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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.


NamesCon Will Be Online Again in September As Pandemic Continues to Delay In Person Events

A few months ago organizers of the NamesCon conference hoped the arrival of vaccines might allow them to stage an in person event in the fall of this year. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic still flaring up in various spots around the world, the show's new owners have decided to stay online when they bring the conference back for a September 22-24, 2021 run of NamesCon Online. This will be the third virtual edition of the event, following well received shows in September 2020 and January 2021.

It will be awhile before agenda details for the next one are finalized, but we got an idea of what the conference intends to cover in an email sent out by NamesCon today. It noted,  "NFT technology, emerging social platforms, fractional ownership, explosions in value, and constantly-evolving use cases: domaining has never been more exciting! Join us at this all-digital event to learn how interlocking technologies and trends can set you up for a lifetime of success. Take a front-row seat for the latest developments in brokerage, investing, aftermarket, and the registry and registrar spaces—plus round-the-clock networking, of course." 

A screen shot from the What's My Domain Worth? session 
presented at the January 2021 edition of NamesCon Online.

Registration for the September 2021 event is now open. The early bird price for the Standard Pass will be $79 through July 4, then rise to $99. If you have never been to a NamesCon conference and can act fast, they are offering a strictly limited lot of 150 Newcomer Passes for just $19!

Two special packages are also being offered - a $299 Channel Pass for registry, registrar, and marketplace team members and a $499 DN Academy bundle for those who want to sign up for a highly regarded professional course that covers every aspect of domain investing.

(Posted April 29, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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SAV.com Gives Domains for Sale More Exposure by Pairing New Afternic DLS Access With Its SedoMLS Connection

It's no secret that the key to increasing domain sales is getting your names in front of as many potential buyers as possible. A proven way to do that is to make sure your names appear on the popular registration sites that buyers use to register new domains. Many of those buyers are unaware of the many separate sales platforms devoted to selling domains that have already been registered (the domain aftermarket), so they don't see those names unless they appear as better options presented alongside unregistered domains. 

Statistics show that having your domains in the normal registration channels and setting a Buy It Now price to allow instant transfer can dramatically increase sales results. Small business owners are usually busy people who have no time or interest in a transaction that requires endless and often unproductive haggling. 

Anthos Chrysanthou, a domain industry veteran who founded domain registrar and aftermarket sales platform SAV.com, is well aware of those statistics - data that prompted him to announce Monday that SAV has joined GoDaddy’s Afternic DLS Fast Transfer network. By combining that access with SAV's existing SedoMLS integration, SAV.com is maximizing the chances that domain 

+

for sale in its marketplace will be found by buyers as both networks have their listings shown on the sites of dozens of leading registrars around the world.

In addition to access to both of the major domain sales networks, SAV continues to compete fiercely or price with a 4% sales commission rate that Chrysanthou says is the lowest in the industry. You can learn more about the company's services at SAV.com.

(Posted April 20, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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New Reports from Guta and GGRG Show Domain Aftermarket Boom Still Going Strong

Two new reports on premium aftermarket domain sales in the opening quarter of 2021 show that buyers are still out in force and spending big in an effort to establish or strengthen their online presence. At a time when the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to make things more 

difficult for many businesses to operate in the physical world, a good domain is more important than ever. The reports come from a couple of the industry's most widely known brokerages, Guta.com (who maintains offices in both the U.S. and China) and GGRG.com who operates on a global level from their beautiful home base in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

While prominent domain investors are always active in the aftermarket, Guta's Q1-2021 Premium Domain Sales Observation Report reflects the heavy influx of end user buyers for one-word .com dictionary domains. More often than not those those memorable assets are promptly developed and put to work generating new revenue for their owners. Guta Founder and CEO George Hong noted that end user buyers accounted for approximately 58% of the one-word domain sales tracked by 

his company. The data-packed Guta report also analyzes Q1 sales results for short .com acronym domains (2-3 letters or characters) and numeric domains (up to 4 digits).

Giuseppe Graziano
GGRG Founder 

At GGRG, Founder Giuseppe Graziano released the 19th edition of his company's popular quarterly Liquid Market Report. The GGRG focus has always been on short acronym and numeric domains because, due to their popularity, they offer a level of "liquidity" that most other domain categories do not. GGRG defines liquid domains as short .com domains comprised of 2-4 letters, 2-5 numbers or a combination of 2-3 characters mixing letters and numbers. 

Unlike one-word dictionary domains, buyers of liquid domains still tend overwhelmingly to be domain investors. Graziano noted "only 1 out of 10 liquid domains is developed with the most developed category being 2L .com at 30%."  Even so, the buy and hold crowd has been just as eager to open their wallets. Graziano reported that in the first quarter of this year, Escrow.com saw liquid domain sales on their platform soar by 54% to $17 million. "This is the best quarter I have observed at Escrow.com since we started publishing  the report," Giuseppe added.

Among the various sub-categories of liquid domains that GGRG tracks, Graziano saw growing strength in most of them. "We noticed significant increases in both 5th percentile and median values for three and four letter domains as well three-character domains (a mix of letters and numbers).

Here is a navigation tip for you to get the most from the voluminous GGRG report.  There are nine individual sub-categories (like two-letter .coms, three-letter .coms, etc) that you access from links at the top of the main LXDO page. Those are shown as: and there are also links to information and on the same row. Enjoy!

(Posted April 13, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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GoDaddy Registry Goes BIG in New gTLD Biz Acquiring .CLUB, .Design and 28 MMX TLDs

GoDaddy Registry, one of the 800-pound gorillas in the top-level domain management business, put on a couple of hundred more pounds in one stunning $120 million+ swoop today. The company announced it is acquiring the .club and .design domain extensions, as well as 28 domain extensions (and certain other business assets) owned and operated by Minds + Machines Group Limited (MMX). The MMX portfolio includes location-based domain names like .miami, .boston and .bayern, as well as lifestyle, business and niche-related domains like .vip, .fashion, .yoga and .cooking.

 

GoDaddy Registry will pay $120 million for the relevant assets of MMX (subject to customary

adjustments). Terms of the deals for .club and .design were not disclosed. .Club has been one of the most heavily marketed new gTLDs over the years and has recently gained considerable traction from being associated (unofficially) with the exploding Clubhouse audio-only social media app where users can form their own clubs centered on specific interests.

Nicolai Bezsonoff
Registry VP & GM
GoDaddy Registry

Completion of each of the acquisitions is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain conditions precedent, and, in the case of the MMX transaction, MMX shareholder approval and consent of certain geographic and commercial partners and licensors.

 

Also today, GoDaddy Registry, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GoDaddy Inc., was awarded  contracts from ROAR to help manage the launch of generic domain extensions .basketball and .rugby, as well as one from Ally Financial to manage the branded .ally domain. Upon close of the new acquisitions, GoDaddy Registry will own, manage or operate more than 240 top-level domain extensions, with more than 14 million domain names under management. 

 

GoDaddy Registry Vice President and General Manager, Nicolai Bezsonoff, said "GoDaddy Registry is committed to making more meaningful, memorable domain extensions available to all registrars, so their customers can find the perfect domain names for their business, brand or big idea. All three acquisitions

support our growth strategy in unique ways by expanding our portfolio of generic, geo-targeted, and vertically-focused top-level domains."

(Posted April 7, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Next ICA Members Event Offers Insight Into How Domains Help Build Great Brands - the Association Also Gets a Major Assist from Brent Oxley

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA), the  non-profit trade association that defends domain registrant's rights, has announced their next online event for ICA members. The Domains of Brand Naming will run from 2 to 3pm US Eastern time on Wednesday, April 7. The ICA has persuaded two  creative minds from one of Silicon Valley's top naming agencies to host a session in which they will talk about the challenge of branding and their branding 

process. They are Catchword’s senior strategist, linguist and co-founder, Laurel Sutton, and Creative Director Erin Milnes - both experts in linguistics and brand naming.

Laurel and Erin came up with the corporate identities for FireEye, UpWork, Vudu, Nature's Promise, and many others. They will cover what brand names are and what they can (and cannot) do, as well as Catchword’s history, their Accelerator, and naming process. As is the case for all sessions in the ICA members only series, the meeting will be interactive, and they will reserve plenty of time for questions in the Zoom-based event. For those who miss the live stream, a recording of the hour will available for a limited time to ICA Members. Not an ICA member? You can fix that right now! Join up here and you'll get an invite to the April 7 event (as well as all future ICA events and meetings) and you will also be helping yourself by supporting an organization that has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to protect your rights as a domain owner. 

Brent Oxley
(Photo credit: OxHuntingRanch.com)

The ICA has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years as industry leading domain investors, service providers and legal experts have rallied around the group and its mission to defend the rights of domain registrants around the world. HostGator and Create.com Founder Brent Oxley is the latest to throw his support behind the organization, doing so with a $50,000 contribution from Create.com. 

Oxley knows from first hand experience how important it is for industry participants to band together to protect unwarranted threats against their assets and enterprises. As most of you are aware, Brent was caught up in a widely publicized nightmarish situation that threatened over two dozen domains from his multi-million dollar portfolio, including the primary business domain for his new hosting company at  Create.com. For a time Oxley was prevented from accessing his domains due to a legal dispute that originated in another country. Fortunately, he has since regained access to his domains but the experience was one he doesn't want to repeat nor see others go through. His support for the ICA will be immensely helpful on that front. 

(Posted March 31, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Radix Reports 31% Surge in Revenue for 2020, Profit Up 36% From the Previous Year

Radix, one of the world's largest operators of new TLD domain registries, has announced their financial results for 2020. Radix, who operates .online, .store, .tech, .website, .space, .press, .site, .host, .fun and .uno, grossed over $28 million in total revenue in 2020. That is  a 31% jump over the company's revenue in 2019. Radix's net profit grew at an even faster clip, rising 36% year over year.  

In breaking down their 2020 revenue, which is net of all discounts and rebates, Radix reported 20% came from standard registrations and 64% from standard renewals. Radix’s premium domains cumulatively generated over $4.5 million in revenue, of which 54% can be attributed to premium renewals.  

Sandeep Ramchandani
Radix CEO 

Based on country data from domain registrars, the top contributor to Radix’s revenue has been the United States with 64% of the total share, followed by France and Germany.  

In reflecting on the year's results, Radix CEO  Sandeep Ramchandani said, “2020 was a really strong year for us, both, financially and strategically. Since a majority of our revenue comes from renewals, we will only start seeing the sharp growth in CoVid-led registrations turn into revenues from Q2-2021. We continue to remain focused on our goal of making our domains ubiquitous and powering the identity of a variety of web projects world-wide. We aim to remain on a strong trajectory for the foreseeable future, with initiatives in motion to grow demand for our brands and to selectively acquire other high potential assets.”  

Over a 2-year period, Radix has seen its net profit double. Amongst its brands, .online was it’s highest revenue contributor in 2020 followed by .store and .tech.  

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In a Record Breaking .NET Sale Poker.Net Changes Hands for $750,000 to Smash the Previous Mark Set 7 Years Ago

What a month March 2021 has been for the domain aftermarket! Just one day after we released our latest bi-weekly Domain Sales Report that was stuffed with an eye-popping 13 six-figure sales, we've gotten news that Poker.net has been sold for $750,000 in the biggest .net sale ever reported. The previous mark was $500,000 for Mobile.net (a sale we told you about in this column back in 2014). 

The WhoIs record shows that Poker.net has been acquired by ADX Labs, a technology and marketing company based in Minnesota. As of this writing the new owner's plans for the domain have not been announced.

Image from Bigstock

Joe Uddeme
Founder, NameExperts.com

Three veteran brokers played a role in setting the new high water mark for the .nets. The seller was represented by Joe Uddeme, who founded NameExperts.com in 2015 after a successful five-year run at Domain Holdings. Over the past 12 years Joe has racked up a long string of high end sales and acquisitions. The buyer's broker was Tony Adams at HQBrokerage.com. Andy Kelly also played a role. After seeing Uddeme had Poker.net listed, Kelly, knowing that Adams had a client that would likely have an interest, let Adams know the domain was on the market. Uddeme and Adams connected and worked out the deal. 

Joe told me, "I  saw a tremendous opportunity targeting the end-user marketplace. Ultimately, the highest offer was brought in from Tony. He and I have worked together on deals in the past, and it was great to complete this one and deliver an exceptional price for the seller. At the end of the day, we were able to create a win-win that both buyer and seller could be happy with."

We will be officially charting Poker.net when our next sales report comes out March 31. As of today it would rank as the 3rd highest sale, regardless of extension, so far this year. It is also, by far, the biggest non .com gTLD sale of the year to date.

Congratulations to Joe, Tony, Andy on the transaction and to ADX Labs for their acquisition of a great domain name.

(Posted March 18, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Actress, Singer & Songwriter Jessica Castello Carries Her Familiar Family Name to Entertainment Industry Fame

In the domain world it would be hard to find a more familiar family name than Castello. Brothers Michael and David Castello are true industry pioneers who have been at the forefront of the field since its start in the 1990s. As we detailed in a 2006 Cover Story about them, the two were partners in the music business as performers and producers before applying their creative talents to the Internet.

Michael's wife, Sheri, who co-founded DayCare.com with him in 1997, was also a talented actress before changing lanes with Michael. Given that lineage, it is probably no surprise that their gifted daughter Jessica Castello started making waves in the entertainment world before she was out of her teens! In 2019, Jessica, who happens to be celebrating her birthday today, played an award-winning lead role as Carlie Toft in the critically acclaimed feature film Oildale. Jessica's performance earned her a Best Actress Jury Award at the prestigious SENE Film Festival and added to a list of TV and movie credits she has been piling up since 2013.

Jessica's acting ability is equaled only by her musical talent (one of the many reasons she won the role in Oildale). In fact, the music video for "Blue Sky", an uplifting new song that Jessica wrote and performs, has just been released (you can also download the song from Apple iTunes).  The production, produced and directed by Lennon Leppert, was shot primarily around Jessica's scenic hometown, Moorpark, California. Having first met Jessica when she was just eight years old, it has been amazing to watch her talent continually grow and blossom into a career that appears to have nothing but blue sky ahead. Check out the video to see for yourself!

Jessica Castello in a scene from her 
Award-winning lead role in the 2019 film Oildale.

 

Scenes from the music video for "Blue Sky", an 
uplifting new song written and performed by Jessica.

 

(Posted March 16, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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New Reports Provide a Tale of Two Markets - Total Domain Registrations Slipped But Aftermarket Sales Surged in 4Q-2020

Verisign (the administrator of the .com and .net TLDs) has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 4th quarter of 2020. The quarter closed with 366.3 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs) worldwide, a rare decrease of approximately 4.4 million domains from the previous quarter, representing a 1.2% decline  However, the 366.3 million total is 4 million more than the number at the same point a year ago, a 1.1% uptick.

The decline from the previous quarter can be traced to just three TLDs as Kevin Murphy detailed in a post an DomainIncite.com Tuesday. Kevin noted that .tk, an extension that offers free domains, dropped 2.8 million registrations from the previous quarter, .icu lost 1.9 million and .top plunged by 900,000. That trio's cumulative loss of 5.6 million names would account for all of the 4.4. million reduction and then some.

Verisign's dominating .com TLD was the biggest tower of strength in the market. The .coms added 1.5 million domains from the previous quarter and were up 6.3 million year over year, a 4.3% annual jump for the world's most popular extension. Meanwhile, Verisign's .net has remained anchored, almost eerily so, for a full year now. At the end of 2019, approximately 13.4 million .nets were registered. At the of the 3Q-2020, the number was still 13.4 million and at the end of 2020 it was, yep, 13.4 million. That's certainly better than going backwards, something .net had been doing for a long time before finally stabilizing.

On the ccTLD front, .tk drug down the whole category with their loss of 2.8 million domains. Without out that, the country domains would have been up over a million domains from the previous quarter instead of showing an overall loss of 1.7 million names. Year over year, the ccTLDs were up, gaining 1.3 million names (about 1%) to close with 158.9 million names registered.

The new gTLDs, on the other hand, went backwards both quarter to quarter and year over year. The group lost 4.2 million domains from the previous quarter. Two-thirds of that deficit can be pinned on .icu and .top. However, year over year, the new Gs still lost 3.3 million domains, an 11% drop to the 26 million they had at the end of 2020.

While the Verisign report gave us some great insight into the domain registration market, another report, from Escrow.com, provided a peak into what has been a surge in the domain aftermarket. In their latest quarterly 

Domain Investment Index (.pdf file) covering 4Q-2020, Escrow.com reported closing $93.8 million worth of domain sales on their platform, a powerful 21% leap from the $77.5 million they booked in the previous quarter. The report goes on to slice and dice the various kinds of domains the money came from that does an excellent job of showing you where the biggest strengths and weaknesses are in the current market.

(Posted March 10, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Shane Kinsch Sells FTA.com for $400,000 in One of Year's Five Biggest Domain Sales Reported to Date + ROTD Extends Online Domain Auction to March 11

Back in 1999 Shane Kinsch, who has been the Chief Technologist at NetraCorp LLC for the past 15 years, was able to hand register FTA.com for a grand total of $70 - a price that will have all of us thinking "where is a good time machine when you need one!"  In the more than two decades since then, three-letter .coms have become one of the most consistently valuable assets in domain names (the real estate of the digital world). Kinsch's foresight paid off in a big way Thursday when he sold FTA.com for $400,000 to a confidential buyer who was represented by broker Mark Burgarelli.

That makes FTA.com the 4th biggest domain sale reported so far this year, trailing only Christmas.com ($3.15 million), GoBet.com ($850,000) and another three-letter .com, ZAG.com ($450,000). We will officially add the sale to our charts when we issue our next bi-weekly domain sales report on Wednesday evening, March 17. FTA.com also gives Shane two of the two biggest sales reported year to date. He already had #18 (tie) LiteBit.com on the chart after selling that domain in January for $50,000.

Shane's year has obviously gotten off to a great start - and that is true of the industry at large as well. Last week, RightOfTheDot.com (ROTD) had three blockbuster sales in their live online domain auction - Bird.com ($2.5 million), Fish.com ($1.6 million) and Tattoo.com ($750,000). Those will be added to our charts when the transaction close with final payments made and the domains transferred to the new 

\

Shane Kinsch
Chief Technologist, NetraCorp LLC

owners. ROTD may be adding others to the leader board because they have many other high profile domains that are in a companion online auction that is still underway. That one was originally scheduled to end March 4, but with so many strong new submissions coming in, it has been extended to Thursday, March 11.

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