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October 18, 2018

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
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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.

Billionaire Founder of Media.net, Div Turakhia, Names Vaibhav Arya to Succeed Him as CEO 

Div Turakhia  gained famed in the domain industry over a decade ago after he had major successes with previous companies, Directi and Skenzo, (we profiled Div in a 2008 DNJournal Cover Story). As successful as he was with domains, Div was just getting warmed up. He went on to found Media.net, grew it into an ad tech giant, and finally sold the company to Shuzhi Technology in 2016 in a deal valued at $900 million. After that sale Div stayed on as CEO of Media.net but after so many years immersed in business (he was a millionaire by the time he was 18) he has finally decided to take a year or two off to stop and smell the roses. 

That decision was officially announced today when Div revealed he was turning the CEO role over to longtime friend and colleague Vaibhav Arya who has been serving as Media.net's Chief Technical Officer. Turakhia, who will stay fully hands on through the end of the year, will continue to help Shuzhi as a special advisor. He leaves the company in good hands and great shape. Media.net, who has over 1,300 employees worldwide, just completed the  highest revenue quarter in company history and is projecting this financial year to be its highest revenue year to date.

“This transition has been in the works for years,” Turakhia said. “Arya has been the CTO from day zero and we have succeeded based on the strength of our technology. Arya’s leadership, dedication and tech abilities are world-class. We are having another record-setting year because of his outstanding work.”

Arya said, “I’m incredibly humbled and privileged to be appointed the next CEO of Media.net, and I want to thank the Board and Div for their overwhelming support, and the confidence that they have placed in me. I am fortunate that the entire team here will be continuing with me. I have worked with each of them since the company’s founding in my capacity as CTO, and across the long transition to take over as CEO. My team and I look forward to continuing to invest in innovation and build Media.net for the long-term.“

Div Turakhia

 

Vaibhav Arya
CEO, Media.net

(Posted October 15, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181015.htm

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New Namecheap Domain Insights & Trends Report Has Some Surprising Results in TLD Rankings

Namecheap, the world’s second largest retail domain registrar with over 10 million domains under management (and one of the fastest-growing American companies according to the 2018 Inc. 5000), unveiled their first

Namecheap Domain Insights and Trends Report, this week. The report was designed to provide some unique insights  into the domain industry for business owners, developers, entrepreneurs and technology analysts. 

Based on proprietary NameCheap data (collected over the the past decade) that encompasses registration activity among millions of their customers, the report breaks out NameCheap's Top TLDs of The Year in Many Categories, Most Popular TLDs Around The World, Top ccTLDs, Trending Business Industry-Specific TLDs and more. 

The report also includes the most popular TLDs at NameCheap so far in 2018. Those are:

gTLDs

ccTLDs

1.  .com            
2.  .info        
3.  .club        
4.  .org        
5.  .site       
6.  .net        
7.  .online        
8.  .website    
9.  .space        
10.  .app                
1.   .us
2.   .co
3.   .pw
4.   .io
5.   .me
6.   .co.uk
7.   .ca
8.   .de
9.   .ai
10.  .eu

The report noted, "It’s no surprise .com is still far and away the most registered top-level domain (TLD) in 2018, but this year Namecheap saw more non .com registrations than ever before. There has been a surge in popularity among some newer generic top-level domains (gTLD) like .club, .space, .online and .app as Namecheap’s large customer base of web and technology professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs are launching more active domains utilizing these newer extensions.

Image from Bigstock

One of the biggest surprises to me is seeing .net ranking as only the 6th most popular gTLD at Namecheap. Globally, in terms of total registrations, .net is second only to .com in the gTLD category. 

I was also surprised to see America's under utilized .us country code as the most popular ccTLD at Namecheap. ccTLDs like Germany's .de (over 14 million registered), Great Britain's .uk (over 10 million) and even smaller U.S. neighbor Canada's .ca (over 2.6 million) have outperformed .us (a little over 1.9 million). Perhaps this is a sign .us is finally starting to gain a little more traction. 

The 2018 Namecheap Domain Insights and Trends Report also includes:

  • The Most Registered TLDs of the Decade

  • Most Popular TLDs By Category (Technology, Lifestyle, Finance, Sports, Travel, Food & Beverage, Real Estate, Multi-Media and more)

  • Top 3 Non .com TLDs Around The Globe Since 2017

  • Trending 2018 Industry-Specific TLDs

  • Domain Ownership Data; and more.

You can Download the full report to see look further into those topics. Namecheap said that certain TLDs were excluded from some data results but each list includes any such TLD exclusions as well as the time periods covered by the respective list.  

(Posted October 12, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181012.htm

Former ICANN GDD President Akram Atallah Named CEO at New gTLD Giant Donuts Inc. 

On Tuesday  DomainIncite.com reported that Akram Atallah, the President of ICANN's Global Domains Division (the # 2 position at ICANN) had left that position to become the new CEO at Donuts Inc., the world's largest operator of new gTLDs with over 240 domain extensions in their portfolio. That report has now been confirmed in a press release posted on the Donuts corporate blog. Atallah will assume his new duties on November 12, 2018. 

Donuts said current CEO Bruce Jaffe is stepping down and will continue to act as a senior advisor to the company during this transition.  Erik Brooks, managing partner at Donuts parent Abry Partners and a Donuts board member, said, “We thank Bruce for his stewardship of Donuts, during which in his tenure as president and CEO, the company raised over $100 million in debt financing to acquire Rightside, and successfully engaged in a process to sell Donuts to Abry Partners."

With respect to Mr. Atallah, Brooks said, "We are delighted to welcome Akram to Donuts. His deep experience in managing global

Akram Atallah
CEO, Donuts Inc.

organizations and rapidly-growing technology companies will be essential to driving Donuts’ next phase of growth. We are confident that Akram’s proven track record in and outside the domain name industry will broaden Donuts’ reputation as the innovative industry platform for new top-level domains and will enable the company to pursue rapid growth along multiple pathways.”

As ICANN's GDD President Atallah oversaw the management of generic domain operations, domain name industry engagement and web services. He stepped into that role after initially serving as ICANN’s Chief Operating Officer. Atallah said, “I am thrilled to join the Donuts team. I relish the challenge of further expanding overall awareness of the company’s incredible top-level domain (TLD) assets, discovering new ways to use and leverage TLDs, and through its growth and success making Donuts a recognized, global innovation platform for people and organizations to create and manage their digital identities.”

(Posted October 10, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181010.htm

Photos & Highlights from the Closing Day of the 1st Domaining Americas Conference in Rio de Janeiro

South America's first major conference for domain investors and developers concluded Sunday (October 7, 2018) with the closing day of the two-day Domaining Americas event at the Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (you can check out the opening day photos and

highlights from Saturday here). The conference was founded by PremiumDomains.com.br owner Abner Duarte, a native of Brazil who now lives in Boston.

Above & Below: The Sunday sessions began at 9:45am when Blacknight Internet Solutions Founder & CEO Michele Neylon answered the question What is GDPR?, detailing everything attendees needed to know about the controversial General Data Protection Regulations that went into effect that year. (All photos in this article are courtesy of Domaining Americas).

Above: After his solo session Michele joined three other industry experts for a panel discussion about ICANN and its role on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. The panelists (seated left to right) were Daniel Fink (Stakeholder Engagement Sr. Manager, Brazil at ICANN), Michele Neylon (Blacknight) and, across from them at the far right, Olga Cavalli (ICANN GAC Argentina Representative) and moderator Braden Pollock (LegalBrandMarketing.com).

Below: After that session an audience member checks her copy of the Domaining Americas program to see what was coming up next.

Above: In the final morning session Sunday, Ricardo Hechtman, the CEO at BrainsBrasil.com.br, talked about Net Weaving - a more simple, reciprocal approach to networking that focuses on helping others solve problems.

Below: Daniel Fink (Stakeholder Engagement Sr. Manager, Brazil at ICANN) asks a question during the Sunday morning sessions.

Above & below: At 11:45am there was a half-hour break for coffee, snacks and informal networking.

Below: (Left to right) Erica Saito (Consulting Regional Manager, Radix Registry), Andre Rocha (one of the top domain investors in Brazil) and Ricardo Hechtman chat during the Sunday morning coffee break.

Above: While some enjoyed their coffee indoors others headed to the outdoor deck to get in some fresh air networking before heading back to the conference room.

Above: Back inside at 12:30pm, Julio Cesar Ventura Cardoso shared his .com.br success story - one centered on his Dentistas.com.br website. .br is Latin America's most popular ccTLD with some 4 million domains currently registered.

Below: Cardoso's story was music to the ears of Rubens Kuhl (at center in the audience below). Rubens is the Product Marketing Manager for the .br country code's administrator whose website is at Nic.br.

Above: In the final business session of the debut edition of Domaining Americas, Leila Pereira do Nascimento from IplanRio (the administrator of the new .RIO gTLD), explained the importance of .RIO to the Cariocas and how the extension is being utilized in the city.

As you can see in the photo above the conference room featured a large window overlooking Rio de Janeiro's beach and the ocean. Sometimes the speakers had to compete with the fabulous view for attention. Moderator Braden Pollock (below) always has his head in the game but even he couldn't avoid peeking out every now and then!

Above: With his first conference now in the books, show founder Abner Duarte (left) and one of his speakers, Julio Cesar Ventura Cardoso, flash two thumbs up. It is hard to establish a new conference in a new market but Duarte said he saw enough in Rio to know he wanted to do it again. Duarte said he would begin planning the 2019 event as soon as he is back home in Boston. With a desire to boost the domain business throughout his homeland and the entire region Duarte may stage the next one in another major Brazilian city, with Sao Paulo, the nation's financial center and a population of 13 million, one of the most likely candidates. We will of course let you know when his plans for DomainingAmericas 2019 are finalized.

(Posted October 9, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181009.htm

Photos & Highlights from Opening Day at the Inaugural Domaining Americas Conference in Rio de Janeiro

The debut edition  of the Domaining Americas conference got underway at the Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro in Brazil Saturday morning (October 6, 2018).  The new two-day event was founded by industry veteran Abner Duarte of PremiumDomains.com.br.

Duarte (at right above), a native of Brazil who is now based in Boston, enlisted well-known domain investor/developer and crack conference moderator Braden Pollock (at left) from LegalBrandMarketing.com to help orchestrate the show's business sessions. 

Below: Duarte and Pollock welcoming attendees at the start of the first Domaining Americas conference Saturday morning in Rio de Janiero. (All photos in this article are courtesy of Domaining Americas).

Above: In the show's first business session, Olga Cavalli (standing at right) provided a look at the South and Central American Domain Market and how it compares globally. Olga (DominiosLatinoAmerica.co) is Senior Advisor, Argentina's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a Member of the ISOC Board of Trustees and Former ICANN GAC Vicechair (2014-2017).

Below: Next up, in one of the day's most highly anticipated sessions, Núbia Mota, Sales Director at VTEX OMS, Omnichannel (an extremely popular ecommerce platform in Latin America), covered how marketing is evolving in South America, including top trends, challenges and opportunities.

Ms. Mota (standing at left above and in the photo below) brought along VTEX colleague Jonathan Carvalhosa (standing at right above) to provide additional ecommerce marketing advice to the appreciative audience. 

Above & below: In the final morning session Saturday, Rubens Kuhl, the Product Marketing Manager at Nic.br/Registro.br (administrator of Brazil's .br ccTLD), provided background on South America's most most popular country code extension. Approximately 4 million .br domains are currently registered.

Above & below: At 11:15 am it was time for a coffee break (along with tasty pastries) and some informal networking at the Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro. The conference venue offered broad views of Rio's beautiful waterfront scenery from most of the conference's meeting rooms.

Above: The afternoon sessions began promptly at 12 Noon with Radix Registry's Consulting Regional Manager, Erica Saito, covering new Top Level Domain extensions (new gTLDs) and how they are making a splash in South America.

Below: Erica was followed by João Smith (JustChannels.com.br) who expanded on the theme, saying both gTLDS's and Geo domains are becoming an increasingly valuable asset class in South America where demand for them is continuing to grow.

Above: Startup activity has also been growing in Latin America so the final business session of the day was devoted to that topic. Los Angeles based entrepreneur Braden Pollock, who has had many successful startups of his own, was a featured speaker on that topic.

Below: Though the day's formal business sessions were now over the conversation with Braden (front left) and Abner (front right) moved outdoors where some of the attendees huddled before the show's mid afternoon luncheon.

Above and below: One thing that Domaining Americas is doing differently than other conferences is ending their business day early enough (around 2pm) to allow attendees to have lunch (which was held at Papa Vicenzo's on Saturday) then head out to explore their host city. With the attractions of Rio de Janeiro waiting just outside the Grand Hyatt's doors, that proved to be a popular idea, especially among those who have never had a chance to visit Brazil's famous metropolis before.

Above: Before heading out on the town this group at poolside waved goodbye to opening day at Domaining Americas. They were back for the second day of business Sunday (still underway as I am writing this) and I will have all of those closing day photos and highlights for you in my next Lowdown post.

(Posted October 7, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181007.htm

 

Internet Commerce Association Adds Tessa Holcomb to the Board and Re-Elects Jay Chapman to Another Term 

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA), the non-profit domain industry trade association that looks out for the interests of domain registrants and developers, has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. A big reason for that is the high quality of leadership the organization has been able to attract. That has instilled greater confidence in the industry at large,  prompting more and more companies and individual members to sign on and back the ICA and its mission.

The latest example of that is the just announced addition of veteran domain broker Tessa Holcomb (who was profiled in a 2015 DN Journal Cover Story) to the ICA's Board of Directors, as well as the election of current board member Jay Chapman (the President at Digimedia) to another term. Both were selected in voting open to all ICA members. Ms. Holcomb fills a vacancy that occurred when another board member, Zak Muscovitch, resigned to take on the key role of General Counsel for the ICA. Zak, Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz and four other board members, Jeremiah Johnston (Sedo), Nat Cohen (Telepathy), Bob Mountain (GoDaddy) and Daniel Law (Innovation RPM), round out the association's leadership team.

Regarding the latest ICA elections, Ms. Sekiewicz said, "Jay’s contributions over his last term helped further ICA’s mission, and we are fortunate we’ll get to benefit from his guidance and expertise for another term! Tessa’s addition will not only strengthen but also diversify the board’s already broad domain industry expertise adding her brand protection and brokerage know-how. The ICA has an incredibly dedicated board of directors, and I’m proud of what the organization has become and accomplished with their engagement and leadership."

Tessa Holcomb

Jay Chapman

Chapman noted, "As Tessa's willingness and subsequent election to the board illustrate, the ICA's continuing growth, involvement and advocacy are encouraging and invigorating. I'm honored to be a member of the team and board, and proud to work alongside other dedicated industry pioneers, entrepreneurs, firms and professionals.

Tessa said, "I’d like to start off by thanking the ICA board and members for giving a voice to the domain industry.  Protecting the rights and interests of registrants and legitimizing the industry to both business and individuals is crucial to the future of domain investing and brokerage. It’s encouraging to see the many accomplishments gained by the ICA thus far

and I will be honored to work alongside such an experienced and dedicated team to continue educating Internet consumers in a constantly evolving landscape."

After 20 years in sales across industries ranging from software to online advertising, Tessa joined the domain industry in 2009. She was a Senior Broker at Sedo, before taking on a dual role as General Manager and Director of Philanthropy for PPX International. With the help and support of PPX’s leadership team, Tessa then co-founded DomainAdvisors.com, followed by a company she founded in 2013, Igloo.com.  The latter two firms went on to realize over $140 Million in sales among the VC, start-up, and investor communities as well as to existing businesses looking to upgrade or re-brand.  

Tessa continues to work with select clients on sales and acquisitions and consults with businesses and individuals on branding and domain strategy. She has a degree in psychology from UCLA and now lives back in Southern California after 19 years in the Boston area. 

(Posted October 3, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181003.htm

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All Systems Go for Debut Edition of the Domaining Americas Conference in Rio de Janeiro This Weekend

South America  gets its first major conference for domain investors and developers this coming weekend when Domaining Americas launches with a two-day show Saturday and Sunday (October 6 & 7, 2018) at the Grand Hyatt

Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Conference founder Abner Duarte, a native of Brazil who now lives in Boston, has put together an agenda and roster of speakers that will give attendees valuable insight into domains, investing, eCommerce and startup businesses.

Among the many speakers that Duarte and Associate Producer Jodi Chamberlain are excited about having on the Domaining Americas stage will be Núbia Mota, Sales Director at 
VTEX OMS, Omnichannel
(
VTEX is an extremely popular ecommerce platform in Latin America).  Many of the region's domain registrants are interested in developing their own ecommerce sites, so Ms. Mota's Saturday morning talk on how marketing is evolving in South America is expected to be one of the conference's most popular sessions. Núbia, who is also a professor of Marketing MBA at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, will help attendees identify the top trends, challenges and opportunities in eCommece today.

One of Sunday's highly anticipated sessions will be What is GDPR? Everything you need to know about General Data Protection Regulations that will be presented by

Núbia Mota, Sales Director
VTEX OMS, Omnichannel

BlackNight Solutions CEO Michele Neylon. GDPR is the new European privacy law that has caused many domain Whois records to be scrubbed of registrant contact information and also caused a good deal of consternation among registries and other industry websites who are trying to figure out how to avoid running afoul of the new regulations.

I noted that startups will also be among the main topics addressed at Domaining Americas. One of the key sessions in that category will feature two leaders from the Rio startup community, Fabio Diaz and Ricardo Hechtman, with moderator Braden Pollock on Saturday afternoon. 

Abner Duarte
Domaining Americas Founder

Ricardo will also conduct a solo session on Net Weaving (a more simple, reciprocal approach to networking that focuses on helping others solve problems) on Sunday morning.

If you check out the full roster of speakers you will see a lot of other experts that are widely known in the global domain industry, including Brad Lemire (Sedo), Alfredo Pinochet (LatinTLD), Erica Saito (Radix Registry), Jeff Sass (.CLUB), Rubens Kuhl (Nic.br) Daniel Fink (ICANN, Brazil) and Domaining Americas founder Abner Duarte, to name just a few.

Guests are expected to begin arriving at the Hyatt Friday evening, so informal networking will get underway well before the show opens with Duarte's welcoming comments Saturday morning at 9:30. There will also be an official networking party Saturday night that will run from 9pm to 1am. We expect to have some photos and highlights coming in from the event and will of course share those with you in this column.

(Posted October 2, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181002.htm

ICA Warns Hundreds of Millions of Dollars at Stake as .Com Price Freeze Set to Expire

The  Internet Commerce Association (ICA), the non-profit domain industry trade association founded in 2006 that looks out for the interests of domain registrants and developers, is sounding an alarm bell. A new press release from the organization states that Verisign, the exclusive .com registry operator, is  poised to see additional windfall profits unless the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) intervenes.

The ICA release says "Verisign is expected to request a price increase for .com domains when its current ‘price cap’ agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NTIA expires on November 30, 2018." The ICA goes on to ask, "Will NTIA impose a price increase on millions of Internet users to further enrich Verisign, “The Most Profitable Company You’ve Never Heard Of”, which is already enjoying huge windfall profits?"

As most of our readers know, .Com domain names are issued exclusively by Verisign on a wholesale basis and are are in turn sold by authorized domain name registrars to the public. Domains ending in the .com extension are, by 

far, the most popular on the Internet with some 134 million .coms currently registered, so a price increase would affect millions of individuals and small-businesses throughout the United States and around the globe.  

The ICA noted, "Verisign is a public company with a market capitalization of over $19 billion.  Although the cost of running the .com registry may be as low as $3 per domain, Verisign charges $7.85 to their customers.  Due to the dominance of .com, Verisign has no real competitive pressure on their pricing. Before the U.S. government stepped in to cap Verisign’s prices in 2012, Verisign’s previous contract permitted it to raise prices 7% annually in most years."

They went on to say "Thanks to Verisign’s exclusive contract to operate the .com registry, granted without a competitive bidding process, Verisign earned $457 million last year, and enjoys inflated operating margins of over 60%.  Its windfall profits powered a tripling of its stock price over the past five years – despite the freeze imposed on .com prices.  Verisign places fourth behind only Apple, Facebook and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) in terms of revenue per employee. Verisign uses its excess cash to reward its top four executives with nearly $18 million in compensation in 2017 – 

Image from Bigstock

equivalent to 7% of Verisign’s operating expenses (excluding cost of revenue).  In comparison, the compensation of Oracle’s and Adobe’s top four executives is about 1% of operating expenses."

The ICA believes, "Verisign will likely seek an unjustified price increase that would over time effectively constitute a billion-dollar “tax” on Internet users."

 For further information they are directing .com domain registrants to  StopthePriceIncreaseof.Com.  A Change.org petition has also been launched to raise public awareness of this issue here

(Posted October 1, 2018) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2018/dailyposts/20181001.htm

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