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Welcome to the The Lowdown from 
DN Journal
- your source for notable news 
and information from all corners of the global 
domain name industry! 

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

Goodbye SquadHelp, Hello Atom! Popular Naming & Branding Platform Goes Nuclear With Move to Atom.com 

After staking a claim as the world's largest company naming and branding platform, Squadhelp completed an explosive rebranding of themselves this morning when they re-emerged from the makeover blast with a new name - Atom -  and a new super-premium web address at Atom.com!

Since launching in 2011, Atom (formerly Squadhelp) has helped over 50,000 clients, including Nestle, Pepsi, Dell, Alibaba, Hilton, Phillips, and Kellogg's in polishing their brands. Atom also offers a full startup ecosystem for ambitious new businesses, providing the brand building blocks they need to thrive, starting with the perfect domain.

is now

Darpan Munjal
Atom (Squadhelp) Founder & CEO

CEO and founder Darpan Munjal launched the business as a bootstrapped passion project while
focusing primarily on other ventures. His vision was the proposition that finding a business name shouldn’t be hard. This simple idea led to the creation of a platform for crowdsourcing business names. That platform,
Squadhelp, was powered by a group of creatives which soon grew into a huge naming community.
Since then, Atom has been recognized as an Inc. 5000 startup for three consecutive years and one of the Most Innovative Companies by Inc. Magazine while being consistently highly rated by clients and creatives alike.

In March 2023, Atom secured $10 million in strategic investment from Hilco Digital Assets. This allowed the company to move into a new stage of ongoing growth, including expansion of the team, accelerated development of new game-changing offerings, and significant increases in overall marketing investments.

As naming experts,  the team at Atom knew it was also time for their own rebrand. “We deeply believe in the importance of a world-class brand and the concrete impact it has on
business results," Darpan said, adding " Squadhelp was a great brand for what we used to focus on exclusively – crowdsourcing business names with the help of a vast creative community. But, Atom helps us take everything to the next level. Atom is an inspiring, memorable, and innovative name that people can get excited about. As a naming startup, with this tier A+ name and domain, we are betting on ourselves and aspiring to become a B2B household brand."

Hilco Digital Assets Managing Director Andrew Miller highlighted the strategic importance of the
rebrand to Atom. “We invested in Squadhelp because of its many strategic and technology advantages as a naming platform, but from the outset, we were aligned on acquiring a next-level, hear-it-once remember-it-forever brand, one that conveyed the power and importance of having a world-class
domain name for both the company and its customers,” Andrew said, adding “I have been involved in many of the most prominent domain name brands for over 26 years, and Atom.com is a game-changing brand name for this platform."

Under the Atom umbrella, the company plans to add further tools and services across domain sales, naming, testing and customer insights, trademark and IP protection, creative services, and more - all while maintaining their current domain name marketplaces and crowdsourced naming contests. Atom will continue to draw on the expertise of its internal team and global creative community backed by innovative AI technology built to support the Atom experts.

Andrew Miller
Managing Director
Hilco Digital Assets

Darpan Munjal summed the rebrand up with this - “Just like atoms are the building blocks of the universe, Atom.com will provide the building blocks of success for every great startup. It will be an ecosystem for early-stage startups that offers founders everything they need to build and launch a new brand or grow an existing one.”

(Posted April 17, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Price Paid for Chat.com Last Year Confirmed to Be $15.5 Million Making It One of Top 2 All-Time Publicly Reported Domain Sales 

Last year at this time Hilco Digital Assets Managing Director Andrew Miller and fellow pioneering domain broker Larry Fischer were busy helping Hubspot Co-Founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah put together a multi-million acquisition of the super-premium domain name Chat.com. Andrew and Larry represented the seller but Andrew also served as a facilitator in bringing both sides together - a role he frequently plays due to the extraordinary high level contact list he has developed over the past two decades.

Having a hand in historic sales is nothing new for any one of these three. In 2022 Dharmesh acquired Connect.com for $10 million in the year's highest publicly reported sale (and one of the five highest ever). Andrew and Larry, working individually, together or with other partners have closed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sales in their illustrious careers.

The exact price paid in eight-figure domain sales rarely gets released to the public and up until a few days ago, it seemed unlikely we wouldever learn what Chat.com sold for in the spring of 2023. However, as Andrew noted on his LinkedIn feed, Dharmesh, during an interview on the Lenny Rachitsky podcast, revealed he had paid "$15 million+" for Chat.com. Ever since, people have been speculating about what that + represented (we were among them as having the exact price would allow us to chart the sale and give the public another great example of just how valuable top tier domains can be).

This week I've been in daily contact with Andrew because we are working on a profile about him that will be our next cover story (due out by the end of the month). It gave me an opportunity to talk with him about the Chat.com sale and see if there was any way he could confirm the exact price for me. He always strictly adheres to any non-disclosure agreement that is in place but with Dharmesh opening the door, Andrew was able to share that the price of the domain was  $15.5 million for the name plus escrow and related costs.

Andrew Miller and Larry Fischer speaking at NamesCon 
Global 2023
in Austin,Texas about some of the biockbuster 
deals they have done together including Chat.com and Home.com.

With that information we will be adding Chat.com to the 2023 Top 100 Chart in our Domain Sales Archive Wednesday evening (April 17) when our next bi-weekly domain sales report will be out. In addition to being the #1 sale of that year, it will also be added to our all-time Top 20 list where it will stand at #2 behind only the $30 million sale of Voice.com. Congratulations to everyone involved in this landmark sale!

(Posted April 16, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Radix Records 28% Premium Domain Revenue Jump YOY Led By .Tech, .Online and .Store TLDs 

Radix has released their latest semi-annual report on the registry operator's premium domain sales results across the 10 TLDs they administer. Their H2-2023 Recap (.pdf file) details how Radix generated $4.8 million in Premium Retail Revenue, including $3.1 million that came from premium domain renewals. That represents a 28% year over year gain for this segment of their business.

.Tech was Radix's top performer, generating $1.36 million in revenue with $984,380 of that coming from renewals and $377,622 from new premium registrations. Rounding out their top five TLDs, in order, were .online, .store, .space and .site. The top chart below breaks out the renewal revenue produced by each of their leading TLDs. The second chart shows the new premium registration revenue from each of those extensions.


There is a wealth of additional information in the free, full report here (.pdf file).

(Posted April 4, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Photos and Highlights from the Joyous Celebration of Howard Neu's Life Held March 23rd in South Florida

When I wrote about the passing of domain industry pioneer and personal friend Howard Neu on March 1, I noted that a celebration of his life would be held on March 23. My wife, Diana were at that event (held this past Saturday) and I wanted to share the uplifting experience with Howard's countless domain industry friends around the world.

Howard did not want a traditional funeral - no people dressed in black, sitting quietly and sadly mourning his passing. He wanted us to celebrate the time we had with him - and what great times those were! Ever the showman, Howard set the stage for light hearted socializing by picking a theme built around his beloved Miami Dolphins football team - and he knew exactly who could deliver what he had mind. 

That was Howard's beloved son-in-law and fellow football fanatic, Ira Goldberg, who is married to Howard's daughter, Wendy. The gregarious retired police captain also already knew how to stage big events. In the past that has almost always involved giving extravaganzas organized to provide under privileged local kids with everything from bicycles to basketballs to help them enjoy happy and healthy active lives.

If Howard wanted a football-themed celebration of life, Ira was darn sure going to make it happen and do it on a scale designed to match the immense size of Howard's heart and the extraordinary accomplishments he achieved in a stunningly diverse career. Howard has been successful as an accountant, an attorney, a judge, city councilman and mayor, a campaign strategist, an actor, singer and speaker, a conference promoter and domain investor and...well, there's more but you get the idea! (for details see our 2009 Cover Story profile of Howard).

Above: At bottom left, Howard's daughter, Wendy Goldberg, speaks with a guest at the meticulously decorated clubhouse where the Celebration of Life for Howard Neu was held Saturday, March 23, 2024 (one day after what would have been an 83rd birthday for Howard),

Below: Howard's son-in-law, Ira Goldberg, wearing a Dolphins jersey that Howard gifted him, produced and hosted the amazing event that drew over 150 people from all over the U.S. and as far away as Australia. The mirror behind Ira reflects part of the huge crowd he welcomed to the celebration honoring Howard. 

Above: The event looked like a Who's Who (Domain Industry edition) come to life. Left to right (including the two familiar faces you see behind the five people in front) are Eddie Sixto, Michael Castello (who flew in from California), David Castello, Domain King Rick Schwartz, attorney Ari Golberger, legendary domain investor Michael Berkens and the magnificent Bari Meyerson.

Below: Eddie with the domain pioneer who came the furthest to honor his great friend Howard, the pride of Melbourne, Australia, Michael Gilmour. (Thanks to Eddie for he photos above and below).

Above (left to right): Canada's Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz with my wife Diana and I. With Ilze, Michael Castello and Michael Gilmour in the house, we were almost embarrassed to admit we only had to drive over from Tampa - but it just goes to show you how widely loved Howard was and how far any of us would have been happy to go to honor him and support his wife Barbara and son Ray (both domain industry leaders in their own right).

Above: As I mentioned at the start, host Ira Goldberg's motto is go big or go home. His attention to detail included food service built completely around stadium fare - hot dogs, sandwiches, pizza, pasta salad and astonishing array of desserts. 

Below: While our readers all think of Howard in domain terms, we made up only about 20% of the crowd. The other 80% were people who have known Howard far longer than the 20-25 years the most senior domain industry people have. Left to right, Ari Goldberger, Bari Meyerson, Michael Berkens and Howard's long time T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference partner (2004-2014), Rick Schwartz, are among those who've known Howard since the early days of the show that was the first conference of its kind in this business. Rick had been with him since he called on Howard to do some legal work for him in 1999.

Above: Speaking of Ari, he (at right) and fellow attorney John Berryhill (left) - along with Howard Neu - comprised the famous Three Amigos. They were the first widely-known attorneys to specialize in domain related cases and their successes have been instrumental in protecting the rights of domain industry registrants, investors and developers from around the world. John and Ari are still getting it done today and we all benefit from precedent setting work they have done. 

Above (left to right): .CLUB Founder Colin Campbell and wife Kim with Barbara Neu and Diana Jackson. Like the Jacksons and Neus, the Campbells love dogs (one of Colin's current enterprises is Paw.com). Diana, who is an artist, brought Colin and Kim a color pencil drawing of their fur baby Ginger.  In addition to honoring Howard, the other reason so many domain people came together was to offer love and support for Barbara and Ray in this most difficult time.

Below: Ray (at right) speaking with friends at the Celebration of Life for for Howard. Barbara and Ray were primary care givers for Howard during his battle with pancreatic cancer. It was an incredibly difficult challenge as the fight neared its end but they rose to meet it, allowing Howard to pass peacefully at home.

Above: Barbara and Ray assembled a mind boggling array of Howard's memorabilia, including honors and awards he was given through the course of his multiple careers, so guests could enjoy seeing them too.

Below: They also took the time to print out our March 1 story about Howard's passing and some of the highlights of his life to assemble this poster board for attendees to see.

Above: After a couple of hours of socializing, Ira opened the floor for people to personally speak about Howard with his sister Veda, above, leading the way. Their father was a renowned cantor and both Howard and Veda inherited his gift for singing. I didn't know that about Veda until she sang several lovely verses in memory of Howard. By the way, the beautiful wreath at Veda's right was sent by domain industry pioneer Ammar Kubba, who regrettably was unable to attend in person.

Above: The audience listening to Veda and the many uplifting stores about Howard that followed from speakers he influenced by the way he lived his life. I spoke about our relationship and how humble Howard was about all of his accomplishments. Throughout the 20 years we've been close friends I was continually astounded to learn new things about him and what he had done before we met.

Below: Most of us assumed that Rick Schwartz would have known Howard longer than anyone else in our business, having met him in 1999. However, it turn out that Jeff Sass (below), who came into our business relatively late as the Chief Marketing Office for .CLUB (a role he now has with the .ART registry), has known Howard since 1994! Jeff not only knew Howard, he lived in the same neighborhood - and not only that - they also served on the Homeowner's Association Board together (a job that Jeff would no longer wish on his worst enemy but one that Howard, who served as President, adroitly mastered like everything else he did)! 

Above: I saved the best for last. Ira (#72 in your program) brought family members together at the front of the room to publicly thank Barbara for how she loved and supported Howard throughout their 35 years or marriage and care for him through the difficult final days of his life.

Below: When Ira did that, the entire audience rose to their feet to applaud Barbara.

Below: I realized the photo above captured only a portion of the standing ovation, so I switched to a wide angle lens and, with the crowd stretching from wall to wall - I still couldn't get them all in! It was a well deserved honor and appreciation for a very special woman.

Above: If there is one thing domain investors are known for when they get together, it is hanging around until they are tossed out of the place! Just before that moment arrived for us, we got a little more conversation and a couple of more photos in. Left to right are Rick Waters, Mark Ghoriafi, David Castello, Ron Jackson and Michael Castello.

Below: In my favorite photo of the day, Barbara wanted to get as many of the domain people who were still in the room together as she could for a "family portrait" of our crowd - and what a great memory this will always be.


Left to right: Seated are Bari Myerson, Michael Berkens, Rick Schwartz, Diana Jackson and Barbaba Neu. Standing are Eddie Sixto, Ray Dillman, John Berryhill, Dr. Chris Hartnett, Ari Goldberger, Justyna Ghoriafi, Mark Ghoriafi, Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz, Michael Mann, Larry Fischer, Michael Castello, Ron Jackson and Michael Gilmour

One last note. Howard Neu is still with us and always will be. Certainly in memories, but he also had a positive influence on who we are by treating us and others in a way that many of us try to emulate as best we can. As his time on this side of the veil was closing, Howard handled it with incredible dignity and grace. I'll thank him for that too when I see him again on other side! 

(Posted March 26. 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Masterful 2024 Global Domain Report from InterNetX & Sedo Makes a Mountain of Key Data Easy to Digest  

The annual Global Domain Reports produced by InterNetX and Sedo have been providing one of the industry's best yearly roundups of market activity for almost two decades now. Each surpasses a standard set by the one before and the just released 2024 Global Domain Report is no exception. The new edition is a treasure trove of expert commentary, insightful charts and invaluable data that all comes completely free of charge

I was especially impressed with the ultra-modern graphically centered format of the new 80-page report that makes it the most easily digestible document of this size that I've seen to date. In it you will find:

  • Analysis of the domain industry's state in 2023

  • In-depth look at other domain-related intricacies

  • Overview of the emergence and popularity of specific
    TLDs, SLDs and keywords

  • Deep dive into the connections between domains,
    tech industry and AI.

  • Comprehensive review of the aftermarket

  • Outline of what’s taking center stage in the industry 

One of the key architects of the report, Semra Koerner (a 20-year Sedo veteran who currently serves as the company's Manager of Global PR & Communication), reflected on how far the report and the industry itself has progressed over the years. In a post on LinkedIn, Semra noted, "From the humble 4-page PDF of the first so-called Domain Market Barometer in March 2006  to today's extensive report, it's incredible to see how the domain landscape has evolved and is changing ever again. With over 1,000 domain extensions available now compared to just 70 back then, the growth is phenomenal!"

Amen to that and kudos to everyone on the Sedo and InterNetX teams who contributed their talents to producing this masterwork. 

(Posted March 19, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


Sedo's Mark Ghoriafi Bags $500,000 for Bagels.com in Year's Biggest Publicly Reported Sale to Date

Sedo Premium Domain Broker Mark Ghoriafi has closed a $500,000 sale of Bagels.com that ranks as the highest publicly reported domain sale of the year to date (we will be adding it to our YTD Top Sales Chart when our next bi-weekly sales report is released Wednesday evening, March 20). This sale will supplant current chart topper Peace.com (also sold through Sedo in January for $400,000).

Mark (AKA "Mr. Premium") has been representing the domain on behalf of the seller, under Sedo.com Exclusive Brokerage. He told us it took six weeks from the start of negotiations to their successful conclusion.  

Image from Bigstock

Mark Ghoriafi
Sedo Premium Domain Broker

Three weeks after discussions with the buyer began, Mark to traveled to meet with them at their base of operations for face-to-face talks aimed at ironing out some wrinkles and making the deal happen. He was also given a tour of their manufacturing facilities so he could also see other food and snacks the company currently produces (and sample some of the tasty treats right off the production line). It was a perfect way to become better acquainted with their team and members of their family. 

Mark told us, "That wonderful experience strengthened the business relationship, creating a new level of personal connection, and solidified this all-round happy success," adding "Passion, patience, and persistence sums up this delicious domain deal!"

When Mark joined Sedo last fall we published an in-depth profile of the industry veteran who had already well established himself with a series of successes in his own brokerage business. At that time Mark told us, "I will be working with a team of likeminded passionate people who I respect and admire and am also thrilled that MrPremium clients have chosen to join in my exciting journey, with their domain inventory coming to Sedo brokerage." 

It has only been six months now but that "marriage" is certainly starting to look more and more like a match made in heaven

(Posted March 18. 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:


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