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The Lowdown
January 2022 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.

Andrew Allemann & Ron Jackson Get Together for a Deep Dive Into the Past Year's Domain Sales Boom 

Last July DomainNameWire's Andrew Allemann had me join him on his popular  DNW Podcast to review how domain sales were going at the mid-point of the 2021 sales season. While things were looking very good at that time, the best was yet to come. The year closed with two explosive quarters that wound up being, by many metrics, a record breaking year for the domain aftermarket.

We just got back together for DNW Podcast (#373) to take an in-depth look at 2021's Top 100 Sales Charts and how they compared to previous years. We also took a close look at how the 14 domains that sold for seven figures in 2021 are being used now. If you want a clear example of how far the 2021 market leaped over the previous year, consider that there were only two publicly-reported seven-figure sales in 2020.

Of course, we can't live in the past and it's 2022 now. So, we also shared some thoughts on what the new year may hold for the market, looking at reasons why the boom could continue and threats that could upset the apple cart.

Above: Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com) & Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com) at the 2017 NamesCon Global conference in Las Vegas.

Below: In the latest DNW Podcast (#373) the two domain industry reporters got together to examine the names and market forces that created a record breaking year for domain sales.

(Posted January 31, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Broker Confirms Galaxy.com Sale But Says Price Paid Was MORE Than the $1.8 Million Figure Found in an SEC Filing

Final Update: After getting additional information from the buyer's broker (Andrew Rosener of Media Options Monday (Jan. 31) we now have the remaining available details on the Galaxy.com sale. The price the seller received in the sale was $1.8 million, the same amount that the buyer, Galaxy Digital, declared paying for an unnamed domain in their SEC filing that turned out to be Galaxy.com (as first reported by George Kirikos Saturday). However the buyer, who commissioned Media Options to try to acquire the domain for them, also paid a generous fee to Media Options for succeeding in that task that was not included as part of the cost of the domain itself in their filing (Media Options is not releasing that fee cost, which, for competitive reasons, is to be expected). When charting sales, we normally use the total price a buyer paid to acquire the domain, including brokerages costs, as that price most closely reflects the current market value of the domain to a buyer. However, in cases like this, where brokerage fees are not known, we have charted names based on what the seller received for the name as long as we have the exact price paid. We have that for Galaxy.com, so will be  charting it at $1,800,000 in our next bi-weekly domain sales report Wednesday evening (February 2).

Story Update: We posted the story below on Saturday (Jan. 29) but we received new information from the buyer's broker, MediaOptions.com on Sunday. Founder Andrew Rosener confirmed his company handled the acquisition but he added that the price paid was substantially higher than the $1,800,000 figure an SEC filing seemed to clearly indicate (based on further evidence that George Kirikos detailed in his blog post). Since we don't yet know exactly what that higher price was we have appended a plus to the minimum number we do know in the graphic accompanying the story. If and when more information becomes available on the price and/or filing, it will be added to this post.

George Kirikos has uncovered the biggest domain sale reported in the new year to date. Today, on his FreeSpeech.com website, George provided details of a $1,800,000 sale of Galaxy.com that he found while examining an SEC filing. The domain was purchased in the 3rd quarter of 2021 by a crypto company that is based at GalaxyDigital.io. They have not yet started using Galaxy.com as a new base or redirect so it remains to be seen exactly how it will be deployed.

Unless something changes before we release our first 2022 Year-to-Date Top Sales Chart Wednesday evening (February 2), Galaxy.com will be the #1 sale of the new year, followed by the $1,228,200 sale of Unlock.com that was reported earlier this month. We chart sales based on when they are first publicly reported (as long as the sale has occurred within the previous 12 months).

Image from Bigstock

(Posted January 29. 2022 and updated January 30, 2022) - To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Free Annual Report from International Domain Brokerage Guta.com Breaks Down 2021 Sales Results 

With the final quarter of the 2021 domain sales season now in the books, international domain brokerage Guta.com, who has offices in both the U.S. and China, released their annual Premium Domain Sales Observation Report (.pdf file). Guta issues free quarterly reports throughout the year, then their full year review once the Q4 numbers are in. 

The report summary noted, "In 2021, one-word English .com domains remained the most popular category, continuing to record steady growth in annual transaction volume. Its sales count went up from 133 in 2018 to 351 in 2021, an increase of 164%. End-user purchases in this category also remain on the rise, hitting record highs over the past four years.
Following 2020, the annual sales of LL, NN, NNN, NNNN, NL, LN .com domains did not see any bright turn (L = a Letter, N = a number). By contrast, LLL .com domains were relatively stable during 2020 and 2021.

The Guta report also cited the U.S. market as a center of strength in 2021, noting "The USA market has shown strong purchasing power in terms of quantity and price in the post-epidemic era. End-user buyers, in particular, showed an unprecedented buying spree."

The full 15-page report is loaded with sales numbers and charts, including top sales lists for the various domain categories. Again, you can get the full free report here

(Posted January 26, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


BankFirst.com Sold for $800,000 - SEC Filing Confirms Sale First Reported by DomainIncite

I usually read everything Kevin Murphy posts at DomainIncite.com, but  but while I was busy writing up our latest bi-weekly domain sales report Wednesday, I missed Kevin's article about an $800,000 sale of BankFirst.com he had gotten information about. The CFO at a Wisconsin bank told Kevin they had acquired BankFirst.com from another financial institution in what is a very big upgrade from the name they have been using - BankFirstWI.bank

This afternoon I got a message from George Kirikos letting me know he had found proof of the $800,000 BankFirst.com sale price in a 4Q-2021 SEC filing made by the Wisconsin bank. The relevant passage stated "During the fourth quarter of 2021, Bank First incurred a one-time expense when it purchased a domain name from another institution for $0.8 million as part of a rebranding initiative."

Image from Bigstock

In the same message, George, who has uncovered more big previously unreported domain sales than anyone, alerted me to Kevin's story, so a double thank you to him. As of this writing the BankFirst.com sale is the second largest reported at this early stage of the new year, trailing only the $1,228,2000 sale of Unlock.com that we told you about Wednesday.

(Posted January 22, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Attorney Howard Neu's Annual Reports on UDRP Cases Bring Good News & Bad News for Domain Investors

Earlier this week, we published our 18th annual State of the Industry Cover Story in which 22 domain experts explained what fueled the 2021 boom in the domain market and provided their forecasts for the industry's prospects in 2022. Those we ask for commentary are among the busiest people in the business, so several we call on each year can't respond before our deadline. One of those this year was pioneering domain attorney Howard Neu who was tied up compiling his own popular reports on critically important UDRP case results. Howard published his latest reports this week and was kind enough to send us a summary of his findings so we can share them with you. His commentary is below. 

As you know, my primary legal practice is in defending registrants who find themselves on the wrong end of a UDRP Action.  The UDRP was set up by ICANN to make it easier and cheaper for trademark holders to obtain domain names from registrants that they 

Attorney Howard Neu

believe are "confusingly similar" to their trademarks.  The primary purpose was and continues to be the best way to defeat cybersquatters and typo squatters who try to capitalize off of the trademark holders' fame and popularity by directing users to their site.  To a very great extent, this has been very successful in defeating those "domainers" who give all domain investors a bad name.

At NeusNews.com, I publish semi-annually the results of cases brought before the two primary providers of UDRP; WIPO and the FORUM.  Within the past few days, I have published the Annual Reports for both providers (WIPO Report, FORUM Report).  I am happy to say that the cybersquatters are still losing their domains to the trademark holders with 3,515 domains transferred at WIPO from default cases and 1,642 domains transferred at FORUM from default cases.  That means that over 5,000 domains were transferred from virtual cybersquatters.  This is why all domain investors are looked down upon by trademark holders and major corporations as "cybersquatters".

Fortunately, however, for those domain registrants and investors who have legitimate businesses, either by offering a product or service online, or by investing in domain names that have value, the trend may be looking a little more positive.  First; noticeable is the percentage of contested cases where the Complaint has been denied - 42% at the FORUM and 39% at WIPO. Second; noticeable is the increase in findings of abuse by the Complainants, known as Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) - 44 at WIPO and 10 at the FORUM. Third; Panelists are looking more closely at the non-contested cases to make sure that the Complainant has stated what is known as a Prima facie case against the Respondent and at WIPO in the last 6 months, 15 claims were denied and 2 were found to be guilty of RDNH, and 15 claims were also denied at the FORUM.

The biggest problem for domain investors, however, is that they are now being held to a higher standard than other registrants when it comes to whether or not the domain in question was registered and is being used in "bad faith".  The general rule is that if you register a domain where there is no "confusingly similar" trademark OR use it by not trading on the fame of an existing trademark, there is no "bad faith".  That is because the UDRP Rule is that if a domain is registered AND used in "bad faith" it will be transferred to the Claimant.  Domain investors, however, must show that they did extensive research before they acquired the domain to make sure that there were either no existing trademarks at the time of registration, or that there was at least more than one trademark holder.  

A recent case held that there was only one trademark holder of a mark that was "confusingly similar" to the registrant's domain, and that therefore the registrant domain investor was targeting the claimant even though the domain was never offered by the investor to the trademark holder for sale and was not using it to capitalize on the claimant's trademark. The panel held that the domain investor registered the domain in "bad faith" and transferred it to the claimant.  This is going to make it increasingly difficult for auction houses, including GoDaddy's Afternic and drop catchers like Snapnames and NameJet to find domain investors who are willing and able to spend the time necessary to research each domain that is up for auction to determine whether or not the domain can be bid upon and registered without resulting in a UDRP Action.

Editor's Note: The issue that Howard raises about domain investors now having to meet a higher standard than other domain registrants in UDRP cases is a matter of fairness that should concern all investors. Fortunately, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) exists to address just this kind of development. I believe the best thing we can all do to protect our rights and insure a level playing field  is to support the ICA as a member.

(Posted January 21, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


New Backordering Platform from Web Hosting Canada Offers Opportunity to Get Valuable .CA Domains at Bargain Prices 

Canadians now have access to a new backordering platform from Web Hosting Canada (WHC) that gives them a chance to get valuable .CA domain names before they become available to the general public through CIRA's TBR (To Be Released) process. Every week potentially valuable domains are dropped, presenting an opportunity to acquire those assets for as low as $20 (the entry cost to place a backorder for a domain). If more than one person wants the same domain it goes into a 1-day auction (also managed through the WHC platform). 

WHC Founder and CEO Emil Falcon said, "With over 3 million active .CA domain registrations, finding an available Canadian domain name for your business is becoming more challenging. Before today, .CA domains did not have a single platform that could be used to confidently secure expiring domains. Our new Backordering platform aims to change that.” 

Frank Michlick, WHC’s Domains Product Manager, added, "What makes WHC’s backorder tool unique is that it “regularly wins more requested domains than other providers, with an average success rate above 70%. Our .CA backorder system is the most advanced platform of its kind, and thanks to continuous R&D investments and ongoing development of our domain management platform, we have plenty more improvements on the way.”

You can use WHC’s Backordering platform to bid on domains that drop every Wednesday at 2PM EST. The $20 entry bid includes the cost of a 1-year domain registration. Customers aren’t charged any fees unless they win the domain, so there’s no risk involved in participating in a drop. For more information about WHC’s backordering platform, visit: whc.ca/backorder

(Posted January 17, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Big Honor for Kate Buckley, Monte Cahn Gets His Own TLD  & Domain Sales Break Another Record!

As focused on domain names as so many of us are, it is always a bit disconcerting to see how little attention our industry (and the people in it) get from the mainstream business world. After all, domain names are critically important in branding for every company that does business online and they provide the virtual real estate all of those companies have built their web operations on! 

That being the case, it is really refreshing to see those rare occasions when someone in our field gains recognition from a business media outlet that everyone recognizes, no matter what business they are in. That just happened for Kate Buckley, the founder of Buckley Media and broker of some of biggest domain sales you've seen posted on our charts over the years (a recent example being her $1,008,900 sale of eBike.com in 2021).  Kate, who was the subject of a 2018 DNJournal Cover Story, was just named to the prestigious Forbes Next 1000 list for 2021. The Forbes honor roll recognizes "The Upstart Entrepreneurs Redfining the American Dream."

Kate Buckley
Founder Buckley Media

Forbes noted, "America is rich in small businesses. To shine a light on these entrepreneurial heroes, Forbes created the Next 1000. This year-round initiative showcases the ambitious sole proprietors, self-funded shops and pre-revenue startups in every region of the country - all with under $10 million in revenue or funding and infinite drive and hustle. Fueled by your nominations and screened by top business minds and entrepreneurial superstars, the four installments (250 honorees are named in each quarter) culminates in a list of 1,000 new faces who are redefining what it means to build and run a business today. It's a well-deserved honor for Kate and an accomplishment that also reflects favorably on our industry. Our congratulations and thanks to her.

Monte Cahn

This will go down as a memorable week for another major industry figure, domain pioneer and RightOfTheDot.com President Monte Cahn. Cahn Enterprises, Inc. (the parent company of RightOftheDot), in partnership with domain industry veteran Jeff Neuman and Digital Asset Monetary Network have launched Dot Hip Hop, LLC to serve as the registry operator for the Generic Top Level Domain .hiphop. Another industry veteran, RightOfTheDot's Scott Pruitt, also joins the team as the Director of Marketing.

Dot Hip Hop, LLC purchased the rights to operate the .hiphop domain extension from previous owner, Uniregistry (pending approval from ICANN). Dot Hip Hop, LLC has made it their mission to elevate members of the Hip Hop community by providing them with a domain name that will identify with the art, music, and culture they love. The company will  focus marketing efforts on the potential end-users of the .hiphop domain. Dot Hip Hop, LLC intends to lower the TLD's wholesale pricing, making it easier for customers to create their storefronts and to provide cutting-edge technology to meet the ever-evolving demands of the digital landscape.

Cahn said, “I am so very thrilled to be a part of 

Dot Hip Hop! Having a top level domain like .HipHop will provide tens of millions of individuals along with small, medium, and large corporations with online and digital branding solutions that meet the needs of this entire worldwide community. In addition, .hiphop is the perfect digital asset for creative artists, song writers, producers, fashion designers, and lovers of the Hip Hop culture and movement, which continues to grow every day.”

One other key note today. The latest edition of GGRG.com's Liquid Market Report, covering the final quarter of 2021, is now out. This is the 22nd edition of the report that focuses on short acronym and numeric .com domains that, due to their popularity, offer a level of "liquidity" that most other domain categories do not.

In the new release, GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano reported that, for the second quarter in a row, the liquid market posted a record high in sales volume with Escrow.com ringing up $34 million from this category over the 3-month period. That is an astonishing 67% jump from the then record $20 million logged in the previous quarter. This is further evidence of the aftermarket boom we reported throughout 2021.

Graziano noted that  99% of the Escrow.com sales took place in the categories with the highest development index: $22.2 million in 3-letter .com sales; $6.6 million in 4-letter .com and $5 million in 2-letter. com. 

(Posted January 14, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


That Didn't Take Long! First Seven-Figure Domain Sale of the New Year Revealed

It looks like 2022 is determined to pick up right where 2021 left off - in the middle of a booming domain aftermarket. This afternoon the first seven-figure domain sale of the new year was revealed when Murat Yikilmaz from Best Web Limited (BestWeb.com) sent us documentation from his $1,228,200 sale of Unlock.com.

The buyer, San Francisco-based Unlock Technologies, Inc., already has their site up on the domain. The financial services company allows homeowners to unlock the equity value of their homes by paying cash for an interest in their property.

As a point of reference, if this sale had been announced in 2021 it would have ranked among the 15 highest sales on our Top 100 Sales Chart. Instead, it will be at or near the top of our first 2022 Year-To-Date Top Sales Chart when it debuts later this month.

Image from Bigstock

By the way, seven-figure territory is nothing new for Murat and BestWeb.com. They had the # 2 sale in 2020 with Bullish.com at $1,080,000. Only two seven-figure sales were reported that year, making the 2021 explosion - when 14 were reported at that level - especially eye-popping.

(Posted January 12, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Post Holiday Round Up: Three Cheers From the Zak Pack, Prognostications, .XYZ & NFTs! 

I hope you all had a great holiday season and that the new year will turn out to be your best yet! Today I want to touch on a few things I didn't have a chance to write about while taking full advantage of the seasonal break to rest and recharge.

First, I wanted to join the loud chorus of cheers you have been hearing for Internet Commerce Association Legal Counsel, veteran domain attorney and all around nice guy Zak Muscovitch. The Canadian International Internet Dispute Resolution Centre (CIIDRCappointed Zak to its roster of panelists who decide disputes under ICANN's UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) and under CIRA's .ca CDRP (Canadian Dispute Resolution Policy). Zak is one of the world's leading experts in the field of domain name law. With over 20 years of experience and encyclopedic knowledge of the subject, Zak is a great addition for CIIDRC. 

As most of you know, Zak has been the ICA's Legal Counsel for the past four years and has done such an outstanding job defending domain

Zak Muscovitch
ICA Legal Counsel

owner's rights, I think it's past time he have his own fan club, so consider this post the launch of the Zak Pack!

Andrew Allemann
Domain Name Wire Podcast

This being January, it also a time for looking back at what happened in the year just past and what the industry's prospects are for the new year ahead. We'll be examining both in our 18th annual State of the Industry Cover Story that will be out in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Andrew Allemann has already released the 2022 Predictions episode of his popular DNW Podcast (his is episode #369)! The show features audio predictions from 22 industry experts (I was honored to be among them) that will give you a good idea of how people whose livelihood depends on it think the domain business will fare in 2022

A lot of people looking back on 2021 have been commenting of the increasing depth of the domain aftermarket. Yes, .com is still dominant and the gold standard, but a handful of non .com gTLDs and ccTLDs ( re-purposed to serve as generic globally available extensions, a la .io, .co, .ai and .me - to name a few) have carved out a growing piece of the aftermarket for themselves.

The strength of .xyz, especially in the crypto space, may have been the biggest surprise (though certainly not to Founder Daniel Negari, who has believed in it from day one). After Google picked Alphabet.xyz as their corporate address and fintech giant Square changed their name to Block and their URL to block.xyz, the TLD is being viewed in a new light. Anita RamaswamyTechCrunch did a good job of explaining what's up with .xyz in an article that came out between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Larry Fischer
Founder, NFT.net

In 2022, it looks like NFTs (non-fungible tokens) will be creating even more buzz than crypto, with our field included because NFT domains have become a thing. As a digital asset, it's not surprising to see a lot of major figures in the domain industry (built on digital assets, of course) taking a big interest in NFTs. One of the most visible of those is veteran domain investor & broker Larry Fischer, who has launched NFT.net, a central place to organize, share and discover NFT art

When someone like Larry, who has made more six and seven figure domain sales than most people could even dream of (including both  Marketing.com at $2.5 million and Near.com at $1.15 million in 2021), goes all in on a new category like this, people in this business are going to pay attention to it. 

As always, the constant in this industry is change. It may be hard to keep up but it sure keeps things interesting!

(Posted January 4, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


New Year's Day is DNJournal's 19th Anniversary - A Sincere Thank You to Everyone Who Made It Possible!

In addition to celebrating New Year's Day January 1, we are celebrating DNJournal.com's 19th anniversary! The site was launched on January 1, 2003 and we know the only reason we are still here almost two decades later is because of the support we have received from so many generous sponsors and dedicated readers around the world. This is a sincere thank you to each and every one of you - we most certainly could not have done it, or continue to do it, without you!

While almost 20 years sounds like a long time it feels like it has gone by in a flash! I think that is largely because this is such a dynamic, fast-moving industry that there is no time to be bored and that is one of the things I love most about it. When all is said and done though, the best part of it has been meeting great people from ever corner of the globe, who have become treasured friends along the way. Next year we will celebrate #20 and I am hopeful there will be many more beyond that with all of you continuing the ride with us!

(Posted January 1, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:



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