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June 22, 2017

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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.

.CLUB Presents Million.Club Domain Name to Person Who Made the New gTLD's One Millionth Registration 

Last week the .CLUB domain registry announced they had passed the 1 million mark in total registrations - only the 5th new gTLD to reach that level to date (along with .xyz, .top, .loan and .win according to NTLDStats.com). .CLUB managed the feat without engaging in the drastic price cutting some others new TLDs did to build market share. That is not meant as criticism of any registryr's strategy, but it does make .CLUB's achievement especially impressive.  So,  congratulations are in order to .CLUB Founder Colin Campbell (who was profiled in a 2016 DNJournal Cover Story) and the entire .CLUB team.

Liz Mejia - the registrant of .CLUB's
1 millionth domain - MyWineShop.Club.

In a new post on the .CLUB blog today Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Sass revealed that Liz Mejia, an entrepreneur based in Guatemala, used GoDaddy to register what would be the TLD's 1 millionth domain - MyWineShop.club. Sass added that in recognition of Ms. Meija's role in reaching the landmark, the registry has also given her the domain Million.Club

Regarding the new website Ms. Mejia plans to build on MyWineShop.Club, she told Sass, "the website is an affiliate website and I needed a great name for my platform and all the others, .com, .org , etc. could not help me. Only .CLUB had the name that would work best for my site. I chose this name because we sell incredible wine and accessories - and we wanted that the website be personal, hence the name MyWineShop.club.” 

As a wine fan who has registered several wine-related domains over the years, I like Liz's choice of MyWineShop.Club too. In fact, back in 2003 I registered MyWineShop.com and have had the domain ever since, so I can say that Liz and I are, both figuratively and literally, on the same page here!

(Posted June 22, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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Update on the 2017 DomainX Conference Coming to New Delhi in Early August

India's 4th annual DomainX conference is coming up August 5-6, 2017 at Shangri-La's Eros Hotel in the nation's capital - New Delhi. Uniregistry has signed on to sponsor this year's two day event, organized by Manmeet Pal-Singh and Gaurav Kohli (President of the Domain Name Owners Association of India).

DomainX 2017 will begin with a full day of business sessions on Saturday (August 5) followed by evening networking at Lodi - the Garden Restaurant that will include a cocktail hour and dinner. It will conclude with a unique outing Sunday (August 6) - a cricket match pitting a team of domainers against one representing bloggers!

Ali Zandi will be the keynote speaker 
at the 2017 DomainX conference.

Among the many agenda highlights will be a keynote address from Ali Zandi of Starfire Web Holdings titled Confessions of a 7-Figure Domain Name Broker. Zandi closed a blockbuster $2 million sale of Freedom.com last month, a deal that (as of this writing) is the 2nd biggest sale reported so this year.

Mr. Kohli noted, "We are delighted that Ali will be a part of DomainX 2017 and are excited because his participation really ups our game. Given his track record I know the audience is keen to hear from him and his participation adds so much more value for our attendees and the Indian domain name investing community. The opportunity to network with him and benefit from his insights, experience and mindset will be a rewarding one, we're sure."

Troy Rushton (NameBrokers.com) will also be making his first appearance on the DomainX stage this year. Full details on speakers and sessions is available here

VIP tickets to DomainX 2017 are priced at 9,999 rupees but for a limited time a 40% discount is available using code  UNI40  that bring the cost down to 5,999 rupees - about $93 at the current exchange rate - an obvious bargain by U.S. conference standards. Having been to DomainX myself I can tell you the organizers produce a first class event that has helped fuel the continual growth we have been seeing in the Indian domain market. 

(Posted June 18, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Donuts to Acquire Rightside Under $213 Million Merger Agreement Announced Today

Donuts Inc., the biggest domain name registry operator for new domain extensions, and Rightside Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ:NAME)  today announced that the two companies have entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger under which Donuts will acquire Rightside for $10.60 per share in an all-cash tender offer, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $213 million. The purchase price represents a premium of approximately 12% over Rightside’s average closing price for the 30-day trading period ended June 13, 2017 and a premium of approximately 22% over Rightside’s average enterprise value (excluding cash) for that period. 

Closing of the deal is contingent upon tender of more than 50% of outstanding Rightside common shares, the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is currently expected to close during the third quarter of 2017. Following the transaction, Rightside will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Donuts, a privately-held company, and Rightside’s common shares will no longer be listed on any public market.

Rightside administers 40 new gTLDs of its own that will add to a Donuts portfolio of some 200 g TLDs - already the largest in the industry. Rightside also owns a popular retail domain registrar in Name.com. The Merger Agreement was unanimously approved by Rightside’s Board of 

Donuts CEO Bruce Jaffe

Directors following a comprehensive review of strategic and financial alternatives that Rightside announced in the first quarter of 2017.

Rightside CEO Taryn Naidu said, “We believe that this agreement offers a substantial cash premium to our shareholders. We look forward to working closely with Donuts to consummate this merger.”

Donuts CEO Bruce Jaffe added, "Donuts and Rightside have a long history of working together, and we are delighted to take the next step with this transaction. We believe that the combined company will be well positioned to serve our registrar customers and the millions of businesses and individuals who are embracing new ways to brand their online identities.” 

The deal comes just one year after Donuts had offered to buy Rightside for $70 million. 

(Posted June 14, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

New Merge! Show Names Another Keynote Speaker, McGrady Domain Academy Also Added for October Event in Orlando

The new Merge! conference I told you about in April continues to flesh out the agenda for the inaugural event at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida October 14-18, 2017. The show is the result of a new partnership between domain industry conference production veterans Jothan Frakes (NamesCon and Domain Roundtable) and Ray Dillman Neu (T.R.A.F.F.I.C. and The Domain Conference). 

Last month they named their first keynote speaker - entrepreneur, author, digital leader and global IP strategist Jen Wolfe - and today they added another - the Honorable Neil Brown, a distinguished panelist at WIPO and the National Arbitration Forum. Mr. Brown, who is based in Melbourne, Australia, is a Queens Counsel, Arbitrator and Mediator in private practice with a long and distinguished career in government and the law. 

Mr. Brown was a Minister in the Federal Government in Australia in charge of portfolios in Attorney-General’s, Communications and Employment and Youth Affairs. In the law, he has appeared in every jurisdiction in Australia and has had experience in commercial, intellectual property, town planning and taxation matters. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Murdoch University in Western Australia. Mr. Brown is a qualified arbitrator and mediator practicing in international and domestic matters in the commercial, communication, intellectual property and governmental fields, as well as a leading arbitrator and adviser on internet domain name disputes

Neil Brown
Merge! Keynote Speaker

While many professional domain investors feel panelists in UDRP filings have a bias against them, Mr. Brown has a record of being one of the top panelists in denying complaints filed against domain investors (this according to semi-annual surveys published by NeusNews.com).

Paul McGrady Jr.

In another major new conference development, Merge! announced it will host the McGrady Domain Academy as part of the multi-faceted show. It will be helmed by Paul D. McGrady Jr., a partner in Winston & Strawn’s Chicago office and chair of the firm’s trademark, domain names, and brand enforcement practice. 

Mr. McGrady is also the author of McGrady on Domain Names, the definitive treatise on domain name law, and McGrady on Social Media.  McGrady serves as adjunct professor of law at DePaul University College of Law, and is a frequent lecturer on Internet-related aspects of intellectual property.  Mr. McGrady received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Cedarville University, and a Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University School of Law. 

Registration for the Merge! conference is open now as are room reservations at the Marriott World Center where the event will take place. 

This is the largest Marriott resort in the world and typical October rates at the popular Orlando retreat are in the $300 range. However, the Merge! show has secured a limited block of rooms that start at just $129 a night for their attendees (I booked mine as soon as the show was announced). Merge! also secured a small number of Hospitality Bay Suites that typically cost $500 nightly but are available at $250 per night on a first come first served basis.

(Posted June 13, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

World Hosting Days Picks Las Vegas as Site for Their 3rd Annual WHD.USA Conference in September

World Hosting Days (WHD) has picked the location for their 3rd annual conference in the United States. WHD.USA 2017 will be held in Las Vegas September 11-12 and, given WHD's acquisition of the domain industry's largest conference, NamesCon, last year, you won't be surprised to hear that the hosting event will be held at the Tropicana Hotel. The Tropicana has hosted every previous NamesCon event (and will do again when the 5th annual show is staged there January 28-31, 2018).

WHD describes the USA show (one of several regional shows they operate around the world in addition to their massive annual WHD Global event that is held each March in Germany) as "the main industry event in North America. It is 

a two day celebration of the technology and incredible potential of the internet featuring inspiring keynotes from industry leaders, sessions on the latest business practices and trends, an exhibition hall featuring cutting edge technologies and services, fun networking events and an exciting hackathon that will bring great code to life. Our goal is to provide content and experiences that are fun and valuable to the entire industry."

I covered the inaugural WHD.USA event held in Pennsylvania in 2015 (that was followed by last year's show in Phoenix) and I can attest to the conference meeting its promise to provide a high value, entertaining event for attendees. I can also tell you that you will see many well-known figures in the domain industry there taking advantage of the cross pollination opportunities with the closely related hosting world. That makes it even more remarkable that the cost to attend is $0 - absolutely free admission - if you register no later than June 30 - and that includes lunch, snacks and coffee breaks!

A scene from the first WHD.USA conference in 2015

In addition to their business sessions and keynote speeches, WHD.USA, like NamesCon puts a heavy emphasis on networking opportunities like the ConneXion Party (featuring the Lords of Uptime on stage). This and other events are designed to provide attendees with a relaxed atmosphere to connect, share experiences, and make new friends. 

(Posted June 12, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Sedo Names New Global Chief Sales Officer - Matthias Meyer-Schönherr Fills Spot Vacated by Dima Beitzke

Domain sales and monetization giant Sedo announced a key change in the company's management team today. Sedo and industry veteran Matthias Meyer-Schönherr has moved into the role of Chief Sales Officer (CSO) Global, replacing Dima Beitzke who stepped down to pursue a new opportunity outside of the domain industry. 

Meyer-Schönherr has been with Sedo for ten years, most recently as Vice President of Global Business Development where he led critical business development efforts including the establishment and successful expansion of the SedoMLS network. The Sedo announcement noted, "Matthias has been integral in the relationship development and management of Sedo’s vast Registry and Registrar partnerships as well as the promotion of the Sedo brand globally. He has represented Sedo at countless international conferences and trade shows. At many of these events, Matthias has served on panels and given talks on the value and commercial benefits of a quality domain name."

While Meyer-Schönherr is moving into a new position, the management of both Sedo's North American and International sales teams will continue from Sedo’s headquarters in Cologne, Germany under Meyer-Schönherr’s leadership.

Dima Beitzke joined Sedo in 2013 bringing with him a wide breadth of management experience in sales and online marketing that helped Sedo further grow its sales distribution network into Asia and other emerging markets. In early 2016, he was promoted to CSO Global taking on the responsibility of overseeing Sedo’s North American based sales team and the corresponding markets in addition to global efforts. Sedo's announcement noted, "Very much a people person, Dima’s natural upbeat morale lifted the already lively spirit and friendly culture of Sedo while simultaneously encouraging an even more intense focus on sales performance."

Matthias Meyer-Schönherr
Sedo Chief Sales Officer Global

Dima Beitzke
Former Sedo Chief Sales Officer Global

Today's announcement concluded, "Sedo CEO Tobias Flaitz and all of Sedo very much enjoyed working alongside Dima and Tobias is very optimistic and positive towards the latest adjustments to his management team." Flaitz added, "Naturally there is sadness when someone leaves but at the same time change provides opportunity for both the employer and employee like the pursuit of different avenues and advancement in career growth. We have extremely good retention rates within our skilled group of employees and are very fortunate to be able to fill this position with a successful, proven and well-liked leader from our own team."

(Posted June 8, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Radix's Startup League Wins New Fans at TNW in Amsterdam and on Road Trip Through Portugal

While I was in Germany for the Domaining Europe conference in Berlin last month our friends at Startup League (a startup-support program launched last year by new gTLD registry operator Radix), were also on the Continent taking part in The Next Web Conference (TNW) that was held in Amsterdam May 18-19. Startup League sponsored 15 startups that use Radix TLDs to exhibit at TNW - an event that put the new businesses and their domain extensions in front of 15,000 attendees, 275 investors and 250 exhibiting startups (resulting in 1,788 pre-booked investor-startup meetings)!  

The Hackathon at TNW conference, that was also supported by Radix, saw 8 out of 10 finalists on Radix TLDs; including Sensors.fun, Rock-On.space, ToonBNB.host and the Hackathon winner - BikingDrunkIs.Fun.

TNW had four startup tracks: Bootstrap, Boost, Scale and Impact. Startup League and TNW had joined forces to launch the ‘Tickets to Boost’ program in February 2017 to select 15 startups to exhibit for the Boost track for free. As part of the 100% sponsorship, the selected startups got a free Startup Exhibitor Table at the TNW Conference, along with two  

free attendee tickets. Curated face-to-face meetings with investors and opportunity to pitch the startup on stage were also part of the program. The package, which would have otherwise cost €1,299 to startups, was made free for the chosen startups who came from 11 different countries.

Suman Das of the Startup League, said, “The startups got great exposure to investors and media. The event was an appropriate platform for them to test their product amongst a relevant audience.”

Last year, the Startup League had supported 15 startups at the Web Summit in Portugal. One of the startups that exhibited at that event with the support of Startup League, Nu-Rise.tech, raised funding due to the exposure at the event and the connections made there. The same startup also got selected for the Mass Challenge, a global non-profit startup accelerator and competition. By forging similar partnerships with TNW and similar events, the Startup League hopes to create similar opportunities for other startups as well.

Looking ahead, the Startup League is now gearing up for RISE in Hong Kong, TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco and Web Summit in 

Suman Das
Radix Startup League

Lisbon, Portugal. In recent years, Portugal has emerged as a startup hub with vested interest from its government that is empowering young businesses to boost the local economy. The Startup League has supported that effort by rolling our special programs for Portugal’s startup community. Last month the Startup League team visited the country's five main entrepreneur-hubs on a five-day road trip that took them to Braga, Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra and Lisbon.

Startup League's Suman Das (3rd from left) and Tanisha Guptya (front center) 
visiting with members of the Portugal Startup Community last month.

With respect to that effort Mr. Das noted, “The idea was to meet with major incubators, accelerators and startup communities across Portugal. We interacted with them to understand their marketing challenges and how the Startup League could help them leverage event marketing to their advantage. Over the five days, we met 22 incubators and over 100 members of the startup ecosystem in Portugal. Through our interaction with them, we were able to create  tremendous awareness of new TLDs in the Portugal startup community and got an overwhelmingly positive response towards new TLDs in general and our program on the whole.”


As a result of this campaign, the Startup League has now partnered with various Portugal based startup communities, including Startup Braga (Braga), UPTEC (Porto), IEUA (Aveiro), IPN (Coimbra), Startup Lisboa and Beta-i (Lisbon). The Startup League currently, it has 75+ startups on board and 40+ partners from the global startup ecosystem.  

(Posted June 7, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

NDDCamp Set for 3rd Annual Domain Name Event in Paris, France on June 26th

If you missed the 2017 Domaining Europe conference in Berlin three weeks ago that doesn't mean you have to wait another year for an industry get together on the Continent. In fact the 3rd annual NDDCamp is coming up later this month at the Paris School of Business in France. The Monday, June 26, 2017 event is being sponsored by Sedo and AFNIC (the administrator of France's .fr country code domain) with the Paris School of Business assisting in organizing the event.

NDDCamp was founded by two French domain name investors, David Chelly and Philippe Franck. The have succeeded in establishing an event that attracts registrars, lawyers, domain names investors, SEO consultants and other professionals who deal with domain names. 

While NDDCamp is a conference and networking event designed to help participants make new contacts and improve their knowledge of the sector, the founders say it also have some key differences from other industry events. A primary one is that the event is free to attend, though registration is reserved for industry professionals. They also skip other standard conference fare like a sponsor exhibit hall and live domain auction. The focus is entirely on face to face relationship building and learning. 

Lead speakers for the 2017 NDDCamp in Paris will be 
Tristan Colombet
(Domraider) and Sophie Pieck (Sedo).

The lead speakers for the 2017 NDDCamp will be Sophie Pieck (Sedo manager of the France Italy markets) and Tristan Colombet (Founder of Domraider, the leading expired domain name service in Europe) with many others on the agenda. Workshop sessions will begin at 11am, 2pm and 4pm with three workshops being conducted simultaneously during each of those periods (9 sessions in all). The first two editions of NDDCamp targeted a French-speaking audience 

however, for this 3rd edition, an English workshop will be held in the afternoon. The conference day will conclude with a cocktail hour and open buffet beginning at 5:30pm.

(Posted June 2, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

BrandIT Acquires Igloo.com to Create a New Corporate Domain Management Dream Team

BrandIT GmbH (BrandIT) a European-based leader in Corporate Domain Name Management specializing in Strategic Domain Consulting, Domain Portfolio Services, Online Brand Protection and Enforcement and Legal in Digital and Igloo.com (Igloo) a Global Domain and Website Brokerage, announced today they have reached an agreement under which BrandIT will acquire Igloo for an undisclosed sum. BrandIT has clients worldwide with offices in Switzerland, the UK, Denmark and Brazil.

Igloo, founded by Dr. Gregg McNair & Tessa Holcomb as Domain Advisors in 2010 before rebranding to Igloo.com in 2013, has been a leading broker of premium domain names and websites known for its discretion, white-glove

service, and proven results. The company’s main focus has been working with clients on their overall brand strategy, educating end-users on the importance of owning the right domains and intellectual property assets, and both divesting of and acquiring high value domains for companies and investors alike. With over $140 million in brokerage transactions, Igloo has made a significant impact in the domain industry by capitalizing on personal relationships, hard work and the dedication of its extraordinary team.  

As part of its expansion plans, BrandIT intends to include Igloo’s online marketplace and the recent roll out of their exclusive Premium Broker Network, both of which the company credits for  increased engagement and financial results.

While the US Market has been in BrandIT’s line of vision for some time now, they have been waiting for the right channel for growth. A joint release about the acquisition noted, "BrandIT and Igloo are two purpose-driven organizations that are well aligned strategically, sharing a strong track record of performance and a deep commitment to delivering the highest level of quality, integrity, innovation and service. This is a perfect match of two companies with complementary skill sets, strengths, values and reputations for delivering superior results. The combination of BrandIT’s and Igloo’s skills, teams and impressive client lists will create a highly differentiated company uniquely positioned to bring a fresh approach to corporate domain services."

BrandIT CEO & Founder, Jesper Knudsen said, “In searching for the right people to bring BrandIT to North America, we couldn’t think of any team better suited for the job. Igloo’s experience with the start-up and VC communities speaks volumes and their  reputation, both individually

Jesper Knudsen
BrandIT CEO & Founder

and collectively, is second to none. Amanda Waltz and Tessa Holcomb represent the experience, professionalism, integrity and drive we were looking for. We have no doubt that the new BrandIT North America team will exceed all expectations.”

Amanda Waltz
Igloo.com VP of Sales & Acquisitions

Tessa Holcomb
Igloo.com Co-Founder & CEO

Igloo.com Vice President of Sales & Acquisitions, Amanda Waltz, added, “Becoming part of the impressive BrandIT team makes it possible for us to offer our clients the opportunity to work with a proven leader in brand protection and corporate domain management. Our goal is to respond to the growing intellectual property needs of companies today with the same personalized, concierge service our Igloo clients have become accustomed to.”

Tessa Holcomb, Igloo.com Co-Founder & CEO, said, “The best part of my job has been the privilege of getting to know our clients personally, forging those relationships, and sharing in the excitement as their businesses grow. I’m excited to bring the Domain Advisors vision full circle by working with our clients to secure, manage and protect their brands. We have great respect for the BrandIT team and find in them a similarly strong, results-oriented culture that prioritizes execution and long-term value creation. We look forward to this next chapter and accelerating BrandIT’s growth in North America.”

(Posted June 1, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

New Book Reveals .CLUB Superhero Jeff Sass Owes His Marketing Powers to The Toxic Avenger! 

In a sea of new gTLDs .CLUB has managed to stand out with a non-stop global promotional campaign orchestrated by a Super Chief Marketing Officer who, disguised as Jeff Sass, mild-mannered film aficionado from a legendary independent studio, fights a never-ending battle for mainstream recognition of his favorite domain extension. Yes, it's Sassman, strange visitor from another industry, who came to the domain world with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men - including the ability to write books in a single bound!

Case in point, Jeff's brand new book - Everything I Know About Business and Marketing, I Learned from The Toxic Avenger (One Man's Journey to Hell's Kitchen and Back). OK, I said he was super - I didn't say he was succinct! However, I can say it's a great book. I know because I read the whole thing on a flight from Germany back to the U.S. last week after joining Jeff and other attendees from around the world at the 2017 Domaining Europe conference in 

Berlin. As I mentioned Sass has gone just about everywhere on the globe that has an airport to promote .CLUB (no, in case you are wondering, he cannot fly without an airplane).

Jeff Sass
Chief Marketing Officer

What Sass can do is spin some fascinating yarns about his days in the late 80s and early 90s with legendary New York City based cult movie production house Troma Entertainment where he spent more than seven and half years in film production, marketing, acting and assorted mayhem. The Toxic Avenger reference is to Troma's most successful film. It spawned three sequels (with Jeff appearing in Part 2) as well as a network cartoon series! As a result, the deformed hero, "Toxie", also became Troma's mascot. That film, like nearly all in the Troma stable, is gory, campy and crazy - all of which accounts for the cult following Troma still enjoys today. In them you can see the DNA of later acclaimed films that combined humor and horror like An American Werewolf in London, Shaun of the Dead and many others. 

Jeff learned many valuable and timeless business and marketing lessons from his experiences at Troma and he shares the best of those in his new book - in each case noting how the specific lesson learned can be applied in any business or marketing campaign today.  

One of my favorites stories in the book underlined the value of being persistent and taking the initiative. Jeff recounts how he found two scruffy young guys from Maryland sleeping on the stoop at Troma when he came in to work one day. They had been there all night after taking the bus to New York City. The duo loved Troma movies so they shot a production of their own in the unmistakable Troma style on video (rather than expensive film they couldn't afford). They then went to New York with no appointment, hoping to show their video to Troma co-founder Lloyd Kaufman (who wrote the foreward to Jeff's book). 

Kaufman ignored them all day but in late afternoon finally relented and agreed to look at their tape. He was so impressed Troma licensed it and Redneck Zombies became the first movie shot on video to get widespread distribution by a film studio (and one of the guys was hired to work for Troma)!  

Troma was a most unusual place to work in those days  and the anecdotes alone are more than worth the price of the book - but when you add in the value of the business and marketing tips (and some real insight into what makes Sass and the .CLUB machine tick) it is a no brainer - get a copy today. But I warn you - once you read it, curiosity will likely get the best of you and your  Netflix queue - like mine - will rapidly be filled with Troma titles. I've already gotten The Toxic Avenger and Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. (which Jeff also appears in) with a half dozen more in the line up - and that's just scratching the surface. I know I may not find a Citizen Kane in here, but a journalist has got to do his research you know! With all of this source material to draw on and the positive reviews he has been getting, Sass, like Toxie,  may end up seeing his initial work giving birth to a string sequels too!

(Posted May 30, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

Yancy Naughton's HasTraffic Family of Brands Expands Staff with Addition of Former Igloo.com Broker David Seelos

HasTraffic/WantsTraffic Founder Yancy Naughton has added a key new member to his company's team. David Seelos, who has spent the past five years with popular domain brokerage firm Igloo.com, came on board this month, just in time to join Naughton in representing the firm at the Domaining Europe conference that concluded in Berlin, Germany May 16.

Naughton told us, "In the midst of a rapidly shifting and changing domain and traffic industry, we were proud to introduce David as the latest team member at the HasTraffic family of brands. The brands represented include HasTraffic (publishing) WantsTraffic (Multi Channel Advertising) HasSocial (Social Media Influencer Network)  Namerific (Domain Name/ Brand Marketplace) and The CPC Email Exchange (Email Click Exchange)."

Naughton added, “David was always one of my favorite people in the domaining industry. I am certain that in addition to his domain brokerage experience, his abundant charm, talent and energy will pay dividends in his new position. 

Yancy Naughton
HasTraffic Founder

When I heard he was interested in broadening his skill set and moving to Los Angeles, we did not hesitate to tender him an offer. So far I can confidently say that he is a quick learner, and is transitioning quickly towards a more diverse role in traffic management operations and advertiser development."

Yancy Naughton with new team member David Seelos 
at the 2017 Domaining Europe conference in Berlin

Seelos said, "I look forward to continuing the relationships I've made in this industry, while trying something completely new as I jump into a role centered around traffic monetization. I recently moved back to Los Angeles, and it's great being at Yancy's LA office with his awesome team." 

David can be reached at ds@hastraffic.com of (805) 340-9846. Yancy can be reached at y@hastraffic.com or (917) 464-3783.

(Posted May 28, 2017) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:

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DNSeattle Returns Tonight - Domaining Europe Auction Ends Friday - NamesCon India Proves to be Crowd Pleaser

The 4th annual edition of the DNSeattle domain industry meetup will be held this evening from from 6-9pm (Pacific time) at a popular Amazon meeting space known as "The Living Room". Post-event socializing is expected to continue until around midnight at a local bar.

There has been one major show development since I posted a DNSeattle preview last month. Show Founder Michael Cyger (DomainSherpa.com) has landed one of the industry's top domain brokers, Andrew Rosener from MediaOptions.com, as the educational speaker for DNSeattle 2017. Michael will interview Andrew in a discussion titled  "Selling Ice to Eskimos."

Cyger said, "I will be asking Andrew about buying and selling premium domain names, where he’s seen success in the past, where it’s going to be in the future, and how all TLDs can benefit from the trends. Real tactics will be discussed before opening up to an attendee Q&A session."

Cyger also noted, "Back by popular demand from the 2016 DNSeattle, DJ Statton - the one and only track-throwing, mix-spinning, attorney-turned-DJ from Rightside - will be entertaining us and creating an unbelievable mood that will make you want to socialize, have a great time, and maybe even dance (doubtful, but maybe)!"

DNSeattle sponsors include Amazon, GoDaddy, Donuts, Rightside, Verisign, Payoneer Escrow and Above.com. Give-away prizes will be provided by EstiBot.com, domainIQ.com and DNAcademy.com. Cyger expects over 120 attendees for the event that will benefit and once again all proceeds will benefit the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

MediaOptions.com Founder Andrew Rosener will be the featured educational speaker at DNSeattle tonight.

In other conference news, the Domaining Europe online domain auction has less than 24 hours to go. The sale will be ending at 1pm (US Eastern time) Friday afternoon (May 26). Undeveloped.com is running the auction in conjunction with the conference that ran last week in Berlin. There was also a live charity auction at the conference itself with a different set of domains that were donated by 

attendees with all proceeds going to the Hope Children's Centre. For more information on this worthy organization you can email Nidoma.com Founder and Hope Children's Center patron Shaun Wilkinson at shaun.wilkinson@nidoma.com.

I also want to congratulate NamesCon on the successful staging of their first conference in India. The event in Mumbai was held last Friday (May 19) at the city's Grand Hyatt with a good turnout on hand to see an outstanding roster of speakers from both the global and Indian domain industries.

Regrettably, I was unable to attend the event. After Domaining Europe ended in Berlin May 16 I already had a previously planned trip through southern Germany and Austria that my wife and I were on through this past weekend. However, several others went directly from Berlin to Mumbai including Braden Pollock who served as a moderator for both shows. If you follow NamesCon on Facebook you can see the many photos and highlights they posted from the inaugural event in one of the world's most rapidly growing domain markets, including this one that captured Braden's fireside chat with one of India's most widely known domain investor/developers, Deepak Daftari (at right).

Image from Bigstock

(Photo courtesy of NamesCon)

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Latest Ride on the Domain Train Takes us From Florida to Berlin to Munich to Füssen to Salzburg and Back

I'm finally back in USA after a thoroughly enjoyable 10-day trip through Germany and Austria that combined both business and pleasure. My primary purpose for crossing the pond was to speak at and cover the 9th annual Domaining Europe conference that ran in Berlin May 14-16, 2017. In case you missed our coverage in this column, you will find Opening Day (devoted to social networking) photos and highlights from Sunday (May 14) here, our wrap up of the first full business day Monday (May 15) here and closing day photos and highlights from another very busy business day Tuesday (May 16) here

Once again conference Founder Dietmar Stefitz (at left with me in the photo above, right after the final session) put on an outstanding event that attracted people from around the world. If you ever have the opportunity I can highly recommend the value of attending Domaining Europe so keep an eye out for details on the 10th anniversary event that will be held in the spring of 2018 with dates and location to be announced (based upon feedback he solicited at the show, Dietmar may be leaning toward Rome, Italy as the site for that landmark show).

After the conference, on Wednesday morning (May 17), my wife Diana and I took Germany's sleek ICE (Inter-City Express) train from Berlin to Munich as we have long wanted to visit the Bavarian capital and some domain industry friends that live there. With the train hitting speeds of up to 186 mph it made short work of the beautiful German countryside, delivering us to Munich right on time Wednesday afternoon. 

The ICE train pulling into Berlin Station May 17 to pick up passengers for the trip to Munich
My wife Diana is standing at lower left, waiting to board.

Our hotel was just 3 blocks from the train station so after checking in and freshening up we had plenty of time to head out for a visit to Team Internet/ParkingCrew Founder & CEO Nico Zeifang at his company's rooftop office suite on the edge of Munich's historic Old Town district.

Above (left to right): Ron & Diana Jackson (DNJournal.com) and Team Internet/ParkingCrew Founder & CEO Nico Ziefang on the company's sunny rooftop terrace on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Munich (May 17).

Below: ParkingCrew team members on the job at the company's offices May 17.

Above: Nico gave us the grand tour of the spacious Team Internet/ParkingCrew offices that include a kitchen (above), game room and other amenities that have made it easy for the popular domain monetization company to attract and retain employees. Within the next week or so, I'll be doing a separate post updating you on the latest happenings at Team Internet/ParkingCrew. 

The next day, Friday May 18, another well-known domain industry friend, Jochen Kieler, was kind enough to pick Diana and I up and give us a guided tour of his beautiful hometown. Once again the weather was beautiful and the sites around Munich were stunning to see.

Above: Ron with Jochen Kieler (left) at The Odeonsplatz 
during a tour of Munich
Thursday (May 18).

Below: We were delighted to have Jochen's lovely wife Viktoria meet up with us at the English Gardens, from where we went on to their favorite biergarten - Hofbräukeller - for dinner (and some very large beers). 

I expect to have some exciting news from Jochen to share with you in the near future. He has already made his mark in the domain industry but with Viktoria this brilliant couple is going to be making ever bigger waves for decades to come. 

After our visit to Munich, Diana and I got on another train Friday morning (May 19) and headed south to Füssen, Germany (just north of the Austrian border) to see the famous Neuschwanstein Castle which, as all Disney fans know, is the real castle that Walt Disney based his Cinderella's Castle on. 

Above: A shot of Neuschwanstein Castle that I took May 19. I had to overcome - I won't say a fear, but certainly a discomfort with heights - to get this picture that was taken from the small bridge (below) that is wedged in a gorge high above a beautiful waterfall. You first hike to the bridge, then edge out onto it to get a clear photo of the castle below. The shot of the bridge was taken later from the castle's courtyard after we hiked down to it. With dozens of people on the bridge and the wooden floor boards bouncing up and down under their weight I was convinced it would be a good idea to get the photo and get off as quickly as possible!

We decided to spend the weekend - our last two days on this European trip - in a city we've long wanted to see, beautiful Salzburg, Austria. So it was back on one of Germany's great trains (they put airplanes to shame!) Saturday morning for the ride to Mozart's home town.

Above: Diana and I at our Salzburg hotel Saturday (May 20) - the incredibly scenic Schloss  Leopoldskron ("schloss" means castle or manor house in German). There are two buildings on the property including the stunning manor house that was built in 1736. Some scenes from the classic 1965 film - The Sound of Music - were filmed here. 

Below: Sunday morning breakfast (May 21) in the Schloss Leopoldskron in Salzburg. This wasn't the first visit there by domain people. Several years ago, during a Domainfest Munich conference, attendees were brought here for a show party. Unfortunately, we missed that but were thrilled to have this opportunity to be there. 

Above: At the Mozart statue in Salzburg, Austria while walking through the beautiful Old Town Sunday, May 21.

Visitng Salzburg was a great way to cap our visit to Germany and Austria. We took the train back to Munich and flew home Monday and I got back in the office yesterday morning with 10 days worth of work piled up but the trip was well worth dealing with the backlog. Now it is back to business and what I hope will be a very fruitful summer for us all!  

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Closing Day Photos and Highlights from the Domaining Europe Conference in Berlin Tuesday

The 2017 Domaining Europe conference ended with another full day of business at the Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt in Berlin, Germany Tuesday, May 16 (you will find Sunday's opening day highlights here and highlights from the first day of business Monday here).

The busy closing day schedule Tuesday began at 9am with a panel discussion covering the latest developments in Internet Governance featuring (left to right in the photo below) Jorg Schweiger, Michele Neylon, Erika Mann, moderator Thomas Rickert and Professor Wolfgang Kleinwachter.

Above: At 10am .CLUB's energetic Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Sass explained why ".CLUB is Still the Best at Marketing a New gTLD".  By the way, Jeff has a new book out - Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned from the Toxic Avenger that is available on Amazon.

Below: At 10:30 Guillaume Pahud took the stage to give attendees the latest information on What .Brands Do With Their TLDs."

Above: Four members of the Internet Commerce Association, Jackson Elsegood (Escrow.com), Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing), Andee Hill (Donuts.co) and Jothan Frakes (Merge!), took the floor before the final morning session to tell the audience about the ICA's critical role in protecting domain owner rights and to encourage them to join the many other industry leaders who have banded together in the non-profit organization for the good of all.

Below: At 11:30am Verisign's Will Shorter gave attendees his unique "Insight on .CC and .TV", the giant registry operator's two long established re-purposed ccTLDs. 

Above: Jose Vicente Gomar (Amix Network) who holds one of the world's best portfolios of new gTLDs was on stage next to give a progress report called "3 Years Investing in New gTLDs With a 5-Year Plan." In short, Jose is pleased with the assets he has assembled and remains confident they will grow in value over time. The slide you see in his presentation was a photo we ran when he attended his first domain conference (THE Domain Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2014).

Below: NamesCon Co-Founder Jothan Frakes came over from the U.S. to join Braden Pollock as co-moderators for Domaining Europe. Just before the 1pm lunch break Jothan told attendees about the new Merge! conference that he and new partner Ray Dillman Neu will be staging in Orlando, Florida October 14-18, 2017. Domains will be just one of several related fields running on parallel tracks (for the price of one ticket) in an event that is designed to bring together people who are likely to find synergies that create new relationships and expand the enterprises of those who attend. 

Above: After a lunch break attendees returned to the conference hall for a session on .Brands and a Future New Round, covering what corporations are likely to do when ICANN opens a second round of new gTLD applications. Panelists (from left to right) were Martin Sutton (Brand Registry Group), Martin Kuechenthal (LEMARIT GmbH, Denic eG), moderator Jothan Frakes, Katrin Ohlmer (DOTZON) and Guillaume Pahud.

Below: Multi-tasking attendees made every minute at Domaining Europe count.

Above: In a popular 3pm panel discussion the topic was how to Develop a Domain and Sell a Business. The panelists (left to right) were David Seelos (HasTraffic.com), Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic), moderator Braden Pollock, Rob Monster (Epik.com) and Alex Melen (T35 Hosting).

Below: There were two daily coffee and snack breaks at Domaining Europe - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Attendees used the one at 4pm Tuesday to refuel for the run down the show's final stretch.

Above: At 4:30pm Mark Kychma (MAKTIG) took the stage with some great advice of Domain Name Leasing, Valuation and Structuring

Below: At 5pm CentralNic's Stuart Fuller (left) and Martin Kuechenthal (center) joined moderator Jothan Frakes to provide some insight into Corporate Domain Management.

Above: In the final business session of Domaining Europe 2017, ParkLogic's Michael Gilmour detailed New Way for Registrars and Registries to Earn Revenue

Below: While the educational portion of Domaining Europe was over, the charitable effort was not.  Several attendees donated domains that were auctioned off by Undeveloped.com Founder Reza Sardeha with the proceeds going to the Hope Children's Centre. We encourage you to visit the Hope link in the previous sentence to learn m ore about the organization that needs donations year round to provide educational opportunities for underprivileged children in Kenya who would otherwise have none. Also, keep in mind that Undeveloped's regular Domaining Europe online auction is continuing until May 25th with some marquee domains available in that sale.

Above: With the final day's work done, Domaining Europe moderators Braden Pollock and Jothan Frakes led a well-deserved round of applause for conference Founder Dietmar Stefitz.

Below: I said work was done - not pleasure! There was still an evening social networking celebration to mark the end of a rewarding visit to Berlin. Mark Ghoriafi (.CLUB) and Sanja Lazovic (.ME) were among those toasting Domaining Europe

Above (left to right): Domaining Europe Founder Dietmar Stefitz, Bruno Calzaverini, Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), Antonio Villamarin, Jose Vicente Gomar and Shaun Wilkinson (Nidoma.com) at the closing party Tuesday evening at Domaining Europe in Berlin.

Below: While chatting with Dietmar near the end of the evening I mentioned that Domaining Europe had a tradition of gathering as many attendees together as possible for a "class photo" but in the hustle and bustle surrounding this year's bigger show it hadn't been done. He decided to round up those who were still on hand (about a third of the week's total attendees) for this shot I took from a nearby stairway. If you click on the picture a much larger version will come up so you can more readily identify the faces in the crowd. 

One final note. We want to thank our friend, show founder Dietmar Stefitz for being such a wonderful host (as he always is). He produced another outstanding event that attracted people from all over the world for a gathering that sent guests home with great memories and priceless new friendships. We appreciate all of the work he has done over the past 9 years to make this a better industry for everyone fortunate enough to be involved in it, not only in Europe but far beyond it as well.

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Photos and Highlights from the 1st Business Day at Domaining Europe in Berlin Monday (and the Conference Party That Followed)

After getting underway with an afternoon of social networking on land and water Sunday, attendees at the 2017 Domaining Europe conference got down to business today at the Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt in Berlin, Germany.

The day was packed with a dozen talks and panel discussions before being capped with the official show dinner party at the Zollpackhof Restaurant Monday evening. 

Above: Show moderators Braden Pollock and Jothan Frakes (standing at right) got the ball rolling by introducing Nidoma.com's Shaun Wilkinson (at podium) who is also a patron of Domaining Europe's selected charity this year - the Hope Children's Centre in Kenya. Shaun screened a film that detailed the Centre's great work in providing schooling for local children that previously had no educational opportunities. Proceeds from the conference's Undeveloped.com auction tomorrow night will go to the Children's Centre.

Above: Verisign Data Scientist Andrew Simpson delivered the show's first keynote at 9am, providing a treasure trove of useful data on the kind of domains that new registrants and aftermarket buyers most frequently purchase.

Above: Part of the audience on the first business day at Domaining Europe in Berlin today.

Below: The morning session continued with a talk from .Global Founder Rolf Larsen on "What a Domain Registry Can Do for Domain Investors." .Global has made a concerted effort to provide tools and information geared to attract more investors. 

Above: In the conference's first panel discussion I had the opportunity to join five colleagues on the stage for an overview of the current state of the domain industry. Left to right are Michael Gilmour (ParkLogic), Ana Paula Vazquez (Sedo), Ron Jackson (DNJournal.com), moderator Lars Steffen (ECO.de), Jackson Elsegood (Escrow.com) and Thomas Rickert (ECO.de).

Below: In the next session, veteran domain investor Antonio Villamarin talked about his platform for putting the "Buying and Selling of Keyword Domains on Autopilot".

Above: Domaining Europe attendees taking notes and multi-tasking during today's business sessions in Berlin.

Below: At 12 noon GoDaddy's Aftermarket Product Manager Joe Styler gave attendees the latest news from the domain aftermarket. 

Above: In the final session before the Monday lunch break, Radix Registry's Karn Jajoo provided data to back up his special presentation - "Busting 10 Myths About New Domain Extensions."

Below: In the first panel discussion after lunch the prospects for  gTLDs, Geo TLDs and ccTLDs were covered in depth. The panelists, left to right, were Rolf Larsen (.GLOBAL), Dirk Krischenowski (CEO, .Berlin), Michiel Henneke (SIDN and .Amsterdam), moderator Jothan Frakes, Rob Monster (Epik.com), Richard Wein (Nic.at) and Dr. Jorg Schweiger (CEO, DENIC).

Above: Domaining Europe Founder Dietmar Stefitz enjoying the afternoon business sessions today in Berlin.

Below: A 3pm panel discussion featured advice from leading domain investors and brokers. The panelists, from left to right, were Jordi Gasull (NameAgency.com), Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz (ExcellentDomains,ca), Freddy Schiwek, Marc Stepken (Sedo), moderator Braden Pollock, Giuseppe Graziano (GGRG.com), Sevan Derderian (Above.com) and Shaun Wilkinson (Nidoma.com).

Above: After the 4pm coffee break, Ramon Rautenstrauch (Divulga.Media) provided advice on "How to Make Money with Keyword Domains."

Below: The day's final panel discussion followed at 5pm with the eight experts on the dais dissecting the ins and out of Traffic, Parking and Development. There were, left to right, James Tuplin (Bodis.com), Andreas Schmid (Product Manager at Sedo), Axel Kaltz (ParkingCrew.com), Reza Sardeha (Undeveloped.com), moderator Braden Pollock, David Warmuz, Dave Roberts and Michael Gilmour.

Above: At 6pm Escrow.com General Manager Jackson Elsegood gave attendees 
a primer on domain leasing and the tools Escrow.com offers to make leasing easy. 

Below: Yancy Naughton (HasTraffic.com) closed out the first day of business with some advice on how to choose your partners well for supply or demand before developing or monetizing a domain.  

While the business day was over the night was just beginning thanks to the official Domaining Europe dinner party held at the beautiful Zollpackhof Restaurant and Biergarten, just a couple of blocks away from the show hotel.

Above: Domaining Europe Founder Dietmar Stefitz (standing) with guests at 
tonight's dinner party at the Zollpackhof Restaurant and Biergarten in Berlin. 

Below: Guests could sit indoors or out and spent most of the night 
going back and forth to mingle with friends and new acquaintances.

Above: Ilze Kaulins-Plascakz (from Canada-based ExcellentDomains.ca) and Domaining Europe Founder Dietmar Stefitz get a round of applause after performing an impromptu dance accompanied by the biergarten's accordion player.

Below: Ilze brought her lovely daughter Natasha (at right) to Domaining Europe. As the party finally began winding down they searched out Dietmar to thank him for an unforgettable night in Berlin.

Domaining Europe 2017 concludes with a second full day of business Tuesday (May 16) that will get underway at 9am. I will have all of the Tuesday photos and highlights for you in my next post from Berlin tomorrow night.

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Opening Day Photos & Highlights from the 2017 Domaining Europe Conference Sunday in Berlin 

The 2017 Domaining Europe conference got underway this afternoon in Berlin with three hours of social networking that flew by during an  enjoyable and enlightening tour of Germany's vibrant capital that utilized both luxury tour buses and a spacious riverboat!

At 3pm two tour buses pulled up in front of the conference venue, the Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt, to whisk attendees away on the first leg of the excursion, a one hour narrated sightseeing trip that provided a close up look at some of Berlin's most famous attractions.

Above:  I was delighted to see longtime friend Sean Stafford (VP, Bounce.io) take a seat next to us as the tour bus pulled away from the show hotel at the start of the Sunday afternoon sight seeing tour around Berlin

Below: Domaining Europe attendees admire the spectacular monuments and architecture in Berlin during the first leg of Sunday's tour.

Above: After an hour touring Berlin by bus attendees boarded a river boat for the next hour to see what the lively German capital looks like from a different vantage point. After the Spree River tour, they returned to the buses for a final hour visiting additional sites around the city. Standing at center in the blue jacket is Domaining Europe Founder Dietmar Stefitz.

Below: Karn Jajoo (Radix Registry), at left, and Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing) enjoying the river cruise portion of Sunday's tour. 

Above: The Domaining Europe boat approaching the 
spectacular Berlin Cathedral on Museum Island Sunday.

Below: Guests crane their necks (and cameras) upward as the 
boat passes beneath the towering Berlin Cathedral.

Above: Nancy Bianchi (VP, Trellian/Above.com) and Joe Styler (GoDaddy Aftermarket Product Manager) are among the industry leaders in Berlin for this week's Domaining Europe conference.

Below: After today's bus/boat tour those in Berlin for Domaining Europe had the evening free to enjoy the city's many attractions. Verisign and GoDaddy hosted one group at a dinner held at the highly regarded Paris-Moskau Restaurant near the conference hotel.

The first business day at Domaining Europe will get underway at 8:45am Monday (Berlin time). You can see the full agenda here. The show will conclude with a second business day (including a 6pm domain auction) on Tuesday. In my next post from Berlin I will have all of the Monday photos and highlights for you in this column.

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Auf Wiedersehen! We Are Off to Germany for Domaining Europe - Watch This Page for Daily Photos and Highlights from the Show

We are en route to Berlin, Germany for the 2017 Domaining Europe conference that gets underway Sunday afternoon (May 14) and continues through Tuesday. You can get additional details on the show from our most recent preview article about the event. 

Conference founder Dietmar Stefitz has put together an ambitious agenda with a great line up of speakers for the two business days Monday and Tuesday. A domain auction and multiple opportunities for social networking will also attract  

attendees from around the world. I you will be in Berlin I will look forward to seeing you there. If you can't make it to the show, we will have the next best thing for you - daily photos and highlights in this column starting Sunday!

(Posted May 12, 2017) 

GGRG's Latest Analysis of Short .Com Domain Sales Boosted By New Data Provided by Escrow.com

Domain brokerage and consultancy GGRG.com has released their latest free quarterly report (.PDF file) breaking down aftermarket sales of "liquid domain names" (short .com domains consisting of all letters (L) or all numbers (N) that are relatively easy to sell at prevailing market prices). The new report (.pdf file), covering the first quarter of 2017, got a huge boost from the inclusion of sales data from Escrow.com for the first time - $16 million worth that triples the size of GGRG's data set when combined with $8 million from ShortNames.com.

The report noted, "For the third consecutive quarter, China was the largest net gainer of liquid domains names by adding almost 7,000 domains, nearly1.2% of the entire liquid market. In contrast, Europe and the U.S. stayed stable, with the rest of the world suffering the largest reduction, losing 10,000 domains.
China keeps leading the numeric domain categories (2N, 3N, 4N and 5N), while the US leads only in the 2L and 3L space with over 50% of the domain registrations."

Those numbers could change drastically over the next few years though. Graziano said that if the current movement trend continues, China will likely own over 50% of the entire liquid market by 2020.

GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano

With respect to transaction volume and prices GGRG reported, "the total number of transactions across categories actually decreased by 23.5%, from 5,455 to 4,173. The floor prices stayed stable, but we did evidence a further single digit decrease in the value of 4L and 5N .com domains, namely the most traded categories, losing on average 8% each."

Looking ahead, the GGRG forecast said, "The trend inversion in the development index might suggests that the price of liquid domain might be starting to become attractive again for end users. It is interesting to note that we are not seeing large losses on the floor prices. As predicted in our prior reports, however, we are seeing a decrease in values for the more expensive "Chinese Premium" domains. Especially the 3L .com domains which lost almost 50% from their peak and are now trading at values closer to the "Western Premium" 3L domains." 

There is much more detailed information breaking down each category of liquid domains that you can review in the full report. Better yet, if you will be at next week's Domaining Europe conference in Berlin, you can get more insight directly from Giuseppe. He will be speaking on Monday (May 15) in one of the featured panel discussions starting at 3pm local time. I will also be in Berlin to cover the show for you and will have daily photos and highlights in this column.

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China's Biggest Domain Conference Returns This Summer With New Dates and a New Location

Some 1,000 domain investors, officials and company representatives from around the world gathered in Hangzhou, China in June of last year for the 2016 Global Domain Summit (GDS). Organizers expect the 2017 event to be even bigger with a new location - the Swiss Grand Hotel in Xiamen, a beautiful waterfront city that is

known for its high concentration of domain companies and investors - and new dates (a month later than last year) with the show set to run Friday through Sunday July 7-9

A view from the terrace of the Swiss Grand Hotel in Xiamen where GDS 2017 will be held.


GDS is backed by some of the industry's heaviest hitters with Verisign, Godaddy, AliCloud, Baidu Cloud, eName and Bizcn joining forces to co-organize the event.  GDS business sessions will cover developing trends  for Global and Chinese domain names, the globalization of domain names transactions, domain name financing and security, brand and trademark issues and new gTLDs to name just a few of the hot planned. GDS will also again stage an awards ceremony and a  live domain auction.

Above: A view of the crowd from last year's edition of GDS in Hangzhou.

Below: A scene from the 2016 live domain auction at GDS (photos courtesy of Bill Sweetman).

Guta.com Founder George Hong

Well-known international domain broker George Hong of Guta.com, who maintains offices in both the United States and Xiamen, told me "Xiamen is considered by many to be China's "Capital City of Domains." At one point, nearly 80% of domains owned by Chinese people and/or companies were registered through Xiamen based domain registrars. Many big buyers of premium domains (especially numeric domains) live in Xiamen or surrounding cities that are within a two-hour drive.”

Hong added, "The city is known as one of China’s leading tourist centers, boasting mild climate and picturesque environs. It is a terrific place for a conference. In fact the 9th BRICS Summit will be held in Xiamen next September.“

Registration is now open for GDS 2017 with four different ticket levels available so you can pick exactly how much access you want to business sessions, food, parties and accommodations. They start at just $19 then 

step up to $99, $299 and a high of $399. The latter two tickets include a room for two nights, so all four  levels are obviously bargains compared to what we expect to pay for shows in the U.S. 

The U.S. and Europe will both be well represented in Xiamen. The 2016 show attracted attendees from 15 different countries.

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Donuts Co-Founder and COO Richard Tindal Retires After Helping Build World's Biggest New gTLD Registry Operator  

Richard Tindal, one of the four co-founders of Donuts Inc., the largest operator of new top level domain registries with close to 200 extensions in their portfolio, has decided to retire. The news came in a post on the company blog from Donuts CEO Bruce Jaffe today. Tindal has also served as the company's COO since he joined with Paul Stahura, Jon Nevett and Dan Schindler to launch the firm in 2010.

Tindal has been a key management team member at some of the industry's leading companies over the past two decades, having served at Verisign, Melbourne IT, Neustar and Demand Media before becoming a key player in the massive expansion of domain namespace through the introduction of new gTLDs via Donuts.

In his post today, Jaffe wrote, "On behalf of everyone at Donuts, I want to publicly thank you, Richard, for all that you’ve accomplished – both here at the company and within this industry."

Jaffe noted, "Richard and team pored through data, created a process that considered thousands of candidate TLDs, and finally 

Richard Tindal
Donuts Co-Founder and COO

whittled the list down to 307 applications - a bold and unprecedented effort. Though I wasn’t part of the industry back then, I can imagine it was a crazy and exciting time! I know for certain that Richard’s passion, focus, drive (and humor) were key to helping it all come together; Donuts’ success is in large measure the result of his work and foresight."

Jaffe added, "On a personal level, I cannot thank Richard enough for having the courage to start Donuts with his co-founders, and for his patience in coaching and advising me and so many others. Richard’s industry knowledge, business acumen, and laid-back style will truly be missed by everyone. Richard, I speak for everyone at Donuts when I wish you all the best for your coming years. We vow at Donuts to continue your excellent work into the future."

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New MERGE! Conference in Orlando Continues to Take Shape - 1st Major Keynoter Announced

I have some more details for you on the innovative new MERGE! conference that is coming to the Marriott World Center in Orlando next fall. As I first told you April 10th NamesCon Co-Founder Jothan Frakes and THE Domain Conference Co-Founder Ray Neu have joined forces to launch the new expo that will feature several events in a single location - a concept that will give attendees shared access to multiple networking and educational opportunities in a variety of related fields in addition to domains.

MERGE! will run form October 14-18 at the world's largest Marriott Hotel, located just a stone's throw from Disney World

Jen Wolfe

The first major keynote speaker for MERGE! has just been announced. That is highly regarded entrepreneur, author, digital leader and global IP strategist Jen Wolfe. She has written a series of highly acclaimed books, Digital in the Boardroom, Brand Rewired and Domain Names Rewired, that have been endorsed by senior executives from Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Warner Brothers, Uber and many others as cutting-edge thinking about the future of brands and the impact of the changing internet landscape. Ms. Wolfe, who is the CEO of Dot Brand 360, has also written a regular column in Click Z and Search Engine Watch on digital marketing and SEO. 

Jen has served on ICANN's GNSO Council

and has a deep understanding of global internet policy. She graduated from Harvard Law School’s Post Graduate program in negotiation and dispute resolution and the Stanford Law School Director’s College Executive Education. She holds a Juris Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication and Behavior from the University of Cincinnati.  

MERGE! Co-Founder Jothan Frakes noted, "Jen is a featured speaker at the National Association of Corporate Directors and is a big interest and draw with corporate CIO/CMO directors. As more is revealed about MERGE! it will become more evident just how well all of the various groups will synergize."

As it happens both Frakes and Ms. Wolfe will be participating in ICANN's Global Domains Division Industry Summit that starts next week in Madrid, Spain where it will run May 9-11. With more than 400 participants from dozens of countries around the world countries expected to attend, Jothan will have an opportunity to introduce MERGE! to leaders from gTLD, brand and geo registries, ICANN-accredited registrars, gTLD resellers, gTLD hosting providers and registry service providers.

From Madrid, Jothan will hop over to Berlin, Germany for the Domaining Europe conference May 14-16 (we will be there as well). 

MERGE! Co-Founder Jothan Frakes

If you will be in Berlin he will be happy to answer any questions you have about MERGE! Show registration is open now and MERGE!'s block of rooms at the Marriott World Center is going fast, so if you want to stay at the conference venue it would be wise to book now

As soon as Domaining Europe ends, the domain conference spotlight will shift to Mumbai where NamesCon will be staged in India for the first time. The one day-show will be held May 19th at the Grand Hyatt which will also serve as the venue for the latest World Hosting Days event - WHD.India on May 18th.

In another India-related note, the 4th annual DomainX conference that is coming to New Delhi August 5-6 has landed Uniregistry as its lead sponsor. The 2016 show was also held in New Delhi and the strong support it received there prompted organizers to book a return engagement. As of this writing you can get an early bird ticket to DomainX 2017 for just $116.30 (including the ticketing fee). 

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