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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.


Kate Buckley Books $206,850 for One of Year's Three Biggest 3-Letter .Com Sales To Date

The headline on our latest bi-weekly domain sales report that came out Wednesday evening (May 11), read 3-Letter Domains Re-Stake Claim to Top of Sales Chart - Group Posts 4 of 6 Biggest Sales on Elite List. It could be that the 3-letter fun is just getting started! Less than 24 hours after that report came out, I got a note from Founder and veteran broker Kate Buckley at Buckley Media letting me know that she had just closed a $206,850 sale of GBR.com.

In addition to being yet another new 3-letter .com sale, this one was especially notable because it is almost four times bigger than the one that took the top spot on our latest all-extension Top 20 Sales Chart Wednesday - ODC.com at $57,611. The $206,850 paid for GBR.com is also more than what was paid for all four of the 3-letter domains that landed among the top six reported sales over the previous two weeks. 

Kate, who represented the seller in the GBR.com transaction, knows the inherent value of top tier domains inside out and - as her regular appearances on our top sales charts over the years has shown -  has a long history of maximizing the proceeds from sales of those assets. We will be charting this latest sale when our next bi-weekly report is issued May 25th. As of this writing, the GBR.com sale is the third biggest 3-letter .com sale of the year to date, joining a trio that includes the March sale of GCP.com at $550,000 and the April sale of LWN.com at $475,000 (you can review all of 2022's top 100 sales to date here).

Kate said the buyer did not provide any specifics about their plans for GBR.com other than indicating it would be used to launch a new project. The domain is currently under WhoIs privacy and not resolving.

Kate Buckley

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New Article from Jeanette Eriksson Presents Latest Perspectives on New TLDs and Online Branding Strategies

Jeanette Eriksson has been a leading figure in the new TLD space for almost a decade now. The former Vice President of the .GLOBAL registry, who is now the VP of Marketing and Online Brand Protection at Desktop.com, is also a freelance author and consultant. Several weeks ago Jeanette began working on a deep dive into where new TLDs stand now, gathering perspectives from thought leaders as well as recommendations for online branding strategies for today's environment. The engrossing end result was made available to all today when Jeanette re- published the information as a free LinkedIn article (the piece was originally published by World Trademark Review and was accessible only to their paid subscribers).  

As most of your are aware, a new round of TLDs is in progress at ICANN, so this information is especially timely. In this piece, Jeanette analyzed the interests of five key stakeholder groups, shared commentary she received from a wide range of industry veterans and assembled the top takeaways for brand owners.

At the start, from her own experience during the first round of new TLDs, Jeanette noted, "Opinions live on long after the ICANN processes are concluded. It is thus worthwhile identifying some of the roles and underlying mechanisms that affect how these domains are presented to brand owners and the general public. Understanding this helps us interpret the information we are presented with, and can ultimately lead to better decision making for clients and ourselves.

I was one of the people Jeanette asked about those wide ranging opinions of new gTLDs that continue to create debate nearly 10 years after they were introduced. She published my thoughts on that:

“On the business side of it I think there 

Jeanette Eriksson
VP of Marketing & Online Brand Protection Desktop.com

has been too much sniping between legacy domain advocates and the new gTLD advocates with both spending too much time denigrating the other - rather than focusing on their own strengths. I think this came from each side feeling the success of the other would come at their expense - but that hasn’t been the case. .com is stronger than ever in registrations and the aftermarket. They have also become pricier in the aftermarket which has created opportunities for strong new gTLDs to serve markets that need more affordable options. The growth in demand for domains in general has left room for everyone to succeed on their own merits. When Verisign took over the .com registry in 2000 only 20 million .com domains existed. There are over 156 million now. That hasn’t left many viable terms available in .com that SMBs can afford. New gTLDs provide them with options and if our concern is the health of general economies, more options is a good thing for everyone.”

The above barely scratches the surface of the extensive ground covered in Jeanette's article, so don't miss this opportunity to read the entire piece here.

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New 2022-1Q Premium Domain Sales Reports from GGRG and Guta Provide Key Aftermarket Data

I just finished going through two of my favorite quarterly reports on results from the domain aftermarket that broke down what happened in key parts of the premium market in the opening quarter of 2022. One is the 23rd edition of the GGRG.com brokerage's Liquid Market Report and the other, also from a leading domain brokerage, is Guta.com's Premium Domain Sales Observation Report. The thing that makes these two reports special is they give very specific market segments in-depth treatment that you don't get from more general overviews of the market. 

In both cases, GGRG and Guta cover top tier premium domains - but there are differences there too. GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano, who is based in Europe, tackles always popular ultra-short acronyms or numeric domains (like two and three letter .coms, 3-number domains, and other widely valued groups).  Guta Founder George Hong's focus on premium domains also includes the one-word dictionary domains that are such hot commodities now. George, who has offices in both the U.S. and China, is in a position that also gives him special insight into the both the English and Chinese language markets.  

One of the many interesting data points in Guta's 2022-1Q report is a decline in the number of one-word dictionary domain transactions in each of the last four quarters. Transactions hit an all-time high in 2021-2Q at 114, dropped to 90 in 2021-3Q, slipped again to 59 in 2021-4Q and, in the most recent quarter, came in at 46. If you follow our bi-weekly domain sales report, you know there has been no apparent decline in the prices being paid for top tier one-word domains, in fact they were up considerably from the previous year (we reported 11 seven-figure one-word sales in 2021 vs. only two in 2020). The declining number of completed transactions could stem from domain owners demanding more money for their assets in a market where they are in high demand, or just less inventory being available for sale.

Dictionary word domains are not followed at GGRG where, as noted above, the focus is on short acronyms and numerics. GGRG's Liquid Market Report for the opening quarter did see a significant drop off in dollar volume for that group with one of the industry's bellwethers, Escrow.com, reporting a 53% decline in dollar volume for this class after posting their best quarter ever in GGRG tracking the previous quarter.  GGRG also reported seeing a sharp drop in median prices: -59% for 3Ls, -19% for 4Ls and -14% for 4Ns. At the height of the China boom a few years ago, those kinds of domains were market leaders but they have cooled considerably since that frenzy subsided.

Both of these report are free of charge, so check them out for yourself for all of the data in detail.

GGRG.com Founder Giuseppe Graziano

 

 

'

Guta.com Founder George Hong

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Internet Commerce Association Seeking Nominations for the 6th Annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award

When NamesCon returns to in-person conferences with NamesCon Global this summer in Austin, Texas, one of the highlights will be the Internet Commerce Association's  presentation of the 6th Annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award. The honor will go to someone voters across the industry will select in recognition of that person's efforts to "foster a sense of community within the domain name industry."

Anyone is welcome to submit a name for consideration using this online form before nominations close at the end of the day, May 31. ICA members will then vote on the top three submissions and the ICA Board will select the winner. 

 

The ICA established the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award in  2016, shortly after the late 

 

great domain investor and humanitarian unexpectedly passed at the age of 47.  Lonnie was universally loved for his generosity and selflessness.

Lonnie Borck

The first three Lonnie Borck Memorial Award recipients were chosen based on their exceptional efforts in "championing the rights of domain name registrants" and, as such, those came from the legal arena. Starting with the 2020 award, the criteria was broadened to include every corner of the domain industry. 

The previous winners of the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award were:

2017 - David Weslow

2018 - John Berryhill

2019 - Kathy Kleiman

2020 - Ron Jackson

2021 - Michael Cyger

Now you can help choose the 2022 winner and you are also welcome to share the form link with your industry colleagues!

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Dazzling Acquisition of Gems.com for $1.5 Million Gives Gem Shopping Network One of the Internet's Most Prestigious Addresses

We have learned through a reliable source that the Gem Shopping Network (GSN), seen on cable systems nationwide, has acquired the premier domain name Gems.com for $1.5 million. When contacted about the sale, Mark Thomas at VIP Brokerage, who represented the seller in the transaction, confirmed the information we had was accurate. That ranks as the 2nd highest publicly reported domain sale of the year to date (we will be adding it to our charts when our next bi-weekly domain sales report comes out Wednesday evening, April 27).

GSN, founded in 1997, is a private company but a source who is familiar with the company's operations estimated the TV retailer's annual sales are in nine figures. A December 2020 article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution 

Image from Bigstock

about the Duluth, Georgia based company, estimated GSN had 130 employees at the time. We reached out to contacts at GSN to see if they wished to comment on their acquisition of Gems.com and will update this article should they decide to do so.

One thing is for sure, Gems.com will gives GSN a world class upgrade from their current address at GemShopping.com. It's the kind of category-defining domain that brings a company invaluable credibility both online and off. In 2018, a year after Ring bought the Ring.com domain name for $1 million, CEO Jamie Siminoff estimated the domain ended up being worth $30-$50 million in business for the company.

As for VIP Brokerage, this is yet another coup for Founder Mark Thomas who posted the second highest sale of the year in 2021 with Christmas.com at $3,150,000. He also worked with DomainAssets.com to close last year's #11 sale of EE.com at $1,350,000. In 2019, Thomas had two of the year's top five sales, moving #3 California.com for $3 million and #5 TM.com for $1,250,000. Now, in 2022, Mark's Gems.com sale, as of this writing, is second only to the $1.8 million sale of Galaxy.com that MediaOptions confirmed making in February.

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Latest Verisign Report on Global Domain Registrations Shows Numbers Can Be Deceiving

I've just returned from a very pleasant family vacation on the opposite side of the country from our home base in Florida, spending it in the beautiful Pacific Northwest near Seattle. Of course, the domain industry never rests so there has been a lot to catch up on since getting back. While I was away Verisign released their quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (.pdf file) that always includes a treasure trove of information. The latest edition, covering the closing quarter of 2021, reveals that the year ended with 341.7 million domain names registered across all extensions worldwide.

 

Given the boom in the domain aftermarket, that represents a smaller year over year increase in registrations than most might expect. Only 1.6 million domains were added, pushing the total up just 0.5% but, in a moment I'll show you why growth was better than those numbers indicate.

While the overall growth rate was modest, it was a different story for Verisign's flagship .com TLD. 2021 ended with 160 million .coms registered, a jump of 8.3 million from the previous year, representing a healthy 5.47% increase for .com. Verisign also administers .net and, as has been the case for years, that TLD continues to tread water, ending 2021 with 13.4 million registrations - the same number the .nets had a year earlier.

The ccTLDs finished 2021 with 127.4 million domains registered. That is down 5.3 million, a 4% drop, year over year. Now, that would be very disappointing if we couldn't track it to a single cause - but we can. China's .cn underwent a zone reduction in 2021 that lopped a whopping 9.4 million domains from the TLD, accounting for all of the general ccTLD drop and then some. When you take .cn out of the equation, the ccTLDs actually gained 4.1 million domains and enjoyed a 

3.8% increase. With the .cn situation, you can also see why the total number for all TLDs appeared to be so lackluster year over year.

Shifting to the new gTLDs, while they have been producing impressive aftermarket sales in some select TLDs, their total number of registrations slid in 2021, finishing the year down 5.2% to 24.7 million after coming in 1.3 million below the previous year's number. In this group, with hundreds of competing TLDs, the results vary wildly with some clear winners at the top while most others are still working on building recognition and a loyal user base.

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Registrar Sav.com Doubles Number of Domains Under Management to 2 Million in Just Six Months

The  blazing fast-growth story of domain registrar Sav.com continues unabated with the low-cost service provider reaching 2 million domains under management, just six months after passing in the 1 million milestone last fall. Sav, who also operates an aftermarket platform for buying and selling domains, is now one of less that 30 accredited domain registrars, out of 3,000 worldwide, to hit the 2 million mark.

Sav.com Founder and CEO Anthos Chrysanthou said, “Our exponential growth is driven by three factors. First, every member of our support team is 110% committed to exceeding customer expectations. With a Trustpilot rating that ranks #1 versus well known registrar brands, their efforts are clearly helping to differentiate Sav.com and attract customers."

"Second, instead of charging the traditional 20% commission for selling domains on our aftermarket platform, Sav.com only charges 4%. When combined with our highly optimized Domain For Sale landing page that is tested and proven to maximize sell-through rates, our 4% commission is definitely motivating domain investors to transfer and sell domains at Sav.com.” 

"And third, Sav.com attracts investors, entrepreneurs, and SMBs alike by offering instant ownership transfer on domain purchases, extremely low domain registration and renewal rates, free WhoIs privacy, free SSL, and no domain backorder placement or fulfillment fees.” 

  

Anthos Chrysanthou
Founder & CEO, Sav.com

Chrysanthou also noted that Sav.com  recently added a user-friendly website builder tool to help entrepreneurs and small businesses quickly and easily establish a presence on the web. It includes a library of customizable templates, SEO optimization, and a comprehensive set of eCommerce features with a a free 30-day trial available to anyone who wants to take it for a spin. 

When we reported SAV.com reaching the 1 million mark last October, I mentioned that I had added SAV to the very short list of registrars that I use three months earlier and had already registered over 100 domains there. That number has now passed 250. I've known Anthos for close to 20 years, so the existing trust factor gave me a good reason to sample SAV.com, even though I wasn't looking to add another registrar. However, once I did that, the lowest prices in the market, reliable service and expanding feature set made putting more domains there a no brainer for me.

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Radix Revenue Rose Over 35% in 2021 Producing a 60% Surge in Profit Compared to 2020

Radix, one of the world’s largest registries for new top level domains, announced today that the company generated over $38 million in total revenue in 2021, a 35% jump from their revenue in 2020. Radix’s net profit soared by an even higher percentage, over 60% more in 2021 compared to the previous year. Over the past two-year period, Radix has seen its net profit almost double.

Radix reported that the bulk of their $38 million in revenue - 72% - came 

from standard registration renewals while new standard registrations produced 15% and premium registrations accounted for 12.5%.   

Based on registrars’ country data, Radix reported the top contributor to their revenue was the United States with 47% of the total share. The top nTLD that contributed over 30% to Radix’s total revenue was .Online, followed by .Site and .Store.  .Online has consistently been the highest revenue contributor for Radix over the past two years and an internal analysis they did indicated .Online has been the top nTLD by renewal revenue across the industry in 2021. 

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