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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.


Buckley Media Announces Major Expansion With Industry Veterans Tess Diaz and Tim Hargis Joining Executive Team

Buckley Media Founder Kate Buckley  has been gracing our top domain sales charts for years now,  having brokered deals for Rate.com ($725,000), Refi.com, Sleeping.com and Snoring.com ($500,000 each), Inspection.com ($335,000), Advance.com ($300,000) and countless others in the six-figure stratosphere. As impressive as Kate's track record has been, Buckley Media entries on the sales leader boards may multiply exponentially with her latest move - the addition of two highly respected industry veterans to the domain name brokerage and branding boutique's executive team. 

Multi-talented Tess Diaz is coming on board as SVP for Business Development after a stellar run with MediaOptions.com and eCommerce expert Tim Hargis has signed on as VP, Premium Domains to round out a trio that Ms. Buckley said will be "laser-focused on growing Buckley Media's consultative, corporate domain services, partnerships and relationships in both the corporate and startup worlds."

Kate said the expansion was triggered by sky rocketing demand for domain names, noting, "Tess and Tim are bringing their considerable experience to bear at an inflection point as the domain market is exploding. Domain names and digital assets have become more valuable than ever during the accelerated digital shift brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Tess Diaz was a Domain Asset Advisor at GoDaddy before becoming  Senior Business Development Consultant for Media Options where she was responsible for streamlining the company's strategy, business systems and operations and also brokered many high end domain sales. In addition, Tess served as both Executive Producer and Host for the company's popular video podcasts at DomainSherpa.com. Kate added, "Tess is also a successful executive coach—working with startups, entrepreneurs, and executives in business strategy." 

Ms. Diaz said, "Buckley Media’s services augment brand efficacy at a pivotal time in history, when there is record demand from companies to maximize their online impact, with increased understanding of the importance of domain name influence. I’m very proud of all that I’ve achieved and contributed to during my tenure with Media Options, and excited to begin working alongside the highly talented and collaborative leadership team at Buckley Media.”

Tim Hargis will concentrate on premium domain brokerage for Buckley Media. He most recently helped lead the fastest growing bootstrapped DTC E-Comm brand (Tuft & Needle) as VP of Business Development and Marketing to over $200 Million in revenue, before being acquired by Serta-Simmons in 2018. Kate noted that Tim, as an active adviser to early stage startups, was also personally involved in, and negotiated six and seven-figure domain name transactions (including the acquisition of TN.com for Tuft & Needle). 

Ms. Buckley added, "Tim has deep marketing expertise, and a hands-on understanding of the power of domain names to drive revenue and growth for businesses. We are thrilled to welcome him to the leadership team.”

Kate Buckley
Founder, Buckley Media

Tess Diaz
SVP, Business Development

Tim Hargis
VP, Premium Domains

Hargis said, "I've always been a big believer and advocate for premium domain names because of the unparalleled value and credibility they bring to any company looking to optimize their digital-focused foundation. It's now more important than ever, given the pressure the pandemic has put on companies, so I'm looking forward to joining the stellar team at Buckley Media—leveraging my background in startups and e-commerce to help businesses thrive with their online strategy moving forward."

(Posted November 23, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201123.htm

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Donuts to Acquire Afilias in Deal That Will Further Expand World's Biggest Portfolio of TLD Registries

Donuts Inc., who who already operates more top level domain registries (TLDs) than anyone else in the world, is about to get even bigger. The Bellevue, Washington based company, that currently operates some 240 domain extensions, has signed a deal to acquire most of Afilias Inc. for an undisclosed price. Afilias operates multiple TLDs, including .info, .global and .mobi, as well as several country codes, dotBrands and other generic TLDs. The company is also well-known for its excellence in providing back-end registry services for over 200 TLDs. The transaction, which will not include Afilias' mobile software and registrar businesses, is expected to close by

the end of the current quarter (4Q-2020), following successful completion of regulatory requirements.

Donuts CEO Akram Atallah said, "The Afilias and Donuts teams share a commitment to security, stability and reliability. This will only grow stronger as we implement the best technologies and services from each organization while maintaining seamless delivery to our registry and registrar partners as well as our end registrants."

Afilias CEO Hal Lubsen added, "We are thrilled to choose Donuts as the steward for Afilias' next phase. As a proven leader and innovator, we know that the synergies delivered to our registry clients, registrars and employees will benefit the entire domain community."

A press release announcing the deal noted, "The Donuts and Afilias teams will continue to provide registrar partners the same access to the domain names and services they've had in the past. With a combined Donuts and Afilias partnership, cyber-security will be a top priority and registrants will have even more simplicity, consistency, efficiency and quality to help them secure their online identities."

(Posted November 19, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201119.htm

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MediaOptions Names New COO - ICA Adds Legal Aid Benefit - Ron Jackson Going Live with Mike Mann

Several things to share with you today. For starters, veteran domain industry attorney and executive Jonathan Tenenbaum has joined domain brokerage firm MediaOptions as Chief Operating Officer. Jonathan moves over from Web.com where he has most recently been serving as Title Associate General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer. Prior to that he was the company's VP, Aftermarket Strategy & Revenue, a post Tenenbaum assumed after spending over six years as the General Manager at NameJet.

MediaOptions Founder & CEO Andrew Rosener said he wanted Tenenbaum on his team to, "more aggressively grow our business with the best people in the right positions to serve our growing client base and the evolving landscape of digital assets. Jonathan understands domain names and the domain aftermarket in a way that few can hope to, and he has a proven track record of maximizing the potential of businesses in this space. He’s joining an already successful team at the perfect time to spearhead our planned expansion.”

Tenenbaum said, "What I find most compelling about MediaOptions is its undisputed excellence in the domain space, and Andrew Rosener is a visionary in an industry that is ripe for innovation. With several new and exciting partnerships on the horizon and the most successful brokerage team in the industry already in place, MediaOptions is well-positioned to 

Jonathan Tenenbaum
Chief Operating Officer
MediaOptions.com

accelerate into the future, and I’m looking forward to taking the company to the next level.”

While MediaOptions was bringing one of the industry's top attorneys on board, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) was rolling out a new benefit for members - a 15% discount on legal services, pus as an additional $200 credit towards $1,000 in services (the benefit is available for all legal services, not just domain name related legal matters).

Five veteran domain attorneys are working with the non-profit association that protects domain owner's rights to provide these frequently requested perks: John Di Giacomo, Partner, Revision Legal, Gerald Levine, Managing Partner, Levine Samuel LLP, Stevan Lieberman, Partner, Greenberg & Lieberman LLP, Howard Neu, Law Offices of Howard M. Neu PA and Jason Schaeffer, Of Counsel, ESQwire. If you have been in the industry appreciable length of time you will recognize all of those names as each of them has been a long time leaders in our legal sector. 

You can get more information on each attorney and full details on the services available through the benefit here. If you are not already an ICA member, you can Join here

Speaking of industry veterans - pioneering domain investor Mike Mann, the Founder of DomainMarket.com (and before that, BuyDomains.com), has been sharing his expertise and conducting wide-ranging interviews with a variety of interesting guests on a new YouTube channel he started a few months ago. Mike initially does his shows as a livestream, then adds them to his YouTube channel where, as of this writing, there are already over a dozen episodes you can view. 

The format usually has Mike chatting one at a time, with a couple of guests in a very relaxed, informal atmosphere. Then there is bonus time where he covers areas of special interest to domain investors, like domain valuation and appraisals. One thing I like about the series is Mike mixes it up - it's not all about domains, so you never know exactly where the conversations are going to go. That keeps things interesting, especially since Mike is not shy about speaking his mind on any subject!

As it happens, I will be Mike's first guest on his next livestream Wednesday morning 

A blast from the past. Mike Mann 
stirring things up at the 2011 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

(November 17) at 11am U.S. Eastern Time. (Update): The Wednesday livestream went well and I enjoyed catching up with Mike again! The replay is now available on Mike's YouTube channel at this link

(Posted November 17, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201117.htm

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Price Paid for Bullish.com Updated to Over $1 Million After Previously Undisclosed Brokerage Cost Revealed 

In our bi-weekly domain sales reports the prices shown are normally the total amount the buyer paid to acquire a domain including any commission charged by a brokerage, sales platform, etc. For example, if a buyer pays $10,000 for a domain at Sedo that is the price they report to us. Sedo collects the money, takes out their sales  commission, then sends the balance to the seller. The rare exceptions have been when we've only been able to confirm the amount the seller received. Such was the case in the largest all cash sale ever reported - Voice.com at $30 million last year. The buyer also paid Godaddy an undisclosed brokerage fee that was not included in the charted price.

Last week we reported another big sale at 

GoDaddy for Bullish.com that netted $900,000 for the seller. GoDaddy's typical commission is 20% but, again, we weren't sure if the percentage rate might have been negotiated at a different level for a high dollar sale like this. So, as with Voice.com, we charted Bullish.com at the lower net price we had proof of. Today we learned that GoDaddy's fee, paid by the buyer for Bullish.com was $180,000 (20%) so they paid $1,080,000 total to acquire the domain. With the new information in hand we have updated our report and charts to reflect this. That also makes Bullish.com the first publicly reported sale of over $1 million this year. Congratulations again to Murat Yikilmaz at BestWeb.com (and GoDaddy) on that landmark transaction.

 

We still don't know what the brokerage cost was for Voice.com (a domain that cost more than 30X more than Bullish.com). However, if it was also 20% that would push the price paid all the way up to $36 million! Whatever it was, a year later, Voice.com is still playing in a league of its own.

(Posted November 16, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201116.htm

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NamesCon Online & DNJournal Teaming Up to Present a Deep Dive Into the State of The Domain Industry in January

In January we will be publishing our 17th annual State of the Industry Cover Story in which an industry wide panel of experts will weigh in on how their sectors fared in 2020 as well as their outlook for 2021 (if you are new to the industry you can check out the format for those reports by reviewing the January 2020 edition). Also in January 2021, NamesCon Online will be back after launching a virtual version of their popular conference with a very well received three-day event in September

DNJournal.com Editor & Publisher 
Ron Jackson
(left) and NamesCon 
President & CEO Soeren von Varchmin

That debut edition of NamesCon Online adopted a State of the Industry theme that drew positive feedback from attendees, so show organizers decided to give the people what they want - and give them more of it in 2021! To do that they asked us to pool resources with them so we can jointly, in print and live online, let the entire world know what has been happening inside our dynamic industry and where the best opportunities will be in the year ahead.

So, we will be publishing our State of the Industry (SOI) story a few days before NamesCon Online begins its January 27-29 run. Then I will host a panel discussion on the same topic with Corporate Leaders on the opening day of the conference. That will be followed by a Day 2 SOI panel that will focus on Domain Investors & Developers, then a Day 3 SOI discussion featuring some of the world's top Domain Brokers

Above: A screenshot from the opening session of the 
1st NamesCon Online conference
September 9, 2020 

NamesCon Online 2021 will also feature the virtual Networking Lounge that worked so well in September, so you will again be able to talk with other attendees live via webcam when you are not absorbing information from the business sessions. While some were understandably skeptical about how well the conference experience could be translated to the web, NamesCon Online in September made so many converts that an online component will likely be a part of the real world conferences when they resume post pandemic. 

Above: Domain broker Kate Buckley (BuckleyMedia.com) speaking at the first NamesCon Online.

NamesCon is maintaining a rock bottom price to make it affordable for everyone to see the online version for themselves. Registration for NamesCon Online 2021 is already open and if you sign up by November 30 you can get one of the $59 Early Bird tickets. That's an extraordinary value, especially when you consider what it costs to attend a NamesCon event in the real world (with air travel and hotel costs included, that can easily top $2,000). 

There are so many positive things going on in our industry the news is too good not to share and we are looking forward to doing just that less than two months from now. I hope to see you there!

(Posted November 13, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201113.htm

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ICA Announces Nine Nominees for 2021 Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Based on Industry Wide Voting

The Internet Commerce Association will present their 5th annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award at the NamesCon Online conference in January. The ICA has now named nine nominees for the award that was established to honor universally loved domain investor Lonnie Borck who unexpectedly passed in October 2016. 

In its first three years the award was based on outstanding work in "protecting the rights of domain name registrants." Last year, to broaden the scope of the award, the criteria was changed to recognize an individual for "extraordinary contributions to the domain name community" as a whole. The previous winners were:
2017 - David Weslow
2018 - Kathy Kleiman
2019 - John Berryhill
2020 - Ron Jackson

The nominees for the annual award are chosen in balloting open to everyone in the domain industry (this year's balloting closed November 7). Three finalists are then chosen in voting among ICA members, with each member selecting their top 3 choices in order (that voting will close on November 20). In the final step, the ICA Board of Directors will select the 2021 award winner from among the finalists chosen by members.

 

For the 2021 award, the domain community has again to provided the ICA with a stellar pool of nominees to choose from. They are (alphabetically by last name and shown left to right in the photos below):

 

Row 1 - Andrew Allemann (DomainNameWire.com), Michael Cyger (DNAcademy.com), Jothan Frakes (a community ambassador with expertise in all facets of the industry).

Row 2 - Richard Lau (Founder, NamesCon and Logo.com), Gerald Levine (noted attorney, author, mediator and arbitrator), Donna (Mahony) Adams (Founder, DomainBoardroom.com).

Row 3 - Gregg McNair (Chairman, Premium Traffic Ltd. Group), Bob Mountain (Chief Revenue Officer, Afternic - a GoDaddy Company), Adam Strong (Founder, Evergreen.com, Domain Name Broker).

 

I'm fortunate to have known all of these nominees for many years now and, while it may sound trite to say, I truly believe they are all equally deserving of the award and I am sure each one feels honored and humbled to have been singled out by their appreciative colleagues around the world. 

In looking at these faces it occurred to me that every one of these nominees has positively influenced  me and, in one way or another, helped me on my own path through the industry over the past 18 years. I also believe each one of them would look at the other eight and say the same thing about them. That's a pretty good indicator of both the quality and quantity of top notch leaders we are blessed to have in this business. They have been instrumental in building a thriving community that gets stronger every year and for that, I am happy to send a big THANK YOU from this corner!

(Posted November 10, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201110.htm

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Latest Quarterly Report from Escrow.com Shows Strong Rebound in Aftermarket Domain Sales

Escrow.com has released their latest Domain Investment Index report covered the third quarter of 2020. Escrow reported transacting $77.5 million worth of domain sales on their platform in 3Q-2020, a 40% surge from the $55.2 million they booked the previous quarter when buyers and sellers were still unsure about how deeply the current Covid-19 pandemic would affect business. 

That second quarter number represented a stomach churning 36% drop from the $85.8 million that Escrow.com posted in the opening quarter of the year. However, Escrow's 3Q numbers topped what they did in the same quarter a year ago and brought them back to within 10% of their 2020 high water market. With the closing quarter often being a strong one in the domain world, 4Q could end up being the year's best.

Of course, there are still many question marks hanging over the economy with a second wave of Covid-19 now underway around the world as well as the full impact of the 2020 U.S. elections yet to be determined. One thing for sure - Covid has forced many businesses to strengthen their online presence or launch one if they haven't already - helping put the domain industry in a much more favorable position than many based in  the physical world.

For a full breakdown of all of the Escrow.com data check out the full report here (.pdf file).

(Posted November 9, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201109.htm

*****

Radix Converge Rewards Attendees With Expert Insight Into Entrepreneurialism, Company Culture and Domain Industry Success

Innovative new gTLD registry operator Radix broke more new ground today with Radix Converge 2020, their first online-only invitational conference. I will refrain from calling it a domain conference because it pushed the content boundaries beyond our business alone.

Yes, Converge gave Radix a perfect platform to provide partners and customers with an in-depth look into the company's culture, personnel, products and services,  but that was just they start. With Radix Founder Bhavin Turakhia's half-hour Ask Me Anything session capping the event, it also delved into why the industry at large is enjoying success in the middle of a global pandemic and his tips for improving your chances for success in any entrepreneurial venture. Few are as qualified to comment on the latter point as Bhavin whose multiple successes have made him a billionaire. While that status impresses people, Turakhia dismisses it as irrelevant - tip #1 being that any amount of money is just a byproduct of what should be most important for any entrepreneur - creating value for customers. When you do that the money naturally follows. I'll have more from Bhavin's session at the conclusion of this report.

Before Turakhia took the spotlight, four of Radix top executives - CEO Sandeep Ramchandani, Director 

of Channel Partnerships Neha Naik, Director of Brand Operations Suman Das and Senior Manager of Premium Domains Karn Jajoo, spent about 15 minutes each giving the audience an up close and personal look at various aspects of Radix's successful business model. 

Above: Neha Naik, Director, Channel Partnerships, served as both the host of the Radix Converge conference and as the featured speaker in the second business session. Neha open Converge promptly at 11AM (U.S. Eastern time) with welcoming comments and advice on how to navigate the well-laid out Converge interface. After introducing CEO Sandeep Ramchandani, who provided the opening presentation, Neha returned for her own session on Radix's Journey So Far and the Path Ahead for the registry operator that now has over 6 million domains under management.

Above: Radix CEO Sandeep Ramchandani got the show off to an excellent start with his Keynote presentation appropriately titled Being Radical. Sandeep's talk took attendees on a deep dive into Radix's company culture - Who they are (including what their core values are), How they go about achieving their mission and Why they chose the business they are in. Since some of the attendees were from the mainstream business world, Sandeep gave them a quick lesson on the domain name system and why the right domain is critical for any business. In the How portion of his talk one thing that struck me is that over one third of Radix's team strength is devoted to Marketing. One knock you consistently hear about new gTLDs is that the registry operators don't do enough marketing to make the public aware of new gTLDs. Radix has been a leader in that area and it has paid off on their bottom line that has grown substantially every year since they started.

Above: In the third presentation Suman Das, Director of Brand Operations, detailed Radix's customer-centric approach in a talk titled Customers at the Heart of Everything. Suman outlined the  purpose behind each of Radix's TLDs and the six business groups they focus on - Startup Founders, Developers, SMB Owners, eCommerce Founders, Solopreneurs and Students (many of whom go on to be business leaders and evangelists for the TLD they started with).

Above: Karn Jajoo, Senior Manager, Premium Domains, wrapped up the opening business hour with Premiums in the New Normal, an interesting talk about how Radix's premium domain sales are surging in the middle of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Radix's premium sales have gone up every year. In fact after the first three quarters of 2020 have already surpassed their revenue for all of 2019 (when there was no pandemic to contend with). Karn noted that Radix has now sold over 7,800 premium domains, producing over $12.5 million in revenue. 

In between the opening hour's presentations Radix played a number of informative and entertaining short videos that focused on other key team players like the brand managers for specific TLDs, as well as clips spotlighting developers who have established their businesses on Radix TLDs.

Above: At 12 Noon (US Eastern time) attendees could take a break or jump over to Zoom where Radix arranged an entertaining hour with marvelous magician Martin Rees called Illusions Just Begin. Martin is enjoying global fame and holds a number of entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. Now, if he could just make a handful of two and three-letter .coms magically appear in my portfolio!

Above: As I noted at the top, the last presentation at 1pm featured a highly anticipated Q&A with Radix Founder Bhavin Turakhia who fielded a wide variety of questions from attendees. Bhavin obviously had a lot to say about domains but attendees were even more interested in his overall business philosophy and his tips for productivity that can make one successful in any field. 

One of his top pieces of advice was to standardize anything that has to be done more than once. Whenever possible he seeks to automate or delegate those tasks. In one example of how far he goes to standardize his work environment, Bhavin noted that he does business in different locations he has around the world. In each location he as the exact same workspace setup - the same computers, peripherals, desks, chairs, you name it - it's the same! When he sits down there is nothing new to get used to so he can get right down to work. Bhavin is not big on multi-tasking, saying that he takes a single task to completion so there are no distractions, something that produces higher quality work

As much as he has accomplished Bhavin says he is still on a "pursuit of mastery" rather than money - that is mastering whatever task he sets his mind to. He said he is fully focused on building something much bigger - by orders of magnitude bigger - than anything he has accomplished so far. Bhavin said, "I just love building stuff and solving problems around spaces I am passionate about". As far as money goes, he noted that much what he has made has been poured back into building his endless string of new enterprises.

After Bhavin closed the presentations on a high note, Radix opened up their Networking Lounge so attendees could sit down (virtually) together and chat for the remainder of Converge. The shot of the lounge below was taken right after the lounge opened and guests had just started coming in to take seats. All you had to do was pick a table where the topic interested you, then click on a seat to claim it and join the discussion via your webcam. At any time you could hop from one table to another whenever you wanted as long as there was an open seat.

As you would expect from a leading tech company, the technology worked flawlessly during Radix Converge. I am sure other companies will look at what Radix did here and consider a similar approach to connect with their customers and partners, at least until the day Covid-19 is vanquished and we can start meeting in person again. Even then, these virtual platforms have proven there worth well enough to assure there will still be a place for them, often as hybrid events that have both in-person and online components. With no need to travel and the ease of attending from home, being able to have both live and virtual events to choose from will give us the best of both worlds.

Update: Radix has now posted video replays for each of the sessions covered in this article. You can see those here.

(Posted November 5, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20201105.htm

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