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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.


New Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief Shows Dip for .Com & Net While ccTLDs & New gTLDs Rise

 VeriSign, (the administrator of the .com and .net TLDs) has released their latest quarterly Domain Name Industry Brief (DNIB) covering the 4th quarter of 2023. This update showed that the total number of domain registrations across all TLDs worldwide ended the year at 359.8 million. That is a jump of 8.9 million more from the same point a year earlier, representing a 2.5% year-over-year increase for all TLDs combined.

.Com remains, by far, the dominant TLD on the Internet but .com's total number of registrations has edged down slightly each of the past two years. .Com closed 2023 with 159.6 million registrations, down from 160.5 million the previous year (a 0.6% decrease). Verisign's .net was also down a bit, dropping about 100,000 registrations to finish 2023 with 13.1 million in effect (a 0.75% decline).

The news was better on the ccTLD and new gTLD fronts. The ccTLDs continued to enjoy a healthy growth rate, moving up 4% year over year after adding 5.3 million registrations to reach 138.3 million at the end of 2023.

New gTLDs, as a group, enjoyed the highest annual growth rate, up 15.9%, but that is from a much smaller base than .coms or ccTLDs. The new Gs added 4.4 million registrations in 2023 to finish the year with 31.8 million in effect. Over half of those came from the 10 most popular TLDs from a crowded field of more than 1,000 extensions.  

(Posted February 20, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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South Florida Domainers Will Welcome Fellow Industry Pros at March 6 Meetup in Fort Lauderdale

The South Florida Domainers group (SFD) will be holding their first meetup since last May on the evening of March 6, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale. The event will be held at the Sistrunk Marketplace and Brewery with a 7:30pm start time (wrapping up around 10pm).

SFD was one of the industry's first local domain investor/developer's groups. Their meetings, like those of other organizations around the world, went on a forced hiatus when the global Covid epidemic hit. However, on May 25, 2023, their popular face-to-face casual networking events resumed with Eddie Sixto

Image from Bigstock

Ehren Schaiberger and original members Stu Maloff and Victor Pitts playing instrumental roles in getting  the band back together.

South Florida has always had one of the world's largest concentrations of domain industry professionals so it is a natural location for a regional event like this. With its March date this year the SFD event falls neatly in between the 2024 ICA Annual Meeting that was held last month in Las Vegas and the upcoming NamesCon Global conference in Austin, Texas

Above (left to right): Eddie Sixto welcoming two of the domain industry's OGs, Monte Cahn
 and Chad Folkening, at last year's South Florida Domainers group meeting in Fort Lauderdale.

The Fort Lauderdale SFD meetup will give guests (some coming from as far as way as Canada) an opportunity to enjoy an evening of great food, drinks and conversation in an enjoyable, relaxed environment. Since attendees purchase their own food and drinks there is no charge to join in the fun and catch up with some of the top pros in the industry.

(Posted February 15, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Big Early Bird Discount for NamesCon Global 2024 Ends This Week - Godaddy Connects with ENS - GGRG Issues Latest Liquid Domain Sales Report

Update: NamesCon Global 2024 has extended the deadline to take advantage of the Early Bird rate to March 8, 2024

With last month's 2024 ICA Meeting in Las Vegas now behind us, our conference sights are now set on the 2024 NamesCon Global conference coming up June 5-8, 2024 at the Downtown Omni Hotel in Austin, Texas. With the show opens exactly four months from today and the next 120 days will blow by before you know it. In fact time is already running out if you want to get an early bird ticket that will get you in for less than half the price of the regular ticket. That offer expires Thursday night, February 8 just before midnight (U.S. Eastern Standard Time).

That is significant because the early bird deal cuts the standard $999 price down to $449 ($505.96 with sales tax and service fee). The deal is reserved for individual domainers, brokers, and entrepreneurs and will give you access to all sessions, keynotes, networking events and NamesCon's attendee-only parties. As was the case last year, the NamesCon ticket will also you full access to CloudFest USA, a closely related internet infrastructure industry event that will run parallel to NamesCon Global at the same venue.

NamesCon Global organizers are busy putting together another jam-packed agenda right now. I just heard from Chairman of the Board Soeren von Varchmin this morning letting me know about some impressive speakers they have already lined up that will be publicly announced soon. If you have never been to a NamesCon event before you can see what they are all in about in our comprehensive review of the 2023 edition of NamesCon that was also held at the Omni in Austin, We will, or course, be there again to cover it all in June and hope to see you at the big event as well.

 

 

A couple of other things of special interest to tell you about today. GoDaddy has announced a new partnership with Ethereum Name Service (ENS), a pioneer in blockchain-based naming systems, to enable domain name users to link their domains to ENS effortlessly, with no additional costs or technical experience required. The two companies see this collaboration as a major step toward bridging the gap between the Domain Name System (DNS) and blockchain technology.

Paul Nicks, President of Domains at GoDaddy, said "As a long-time domain industry steward, we are always looking for innovative enhancements that benefit our customers. Partnering with ENS presents our customers with a unique opportunity to experience the fusion of domains names and blockchain technologies, bringing some great benefits for users in both areas."

While it has always been feasible to bring domain names over to ENS, barriers like high gas fees have limited the seamless transition. To help, ENS deployed new smart contracts to enable the resolution process of domain names in ENS, at the DNS top-level domain (TLD) level. This allows verification of DNS records, enabling a cost-free method for users.

Elsewhere, GGRG's latest quarterly Liquid Market Report, covering domain sales from this category reported in the 4th quarter of 2023, is out. The report covers a subset of the overall aftermarket - short acronym and numeric domains - that, due to steady demand, tend to have more liquidity than most other domain categories. These are .com domains comprised of 2-4 letters, 2-5 numbers or a combination of 2-3 characters mixing letters and numbers. Taken as whole, that "liquid" universe includes 614,928 .com domains.

In this 30th edition of the report, GGRG Founder Giuseppe Graziano compiled over $16.9 million worth of sales with over $9.5 million of those being closed on the   

Escrow.com platform and another $7.4 million tallied by totaling up publicly disclosed sales (Escrow.com provides their total $ volume but does not disclose individual sales). The 4th quarter presented an unusual dichotomy with sales volume for publicly reported sales up 179% from the previous quarter while volume on the Escrow.com platform dropped 57%. Check out the full report for a detailed breakdown of the data that will give you more insight into what produced those results.

(Posted February 5, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Editor's note (Tuesday, Jan. 23): I'm back from Las Vegas where the Internet Commerce Association's 2024 Annual Meeting concluded over the weekend and we've just published photos and highlights from the landmark conference that firmly established the ICA event as one of the most important ones on the industry's global conference calendar. We also tell you how the ICA was able to accomplish this in such a short period of time.

 

Replay of  Complete ICA Webcast That  Surprised Howard Neu With a Lifetime Achievement Award Now Online

Last week I told you about what was publicly announced to be an upcoming episode of the popular Ask Me Anything webcast series that the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) produces for the benefit of their members. The show with domain attorney and TRAFFIC conference co-founder Howard Neu and myself as the guests was held as scheduled on Thursday (January 4).

We were supposed to be there to answer questions on any topic from other ICA members on the call and we did that for the first 40 minutes of the one-hour webcast. However, everyone involved in the production and in the audience, was able to keep what would be happening in the final 20 minutes a secret from Howard. That is a miracle in itself because so many people were told about it in advance and no one broke confidence, including Howard's wife Barbara and son Ray (lifting my already high opinion of ICA members even higher)! 

The reason for the secrecy was a desire to surprise Howard while presenting him with a prestigious ICA Lifetime Achievement Award. No one has deserved one more. Howard has played a huge role in creating the flourishing global domain name industry we have today. From helping to build a true community by bringing people together face to face for conferences around the world to protecting their rights as one of the very first domain attorneys AND being a co-founder of the ICA (the non-profit organization that fights for domain owner rights), Howard has made the lives of everyone around him better.  

 

Howard Neu
ICA Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree

For that reason, the webcast screen switched to ICA General Counsel Zak Muscovitch with 20 minutes still to go. Zak told Howard he was being honored for his invaluable service to the industry and, fittingly, Barbara then presented him with the physical award on camera in a very emotional moment and it just continued to get better. The ICA had asked members to record a message of congratulations to Howard and they responded in droves. Though members were asked to keep their greeting to around 30 seconds, ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz wound up with almost a half hour of video to edit down to the 10-minute film shown during the webcast. What is nice is that all of the original comments are available online as is the 10-minute edit

But, as they say on late night TV, wait - there's more! The entire one-hour webcast was uploaded to YouTube this afternoon, so if you missed the show Thursday you can watch it now (below). I think you will find it rewarding and, in the final third, very emotionally moving as Howard and his family got to hear exactly how much he and they are appreciated by their friends and colleagues around the world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed being there to help shine a light on someone who has brought so much light to our own lives.

 

(Posted January 8, 2024) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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New International Women's Alliance Aims to Help Women Succeed as Online Entrepreneurs

New enterprises launch with every new year  and one of the interesting ones to keep an eye on in 2024 will be the International Womens Alliance. The new IWA was founded by Natalija Japerte who has assembled a successful team of women entrepreneurs who can equip others with the connections and tools they need to build a personal brand and survive in business. Natalija is already a busy executive handling multiple roles as Business Development Director at Intis Telecom, Business Manager for .it.com Domains and CEO of Intis Telecom SIA (Latvia), but she also felt compelled to do something to help fix inequities that exist at too many other firms.

In a blog post Natalija noted, "Although the share of women hired into leadership roles has increased by 3.6% over the past 6 years, there are still far fewer of them than male leaders. Last year, they made up only 36.9% of the total number of managers. In entrepreneurship, the disparity is even larger - of the 8,800 global companies listed on Crunchbase, less than 900 were founded by women."

"While building a business is always challenging, for female entrepreneurs it comes with the additional complexity of having to break down 

Natalija Japerte
Founder & CEO

the barriers of stereotypes...time and time again, studies have indicated that women have just as strong an ability to develop connections, mentor others, care for the community, and lead by example as men, making them valuable members of leadership teams at every level." 

The idea of the IWA originated at the 2023 We Make Future (WMF) trade fair in Italy when the organizers, Hosting Solutions, and it.com Domains collaborated on a project aimed at helping Italian female-led startups participating in the WMF by providing them with the

Tess Diaz

necessary resources and expertise to grow locally and successfully establish their presence on the global market. The initiative included hosting, a domain name, and business consulting, all offered to eligible startups free of charge. The project gained significant interest including being featured in Forbes Italy. As a result, Natalija pursued the idea of establishing an organization dedicated to supporting women in business around the world and now, powered by it.com Domains, the IWA has arrived.  

At IWA Natlija leads a 10-women team that includes four ambassadors appointed to specific countries. The IWA's U.S. ambassador, Tess Diaz, is already well-known on this side of the pond and beyond after serving in high profile positions with several well-known companies since entering the domain industry back in 2006 with GoDaddy.

You can learn more about what the IWA offers here and much more about Natalija's personal journey in the business world here.

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ICA Ask Me Anything Event with Howard Neu and Ron Jackson Will Be Open to All Thursday

Editor's Note (2pm Jan. 4): The ICA AMA event detailed below happened earlier this afternoon and what we couldn't tell you in the story was that a surprise was waiting for Howard Neu during the live event when he was honored with an ICA Lifetime Achievement Award for his pivotal role in establishing the global domain name community that exists today. In addition to the great turnout for the live event a video was played with with congratulatory messages from many of the countless friends Howard has made in the nearly 25 years he has been in the industry. We are all in his debt.

The Internet Commerce Association's 2024 Annual Member Meeting gets underway two week from today at Resorts World in Las Vegas. As most of you know, the ICA is the highly effective non-profit organization that fights to defend domain owner's rights. Its members include most of the leading companies, service providers and individual investors in the domain industry. These dedicated people have built an invaluable community that, through their combined efforts, has helped the domain business progress from its early "Wild West" days into a key player in the creation and growth of online enterprises around the world. If you are not already an ICA member I encourage you to join the team and become part of an extraordinary professional community that will help you reach your personal goals in this dynamic industry. 

The ICA helps its members do this in a number of ways including personal networking at their annual meeting as well as other key industry events like the annual NamesCon conference.

They also have regular members-only live online Ask Me Anything events that allow you to get your questions answered by long-time pros who have already been down a path you have just begun or simply want to know more about.

While the AMA events have always been a benefit reserved for members, I am happy to tell you that the ICA, ahead of its annual meeting, is going to give everyone a chance to see what they are all about by making the next AMA available to members and non-members alike. That is happening Thursday (January 4) at 12:30pm EST and I am even happier to tell you that I will be joining my long-time friend, domain attorney and pioneering TRAFFIC conference Co-Founder Howard Neu, as guests on the show. Members will get their usual email link to the event while non members are invited to drop ICA Executive Director Kamila Sekiewicz a note at [email protected] so she can send you a link to watch. 

I hope you will take this opportunity to see what the ICA has to offer and ask any questions you may have on any other domain business topics. While I am a big believer in the "under promise, over deliver" approach to business, I'm confident this will be an especially memorable session Thursday that you won't want to miss! 

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In addition to being New Year's Day, today is DNJournal's 21st birthday! Thanks to all of you for making the past two decades plus such a joy and wishing you all the best in the new year ahead!

(Posted January 1, 2024)

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Re-Branding a Popular Online Business is a Big Challenge - Why Digital Candy Did It and Morphed Into Domain Manage 

When Ryan Ewen's company developed a sweet tooth for DigitalCandy.uk a couple of years ago he never dreamed he would need to change the name of his fast growing domain and website marketplace just as it was starting to scale new heights. Unexpected changes are seldom welcome but in this case Ewen proved to be an adroit CEO in orchestrating a re-branding to DomainManage.com under less than ideal circumstances. In the end, the move not only solved a problem - it also opened up a host of new opportunities for the business.

A change had to be made when Ewen became aware of a trademark held by a different company -  Digital Candy Inc. It only became a matter of contention when Ewen purchased DNForum.com in February 2023 (a site he wound up selling to Helmuts Meskonis in April). With the acquisition Digital Candy UK would have a problem promoting the business in America where Digital Candy Inc. held a trademark. So, Ewen flew to Washington, DC to discuss it with one of the domain industry's top attorneys, Stevan Lieberman of Greenberg & Lieberman, who also owns EscrowDomains and, as fate would have it,  Digital Candy Inc., the company Ewen now had an issue with!  

Ewen told us, "In Digital Candy Inc., Stevan runs an established business and is closely connected to the brand. Stevan and I are both members of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA), the non-profit organization that advocates for the right of domain name owners and service providers. We agree with the ICA's code of conduct so it was an easy exploratory conversation."

The solution wound up being another acquisition that Ewen made in September 2023 when he purchased Domain Manage, a business that has been established in 2014. “It was a tough decision to let go of the Digital Candy brand but without being able to develop the site and promote it freely we realized it was a necessary step," Ewen said. "Acquiring Domain Manage enabled us to execute our development plans and pivot quickly. The Domain Manage name also aligned with our desire to offer domain name specific services rather than services for the broader ‘digital space’."

Ryan Ewen
Domain Manage CEO

 

Steven Lieberman

The move to DomainManage.com has been just one element of what has been a very busy year for Ewen's company. “We've seen exceptional growth in 2023 with the acquisition of 25,000 .com domains and multiple R&D projects coming to fruition, coupled with the launch of The Dot UK Group including www.brandable.uk and www.flip.uk.  Brandable has pre-registrations totaling 200,000 UK domains and is our flagship offering in terms of technical capabilities and brand creation. It is an example of what is to come in 2024 under the Domain Manage brand."  

Ewen added, “Parent company EW3N has seen gross sales reach $5 million. We have completed several domain name loans and will launch our Affiliate Domain Parking platform in early 2024 along with our fractional ownership product later in the year.”

While this article started with the re-branding of Digital Candy to Domain Manage, Ewen's journey into the domain world started much earlier. That was all set in motion back in 2012 when he founded the Falbros Group, specialized in financial services, we had also gotten into digital services and that side grew to include over 500 websites, a team of 150 people and expansion into SEO, design and social media," Ewen said.

"It became apparent to us that if a premium domain name was paired with a website a leader in a market could be created. This resulted in huge growth by deploying several premium domain names like bridging.com, expatmortgage.com and a host of .uk premium domain names like privatebanks.uk. These sites had exceptional designs and a premium domain name took them to another level."

“Over the years Falbros Group grew a huge digital asset base so it was strategic to create a marketplace to sell some of the unwanted or underused assets. The Digital Candy dot UK acquisition had come about prior to an entrance into the digital asset space with a vision of creating a trusted brand that lay people could identify with and feel safe buying and selling digital assets. The reason behind choosing Digital Candy was to encompass the whole digital space and include websites, domain names, social media, apps and was broad enough to grow into anything digital that was to come. Digital Candy UK launched with an offering that could point to headline sales including mayfair.com and newz.com as evidence of its success."

In conclusion Ryan noted, “While not a core offering of Falbros Group a real business opportunity had been identified and in December 2021 Falbros Group restructured to allow a real focus on Digital Candy dot UK. 2022 saw $950,000 in gross sales which for a first year of business was exceptional, particularly from a standing start with little experience in a new market."

With 2023 now coming to a close, Ewen will have another strong year to look back on and with a new brand to expand on, he is expecting 2024 to be even better.

(Posted December 28, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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Legacy of Lonnie Borck Honored in Campaign to Buy Armored Ambulance for United Hatzalah 

For people in the domain industry who knew him, Lonnie Borck was a person they will never forget. Lonnie passed unexpectedly in his sleep in 2016, but his friends and colleagues have kept his memory alive in various ways that honor and reflect Lonnie's spirit for giving and helping others. The most high profile of those has been presentation of the  Internet Commerce Association's annual Lonnie Borck Award (the winner of the next one will be announced at the ICA's upcoming Annual Meeting in Las Vegas next month).

One of Lonnie's closest friends, domain attorney Ari Goldberger, is now using a high profile domain that he and Lonnie previously shared ownership in, Jewish.com, to raise money for United Hatzalah, a non-profit emergency medical services organization that provides fast and free emergency medical services to all people in Israel, regardless of race, religion, or nationality. Lonnie spent much of his spare time volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician for the Baltimore Hatzalah chapter.

Lonnie Borck

When Ari learned that United Hatzalah was able to provide volunteer EMS service with a record 90-second response time throughout the State of Israel, thanks to a fleet of fully-equipped armored ambulances he thought Lonnie Borck's name should be on one of those-life saving vehicles. Hatzalah volunteers were the first responders on the scene of the October 7th terrorist attack in Israel and they are now bringing doctors and medical staff to save lives on the frontlines of the war with Hamas that has followed. Jewish.com noted that United Hatzalah was on the scene before the IDF, thanks to their GPS trackers pinging the first calls for help, adding "They dispatched over 1,000 emergency first responders and more than 120 rescue vehicles to the south and north to save as many lives as possible."  

Ari's mission now is to raise money for the purchase of one of those ambulances to be donated in memory of Lonnie Borck.  "Lonnie lived a life of kindness, humanity, and generosity, and would have been honored to ensure that as many lives as possible were able to be saved in the land of Israel. May his memory be a blessing," Donations for this initiative can be made through a Lonnie Borck memorial page on the United Hatzalah website at IsraelRescue.org

(Posted December 22, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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GoDaddy Auctions Celebrating Ambitious 2023 Overhaul With Massive Year End Domain Auction

GoDaddy Auctions is closing out the year with a bang that is creating a lot of buzz in the domain aftermarket. They launched a gargantuan NameFind Premium Domain Auction last week and have kept it in the spotlight by adding new names to the mix every day. The auction's 7-day rolling format means individual auctions will also be ending daily. As of this writing no specific end date for the auction has been set but you can see everything that will be closing over the next seven days.  

The scale of this sale is extraordinary. GoDaddy's Domain Investment Community Manager Jame Iles gave us some insight into why it is happening now.

*Details on site.

"2023 was a phenomenal year for us, as we took major strides towards our goal of a more seamless, integrated investor experience," James noted. "One area we're particularly proud of is the overhaul of our GoDaddy Auctions platform. This was a labor of love that started in 2021 and has thrived through this year with a series of key releases. We've updated the look, made searching and filtering a breeze, and enhanced access to domain auctions. Plus, we've added more data points and inventory, and improved the backend infrastructure."

James Iles
GoDaddy Investment Community Manager

"GoDaddy Auctions is about to wave goodbye to its Beta phase - but that doesn't mean we're slowing down. We're planning further enhancements to keep improving the investor experience. To mark the end of the Beta phase, we're infusing auctions with some top-notch premium domains from our NameFind portfolio with no-reserve prices and low starting bids. We're also using this opportunity to experiment with ways to drive even more buyers for your domains for sale. The auctions began December 6th with names like Cliche.com, VisitVegas.com and Sitcom.com on the block and new premium names added daily. You can filter for these names within Auctions or head over to NameFind.com to be redirected."

James added, "This is both a celebration of how far we've come and a stepping stone towards an even brighter future. Here's to making your business run smoother and achieving even more together!" 

James also provided us with a convenient list of key points about the auctions that will help you navigate through them and make the most of this buying opportunity.

Auctions URL: https://auctions.godaddy.com/beta?q=namefind

Schedule: 

  • December 6th: Initial batch of names listed (first batch will be ending December 13)

  • Each subsequent weekday: New names added with 7-day auction times

  • Auction end dates follow a predictable schedule (e.g 12/11 additions end on 12/18 but the final end date of the whole auction event is undefined)

  • Weekends excluded from auction start dates

Premium Domains:

  • First day included high-quality names like Cliche.com and VisitVegas.com

  • On the second day we added more domains such as SalesDesk.com, Appy.com, and Spent.com

  • Similar caliber names will be added daily throughout the event

No-Reserve Auctions:

  • Starting prices vary but all names will sell with at least one bid

  • Essentially, if you place a bid, you can win the name

  • Competitive starting bids (e.g $6,499 for Cliche.com)

Stay Updated:

  • Since we’re adding new names every day, it’s recommended that buyers check back daily to discover new additions

  • Visit NameFind.com for a redirect to the auction page


(Posted December 11, 2023)
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ICA Website for Next Month's Annual Member Meeting in Las Vegas Went Live Today  

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is set to welcome members back to Las Vegas for their 2024 annual meeting that will run January 17-20 at Resorts World. The venue was selected for a return engagement after last year's meeting there proved to be a hit with attendees. Today, the ICA launched a new meeting website dedicated to the upcoming event. That provides a central location for checking out the agenda, finding out who is coming and, or course, securing tickets if you don't already have them and booking a room at the hotel.

If you are not a member of the non-profit organization that fights to defend domain owner's rights, you should be! It is easy to do, with multiple membership levels that make it affordable for all corporate and individual supporters of the invaluable association to join. This is the perfect time to get on board too. Anyone who joins at the Premium Individual Level can get 50% off the $599 price for a meeting

ticket. Those joining at the Bronze Level will get a free ticket. Step up to Bronze Plus or Silver and get two free tickets or Gold and above to score three

The ICA has a rewarding and entertaining experience waiting for their members. For those who will be in town Wednesday evening (Jan. 17) they even have a group trip to the fabulous new Las Vegas Sphere planned (available until the limited supply of tickets runs out). Daytime Thursday (Jan. 18) will be for group networking activities with a Red Rock canyon hike, pickleball tournament or visit to the Mob Museum being just a few of the options to choose from. The welcoming reception will be Thursday night, followed by a full business day Friday (Jan. 19) and a closing reception Friday night that will include an amazing Mentalist show

Some will stay over to spend the weekend in Las Vegas. If you are doing that, they will have a a couple of extra events Saturday (Jan. 20) just for you, including a morning Broker Breakfast and an ICA and The Domain Industry Through the Years session at 11:30am as welcome bonuses. We will be there to cover it all and hope to see you there too!

(Posted December 8, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
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12-Month Study Shows .Store Strength and How New gTLDs Can Cut Through the Clutter

ICANN launched their new gTLD program over a decade ago, resulting in more than 1,100 new domain extensions being available for registration today. However, the ten most popular new gTLDs, less than 1% of total TLDs, account for 53% of all new gTLD registrations. It is obvious that reaching a high level of success with new gTLDs is not an easy task. Even so, in July ICANN green lighted the creation of another round of new gTLDs that are expected to arrive in 2Q-2026. With the already stiff competition soon to get even tougher, it is imperative that current and future new GTLD operators figure out how they can stake out a profitable piece of the market for themselves. 

 

A good way to do that would be to look at what today's successful operators have done to cut through the clutter. That group includes Radix, the operator of ten new TLDs, who has made several of their extensions stand out in the crowd using a multi-pronged strategy that has included building communities around specific TLDs, conducting unique marketing campaigns that reward participants and providing credible research that demonstrates the inherent value of their TLDs. With respect to the latter tack, Radix commissioned a recently completed independent 12-month SEO study of .store domains (one of the ten most popular new TLDs) conducted by eCommerce marketing agency Contrast Digital.  

The purpose of the study was to determine if there were any performance differences in using a .store vs a .com domain for an eCommerce website. Contrast Founder Elliott Davidson noted, "There isn’t any public data available on this so to test this, we launched two eCommerce sites that were the same, selling the same products, the only major difference being that one used .com and the other used a .store domain name extension. We wanted to run this as any business owner or creator would want to do for their own store from a resources and knowledge perspective. As such, the stores were built using Shopify and we didn’t invest an excessive amount of time into paid or SEO that couldn't be replicated into a monthly owner's workload."

"The main thing here is that, unlike most other experiments like these, these would be actual stores customers could buy from, not just a front as a way to collect the data. This way, the experiment could be as real as possible. So that search engines and users interpret the sites as unique, we reworded the content."

The study determined that the eCommerce businesses using .Store domains got 87% more traffic, a 12% lower cost per conversion and achieved 2X visibility by ranking faster and higher on search engines.   

 

Suman Das
Radix, VP of Brand Operations

With the new study in hand, Suman Das, VP of Brand Operations at Radix, now has an even stronger case to make for why eCommerce entrepreneurs should have .store on their radar. "A .Store domain inherently communicates a clear, retail-focused identity, helping businesses to stand out in the crowded online marketplace," Das said. "By slashing customer acquisition costs and boosting store visibility, .Store can provide a marketing advantage to eCommerce business owners. These advantages are vital for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence, drive more traffic, and, ultimately, increase sales. The results of this study not only highlight the effectiveness of .Store, but also reinforce our commitment to providing solutions that address the real needs of the eCommerce seller community."  

Suman added, "For eCommerce business owners, customer acquisition and website traffic are some of the key challenges today. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by GoDaddy Venture Forward (.pdf file), 42% of small business owners listed online marketing through ads, promotions, and social media as one of the top three challenges when starting their business."

(Posted December 4, 2023) To refer others to the post above only (and not the full Lowdown column) you can use this URL:
https://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2023/dailyposts/1204.htm

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