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March 21, 2019

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

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

Name vs. Name Round 2: StartupFunding.com and CryptoMining.org sold for the Same Price. Which One Was the Better Buy & Why?

We introduced this new Name vs. Name idea Monday (March 18) to see if there was enough interest in it to make it a recurring feature in this column (most likely limited to no more than once a week). The response to the first matchup between QV.net and Insurance.us was good with votes reaching triple digits. The two names had just been sold for the same price ($7,000 each) but Insurance.us easily won the battle. With voting having now wound down, Insurance.us was leading QV.net 76-45 as of this writing. In addition to voting readers can and did add some commentary to support their choices.

This time around we are going to pit a .com against a .org. Of course, if we were comparing the same term in both TLDs the .com is almost going to win, but it gets a little more interesting when you match a stronger term in the non .com against a still solid term in .com and see that both sold for exactly the same price. In this case, as you may have seem in our weekly domain sales report last night, CryptoMining.org sold for $4,000. In our report the previous week, StartupFunding.com sold for the same price.

 

Image from Bigstock

Both terms have obvious value but, even with the slowdown in cryptocurrency speculation, there are over three times more searches in Google for "crypto mining" vs. "startup funding." In addition, "crypto mining" is taken not only in the major TLDs but a very large number of the minor ones as well. "Startup funding" is also taken in all of the major TLDs but is open in a lot more secondary extensions, indicating the term isn't quite as popular.  A lot of .com fans will say that the .com is all that matters, making those points moot. Still, others feel differently and that's what makes a horse race, so let's see how this one comes out.

When considering value, investors will likely look at it as which one would I have a chance to sell for the most profit, whereas developers might think which one has the most potential to be a  profitable business in a field I would be interested in building a site for. However you may look it, once again, let's get ready to rumble! At $4,000, which one was the better buy and, if you care to comment, why? (the View button will let you see poll numbers and comments):

 

StartupFunding.com and CryptoMining.org Sold for the Same Price - $4,000. Which One Was the Better Buy?
 
pollcode.com free polls
 

(Posted March 21, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/20190321.htm

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Tucows Acquires European Domain Registrar Ascio in $29 Million Deal

Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ:TCX, TSX:TC), a popular provider of domain name registration, network access and other Internet services, has acquired European wholesale domain name registrar Ascio Technologies from CSC® in a transaction that closed Monday (March 18, 2019). According to a press release announcing the deal this morning, 
Tucows will pay $29.44 million and the transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to operating cash flow. The purchase price will be funded through Tucows' existing credit facility.

Tucows, who already operates giant domain resellers OpenSRS and Enom, manages a combined 23 million domain names and millions of value-added services through a global reseller network of over 37,000 web hosts and ISPs. The acquisition of Ascio adds approximately 1.8 million domains under management and approximately 500 active resellers.

Handshake image from Bigstock

The release notes, " The Ascio reseller base fits squarely with Tucows' core customer profile - ISPs, web hosting companies and website builders serving quality businesses that reward outstanding customer service with long-term loyalty. Ascio also expands Tucows' product portfolio with one of the most complete offerings of country code TLDs (ccTLDs) and generic TLDs (gTLDs) in the world."

Jørgen Christensen, Managing Director of Ascio said, "This deal is all about focus. We wanted to find a buyer who would focus on our resellers so that CSC can focus on managing brands for the biggest and best companies around the world."

Tucows Executive Vice President of Domains David Woroch added,  "This acquisition makes perfect sense for Ascio's resellers, our business and our shareholders. Ascio's resellers get a customer-focused provider that is investing in its wholesale channel. Tucows gets an excellent business with a deeply experienced team, additional domain products, including more than 50 ccTLDs, and a high-quality customer base that strengthens our European presence. And our shareholders get the benefit of Tucows' even greater scale and efficiency as the world's largest wholesale domain registrar."

(Posted March 19, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/20190319.htm

QV.net and Insurance.us Sold for the Same Price. Which One Was the Better Buy & Why?

16 years ago we started our weekly domain sales reports (that come out every Wednesday evening) as an educational tool. Showing the exact prices paid for specific domain names each week gives all of us a chance to learn more about domain values, gain insight into the latest trends (what's hot and what's not) and have access to a large pool of comparable sales that can be pointed to when buyers question domain valuations.

As sales data comes in each week I often notice very different kinds of domains selling for about the same (or exactly the same) price and thought this might present another interesting educational opportunity. In this case, seeing how our reader's currently value various kinds of domains by running a periodic Name Vs. Name poll and discussion in which two equally priced but otherwise different kinds of domains are matched against one another. Today's post will give me an idea if there is any interest in seeing more of these mini domain duels in the future.

 

Image from Bigstock

In last week's domain sales report, I noticed that QV.net and Insurance.us sold for the exact same price - $7,000. One is a rare 2-letter domain in one of the original big 3 TLDs (.com, .net and .org) - but its letters, by Western standards, are not the best. The other was a very highly valued keyword but in a less often used TLD, America's country code, .us. So, let's get ready to rumble! Which one was the better buy and, if you care to comment, why?

 

QV.net and Insurance.us Sold for the Same Price. Which One Was the Better Buy?
 
pollcode.com free polls
 

(Posted March 18, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/201903180.htm

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Radix Reports a 30% Rise in Revenue That Pushed the Registry Operator's 2018 Profit Up 45%

Radix, one of the world’s largest new TLD portfolio registries, announced that it grossed $16.95 million in total revenue in 2018, a 30% rise over its revenue in 2017. The registry’s net profit soared too, growing 45.6% in comparison to last year. They also ended the year on a high note with Q4 2018 as their strongest quarter. 

In breaking down their main sources of revenue, Radix noted 27% came from standard registrations and 60% from standard renewals.   Radix’s premium domains accounted for the rest, generating $1.9 million with 56% of that money attributed to premium renewals.

A breakdown of revenue by geographic location showed the United States as the top contributor to Radix’s revenue, generating 48% of the total share, followed by Germany with 12%, and China with 6%.  

The company's renewal revenue grew by 43% last year compared to 2017, something CEO Sandeep Ramdchandani said was "indicative of Radix’s focus on maintaining a strong renewal rate through expansive end-customer marketing for its TLDs."  

 

Sandeep Ramchandani
CEO, Radix
 

Radix is currently the only portfolio registry that has two of its TLDs standing at over 1 million domain registrations each. .ONLINE hit the 1 million milestone in November 2018 and .SITE joined the 1M club in February 2019.   

Radix operates seven other new extensions including .STORE, .TECH, .WEBSITE, .SPACE, .PRESS, .HOST, and .FUN; as well as one re-purposed ccTLD, .PW.

(Posted March 12, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/20190312.htm

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Domain Freaks Sighted at ICANN 64 Meeting Currently Underway in Kobe, Japan

I can see where this headline might cause some concern but there is nothing to worry about! From our coverage of the 2019 NamesCon Global conference in Las Vegas in January, you may remember that I told you about a new video show called Domain Freaks that was introduced there by pioneering domain attorney Ari Goldberger. In this case the term "freaks" is a synonym for people who simply love domains).  Ari and a film crew shot countless hours of interviews and video at NamesCon, and this week he is collecting more material at the

ICANN 64 Meeting that opened Saturday in Kobe, Japan (that event will continue through Thursday, March 14).

Domain Freaks, a show designed to present a behind the scenes look at the business and the people who have been attracted to it, is currently in the pre-production stage, but based on how much work has already gone into

 

it, it is clear Ari plans to make a big splash when the show debuts. You know what they say - "you only get one chance to make a good first impression" - and he intends to get it right. 

 

Above: Ari Goldberger in the auditorium in Kobe, Japan that is one of several halls and meeting rooms being utilized for this week's ICANN 64 Meeting. Ari and photographer Kevin Matosem were kind enough to send us the photos in this article that will give you a peak at some of the early activity in Kobe.

Below: Some of the delegates from around the world that have converged in Japan for a week-long series of business sessions and events that began Saturday and will continue through Thursday (March 14). 

Above & below: Another view of part of the crowd in Kobe, Japan for this week's ICANN 64 Meeting. ICANN,  the governing body of the global domain name system, stages three meetings each year at various locations around the world.  

Above: Manmeet Pal Singh (left), founder of India's DomainX conference, chats with Ari Golberger in Kobe.

Below: A scene from an ICANN Registrar Stakeholder Group session at ICANN 64.

Above: With so much ground to cover, business sessions come in all shapes and sizes at ICANN Meetings like this one underway in Kobe, Japan.

Below: A restaurant in the Kobe Portopia Hotel that is the host hotel for ICANN 64. Business sessions are being held at both the hotel and the adjacent Kobe International Conference Center

Singing in the Rain! When the business day is done ICANN 64 delegates can take advantage of Kobe's many great restaurants and clubs. This group connected at a local jazz club where attorney Mike Rodenbaugh (at far left), Ari Goldberger and PPX International Chairman Gregg McNair (at far right) connected with this friendly Japanese couple. While the meaning of words can be get lost in translation, everyone understands great music.  If Ari's vision for Domain Freaks becomes a reality, a lot more people will get a better understanding of the domain business too.

(Posted March 11, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/20190311.htm

Afilias Elevates Ram Mohan to Chief Operating Officer of the World's 2nd Biggest Registry Operator

Afilias, the world’s second largest domain name registry operator, today announced that it has promoted Ram Mohan to the newly created position of Chief Operating Officer. Ram, who has been with Afilias for nearly 18 years, will be responsible for most of the day-to-day operations of Afilias and its global subsidiaries.  He will continue to report to Afilias’ President and CEO, Hal Lubsen while most all of Mr. Lubsen’ s previous direct reports will now report to Mr. Mohan. 

An Aflias press released noted, "Mr. Mohan’s appointment recognizes the pivotal role he has played in the development of Afilias and paves the way for continued growth for the company." Mohan joined Afilias in June 2001 as Chief Technology Officer to oversee the start-up of Afilias and the launch of its inaugural product, .info.  He was also involved with the creation of a historic partnership with ISOC in 2002 and the founding of Public Interest Registry as the steward of .ORG. He was appointed Executive Vice President in 2008 and in that role the release added, "His leadership has helped Afilias earn the confidence of the operators of over 180 top level domains (including 14 country codes), and the successful management of over 20 TLDs owned by Afilias. For over a decade,

Afilias COO Ram Mohan 

Mr. Mohan served as an ICANN Board member representing SSAC, sharing his expertise in cybersecurity. Mr. Mohan is also a global leader in IDN technology and has helped bring native language domain names to India, Asia and the Middle East."

Mr. Lubsen said, "Ram’s thorough understanding of our industry and the Company, coupled with his excellent record of getting things done, will help lead the company going forward. Ram has played a leadership role in all of Afilias’ major successes, and the Board and I have the utmost confidence in his ability to continue building on this strong foundation.”   

(Posted March 6, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/20190306.htm

Three Familiar Faces Added to Executive Team at Public Interest Registry/.ORG

A few days ago we published an article about domain industry veteran Jon Nevett's new role as President and CEO at the Public Interest Registry (the non-profit organization behind the .ORG extension), a position Jon assumed in December. Today we got word that Nevett has expanded his executive team by adding three more well established industry leaders to an all-star line up at PIR. 

Nevett, who co-founded Donuts (the world's largest operator of new gTLD domains), reached into the Donuts talent pool to get his new Vice President of Business Affairs, Anand Vora

 

Anand has been the Director of Business Development at Donuts for the past five years. Nevett filled the Chief of Staff position by bringing in Judy Song-Marshall who has been in the business for over a decade, most recently as the Director of Registry Services at industry giant Neustar. New Chief Technology Officer Joe Abley rounds out the power trio, coming on board after more than 20 years of experience working with internet infrastructure in a variety of capacities including in the domain name system.  Joe's many high profile positions have included serving as an Infrastructure Scientist for Afilias and as a Director of Domain Names System Operations at ICANN.

 

(Left to right): New executive members at Public Interest Registry - Anand Vora (Vice President of Business Affairs, Judy Song-Marshall (Chief of Staff) and Joe Abley (Chief Technology Officer).

An interesting side note - this is a homecoming for Anand Vora. He got his start in the domain industry as an MBA intern at PIR in 2009 and made such an impression they hired him full time - first as Product Management Specialist, followed by a bigger role as Channel Manager for Asia. In 2014  Donuts came calling and Anand spent the next five years helping build that groundbreaking company.

Nevett said, "Our latest executive appointments are some of the most well-respected professionals in the domain industry and true experts in their respective fields. I'm thrilled to welcome them to the Public Interest Registry team and am confident they will help us achieve our goals while, most importantly, upholding the impressive legacy of the .org domain." 

(Posted March 5, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/20190305.htm

The Domain Battle That Pitted Ari Goldberger Against Michael Cohen and The Trump Organization

Millions of Americans were transfixed by Wednesday's televised Congressional hearings (February 27, 2019) in which President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, spent hours testifying about alleged misdeeds committed by his old boss. At one point Cohen stated he had threatened an estimated 500 people on Mr. Trump's behalf over the past decade. As it happens, one of those threats was directed at a client of one of the world's best known domain attorneys, Ari Goldberger, the founder of ESQwire.com. The threat - an attempt to take the domain name TrumpForPresident.com away from it's rightful owner ( Ari's client) - put Ari on the warpath against Cohen and The Trump Organization

Image from Bigstock

Ari Goldberger
Founder, ESQwire.com 

It was a battle that Ari would win with a single shot -  a masterfully written 5-page letter he sent to The Trump Organization detailing extensive case law that established his client's rights to the domain so convincingly that he never heard from them again. However, Goldberger never forgot the incident because of unethical behavior by Cohen that he also called out in his letter, leaving no doubt he was willing to take that matter directly to the Bar Association if necessary.

Some other testimony from Cohen on Wednesday also turned out to be an interesting part of the back story to  this incident. Cohen stated he had been the one who started Trump's presidential campaign. Cohen said, “I certainly did, sir", citing his registration of another domain - ShouldTrumpRun.com - in 2011. Since his attempt to take TrumpForPresident.com occurred in late 2010,

it would appear the former name was Cohen's consolation prize after his failed attempt to hijack the name owned by Ari's client. Regarding ShouldTrumpRun.com, Cohen continued, “2011. It was my idea. I saw a document in the newspaper that said, ‘Who would you vote for in 2012?’ 6% of the people turned around and said they'd vote for Donald Trump. So I  brought it into his office and I said, ‘Mr. Trump, take a look at this, wouldn't that be great?’ And that is where it all started."

Due to legal privacy issues, I can't share the entire letter Ari sent to The Trump Organization warning them to stop their harassment of his client, however I can share some excerpts (with some names redacted) that will give you a very good idea of how this went down. The letter was addressed to another attorney on the Trump legal team (as it included complaints about Cohen's actions).

Ari wrote:

"Mr. Cohen, acting in his capacity as an attorney and special counsel to Donald Trump, acted improperly towards (client's name), and appears to have violated the rules of professional conduct in attempting to coerce (my client) into transferring the Domain (TrumpForPresident.com) to Trump...During a telephone conversation on December 9, Mr. Cohen interrogated him about his occupation. Upon learning that (my client) is employed by (company's name), Mr. Cohen emphatically stated that Trump was a client of (company), and that he was going to call the (company)'s CEO and complain about (my client). Mr. Cohen taunted (my client) asking what his “boss” would think if he knew (my client) was trying to extort money from one of (company)'s “biggest clients.” With (my client) still on the phone, Mr. Cohen actually placed a call to Trump’s account representative at (company) and Mr. Cohen asked (representative at company) to access the (company)'s database to view (my client)'s  private employment records. (Representative at company) then proceeded to provide Mr. Cohen with (my client)'s contact information. Mr. Cohen’s intent was clearly to coerce (my client) into surrendering the Domain Name by embarrassing him and threatening his employment. Such coercive tactics are reprehensible if done by anyone, but Mr. Cohen is an attorney and acted in his capacity as special counsel to Donald Trump. Mr. Cohen’s conduct, thus, appears to violate Rule 4.4 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct."

The rule is cited, with Goldberger then continuing, "His request to access (my client)'s private employment records further violated his privacy rights. What’s more, Mr. Cohen’s actions, perhaps unwittingly, caused (representative at company) to violate (company)'s Code of Business Conduct (the “Code”). Under the Code, (company)'s employees are required to maintain the confidentiality of all (company) employee information including “personally identifiable information.” The Code further warns employees to “not utilize any confidential information... for the use of any other person or entity.”

While Ari's extensive documentation of case law supporting his client's rights was more than enough to cause The Trump Organization to abandon their efforts to steal his client's domain, you can see where the passages about Cohen's conduct alone would also stop that effort in its tracks. Goldberger closed his letter with  this:

"(My client) has done nothing wrong. He has been subject to attack and abuse by representatives of Trump and this is unacceptable. He will continue with his plans to develop the Domain along with Politics2012.com. While we doubt that Mr. Trump directed, or was privy to, the intricacies of (my client)'s browbeating, the manner in which my client was treated by Trump personnel reflects poorly on an individual seriously considering the privilege of serving as President of the United States. I am sure if Mr. Trump were apprised of the facts of (my client)'s treatment he would disapprove. My client has no animus towards Donald Trump or the Trump Organization. To the contrary he is a fan and has a great deal of respect for Mr. Trump. We can also understand Mr. Cohen’s zeal in performing his duties as special counsel to Mr. Trump and appreciate his dedication and enthusiasm in promoting Mr. Trump’s candidacy for president. Nevertheless, this is a country of laws, and (my client) has abided by those laws and deserves to be treated accordingly. We will, thus, not tolerate any further intimidation of (my client)."

When you keep in mind that all of this written nine years ago, it is remarkable how relevant it is to today's news headlines. 

(Posted March 1, 2019) 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/2019/dailyposts/20190301.htm


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