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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.

Efty.com Adds Brokerage Services to Their Domain Sales Platform Through New Partnership With Saw.com

Efty.com continues to add new service options to their innovative domain sales platform. As many of you know, Efty brought a unique software-as-a-service business model to the aftermarket when they launched back in 2013. It  allows customers to pay a membership fee to use their marketplace instead of paying commissions on their sales. A steady stream of improvements has been fueling growth ever since. Last summer we told you about their partnership with DAN.com that gives Efty users seamless access to DAN's frictionless, cost-cutting escrow process, speedy payouts, and seller protection. This week, Efty announced another key partnership in which they are teaming up with Saw.com to bring brokerages services to Efty users.

Efty.com Co-Founder and Head of Product Doron Vermaat said the company is onboarding the first batch of sellers in a closed beta with Saw.com, a brokerage whose Co-Founders, Jeffrey Gabriel and Amanda Waltz, have had a hand in over $400 million in domain sales over the many years they have been in the industry. 


Vermaat noted, "Efty Investor subscribers that opt-in will be able to assign individual leads to the Saw.com brokerage team and pay a competitive 15% commission (or $250.00 whichever is greater) upon the completion of a successful sale. After setting a target and a floor price, you can forward new inquiries to the Saw.com team with a click of a button and you can even assign older leads for their team to revive. They excel in following up consistently, qualifying buyers, and applying customized strategies for individual buyer profiles."


Vermaat added, "We’ll be sending out additional invites for a selected number of Efty Investor users in the coming weeks. To get on the list, drop us an email at ask@efty.com with the subject line: Brokerage. If you have already requested an invite but don’t have access yet, please stay tuned. We’re onboarding a batch of sellers each day."



(L to R): Saw.com Co-Founders Jeffrey Gabriel and Amanda Waltz 
and Efty.com Co-Founder Doron Vermaat.


Saw.com's Jeffrey Gabriel said, "Excited is the word that comes to mind when thinking about this partnership. Only great things can happen when we combine the industry-leading technology we have in Efty with our growing team of well-trained, experienced Domain Brokers at Saw.com."


(Posted February 26, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Bird.com, Fish.com & Tattoo.com Sell for a Total of Nearly $5 Million in RightofTheDot's Live Online Domain Auction

RightOfTheDot.com Founder Monte Cahn and World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat were expecting big things from the live online domain auction they staged this afternoon (Thursday, February 25, 2021) from a studio in College Station, Texas. When the smoke cleared at the end of the four-hour event, Cahn, Wheat, Wayne's energetic assistant, Lev, and the auction support staff had delivered in a big way. They put a catalog of 108 top tier domains up for sale and two of those smashed the seven-figure barrier with a third one hitting high six figures.

(Left to right): World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat, Wayne's assistant Lebbeus Kemp and RightOfTheDot.com Founder Monte Cahn getting ready to start today's live domain auction, a sale that would wind up being one of the most successful the industry has seen in years.

Above: The exact moment when Wheat brought the hammer down on a $2.5 million sale of Bird.com in the biggest deal of the day. Cahn brought his lucky cowbell to celebrate the auction's big moments and he had reason to ring it often this afternoon.


Just a few minutes later, Cahn was ringing the cowbell again as Wheat yelled SOLD to close another seven-figure sale, this one for Fish.com at $1.6 million! That wasn't the end of the fireworks either - after ringing up a series of smaller sales, lightning struck again with Tattoo.com going for $750,000. It was equally stunning to learn that the same, as yet unidentified, buyer bought all three of the most expensive domains, laying out $4.85 million to acquire three true gems. 

As of this writing we haven't yet seen a complete list of the auction results we can tell you a companion online auction will continue running until March 4. It includes all of the domains not sold today, plus approximately 500 additional domains that were not among those hand picked for today's live event.

Congratulations to Monte, Wayne and their entire support crew on producing a landmark event that will go a long way to further underscoring the value of top tier domains - the beachfront property of Internet real estate.

(Posted February 25, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Free 2021 Global Domain Report from InterNetX and Sedo Offers Outstanding Analysis of  the Latest  Industry Trends

Two industry giants, popular registrar InterNetX and aftermarket powerhouse Sedo have joined forces to release a 2021 Global Domain Report that provides an extraordinarily detailed analysis of every aspect of the domain sales business over the past year.  The 76-page report is something everyone who buys and sells domains will benefit from reading and the two companies have made sure it will be available to all by releasing it free of charge

When you follow the link to the report you'll just need to provide your name and email address to have a confirmation link sent to you that will allow you to download the full .PDF document. Once you start reading be sure you've set some time aside because there is a treasure trove of valuable information you will want to go through.

In addition to breakdowns of the voluminous sales data InterNetX and Sedo have at their disposal, there is commentary from a wide variety of industry veterans on how they are seeing things play out in a market that has been booming despite the global pandemic (I was among those who commented for the report). 

The document begins with a look back at 2020, including a timeline detailing some of the year's most important events and developments. That is followed by Central Facts and Figures, including the top individual domain sales, how the most popular TLDs ranked by market share and many other key metrics that slice and dice the data in every conceivable way. Next is an Insights section that shows you what share of the market individual countries have, how top gTLDs rank and which ones are rising most quickly. You'll also learn what the most frequently registered keywords are, what the most successful geo TLDs are and how various industry players have coped with Covid-19

For in-depth details on the domain registration business, also check out the InterNetX Perspective and for everything you wanted to know about what is happening in the aftermarket don't miss the Sedo Perspective. In an industry that is always looking forward you might think they saved the best for last - the Forecasts section, in which a broad cross section of industry leaders tells you what they expect to see happen as 2021 continues to play out. They say forewarned is forearmed, so get a copy now so will have the information you need to succeed this year. 

(Posted February 24, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


RightOfTheDot Ready to Rock the Domain Sales House with Live Online Auction Thursday

Last month I told you about a major new live online domain auction that RightOfTheDot.com Founder Monte Cahn was putting together with World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat. Well, the time for the big event that will originate from a studio in College Station, Texas is now here. 

The first names in a rich catalog of top tier domains will start hitting the block at 12 Noon U.S. Central Time Thursday, February 25 (1pm in the Eastern U.S. and 10am in the Pacific Time Zone). Over 600 domains have been submitted for the sale but the live event will be limited to the cream of the crop, approximately 100 domains hand picked by Monte (the guy who basically invented live domain auctions almost 20 years ago) and Wayne (who is the most experienced and talented domain auctioneer in the world). Names not selected for the live show will all be available in a companion online auction that will continue to March 4

RightOfTheDot Founder Monte Cahn (left) and 
World Champion Auctioneer Wayne Wheat 
will run the February 25th auction.

Among the domains that have been submitted are Publishing.com, Names.com, Bird.com, Fish.com, Greece.com, Restaurants.com and Quarantine.com, to name just a few. You can check out the entire catalog here, along with special auction notes and reserve guidance. There may still be a few last-minute additions as well. 


Bidders are urged to register early to avoid any delay in getting verified for bids over $2000 and missing out on the first lots to be offered. Bidders wishing to bid over $2000 will need to provide a scanned photo ID like a State-issued Driver's License.

In addition to being streamed from the rotd.hibid.com website, ROTD will also be streaming via YouTube Live at this link: https://youtu.be/pDd2xnMheqI


(Posted February 23, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


ICA Experts Demolish Nine Persistent Myths About Domain Investors and the Aftermarket in a New Must Read Article

The business of domain investing has been around for almost 30 years now and as much as the industry has changed, one thing never seems to change. When someone can't get a great domain name cheap it is always domain investors who are to blame! Of course, you never hear that said about real estate investors who bought up all of the beachfront property and prime locations that later spawned booming commercial and residential development. In fact it is just 

the opposite for them - they were smart, visionary investors who spotted opportunities that everyone else missed! For some reason, the same people who praise real estate investors believe that if domain investors (many of whom started putting their money at risk back in the 90s) had just left the good domains sitting there, they would still be available for people to get for a $10 registration fee in 2021,  or, at most, whatever amount they deem a "reasonable price" to be)!

Despite being utterly illogical, the myths about domain investors and the domain aftermarket (also referred to as the secondary market) have only grown over the years. However, now two of the most knowledgeable people in this business, Internet Commerce Association Legal Counsel Zak Muscovitch and ICA Board Member Nat Cohen, who is also one of the most successful investors in industry history, have had enough of the unwarranted character assassination. 

Zak Muscovitch (left) and Nat Cohen

Zak and Nat have risen to the defense of domain investors countless times before in their roles with the ICA, the non-profit organization that fights for domain registrant's rise, but this time they poured their energy into an extraordinary in-depth article - Busting Domain Name Secondary Market Myths, published on CircleID Thursday, that should put an end to the double standard domain investors are held to. In the article, they debunk these nine prominent myths about domain investors, one by one:

1. Myth: Domainers are the Secondary Market
2. Myth: Domainers Provide No Value to the Domain Name Ecosystem
3. Myth: Domain Name Investing is Easy
4. Myth: Domainers Control the Price of Domain Names
5. Myth: All the Good Domain Names are Taken by Domainers
6. Myth: If Domainers Didn't Own Domain Names, They Would be Available from the Registry
7. Myth: Raising Registration Fees Would Free Up Domain Names for the Rest of Us
8. Myth: Domain Name Investors are Cybersquatters
9. Myth: Domain Name Should be "Use it or Lose it"

The term "must read article" gets thrown around a lot and while this one truly fits the description, it is much more than that. Yes, every single person who buys and sells domains should read it, but you should also bookmark it and share it with everyone you encounter in your business dealings who doesn't understand that the secondary domain market operates in the same way that secondary markets for almost all valuable goods operate. Buyers and sellers come together and transactions are made when the two sides arrive at a mutually agreeable price.  If either side doesn't like what is being offered, a deal doesn't happen - just like everywhere else in the business world. However, the fact is thousands of deals are closed in the domain aftermarket every single month and both sides go away happy to get what they needed when the deal was done (otherwise the transaction never would have happened in the first place). 

It's time to trade fiction about the domain market for the facts and thanks to Zak and Nat, those are available to all in a single comprehensive document that we can all call on whenever the occasion calls for it.

(Posted February 19, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


VIPBrokerage Closes Multi-Million Dollar Sale of Christmas.com in One of 20 Biggest Domain Sales Ever Reported 

Christmas was over 7 weeks ago but, at least as far as the domain industry is concerned, the biggest holiday-related news of the year being just came out today (in the article you are reading now). We have learned that Mark Thomas at VIPBrokerage.com completed a $3.15 million sale of Christmas.com in November when the buyer exercised a purchase option that was part of a four-year lease to own agreement. 

The name went to the Buffalo, New York based Gordon Companies, a firm founded in 1977 that has been a long-time leader in importing, wholesaling and retailing

Image from Bigstock

Christmas related merchandise. The company has over 350 employees and occupies over 400,000 square feet of warehouse and distribution space. Gordon has also become a leader in Christmas ecommerce after spending the past 15 years building partnerships with some of the largest marketplaces in the U.S., as well as boutique vendors and retailers.


This is the second time in the past two years that VIPBrokerage has breeched the $3 million barrier with a domain sale. They previously did it with a $3 million sale of California.com in 2019 that wound up being the third biggest sale reported that year. Just last week, they posted another solid sale (Arizona.com at $350,000) that will assure them of two (and likely the top two) spots on our next bi-weekly Top 20 Sales Chart that will come out Wednesday evening (February 17). At the same time, we will update our Year-To-Date Top 100 Sales Chart where Christmas.com will take over the top spot 

currently occupied by GoBet.com at $850,000. (Sales are charted based on when they were first publicly reported, as long as the transaction happened within the past 12 months. If older than that they are placed on the Top 100 Chart in our Domain Sales Archive for the year in which the sale occurred). Also on Wednesday evening, Christmas.com will go into the #18 position on our list of the Top 20 Cash Domain Sales ever reported. Congratulations to Mark on another landmark sale for his company.

While the $3.15 million sale of  Christmas.com will put that name at the top of our YTD Top Domain Sales Chart, strong contenders for the crown are always out there. One of the strongest emerged when GeoCentric Media CEO Fred Mercaldo announced the company has acquired the exclusive brokerage rights for NewYork.com. While New York falls into the geodomain category, it is much more than that. America's largest city is also the nation's capital of finance, travel/tourism, entertainment, fashion and many other fields. 

Gaining representation of that name alone would be a 

Image from Bigstock

feather in anyone's cap but what makes it all the more remarkable is that, at GeoCentric Media, it becomes part of an unparalleled portfolio that includes 14 major .com city/geo domains. This is the full roster:


• NewYork.com
• Seattle.com
• SanDiego.com
• Philadelphia.com
• Detroit.com

• StLouis.com
• Indianapolis.com
• Denver.com
• Minneapolis.com
• Raleigh.com
• DistrictOfColumbia.com
• Scottsdale.com

You can get more details on the portfolio and the individual domains within in it here.

(Posted February 15, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Arizona.com Changes Hands For 6 Figures in a Rare Sale of a U.S. State .Com Domain

With only 50 States in the United States it is very rare to see a State .Com domain name change hands in a publicly reported sale. The last time was a little over two years ago (in January 2019) when Mark Thomas at VIPBrokerage.com reported closing a $3 million deal for California.com in what wound up being the 3rd biggest domain sale reported that year). 

Now another one has come to light - and once again VIPBrokerage.com was part of the deal - a transaction that closed in November. This time the marquee name is Arizona.com with the new owner paying $350,000 to acquire the dazzling domain. Thomas represented the seller in the transaction while another widely-known veteran broker, John Mauriello at DomainAssets.com, represented the buyer.

Image from Bigstock

While the WhoIs record has privacy enabled, a new website at Arizona.com shows it being used to advertise homes for sale or rent in cities across the state. The About section on the site lists the operator as as a company based in Houston, Texas,  L. Custen Realty, Inc. d/b/a Realty Arizona

The company's business model looks to be based on forming exclusive relationships with real estate agents in each city to help them attract more buyers. A statement on the site notes, "Arizona.com is an innovative mobile and online real estate resource built around connecting clients with Premium Exclusive Agents...Offering updates on homes and rentals newly reaching the market, data on home price history and cost, and insights showing what to expect when living in a neighborhood – including local crime rates, school quality, and commute times – Arizona.com achieves further insight. With lifetime relationships in mind, Arizona.com builds bonds between agents, property managers, and mortgage lenders to provide the solutions and professional guidance needed while searching for a home." 

With respect to the selling price of the domain, there is obviously a big difference between the $3 million paid for California.com and the $350,000 for Arizona.com. However, there are also major differences between the states. California, with 37.7 million residents has six times the population of Arizona (6.4 million). The price paid for California.com was a little over eight times what was paid for Arizona.com. Of course, a lot more goes into valuation than just population. California has more major cities where services can be monetized, is a huge tourist destination, has more geographic diversity, a broader range of jobs, etc. On the other hand Arizona is experiencing spectacular growth and, like California, it is a very popular place with tourists (it is, after all, the Grand Canyon State)! However you value them, both domains are unique assets that give their owner's endless revenue opportunities and I highly doubt that anyone who is currently fortunate enough to own one regrets their investment.

(Posted February 8, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Major Commitments From ParkingCrew and MediaOptions Fuel Continued Growth of the Internet Commerce Association 

There is strength in numbers and the numbers continue to increase for the Internet Commerce Association. That is true in both rapidly growing membership numbers and the number of  industry leaders making major financial commitments to the non-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting domain owner's rights. The latest to step forward in a big way are popular domain monetization platform ParkingCrew.com and premier domain brokerage firm MediaOptions.com

Adam Wagner
Account Manager, ParkingCrew

Andrew Rosener
CEO, MedaOptions

In their case, I should say "step forward in a bigger way" because both companies were already ICA members. However, having seen the great work the organization has done first hand, ParkingCrew and MediaOptions decided to take their memberships, literally, to the next level

ParkingCrew.com became the ICA's 4th Platinum Level Member this week (joining Sedo, GoDaddy and NameBright.com in contributing $25,000 or more annually). ParkingCrew will be adding top level talent as well as money to the ICA effort. ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz told us, "We are excited to have Parking Crew, a monetization leader, step up to the platinum level and nominate the company's Account Manager, Adam Wagner, to ICA's board. Their support manifests the company's commitment to their customers and to ICA's advocacy, and Adam's broad and diverse domain industry experience will help broaden ICA's scope. 

Meanwhile, MediaOptions.com became one of the ICA's five Gold Level Members (joining DigiMedia, DomainCapital.com, Premium Traffic Limited (PTL) and Telepathy with an annual contribution in the $10,000-$25,000 range). Ms. Sekiewicz noted, "We are thankful for MediaOptions CEO Drew Rosener's support at the gold level, which attests to his leadership not only in handling many of the highest-profile domain name transactions but also through his commitment to the ICA. We want to express our gratitude to all ICA members who upgraded their memberships, confirming their commitment to ICA's mission"

To make sure membership is affordable for everyone involved in the domain industry, the ICA maintains six membership levels, starting with the basic Member level at $25 a month and the Individual Member level at $50 a month. The highest tiers of support are Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze with those members making annual contributions that range from $1,000 to $25,000 or more annually. Every member, regardless of the level to choose to join at, is instrumental in giving the ICA the kind of strength it needs to successfully defend the rights of domain registrants against the frequent and ongoing attempts we've all seen to undermine them.

The ICA, founded in 2006, has shown dramatic growth in recent years with more people getting behind the effort every day. In fact, in the middle of writing this, I got a group email from the ICA 

letting  me know that Bobbleheads.com  Founder Warren Royal had just joined the organization as its newest Bronze Level member. Warren has been a force on the Internet since 1990 and was profiled in a DNJournal Cover Story back in 2008. He is a good example of the caliber of people who have pitched in to help the ICA help the domain industry continue to grow and prosper. If you are not already a member, this would be a great time to join the team. Working together we can take this industry to new heights in 2021! 

(Posted February 5, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Photos & Highlights from the South Asia Track at the 2021 NamesCon Online Conference

The 2021 NamesCon Online conference completed its 3-day run Friday (January 29) but we still have some unfinished business to get today - the photos and highlights from the South Asia Track that featured more than a dozen  business sessions spread over two days. I didn't have a chance to collect those for you during the conference because the South Asia sessions ran during what were the overnight hours in the U.S. However, thanks to NamesCon Online making replays of all of the conference sessions available to registrants through February 28, I was able to watch the South Asia sessions over the weekend so I can give you a recap of the great content that was provided on that track. 


(If you missed our reports on the Keynote, Breakout and Americas Tracks, you can review day 1 highlights here,  day 2 highlights here and the day 3 highlights here).



Above: The South Asia Track opened with Moderator Divya Shukla (Community Manager, Urban Skill), at left, interviewing veteran Indian domain investor Deepak Daftari. Deepak, who has closed multiple 6-figure domains sales, is known worldwide for his domain industry expertise and insight. That is why I also called on Deepak to be a member of the panel of experts featured in DNJournal.com's 17th annual State of the Industry Cover Story as well as have him join Morgan Linton and Jochen Kieler for my State of the Industry: Domain Investors panel discussion on the Keynote Track at NamesCon Online Friday (if you registered for the show, a replay can be viewed on the NamesCon.Online website).


Below:  The next session tackled the topic - What Makes a Great Brandable Domain? It featured DomainKhan.com Founder and NamesCon Moderator Jay Paudyal (at left) speaking with Darpan Marjal, the Founder & CEO at SquadHelp.com. After completing over 30,000 naming projects with early-stage startups as well as world-renowned corporations like Nestle, Dell, and Philips, the Squadhelp team has acquired a great deal of insight into what end users are looking for in a great brand name - making Darpan the man to go to on this subject.




Above: South Asia is one of the domain industry's fastest growing regions and for those who didn't know what has been fueling the ongoing boom, the  members of this panel had the answers. They are  (clockwise from top left) Khan Mohammad Nakib (founder of the domain and hosting community named Domain Bangladesh - DAB, Khan is also Head of Operations for one of the country's best known ITeS service providers), Moderator Divya Shukla, Manish Lunja (CEO & Founder, BrandPros.com, Inc. and Angel Investor) and Riz Memon (CEO, EmpireNames.com).


Below: The growth in South Asia is attracting a steady flow of newcomers to the industry so NamesCon presented this timely panel discussion - Newcomers Story: The Beginning -  in which the speakers detailed how they were able to establish a successful foothold in the business. Clockwise from top left are Moderator Hitesh Wadwha (Co-Founder, DN School), Internet entrepreneur Bibek Adhikari, Utsav Suri (Manager, Naukri.com), Sunil Kapoor (Founder, DomainKapoor.com) and new domainer Ankur Singh.




Above: With respect to top level domains, two that have caught people's attention with their steady rate of growth and adoption are .io and .org, so this panel, titled The Curious Case of .io and .org

examined some of the factors behind the surge. Clockwise from top left are Aran Bansul (CEO, ServerGuy.com), Aishwin Vikhona (Founder, I LoveDomains.com) and Mark Ghoriafi (Founder, Mr. Premium.com), who has posted a string of record breaking .io sales in recent months, including Domain.io at $50,000.


Below: As day one of the South Asia track wound down, this panel provided some great advice on how to avoid Five Deadly Domaining Traps (what not to do for beginners or intermediate level domainers). The panel featured, clockwise from top left), Ritesh Singh (Owner, Fivty), Moderator Divya Shukla and Vinod Reghunathan (veteran Internet entrepreneur and founder of DomainCompany.io).




Below: Day one ended on an entertaining musical note with Domaining Rap in which Abhishek Talwar (CEO, Delvelogic) and Jay Paudyal (Founder, DomainKhan.com) laid down one rap after another with clever domain related lyrics. If you want to have some fun, definitely put this one on your replay list!




Above: The second day on NamesCon Online's South Asia Track started with welcoming comments from Moderator Hitesh Wadwha (Founder, Domainofy.com). 


Below: The business sessions then began with a Fireside Chat with Michael Gilmour. Jay Paudyal interviewed Michael (at right), the Founder of ParkLogic.com who is a globally renowned domain monetization expert as well as a domain developer, pilot, and novelist! With his extraordinary experience in the industry Michael has been called on to speak at almost every major conference held around the world for the past two decades!




Above: Day two continued with a session on Outbound Marketing for Domains that featured 20-year domain industry veteran Vipin Khetarpal (Founder/CEO, Datameter Technologies Pvt Ltd), at left,  with Moderator Hitesh Wadwha.


Below: Next up, day one speaker Deepak Daftari (at left) returned for a session with Moderator Jay Paudyal titled Domaining: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Deepak and Jay took a deep dive into the history of domaining, what is happening in the region and globally and what the future may hold as we move forward and look for new opportunities along the way.




In the next session Riz Memon (Founder, Empire Names) gave an excellent presentation on Targeting Prospects Using Social Media Ads. In it, Riz detailed how you can run social media ads to sell domains using LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


Below: In the final business session of the NamesCon Online South Asia Track, four experts returned to appraise names submitted by attendees who wanted to know What's My Domain Worth? In a fun and informative session the experts debated the merits of the names being considered and explained what they based their opinions on. The panelists were (clockwise from top left), Manish Lunja, Deepak Daftari, Aishwin Vikohna and Jay Paudyal. It was a perfect way to close out two days on the South Asia Track and send viewers home with a lot of new information to incorporate into their own domaining enterprises.




Above: Top notch Moderators Jay Paudyal (left) and Hitesh Wadwha officially brought the curtain down on the South Asia Track with their closing comments and thank yous to everyone who help make the 2021 event a reality. Of course, the year is still young and we will be seeing much more of the South Asia experts as 2021 continues to unfold. Hopefully, with new Covid-19 vaccines being distributed, that will happen in person before this year is out!

(Posted February 1, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Closing Day Photos & Highlights from the 2021 NamesCon Online Conference Friday, January 29

The 2021 NamesCon Online conference completed its 3-day run Friday (January 29) with another full slate of business sessions on multiple tracks (you can get the day 1 highlights here and the day 2 highlights here). Once the Friday work day was done attendees from more than 50 countries headed to a three-hour online Domain Social that capped a successful week for the ambitious show. Normally at this time every year, people from the global domain industry come together in person for the annual NamesCon Global conference, but

Covid-19 forced NamesCon to adapt to a new world and they have done that very well indeed. 

Above: The closing day on the Keynote Track began at 11am US Eastern time with a panel discussion about the innovative DAN.com ecosystem titled Uniting and Pushing the Domain Industry Forward Domain buyers need to be able find domains that meet their needs and sellers need better selling tools, so the founders of the DAN.com platform set about building value-added partnerships and using the latest technology to knock down the  barriers to connection between buyers and sellers. The panelists included (clockwise from top left), DAN.com CEO Reza Sardeha, Efty.com Co-Founder Doron Vermaat, MediaOptions.com CEO Andrew Rosener and DNWE.com Co-Founder Josh Reason.

Above: The next session was the last of the three State of the Industry panels I hosted at NamesCon Online. After talking to Corporate leaders Wednesday and some of the world's best Domain Brokers Thursday, I got together Friday with three successful Domain Investor/Developers to see how they navigated the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 and get their forecast and advice on where you will find good opportunities in 2021 (the series was an expansion of the 17th annual State of the Industry Cover Story we published last week). I was pleased to be able get insight from friends representing three different continents. Clockwise from top left are Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), and, in the U.S. corner, Morgan Linton (Bold Metrics Inc. and MorganLinton.com), from India, and a star on NamesCon's South Asia Track, Deepak Daftari (eSiksha.com) and representing Europe, Munich-based industry veteran Jochen Kieler (SuperSource.de). If you are a show registrant and missed this, or any of the other NamesCon sessions live, replays are (or soon will be) available to you to watch at your convenience. 

Above: The Future of Domain Monetization was the topic of the first afternoon conference. Everyone is familiar with the traditional parked page that has been utilized for so long now, but this panel of experts discussed what is in store for the future of domain monetization, covering how it will differ form today and changes that could be beneficial for domain investors. Clockwise from top left, the panel included moderator Christa Taylor (dotTBA.com), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic.com), Adam Wagner (ParkingCrew.com), David Warmuz (CEO, Trellian/Above.com) and Matt Wegrzyn (Bodis.com).

Above: Domain investors and major corporations often hold hundreds, or even thousands of domains in their portfolios. That can create a management headache but there are solutions that moderator Bill Sweetman (Name Ninja), at right above, discussed in the next session with Nisha Parkash (Online Compliance and Brand Protection Manager, Sky Limited) titled You're Doing it All Wrong: Lessons Learned from Managing a Large Corporate Domain Portfolio.

Above: People always want to know what their domains are worth, so when a session is titled What's My Domain Worth?, a big audience is sure to gather, especially when the people doing the appraisals are of the caliber featured on this panel. Clockwise from top left are Josh Schoen (Co-Founder, DNWE.com), Keith DeBoer (Brandable Insider podcast), Kate Buckley (BuckleyMedia.com), Ammar Kubba (afterTHOUGHT.com) and Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com).

Above: The show's final Keynote Track session Friday afternoon was a great Fireside Chat With Tucows CEO Elliot Noss, sub-titled, How Do We Make The Internet Better From Here?. Asking the questions was, at right above, Christian Dawson (Executive Director, i2Coalition). The session's synopsis will tell you why you should check out the replay on this one if you missed it live. It noted, "Tucows was started in 1993 and back then they weren’t even in the domains business - pretty much nobody was!...CEO Elliot Noss, has coached his organization through many shifts over the year, and knows something about surviving and thriving through change. He believes that current events have made the DNS industry the canary in a coal mine for the whole Internet and that we have a unique role to play in the coming decade as platforms, not countries, will be “making law” whether we like it or not."

As has been the case every day at NamesCon Online, additional sessions on the Breakout Track ran concurrently with the Keynote Track throughout the day. I had to miss the first two while I was onstage doing my State of the Industry Panel but will catch those in the replays. In the first, Yogi Solanki (Founder, Outbound Domains) covered Outbound Objection Handling. In the second, Darpan Munjal (Founder & CEO, Squadhelp.com) presented Data Driven Domaining: Insights & Trends for Brandable Domains.

Above: Action on the Breakout Track continued with the final chapter in Drew Walsh's 3-day Development Series: Go All in With Full Development. Drew, who runs MovingSites.com, has been a domain investor since 2001. He buys premium domain names with the sole purpose of developing them. He works to extract the value of the domain as a business rather than selling them. Drew also does a weekly live stream called Domain to Profit where he works to help others develop domains.

Above: Next up, the topic turned to Blockchain Domains & the Decentralized Web. This session covered how blockchains provide a new platform for domain registries. The panelists, clockwise from top left, were Brad Kam (Unstoppable Domains), Andrew Rosener (MediaOptions.com) and Julia Szyndzielorz (Senior Public Relations Manager, Opera).

Below: In the next session, James Tuplin (Co-Founder, Bodis.com) answered the question, Can You Ever Have Too Many Domains? Building & Maintaining a Profitable Portfolio. In this one James focused on how to build a revenue-generating portfolio of domains that attract web traffic.


Above: Domain investors are always looking for places to market their domains. This session tells you about what could be a marriage made in heaven if you approach it in a professional way. LinkedIn & Domain Sales featured, clockwise from top left, Tessa Holcomb (Founder, DomainAdvisors.com), Jeff Garbutt (Founder, Prime Loyalty) and Morgan Linton (COO, Bold Metrics Inc.).

Below: In the show's final session on the Breakout Track, united-domains AG CTO & Board Member Tobias Sattler (who is also Editor-in-chief at MyNext.Events and Founder of Domain Name Basics), delivered a timely talk on the COVID-19 Impact on Domain Names. Here, Tobias (at right) is introduced by energetic Breakout Track host Peter Schwinge.

Above: In addition to the Keynote, Breakout, Americas, and South Asia Tracks, many attendees were able to set up or participate in many other meetings that were held throughout the show in the Workshop Rooms. One of the best attended Friday was an Internet Commerce Association discussion about UDRP Issues. Handling that, clockwise from top left, were ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz, attorney Jason Schaeffer (ESQwire.com) ICA General Counsel Zak Muscovitch and ICA Board Member Nat Cohen (Telepathy).

With business now done at NamesCon Online 2021, it was time to say goodbye to the hundreds of registrants who logged in from around the world. Ecstatic to have produced another outstanding conference in the face of so many Covid-releated obstacles, NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin (top right), and (clockwise after Soeren), Moderators Bill Sweetman, Christian Dawson and Christa Taylor, were all on hand to provide a heartfelt farewell for now. We couldn't help noticing that Bill apparently took the occasion to adopt a new stage name- DJ HotDomains! It was obvious that Soeren noticed it and wondered if his eyes might be deceiving him! Hey, we are in a business that is all about the name, so if it works for Name Ninja Bill, more power to him. Congrats to Soeren and the entire NameCon team on a job well done and thank you for the incredible value you delivered for attendees this week.

Of course, after every NamesCon there are always a lot of people who don't want to go home, and just because this one was online, it was no exception. A three-hour special edition of Arif Mirza's The Domain Social was held immediately after the conference on Zoom and when I dropped in the number of attendees was already in triple digits and steadily growing. 

Arif Mirza (above) with help from Jothan Frakes (below) - both snapped at today's social - have been hosting The Domain Social every Friday (along with some on other special occasions) and it has helped a lot of people stay connected through the pandemic. It is open to all and you can get email notices that will alert you to every upcoming event by signing up here.

One final note, the show is over but our coverage is not. NamesCon's outstanding South Asia Track ran in what were the overnight hours in the U.S. when most of us were sleeping. So, as I did in covering the first NamesCon Online event in September, I will sit down and experience the full South Asia track via the replays so I can put together a separate post detailing those sessions. That will appear in this column one day next week. In the meanwhile, everyone stay safe and put all of the great tips you got this week to good use in 2021!

(Posted January 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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