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May 25, 2016

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The Lowdown Subscribe to our RSS Feed
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.

Giant INTA Conference Brought Domain Innovators to Orlando and Put Some Into Orbit

The 139th annual meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA) ended today in Orlando with over 10,000 attendees from all over the world on hand for the five-day event. Many domain industry companies had  representatives at the show - several of whom were featured speakers - with new gTLD registries having an especially high profile. One of those operates a domain with special appeal to trademark interests - Dot Trademark TLD Holding Company of China, who runs the new . extension (pronounced  .shangbiao) - which is the Chinese equivalent of .trademark. It is the first TLD in the world that requires a trademark before you can register one of their domains.

Domain industry veteran Ken Hansen, who is Dot Trademark's Senior Advisor, International, told me, "Chinese brands and consumers view . as an online trademark symbol, and a means of easily finding authentic trusted brands online.  7,000+ brands including global companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Rolex, Facebook, Lacoste and Yahoo have registered their . domain name." 

Dot Trademark President Walter Wu (based in Beijing) and Head of Policy Dennis Cai (based in Hong Kong) joined Ken at INTA. In addition to the work they did on behalf of their TLD throughout the week, they invited some 85 guests to a private tour and dinner at the Kennedy Space Center last night (Tuesday, May 24, 2016). My wife Diana and I were among their guests so I took the opportunity to take some photos to share with you. 

(L to R): Dot Trademark TLD Holdings executives Dennis Cai, Walter Wu and Ken Hansen welcomed guests to dinner at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida Tuesday night.

Below: A scene from the Dot Trademark dinner where Walter, Dennis and Ken 
filled their guests in on the background and benefits of the new .商标 (.trademark) TLD. 

Above: Guests at the Dot Trademark dinner and tour of the Kennedy Space Center came from all over the world (with an especially large representation from China). Familiar faces from our industry included Howard Neu (attorney and Co-Founder of THE Domain Conference) at left, and 101Domain's Joe Alagna (center) with Greg Shatan (McCarter & English, LLP).

The dinner capped an evening that had begun with an awe inspiring private tour of the Kennedy Space Center that began shortly after our buses arrived about 6pm (it was a one-hour trip from the Convention Center in Orlando to the Space Center, located on  Florida's East Coast). It was my first visit there in well over 20 years and the Center has grown dramatically since then. A series of expansions has produced a world of space wonder that could easily keep you busy and enthralled for an entire day. 

The star of the show is the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the amazing craft that flew 33 missions - the last in July 2011. Those trips comprised 4,844 orbits of the earth which works out to over 126 million miles! The first thing we saw when we arrived were the giant booster rockets and fuel tank at the entrance to the Atlantis building. Our group must have snapped 126 million photos there alone!

Massive booster rockets and fuel tank at the entrance to the Atlantis Space Shuttle exhibit at Kennedy Space Center.

Above: Dot Trademark guests get their first look at the 
Space Shuttle Atlantis that now resides at the Kennedy Space Center
.

Below: A view from the opposite end of Space Shuttle Atlantis. 

Above: Among the many interactive exhibits at the Kennedy Space Center is this scale model of the Space Station (adjacent to the Atlantis) that you can crawl through yourself (as many in our group did). This model is 3/8ths the size of the real thing.

The Dot Trademark guests, especially those visiting the Kennedy Space Center for the first time, were completely awestruck. There is so much more to see and do there that is beyond the scope of this article but if you have a chance to go, by all means do it.

While everyone appreciated the special evening they were treated to, I was especially impressed to see Misters Wu, Cai and Hansen visit every table after dinner to personally thank their guests for coming. It's the kind of gesture the Chinese are known for but it is still very  moving to see hosts honor their guests in such a respectful way.

Speaking of thoughtful people, Barbara Neu (Co-Founder of THE Domain Conference) wanted to give Ken (who invited most of the U.S. guests) a special thank you in return. She learned that the Space Center Gift Shop had only one set of NASA cufflinks left - the pair in the display case - so she bought them and gave to Ken after dinner.

Barbara Neu gives Ken Hansen a special set of cufflinks 
after dinner at the Kennedy Space Center.

Ken Hansen's new NASA cufflinks. Barbara hopes they will remind him of how 
appreciative Dot Trademark's guests were for their evening at the Kennedy Space Center.

(Posted May 25, 2016) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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1st Domain Startup Summit Posts Conference Agenda and an Impressive Lineup of Speakers

In early April I told you about a unique new one-day conference coming to Santa Monica, California on July 30, 2016. The Co-Founders of the Domain Startup Summit, Jason Thompson and Dwayne Walker, have been very busy since then, putting together an ambitious agenda and an all-star line-up of speakers for their debut event at the Cross Campus startup center.

You will find photos and bios of 20 featured speakers on the conference's home page (scroll down to Speakers section) including Uniregistry Founder Frank Schilling, Jeff Sass (CMO at .CLUB, the event's premier sponsor), .XYZ 

Jason Thompson and Dwayne Walker (right)
Domain Startup Summit Co-Founders 

Founder Daniel Negari, Fashion Metric Co-Founder Morgan Linton and Angel Investor Braden Pollock, to name just a few that are well-known in the domain industry. They will joined by leaders in the startup world - bringing together two key Internet communities for a networking event designed to facilitate new business relationships.

The business day will run from 9:30am to 6pm, followed by a Closing Reception and Networking Event in the evening. The first session will be Bootstrapping Your Startup: Alternative to Outside Funding led by Bill Karamouzis (TeachMe) and Michael Cyger (Web X.0 Media). Ten more sessions will follow including a noon keynote speech from David Ehrenberg, the CEO at Early Growth Financial Services, called Startup Fundraising 101. The agenda includes two Pitchfest sessions that will give up startup founders a chance to put their ideas in front of a panel of judges and an astute audience that will pick the ones they think are best positioned for success (and perhaps even make an investment in those enterprises).

Registration for Domain Startup Summit is also open now.  Early bird ticket prices are $199 until June 10th. After that the cost will be $249 until the day of the event when tickets will be $299 at the door.

(Posted May 24, 2016) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Life is Better at the Beach! Flippa & Domain Holdings Unveil New Brokerage Office in Florida

All of the domain brokerage companies have one thing in common - they want the best brokers in the business working for them. That means having to make a convincing case in the competition for sales talent. Flippa and Domain Holdings just added a powerful weapon to their recruitment arsenal - a brand spanking new office in an exceptionally attractive location. Now their compelling pitch goes like this - "Looking for the perfect work-life balance? Imagine working for an innovative internet company in the heart of a boutique beach town..." That attractive proposition is a dream they are positioned to turn into reality.

Popular digital asset marketplace Flippa, who bought DomainHoldings exactly one year ago, is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia and also has a U.S. office in San Francisco. However, they decided to relocate the entire domain brokerage team (under the Domain Holdings banner) to a custom built new office in the heart of Delray Beach, Florida. The new digs are six blocks west of DH's former office on trendy East Atlantic Avenue.

Michelle Miller, who heads up Flippa's U.S. operations, told us “Destination Delray” became the theme for Flippa when they acquired Domain Holdings Group. With two start-up inspired office spaces that include self service beer on tap, unlimited coffee, free lunch, lounges, causal work spaces, and much of what has become “standard perks” for start-ups in and around Silicon Valley, Flippa wanted to make sure the DH team had that same fun and innovative feel."

“We have exceptional offices in Melbourne and San Francisco that attract the best talent and, because Delray is known as a beach town, we decided to bring some of that start-up mentality and style here. We wanted to create the best of both worlds for professionals who appreciate the slower pace of life at the beach, but also want to be a part of a fast-paced, growing internet company.”  

Michelle Miller
Head of U.S. Operations
Flippa/Domain Holdings 

While Flippa’s Melbourne office primary consists of developers and it’s product team, the San Francisco office houses customer support, website brokerage, and it’s mobile apps teams.  With the majority of our domain specialists based in Delray Beach, Flippa considers this new office its “domain headquarters”.  

Above and below: The new office space was completely gutted down to the studs so the company could custom design everything in their space. Ms. Miller told us, "I took everything into consideration from the windows/sunlight to how the brokers and private offices would interact and feed off each other creating a BRIGHT :) positive productive working environment. The demo/contractor crew turned it around in record  time - props to the contractors of Delray - the entire build out took just three months."

Above: The domains brokerage and customer support teams humming away in the new space.

Below: Chris Waters (standing), who joined the team in January talks about "domain valuations" with the Flippa Support team and Junior Domain Holdings brokers.

In addition to the beach life-style and great restaurants, Delray Beach offers many other benefits that are unique comared to more traditional start-up company locations - the cost of living and overall quality of life being the two most notable benefits.   

Michelle said, "With an overall median rent of $1274 in Delray Beach, comparable rental costs in San Francisco are an astounding $3770 (source: numbeo.com) – that’s nearly three times more expensive.  Skyrocketing housing has been a hot topic in San Francisco and smaller internet companies such as Flippa have a tough time providing compensation packages to match the rapidly rising cost of living.  Being able to provide a high quality of life for our employees is very important to us. It’s not just about big salaries. While we love our San Francisco and Melbourne offices, we saw a real opportunity here in Delray to give our employees more options."

The new Delray office has many of the same perks as the West coast and Australia offices, including free lunch (the Delray office is conveniently located above Rocco’s Tacos), a dog friendly environment, free beverages, a fun lounge space and more.  

Above: One of the final finishing touches at the new office will be hanging this oil painting by Diana Jackson that Flippa/DomainHoldings acquired from a charity auction benefiting The Water School at last year's debut edition of THE Domain Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Michelle said, "I thought it would be appropriate to hang it by our water cooler - we want to remind ourselves and each other to never take it for granted!" 

By the way. the new Delray Office happens to be hiring Junior Bokers right now! For more information contact jobs@domainholdings.com.

(Posted May 20, 2016) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Domaining Europe and China's World Domain Conference Team Up to Bring Domain Investors Together

I just returned from a vacation break to visit family in Seattle. While enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest I got word from Domaining Europe conference founder Dietmar Stefitz about a unique new partnership agreement he has struck with the organizers of China's World Domain Conference (WDC), Yumi.com. The agreement is meant to facilitate more connections between domain investors in the East and those in the West.

Europe-China partnership image 
from Bigstock

Both of those conferences are about to stage their 2016 events. Domaining Europe is just 10 days away from their May 29-31 show at The Hague in the Netherlands while WDC will run July 6-9 in Wuzhen, China. Stefitz said, "Both event organizers will help Domainers from each  continent to meet and collaborate in mutual benefit."

"At DomainingEurope.com five lucky attendees will be able to win a ticket to WDC (valued  at $2,000) that includes A three-day stay
in a 5-Star hotel plus conference participation and all meals. In Wuzhen, I will welcome Chinese domain investors to cooperate with European partners. Also at WDC, travel assistance and transfer from Shanghai Airport and Hangzhou Airport will be provided," Stefitz added. 

The 5-star hotel in Wuzhen that will host WDC is the Waterside Resort, the biggest hotel in the Xizha Scenic Area. Located between two major rivers with a number of waterways in between, organizers tell me this hotel offers a large variety of 

different room types ranging from the stand-alone presidential suite to waterside family suites and standard rooms of all types. Yumi.com sent me these photos to give you a better idea of where you will be staying and networking if you attend the big event in Wuzhen:

Above: Guests entering the Waterside Resort in Wuzhen, China
site for the 2016 World Domain Conference in July.

Below: The elegant reception desk at the Waterside Resort.

Above: The Grand Lobby at the Waterside Resort in Wuzhen.

Below: The Banquet Hall at the Waterside Resort.

Above: A cafe at the Waterside Resort in Wuzhen.

For more information on WDC in Wuzhen contact Jennifer Wang (jennifer@yumi.com).

For more info on Domaining Europe contact Dietmar Stefitz (djs@bemarnet.es).

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Show Venue Revealed for 2016 DomainX Conference in New Delhi - Extra Day Added for Taj Mahal Trip 

Organizers of India's 3rd annual DomainX conference, coming up in August, have announced the show venue for their 2016 event in New Delhi. After debuting in Hyderabad in 2014, then visiting Bangalore in 2015, DomainX is headed to the nation's capital for a landmark event at the five-star Shangri-La's Eros Hotel that will run August 5-7 2016

The first two DomainX conferences were two-day events and that was the original plan for this year as well but, in another sign organizers have their sites set on producing an unforgettable event, a 3rd day (Friday, August 5) has been added for a trip to the world famous Taj Mahal in Agra

After going to DomainX's 2015 conference I didn't think there was any way they could top the fabulous Taj West End Hotel in Bangalore (a historic property that was featured in the epic movie Passage to India) but between the Eros Hotel and the Taj Mahal it looks like they may be setting a new standard for domain industry get-togethers.

Shangri-La's Eros Hotel in New Delhi will host the 
2016 DomainX conference August 5-7, 2016

Here is a a quick tour of the Shangri-La's Eros Hotel property in New Delhi where the 2016 DomainX conference will be staged August 5-7, 2016. Above is an aerial view of the hotel poll and below is a shot of the luxurious lobby. 

Above: The elegant meeting room at Shangri-La's Eros Hotel.

Below: A banquet setting at Shangri-La's Eros Hotel.

Above: One of the guest room's at Shangri-La's Eros Hotel.

Below: One of the rare places on earth that almost everyone instantly recognizes - the fabulous Taj Mahal. DomainX 2016 attendees will have a chance to visit the stunning building and grounds on the opening day of the 2016 conference

Taj Mahal image from Bigstock

In addition to providing an stunning backdrop for their conference, DomainX will have some of the world's leading domain experts on stage, including Frank Schilling, Deepak Daftari, Zak Muscovitch, Bill Karamouzis, Jon Yau, Ned O’Meara and Edmon Chung to name just a few. I will have the honor of being among that distinguished company and am also looking forward to again covering the conference for our readers. Better yet, I hope you can make the trip to New Delhi yourself so I can see you in person there. 

Registration is now open (and you you will be able to book rooms at the show hotel soon). The cost - especially considering everything conference organizers Manmeet Pal Singh Mahal, Gaurav Kohli and brand ambassador Deepak Daftari are offering, is astonishingly low. Two-day tickets for the Saturday networking day and the Sunday conference day are just $150 (each day can also be purchased separately (Saturday tickets are $109 and Sunday is $59 if bought separately). Details and cost for the just added Friday trip to the Taj Mahal will be announced shortly. As low as those prices already are, if you act within 24 hours (by Wednesday night, May 11, US Eastern time) DomainX is offering 40% discount coupon - just click  the Enter Promotional Code link on the registration page and enter 40OFF.

(Posted May 10, 2016) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Donuts Inc.'s Paul Stahura Chosen as a Finalist in EY's 2016 Pacific Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year Award Competition

For several decades now receiving an Ernst & Young (now known simply as EY) Entrepreneur of the Year Award has been among the most prestigious honors in the business world. The annual competition begins with the selection of Regional winners who then advance to National competition, the winner of which moves on to the World level. 

Names of the 2016 finalists in the Pacific Northwest have just been announced and the elite list included a name that will be familiar to just about everyone in the domain business, the Co-Founder and CEO of Bellevue, Washington based Donuts Inc., Paul Stahura (who was profiled in our July 2015 Cover Story). 

In reporting the news, GeekWire noted, "The Pacific Northwest entrepreneurs were selected by a panel of independent judges, based on what EY describes as “excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.” Winners in several categories will be revealed June 17 at a gala event to be staged at the Seattle Sheraton. 

Donuts is the world's largest operator of new gTLD registries with over 150 new domain extensions in their still growing portfolio. While the company has already made a big splash Stahura is confident the best is yet to come, telling us last summer, "We’re still at the very beginning. There will be no other globally unique naming system – the DNS is too embedded into our Internet, our laws, our communications, and our world. The Internet will be around for more than 100 years (like the phone system has been), and these names will be too."

Paul Stahura
Co-Founder & CEO, Donuts Inc.,
2016 EY Pacific Northwest 
Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist

(Posted May 6, 2016) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Domain Industry Growth in China Boosting Demand for More Conference Networking Opportunities There

The domain industry  in China has seen a surge in growth over the past couple of years (including an aftermarket buying boom at the end of 2015). Interest in the business there has set the stage for two major conferences that will be held in China this summer.  The first of those - the Global Domain Industry Summit (GDS) - will run June 3-6, 2016 at the Relax Hotel in Hangzhou, a metropolis of some 2.5 million people near China's east coast. (it will be followed by the World Domain Conference - Wuzhen Summit July 6-9 that we told you about last month).

Planners of the GDS conference

Hangzhou image from Bigstock

in Hangzhou said it is being "co-organized by Verisign, GoDaddy, Bizcn.com, 22.cn, Jinyuming, domain.cn and dozens of registries, registrars and domain auction platforms. "They  are expecting approximately 1200 attendees and said the show will feature "an online/offline synchronized auction, a special closed door investor meeting, an industry awards ceremony and sponsor wine parties" among other events. You can get full details on the event at  the Summit website

(Posted May 5, 2016) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Fred Mercaldo's City Brand Media Announces New Partnership with Ammar Kubba's Afterthought Inc. - Deal Brings the @Identity Email Platform to CBM Sites

City Brand Media, LLC (CBM) has announced an exclusive new partnership agreement with Ammar Kubba’s Afterthought, Inc., owner of the @Identity vanity email platform, with plans to implement the program in over 150 markets where CBM owns and/or manages City(dot)com brands.  The @identity platform allows individuals and businesses to register and use new personalized email addresses incorporating their city name.

City Brand Media CEO Fred Mercaldo said, "We feel there is a strong demand for individuals and businesses alike to simplify and consolidate their online identity. Now, rather than long and generic email addresses, there is an opportunity to have a digital identity associated with your hometown, with either first name, last name, initials, or any other string (e.g., John@Scottsdale.com) or business identity (e.g., Realtor@Sausalito.com).”

A press release about the partnership said, "Kubba initially invested in @identity as a platform primarily for geo-based domains, but after receiving strong interest and sustained 

Fred Mercaldo
CEO, City Brand Media

market demand, the vision quickly expanded to include global brands and affinity groups seeking to promote their brands and reward their customers with personalized and branded email addresses."

Ammar Kubba
Founder & CEO, Afterthought Inc.

Kubba said, “Fred and I have been exploring this partnership for quite some time now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the CBM network and their broad marketing reach gives @identity its best chance to fulfill my original vision and succeed on a large scale. The initial rollout is just the tip of the iceberg, with an additional 100+ international City/Country(dot)com brands currently being developed by CBM that will go live on the platform over time.  I have no doubt that the proven and immensely talented CBM team are the right partners to take @identity to the next level, and I’m also happy to say that I will continue to be involved with the project in an advisory capacity, doing what I can to further ensure our success."

The CBM release noted "Marketing collateral and videos, price modeling, and platform infrastructure and product refinements are currently underway, and the platform is scheduled to beta launch in the first markets as early as June 1st."

Mercaldo added, "We’re in the final stages of selecting a major advertising and PR firm to help us launch in each major market.  We anticipate strong demand for the @identity product in both large and small markets alike, and these email addresses will also go a long way in promoting our online brands, providing 

an enhanced monetization solution for our partners and clients, and further solidifying the awareness, branding, and presence that a City(dot)com site should have in each and every city."  

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Former Domain Holdings  Broker Joe Uddeme Opens His Own Shop at NameExperts.com

After more than five years with DomainHoldings.com before leaving his post as Director of Business Development last November, veteran domain broker Joe Uddeme has opened his own shop. The launch of NameExperts.com was officially announced today. The company is described as "a boutique domain name brokerage firm that specializes in premium dotcom domain name inventory. It also provides expert domain valuation as well as buy-side and sell-side brokerage services." The press released added, "Name Experts provides comprehensive analysis based on market conditions, comps, trends and the anatomy of a client’s domain name."

Uddeme - who said he has negotiated domain sales totaling more than $40 million in his brokerage career - added that he prides himself on being “a broker with experience who provides a fair and honest assessment." Uddeme added, "Clients deserve and appreciate a more hands-on-approach to their assets and a broker that goes the extra mile to satisfy the client. Name Experts will provide that personalized approach and operate a brokerage business focused on premium dotcom digital real estate.'

NameExperts Founder Joe Uddeme

One of Joe's clients, Matt Smith, owner of Sagacity Corporation, said “It’s been a pleasure having Joe represent us for years in the domain market on many, many deals. His hard work and positive outcomes have exceeded all of our expectations. Looking forward to continuing our collaboration going forward.”

Name Experts uses industry relationships to secure brands for clients or, alternatively, to help with the divestment of premium domain name inventories. The company will exclusively offer premium domain names and will issue a newsletter on a bi-monthly basis containing relevant insight and domain names listed for sale.

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World Hosting Days Returns to the USA Next Month - Phoenix Resort Chosen for Their 2nd American Conference 

World Hosting Days (WHD) is one of the biggest domain hosting/cloud conferences in the world. In addition to their annual WHD.global event in Germany (that drew over 

6,500 attendees last month) WHD runs regional shows in China, India, Singapore and the USA. The United States was the most recent addition to the circuit with the first American conference held at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in western Pennsylvania in May 2015.

Above & below: Scenes from our coverage of the 2015 WHD.usa conference in Pennsylvania.

WHD.usa will have a new venue for their return trip to America, this time in the great Southwest where the show will run at the Sheraton Wild Horse Resort in Phoenix, Arizona May 25-26, 2016. A number of people from 

the domain industry will be among those attending and if you would like to go WHD.usa has given us a special Promo Code that will give you a free ticket to attend (just click the free ticket link and the code (US16A7W) should automatically appear in the Register field).

For this year's show, a WHD newsletter said you can expect an event that will be "packed with technology showcases, insightful keynotes, and live panel discussions, along with fun social events where you can relax with other attendees." That sounds like the same blueprint that made their inaugural show a success. 

Social events at WHD.usa last year included zipline adventures (above) and evening dinner parties (below). WHD puts a strong emphasis on social activities as they are great ways to network in a relaxed atmosphere.

With respect to next month's 2016 event in Arizona where some 1,000 attendees are expected, show organizers added, "As always, WHD is committed to provide world-class, vendor-neutral sessions and content for hosting and cloud professionals; including executives, project teams, system admins, developers, and marketing/business development teams. WHD.usa is simply the best event in North America for the hosting and cloud industry."

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Photos & Highlights from Domainers Meet - The Middle East's 1st Major Domain Conference that Concluded Sunday in Dubai

Domainers Meet, the first domain name industry conference ever held in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council, an alliance of Middle Eastern nations Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman) concluded Sunday (April 24, 2016) at the Hotel Radisson Blu in Dubai

Conference organizers brought in an impressive array of industry speakers from around he world for the inaugural two-day event in the booming UAE metropolis that has become an important global business center. 

Above and below: ParkLogic.com Founder Michael Gilmour speaking at the debut edition of Domainers Meet Sunday (April 24). Gilmour, who flew in from Australia, was one of more than a dozen international industry leaders who traveled to Dubai to speak at an event designed to spur domain industry growth in the Middle East. (All photos in this article courtesy of Domainers Meet)

Gilmour posted a very positive review of Domainers Meet on his blog today, noting "Congratulations are in order to all of the organisers of Domainers Meet in Dubai. I know that a lot of business will be conducted as a result and there are plans in place already to run the conference again next year."

Gilmour added, "Many domain luminaries shared their experience including but not limited to Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing), Tessa Holcomb (Igloo), Rob Monster (Epik), Rolf Larsen (.GLOBAL), Francesco Cetraro (.CLOUD), Daliah Saper (Attorney) plus a lot of others.  A real highlight for me was hearing from Munir Badr who spoke on the state of the domain/internet industry in the UAE."

The landmark event drew mainstream media coverage that will also help boost awareness of the importance of domain names in the region's business community. Holcomb, Saper and fellow Domainers Meet speaker Adam Wagner (Founder & CEO, GCCInternet.com) were all featured in a Kahleej Times article about the conference. Wagner told the Times, "GCC states offer massive opportunities for the domain name industry and they have proved to be an effective way of marketing communication for both online and offline. The implementation of professionally-selected domain names offer competitive advantage through instant recognition and credibility to the business."

Igloo.com Founder Tessa Holcomb speaking at Domainers Meet in Dubai Sunday (April 24, 2016)

Above and below: Stage and audience scenes from one of the many panel discussions that highlighted Domainers Meet in Dubai Saturday and Sunday (April 23 & 24, 2016).

Above: Toronto, Canada based Internet and Domain Industry Consultant Solomon Amoako 
speaking Sunday (April 24, 2016) at Domainers Meet in Dubai 

Above: Speakers and members of the Domainers Meet management team got together for this "class photo" from the first edition of the new Dubai based conference that concluded Sunday 
(April 24, 2016).

Domainers Meet was established and staged through a cooperative effort. It is officially owned and executed by Dubai based startup company Yup2 Events LLC, and was supported by World Domain Owners Association and WebCastle Technologies LLC.

On a more personal level, the guiding lights behind the event have been the MD of YUP2 Events LLC & Producer of Domainers Meet Mr. Fasaludeen  and the Founder of  Domainers Meet & Co-Founder and CEO of 

At left: Mr. Fasaludeen, Domainers Meet Producer 

At right: Esahaque Eswaramangalam, Domainers Meet 
Founder & Co-Founder & CEO of Yup2 Events
 

YUP2 Events LLC, Mr. Esahaque Eswaramangalam, an eBusiness industrialist with a focus on Virtual Real Estate, eBusiness Architecture, Domain Name Trading and eBrand Development and Marketing with 15+ years of experience in the eBusiness and Domain Name industries.

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Domainers Meet Opens Saturday in Dubai - Domaining Europe Names Keynote Speaker - China Summit Coming This Summer

We have a lot of international domain conference news for you today. The first major show ever held in the Middle East - Domainers Meet - will run this coming weekend at the Hotel Radisson Blu in Dubai. An impressive 

list of speakers from around the world will be on hand for the two-day event that opens Saturday morning. Tickets can be purchased online here

The significance of the event has caught the attention of media outlets in Dubai and throughout the UAE. Representatives from newspapers and TV stations turned out for a press conference that show organizers held late last week to introduce the debut event.

Above and below: Scenes from the Domainers Meet Press Conference in Dubai that set
the stage for this weekend's inaugural conference - the first event of its kind in the Middle East. 

Above: DomainersMeet Director of Business Development Anilkumar (at right) with Adam Wagner (Founder & CEO at GCCinternet) who will be one of the featured speakers this weekend.

While DomainersMeet is making final preparations for their maiden voyage, the 8th edition of the Domaining Europe conference, coming up May 29-31 in The Hague, Netherlands is making final additions to their show agenda. In the latest major development DE has tabbed 

Verisign's Senior Vice President of Naming Services, Pat Kane, as their keynote speaker. Pat, who will appear May 30, will speak on the Past and Future of .COM

Verisign Senior VP Pat Kane will be the keynote speaker at Domaining Europe next month.

Kane is responsible for the policy and operational management of all top-level domains (TLDs) operated by Verisign, including .COM and .NET, as well as the development of additional tools and services created to support Verisign’s channel partners. Kane, who has been with Verisign since 1999,  has also been instrumental in the development and deployment of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).

Another major event - one that is held only once every three years - is coming to China this summer. The World Domain Conference/Wuzhen Summit (previously known as Traffic China) will be staged for the 4th time July 6-9, 2016 in Wuzhen

The conference host, Yumi.com, describes the event as "a worldwide domain grand meeting that focuses on building an international domain industry platform for communication, sharing new ideas and innovation patterns, gathering the leading figures of the industry, which will advance cooperation and create a win-win situation."

They added, "Domain name registration and management institutions, domain name registrars, domain name transaction service providers, online advertising service providers, search engine service providers, and web portals from dozens of countries, and more than 200 senior domain name investors will come together, studying, sharing and discussing the questions of domain security, application and development trend, which aims to promoting the sustainable development of the domain name industry."

With the Dubai, Europe and China conferences alll being staged over the next 90 days and DomainX to follow in India in August, then Florida's THE Domain Conference in early September, the global domain industry has a very busy spring and summer ahead.

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auDA Decides to Allow Direct .au Registrations - Implementation Date Still to Be Determined

Domain registrations in Australia's in Australia's popular .au country code have traditionally been restricted to second level extensions (like .com.au and .net.au) but the TLD's governing body, auDa, has decided the time has come to allow direct top level registrations (for example, yourname.au). 

Today's announcement said "the auDA Board decided to accept the recommendation of the 2015 Names Policy Panel to introduce direct registrations in .au. The Board agreed with the majority views expressed in the Panel’s final report, that the introduction of direct registrations would:

  • make available domain names which are shorter, more appealing and more memorable

  • give Australians more choice in deciding what domain name to register

  • respond to market demand

  • be more attractive to natural individuals than the current option, id.au

  • strengthen the “.au brand” in a globally competitive market

  • add value to all three main categories of users – registrars and resellers, registrants and ultimate users of the .au domain name system.

auDA will now undertake a comprehensive policy development process and further stakeholder consultations to determine the best approach for implementing direct registrations

auDA Board Member Simon Johnson

in .au, including taking into account the impact on existing registrants, in a manner that is consistent with the .au policy and regulatory framework, and that maintains the overall stability and integrity of the .au DNS. auDA will make further announcements during the year as the implementation work progresses.

auDA Board member Simon Johnson told us, 'Today is a historic day in Australian Internet history. We have not seen such a big change to the namespace since auDA created the Domain Monetisation Policy 10 years ago. As a Board Member in Demand Class, I’m very mindful of the impact on registrants, internet users and the general public. To that end I’ll be working to ensure this is implemented using best practice in a manner that ensures the stability and integrity of the namespace."

The Board also acknowledged the hard work and commitment shown by Panel Chair Derek Whitehead and all members of the Names Policy Panel over a 10-month policy review process.  

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Latest Verisign Industry Brief Shows 2015 Closed With a Powerful Surge in Domain Name Registrations

Verisign has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief covering the 4th quarter of 2015. The operator of the .com and .net registries reported that the year ended with approximately 314 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), an increase of approximately 15 million domains over the previous quarter. That 5% jump is a very impressive gain for a single quarter. The big move up in 4Q boosted year over year gains by 9%  with 25.9 million domains added since the end of 2014. Well over half of the 2015 registrations were added in the closing quarter alone.

Verisign's flagship TLDs, .com and .net,  had a combined total of approximately 139.8 million domain names when the year ended (124 million in .com and 15.8 million in .net) - adding 12.2 million new domains in those two extensions in 2015 (a 9.5% rise year over year). The 12.2 million names added in 2015 also represents a major increase from the 8.2 million that were added in 2014.  

The latest brief also includes registration statistics for new gTLDs and ccTLDs (a category that grew 7.7% year over year), along with information in the top trending keywords . com and .net. For more information, copies of the Q4-2015 Domain Name Industry Brief, or to view past reports, visit VerisignInc.com/DNIB, where you can also find the Q4-2015 infographic.

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Spring Brings an Abundance of Domain Meetups and Conferences Around the World

In addition to warmer weather and blossoming  flowers Spring 2016 is bringing a bountiful bouquet of domain industry networking opportunities around the world. In the U.S. alone three big city domain meetups will be held over the next 30 days. We will also see two important full scale multi-day international conferences between now and the end of next month.

It all gets started Friday evening (April 15) when one of the most active local/regional domain groups in the world - Southern California Domainers - will hold their latest meetup in Santa Monica, California. It

Internet spring image from Bigstock

will get underway at 6:30pm at the .XYZ Registry offices at 2800 Olympic Boulevard. RSVP at the link above if you want to attend the free event that always draws a diverse crowd of interesting and  influential people.

On April 28 a brand new meetup for Texas domain entrepreneurs - DNHouston - will debut at the Crush Wine Lounge located at 20 Waterway Ave #200 in The Woodlands. This event that will run from 7pm to 9:30pm was 

organized by Brand.bar's Angela St. Julien and Scorpion Agency's Amada Lyon. Angela will speak at the  meeting along with Eric Lyon from NamePros and Kevin Kopas from the Public Interest Registry. Tickets are $25 and capacity will be limited to the first 50 to sign up. You can find more details on the event here.

The trio of springtime meetups in the U.S. will conclude with the 3rd annual edition of DNSeattle that we told you about a few weeks ago. That event will be held on the evening of May 12 at GoDaddy's offices in Kirkland, Washington. It has already sold out but you can ask to be placed on a waiting list at the meetup website.

The first of the two springtime internationally oriented conferences I mentioned above will be the inaugural edition of Domainers Meet in Dubai April 23-24. This landmark show at the Hotel Radisson Blu will be the first major domain conference ever held in the Middle East

We have been writing about this event ever since it was announced and now it's just 10 days away.

The organizers have lined up an excellent group of speakers from around the and the conference should give the industry a significant boost in that important part of the world. As of this writing, early bird tickets start at 1485 AED ($404) with a special 825 AED ($225) rate available to students.

Closing out the Spring 2016 conference/meetup calendar will be the 8th edition of the Domaining Europe conference that will be held outside of Spain for the first time. After seven well received shows in Valencia, conference founder Dietmar Stefitz decided to freshen things up by staging this year's event in The Hague, Netherlands at the fabulous Grand Hotel Amrath Kurhaus with the show running May 29-31.

We've been writing about this event since the new dates and location were announced and we know from its track record that Domaining Europe is always a first class experience. As of this writing they are offering a discounted ticket price of €315 that you can take advantage of here.

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Bobbleheads.com Bags Biggest Bobblehead World Record With 15-Foot Tall St. Bernard!

Domain industry veterans and regular DNJournal readers are familiar with the remarkable story of Warren Royal and Bobbleheads.com that we told in detail in our December 2008 Cover Story. For those of you who haven't heard what has become a somewhat legendary success story - Warren, who had been dabbling in the domain investment/development field, decided to buy the domain Bobbleheads.com when he got a chance to pick it up for $30,000. He didn't know anything about the bobblehead business but he did like the popular figurines and figured 30K was a pretty good deal for a domain the defined the entire category. 

He started off selling bobbleheads made by other companies on his new Bobbleheads.com website,  but once his interest was piqued, he sought out manufacturers who could produce his own line under the Royal Bobbles brand. To cut a long story short, he ran up an incredible string of successes over the years and grew Atlanta-based Bobbleheads.com/Royal Bobbles into one of the world's top producers of the adorable little dolls.

One big thing did change just this past week though. It turned out not all of his products were all that "little" anymore. In fact his company just produced the biggest bobblehead the world has ever seen - a more than 15-foot tall figure of a St. Bernard dog that was commissioned by a client - San Francisco based insurance company Applied Underwriters (a Berkshire Hathaway company) -  who uses a St. Bernard as their mascot. 

Warren Royal
Bobbleheads.com/Royal Bobbles Founder

Warren Royal (left) with a Guinness Book of World 
Records
representative in Orlando where Guinness certified 
this giant St. Bernard commission by Applied Underwriters 
is the new world record holder at more than 15-foot tall.

The Guinness Book of World Record heard about the unique giant bobblehead and in a ceremony in Orlando, Florida late last week, Guinness officially recognized Warren's latest high watermark as the new world record holder. At 15-feet, 4 and 3/4 inches tall it easily surpassed the old record holder - a 13-foot tall rendition of game show host Chuck Woolery (the original host of Wheel of Fortune).

Royal found a high-quality prop company, Dino Rentos Studios in Orlando, that produces work for companies like Disney, to physically create the piece. Since the head has to move one challenge was finding a big enough spring to make it work. The solution was to take a spring off a two-ton pick-up truck and it worked like a charm.

Warren told a local newspaper, Georgia's Albany Herald, “We’d been working on this project for months. It was hard work. But I was telling everybody it has to be hard when you’re setting a world record. Applied Underwriters came up with this great idea - take Goldie ( their mascot) and make a giant bobblehead. Oh, and why not do a world record while we’re at it!?  It’s really the client’s record. It’s their project and their record. It belongs to them...We’re just going to sit back and enjoy this.” 

Bobbleheads.com has grown like wildfire because they've managed to come up with one hit after another en route to selling more than 150,000 bobbleheads last year alone. Warren's biggest challenge now may be how to top this latest achievement. That could be one tall order! 

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Escrow.com Adds Sales VP Danny Raja - Duties Will Include Developing New Domain Industry Partnerships

Escrow.com announced the addition of a key new member to their management team today when Danny Raja was introduced as Vice President of Sales. Raja, who brings over 15 years of experience selling into Fortune 1000 and large companies globally,  will drive Escrow.com’s partnerships with leading online marketplaces and eCommerce sites. The company said, "This will allow partners globally to leverage the secure payments platform of the world’s leading online escrow provider to protect the transactions of their users and prevent fraud on their marketplaces."

Before joining Escrow.com, Raja, who will be based in San Francisco, was Regional Sales Director for Box. He has also served as a sales executive responsible for key strategic accounts at a number of leading Enterprise SaaS companies, including Yammer and Lithium Technologies. Prior to that he was a Senior Account Executive at Dow Jones.

Danny Raja
VP of Sales, Escrow.com

Jackson Elsegood
Escrow.com General Manager

Escrow.com General Manager Jackson Elsegood said, "Danny has deep expertise in selling enterprise solutions into large companies across the US, EMEA and APAC. Having him on board will allow Escrow to build a scalable growth model which will mutually benefit both current and future partners in our ecosystem.”

Raja said, “Escrow.com leads the market in domain transactions. What excites me about the opportunity is to broaden our focus on other marketplaces where buyers and sellers can transact on anything of value. Whether it be cars, boats, planes, antiques, jewelry, legal services, contractor services or even import/export - no more letters of credit!”

In his new role, Raja is responsible for all direct sales and business development with global partners, including growing revenue and gross payment volume from new & existing partners. Escrow.com’s partnerships program is available through three channels:

  • For online marketplaces, the Escrow.com API provides a fully integrated online payment solution that reduces the incidences of fraud and the hassle of payments compliance.

  • For classifieds sites, Escrow.com’s Buy It Now buttons offer a fast and simple way of adding secure payments to listings.

  • For affiliate marketers, Escrow.com’s Partner Solutions generate immediate click-through revenue for publishers and content producers.

For inquiries relating to partnership and integration opportunities with Escrow.com, Mr. Raja can be reached via email at Danny@escrow.com or at www.escrow.com/partners.

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NameJet and SnapNames Join Forces to Turbocharge Their Drop Catching Engines

Domain drop catching powerhouses NameJet and SnapNames announced today that, effective immediately, they are combining backorders for pending delete domain names on both platforms into a common drop-catching and auction engine.

Together the two companies represent a large segment of domain registrars including Network 

 

Solutions, Enom, Register.com and Name.com (giving them access to expiring domains at those registrars). By combining resources they expect to see a substantial improvement in drop-catch efficacy across both platforms. Their press release on the partnership noted, "This will result in customers being able to acquire more of the domains they wish by placing a single backorder on either platform with a higher probability of success."

If more than one backorder is placed from either platform on a domain that is caught in the drop, it will move to a private auction where both NameJet and SnapNames bidders may participate. Minimum bid increments and proxy bid rules for pending delete names on NameJet have been modified to match those of SnapNames in order to provide a consistent customer experience. The integration will not affect NameJet’s exclusive registrar expiry or private lister inventory.

NameJet General Manager Jonathan Tenenbaum (left)  
and SnapNames VP of Operations Michael White (right).

NameJet General Manager Jonathan Tenenbaum said, "We are very excited to integrate with SnapNames for the drop. This is a natural fit and we think it will be great for our customers. By utilizing and supplementing SnapName's industry-leading resources, we will greatly improve our drop catching efficacy and give our customers the best opportunity to catch dropping domains on NameJet."

SnapNames VP of Operations Michael White added, “We are 

always looking for ways to leverage our power in the drop to better serve the industry and create a positive experience for our customers. Building the bridge between SnapNames and NameJet will improve success rates for customers across both platforms.”

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Domain Related Conferences Continue to Evolve With New Codemology Hackathon Set for Charlotte Next Fall

Earlier this week I told you about a unique new conference coming to Los Angeles this summer that will bring the domain, development and startup communities together. Now, just four days later, comes word of another new eventCodemology -  also unique in its approach - that will be staged in Charlotte, North Carolina October 1-2, 2016.

Ryan Colby
Codemology Founder

This new "Domain Name Hackathon,"  that will be held at the McColl Center for Art & Innovation, is the brainchild of veteran domain broker Ryan Colby, the Founder & CEO of Charlotte-based Outcome Brokerage. Prior to opening his own shop in 2013 Colby had successful runs at both Sedo and DomainHoldings.

The Codemology site details how this conference will be different from anything the industry has seen to date, noting  "Codemology is the “study and application of code to a domain name that creates innovative technology solutions for large industry problems.” We do this through an interactive weekend experience commonly referred to as a “Hackathon” where software engineers showcase their talents in a competition style format. Most importantly, it's all about having FUN!"

The event synopsis adds, "Codemology is a new form of workflow designed for technology teams to achieve optimal outcomes. We integrate the best practices from multiple disciplines to help teams create a Minimum Viable Product for a domain in just one weekend. Our framework seeks to foster creativity through divergent thinking and teaches teams how to identify novel ideas from the excess supply of premium domains in the market."

"Unlike other hackathons, we utilize a curated pool of domain names as the “canvas” to build great ideas on. The event serves as the conduit between the developer teams and domain owners who have submitted their digital assets for consideration in the competition. The collective value of the domain pool will exceed $25 million."

Though just announced today, Colby has obviously been busy laying the groundwork for Codemology for some time now as he already has an impressive list of speakers, mentors and judges lined up for the event. Those  include  Braden Pollock (Legal Brand Marketing), Logan Flatt (Ansira), Luke Heron (Bypost.com), Thomas Friend (Agile on Target), Roy Morejon (Command Partners), Mark Levine (Hillcrest Media Group & Fiction.com) and Joshua Orbach (Swag.com).

The initial agenda for both Saturday (October 1) and Sunday (October 2) is also already on the Codemology website. It features a wide array of tech talks, development workshops and parties as well as a closing Awards ceremony. Colby expects the event to attract a mix of top university students, developers, VIP domainers, VCs and mentors.  He noted, "We are a bit different from traditional hackathons which only allow students to participate. In this case we are creating a very unique networking opportunity for all."

This week's arrival of two unique events that 

Braden Pollock will be among the speakers, mentors and judges taking part in Codemology next October in Charlotte.

will open attractive new avenues both into and out of the domain world are great signs that the industry is poised for more growth and innovation.  If you have any questions or would like more information on Codemology you can send a note to info@codemology.com.

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Industry Veterans to Bring Unique New Domain Startup Summit Conference to Los Angeles This Summer 

Domain conferences have played an indispensable role in the phenomenal growth of the domain industry over the past 12 years. With the ongoing expansion of the Internet worldwide the importance of domain names in branding and helping drive traffic to online enterprises is finally being realized in the mainstream business community - especially the startup sector. 

Seeing an opportunity to accelerate and facilitate this powerful confluence of web-based entrepreneurs, two widely respected domain industry veterans, Jason Thompson and Dwayne Walker, have just  co-founded a new era conference called Domain Startup Summit that will debut July 30, 2016 in Santa Monica, California at the well-known Cross Campus startup center at the heart of Silicon Beach.

Walker is a long time top level industry executive. Dwayne's impressive resume includes a stint as a Senior VP at Oversee.net, the company that ran the popular Domainfest conferences in Los Angeles for many years. Thompson is a veteran IT Engineer/domain investor/entrepreneur who is also known for shepherding one of America's most active local domain meetup groups - Southern California Domainers. As a team the two co-founders have extensive experience across Internet technology, startups and domain branding that make them especially well suited to produce a Domain Startup Summit.

The duo describes the event as "an extremely unique conference which brings together investors, thought leaders, startups and the domain branding industry. The goal of Domain Startup Summit is to inspire, educate and connect startups, investors and the domain industry in a unique setting that will help attendees brand, develop, launch and grow new businesses."

"Attendees can expect an action packed day full of networking and informative speaker sessions. This original event is the first of its kind and will serve as a launching pad for building stronger bonds within the investment, startup and domain branding spaces."

Co-Founder Jason Thompson
Domain Startup Summit

Co-Founder Dwayne Walker
Domain Startup Summit

Walker said, "We’re extremely excited to bring together startups, investors and the domain branding industry. Domain Startup Summit will also feature a live Pitchfest where startups can receive funding and feedback for their emerging companies.  Startups can be considered for Domain Startup Summit Pitchfest by submitting their company profiles here."

Thompson added, "We’re looking to strengthen partnerships between the startup industry and domain branding industry. This is the exact vision we had when we decided to move forward with creating this event." 

With dozens of moving parts, putting together a conference of this magnitude is no easy task but based on their long track records of success in whatever they have tackled, the  Thompson-Walker team is one that can do the job and do it right, benefiting the entire industry in the process. 

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