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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.


TheDomainShow.com Announces Speakers and Opens Free Registration for Upcoming Online Conference

The Covid-19 pandemic has, for now, closed the door on traditional domain conferences where attendees travel to a central location to meet face to face. However, domain investors, developers and service providers will still have a couple of opportunities to gather online for virtual conferences this summer. We previously told you about the NamesCon Online conference coming up in September. Now domain industry veteran Page Howe has opened registration for an earlier event, The Domain Show, that he will be producing later this month. 

 

Howe today also announced the first two dozen speakers he has lined up for the three-day virtual conference that runs July 23-25. The all-star roster includes Andrew Rosener, Braden Pollock, Jeff Gabriel, Michael & David Castello, Ari Goldberger, Larry Fischer, Alan Hack and Shane Cultra, to name just a few. Howe said the list of speakers and presenters will expand to more than 40 by show time. The entire line-up (and new additions as they are confirmed) can be seen on the show website.

Howe, who will serve a host, is a domain name marketer, investor and educator who has sold over 5,000 domain names over his more than two decades in the business, including two of the top all time sales at over $1 million each (Seniors.com and Guy.com). Page also heads up local marketing for the .LA local domain namespace for Los Angeles, writes and make educational videos at DN.BIZ and runs the wholesale marketplace DomainOutlet.com.

In addition to two free registration options for The Domain Show, there is a $99 premium option that comes with some additional perks. Howe added, "There are also sponsorship opportunities that will provide access to a global audience before and during our show, as well as 24/7-365 access through repeats and replays. Contact page@pagehowe.com for more information on that."

Page Howe

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(Posted July 6, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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NamesCon Rechristens Their First Virtual Event - NC 360° is Now NamesCon Online

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about NamesCon's decision to hold their first online-only virtual conference September 9-11, 2020. The event was originally named NamesCon 360° but today show organizers announced a new name - NamesCon Online - and a new web address that is a perfect match - NamesCon.online

The move comes in conjunction with the news that Radix has signed up to be the event's first 

 

Diamond Partner. Radix operates several of the most popular new gTLDs on the Internet, including .online, so the tie-in between them and NamesCon is a natural.

The updated NamesCon Online website notes, "This virtual conference will deliver the elements you know from our in-person events—and more—in a brand-new way. At NamesCon Online, you can expect a packed agenda with keynotes, live streams, expert round tables, and region-specific learning and prime networking opportunities. NamesCon Online will be held in a custom online venue that offers the unique experience of NamesCon right at your fingertips from your home, office, or favorite local café. You’ll be able to access everything through your web browser and via a mobile app."

Registration for the event is open now with Standard tickets priced at $59 each. If you have never been to a NamesCon event before, they have an even better deal for you. Newcomers can get free admission by filling out a quick survey on the show website.

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(Posted July 1, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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NamesCon 360° Addresses Covid-19 Crisis With Online Conference Coming September 9-11 

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it virtually impossible for people in any business to gather safely in significant numbers. However, the biggest conference in our industry, NamesCon, has decided the solution to the "virtually impossible" is to go virtual - at least in the near term. While they still plan to hold the annual NamesCon Global conference live at a location still to be announced next January, they are going to fill in the gap with NamesCon 360° - a three-day virtual conference to be presented online September 9-11, 2020.

The official announcement of NamesCon 360° today said, "NamesCon 360° will feature live and on-demand presentations, workshops, networking, and deal-making opportunities on a scale not yet done in the domain industry. Besides bringing elements you love from NamesCon straight to your home or office, we're adding some new features that can only be done in a virtual environment."

The notice emphasized, "This is no Zoom meeting! You'll take part through your web browser and mobile device for a wide range of interactions. From presentations for a global audience to regionally-relevant content, NamesCon 360° will have something for you, wherever you are. While we all miss our face-to-face meet-ups, this is the right time to create a virtual event. You'll meet everyone who is serious about domaining: an easily-accessible virtual conference is a big step in bringing more domainers - with all their experience, perspectives, and of course portfolios - together."

With people around the world living in different time zones, some are sleeping while others are awake. NamesCon  360° organizers say you can forget the clock and join in at whatever time best suits you schedule, noting, "A domain never sleeps, and neither does NamesCon 360°! During the run of the event, you'll have all-day, all-night access to the event hubs, as well as on-demand content and networking with professionals in your region—and the other side of the world."

No pricing for the event has been set yet and there are many details still to be filled in over the couple of months but you can keep track of the latest developments by periodically checking in on the NamesCon 360° website.

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(Posted June 19, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Latest Verisign Quarterly Report Says Worldwide Domain Registrations Increased By Nearly 15 Million In Past Year

Verisign (the administrator of the .com and .net TLDs) has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (.pdf file) covering the 1st quarter of 2020. The report said total domain name registrations across all top-level domains (not just those Verisign operates) rose to 366.8 million at the end of 1Q-2020. That is a rise of approximately 14.9 million domain registrations (or 4.2%) from the same point one year earlier.

The quarter ended with approximately 147.3 million .coms registered -  a jump of 6.3 million (4.5%) year over year. Meanwhile, the .net TLD, that has been sliding for several years, looks like it may finally be stabilizing. Approximately 13.4 million .net domains were registered at the end of 1Q-2020, down 2.9% from 13.8 million a year earlier, but .net lost no ground from the last quarter (4Q-2019) when it also came in at 13. 4 million.

The ccTLDs have finally started seeing a slowdown after several years of high growth. 1Q-2020 ended with 157.4 million country code domains registered worldwide, up just 0.4% (600,000 domains) from a year earlier and they actually went down 200,000 domains from the previous quarter (4Q-2019).

The new gTLDs continue to rebound sharply after some major losses in their first years of operation. The new gTLDs ended 1Q-2020 with 32.3 million domains registered, a 40.7% leap from the 23 million that were registered at the end of the same quarter a year earlier. Of the 9.3 million domains added in the past 12 months, 3 million came in 1Q-2020 indicating continued acceleration.

That and much more valuable information in the full report that you can read here.

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(Posted June 3, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Pioneering Domain Investor/Developers Michael & David Castello Launch New Site at CastelloBrothers.com

Michael & David Castello are very distinct individuals but in the domain world they've been so successful together that they have turned The Castello Brothers into a third equally prominent identity. We first wrote about them back in 2006 in a Cover Story that remains one of the most popular ones we've ever published. Since then we've written about several of their landmark sales, including a 2014 Cover Story that provided an inside account of the $3.1 million sale of Whisky.com. They are equally well-known for their successfully developed websites including PalmSprings.com, Nashville.com and, most recently,  Kennel.com, a site that was just launched in March.

The Castello Brothers: 
CEO Michael (left) & COO David
Co-Founders, Castello Cities Internet Network

Still, the brothers, with many similar category defining .com domains in their portfolio, have much more to do. Today, they opened the next chapter of The Castello Brothers story by announcing the launch of a new site at, where else?, CastelloBrothers.com. The site features many of their premium domain names for sale, biographies about the brothers and a F.A.Q. section that contains their unique perspective about what makes these names so valuable.

Michael said, "We equate owning premium domain names such as Cost.com, Sample.com and Traveler.com to undeveloped beachfront property. Development takes vision, but the monetary benefits are incredible. Regardless, as much as we enjoy breathing life into these names, my brother and I began to realize that it would be impossible to develop all of them." The new site gives them a showcase to offer other entrepreneurs an opportunity to acquire and develop a top tier online business of their own.

At left: Michael Castello, wife Sheri and daughter Jessica with Diana Jackson at Marina del Rey in Los Angeles.

Michael added, "COVID-19 forced a lot of people to work from home and these premium names are the perfect vehicle to build a successful on-line business from the convenience of your home office. David and I generated millions of dollars from the power of these worldwide brands and we did it all from home."

With the launch of Kennel.com, the brothers think they have another big winner on their hands. David said, "We changed our minds about selling Kennel.com and I'm glad we did. By the end of 2020, Kennel.com will be one of the largest sites about dogs in the world."

David Castello and wife Bree on their way to visit
the Castello family's ancestral homeland in Italy.

You can read more about Michael and David here and can also contact them through CastelloBrothers.com.

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(Posted May 29, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Domain Investor/Developer/Blogger Morgan Linton Goes Deep in New Interview with GGRG's Giuseppe Graziano 

Giuseppe Graziano, the founder of domain brokerage & consulting firm GGRG.com is continuing his new series of in-depth domain industry interviews with the release of his third article, this one featuring veteran domain investor/developer/blogger Morgan Linton (whose home base online is at MorganLinton.com).  Among the many topics covered in the wide-ranging interview are:

•  

The most common mistake domain investors make and how to avoid it.

How domain investing will change over the next 10 years.

The lessons Morgan learned by working at Sonos and a firm he co-founded, Bold Metrics.

Morgan's favorite extensions and domain categories to invest in.

His favorite resources to learn about domains and startups. 

Morgan Linton  

In his introduction to the article, Giuseppe noted, "Morgan Linton is the first face I saw in the domain industry, when watching his 5-part video series called Domaining Power Course (published by a young Morgan 11 years ago!). Yet, I only met Morgan in person last year in Lisbon in occasion of NamesCon Europe 2019. We hit it off right away, and it is easy to understand why – Morgan is personable, well-traveled and with a lot of great stories!"

Giuseppe's started the series with DNJournal's Ron Jackson in March and veteran domain investor Yoni Belousov in April.

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(Posted May 21, 2021) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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The Secret Is Out! After Making Millions for Others Veteran Domain Broker Arif Sengoren Has Opened His Own Shop 

With very few exceptions, domain people are entrepreneurs at heart. Over the years I've lost count of how many started out working for someone else in this field, then went on to open their own shop. The latest to do that is veteran domain broker Arif Sengoren, whom I've known ever since he entered the domain world as a Domain Sales & Acquisitions Specialist with NoktaDomains in 2010. Arif piled up millions of dollars worth of sales in his five years there, then millions more after he moved on to Uniregistry's DomainNameSales unit. Now, he has decided it is time to fly solo, so he just launched his new firm at SecretBrokerage.com (I guess it's not a secret anymore)! 

Arif embodies something about domain people that has always fascinated me - the  incredibly diverse backgrounds they came from before stumbling upon this business. As a still relatively new field, there aren't many who started their business careers in our world. Many were doing something dramatically different, with no connection to domains or even the Internet itself.

In Arif's case, he went almost directly into domains after college but his degree was in...drum roll please....agricultural engineering! At first blush, that might look as far away from domains as you could get, but there is a common thread - technology. Agricultural engineering involves the design, construction and improvement of farming equipment and machinery. Agricultural engineers integrate technology with farming.

Arif Sengoren
Founder 
SecretBrokerage.com

After joining Nokta, Sengoren kept a foot in both camps for quite awhile. In addition to dealing in domains at Nokta he started taking classes aimed at getting an advanced degree in agricultural engineering. Arif explained how this tug of war came about and eventually got resolved. "I was into "selling" when I was a kid," Arif noted. " I started selling some pastry summertimes, then game and music CDs when I was at high school. I was organizing events and selling tickets when I was studying at the University. While doing my Masters in "wind-erosion", I was also looking for a job in sales and heard that Nokta was looking for a Domain Sales Representative. I applied for the position and got accepted. The domain part was actually quite random. However, after I got into the domaining, I loved it and dropped out of my master's degree program to fully focus on it. 

Looking back at his highlights over the past decade, Sengoren said, "I sold and/or acquired thousands of domains for over $5 million on behalf of Nokta. We broke the highest domain sale record for the Turkish Domain market by selling UcakBilet.com for $250,000. Then, when I moved over to Uniregistry (formerly DomainNameSales.com) for the next four years, I brokered around 700-750 domains for roughly $4 million USD. My highest sale was Kiwi.com for $800,000. Plus, I set another record  for sale made in Turkish currency (Turkish lira) by selling MNG.com for the USD equivalent of $141,960

In this shot from the 2013 T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West Conference in Las Vegas, we caught up with 
Arif Sengoren (left) and his then fellow Domain Specialist at NoktaDomains, Merve Engin.

Now that Arif has decided to realize every entrepreneur's dream and work for himself, Sengoren feels he has a good grasp on what will make his company different in a very competitive space. "There are definitely a lot of great marketplaces and brokerages that are mainly focused on selling domains," Arif said. "That's why I decided to focus on domain acquisitions, appraisals, portfolio management, creating and maximization (with subscription), and online brand protection. My motivation is to help domain/brand owners understand their assets and manage them to maximize their profit and protect them from online threats with very competitive prices."

Of course, we had to ask - what's behind the name, Secret Brokerage? "There are two reasons," Arif said. "I believe every broker has their own secret and I thought using this within the name would be a good idea . Second, lots of buyers prefer staying anonymous on the acquisition side so I thought the "secret" keyword would cover that as well!"

So, now you know the reason for the name but this may be the last time you see Arif "spill the beans!"

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Escrow.com's Latest Quarterly Domain Investment Index Report Filled With Key Sales Data

Escrow.com has released their latest Domain Investment Index (.pdf file) report covering the 1st quarter of 2020. The 17-page data rich report revealed that Escrow.com closed $85.5 million in domain sales in the opening quarter of this year, a significant jump from the previous quarter when the total was under $75 million. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, total sales stayed steady with virtually the same dollar amount booked in 1Q-2019.

 

The U.S. didn't start seeing the full force of the global Covid-19 pandemic until 1Q-2020 was winding down, so we will have to wait for Escrow's 2Q report to see how that calamity affects transactions on their popular platform.

Some of the highlights from the new report include these observations:

*  Domain prices grew from last quarter, with especially high growth for 5 character domain names, a category that reached a record quarterly high across 17 years of Escrow data.

*  The U.S. led Q1 2020 global domain sales at $70 million, followed by the UK with $10.1 million.

*  Q1 2020 domain names with content tripled the volume of Q4 2019, a double edged sword as that was partly due to a surge in transactions of lower-priced domains.

*  Prices for Two to three number .com domains increased surged in Q1 2020, reaching the 2nd highest quarterly level in Escrow.com history with a median price of $193,500.

(Posted May 8, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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New Guta.com Domain Market Report Shows Covid-19 Impacting Sales But 1-Word Dictionary .Coms Still Shine  

International domain brokerage firm Guta.com has released their latest quarterly Premium Domain Sales Observation Report (.pdf file) covering the first quarter of 2020. With offices in both the U.S. and China, Guta, founded by CEO George Hong, has a great vantage point to see what is happening in the domain aftermarket in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Their reports focus primarily on .com domain sales in these categories: 1-4 Numbers, 1-3 Letters, 2 Characters and one-word English dictionary domains. 

As you would expect with China battling the coronavirus  epidemic for the entire quarter and the U.S. doing so in the final month of it, sales activity was negatively impacted. The Guta report tells the story in an extensive series of charts then, in a final summary, notes "relatively low sales volumes across all categories of premium domains. Total sale counts of domains in LL .com, NN .com, NNN .com, NL .com, LN .com categories dived to 9-quarter lows. Total sale counts of domains in NNNN .com and one-word English .com categories fell to the lowest level in 4 quarters."

It goes on to say, "The world is experiencing uncertainty and hardship due to the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. In Q1 2020, cash was indeed king for many investors, who were selling everything from stocks to bonds to gold to bitcoins aiming to raise cash. Under the circumstance, many premium domain owners were more motivated to sell, however most premium domain buyers suspended their purchases or lowered their budget substantially."

Still the report found some bright spots, adding "The end-user purchase rate of one-word English .com domains showed year-over-year growth." The Guta chart showed this category has rocketed to a 41.67% market share in Q1 2020 after holding just 25.8% of it two years ago. Guta reported that, "End users are still actively buying domain names. Businesses adapt to the pandemic by moving online. There will be a higher demand for premium domains from end-users. The new online businesses probably will start with hand registered domains or low priced aftermarket domains. Some of the companies will choose to upgrade their domain names to premium ones when their online business flourish, and they have money to spend. There is hope ahead!

(Posted May 6, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Liquid Domain Market Platform LMXE Rebrands as LMX.com with New Features Designed to Fast Track Trading

Most of our readers are familiar with the quarterly liquid domain sales reports released by the Lisbon, Portugal based firm LXME that was launched a few years ago by Giuseppe Graziano, the founder of domain brokerage and consulting company GGRG.com. Giuseppe has just dialed things up several notches with LXME, rebranding the service as LMX.com, a now full featured trading platform for liquid domains. 

Graziano defines "liquid domains" as short .com domains comprised of 2-4 letters, 2-5 numbers and a combination of 2-3 characters mixing letters and numbers. He regards them as " liquid" because there are almost always buyers (at least at the wholesale level) for them.

Giuseppe said, "The purpose of LMX is to create a safe environment in which investors are able to trade liquid domains quickly, efficiently and at low fees.  You can now list One Word .com domains if they match certain quality criteria, the most important one being that the domain's Estibot appraised value has to be above $10,000. You can also now list 3-character, 4-letter and 5-number .com domains, as long as they have an appraised value of at least $10,000."

Graziano added, "Platform fees for a transaction are 7.5% (with a $1,000 minimum fee and Escrow.com fees covered by the buyer). However, to incentivize users to list domains, we are offering a reduced 5% fee for each domain listed and activated before the 7th of May 2020." 

 

Giuseppe Graziano
LMX.com Founder

The LMX.com platform is invitation-only, however, if you own a domain supported by the platform, you can use the self qualification process to create an account. Users are able to create opportunity alerts, so they can get instantly notified when domains that match their criteria are listed. The platform is meant for investors only, so LMX encourage users not to post domains with end user pricing.

(Posted May 4, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Controversial .ORG Registry Sale Stopped In Its Tracks as ICANN Bows to Fierce Public Pressure 

ICANN has a long history of ignoring public sentiment. The organization that oversees the domain name system is famous (or I should say infamous) for their public comment periods that are allegedly aimed at gauging community support on various issues. Infamous because time after time, even when the public is overwhelmingly opposed, they simply ignore the comments and institute the unpopular policy anyhow. 

The charade has played out so many times over the years that few expected the result to be any different when ICANN queried the community on allowing ISOC to sell the Public Interest Registry, the administrator or .ORG, to a private equity company, Ethos Capital for $1.135 billion..and in fact, despite a firestorm of widespread public protest, ICANN appeared to be on the verge of doing just that. 

The wind suddenly shifted when California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra wrote ICANN a letter April 15 advising them to reject the deal. With ICANN headquartered in California, Becerra was in a position to hold ICANN's feet to the fire and they buckled late Thursday night (April 30), announcing they would not approve the sale to Ethos. Some think Ethos may now sue, but the immediate threat has been defused.

 

 

ICANN said many factors went into their decision - not just the threat from Becerra - but given how quickly his entrance into the fray had them doing a head-spinning 180 degree turn, there is a lot of skepticism about that. Opposition to the deal has been voiced from countless quarters for months now to what seemed to be no avail. As just one example, the Internet Commerce Association wrote a strong letter condemning the deal back in November 2019. 

In our own pages in March, domain industry pioneer Michael Castello (Castello Cities Internet Network) had this to say in an article titled Foxes in the Henhouse - "Many non-profit organizations built their charities over many years to engender trust within the .org sphere. How can ICANN, a “non-profit organization”, allow the .org universe to fall under private control with no true security for its protection into the future? What made the legacy extensions were the people. Now, these people have no rights to their virtual futures. This is akin to allowing the House of Representatives to fall under the control of a company like Amazon. What is next -- .net to Apple, .com to Google? Once that happens, our hope of individual freedoms in the virtual world will be all but gone."

I have often stated a personal fondness for the .org domain. It has a truly unique character and hard earned level of trust that has allowed it to stand out in a sea of meaningless extensions. It took months of hard fighting over rough terrain for the community to preserve that legacy (and this may not be the last battle of the war) but it was good to see community wishes prevail for a change - if that continues in other matters that come before ICANN, it will be a welcome change indeed.

(Posted May 1 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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VPS Web Hosting

Coronavirus Pandemic Claims Another Conference - No NamesCon Europe This Year But Show to Return in 2021 

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has claimed another conference. The 2020 edition of NamesCon Europe was to have been held August 6th-8th in Budapest, Hungary but, like so many other meetings across all industries, this one has now officially been canceled. With so many people confined mostly to home around the world and no way to know what  conditions will be like this summer, NamesCon clearly had no choice

On the plus side, after doing what has to be done, NamesCon organizers immediately set their sites on staging the show next year in Budapest and have already penned the dates in - July 15-17, 2021. They are also continuing to plan for NamesCon Global 2021 earlier in the new year.

While the 2020 live meeting is out, a different version of NamesCon may take place online this year instead. A statement from show organizers said, "We’re evaluating a virtual replacement event for this summer! Staying connected is important for individual business outcomes as well as boosting the profile of the industry as a whole. That's why we're planning NamesCon's first-ever virtual conference. We want to deliver a summer event to bring everyone together, but the dates have not been finalized. Don’t worry, though: travel and hotel won’t be an issue... This is where your experience and insight can shine—the survey and call for submissions are now open." 

If you are interested in an online conference the NamesCon survey gives you an opportunity to share your opinions on the idea as well as any suggestions you might have for sessions, panels or presentations.

It is remarkable how much the world has changed since so many of us were meeting in person at the 2020 NamesCon Global conference in Austin, Texas in January. We were back home for barely a month before the coronavirus reared its ugly head in our part of the world and now, just two months later, we have over 60,000 dead in the U.S. alone from it. Wishing you all safety and good health as we all continue to navigate this new world. Sooner or later, the coast will clear and we will be so happy to see you again in person when that times comes!

(Posted April 30, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Internet Commerce Association Introduces a More Affordable Membership Option That Cuts Cost in Half

The Internet Commerce Assocation (ICA), the non-profit organization that protects the rights of domain registrants, has just taken a big step to make membership in the rapidly growing group more affordable. The ICA did it by adding a new basic Membership level that costs $25 a month. Previously, the most affordable level was the $50 a month Individual Membership level (that remains in place with some additional perks that distinguish it from the new basic membership option). 

 

Kamila Sekiewicz
Executive Director
Internet Commerce Association

In addition to helping more people join the ICA effort to protect domain owner rights, the new level could provide some relief to current Individual level members who are suffering from  financial issues created by the current Covid-19 pandemic. ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz said, "We are glad to make membership in the ICA more affordable to the thousands of domain investors who are still establishing themselves in the industry and we're hopeful that this will encourage continued growth of the ICA's membership. This membership level is also available to existing members who wish to remain as ICA members but whose businesses have been disrupted by the pandemic."

The new level gives the ICA a total of six membership tiers that have attracted everyone from beginning domain investors to industry veterans, SMBs and large corporations. You can get details on all membership levels, costs and benefits here.

(Posted April 25, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Rare Interview with Domain Investment Star Yoni Belousov is Added to New Series at GGRG.com

A couple of weeks ago I told you about Giuseppe Graziano launching a new series of  interviews with domain industry pros that he is publishing on the GGRG.com website (also the home of his domain brokerage and consulting firm). Giuseppe hopes the series will give industry newcomers and veterans alike more insight into the business and how others have made their living in it.  

I was honored to be the subject of Giuseppe's first interview published March 26, 2020, and he is already back with another in-depth discussion featuring one of the most successful investors in the business, Yoni Belousov. This is something of a coup for Giuseppe because Yoni, who is based in Vancouver, Canada, has always preferred to keep a low public profile. A lot of people would have loved to have the opportunity to pick Belousov's brain - now Giuseppe has done it and shared all of the insight Yoni gave him in the new interview that came out today.

Yoni talks about what first attracted him to domain investing 18 years ago (when he was still a teenager!) and goes on to lay out the key things he has learned over the past two decades. He also shares what he believes are the most common mistakes domain investors make, so you can avoid those pitfalls yourself. 

 

Yoni Belousov
(photo from GGRG.com)

Yoni has seen a lot of changes over the years, so you will also want to see what he says he would do with $10,000 if he was going to invest it now. It is an excellent interview across the board, so make sure you check it out at GGRG.com.

(Posted April 14, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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GoDaddy's Acquisition of Neustar Registry Operations Gives Them .Biz, .CO, a Role in Running Over 200 TLDs and a Chance to Jump Start .US

Less than two months after acquiring Uniregistry's registrar & market and Founder  Frank Schilling's massive domain portfolio, industry giant GoDaddy has made another monster acquisition. Late Monday (April 6, 2020), the company announced it has Neustar Inc's Registry business, including the Neustar owned .biz registry, the rights to administer several major ccTLDs, including .CO 

 

and .US and the contract to provide backend operations for over 200 hundred others, including new TLDs like .club. In all The Neustar registry business includes approximately 12 million domains across some 215 TLDs. 

Nicolai Bezsonoff

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed and it will still have to pass regulatory muster, however the the deal is expected to close in this quarter (2Q-2020).

Under GoDaddy, the previous Neustar assets will be called GoDaddy Registry and will be led by Nicolai Bezsonoff, currently Senior Vice President and General Manager of Neustar's Registry business. Mr. Bezsonoff said, "Our team is thrilled to join the GoDaddy family. We share a strong history of partnership and collaboration with GoDaddy that spans two decades. Additionally, we have the same values, a common culture of innovation, and a mutual vision for empowering individuals, businesses and brands to succeed online."

GoDaddy Chief Operating Officer Andrew Low Ah Kee added, "GoDaddy is committed to helping everyday entrepreneurs bring their ideas online with the best possible domain name choices.  Neustar's registry platform enables us to accelerate that commitment and provides enhanced scalability for future growth. For more than two decades, GoDaddy has used its consumer insight to drive innovation in the domain industry and we'll continue to do so by creating more choice and value for consumers."

As part of the transaction, GoDaddy, the world's biggest domain registrar, said it will strictly adhere to a governance model that maintains independence between the GoDaddy registry and registrar businesses. 

Personally, I will be especially interested in seeing how the .US registry fares when  GoDaddy takes control. Many in the .US camp have felt America's country code never got the promotion it deserved from Neustar who has administered the TLD since 2001 under a contract with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the United States Department of Commerce. Back in 2007, when the contract came up for renewal, GoDaddy tried to get it but the NTIA chose to leave .US  with Neustar (and did so again in 2014). That disappointed those .US fans who felt GoDaddy's marketing prowess could give the TLD a new lease on life. 

 

Now, if this deal is approved, we will get to see first hand whether or not .US can blossom under new management and flourish in the way many other ccTLDs have in recent years, including repurposed extensions like .co, .io and .ai and long established favorites like Germany's .de and Great Britain's .uk

(Posted April 7, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20200407.htm

Restructuring of  CentralNic Leadership Team Puts 5 Executives in New Roles as COO Exits

CentralNic Group PLC (AIM: CNIC) has announced a restructuring of their leadership team that resulted in five executives moving into new positions. They will help oversee a workforce of some 400 employees in one of the industry's fastest growing companies.

 

Over 45 million domains are currently using CentralNic platforms that are customized for every domain customer type (registry, reseller, corporate, SMB and domain investor).

CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford said, ”I take great pleasure in welcoming our new hires and appointees into their new roles, and I am confident we have the best team in place to maintain our track record of growth. In these difficult times, these new hires and changes reflect our confidence in the robustness of our business."

Two of those appointees are Robbie Birkner (top left) and Tony Kim (top right) who co-founded the popular Vancouver, Canada based Hexonet.com domain registrar that CentralNic acquired last year. Birkner, a 20-year industry veteran, becomes the Head of Reseller Division, the largest of the company's business divisions in terms of revenue. He will have oversight of the strategic direction, expansion and operation of all CentralNic wholesale channels and platforms for domain names, which encompasses the leading reseller brands of RRPproxy by Key-Systems, Hexonet, PartnerGate, TPP Wholesale and more. Kim's new post is Head of Product, responsible for managing new product development and onboarding across Group companies. Tony has over 18 years of experience in the industry. Before co-founding Hexonet he was General Manager at Hostway Canada and Director of Product Development for Hostway Corp USA.

Stuart Fuller (top left) has been appointed as the Head of Brand Services Division, overseeing BrandShelter and CentralNic’s interest in Thomsen Trampedach, which delivers domain portfolio management and brand protection services to Corporate clients. Stuart brings over 14 years of experience in the industry and joined CentralNic three years ago as Group Commercial Director, after eleven years at corporate domain name management and brand protection firm NetNames (now CSC). 

Gavin Brown (top right) has been appointed Head of Registry Solutions, providing registry software and managed services to country code Top-Level Domain names globally. CentralNic is also the world’s leading distributor of new Top-Level Domains, with a global market share of over 47% and those will be under Brown's purview as well. Brown, who has 20 years of industry experience and is CentralNic's longest-serving employee, will also retain his role as Chief Innovation Officer for the Group. Before taking that role in 2019, Gavin was CTO of CentralNic for fourteen years.

The talented quintet of appointees also includes Oliver Fries (at left), who has been appointed Head of Shared Services, and will oversee technology and other shared services for the Reseller, Retail, Registry Solutions and Brand Services business divisions. Oliver brings over 17 years of experience in technical and managerial roles and will be focusing on key activities around infrastructure, systems, development, support and domain procurement. 

Oliver previously held the position of CTO at CentralNic’s subsidiary Key-Systems where he played a key role in shaping its core technology as well as helping the company grow and evolve. He previously worked in the Telecommunication sector as a software developer and project manager.

While those five executives are taking on new roles, another will be leaving. CEO Crawford said, “I regret to inform you that Alex Siffrin, our COO for Centralnic Group, and Founder/CEO of KeyDrive, has decided it is time for a new challenge and therefore is stepping down from his role with CentralNic. Alex’s legacy will live on in CentralNic as we continue to develop the great businesses he built, which will now pass into the very capable hands of the team of hugely talented people that Alex hired and nurtured over the past two decades. Alex remains a valued stakeholder, and his family remains one of the largest shareholders of CentralNic."

(Posted April 1, 2020) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2020/dailyposts/20200401.htm


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