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The Lowdown

Welcome to 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
.


 
After Selling $519 Million Worth of Domains in a 1-Year Span Escrow.com Sees Them as the REAL Land of the Metaverse 

Figures from Escrow.com's newly released  Q2-2022 Domain Investment Index revealed the company rang up $256 million in domain name sales volume in the first half of 2022 and a total of $519 million over the 12-month period ending June 30. The latter figure represents an 85% surge in sales volume over the past two years. 

Escrow.com Domain Name Sales (USD), trailing twelve months

Having handled transactions for premium domain names Meta.com, Uber.com, Instagram.com, Twitter.com, Crypto.com and many others, Escrow.com staked a claim to be "the the place where the land of the metaverse is bought and sold" in a detailed press release issued today.  Escrow.com CEO Matt Barrie noted, "Virtual real estate isn't a plot of land in the metaverse next to Snoop Dogg or an NFT on the blockchain, it's domain names. When Facebook rebranded to Meta, it didn’t buy virtual land in a game. Facebook bought the best possible address in the best street on the internet: meta.com." 

The Escrow.com release highlighted the diverging fortunes of the domain name aftermarket vs. NFTs with a link to an article at CoinTelegraph.com titled Metaverse housing bubble bursting? Virtual land prices crash 85% amid waning interest. Escrow.com added supporting evidence for the domain name case with these points:

  • Over the last two years, the average price of premium domain names has boomed. The average sale price in 2Q22 was US$49,910.65, up 28% from US$38,939.57 in 2Q21, and up a whopping 199% from US$16,694.49 in 2Q20.
     

  • The gains have not all been at the high end, with the median sale price for domain names up 23% to $5,000 from $4,064 in 2Q21, and doubling in 2Q22 from $2,500 in 2Q20.
     

  • Some niche segments outperformed: four-letter domains (LLLL.com) appreciated to a median of $10,000, up 59% from $6,300 in 2Q21 and $3,500 (up 186%) in 2Q20.

Andrew Rosener, CEO of MediaOptions.com,  added “Domain names are the bedrock foundation on which the entire internet is built upon, including Web3 and NFTs. Value accrues from the top down. So as more adoption occurs and more technologies and utility is created on top of the internet and its digital pipe lines, the more value accrues to the land beneath; namely domain names.” 

Rosener, who has won Escrow.com's Master of Domains Award for the last three years in a row (presented to the world's highest sales volume broker on the Escrow.com platform), can also back up his view with a long record of blockbuster sales, including NFT.com at $2.1 million and Zoom.com at $2 million.

Andrew Rosener

(Posted September 27, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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*****

Verisign Reports Worldwide Domain Registrations Reached 351.5 Million at the End of 2Q-2022

Verisign (the administrator of the .com and .net TLDs) has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (DNIB) covering the second quarter of 2022. The quarter ended with 351.5 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs) worldwide, a gain of 10.4 million domains from the same point a year ago, representing a 3% increase year over year. Total registrations were up by one million from the end 1Q-2022 (a 0.3% rise that represents a  considerably slower rate of growth than we saw for the past year as a whole).

At the end of 2Q-2022, .com registrations reached 161.1 million, 3.1 million higher than at the same point a year ago, representing 

a 2.6% jump YOY. .Net did not fare as well, losing 400,000 domains over the past year to finish 2Q-2022 with 13.2 million registrations.

Total country-code TLD domain name registrations came in at 134.1 million at the end of the 2Q-2022, a gain of 2.6 million domains (2%) year over year. The top 10 ccTLDs, as of June 30, 2022, were .cn, .de, .uk, .nl, .ru, .br, .fr, .eu, .au and .it.

Total new gTLD domain name registrations stood at 27.0 million at the end of the 2Q-2022 after enjoying a healthy 18.1% jump year over year with the addition of 4.1 million registrations.

(Posted September 20, 2022) 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/2022/dailyposts/20220920.htm

*****

GoDaddy Beefs Up Newly Acquired Dan.com With Addition of Domain Brokerage Services 

After acquiring innovative domain sales platform Dan.com in June GoDaddy is moving quickly, in tandem with the existing Dan team, to make the already popular aftermarket option even more appealing. An email sent to Dan customers today broke the latest news, stating "We’re excited to share progress on this combined effort with the launch of Dan Brokerage, in partnership with the world’s leading domain broker, GoDaddy." 

The message, above a "Dan Brokerage Team" signature, promised the new service will give Dan customers access to more than 100 experienced brokers stationed around the world with close to 24/7 coverage that will provide faster response time to both sellers and their prospective buyers.

The message, sent from support@dan.com, concluded "At Dan, we’re driven by the idea of putting customers first. We’re confident this new brokerage capability where you can relay any negotiation with a value of at least $1,000 to our brokerage team, will benefit our sellers. To discover what this team can do for your portfolio, simply respond to this email."       

(Posted September 19, 2022) 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/2022/dailyposts/20220919.htm

*****

Radix is Celebrating Their 10th Anniversary With "We Are X" Campaign Launched at NamesCon Global 

Just about everywhere you turned at the 2022 NamesCon Global conference that ended September 3rd in Austin, Texas you saw a sign emblazoned "We Are X"!  It was all part of a new 10th Anniversary celebration for Radix who has established themselves as one of the world's most successful and innovative new gTLD registry operators. Radix now has over 5.5 million domains under management across their 10 TLDs - .Online, .Store, .Tech, .Website, .Space, .Press, .Site, .Host, .Fun and .Uno. In 2019, Radix became the first portfolio Registry to have more than one TLD with over 1 million domains under management - .Online and .Site.   

Of course, registration numbers tell only part of the story. The figure that really makes the Radix story jump off the page is the phenomenal 216% growth in revenue they have experienced over the past five years. The company credits their success to a focus on reinventing the marketing of domains by treating each Radix TLD as an individual brand. That required coming up with new ideas that addressed actual 

customer pain points, resulting in campaigns like Ideato.store and Startin.tech, which connected deeply with their audience. Their platform, Namify.tech, also opens opportunities for Radix to bridge the gaps in the customer journey from ideation to execution. Radix has confirmed other projects in the pipeline that they are confident will keep the company's blazing growth going over the next decade and beyond.

After working so hard to achieve their vision over the past 10 years, Radix certainly earned their right to celebrate and they did it in style during NamesCon Global with a big anniversary party at the popular Roosevelt Room in Austin on the opening night of the conference on August 31

Above: Radix leaders ready to welcome guests to the Roosevelt Room. Left to right are Karn Jajoo (Director, Premium Names), CEO Sandeep Ramchandani, Neha Naik (VP, Channel Partnerships), Joel Rasquinha (Associate Director, Strategic Partnerships) and Mark Ghoriafi (Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships). All photos are courtesy of Radix.

Heading into the evening Sandeep noted, “Even when we started as a team of 10 with a big vision, success to us had always been about creating more value for our customers and partners than we ask of them. As we look forward to the next decade, we hope to continue contributing towards helping our customers succeed while they work towards realizing their dreams.”   

Below: In selecting the Roosevelt Room for their celebration, Radix booked an Austin institution that features what may well be the most well stocked bar in Texas's capital city!

Above: It seemed like everyone in Austin for NamesCon Global was overjoyed to be able to see each other in person again (after a two-and-a-half year wait caused by the global Covid pandemic). That was certainly the case at the Radix 10th Anniversary Party. In the center of this photo you see Sandeep greeting NamesCon Co-Founder Richard Lau with a big hug.

Below: In this shot, Neha is happy to have a chance to catch up again with Richard's fellow NamesCon Co-Founder, Jothan Frakes.

Above: Leaders from many of the industry's other well-known firms were on hand to celebrate with Radix. Encirca President Thomas Barrett (at right) was among those congratulating Sandeep and his team.

Below: Radix also had a camera crew on hand, led by Mark Ghoriafi, so they could document the big event for posterity. Here Mark is interviewing WordPress Senior Manager Jason Nickerson.

Above: Dynadot Founder Todd Han (left) was there too and having a great time catching up with Kellie Peterson. Todd knows full well what it takes to stay on top for the long run as Dynadot is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. 

Below: More familiar faces in the crowd, (left to right) Prakhar Bindal (NameKart.com), Mark Ghoriafi, Aishwin Vikhona (Gloabl Websoft), Candice Castro (Dynadot) and Shaun Wilkinson (Bodis) turned out to toast Radix.

Radix was founded by domain industry giant and serial entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia. His previous ventures in the domain industry include ResellerClub and BigRock, both ICANN accredited registrars, and LogicBoxes, a web products and consulting company. These companies were acquired by Endurance International Group, now Newfold Digital, in 2013. Bhavin went on to launch Titan, Flock, and Zeta, all of which he continues to run successfully as CEO.  With this history of an unwavering commitment to excellence, it is not surprising that Radix had upheld the "family tradition" so well. We wish many more decades of success in the years ahead!

(Posted September 13, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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*****

Some Photos and Thoughts From NamesCon Global's Show Closing Fun Day Saturday in Austin

The NamesCon Global 2022 conference completed it's four-day run Saturday (Sept. 3)  with a big Fun Day at Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden in Austin, Texas (you will find find some initial photos and highlights from the three business days (Wednesday through Friday) here.

We are back home in Florida now and while most Americans are celebrating the Labor Day holiday today I am starting work on a new Cover Story that will be a start to finish wrap up of an unforgettable week in Austin (update: that story is up now). After getting to see  each other face to face for the

first time is over two-and-a-half-years (due to the Covid pandemic), the joyous mood at this year's show made it feel like we have finally gotten an irreplaceable part of our lives back.

Above: The Fun Day was a great way to wrap up the week. No business - just hanging out, having a good time with old friends and making new ones. The latter is an easy thing to do in this business because everyone is welcome and we all feel a special kinship with those who share our love for domains (and understand how difficult it can be to explain that passion to people who are not in this business). 

Above and Below: Banger's, an Austin institution, was the perfect place to celebrate domain world camaraderie with their tasty homemade sausages and vast array of craft beers.

 

Above: One of the most popular gathering spots at Banger's was in front of the rows of taps that deliver 132 different varieties of beer, hard cider and other specialty beverages!

Below: No matter what time of day you dropped by (Fun Day ran from 10am to 5pm Saturday) you were sure to see both new faces and familiar ones in the crowd. We were happy to meet April Hawthorne (at left) for the first time and grateful for a chance to see Maxam and Abigail Magnata (center and right) again for the first time in years. The thing about long time friends in our field is that, no matter how much time has past, you can just pick right back up where you left off  as if no time had passed at all. 

Above: In this group you see a guy who stands out in any crowd, Braden Pollock (at center in the NamesCon shirt). The personable and witty Californian (I had to admonish him for being funnier than me) is one of the industry's most familiar faces after years of success as a domain investor and countless appearances on conference stages as a popular speaker and skilled moderator. In the latter role there was never a dull moment in Braden's sessions at NamesCon Global 2022 - and I can say they same thing for every conversation I've had with him over the years.

Below: Speaking of successful investors and fun people to see, it was good to connect again with Texas's own Francine Callahan (left), top notch broker Jeff Garbutt from PrimeLoyalty.com (center) and, of course, spend another day with my wife, Diana Jackson (right - well, she is always right, so what did you expect!), who has spent the past 20 years enjoying the journey with fellow domain travelers every bit as much as I have.

Above: (L to R) Aishwin Vikhona, Monte Cahn (RightOfTheDot.com), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com) and NamesCon CEO Christian Jaeger

I continue to be amazed how our business - one that spans the entire globe and sits at the very center of the Internet infrastructure that allows anyone to instantly communicate with others worldwide - has managed to retain the feeling of a small family business. People come to NamesCom from all over the planet and quickly become personal friends,  regardless of what culture or unique background they come from. Aishwin is an industry veteran from India, Monte (who has been in the business since the late 1990s) and I are Americans (both based in Florida) and Christian, who became NamesCon's CEO last year, is from Germany. NamesCon attendees also included people from Canada, Australia, multiple countries in Europe, South America, the Far East and more. It's a diverse crowd, some cosmopolitan, some country, but all intellectually curious about the world we live in, creative and just a joy to be around. 

Thanks to Christian, Soeren von Varchmin, Helga Neumer and the entire NamesCon team for a great week and a triumphant return to in-person conferencing! Can't wait to see you again when NamesCon returns to Austin in 2023 (dates to be announced)!

(Posted September 5, 2022) 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/2022/dailyposts/20220905.htm

*****

Some Highlights From NamesCon Global 2022 As We Head Into the Home Stretch 

Before I even left for NamesCon Global 2022 in Austin my plan (as I wrote in my last Lowdown post) was to change the way I normally cover the conference. After a two and half year dearth of domain conferences due to the Covid pandemic, my top priority was to spend as much time as possible on the show floor re-connecting with friends and colleagues. In the past I would spend 4 or 5 hours of each 24 hour cycle in my room editing photos and writing a long daily recap as the show went along. This time I spent those hours catching up with as many people as I possibly could. 

It was the right decision. The pandemic delivered an important life lesson - never take the time you have with people you care about lightly. The opportunity could disappear forever overnight.  Being able to see everyone in person again has already made this the most appreciated conference I've ever attended. The first three days have been a pure delight on every level and we still have one more to go today - a Fun Day that will close the show. 

On this beautiful Saturday morning in Austin I finally had enough time to sift through the hundreds of photos I've taken and pull out a few highlights to share with you. Once we get home the real work will begin on a new Cover Story that will cover the complete conference from start to finish (expect to see that by Tuesday evening, Sept. 6).

Above: There was a full house when the 2022 NamesCon Global conference opened Wednesday morning (August 31) at the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas.

Below: When Soeren von Varchmin, the Chairman of the NamesCon Advisory Board, hit the stage at 10am to open the show, the level of excitement (clearly reflected in Soeren's face) was off the chart. A wait over more than two and a half years to see each other face to face was finally over!

Above: After Soeren had called me (at left) onstage to talk about what has been happening in the domain world since we last met, I was surprised to see NamesCon CEO Christian Jaeger walk in with a birthday cake. I had spent my birthday Tuesday flying to Austin, seeing other early arrivers in the hotel lobby and attending Sedo's pre-show party (there could not have been a better way to spend a birthday)! This thoughtful gesture from Christian, Soeren and Helga Neumer (Head of NamesCon Operations) is something I will always treasure. We also celebrated landmark dates for two of the industry's leading companies - NamesCon coincided with the 25th Anniversary of Trellian (whose Above.com unit was NamesCon's title sponsor) as well as the the 10th Anniversary of Radix.

Below: Now it was time to get down to business! Paul Nicks, the President of GoDaddy's Domain Registrars and Investors division, delivered the first keynote - titled Igniting Investor Success. Paul has always been an advocate for domain investors as he has risen through the ranks at GoDaddy. We would not be getting the attention and continually expanding investor-oriented services from GoDaddy we have seen in recent years were it not for Paul.

Above: I was back on stage for two other sessions in the Bodis Keynote Hall on opening day Wednesday. The first was a morning Fireside Chat with Artist Christian Calvin (that we will dig into in the upcoming Cover Story on NamesCon Global 2022) and the second in the afternoon (seen here), Insights Into the Domain Industry's Evolution, with Trellian President and Co-Founder David Warmuz (right). As I mentioned above, Trellian is celebrating this 25th Anniversary and David has been there to see and help build this industry from its beginning. He had some great stories to share, including a fascinating account of his 22-year-long efforts to acquire the domain Trillion.com. The original plan was to use Trillion as the company name. David did finally get it but by that point Trellian was the established brand. Still, check out Trillion.com to see how many well-known brands the company owns and operates now. I think you will be surprised!

Below: In another highly anticipated session that drew a wall to wall crowd, two of the best negotiators in the business, Kate Buckley (Buckley Media) and the Domain King himself, Rick Schwartz, shared their views on the The Art of Negotiating. Kate and Rick have very different negotiating styles, yet they both consistently ring up huge sales. Insight into the way they go about it made this session alone worth the cost to attend NamesCon. 

Above: Throughout the opening days of the conference, the Exhibit Hall area was a bee hive of activity. It was conveniently located on level 1 of the Omni's beautiful atrium. There was a steady flow of attendees up and down the staircase at right that leads to the Bodis Keynote Hall, the TITAN Breakout Stage and other meeting rooms.

Below: Of course, one thing attendees especially love about the Exhibition Hall is the chance to pick up some cool swag! Here a visitor checks out the .HipHop booth where a huge pile of T-Shirts was steadily whittled down as the show progressed (as a former radio DJ and owner of several record stores in a previous business life, I had to pick up one of those myself)!

Above: At the end of the first business day it was time for the Above.com Opening Night Reception at the Omni. NamesCon Global attendees came from all over the world. Those as the Above party included industry veteran (L to R) Aishwin Vikhona and Prakhar Bindal (both from India) and Truc Tran (from Norway).

Below: Unfortunately, there was one tragic event at the Above.com party - the premature death of an 18-year-old bottle of Macallan Scotch! This particular star-crossed bottle was won by Mark Mojica from Sniamod LLC (at left below with Above.com Executive Vice President Nancy Bianchi) as part of a day-long Above.com Scavenger Hunt contest. Right after Mark won the bottle, another attendee picked it up and accidentally dropped the bottle, shattering it and sending the sweet smell of Scotch through the room - at least one attendee even dipped a napkin into the pool of liquid to sniff it! Macallan 18 typically retails for $400-$500 but to show how guests at NamesCon this year would not let anything dampen their spirits, Mark was still smiling when he told us about the mishap. As he noted, he now has a great story to tell even if it leaves a big hole in his liquor cabinet! (One way or another, odds are that problem will be fixed too).

Above: Evening social events are always a big part of the NamesCon experience, typically with multiple events, private and public, every evening. We were honored to join some longtime friends of industry legend Frank Schilling (at left above with dinner host Dr. Gregg McNair (center) and Frank's closest friend, Vern Jurovich) at Eberly in Austin Wednesday night to celebrate Frank's success and thank him for the inspiration and encouragement he has provided so many of us along the way. After the private dinner, a party open to all NamesCon attendees got underway at Eberly and ran well into the night.

Below: The second day of business Thursday, September 1, got off to s great start with iconic broker Andrew Miller (Managing Director at Hilco Digital Assets) sharing The Secret to Premium Domain Deals. Andrew has been in the middle of many of the biggest domain sales of all time. You don't hear the specifics about most of the them because sales at this level almost always come with non-disclosure agreements, but industry veterans are well aware of what Andrew has accomplished over the past two decades. In this session he shared how sales at this level get done and this was another one of those sessions where you needed to get there early or you weren't going to find an open seat!

Above: Another day two highlight Thursday was the RightOfTheDot NamesCon Global Live Domain and Digital Assets auction. As always, the sale was orchestrated b World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat (left on stage) and ROTD President Monte Cahn. At this writing we don't have all of the auction results in (and the offline auction is still going on) but we should have more on that in our upcoming Cover Story).

Below: After another full day of business, another round of social events followed Thursday, including the annual Internet Commerce Association Dinner, held at Parkside, just a couple of blocks from the Omni. A highlight of the dinner is always the presentation of the annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award and that was again the case this year. The award, recognizing a person who has done outstanding work in  helping foster a sense of community within the domain name industry went to Andrew Allemann of Domain Name Wire. ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz presented Andrew with the well-deserved award.

There was another full round of business sessions Friday, including some big news from Soeren von Varchmin in his daily kickoff session. He confirmed that NamesCon Global will return to Austin in 2023. The dates are still to be determined but Soeren said they would fall in either the spring or fall seasons.

Now, it is time for me to run again - it's off to Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden for the closing Fun Day at NamesCon Global 2022. I'll likely have some photos from that for you by Sunday night - and again - today's column was just a sampling to give you some of the flavor of the show - the big wrap is still to come early next week!

(Posted September 3, 2022) 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/2022/dailyposts/20220903.htm

*****

Editor's Note: The first three days of NamesCon have  presented so many long overdue opportunities to meet friends face to face, day and night (our priority this year) that we haven't had time to go through, edit and post photos from the hundreds we have shot so far. However, we will have some highlights ready to post Saturday morning and will put those up before heading out for the final day - a Fun Day that will bring the curtain down on what has been a joyful and invigorating event for attendees. As noted in the article below, our wall to wall coverage of the entire conference will go into a new Cover Story that will be posted early next week. 

Austin Will Become the Domain Capital of the World Wednesday When NamesCon Global Arrives

The time has finally come. After a pandemic induced two-and-a-half year wait, domain and digital asset investors, developers and service providers from all over the world will finally get to meet face to face again this week at the 2022 NamesCon Global Conference in Austin, Texas. The big show will run Wednesday (August 31) through Saturday (September 3) at the downtown Omni Hotel.  

A jam-packed two-track agenda filled with business sessions and social events will begin playing out at 10AM (U.S. Central Time) Wednesday when

Soeren von Varchmin, Chairmain of the NamesCon Advisory Board, will host the Welcoming Session. The first day of  business will continue until 6pm when The Opening Night Reception Party will be held at the Omni. After that ends at 9pm, those still not ready to call it a night can reconvene offsite at 9:45pm for a Frank Schilling Tribute Party, open to all NamesCon attendees, that Gregg McNair is hosting at Eberly in Austin.

I will be hosting two opening day sessions in the Bodis Keynote Hall Wednesday. The first one at 11:05am is a Fireside Chart with domain investors/artist Christian Calvin that I previewed in a Lowdown post last month. Over the past few months Christian has created a special NFT series just for NamesCon that will be up for grabs during this year’s live domain and digital asset auction that will be held Thursday afternoon. We will give you a behind the scenes look at Christian's NFT creation process so you can see what aesthetic, platform, and messaging choices go into creating an NFT that’s built to last. 

I'll return at 4:30pm for what promises to be a great session with Trellian Co-Founder David Warmuz. Trellian is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year and David will be sharing some amazing stories from his quarter of a century in this business. We will discuss how the arrival of PPC revenue

Christian Calvin

sparked an explosion in domain sales that has grown into today’s booming domain investment industry. David and his late brother and company co-founder, Ren, bought an astounding of domains  in those early years before establishing Trellian's still flourishing domain monetization platform Above.com. David will  tell attendees about what led to that purchasing binge, as well as the incredible story of his 22-year pursuit of the domain he wanted most and finally got - Trillion.com (yes, that would have been the company's name instead of Trellian if it had not proven to be such an elusive catch)!

In the early years of Trellian, Founders Ren and David Warmuz introduce trade show attendees to the Submit Wolf search engine submission software that was one of Trellian's biggest hits.

One other thing about this long-awaited edition of NamesCon. I will be covering it in a different way than I have past conferences. Normally, I would post a full recap of the previous day's events each morning during the show. To do that I had to spend many hours off the show floor, writing and editing photos for the next daily report. One thing the pandemic and the recent unexpected passing of Shaun Pilfold has finally taught me is that we never know when or even if we will see some of our friends and colleagues again. 

So, after missing everyone for over two and half years, my priority for this conference will be to spend as much time as possible on the floor talking to people. I will still be popping into every single session to get photos and notes to share with you. However, instead of posting a full daily recap, I will post some daily highlights but save the bulk of the coverage for a complete conference wrap-up Cover Story that I will write when I'm back from Austin. That way you will still see everything you have become accustomed to seeing and I will have some invaluable extra time to catch up with friends and colleagues while we all in one place at the same time - something I think some of us  have been guilty of taking for granted, but likely will not any longer. 

At the last NamesCon Global conference in January
2020
, before the pandemic hit, are (left to right) attorneys Howard Neu and Karen Bernstein, DNJournal's Ron Jackson and Soeren von Varchmin, Chairman of the NamesCon Advisory Board.

My next post will be from NamesCon. Hope to see you there but if you can't make it, keep an eye on this space for some daily highlights after the show begins. Now it's almost time for the curtain to go up!

(Posted August 29, 2022) 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/2022/dailyposts/20220829.htm

*****

After Presenting This Week's London Domain Name Summit IT.com Turns Attention to NamesCom Global

Throughout this week excitement has been building for the return of the NamesCon Global conference after its two-and-a-half year absence due to the global pandemic. While preparations for the big show that runs August 31 through September 3 in Austin, Texas entered their final stages, another lucky group of domain investors and service providers were already meeting face to face in a new event on the other side of the Atlantic. That was the inaugural London Domain Name Summit (LDNS) that was held Monday and Tuesday (August 22 and 23) in London at the Yum Sa restaurant and event center. The Presenting Sponsor of the London meetup, IT.com, is also one of the primary sponsors of NamesCon Global, joining GoDaddy as a Diamond Sponsor with Above.com taking the Title Sponsor role as part of parent company Trellian's 25th anniversary celebration.

Broker Igor Furdyk of Linkoeln.com, who helped Intis Telecom acquire the IT.com domain name for $3.8 million, was at the London Domain Name Summit and was kind enough to send us a few photos from the event. 

Above: The IT.com team at the 2022 London Domain Name Summit (LDNS) included (left to right) Tatyana Tarassenko (Growth Marketing Director), Rolandas Japertas (Business Manager), Andrey Insarov (Founder & CEO), Natalija Japerte (Business Development Manager) and Munir Badr (It.com Advisor and Owner of Aeserver.com).

Below: IT.com Advisor Munir Badr manning IT.com's stop in the London Domain Name Summit Exhibit Area. As someone who likes to have an occasional glass of red wine, I have to say that there is something about the LDNS's venue - Yum Sa - that I really love. I just can't quite put my finger on it!

Above: IT.com Business Development Manager Natalija Japerte with 
London Domain Name Summit Founder
Helmuts Meskonis.

Igor also let me know that Growth Marketing Director Tatyana Tarassenko recorded a video interview with LDNS Founder Helmuts Meskonis shortly before the show began. Post show, it is still interesting because it focuses on why Helmuts started the new event and how he believes it will benefit domain investors in the UK and Europe going forward. You can view that 5-minute clip on YouTube.

The IT.com crew that was at the LDNS the first half of this week has to get back to work, but IT.com will still be well represented at NamesCon Global by one of the industry's most familiar faces, our long-time friend Joe Alagna, who is now an IT.com Advisor. Joe was CentralNic’s General Manager for North American Markets for 12 years prior to joining 101domain and then the Afilias Registry. Joe will be providing an Introduction to IT.com on the Bodis Keynote Hall Stage on Friday morning, September 2, starting at 11:35am.

The 2022 NamesCon Global conference will get underway Wednesday morning, August 31, at 10am (U.S. Central Time) at the downtown Omni Hotel in Austin. That is the same venue where the industry's last major in-person conference - NamesCon 2020 - was staged in January of that year. The long wait is just about over and that is something we can't wait to celebrate. 

Joe Alagna
IT.com

(Posted August 26, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Domain Industry Legend Frank Schilling Returns to His Roots in Another Coup for NamesCon Global

With just a week to go until NamesCon Global returns to an in-person format for the first time in over two-and-a-half-years, the conference continues to add star power to its agenda. When the big event returns to the Omni Hotel in Austin, Texas August 31 through September 3, 2022, attendees will get to see legendary domain investor and entrepreneur Frank Schilling on stage September 1st fielding questions from fellow industry giant Gregg McNair, Chairman of the Premium Traffic Limited Group.

In February 2020, just days  after the last edition of  NamesCon Global, Schilling put the finishing touch on his astonishing run in the domain world with a stunning sale of his domain 

Above:  Gregg McNair (left) and Frank Schilling.

portfolio and the company he founded, Uniregistry, to GoDaddy. With that happening just as the global pandemic was about to upend face to face gatherings around the world, many of Schilling's friends never had the opportunity to congratulate him in person or thank him for how much Uniregistry's services made it easier and more profitable to run their own businesses. 

That will be rectified in Austin where, in addition to interviewing Schilling, McNair will host a party to celebrate Frank's achievements at 9:45pm, August 31 that will be open to all NamesCon attendees. That will set the stage for the interview that will follow the next afternoon during a special hour-long session (starting at 2pm) that will lead into Right of the Dot's big live Digital Assets Auction at 3pm.

ROTD President Monte Cahn (left) and World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat will run the NamesCob ROTD Live Digital Assets Auction September 1.

The live auction, of course, has long been a NamesCon show stopper of its own and the latest one promises to be no different, especially with the new twist of top tier premium domains being sold along side new NFT digital assets. In their 13th year of working together to conduct the world's biggest live domain auctions, ROTD President Monte Cahn and World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat will be back to put an extraordinary catalog of digital assets on the block.

Domains including ComicBooks.com, Likes.com, PayPerClick.com, Mysterious.com, Virus.com, 5GWireless.com and Sims.com, to name just a few, could ignite some very spirited bidding wars. Approximately 100 lots will be selected (from more than 700 submitted) for the live event with others part of the accompanying online auction (auction submissions are now closed).

Bidders may bid in person or by registering to bid online at 

https://rotd.hibid.com. Bidders will need to provide a government-issued photo ID to place bids above $2000. As I noted above, NFTs will also be made available in auction for the first time at NamesCon. Complimentary food and beverages will be served during the event.

(Posted August 23, 2022) 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 28% Surge in Total Premium Domain Retail Revenue in H1-2022 Over Previous Half

Radix has released their latest semi-annual report on Premium Domain Name Sales (.pdf file), covering the first half of 2022. Radix, a registry operator that administers 10 top level domains, continued to see strong growth in sales of premium domains that are made through registrar channels worldwide. In H1-2022 Radix's total premium revenue came in at $3.82 million, a 28% jump over the $2.98 million they recorded he H2-2021.

Radix had an even higher growth rate in renewals of their premium names, with that category up 38% over the previous six-month period after generating $2.5 million in H1-2022. New premium registrations also posted solid double digit growth, up 24% from H2-2021.

For new premium registrations, the .Tech TLD was Radix's biggest revenue generator, producing over $390,000 on 441 premium sales. .Store was next with over $235,000 on 338 sales, followed by .Online with just under $215,000 on 279 sales. Those were also the top three TLDs in premium renewal revenue with .Tech the top earner at $643,825, however .Store and .Online flipped positions, with .Online #2 at $542,425 and .Store #3 at $520,325 in the renewal income race.

Radix data showed that the percentage of premium domains renewed goes up with every year of ownership. 68% of original premium registrants re-upped when the first renewal came due. When it was time to renew for a second time 75% did so. When a 3rd renewal date arrived that number went all the way up to 87% that decided to keep their domains.

(Posted August 16, 2022) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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The Domain Industry Loses a Gentle Giant With the Passing of Shaun Pilfold 

For the past 20 years Canada's Shaun Pilfold has been a soft-spoken, big-hearted, high-achiever who has brought smiles to every room he entered. So I was deeply saddened this morning when I received notes from several friends pointing me to a thread at the DN.CA domain forum. In it a long time friend and former business partner of Pilfold's shared the news that Shaun had passed Sunday evening after a battle with cancer. 

Not surprisingly, given Shaun's nature, many were unaware his health had taken a turn for the worse. He was not the type to talk or complain about it. In fact when left a post about cancer on his Facebook page on February 4 (World Cancer Day), Shaun made no mention of his own status, instead writing, "Today, I want to remember those who are no longer with us but are living on in our hearts and memories. For those that are struggling with this horrible disease, either as a sufferer, caregiver or know someone that is, I wish you strength, hope and god's grace in fighting this beast."  He knew the

Shaun Pilfold

fight well, as it was his fight too, but his thoughts were about how the disease was affecting others and memorializing those it had already taken. That was Shaun - a man who will most certainly live on in our hearts and memories. 

Shaun was a very successful domain investor and developer, having owned and/or helped develop top tier assets like Jobs.ca, Candy.ca, Houses.ca, GoldCourses.ca and many others. His CandyCrave.ca ecommerce site has proved to be a big hit too. Sean was also a well-known player in the geodomain space as the owner of Kelowna.com, Kamloops.com and Penticton.com. Still his domain acumen is not what drew so many people to Shaun and made him one of the most beloved people in the business. It was the way he treated and connected with everyone around him.

I met Shaun in person for the first time in 2005 when we were both at the Domainfest conference in Los Angeles and the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Delray Beach, Florida. We already knew each other from the domain forums online but to really appreciate Shaun you had to meet him in person. My first impression was this guy was a living, breathing teddy bear - you were instantly comfortable around him and would have been happy to give him a big hug - in fact many did just that!

Above: Marcia Lynn Walker giving her friend Shaun Pilfold a hug at the 
2005 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Delray Beach, Florida

Above: Many of us first got to know Shaun through DNForum.com
owned at the time by Greg Ricks (at right above), who is seen here with
Shaun at the 2007 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East conference in Hollywood, Florida.

Above: Shaun made many other friends in the geodomain community where he was well-known as the owner/operator of several Canadian city .com websites. In this shot from the 2007 GeoDomain Expo in San Francisco, Shaun (at far left), chats with a friend during the live domain auction. 

Above: Shaun was also at the 2008 GeoDomain Expo in Chicago where he is seen 
sharing some thoughts from his seat in the audience during a panel discussion.

Above: Wherever domain people got together, Shaun was most likely there, 
making new friends and enjoying the chance to see old ones again.  Here he is 
chatting with Eliot Silver at the 2007 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in New York City.

In 2010, Shaun finally had a chance to welcome his many industry friends to a big event on his side of the border at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Vancouver conference in Canada. This particular occasion was a surprise birthday party for Gregg McNair (at far right). When it comes to wishing people well, Shaun was always front and center and this was no exception.

With Shaun gone now, all we can do is send heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and share our stories of how he positively impacted our lives with his quiet manner, kindness and grace. It was a wonderful blessing to know him and I have no doubt that anyone who ever met him will tell you the same. Thank you Shaun, for being the man you were and showing us how to do it right in both business and life.

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Fresh Off  Forming Partnership with Hilco Global, Andrew Miller Will Be Doing Some Myth Busting at NamesCon Global

A couple of the biggest domain sales of all time were reported over this past week - NFTs.com at $15 million and Connect.com at $10 million. It is rare for sales at that level to be publicly reported as most are governed by non-disclosure agreements. That is something pioneering broker Andrew Miller is well aware of because he has been involved in some of the biggest sales ever made, some reported but most not due to NDAs (recent examples include

venture, with Miller serving as the Managing Director. Andrew said, "

Andrew Miller
Managing Director
Hilco Digital Assets

has long been a sought after speaker, so no surprise h

As busy as he is, Andrew told me he has spent a lot of time thinking about that keynote and what he can share that will be most meaningful for domain investors, buyers and sellers who focus on  premium domain assets. One thing he plans to do is dispel a lot of common myths. and in doing so, hopefully invoke some change in either thought process or practices to create a better value for this amazing asset class. Miller noted, "to the right buyer a domain is game changing for their enterprise value, magical as I like to say."  

While great domains do indeed have a magical quality, Andrew delivers his advice in a straight forward manner. After you hear him speak it's unlikely you will go away still wondering what goes on behind the curtain. Andrew says most think there has to be a "secret sauce" of some kind involved in getting premium domain sales done but he will explain why the key ingredient boils down to something more accessible to all - tried and true common sense. By the way, Andrew will also be moderating the Blue Chip NFT Panel later Thursday morning (Sept. 1) with that session (also in the Keynote Hall) scheduled to get underway at 11:35am. 

While we're talking about NamesCon Global, there are some related big events to tell you about. The Internet Commerce Association will be holding their 7th Annual Dinner (featuring presentation of the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award) in Austin on September 1st. A limited number of tickets are now available to all NamesCon attendees. The event will run from 6 to 9PM at the acclaimed Parkside Austin restaurant that offers both indoor and outdoor dining options and is just a 3-minute walk from the Omni. You can learn more about the dinner from Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz's post on the ICA blog. 

Also, if your are already an ICA member (or want to become one) there are two more events scheduled just for you earlier on the day of the dinner (Thursday, Sept. 1). At 9am there will be a special meeting for domain brokers who are ICA members. It will be held at the Omni with the exact meeting room to be announced before the show. That will be followed at 12:40pm Sept. 1 by the  ICA Town Hall for all Members, giving them a chance to talk with fellow members, as well as members of the ICA Staff and Board. As with the brokers meeting, the specific room for the Town Hall will be assigned and announced before NamesConGlobal gets underway. 

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*****

Second 8-Figure Domain Sale in As Many Weeks -  Connect.com at $10 Million - Uncovered by George Kirikos

Less than a week after a $15 million sale of NFTs.com was announced, George Kirikos discovered that Hubspot paid $10 million to acquire Connect.com earlier this year. Kirikos found the details in Hubspot's 2Q-2022 SEC filing and broke the news on his FreeSpeech.com blog Sunday. Confirmation of the sales price comes after DomainInvesting.com had reported spotting a transfer of the domain to Hubspot in April.

Two of the four biggest publicly reported domain sales of all time have now come to light in the past five days. NFTs.com is second only to Voice.com ($30 million), followed by Sex.com ($13 million) and new #4 

Image from Bigstock

Connect.com. We will be adding Connect.com to our YTD Top 100 Sales Chart and All-Time Top 20 Chart when out next bi-weekly domain sales report comes out August 17. 

There is an interesting back story to the reporting of this information. As regular readers know, George is a veteran researcher who has uncovered countless big money sales over the years (our charts would have bee a lot less impressive had he not been digging this data out and cross checking it to share with the industry). Unfortunately, as happens far too often on the web, some unscrupulous sites and social media accounts have stolen his work and republished it un-credited as if the work was there own. George finally had enough of that and announced he was going to pause his research for the rest of the year to protest what amounts to IP thievery. It has to be especially galling to him because he has done the work and shared the results expecting no compensation (he doesn't accept ads on his sites) other than credit where credit is due for the work done. Uncovering the details of this huge sale of Connect.com on the way out the door for a well deserved break serves as a perfect mic drop moment as it shows how much we are likely to be missing over the next few months.

There is one favor from industry participants that Kirikos would very much appreciate. As he has written on his blog, ICANN is a considering change in its domain transfer policy that could make it much easier to hijack domains. It is such a threat to domain registrants that George has lobbied ICANN to extend the public commentary period to mid-September (the cutoff is currently set for August 16). It only takes a few minutes to submit a comment (click "Provide Your Input") noting your support for additional time for the community to address this critical issue. 

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*****

Blockbuster $15 Million Sale of NFTs.com Gets The Domain Industry's Day Off to a Great Start

In the 2nd largest domain sale ever publicly reported, NFTs.com has changed hands for $15 million, a figure eclipsed only by the $30 million sale of Voice.com in 2019. The news came this morning in a joint press release (.pdf file) from Escrow.com and premium domain brokerage and acquisition specialists Domainer.com

The deal was brokered for an undisclosed buyer by teams at Domainer.com and GoDaddy.com who worked together in hand with Escrow.com who facilitated the landmark transaction. Plans for the marquee domain have not yet been announced but a Domainer.com statement said the buyer has associations with other web3 projects, such as DigitalArtists.com (a curated web3 service to artists). 

Image from Bigstock

The lead broker of the deal, Domainer.com's Matt Holden, said "It was a pleasure to work with all parties involved with NFTS.com, an incredible opportunity for the buyer to acquire a category killer domain and one of, if not the best, possible .com's in the entire web3 space." Ian Garner, Director at Domainer.com, added "The recent purchase of NFTS.com is an acquisition all brokerage platforms would love to be involved in. It has truly been a privilege to have played our part in the deal and to continue to represent a very happy buyer."

This news takes away any suspense about what the #1 sale will be in our next bi-weekly domain sales report that will be out this evening. At the same time, NFTs.com will be placed in the #1 position on our Year-to-Date Top 100 Sales Chart. Congratulations to all of the parties involved in making it happen. I think for just about everyone in our industry, this is the kind of news you love to wake up to! 

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*****

XYZ Registry Spices Up Growing Portfolio With Addition of Latin Flavored .LAT TLD

The XYZ Registry's continually expanding portfolio of  domain extensions just reached 34 TLDs with the acquisition of .LAT that was announced today. With this move XYZ adds an extension that the seller, eCOM-LAC, launched in 2015 to serve the Latin community. The TLD has been available to the general public since then and a number of established websites already call it home. 

Anthony Harris, executive director of eCOM-LAC,  noted, "For the last few years, as a Latin American non-profit Business Federation, we have been the ICANN assigned Registry for .LAT, in line with our mission objectives, which center on the development of the Internet in Latin America and the Caribbean. This task was carried out with the assistance of our able back-end technical and marketing services provider – NIC MX. Certainly, the LAC region deserves to have a specific domain identifier which can contribute to the growth of Internet usage and content in this part of the world. It is time now for XYZ to apply their experience and expertise in order to take .LAT to the next level, and we wish them every success for the future."

 

Daniel Negari
XYZ Registry Founder & CEO

In a post on his personal blog, XYZ Registry Founder and CEO Daniel Negari wrote, "I am excited to announce the acquisition of .LAT – a culturally significant domain ending and a representation of the exceptional community that it powers. The Latin communities are some of the most underserved internet populations on earth. For many years, I have been actively seeking .LAT to promote diversity and affordability of naming options to the world community and to provide inspiration for Latin identities and expression."

Negari added, "While registrations will continue as usual, we will be formally relaunching .LAT sometime in 2023. This will include efforts to increase awareness, access, and marketing. The existing team has done a truly incredible job of starting .lat and getting it going. As the next steward of this important domain we will look to accelerate registrations and usage by celebrating the existing successful users, and looking to inspire the next generation of users to choose .LAT."

 In addition to their flagship .xyz domain, the XYZ Registry operates .Cars, .Car, and .Auto, .College, .Rent, .Security, .Protection, .Theatre, .Storage, .Baby, .Monster, .Beauty, .Hair, .Skin, .Makeup, .Quest, .Homes, .Autos, .Motorcycles, .Boats, .Yachts, .Tickets, .Game, .Guitars, .Audio, .Christmas, .Diet, .Flowers, .Hosting, .Pics, .Mom, and .LOL. You can learn more about XYZ at www.gen.xyz.

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*****


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