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December 13, 2019

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

NamesCon Global Releases Ambitious Dual Track Agenda for January 2020 Show in Austin 

NamesCon Global has released the agenda for their 7th annual show coming up January 29 - February 1, 2020 at the Omni Hotel in Austin, Texas. After staging their first six events in Las Vegas, NamesCon will unveil a refreshed format in Texas to complement their move to the energetic capital city of America's biggest state. The busy four-day agenda will run on two concurrent tracks - one designed for industry newcomers and the other tailored for industry pros

Three full business days (Wednesday through Friday Jan. 29-31) form the core of the schedule, with a Saturday, February 1 Fun Day providing the grand finale. That closing day will be devoted to good food, refreshing drinks, live music and casual networking at an Austin hot spot - Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden

18 business sessions are set for opening day (Wednesday) covering domain investment, appraisal and sales tips, the latest industry trends, domain development including SEO and lead gen, site security and blockchain, to name just a few. Day 2 (Thursday) will be just as busy with another full slate of business sessions, expert round tables and award presentations, all leading up to the big NamesCon/RightOfTheDot Live Domain Auction that, for the first time, will be run on GoDaddy’s auction platform. The auction is set to run from 4:30-7:30pm, January 30, 2010 (U.S. Central Standard Time).

A scene from the Live Domain Auction at the 2019 NamesCon Global conference last January.

Highlights of the 3rd business day (Friday) will include two keynote speeches and a final round of business sessions with topics including new gTLDs, to the economics of running a registry, managing large portfolios and the power of domains in social media, to cite just a few examples. You can see the full schedule here. While the topics and times have been set, the roster of speakers is still being assembled and will be announced soon. 

In addition to all of the activities noted on the official agenda, individual companies and organizations stage their own special events during NamesCon week (usually in the evenings after a busy day in the conference rooms). One of the biggest of those is the annual Internet Commerce Association member's dinner. The ICA is the non-profit organization that fights to uphold the rights of domain registrants.

The ICA dinner will be held Wednesday night, January 29, 2020 from 7:30-10:30pm at Max's Wine Dive in Austin with sponsorships from Above.com and Dynadot helping the organization hold the ticket price to $100 per person (tickets are available here). Anyone who wants to join the ICA before the dinner can get a free dinner ticket that is being underwritten by longtime ICA supporter Russ Goodwin. ICA members are also entitled to a 50% discount off NamesCon Global tickets, so there is no better time to join the ICA than now!

A scene from the Internet Commerce Association's 2019 Annual Member's Dinner 
held in Las Vegas last January during NamesCon Global 2019.

One other note, NamesCon Global is allowing us to provide all of our readers with a special registration link that will give you 20% off the standard price for tickets to NamesCon Global 2020. NamesCon has also obtained a block of discounted hotel rooms at the Omni that can be booked here. We would love to see you in person in Austin but for those who can't make it, we will, as always, be on site to provide daily photos and highlights from the big event.

(Posted December 9, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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NamesCon Global 2020 News Including 1st Keynote Speaker, Live Domain Auction & Fun Day Finale

After 6 years in Las Vegas NamesCon Global is ready to unveil its updated and upgraded conference  - now sub-titled The Domain Economic Forum - that will be staged in a new city - Austin, Texas - January 29-February 1, 2020. With the big event at the Omni Hotel (located in the heart of the Lone Star State's capital city) now just two months away, show updates are starting to come in hot and heavy.

On Monday NamesCon Global announced the first of what will be several keynote speakers with that honor going to James Booth, the extraordinarily successful young domain broker who runs Phenom.com. James has cleared over $30 million in sales before turning 30, with $10 million of that booked in 2019 alone. In addition to their skills in buying and selling domain names, James and his team help brands improve their online presence, starting with that critical first step - acquiring the perfect domain name.

In Austin, James will speak in a fireside chat format. He will discuss the many facets of value that a domain can offer, and the key role trust plays in forming the relationships that make deals happen. 

Phenom.com CEO James Booth

Image from Bigstock

As always, NamesCon Global will feature a live domain auction but, as with other aspects of the show agenda, there will be a new twist with the sale. For 2020 it has moved to the GoDaddy Auction platform where pre-bidding is already open. One thing will remain the same - Monte Cahn's RightOfTheDot.com will co-coordinate the live bidding action on site for the January 30 event (an extended online auction will continue to February 14, 2020). 

Among the domains already confirmed for the live auction are 

Laptop.com, Arcades.com, Ofices.com, Lasers.com and Calories.com, to name a few. If you have a premium domain you would like to submit you can do that here.

Another new wrinkle at NamesCon Global this year will be an all-day Fun Day that will close the show on Saturday, February 1. The Fun Day concept was introduced at NamesCon Europe in Lisbon, Portugal this past summer and it proved to be a big hit. Fun Day gives attendees and their partners an opportunity to spend the day casually networking and celebrating the conclusion of a productive conference. At NamesCon Global it will run from 10am to 5pm at Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden, an Austin institution famous for its sausage, barbecue and over 200 beers on tap.

Above & Below: Banger's Sausage House
 and Beer Garden - Austin. Texas

Registration for NamesCon Global is now open and if you need a ticket this would be the time to get one as they are running a 30% off Thanksgiving sale through Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving Day in the United States). That drops the normal $699 ticket price to $489.30 You can also book your hotel room at the Omni at special NamesCon Global rates starting at $229. We, will of course, be in Austin and hope to see many of you in person there.

(Posted November 26, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

New Reports from Guta.com and GGRG.com Shed Light on 3Q-2019 Domain Sales Activity

International domain name brokerage Guta.com has released their latest quarterly report covering 3Q-2019 (.PDF file), detailing their observations of activity in several high value categories of the premium domain sales market

The report focuses primarily on domain sales in the following categories: 1-4 Numbers, 1-3 Letters, 2 Characters and English dictionary one-word .com domains. For LLL .com domains, Guta only reports sales made from or to the Chinese market. Chinese investors are especially well known as buyers of the kinds of domains Guta specializes in with the exception of the one-word domains that, as you would expect, are more often sold in English speaking markets. With offices in both the U.S. and China, Guta serves buyers and sellers in both the eastern and western hemispheres.

George Hong
Guta.com Founder & CEO

In Q3-2019, Guta found that Investors and end-users generally bought more domain names than in Q1 or Q2 of 2019. The report stated, "As revealed in seven quarters since 2018, the trading volume of NNN .com, NL/LN.com and one-word English dictionary .com domains all set new records while sales of NNNN .com domains reached their third-highest level in that time frame. The sales count of LL .com reached its highest point in 2019. The only sector underperforming was LLL .com, reflecting the continued low interest in LLL .com domains among Chinese buyers."

The report also noted, "over 44% of the one-word dictionary .com domains were sold to end-users. Comparing that with Q2 2019, the end-user purchase rate almost doubled in Q3 2019."  Guta also reported, "A significant portion of the sales of NNN .com, NNNN .com and NL/LN .com were transacted within the Chinese market. The circulation rate of numeric domains in the Chinese market has far exceeded that of any other market."

The notes above barely scratch the service of the full 11-page report that you can get here.

We got another view of  Q3-2019 sales of similar domains with GGRG.com's release of their latest quarterly Liquid Domains Overview (LXDO), that is presented in an infographic format.  Lisbon, Portugal based GGRG's LXDO incorporates sales information from different sources than Guta (including information from Escrow.com) and their focus is fully on short acronyms (letters) and numeric domains. The two complementary reports provide the best currently available overview of what is happening in the high end short .com domain category (a group GGRG collectively refers to as "liquid domains'). 

This Q3-2019 edition of LXDO noted that Escrow.com reported $69.3 million in sales for the most recent quarter and $14.1 million of that came from liquid domains, indicating that category account for about 20% of Escrow's sales volume. You will also find liquidation values for the most traded categories and additional data based on $5.6 million in publicly reported sales (across 2,890 disclosed transactions. There is also an interesting performance comparison with global asset markets, including BTC.

(Posted November 19, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Ethos Capital Acquisition of Public Interest Registry (.ORG) Stirs Controversy

I was busy assembling our weekly domain sales report Wednesday (Nov. 13, 2019) when news about the Internet Society selling the Public Interest Registry (administrator of the popular .org domain extension) to private equity firm Ethos Capital was released. Since putting the sales column to bed last night I've been reading the widespread commentary across the web about this transaction. It is an especially big deal because .org, with its importance to the non profit community, has become a widely revered TLD that no one wants to see tarnished or become inordinately expensive. 

That being the case, seeing PIR go to a very much for profit private equity company (at an undisclosed price), so soon after ICANN had removed all price caps on .org domains,  has understandably set off alarms bells - and especially loud ones because of the involvement of former ICANN executives with the Ethos management team. As a result, there is already a very high volume of articles and reader commentary on this topic that is worth the time to seek out and review.

The most in-depth coverage I've seen so far, making it an excellent starting point, are a


trio of articles that Andrew Allemann has put out at DomainNameWire. The first story I saw when the news broke was his. He followed up with a piece - The interesting connection between the .Org deal and ICANN - that has drawn an especially vocal response from readers. Completing the trifecta was a good background article on The economics of .org domain names - all within the space of 24 hours - great job Andrew! 

Also, always worth reading when anything related to ICANN comes up is Kevin Murphy at DomainIncite.com and he was in top form as usual with Selling off PIR, did ISOC just throw .org registrants under a bus? There are many more worthwhile examples (most listed with links at news aggregator Domaining.com) but those guys will help you cut to chase and see how this landmark deal is being viewed. 

(Posted November 14, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

TM.Com Changes Hands for $1.25 Million in Deal Handled by Mark Thomas at VIPBrokerage.com 

Chalk up another home run for VIP Brokerage Founder & CEO Mark Thomas. Last week we learned TM.com was pending sale and we have now confirmed that the transaction has closed. Seller TM Advertising sent the premium 2-letter .com to an undisclosed buyer for $1.25 million in a deal brokered by Mark's firm. We will officially chart the sale in our next weekly report Wednesday evening (Nov. 20, 2019) when it will also be added to our Year to Date Top 100 Chart where it will rank as the 4th highest domain sale reported so far in 2019 (assuming no higher sales are made public between now and then).

Mark is no stranger to the YTD Top 100. In fact, he already holds the #2 position on the 2019 honor roll with his $3 million sale of California.com that we reported in January. California.com spent nearly six months at the top of the elite list until it was finally displaced by the biggest cash domain sale ever reported - Voice.com at $30 million - this past June.

Mark and VIP Brokerage also has another sale in this year's Top 20 - a $300,000 transaction for NCC.com that was charted in July. So, when TM.com is added in our next weekly update, Thomas will have two of the year's top four sales and three of the Top 20 going into the final six weeks of the 2019 sales season.

Mark Thomas entered the domain business a little over seven years ago and decided to open his own shop at VIP Brokerage in September 2015. Mark said he has booked over $70 million worth of domain sales since entering the industry. The Miami based company specializes in representation, acquisition, sales and marketing of premium domain names, digital assets and business to business joint ventures. 

VIP Brokerage has an impressive catalog of exclusive listings that is filled with two and three letter .coms, one-word dictionary domains and top tier geodomains, making it almost certain that VIP Brokerage will continue to make regular appearances on the top sales charts.


Mark Thomas
VIP Brokerage Founder & CEO 

(Posted November 14, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Latest Domain Sales Trends Revealed in Escrow.com's 3Q-2019 Domain Investment Index Report 

Escrow.com has released their latest quarterly Domain Investment Index report (PDF file) covering the 3rd quarter of 2019. The total value of domain names sales transacted through Escrow.com in 3Q-2019 rose to $69.3 million after coming in just a bit lower at $68.6 million in the previous quarter, indicating a "steady as she goes" trend in aftermarket sales.

While 2-3 character domains continue to attract the highest prices, the report shows a trend of longer domain names rising in value. It also noted that letters are more popular than numbers, regardless of length. That has always been true in Western markets but numbers are very popular in the Far East. That resulted in a surge in their value when China became a major force in the aftermarket several years ago but the China boom has since receded.

The UK passes China - now 2nd strongest 
market for domain sales.
Image from Bigstock

The Escrow.com report referenced how volatile demand for domain names can be from one country to another. It noted " After a strong Q2, China fell sharply in total transaction value for Q3, while the United Kingdom overtook it as the second strongest market for domain name sales. The United States retains its spot at number one with the highest total transaction value. There are many more market details, along with accompanying graphs, in the full report here.

On another front, Escrow.com's exclusive auction of Fashion.com is now underway (bidders can register here and will also find full details on the auction at that link). When the auction concludes next month, Escrow.com believes Fashion.com could approach the all-time record price paid for Voice.com in June ($30 million). If that happens, the company's 4Q-2019 report will show an enormous jump in total sales volume -  a great way to close out the 2019 sales season.

(Posted October 29, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

The Envelope Please -  A Complete List of Winners of the 1st Annual .ORG Impact Awards

While I was away on vacation last week I unfortunately missed an opportunity to attend an October 10 awards gala in Washington, D.C. where the first annual .ORG Impact Awards were handed out. However, the Public Interest Registry (the administrator of the .ORG TLD), was kind enough to provide me with some key photos and highlights from the event that I am happy to be able to share with you now that I am back.

During an intimate gathering at The Watergate Hotel, 12 individuals and organizations were named winners of the inaugural 2019 awards. The new Impact Awards program celebrates .ORG domain name users of all types and sizes for their accomplishments in community mobilization, marketing and outreach, and mission achievement. Both organizations and individuals who utilize the popular .ORG domain were honored for their work in

.ORG Impact Awards logo

connecting communities and leveraging the Internet for transformative change. Actor and philanthropist Taye Diggs was also honored as the 2019 .ORG Impact Awards Honoree, for his dedication to greater social good around the world, through both philanthropic and community involvement.

Taye Diggs, the first .ORG Impact Awards Honoree (at left) with Public Interest Registry 
CEO Jon Nevett
at the October 10, 2019 Awards Gala in Washington, D.C.

The .ORG Impact Awards (OIA) where presented to winners in three different sectors: Individual Awards (honoring the contribution of an individual to their organization or the broader sector and receive a $5,000 donation to the charitable organization of the winner’s choice), Sector Awards (recognizing organizational and team accomplishments that come with a $2,000 donation to the charitable organization of the winner’s choice) and Initiative Awards (celebrating achievement in a specific online niche, accompanied by a $1,000 donation to the charitable organization of the winner’s choice).

The crystal awards that went to each OIA winner.

Here is the complete list of the inagural .ORG Impact Award Winners:

Individual Awards

Sector Awards

Initiative Awards

  • Best Integrated Communications CampaignSkateistan, “Empowering Children Through Skateboarding and Education” (U.S. / Germany)

  • Best Social Media CampaignThe Mayhew, “Mayhew Website Redesign” (UK)

  • Best Use of Partnerships/Celebrity EndorsementsKiva, “The Big Impact of Small Loans” (U.S.)

  • Outstanding Multimedia ContentC Three Foundation, “C Three Foundation Multimedia Approach" (U.S.) 

  • Outstanding Online Fundraising CampaignTeach For America, “Teach For America Alumni and Staff Challenge” (U.S.)

  • Outstanding Website RedesignThe Mayhew, “Home Is Where Their Dog Is” (UK) Top #GivingTuesday Campaign

Congratulations to all of the winners!

A scene from the inaugural .ORG Impact Awards Dinner at 
The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. October 10, 2019.

As domain investors and developers, most DNJournal readers are already intimately familiar with the .ORG TLD, but for those who may come to this article that are less familiar with the domain space, here is a little background provided by the Public Interest Registry (PIR):

".ORG is the original purpose-driven "generic" top-level domain (gTLD) with more than 10 million domain names registered worldwide. .ORG is open to everyone, providing a global platform for organizations, associations, clubs, businesses and individuals to bring their ideas to life. For more than 30 years, .ORG has built an enduring legacy of trust, preserving an open and secure Internet where diverse communities can establish a trusted online identity and freely share ideas. .ORG is powered by the non-profit Public Interest Registry.  PIR was founded by the Internet Society in 2002 and is based in Reston, Virginia, USA. Visit www.TheNew.org for more information."

(Posted October 18, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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ICA Names 9 Lonnie Borck Memorial Award Nominees - Winner to Be Announced at NamesCon 2020 

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) has finished processing nominations for its 4th annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award. Submissions, that were open to all participants in the domain industry, resulted in a list of nine nominees. The next round of voting, limited to ICA members, will narrow the field to three finalists (that voting ends October 25, 2019) with the ICA Board Members then choosing the award winner that will be announced at the 2020 NamesCon conference coming in January in Austin, Texas

The ICA created the Lonnie Borck Memorial Award to honor the widely known and universally loved domain investor who passed four years ago this month. In its first three years, the accolade recognized outstanding work in protecting the rights of domain name registrants. The winners were David Weslow (2017), Kathy Kleiman (2018) and John Berryhill (2019). However, this year, in keeping with Lonnie’s generous spirit, The ICA decided to broaden the scope of the award to honor those whose contributions have fostered a sense of community within the domain name industry. 

Lonnie Borck

Below are the nine nominees for the 2020 Lonnie Borck Memorial Award (listed alphabetically by first name), along with a comment made by the first person to nominate that person for the award:

Andrew Allemann 
"He provides a lot of valuable information through his daily news and interviews with industry participants. Such knowledge is made freely available to enable anyone willing to learn to become a better domain investor." 

Ari Goldberger
"As one of the first domain name lawyers, has always helped those in need."

Barbara Neu
"Barbara has been a key organizer of domain conferences going back to the first TRAFFIC show in 2004. She created a sense of community, and more than that, family, at the conferences. In an industry where barely anyone knew each other, Barbara was often the first person from the industry that domain investors would meet and she made sure you felt welcomed. Barbara created a sense of community throughout 10 years of TRAFFIC shows, that were often held two or three times per year, and at The Domain Conference and Merge shows that followed. Ron Jackson published a great profile of Barbara that highlights her importance to the domain name community - http://www.dnjournal.com/cover/2016/july-august.htm"

Donna Mahony
"Donna built Domain Boardroom into a strong community of domain investors. Under Donna’s leadership and oversight, DBR has become a great venue for sharing, learning, and discussing domain names with friends and colleagues."

Elliot Silver
"His advice always valuable and he keeps abreast of the domain investing. Also he has participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge, helping to raise funds and awareness for Dana-Farber Cancer."

Marco Schmidt
"Marco Schmidt's ExpiredDomains.net domain name search tool is an invaluable resource for all domain name investors. Mr. Schmidt humbly works behind the scenes without accolades, continuously updating and improving his tool, providing the picks and axes to those investors mining for domain name gold. And, Mr. Schmidt offers his tool for free, without charge or subscription fee. He is an unsung hero of the industry!"

Michael Cyger
"Having been in the industry for 7 years, I can wholeheartedly recommend Michael for this award. With his DomainSherpa videos, he has opened up the closed and secret society of the privileged few to the entire world. In his hundreds of respectful and thorough videos, he makes everyone accessible, using his positive, caring and community-building demeanor. There is no one that has done more to bring people together and create a community in this industry."

Monte Cahn
"Monte set the bar for registrar and domain marketplace services designed for domainers. From the early days of Moniker.com to his continuing facilitation of live domain auctions, Monte has been indispensable to bringing the community together and establishing high standards of customer service and problem solving."

Ron Jackson
"Ron has been tirelessly tracking and reporting on the industry and its players for over 15 years. In addition, his tracking of publicly-listed domain sales has been essential for showcasing the value of premium domain names to the general public."

Congratulations to all of the nominees!

(Posted October 17, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Awards Season! ICA Taking Lonnie Borck Award Noms - .ORG Impact Awards to be Presented Next Week  

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) has started accepting nominations for the 4th annual Lonnie Borck Memorial Award. The ICA created the award in honor of the widely known and universally loved domain investor who passed four years ago this month. The accolade was originally designed to recognize outstanding work in protecting the rights of domain name registrants. That criteria led to the first three awards going to David Weslow, Kathy Kleiman and John Berryhill. However, this year, in keeping with Lonnie’s generous spirit, The ICA decided to broaden the scope of the award to honor those whose contributions have fostered a sense of community within the domain name industry. 

With that in mind, the ICA is inviting everyone in the domain community to take part in the process by submitting suggestions for the nominees. You can use this short nomination form to do that and you are also welcome to share the submission link with your colleagues, on blogs or through social media. The nomination period will remain open until October 15, 2019.  Once the nomination period closes, ICA Members will select the three finalists for the award, then the ICA Board will choose the winner from the three finalists that members select.  


Lonnie Borck

As has been the case in previous years, the presentation of the award will be made in a ceremony at the annual NamesCon conference that is coming up January 29 - February 1, 2020 in Austin, Texas. NamesCon just opened registration for the show this week and reported over 1,000 sign-ups within the first 24 hours. 

In June, I told you about another awards program that was being launched for the first time - the Public Interest Registry's .ORG Impact Awards. The ballots for the inaugural awards have now been 

counted and a list of the 33 finalists released. The winners in the various categories will be revealed at the .ORG Impact Awards gala on October 10, 2019 at the historic Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. 

While the evening gala is an invitation only event, earlier the same day, Public Interest Registry will host a free, open to everyone .ORG Community Forum at The Madison in Washington, D.C. If you would like to go you can get your free ticket here.

(Posted October 4, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Name Ninja Bill Sweetman Closes $565,000 Sale of Carrot.com as Buyer Pays Off Balance Early

Back in April  I told you about Name Ninja Bill Sweetman putting together a $600,000 dealt to sell Carrot.com to an SaaS firm named Carrot that wanted to upgrade from the domain they had been using, OnCarrot.com. Since then, the buyer has been making full use of the Carrot.com while making payments on a schedule that was to continue for several more years. 

The new domain apparently had an even more positive impact on their business than the buyer anticipated because they decided to pay off the entire balance due immediately in exchange for a reduction in price to $565,000. The final payment was made last week which will allow us to add Carrot.com to our official charts when our next weekly domain sales report comes out Wednesday evening (October 2, 2019). Carrot.com will rank among the ten biggest sales reported so far this year, coming in at #8 on our Year to Date Top 100 Chart (assuming no larger sales are reported over the next 48 hours).

The sale also gives Bill another feather in a cap that is already well decorated from his past high end sales. In fact, Sweetman just closed an even bigger sale - $1 million for a short one-word .com but that one is subject to a non-disclosure agreement as most high end sales are.

Name Ninja Bill Sweetman

(Posted September 30, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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Domain King Rick Schwartz Lets It Rip in Wide Ranging New Video Podcast at Domainer.com.au

Our friends at the Domainer Show (based at Domainer.com.au) - Co-Hosts Rob Kaay (DBR.com.au) and Ed Keay-Smith (OnlineImpact.com.au) - have just posted their latest video podcast featuring yet another domain industry pioneer. For Episode 19 they landed The Domain King himself - Rick Schwartz, who spent a rollicking 72 minutes sharing his unvarnished thoughts and insights into a field he has been excelling in since the 1990s.

Clockwise from top left: Domainer Show Co-Hosts Rob Kaay and Ed Keay-Smith with Domain King Rick Schwartz.

Rick Schwartz
The Domain King

Rick is also known for co-founding the legendary T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference that ran for a decade between 2004-2014. When the show's run ended with a 10th anniversary edition in Miami Beach, Schwartz said he was going into semi-retirement, but everyone knew he wouldn't be able to stay away from the game for long. Schwartz was soon back, providing regular no holds barred commentary on the industry at RicksBlog.com, as well as in a recent series of videos posted on his Twitter account. Just this week he announced the video series will soon be given a dedicated new home at Rick.tv

Over the past two decades Schwartz has raked in tens of millions of dollars worth of domain sales and domain investment earnings. His is a unique story that is informative, entertaining and often controversial - all the things that add up to a thought provoking show that you can check out here

(Posted September 24, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Seattle.com Added to Extraordinary Portfolio of Big City .COM GeoDomains Offered  by Geocentric Media

A few months ago  I told you about an  unprecedented portfolio of more than 20 big city .com geodomains that has been put on the market by Geocentric Media. Today we learned the portfolio, that already includes LosAngeles.com, SanFrancisco.com, Houston.com, Philadelphia.com and Denver.com among others, has grown to nearly two dozen domains with the addition of Seattle.com (you can see the entire list of domains here).

Today's news came from Geocentric Media CEO & Founder Fred Mercaldo who also told us the firm has more than a dozen discussions underway with major media companies interested in the portfolio. With the level of interest ramping up Geocentric Media decided to secure the services of Kalil & Company, a widely known media brokerage company with 40 years of experience in the field. Mercaldo said, "the  main brokers in charge are Frank Higney (Frank@Kalilco.com) and Jason Anderson (Jason@Kalilco.com). Kalil has high level contacts in all of the top major media firms, private equity companies and more. They love the portfolio, believe in it, and this is their initial venture into the digital world."

Seattle image from Bigstock

While Geocentric Media's is focused on selling the portfolio intact to a buyer interested in acquiring an instant high visibility coast-to-coast footprint on the web, Mercaldo said they have not completely ruled out the possibility of selling an individual domain, or group of domains, for the right price.

(Posted September 20, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Public Interest Registry's .ORG Rolls Out Global Rebrand with New Website and Logos 

The venerable .ORG extension  has gotten a major makeover that went public today when a new website and visual identity was launched worldwide. The Public Interest Registry's refreshment of the .ORG brand centers around the new site at TheNew.org. Previously, the popular TLD was based at the PIR website,  PIR.org, a domain that now redirects to TheNew.org).

A fact sheet announcing the changes noted, "The rebrand builds upon .ORG’s long-time support of the organizations, associations, clubs, businesses and individuals using the domain, but takes the commitment a step

New .ORG logo unveiled today

further by actively uniting .ORG communities around shared interests and passions." The sheet highlighted these points:

  • The new logo - with “ORG” encircled in a vibrant royal blue sphere - reflects the brand’s impact worldwide, with more than 10 million domains under management.

  • The open “ORG” lettering on either side of the sphere signals that .ORG is an open domain for anyone; it serves as a powerful and inclusive global connector.

  • The logo uses a deep royal blue, evoking feelings of trust, security, and reliability that reflect .ORG’s long-standing reputation.

  • The design also allows the color to be exchanged for photography and video, so .ORG can tell visual stories through the lens of the logo.

The logo for PIR and its other TLDs, the .NGO /.ONG extensions (exclusive domains serving non-governmental organizations) also underwent a visual refresh. The new 

visual identities of PIR and .NGO /.ONG mirror that of .ORG, but with different color designations: turquoise and green respectively. 

The PIR fact sheet added, "The new .ORG website was designed to showcase the breadth of the .ORG user base and spotlight how forward-looking businesses, professional associations, civic groups, non-profits, clubs and families are making their inspirations a reality using the .ORG domain. We encourage you to spend time browsing our new website and reading the stories within from .ORGs like Google.org, Quilters Unlimited and GlobalGiving.

(Posted September 17, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

GGRG Releases Their Latest Quarterly Report on Short .Com Domain Sales in an Impressive New Format

Domain brokerage & consulting firm GGRG.com has released their latest quarterly report on aftermarket sales of liquid domains, covering the 2nd quarter of 2019. GGRG defines liquid domains  as being very short .com domains consisting of all letters (L) or all numbers (N), as well as 2 and 3-character (C) .coms that have a  combination of letters and numbers (they use the acronym LXDO as a shorthand description for the liquid domains category). GGRG calls these "liquid" domains because they are relatively easy to sell at prevailing market rates.

Prior to this latest report - LXDO Q2 2019 -

GGRG had released the information in a downloadable .PDF file. In a major upgrade they have now made the report much more easy to access and navigate by posting it on into a clean new interface located on the web at LXDO.com

Giuseppe Graziano 
GGRG Founder 

GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano said, "As we continually strive to improve our services, it became apparent to us that more and more readers access our websites from mobile devices. Downloading a PDF, then visualizing data on a tiny screen is not a great user experience. That is why we are proud to announce the 2019 Q2 LXDO with a brand new look in a report format that is interactive, sortable by category and, most importantly, mobile-friendly, presented on a fully responsive website.

Some of the highlights from the new report that Giuseppe cited were:

$8.7 million in Escrow.com sales. 
• Liquidation values for the most traded categories.
3,600 disclosed transactions.
• Performance comparison with global asset markets, including BTC.
$5.7 million in publicly reported sales.

A navigation tip - when you go to the report page, scroll down and click the Explore button. On the next page, across the top, are links to any section of the report you want to immediately access - for example 3-letter .coms or 4 number domains, as well as an "At a Glance" summary page, Historical information and Archives. GGRG has just made a good thing even better, further cementing the quarterly LXDO report's position as an invaluable reference document for all who are interested in buying and selling in this popular sector of the domain market.

(Posted September 9, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

New Verisign Report: Total Domain Registrations Jumped 4.4% Since Last Year Led by .Coms and Surging ccTLDs

Verisign has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (.pdf file) covering the 2nd quarter of 2019. While Verisign is best known as the administrator of .com and .net domains, their quarterly briefs provide statistics   covering the entire universe of domain names. According to the latest brief, 2Q-2019 closed with approximately 354.7 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of approximately 14.9 million domains (representing a 4.4% jump) over the past year. 

The world's most popular extension, .com, continues to outperform the overall market. The number of registered .coms jumped 

approximately 6.9 million from the same point a year ago, an increase of 5.1% year over year. Verisign's .net also continue its trend of slow decline. The number of registered .nets slipped to about 13.6 million at the end of 2Q-2019, a drop of around a half million domains (representing a 3.5% decline).

In percentage terms, the category with the highest growth rate was the ccTLDs (country code domains). They ended 2Q-2019 with approximately158.7 million registrations, 8.9 million more than a year ago for a healthy 6% increase.

There hasn't been a lot of good news for new gTLDs lately but they posted a year over year upturn, gaining about 1.3 million registration (a 5.9% increase) that put their total registrations at approximately 23 million at the end of 2Q-2019. 

There is much more data in the complete Domain Name Industry Brief that you can access here.

(Posted September 3, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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Guta.com Releases Their Q2-2019 Premium Domain Sales Report & Unveils New Office in Xiamen, China

Our friends  at international domain name brokerage Guta.com have been busy this summer. They have just released their latest quarterly report (covering 2Q-2019) that details their observations of the premium domain sales market. With offices in both the U.S. and China, Guta has a birds eye view of conditions in both of those key markets. 

Speaking of offices, Guta.com has also just completed a move from their original office in Xiamen to a top tier new space that company Founder George Hong and his team are very excited about. I will give you an inside look at the company's new digs, but first here is a summary of Guta's new quarterly report that has some surprising news about what has been happening in one of the most popular segments of the market - two and three-letter .com sales.

The summary (that concludes the Guta report) noted, "The sales of premium one-word dictionary domains remained strong and among them was a record-breaking $30 million domain sale of Voice.com that will be talked about and referred to in years to come. However, the markets for two-letter .com and three-letter .com domains were slow. The trading volume of LL .com domains was significantly lower compared to the same quarter last year. The total LLL .com domain sales count in the Chinese market fell to the lowest level among the past six quarters. In sharp contrast, the sales count of NN .com, NNN .com, NNNN .com and NL/LN .com domains all have reached the highest level since 2018 ("N" stands for a number, "L" for a letter)."

The Guta summary added, "Most of these sales were traded within the Chinese domain market, followed by the second most sales from American sellers to Chinese buyers. It is also worth pointing out that, due to the slowing economy and, more importantly, the escalating trade war with the U.S, the dollar-yuan exchange rate has been rising since the beginning of May 2019. If the exchange rate keeps climbing, it might create a negative impact on price and/or demand of future domain sales between the Chinese and the Western markets."  

You will want to see all of the specific date in the Guta report and you can do that here (.pdf file).

George Hong
Guta.com Founder & CEO

Now, about that new office in Xiamen. George told us, "As a domain brokerage firm, we are glad that we can work anywhere, anytime and serve our clients worldwide. However, coming from a solid IT background, I still firmly believe that Face-to-Face meetings/interactions are important in the digital age. That is also why we spent a lot of effort in finding and choosing offices so that our team members can sit & work together and interact with our clients and partners face-to-face. After spending 3 years at our previous office in Xiamen Software Park, we recently moved into a new office in the state-of-the-art China Aviation Zijin Square (Also called W Square), located in the heart of a new central business district in Xiamen. This 24/7 guarded, 5A class office building, located in a safe and convenient area, truly empowers our team members to come and work in a comfortable ocean view office anytime while we can have peace of mind."

Above: A wide angle view of the China Aviation Zijin Square in Xiamen.

Below: A ground level view of the building where Guta.com's new office is located.
(all photos in this article courtesy of Guta.com).

Above: This sign welcomes vistors to Guta.com's new office.

Below: Guta.com Founder & CEO George Hong settling in at his new office.

Above: Guta.com team members at work. The floor to ceiling windows give them a beautiful view of the ocean as the shot below, taken from the Guta office, shows you.

Above & below: If you visit the Guta.com offices, odds are you will spend some time in the reception area. George noted, "In China, especially in Fujian Province (where Xiamen City is located), tea culture is very important. You can see a tea set in almost every office in Xiamen. Serving tea to our guests is the basic hospitality of the local people."

After tea, visitors can head out to see a wide variety of attractions that are all within walking  distance of the office. Some of George's favorites are:

·         Banlam Grand Theater, an international top- class performance venue.

·         Xiamen International Conference Center, Venue of the 9th BRICS summit.

·         Xiamen Financial Center

·         Branch offices of most major Chinese banks

·         Approximately 10 gyms, six of which have swimming pools.

·         2 Yoga Studios

·         2 beaches

·         2 Shopping Centers

·         1 Cinema

·         Dozens of dining places, including some of the finest restaurants in Xiamen 

·         Two Starbucks and one Luckin coffee shop

Some of you are probably already looking into airline tickets, but If you can't make it to the other side of the Pacific to meet George and his crew in person, you can do it in the U.S. soon. They will be in Austin, Texas, for the 2020 NamesCon Global conference coming up January 29-February 1. Thanks to George and his team for the inside look at their new space!

(Posted August 19, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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Domain Packages Begin Filling the Gap Between Sales of Individual Domains and Entire Portfolios 

When top tier domains are put up for sale  are put up for sale  owners almost always try to sell them individually on their own merits. Occasionally, however, some will offer an entire portfolio of domains for sale like GeoCentric Media did in April when they put a package of 20 big city .com geodomains up for sale in a single lot (a month later they added LosAngeles.com and SanFrancisco.com to the lot) priced in the $20 million range. That kind of approach is normally a one-time occurrence, but there are indications we may see similar strategies more often going forward. 

Image from Bigstock

At least one brokerage we know of, Warren Mae Premium Domains, is streamlining the idea, filling a space between portfolios and individual domain sales with tighter packages of closely related domains plus some additional added value assets (like related toll-free phone numbers) with the idea that ownership of the package gives the buyer a powerful broad-based market position with a single purchase.

For example, Warren Mae is marketing Thin.com, Thinner.com and Thinnest.com together in a single package that also includes seven toll-free phone numbers  that incorporate THIN on the keypad - 833-367-THIN | 833-468-THIN | 877-THIN-373 | 877-THIN-356 | 877-THIN-347 | 877-THIN-368 | 877-THIN-866. Warren Mae Co-Founder Katie Bond contends, "Real branding power includes capturing market dominance. Field leadership requires the usage of domain packages. A premium domain generates organic search and a domain package strengthens the brand by using multiple URLs, all with word variations of your company name. Packages that are completed with a block of identifying toll free numbers further increase positioning." 

Katie Bond
Warren Mae Premium Domains

The company expects the package to sell in the seven-figure range which seems reasonable given the boom in one-word .com demand we've seen recently, most notably in the $30 million sale of Voice.com in June, an all-time record cash sale of a single undeveloped domain name.

The Thin.com package is owned by entrepreneur Gerard Armond Powell, the founder of the highly regarded Rythmia Life Advancement Center resort in Costa Rica. Having built that five-star property's online presence on a one-word .com (Rhythmia.com), Powell understands the power of domain names from personal experience. “You can maximize returns and decrease advertising costs all while maintaining the same sales and conversion rates," Powell said. 

Image from Bigstock

Memorability gives owners of one-word .com domains a huge edge in marketing. Bond noted, "Marketing strategists can no longer bet on the fact that a clever business name might be remembered. In the early days of the Internet, it was trendy to create custom domains with unusual spelling or quirky names. But that phase died out with the “yodeling Yahoo guy” ad campaign. Valuable domains must emit clarity, not only across the board but also across the Internet. Domains with easily recognizable words also emote trustworthiness even before the point of sale."

Katie added, "The ‘premium domain packaging’ advertising model addresses a badly needed solution in a crowded online market. Rather than just buying a building, you take over the whole neighborhood. Companies looking for alternative routes to increase website traffic can leverage these so-called ‘sister-sites’ to 

capitalize on language association. SEO strategy is no longer enough to get a site to the top of search results. Consider that your competitors are probably using the very same keywords in their metadata and copy. Although savvy web consultants try to offer guaranteed search rankings, search engines (namely Google) regularly update their algorithms and organic search wins every time."

"The additional domains in the premium package can serve in multiple capacities as well. From design concepts to user experience, they can be used as a space to beta test anything (and everything), as needed. Consider that site updates or new product rollouts can often include bugs or interface issues. Having multiple sites can be used as an additional platform for research before implementation. Extra sites can assist in refining marketing scope, which saves in unnecessary advertising expenses for both short and long term campaigns."

If the GeoCentric Media or Warren Mae approach bears fruit, we may see a lot more of this marketing approach going forward.

(Posted August 8, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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PIR to Host a .ORG Community Forum & the Impact Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C. October 10

The Public Interest Registry (PIR), the administrator of the popular .ORG TLD, will be hosting a pair of special events on Thursday, October 10, 2019 in Washington D.C.  The first one will be the inaugural .ORG Community Forum, a free event that will run from 9am-4pm at Hilton's Madison Hotel (it even comes with a free lunch for those who register for one of the limited number of seats)!


The Community Forum will allow attendees to share ideas, knowledge, and causes on the internet. It will also provide an opportunity to collaboratively explore common areas of interest and find ways to navigate through any challenges facing their .ORG websites today. The program will include four sessions in the Dolly Madison Ballroom (running 30-60 minutes each) that will cover: Website vs. Social Media, Leveraging Video on Social Media, Brand Reputation for Online Brands and Defending Against Disinformation Campaigns. Featured speakers will include Event Host Chris Baldwin (10x Digital), Julia Campbell (J Campbell Social Marketing), Roberto Blake (Create Awesome Media, LLC), Statton Hammock (MarkMonitor) and Brian Wanko (InterAction.org).

PIR will maximize audience engagement with plenty of interactive Q&A sessions and networking opportunities. If you attend you can expect to take away inspiring ideas and insights to improve the strategy, operation, and execution of your .ORG community work. The event is open to anyone who wants to make a positive impact within their their local community, on a global scale or anything in between.

The second special event on October 10 is the invitation-only .ORG Impact Awards Ceremony that will be held that evening at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., just a few blocks away from The Madison Hotel that is hosting the free daytime Community Forum. 

We first told you about the new .ORG Impact Awards program when nominations were opened in June. It is designed to recognize .ORG domain name owners who are using the Internet to empower change around the world. Winning individuals and organizations will receive up to $5,000 in a monetary contribution to the nonprofit of their choice. Nominations closed on July 12, so now the community is just eagerly awaiting the Awards Ceremony to find out who won.

A hat tip to our friend, veteran event producer Jodi Chamberlain from 32 Events.com, for the information. Jodi is helping PIR with the staging of these two special events in the Nation's Capital that will be a highlight of the year for the .ORG community.

(Posted August 6, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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The Weekend Was Nirvana for Domain Investors With Meetups On Both Sides of the Globe and an Industry Pioneer Online

A pair of notable domain industry meetings on opposite sides of the world were completed over the weekend. In one, T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Co-Founder Rick Schwartz returned to the meetup game five years after T.R.A.F.F.I.C. wrapped up its historic decade-long run in 2014. Rick's new event, the 1st annual Asheville Profesional Domain Investor's Meetup, held at the Omni Grove Park Inn in scenic Asheville, North Carolina, was a much different kind of gathering than 

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. It was more intimate by design so the 80 guests who flew in from around the world could spend more face-to-face quality time with other industry pros. 

Instead of the usual highly structured conference agenda it followed a more free form pattern that let people do business and socialize at the same time in a variety of laid back settings around Asheville, a city that has become one of America's hottest vacation destinations. I regrettably was unable to attend this first event myself but enjoyed seeing Morgan Linton's series of videos that provided some great insight into how things went. Alvin Brown from TheDomains.com was also there and he posted a nice review of the meeting today. TheDomains Founder Michael Berkens (who, like Schwartz, has a summer home in Asheville) played a major role in helping fellow industry legend Schwartz pull the meeting together.  All of the photos and comments I saw posted by others on Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc. also gave the meetup very good reviews so it looks like Rick has another winner on his hands (no surprise there, of course)!

While the Asheville meeting was going on, domain investors from across India and beyond were in New Delhi for the 6th annual DomainX conference at the Eros Hotel. As it has in the past, DomainX again garnered good reviews posted by its attendees on social media outlets. Speaker Harmandeep Singh from the Delhi School of Digital Marketing (at right in the photo below) posted several nice shots from the show on Facebook

Even if you missed those meetings over the weekend you can still get some invaluable advice from one of the top domain investors of all time online. In another excellent edition of Australia's Domainer Show, Castello Cities Internet Network Co-Founder Michael Castello was interviewed in an hour-long podcast you really won't want to miss

Michael, who was there at the very start of the domain investing business in the mid 1990s, covered a tremendous amount of ground in his discussion with Co-hosts Rob Kaay and Ed Keay-Smith. In addition to the inside stories about his sales of Whisky.com ($3.1 million) and Room.com ($1.5 million), Michael explained why he picked the domains he did at a time when virtually everything was available. He also detailed why he believes domain are more important to an enterprise's success now than they've ever been before. He provides his unique insight into many more topics that make this one of the best programs you will hear all year, so be sure to check it out

(Posted August 5, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Radix TLDs Produced $1.36 Million in Premium Domain Sales in the First Half of 2019

Radix has released a new report (.pdf file) detailing premium domain sales results in the first half of 2019 for the nine gTLDs the company administers (.store, .tech, .space, .site, .store, .website, .fun, .press and .host). Radix reported $1.36 million in total premium sales over the six-month period, a figure that is on par with how those TLDs performed in the previous period (H2-2018).

The report cited .online, .tech and .site as their highest grossing TLDs with new premium registrations accounting for approximately 40% of total premium sales revenue.  More than 80 of those sales were made at $2,500 or more  Most of those premium level registrations were sold through Radix's registrar partners with industry giant GoDaddy accounting for 46% of the premium Radix sales. Radix also reported a renewal rate of 78% for premium domains registered in or before 2018.

The company's highest one time sale in this period was Gaming.tech at $20,000 via Sedo. Their full report (linked at the top of this post) has an in depth breakdown of their H1-2019 results that will give you a more granular look at how their individual TLDs performed.

(Posted August 2, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Sedo Selects Michael Robrock to Fill Newly Created Position as Chief Operating Officer

Domain industry giant  Sedo announced an important addition to their management team today when they named appointed Michael Robrock to their management board and a newly created role at the company's Chief Operating Officer (COO). Robrock will oversee all of Sedo's  customer-facing departments including Sales and Operations. 

Robrock has held several high level executive positions over the past two decades including CEO roles at MixCon ag and Trendgroup GmBH. Sedo's announcement noted, "Michael brings with him immense experience and knowledge from the domain and online marketing industry. One of his main priorities will be Sedo’s customer experience and how to maintain an exceptionally high level of support."

Sedo CEO Matthias Conrad added, "With Michael Robrock joining us in the newly created COO role, we are pleased to welcome a fellow industry insider and domain veteran with 20+ years of experience."


Michael Robrock
Chief Operating Officer, Sedo


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Record Breaking Domain Broker Jeff Gabriel Wraps Up 7-Year Run With Uniregistry

Domain sales giant Jeff Gabriel, who was profiled in a 2016 DNJournal Cover Story, is closing yet another successful chapter in his remarkable career. Gabriel broke into the business with Sedo.com where he closed a record breaking deal for Sex.com at $13 million in 2010 - a deal that reigned as the biggest publicly reported domain sale of all time until it was finally surpassed by the eye popping $30 million sale of Voice.com last month. 

Gabriel's success at Sedo led to Domain Advisors (who later re-branded as Igloo.com) luring him away to be their President in 2011. Then, two years later, industry legend Frank Schilling called on Gabriel to run the new domain sales operation Schilling launched under the Uniregistry banner.

After 7 years with Uni, Gabriel, who played a key role in helping building the company into an industry powerhouse, decided his mission there

Jeff Gabriel

is now complete. In a post on the Uniregistry blog late Tuesday, Gabriel officially announced he is leaving his position as Vice President of Sales so he can move his family back to his Massachusetts home after seven years spent living in Cayman Islands where Uni is headquartered.

Gabriel will return home with a lot to be proud of. He noted, "We grew from four to forty salespeople, with sales support staff selling thousands of domains, eclipsing the $50 million USD mark in yearly sales volume. We will more than likely have broken $250 million mark in sales during my tenure while you read this. We also built new technology, products, and processes."

Jeff's time in the Caymans were accompanied by the biggest events in his personal life as well. "My wife had our two children here," he said. "After discussing this with friends and family, it is time for me to step down and return home to make up for lost time with my family and pursue other projects. I want to thank all of the customers, Frank, and our team that have made these past seven years the best seven I ever had!" Gabriel declared.

With Gabriel's departure Dan Adamson will take over as Vice President of Sales and Wade Smith will become the Director of Sales. Adamson and Smith were both already part of the Uniregistry family and both are well-known and highly-regarded industry veterans. While the sales operation at Uni will remain in good hands, Gabriel's many friends and fans are looking forward to seeing what his next move will be.

(Posted July 31, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

NamesCon Global 2020 Announces Change in Dates for January Show in Austin, Texas

After six years  In Las Vegas the NamesCon Global conference is moving to Austin, Texas for their 2020 event in January. Show organizers released dates for the upcoming conference last month but today they announced a slight change that will have the show starting three days later than originally planned. The event is now set to open Wednesday, January 29, 2020 and continue through Saturday, February 1.

The previous dates had NamesCon Global opening on a Sunday and closing on a Wednesday, however after a closing day Beach Party at last month's NamesCon Europe conference in Lisbon, Portugal proved to be a huge hit with attendees, NamesCon leaders decided the Global event in Austin also had to close with a bang centered around a day of fun and informal networking. They have found the special activity they were looking for in Texas (not yet publicly announced) but it was something that can only be done on a weekend, hence the decision to slide the show back three days. 

Registration for NamesCon Global 2020 is now open and a special Early Bird rate has been extended to August 4. Rooms at the conference hotel, the Omni Austin Downtown, can also be booked now at a special conference rate

(Posted July 30, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

India's Annual DomainX Conference Returns This Weekend With a New Premium Domain Auction Added to the Mix

The 6th annual  DomainX conference will be held Saturday and Sunday (August 3 & 4, 2019) at the Eros Hotel in New Delhi, India, the same venue used to host last year's show in the Indian capital.


The DomainX agenda will again offer a full slate of business sessions and social events but this year, for the first time, the conference will also present a live premium domain auction that will be held Sunday afternoon. The catalog includes 24 hand picked domains including Tablets.com, DPF.com, ENP.com, Salary.in and Pun.in to name just a few. You can see the full list of domains and get more information about the auction in this post on the DomainX blog.

A scene from the 2018 edition of DomainX last year in New Delhi
(photo credit: Kumar Amit)

Manmeet Pal-Singh and Gaurav Kohli from the Domain Name Owners Association of India launched DomainX in 2014 and we got a first hand look at the conference when we covered the 2015 event in Bangalore. Since 2016 the annual show has been held in New Delhi where an impressive line up of speakers will take this stage again this weekend.  You can still register for the show here.

(Posted July 29, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

16 Years of DNJournal & Domain Industry History Discussed in New Edition of the Domainer Show

Domain industry veterans  Rob Kaay (DBR.com.au) and Ed Keay-Smith (OnlineImpact.com.au) have teamed up to bring the industry an interesting new source of information. It is a video podcast called The Domainer Show that is located at Domainer.com.au. As Australians, Rob and Ed give domain investors Down Under vital information on the .au market of course, but they also provide a unique perspective on the global domain industry


Clockwise from top left: Domainer Show Co-Hosts Rob Kaay and Ed Keay-Smith with DNJournal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

in which Australian investors and service providers have always played a central role. 

The latest edition of The Domainer Show - episode #17 - was just released today and I had the pleasure of being Rob and Ed's guest for a lively hour-long discussion on a wide variety of domain-related topics. We wound the clock back to New Year's Day 2003 when DNJournal.com was launched and talked about how and why I started the publication and some of the most interesting ups and downs I've seen in this business over the past 16 years (as well as a forecast of what I expect to see in the decade ahead). It's all there - the booms, the busts, the dominance of .com and the prospects for new gTLDs, to name just a few.

I've chatted with both Rob and Ed in person at industry functions over the years so we already had an easy rapport that made the conversation about this delightfully unique business fly by in what seemed like 5 minutes rather than 60 - at least to us - but granted, we may be delusional, so you will have to check it out for yourselves to find out!

(Posted July 26, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

.ORG Registry Operator PIR Releases Annual Report Detailing 2018 Results and 2019 Initiatives

Public Interest Registry (PIR) released its 2018 Annual Report today. The report highlighted several organizational improvements in 2018 including reorganizing the management structure to align with strategic priorities, sharpening efforts to further improve the quality of the .ORG base, maintaining robust .ORG renewal rates, and producing strong financial results in support of the Internet Society and their work to keep the Internet free and open for all. 

The report also details PIR’s plans for 2019, which include initiatives aligned with PIR’s mission "to help educate those who are making


a difference in their communities through the power of .ORG."

Jon Nevett
PIR President And CEO

PIR President and CEO Jon Nevett said, “PIR achieved the ambitious goals we set for ourselves in 2018, thanks in no small part to the inspiring work of the .ORG community. It’s the people and organizations using .ORG to make a positive impact on the world who motivate us to remain diligent in our stewardship of the .ORG domain. This year, we are in the midst of a number of exciting initiatives aimed at providing even more support for the broad .ORG community and our domain industry partners. These include maintaining .ORG as the most trusted domain extension, amplifying our education and outreach efforts, and continuing to expand our already robust anti-abuse program.”

The report noted, "2018 was  a solid year for .ORG, from exceeding financial goals to continuing to grow a strong user base with high renewal rates. These results are a direct reflection of PIR’s commitment to promoting 

quality domains in the .ORG base. In 2019, PIR is building upon these efforts through the launch of the Quality Performance Index (QPI) initiative, which helps reward those registrars who are growing and maintaining trust in the .ORG domain while identifying areas of improvement for registrars when it comes to online trust."

The Report also noted, "For 2019, PIR is putting an even greater focus on combating abuse online and making significant investments in education and outreach initiatives. PIR also is establishing a .ORG Impact Awards program to recognize the incredible work of organizations across the globe, and creating a PIR Grants Program to connect PIR with highly motivated individuals and groups with mutual aspirations to help them further their missions." 

(Posted July 18, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Buyer of  Money.com.au Details How He Made His Chart Topping Acquisition in a  New Domainer Show Interview 

In our weekly domain sales report a couple of weeks ago we told you about a huge Australian ccTLD sale that was being reported for the first (even though the sale was completed in 2018). The domain, Money.com.au, changed hands in a private transaction for AUD $400,000 (US $279,435 at the conversion rate in effect when our report came out). That made Money.com.au the biggest country code sale reported last year and, having received proof of the price

Clockwise from top left: Domainer Show Co-Hosts Rob Kaay and Ed Keay-Smith with new Money.com.au owner Shaun McGowan.

paid, we installed it in the top spot on the 2018 Top 100 Sales Chart in our Domain Sales Archive (Top 100 Charts from previous years are also in that section). 

The buyer of Money.com.au, Shaun McGowan, was already operating Lend.com.au, so he is an experienced end user in the financial space. At the time the sale came to light, Shaun reserved further public comment on the transaction, but, fortunately, Rob Kaay (DBR.com.au) and Ed Keay-Smith (OnlineImpact.com.au), who co-host the Domainer Show podcast at Domainer.com.au, persuaded McGowan to join them on the air and share the full story of his landmark acquisition. The 47-minute show was just posted today. Most sales at this level are subject to NDA's that prevent investors from learning more about how deals like this come together (one notable exception is the Michael Castello's $1.5 million sale of Room.com that is the subject of our current Cover Story). So, when an opportunity to get the inside story of a big deal like this (one of the biggest in com.au history) it is something you will want to check out!

(Posted July 15, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

ICA/WIPO Public Webinar Wednesday to Address WhoIs Chaos Created By GDPR 

Everyone involved in the domain business knows how difficult it has become to get accurate domain ownership information with the advent of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In many cases, the new privacy initiative has resulted in a domain owner's contact information being completely hidden, creating problems for registry operators, registrants, investors, attorneys, journalists and researchers among others.


With everyone looking for answers the Internet Commerce Association will be hosting a public webcast Wednesday, July 10 starting at 1pm U.S. Eastern Time that will feature Michael Palage and Frank Cona, who have developed  the “WIPO Model” for post-GDPR access to non-public Whois data. Michael and Frank will make a presentation and also answer questions any questions you may have. Registration is now open here.

Michael and Frank presented their model at ICANN65 in Marrakesh, and the open webinar will provide an opportunity to learn more about it. The presentation of the model is expected to be about 30 minutes long, followed by a Q&A and comments session. 

You will be able to find out if the WIPO Universal Access Model potentially provides WhoIs access:

  • To secondary marketplaces and escrow services for verification and compliance?

  • To brokers, agents, journalists, and researchers for due diligence, investigation, and acquisition purposes?

  • To IP, domain name, and business lawyers for domain name disputes and transactions; and 

  • Are there benefits for registrant identification purposes, domain name portfolio management, and accessing registrar services?

(Posted July 8, 2019) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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