operations on IT.com.

IT.com follows the model that CentralNic has employed for years with top tier two-letter .com domains - which is using them as the

Image from Bigstock

base to sell third level sub-domain registrations. For example, with the IT.com site now open, names like dnjournal.it.com can be registered at a retail cost of $49. IT.com is launching an ambitious marketing campaign including a high profile presence at the 2021 WebSummit conference in Lisbon, Portugal that runs today (November 1) through Thursday.

UK-based Intis also owns UK.IT and throughout this year the company has been buying up two-letter .IT domains in other extensions including .hn, .to, .ax, .sb, .uy, .tn, .by, kz, .ae and .broker with the prices they paid for IT in those TLDs ranging from $2,000 up to $25,000. The new 3rd level registration service will be offered on all of those extensions as well.

Igor also provided us with documentation showing that full payment for IT.com is being made over a three-year period that follows a $1.5 million down payment. While the $3.8 million deal is the biggest one publicly report so far this year, we don't chart sales until payment has been fully completed, so Hippo.com at $3.3 million will remain in the #1 position on our 2021 YTD Top 100 Sale Chart. No matter how you slice it, it is a terrific acquisition for UK-based Intis Telecom and a major feather in the cap for brokers James Booth and Igor Furdyk.

(Posted November 1, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


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