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The Lowdown
March 2023 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.

RightOfTheDot and .HipHop are in the House at Miami NFT Week Where a Digital Asset Auction is Underway

I got a note from Marketing Director Scott Pruitt at RightOfTheDot.com filling me on on some new developments at the popular domain auction house founded by Monte Cahn and sharing some news about the .hiphop gTLD that Monte and his partners acquired and relaunched last year. .Hiphop took a big step forward Thursday (March 30) when the TLD went live at the world's biggest domain registrar, GoDaddy. This marks the first time in years that .hiphop domains are available to register.

RightOfTheDot and .Hiphop are also sponsoring the Miami NFT Week conference that opened today and runs through Sunday (April 2) at the Mana Wynwood Convention Center. In conjunction with the show, RightOfTheDot is staging its latest Online Digital Asset Auction, featuring premium digital assets, domain names and NFTs.  The auction is underway now and and will run until 2pm (U.S. EDT) on Wednesday (April 4). That also makes this a perfect time to check out RightOfTheDot's new bidding platform that includes apps for IOS and Android.


In a related note, RightOfTheDot (ROTD) is now accepting domain name and NFT submissions for the in-person live digital asset auction they will be running at the upcoming 2023 NamesCon Global conference in Austin, Texas. With NamesCon running concurrently with the new Cloudfest USA conference May 31-June 3, this auction will put digital assets it front of what is likely to be one ROTD's biggest audiences ever.

Above: A scene from ROTD's live digital assets auction at NamesCon Global last year
conducted by World Champion auctioneer Wayne Wheat (at left) & ROTD President Monte Cahn.

You can bet the .hiphop crew will also be in the house at NamesCon Global, just as they were last year when we caught up with them at the company's booth in the Exhibit Hall.

(L to R): .Hiphop Partner & Chief Legal Officer Jeff Neuman, Partner Monte Cahn & Director of Marketing Scott Pruitt. The 3rd partner in .Hiphop, Ajene Watson, was also at the show. 

(Posted March 31, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


High End of the Domain Market Continues to Heat Up with $600,000 Sale of a 3-Letter .Com 

The high end of the domain market is roaring full steam ahead again. After no sales reached six figures in our last biweekly domain sales report (published March 15) we saw a $380,000 sale of TopHotels.com reported by Sedo Tuesday and today I can tell you that K-Ventures has just sold ECL.com through GoDaddy for $600,000 in the 2nd biggest publicly reported sale year to date (ECL.com and TopHotels.com will both be added to our YTD Top Sales Charts when they are updated with our next bi-weekly sales report that will be out Wednesday evening (March 29). 

While the ECL.com sale has closed we don't yet know who the buyer is as the domain is under WhoIs privacy and, with the nameservers 

Image from Bigstock

yet to be changed, the landing page is a Dan.com notice that the domain is no longer available). However, the seller said he was told the buyer was based in Asia. 

This is the second big 3-letter .com sale for K-Ventures in as many months. In February they posted a $353,000 sale of PFP.com to 9GAG.com.  

(Posted March 23, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Big Money Sales Back From Brief Break with $380,000 Deal Closed at Sedo

In our latest bi-weekly domain sales report (published March 15), we noted that it was the first report of the new year that had no publicly reported six-figure (or higher) sales to chart. Given all of the global economic issues we are seeing now, some wondered if that meant trouble ahead for top tier domains after their strong start to 2023. We cautioned that one report provided far too little data to draw any meaningful conclusions from and Sedo underscored that today when they announced a $380,000 sale of TopHotels.com.

Image from Bigstock

As of this writing, that ranks as the 3rd highest sale reported so far in 2023 (we will be adding it to our YTD Top Sales Chart in our next report that will be out Wednesday evening, March 29). That trails only Help.com ($3 million at Above.com in January) and another Sedo sale, Giveaway.com at $400,000, last month. It looks the buyer acquired TopHotels.com as an upgrade for their established hotel booking site at TheTopHotels.com as TopHotels.com is now forwarding to that site (it was directed elsewhere prior to the sale). 

We are also hearing about some even bigger sales that have been getting closed under NDAs this month. As the year goes on we will continue to see ups and downs but the value of a strong Internet presence has been proven over and over again in recent years, which in turn has kept demand for quality domains high. While we are on this topic, if you missed it, let me again point you to our new Cover Story in which one of the world's top domain brokers, MediaOptions.com Founder Andrew Rosener, breaks short and long term prospects down in a way that will give you a new understanding of both today's global economic picture and how domains fit into the current and future business climate.

(Posted March 21, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Radix Take Pride in Premiums, ICANN 76 Concludes in Sunny Cancun & Jimmy Wales is Coming to NamesCon!

I hope you all had a great week and we are wishing you a Happy Saint Patrick's Day! We have a few items to share before heading into the weekend. Radix has released their semi-annual Premium Domains report (.pdf file) covering the second half of 2022. Radix recorded $3.76 million in Total Premium Revenue in H2-2022, bringing their total for the year to approximately $7.6 million - the highest annual total the operator of 10 top level domains has recorded to date.

$2.7 million of that second half revenue came form renewals of premium domains which is a very good sign, indicating buyers of those top tier names were happy with their domains and likely to continue contributing to Radix's annual revenue stream. That is supported by a 5% increase in second-time renewals the company saw in the second half compared to the 1H-2022.

Another interesting detail is that 39% of Premium registrations were 3 characters or less in length. The biggest revenue producers in order were .tech, .online and .store, followed by .space, .site and .fun.

The 76th ICANN Community Forum completed its 6-day run Thursday (March 16) in Cancun, Mexico. From all of the photos I saw on social media, I  couldn't help noticing that a lot more people from the domain investment side of the industry were at this ICANN meeting. I think the photo Mark Ghoriafi from MrPremium.com posted on Facebook (below) explains it all - like real estate, it is location, location, location (in that order)! 

Above & Below: The folks from IT.com were also in the house (and probably on the beach too) and shared several photos on LinkedIn. Business Manager Rolandas Japertas (at far right below) stayed busy welcoming show goers to the registry operator's booth.

Above (left to right): IT.com com Advisor Joe Alagna, PTL Group Chairman Dr. Gregg McNair and Intis Telecom Director of Business Development Natalija Japerte with Rolandas at the IT.com booth. 

Below: No conference is complete with its social events and entertainment. Below a native dance troupe caught everyone's attention with their authentic attire, marvelous moves and musicianship. 

For those who like to plan ahead, the next ICANN meeting (ICANN 77) will be held in Washington, D.C. June 12-15, 2023 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

While we are talking about meetings, the countdown has started for the 2023 NamesCon Global conference coming up May 31 through June 3 in Austin, Texas. Registration for event at the downtown Omni Hotel is already open with an early bird rate of $399 available until March 31.

Show organizers have also started releasing some early highlights of the show agenda and just announced a big get for the roster of speakers this week - Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales. Wales’ experience in launching what’s still the #1 most-visited website in over 40 countries gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the domain name industry and the internet at large as it grapples with issues around fragmentation, trust, and the collision between technology and human rights.

Back in 2004, Wales issued one of the most ambitious mission statements of all time, saying “Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access 

Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia Founder 

to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing.” You can debate how close to that Wikipedia has come, but there is no question Wales has had a massive impact around the world.  This is a session you won't want to miss.

(Posted March 17, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


.ART Weds Web2 with Web3,- Michael Gilmour to Grill Ron Jackson & Ari Goldberger's Wild Ride

The .ART registry, launched in 2017 as part of the ICANN new gTLD program that has brought hundreds of new domain extensions to the Internet, has received a warm welcome from the creative community. Even though .ART is now a permanent and increasingly popular part of the established Domain Name System (DNS), the registry has now launched a new domain initiative of its own - one that allows registrants to have the same name on both the DNS and the decentralized ENS (Ethereum Name Service) favored by Web 3.0 proponents. 

Anyone who has registered a .ART domain can now go to www.Protocol.art and register their matching ENS name so that “theirname.art” will function in both Web2 (DNS) and Web3 worlds. The registry notes that .ART is also collision-proof - only the owner of a DNS .ART 

domain can register the matching ENS .ART domain. Similarly, if an ENS .ART domain is registered for an available DNS .ART domain, only the person who owns the ENS .ART domain can use the DNS .ART domain.

Registry Founder Ulvi Kasimov noted, ".ART is the first domain registry to offer this innovative matching domain capability across both ENS and DNS, making .ART domains more powerful and useful than any other blockchain capable domains. We believe that this will open up new possibilities for artists, collectors, curators, galleries, museums and anyone who wants to express themselves creatively online or on Web3. Our vision is to make .ART domains not only a digital identity but also a digital asset that can be used in various ways on different platforms.”

A couple of other notes today, ParkLogic.com Founder and long-time friend Michael Gilmour has invited me to join him for his next Fireside Chat that will be live via Zoom tomorrow (Tuesday, March 14 at 5PM U.S. Eastern Daylight Time). Michael (who was profiled in a November 2008 DNJournal Cover Story) does a monthly Chat that comes out every second Tuesday (recordings of many of those can be viewed on his YouTube channel). 

It will be a little different for me to be the one answering questions rather than asking them but it will be fun and we are overdue for a long conversation. Last September we had a meeting planned at our home base here in Florida when Michael, who lives in Australia, was visiting the U.S.  However, the day before we were to connect he had to cancel his flight because Hurricane Ian was bearing down on the Sunshine State with our town, Tampa, expected to take a direct hit, resulting in the airport closing down. The massive storm wound up 

Michael Gilmour
ParkLogic Founder

turning inland before it got to us, devastating the Ft. Myers area instead. Recovery there still has a long way to go and our hearts remain with our friends in that beautiful part of the state.

Last but not least, we want to congratulate another long time friend, pioneering domain attorney Ari Goldberger, on completing a 255-mile bicycle adventure across the state of Florida! Ari's Coast to Coast trip started on the East Coast at Titusville (where he also got to see a rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center) and ended 10 days later in St. Petersburg on the Gulf Coast.  

His route happened to bring him within a couple of miles of our Tampa home so we took the opportunity to get together for dinner that night while he was resting up and getting ready to start the last legs of the journey the next morning. Ari (who was profiled in a June 2006 DNJournal Cover Story) successfully hit the finish line in downtown St. Pete on the western edge of Tampa Bay Thursday (March 9) and we were able to watch him do it 

Ari Goldberger at a brief stop during his 255-mile Florida
Coast to Coast bike adventure completed March 9, 2023.

thanks to the live Facebook stream he provided at various points throughout the trip. Technology is a wonderful thing but following Ari's ride reminded us nothing beats fresh air, sunshine, blue skies and all of the other wonders Mother Nature provides!

(Posted March 13, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Verisign's Final Domain Brief for 2022 Shows Growth Stalled for .Com and .Net but New gTLDs and ccTLDs Rose

Verisign has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief, covering the closing quarter of 2022 and wrapping up the past year as a whole. The year ended with 350.4 million domains across all TLDs worldwide. That is up 8.7 million from the end of 2021, representing a growth rate of 2.6%. However, the rate of growth within domain categories varied considerably, running from no growth to double digit gains.

.Com remains, by far, the the dominant TLD on the Internet but its growth rate has stalled in recent quarters. .Com closed 2022 with 160.5 million registrations, down 400,000 from the previous quarter, but up a bit (500,000) from 160 million at the end of 2021 to post a 0.3% increase year over year. 

Verisign operates both .com and .net and the story was similar for .net. The TLD finished 2022 with the same number of registrations it had at the end of the previous quarter, 13.2 million, and actually slipped a tick year over, down 200,000 from the 13.4 million in force at the end of 2021.

The "new" gTLDs, as a group, enjoyed the highest growth rate, 11.1%, but that category is working from a much smaller base. The new G's added 2.7 million domains in 2022 to finish the year with 27.4 million registered worldwide. However, within the group there are big differences between the haves and have nots. The 10 biggest new gTLDs account for over half of all registrations in a group that now has over 1,000 competitors.

The ccTLDs continued to enjoy a healthy growth rate, moving up 4.5% after adding 5.7 million domains to close 2022 with 133.1 million registered worldwide. The country code group, like .com, is working from a much larger existing base which can make it harder to maintain high percentage growth rates. The ccTLD category is 82% of the size of .com while the new gTLDs, at this point,  are just 17% of .com's size.

(Posted March 10, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Radix Reports Creators Ranging from Solo Entrepreneurs to Major Celebrities Adopting  .Store for eCommerce 

Radix, the operator of top level domains .Store, .Online, .Tech, .Website, .Space, .Press, .Site, .Host, .Fun And .Uno, has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative and effective marketers in the domain industry. In a press release we received today, the company shared results from a 3-month creators.store campaign they launched in November that provided further proof of that. The effort attracted over 7.5 million views across all social platforms in just 90 days. You can see a video that was part of the campaign below:

Ad for Maroon 5 ecommerce site at Maroon5.store

.Store was already riding a wave of momentum before the latest campaign began with celebrities including Maroon 5, Mariah Carey, Rhianna, Dude Perfect Zach King, Mark Rober among those who had already decided to set up shop on their .Store domain. However, the campaign has helped push total .Store registrations past the 925,000 mark, making it one of the six most popular new gTLDs on the Internet (Radix has three of those six with .online and .site also in that elite group). 

The Radix release noted "the combined reach of creators currently using .Store Domains stands at over 1.6 billion,  capturing the attention of their fans and other creators alike." The creator behind one of those websites, AirforceProud95 (a flight sim YouTuber from Florida with over 1.37 million subscribers), added "I needed a short and memorable name for my merch store, so I went with a .Store domain because it

provided a clean, simple, and easy-to-remember access point for my viewers." He launched his merchandise store on airforceproud95.store via Creator Spring.

Arjun Pande, Brand Manager, .Store Domains, said "We are thrilled to see that .Store Domains are the preferred choice for the world's top creators. We are excited about .Store Domains being naturally included to play a crucial role in the growth of a $104 billion strong creator economy. With over 200 million creators within that economy, merchandising is a critical aspect of the ecosystem and .Store is seeing high adoption owing to its strong product-market fit." 

"With a .Store domain, creators are able to own a brandable merch store address that is easy to remember and recall for their followers. It’s an intuitive and obvious choice, too, since their fans are likely to search for ‘rihanna store’ or ‘maroon 5 store’ when looking them up online. With so much more potential, we are keen to explore collaborations with key registrar partners within the domain industry.”  

Arjun Pande
Brand Manager, .Store Domains

(Posted March 6, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


After a Tough 2022 Escrow.com Reports Revenue Rebound in Their Latest Domain Name Investment Index 

2022 turned out to be a mixed bag for a lot of companies involved in the buying and selling domains. The common thread was a strong first half, followed by a second half slowdown brought on by a variety of challenges in the global economy that we have talked about at length. That certainly seems to have been the case at Escrow.com who has released their 4Q-2022 Domain Investment Index Report (.pdf rule).

The company reported that their total revenue in Q4-2022 plunged to $80 million after coming in at almost twice that - $158 million - in the same quarter the year before. Over 75% of that decrease came from a plunge in the volume of domain name transactions that Escrow.com handled. Despite the slowdown in 4Q, Escrow.com still had a profitable 2022 after booking $411 million in revenue for the year 

(down 20% from the $514 million taken in for all of 2021). A couple of the key factors Escrow.com cited was a 35% drop in global venture capital funding in 2022 and a corresponding slowdown in the number of sales made at the ultra high end of the market where prices can reach eight figures for one domain.

The good news is that a solid rebound appears to be underway in this new year. In our bi-weekly domain sales reports we have been commenting on the strength we saw in aftermarket sales in January and February. Escrow.com is apparently seeing the same thing as they reported, "February 2023 is shaping up to be the best month since July 2022, possibly June 2022, and we are fairly confident that Gross Payment Volume in 1Q-2023 will be higher than 4Q-22." 

Still there is plenty of ground left to retrace as volume at the company has yet to fully return to the lofty heights reached in 2021 and early 2022. No surprise given that a lot of the economic challenges we mentioned appear to remain a long way from resolution. Even so, seeing the market respond as well as it has against those headwinds in the early going this year is very encouraging in our view.

(Posted March 3, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


2023 Global Domain Report from Sedo & InterNetX Provides Extraordinary Insight Into Industry

Sedo and InterNetX have released their incredibly comprehensive 2023 Global Domain Report. This annual review has always provided an unparalleled look at how the domain industry is faring in every key market around the world but the 74-page report for 2023 has still managed to set a new standard. The especially good news, given the amount of work that obviously went into producing it, is that the report is available free of charge. Just go to domainreport.global, fill in your name, your company name, email address, business type and job role to download. 

The report, that includes commentary from industry pros around the world, breaks down the latest data and developments both

globally and within local markets on every continent.  You will also see how the experts expect the new year to play out. 

Even though there are now over 1,500 TLDs on the Internet, the report manages to distill the latest information in a way that gives you a clear picture of which ones have become the most popular TLDs (covering both gTLDs and ccTLDs). In the aftermarket chapter you'll also find Top 10 lists of public domain sales, median and average values, insight into the performance of the sales channels, and a closer look at rising stars such as .xyz, .io and .ai.

While the annual report is obviously of great interest to players inside the industry, the main reason Sedo and InterNetX put  it together is to draw attention to domains from people who are outside of the industry, as they are the ones who will fuel continued growth. By laying out the details of how well domains have performed in challenging economic times, the report shows domains are stable assets that can provide consistently good returns to those who wisely invest in them. 

(Posted March 1, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


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