9
Sep

ICA Releases Annotated Domain Name Purchase Agreement

Do you know what belongs in a purchase agreement?  What rights are you selling?  What liabilities are you assuming?  How will disputes be resolved?  Are you acquiring full rights to the domain name you are purchasing?

All these are questions that should be addressed in a domain name purchase agreement.  The ICA worked with some of the top domain name attorneys to develop an annotated domain name purchase agreement.  Our goal is to educate domain investors and to benefit the industry as a whole by providing this sample agreement.  It is robust and incorporates decades of experience in buying and selling domain names.  It may be particularly helpful to those new to the domain name industry who are newly buying and selling domain names on their own and may not have a domain name agreement at hand.

This agreement is for educational purposes only.  Many marketplaces and brokers have standard agreements that they use.  The circumstances of each transaction are unique.  An experienced domain name attorney should be consulted to review the circumstances of your purchase to ensure that the agreement adequately addresses the risks and contingencies that arise from your specific transaction.

This is a living document and will likely be revised and developed over time.  You can check back to view the latest version.

We hope you find this useful.  Feedback is welcome.

 

ICA-Educational-Resource-Domain-Name-Purchase-Agreements-What-to-Watch-For-September 14-2020

 

Updated September 14, 2020 with Version 2.

28
Aug

ICA Member Profile: Giuseppe Graziano/LXME

Giuseppe Graziano is the founder and CEO at LXME – Lisbon Media, the company that operates the investor-only domain trading platform LMX.com and GGRG Brokerage & Consulting.

Profile Questions

Name: Giuseppe Graziano
Company: LXME – Lisbon Media
Favorite Domain: Lisbon.com
Favorite Industry Conference: NamesCon Europe (formerly Domaining Europe)
Favorite Industry Blog(s): There are many great blogs out there, but the DnJournal by Ron Jackson, the first industry blog I read, has a special place in my heart.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I grew up in Southern Italy and started traveling the world when 16. I went to the US first, then to France and Spain as an exchange student. I then moved to Shanghai for my master’s degree.

Upon returning to Europe, I stumbled upon Lisbon in 2011. I fell in love with the city, and intuitively decided it would be my home. I then started to work in the industry around 2012. After some back and forth between Italy, the US, and Lithuania, I finally settled in Lisbon, and I am still here in 2020.

Lisbon is quickly becoming a capital of the domaining world, with more and more industry people relocating here. I can see why. There are great tax benefits; there is an amazing quality of life, but, to me, it’s not only that. The light that reflects from the Atlantic and the Tagus onto the city’s limestone is incredible. You can get a glimpse of the Lisbon light and the water through the video of the LXME Sunset Cruise we organized last year on the occasion of NamesCon Europe (credit: Jeff Sass of .club).

I could write a book about why Lisbon is so special, but I’ll leave that to another occasion.

How did you get involved in the domain industry?
During a trip to Los Angeles, I decided to start a blog about productivity and, to my surprise, I found out that you can actually buy and sell domain names. On the connecting flight back to Europe, I bought in the airport the book “Get Rich Click” (great title, right?); a couple of months later, I was obsessed with domain names, and I was on my way to my first domain conference in Valencia.

What is your current role?
CEO at LXME – Lisbon Media, which is the company that operates the domain trading platform LMX.com and GGRG Brokerage & Consulting. We also publish the Liquid Market Report, a quarterly publication about the aftermarket in collaboration with Intelium, Escrow.com and ShortNames.com.

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
As soon as I started to enjoy success, I felt it was my duty to support the organization that looks after the interests of domain investors.

Can you share a prediction about the future of the domain industry?

A quote I like is: “An oracle gives predictions but does not provide probabilities”. I have always been wary of giving predictions, as it often comes with discounting other probable scenarios. The world we live in is such a complex system where completely unforeseen events can and will shift the future.

This being said, there are easy-to-spot trends that we can deduct by looking at other industries:

At a macro level, we are seeing a typical feature of an industry reaching maturity: consolidation.

The domain industry has always been relatively small in size and was therefore sheltered from large capitals, which do not see the domain industry as large enough to be attractive. Because of the dominant position of the large companies and the relatively small size of the market, this prevented smaller companies from within the industry to build enough firepower and become a serious threat to the larger ones. Rather, the threats to the major companies are more likely to come from players of adjoining industries suddenly wanting to enter the industry and get a share of the market.

The obvious consequence of these dynamics is that small companies are being swallowed by larger ones. This is forcing many small industry players to grow, merge, or fade into domain oblivion.

At a micro level, on the domain investing side of things, there has never been a visible barrier to entry. Anyone with $10 can start to “invest” in domain names or become a broker. With more and more players looking to enter the investing/brokering game, there will be more people looking at unrealized niches and investing opportunities. Because of the increased number of players, the aftermarket will become more efficient, cutting into the domain investors’s profitability. Another consequence of a more efficient market could be disintermediation and possibly fewer brokers.

To recap: as an investor, it is easier than ever to start but harder to make meaningful margins. As a service provider, it is easy to start a company but, because of the vertical integration of the leading domain companies, it is harder to become a dominant player. To make an analogy with e-commerce, it is easier to buy or sell a product online, but harder to become the new Amazon. All this being said, we live in times of rapid change, so the only certainty is that we are in for quite a few surprises.

What do you like most about the domain industry?
An obvious answer is the physical freedom to work from everywhere. But what I came to value the most are the people. The industry attracts smart, open-minded people who live life on their own terms. I feel like I have friends everywhere I go in the world. Many of these people enriched my life.

If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
I would like to see the value of domain names defined by clear, objective metrics and less as the result of a bargaining process. Less bombastic marketing and more data. This is ultimately the only way for domain names to become a legitimate asset class and for the industry to outgrow its status.

What do you wish other people knew about the ICA?
The tireless work that Zak, Nat, Kamila, and everyone else at the ICA is doing behind the scenes.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the ICA?
I would ask them – what would make you join the ICA? If reasonable, implement those changes.

What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
The domain industry opened so many doors for me. Thanks to some of its people, I managed to:

– Attend a gala ball at the Hofburg Imperial Palace in Vienna. (Credit: Monika Pink-Rank/ Nic.at).
– Being invited for lunch at the GMO building in Shibuya, Tokyo. I have always been curious about visiting the HQ of a large Japanese company. (Credit: Hiro Takahara/GMO).
– Received amazing recommendations about little known places to visit in Australia. (Credit: David Goldstein/GoldsteinReport).

Last year, I accomplished my lifelong dream of living in Kyoto for a few months before Covid hit.

Which other industry allows you to have such experiences?

What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
I went to my first domain conference – Domaining Spain in Valencia – with the idea of learning how to become a domain investor. Because I studied in China, I thought that investing in Chinese IDN domains (this was 2012) was a great idea and a niche I could have an edge on and be successful.

Someone – I don’t remember exactly who – suggested that, rather than starting to invest on my own, I could first work in an established domain company so I could learn the ropes from the experts.

I followed the advice and was blessed to spend my apprenticeship under the wing of industry leaders, many who are also ICA members: Joe Uddeme, Alan Dunn, Mark Daniels and so many others. Without their generous help and guidance, my learning curve would have been much longer.

For the record, Chinese IDNs and the domains I bought before that, did not amount to anything.

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
I am naturally curious about history, economics, and geopolitics and read a lot about such topics. I feel it is particularly important now to look back at the history of the past century and realize that, if we are not careful, it can easily repeat itself. The work of Hannah Arendt, who incidentally lived in Lisbon as a refugee during WW2, comes to mind.

In recent times I have become more interested in real estate. Just like domain names, it’s a largely inefficient market. I am curious to understand how the intangible components that make a space or location attractive are valued and how they affect people’s lives.

Sport wise, I play tennis, martial arts (from capoeira to MMA – although it is not worth the injuries), and I love everything that revolves around water.

Favorite place to get away:

I have traveled all over the world, but my favorite getaway is the region of Salento, the land of my ancestors. It’s a peninsula in the South of Italy, located at the heel of the boot. It includes cities like Lecce and Otranto. The light and the seawater have a quality that can’t be explained with words.

Anything else you’d like to share:

This is a tough time for a lot of people. To help investors, we extended the August no fee promotion on LMX.com until the 18th of September, meaning that users will be able to sell domains at no cost.

The views expressed here are the personal views of the member and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ICA.
3
Aug

ICA Member Profile: Todd Han

Todd Han is the founder, president, and CEO of Dynadot, an ICANN accredited registrar and web hosting company. Todd founded Dynadot, headquartered in San Mateo in 2002, and the company later opened several international offices in Zhengzhou, Beijing, and Toronto. Todd was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the US with his parents at the age of 4.

Profile Questions

Name: Todd Han
Company: Dynadot LLC
Favorite Domain: dynadot.com
Favorite Industry Conference: NamesCon
Favorite Industry Blog(s): domainnamewire.com

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I was born in Taiwan, and immigrated to the USA with my parents when I was 4. Since I was a kid, I loved technology and computers. Solving technical problems always came naturally to me. So running a domain registrar, which involves integrating lots of diverse platforms and APIs, suits me well.

How did you get involved in the domain industry?
Back in the year 2000 I was building websites for my mother. I was using another registrar at the time, and felt that I could write a better control panel. I have a background in software engineering. Being young and naive, and without much of a business plan, I just jumped in and started a registrar. It has been a fascinating journey so far.

What is your current role?
President of Dynadot.

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
I want to support an organization that looks out for the rights of domain registrants.

Can you share a prediction about the future of the domain industry?
The domain industry will become increasingly international. China and India are industrializing quickly, and all those increasingly affluent people will need domain names.

What do you like most about the domain industry?
The internet is the greatest invention in human history. It has revolutionized communication, information sharing, and learning. It is a giant storehouse of all human knowledge and wisdom. I remember when I was a child, I had to go to the library to learn from books. Now I can learn literally anything from the smartphone in my pocket. The internet has accelerated my rate of learning, and the rate of change of society in general. As domain industry professionals, we help run a key piece of internet infrastructure.

If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
I would like ICANN to be more responsive to the needs of registrars and registrants.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges the domain industry is faced with?
I think a lot of people have had their confidence in ICANN shaken recently. Good governance is critical to the continued development of the internet.

What do you wish other people knew about the ICA?
ICA is grassroots in the true sense. It is about ordinary people working together to fight for what is right.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the ICA?
I can recommend ICA without hesitation. They are efficiently run and effective in their advocacy.

What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
Because the domain industry is so international, I love being able to meet interesting people from all over the world.

What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
I love Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech. Life is short, so follow your heart, and trust that the dots will connect.

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
I love playing ultimate frisbee, and tango dancing.

Favorite place to get away:
Taipei

Anything else you’d like to share:
Just bought an electric bike. It is so fun, hope you can try one someday.

The views expressed here are the personal views of the member and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ICA.
8
Feb

Tell ICANN what you think of their plan to raise the price of .com!

Your .COM domain name is going to cost over 30% more unless ICANN, the group in charge of the domain name system, listens to the public and changes its mind about price increases. We created a tool to help you submit your viewpoint to ICANN. It takes 30 seconds! Use the tool here.

ICANN sets the price for .COM domains.  Verisign is the sole-source supplier of .COM domain names at the wholesale level, giving them an effective monopoly. Verisign charges $7.85 per year to register or renew a .COM domain name each year.  Verisign’s costs are estimated at between $2.50 to $2.90 per domain name per year.  Everything above that is pure profit.

Verisign already enjoys one of the highest profit margins of any company in the world. A further price increase is not justified. Yet ICANN staff want Verisign to increase prices on .COM registrants by 7% per year from the current $7.85 to $10.26 after four years. This will impose hundreds of millions of dollars of added expense on .COM registrants – simply to benefit Verisign.

ICANN is supposed to act in the public interest and to be responsive to public comment.  Here’s your chance! Take 30 seconds to let ICANN know what you think.

 


You can learn more about the issue in the following articles:

DomainInvesting: ICA: “Oppose price hikes on .Com”

Circle ID: Verisign’s Attempt to Increase its Fees Still Unjustified Despite Diversionary Tactic

Circle ID: Hundreds of Millions of Dollars at Stake as .COM Price Freeze Set to Expire

Domain Name Wire: .Com prices are going up after Verisign pays off ICANN

The Register: ICANN extracts $20m signing fee for $1bn dot-com price increases – and guess who’s going to pay for it?

 

8
Jan

ICA Member Profile: Jack Kalfayan

Jack Kalfayan is the the founder and CEO of Apex Moon, a domain acquisition and brokerage firm that specializes in premium top-level domain names. Jack’s been in the domain industry for over 6 years and has completed sales on the buying and selling side, totaling 8 figures USD. Jack was born and raised in Montreal, Canada but moved to Dubai a couple of years ago.

Profile Questions

Name: Jack Kalfayan
Company: ApexMoon
Favorite Domain: EVA.com
Favorite Industry Conference: NamesCon
Favorite Industry Blog(s): DomainSherpa, DNW

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. I moved to Dubai sometime in late 2017. I got my diploma in business management at John Molson School of Business. I held many odd jobs throughout my young life, including working in restaurants and in sales. I quickly realized that owning my own business was the only way to go.

How did you get involved in the domain industry?
I got started nearly 6 years ago. It started off as a hobby while I was studying in college but it quickly grew into a passion.

I launched my first website FunnyMemes.com and I realized the value of having keyword rich domain names. With zero dollars spent on advertising, I was able to rank on the first page of Google for each of my websites and I was making a decent amount for a kid in college. Then, one day to the next, Google decided to change their algorithms and payouts and the entire business all but collapsed. I see this as a blessing, though, as it taught me a valuable lesson: you cannot depend on third party companies to make your own company run. I had also gotten a taste for domains and I was hooked.

Owning and brokering top-tier domain names, which can only be described as prime pieces of online real estate for people from every corner of the world, is extremely fun and exciting.

I quickly learned about the true value and beauty of domain names. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live or where you’re from, as long as you have access to the internet, your gateway to a company’s presence online is through their domain name. Companies pay a fortune for prime real estate in major cities like New York, London, and Singapore. They do this not only because of the traffic, but also the prestige. The internet is ubiquitous and a domain name is the first and arguably most important aspect of a company’s online presence. I believe it is even more important for organizations to own their prime domains to show the world they mean business. It’s the equivalent of owning the best piece of real estate across every metropolitan city across the globe.

What is your current role?
I am the founder and CEO of the brokerage firm Apex Moon.

I pride myself at being able to get deals done, no matter how difficult. I love negotiating nearly as much as I love a challenge, but I like nothing more than helping a client get a domain name they desire quicker and cheaper than they had hoped.

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
I have tremendous respect for what the ICA stands for. As an investor myself, I believe in the ICA’s mission. Moreover, I both admire and respect its members. From Zak to Nat and everyone in between, the ICA exudes professionalism.

Can you share a prediction about the future of the domain industry?
If we’ve seen anything in the last year, it’s that companies are opening their eyes to the true value of premium domain names. We’ve had our finger on the pulse of the domain industry for a long time and as the scarcity of available premium domains increases, so does the value. The industry as a whole will continue to evolve and grow.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the ICA?
I believe anyone who takes domain names as an investment seriously needs to be aware of the ICA. Their mission is to protect investors and without them, companies like Verisign would have nothing holding them back from implementing damaging policies.

What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
“If you’re going to do something, might as well do it right”. Those were the words my father told me at a young age that stuck with me.

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
No question about it: traveling the world and eating great food.

Favorite place to get away:
It’s so difficult to pick between Italy, Bali, and Thailand. Each has a unique aura and so much to offer. From the people to the food to the scenery, all three are simply different versions of paradise.

The views expressed here are the personal views of the member and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ICA.
30
Jun

ICANN IGNORES STAKEHOLDERS AND REMOVES PRICE CAPS ON .ORG DOMAIN NAMES

The Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is profoundly disturbed by ICANN’s decision to remove price caps on .org domain names despite the groundswell of opposition from stakeholders.

On June 30, 2019, ICANN advised that it had executed a renewal agreement with Public Interest Registry and the renewal agreement. This was despite a nearly unprecedented public outcry from stakeholders and from .org registrants in particular, where over 3200 public comments were submitted to ICANN. The outcry came from registrants, nonprofits, community leaders, academics, charities, religious groups, community organizations, and many others. Apparently the ICANN Board allowed ICANN Staff to proceed to execute the renewal agreement without any concern over registrant interests, despite the ICA bringing this issue directly to its attention. The decision to ignore ICANN stakeholders in apparent total disregard for its self-professed “bottom-up multi-stakeholder model” is of great concern and calls into question ICANN’s ability to govern the domain name system in the public interest.

30
Apr

Selected Public Comments submitted in response to the Proposed Renewal of the .Org Registry Agreement

A Selection of Comments Submitted in Connection with the Renewal of the .Org Agreement

These are a selection of notable comments from the over 3,000 comments submitted in response to a request for public comment on the terms of the proposed renewal of the .Org agreement.  We have highlighted some phrases in bold and where needed fixed minor typos.

 

From a joint letter by the NPR, YMCA, C-SPAN, National Geographic Society, AARP, The Conservation Fund, Oceana, and National Trust for Historic Preservation:

— On price caps: “The reasonable expectation of .org registrants was, and continues to be, that prices would remain capped to ensure stable and reasonable domain name pricing for the millions of nonprofit organizations that have invested in a .org web presence. These organizations put their trust in ICANN as caretaker of the public interest in the .org name space.”

— Excessive Fees: “Every additional dollar earmarked for domain name registrations is a dollar that is not available to advance the public interest purpose of nonprofit registrants that use the .org name space.”

— Unsound policy basis: “ICANN has articulated no compelling policy basis for this proposed change. Instead, ICANN has represented that the intent is just to bring the .org Agreement into conformity with the base registry agreement used by ICANN with respect to other gTLDs not set aside for organizations that serve the public interest. This strikes us as conformity for its own sake. ICANN should not disregard the public interest in favor of administrative convenience.

 

From a comment by the National Council of Nonprofits:

“The National Council of Nonprofits is a trusted resource that advocates for America’s nonprofits nationwide. Through its network of state associations of nonprofits and 25,000-plus member charitable nonprofits, faith-based groups, and foundations, it serves as a central coordinator and mobilizer to help nonprofits achieve greater collective impact in local communities across the country.”

“A very large share of the more than 10 million .org domains are registered to charitable nonprofits organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.”

“Stripped of the jargon in the proposal is the suggestion that a domain populated almost exclusively by tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations is no different from long-established and emerging commercial-oriented domains. This mindset seeks to treat disparate entities as the same, something that laws and society fully reject.

“The ICANN proposal would subject nonprofits to unpredictable and unrestricted price hikes. Unlike for-profit businesses, nonprofits typically do not have revenue flexibility to absorb new and unexpected costs or to raise prices on consumers to overcome the hit to their bottom lines.”

“If domain names are no longer affordable, nonprofits will be forced to use less substantial subdomain. Donors are much more likely to donate at nonprofit.org than nonprofit.wixsite.com. Nonprofits that are no longer able to afford to keep a domain also risk longstanding domains being taken over by others, causing branding confusion and the potential for domains associated with charitable works being used for less-than-charitable purposes.

“Quite literally, the profits derived by this unwarranted change will ultimately be paid by the people nonprofits will not be able to serve. Every $1 in increased prices on the 10+ million .org domain users would generate more revenue each year than is utilized by all but the top one-percent of charitable nonprofits. Each one-dollar hike in costs per domain would divert more than $10 million from nonprofit missions for the enrichment of the monopoly. By anyone’s estimate, this money would be better spent delivering an additional 1,600,000 meals by Meals on Wheels to seniors to help maintain their health, independence and quality of life. Or $10 million could enable nonprofits to provide vision screenings for every two- and three-year-olds in California. Or pay for one million middle school students to attend performances of “Hamilton” or “To Kill a Mockingbird”. Nonprofits should not need to choose between paying for a domain name and helping people.”

 

From a comment by the ASAE:

“ASAE, which is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of trade and professional associations, is firmly opposed to ICANN’s proposal to remove price caps on the .org top-level domain (TLD) used by most associations and other tax-exempt organizations. Doing so would subject millions of associations and nonprofit organizations to what would most likely be an unstable pricing environment, forcing them to divert valuable resources from their exempt purpose in order to protect their online brand.”

“ASAE represents more than 44,000 association professionals and industry partners. Our members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world.”

“There are more than 10 million .org domain names registered. Legacy gTLDs like .com, .org and .net were created through the U.S. government and entrusted to ICANN to manage. ICANN then contracted with various service providers to operate legacy gTLDs – not to own them.

“It’s true that registry operators that won the right to sponsor new gTLDs can charge whatever price they see fit, but they also paid millions of dollars in some cases to acquire all of the value in their sponsored domain names, whereas the service contractors managing legacy domain names most assuredly did not. This is a crucial difference that ICANN should take great care to enforce.

“Stating that nonprofit organizations can easily switch from one domain name to another if they don’t like the pricing structure ignores the reality that established nonprofits have a longstanding Internet presence built on a .org domain name – a name and online reputation that the organization (not the registry operator) has spent decades cultivating.”

“ICANN’s mission is in part to preserve the operational stability of the Internet. Eliminating price caps and endangering the online credibility of the global nonprofit community is not consistent with ICANN’s mission.

 

From a comment by the California Association of Nonprofits:

“California Association of Nonprofits(CalNonprofits), a statewide policy alliance of more than 10,000 organizations, is the voice for California’s nonprofit community.

This proposed change to Section 2.10 of the .org renewal agreement would subject nonprofits to unpredictable and unrestricted price hikes. Unlike for-profit businesses, nonprofits typically do not have revenue flexibility to absorb new and unexpected costs or to raise prices.

Because this would be harmful to nonprofits, we strongly oppose the proposed Section 2.10 of the .org renewal agreement that would remove caps and permit unlimited price hikes on .org registrations and renewals.

Various other comments


“I’d like to offer that our religious community struggles to afford most things we do including our web presence. We focus our efforts of doing helpful things with our income and raising fees or opening up .org domain names to increased fees could be devastating to non-profit organizations.  Please don’t make it more difficult to be of service to others.

Father Thomas Clark, April 26, 2019


“I am a volunteer leader for several Scouting related groups, all of which have .org websites. We are volunteer based groups who’s leaders all spend way too much of our own money trying to help kids out. I personally pay for the renewal of our domain names simply because our groups don’t have the available money for them. If I didn’t pay for them the names, (and the associated sites), would end up going away. This is probably true for a lot of .org groups that work with youth.

Please don’t take the cap off the price increases. Every time these prices go up now it’s bad enough for me, but at least knowing they are somewhat limited helps.

Ted McLaughlin, Scoutmaster, April 24, 2019


“Many of these organizations have long-held .org domain names and a substantial percentage of their meager funding is tied to donors being able to find them via those domains. The massive potential price increases (as opposed to the moderate ones that are already possible) would prohibit smaller organizations and personal projects from having a place on the Internet. This is an anti-competitive practice aimed squarely at eliminating smaller organizations and nonprofits from having a presence on the Internet.”

Chris Raters, April 24, 2019


“The organization to which I belong is a registered nonprofit charity.  Our domain is an essential part of our identity and our ability to engage our members and raise money for our operations.  We are granted nonprofit charitable status because we bring a much needed benefit to the music and arts community.  A significant increase in the price of our domain would diminish our ability to offer these benefits and threaten our survival.”

Jerry Silver, April 25, 2019


Why, in God’s name, would anyone decide that .org domains in particular should be a market free-for-all?

Asai, an administrator of dozens of domain names for various nonprofit ministries, April 24, 2019


“I am writing in opposition to the removal of pricing caps for the .org  tld. That tld is widely used by non-profit organizations who might not
be able to afford steep increases in their URLS.  This could cause a great amount of upheaval and confusion if long standing non-profit and  community organization have to give up their tld’s and they are replaced by others with different agendas. How would low revenue, non-profit organizations be able to have a web presence if popular tld’s are only available to the affluent?  Bad idea.”

Gervase R. Bushe, Professor of Leadership and Organization Development, Beedie, School of Business, Simon Fraser University, April 26, 2019


“As a marine biologist working on many voluntary projects, particularly on marine mammal issues, it will be difficult for us if you remove the price cap. We won’t be able to afford the domain in a longer term, and we won’t be able to sustain our environmental movements for long. So, please keep the price low for us.”

Dr. Putu Liza Mustika (“Icha”), Director, www.cetasindonesia.org, April 25, 2019


This is basically sanctioning extortion, a domain name is closer to a trademark, except a company is apparently not allowed to own it… instead they must keep “leasing” their trademark from a registrar. What do I get for improving my domain name (making my business known, improving public trust, running a well known blog/ news site)? Clearly higher rent costs on that same name.”

Saevon Kyomae, April 26, 2019


“Just for the record, I’m an average guy who owns a .org domain, and I use it to provide mail services for myself and my family. I can afford $10US or $20US a year to maintain it.

HOWEVER, with the proposed removal of price caps, it’s very easy to imagine the cost of my domain going to $35US/year or even more. I may be able to afford that, but my wife would never approve the expense. It’s very easy to imagine that this proposed change would lead to me losing my domain.

Jeff Arnold, April 24, 2019


 

26
Apr

Groundswell of Opposition Emerges Against Unlimited .ORG Pricing

It is three days before Comments close on ICANN’s proposal to eliminate price caps on .ORG domain names, and the community of organizations is making their voices heard! At the time of writing this post, there are over 1,867 Comments – all opposing the elimination of price caps. This is a striking number of Comments given that how rare it is for ICANN to receive so many Comments on a particular issue.

But this issue has gotten registrants upset, and organizations who rely upon .ORG, in particular. Hundreds of community groups, charities, churches, scout troops, university students, programmers, small businesses, individual registrants, and others have all expressed their opposition in no uncertain terms and we have yet to see a single Comment in favor of removing price caps.

We are gratified to see that the National Council of Nonprofits, which represents 25,000 organizational members has itself taken a strong stand against ICANN’s proposal (See: https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/comments-org-renewal-18mar19/2019q2/000918.html).

We encourage everyone to read the comments and for ICANN to take these comments extremely seriously.

The .ORG registry is for organizations. And Organizations clearly don’t want to see unlimited price hikes. So, who is in favour of eliminating price caps on .ORG domain names, except the ostensible recipient of potentially higher fees, i.e. PIR, the registry operator itself?

ICANN went off in the wrong direction here, but it is not too late to align itself with registrants instead of its contracted registry operators.  As the U.S. Department of Justice stated, ICANN’s mandate is “to manage TLDs in a manner that safeguards the interests of registrants in obtaining high quality domains at the lowest possible prices” and “ICANN is obligated to manage gTLDs in the interests of registrants “.   ICANN, don’t forget that your legitimacy comes from serving the public interest, not in the interest of your contracted parties.

It is not too late to make your important voice heard. You can use the user-friendly Comment Form which the ICA created for this purpose, here:https://www.internetcommerce.org/comment-org/

23
Apr

Say “No” to Unlimited Price Increases on .Org Domains! Use this Easy Form for Submitting Comments.

The ICA has created an easy-to-use Form for you to submit your objections to ICANN regarding its proposed removal of all price caps on .org domain names.

The form offers several possible objections to the terms of the agreement.  You can select the ones that most closely match your concerns.  The form will then create an email that you can send directly to ICANN using your usual email application.  You can include whatever comments that you wish to add, as well.

The deadline for comments is APRIL 29, 2019.

You can read learn about ICANN’s proposal here:

https://www.icann.org/public-comments/org-renewal-2019-03-18-en

You can read the ICA’s comment objecting to the terms of the proposed .org renewal agreement here:

https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/comments-org-renewal-18mar19/attachments/20190410/6844d72c/ICACommenton.orgPricing-April102019-0001.pdf

 

Click Here for the Form.

12
Mar

ICA Member Profile: Andrew Rosener

Andrew Rosener is an industry leading Domain Broker and is currently acting as CEO of MediaOptions.com, a boutique domain acquisition & brokerage firm. Media Options started off as a one-man operation and has grown to become one of the best know domain brokerages in the industry, completing tens of millions in domain names sales for startups and Fortune 500 companies alike. Andrew himself has been among Escrow.com’s Master of Domains top 3 brokers since the award originated. Andrew also owns domainsherpa.com, a leading educational media company dedicated to the domain name industry, which provides the latest domain name news, people, events and trends that shape the practice of domain name investing.

Profile Questions

Name: Andrew Rosener
Company: MediaOptions
Favorite Domain: X.com (which we helped Elon Musk acquire from PayPal)
Favorite Industry Conference: NamesCon Europe! Home team advantage!
Favorite Industry Blog(s): DomainNameWire.com – Andrew just keeps elevating industry journalism. DomainSherpa.com for education.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I studied Management Information Systems in college and started a very small software business with a friend of mine while we were Seniors. The dean of our school was on our payroll. It was an interesting time. But I realized that it was NOT what I wanted to do with my life. So after graduating, I took a job in the seafood commodities industry because, heck, there were worse places to spend the summer than Newport, Rhode Island. Anyhow, I was the so called “Mini-me” to the owner of the company and ultimately took over nearly all aspects of the business over the next 3 years and grew the business by about 300% in the 8 years I worked there. Eventually, I started making more money from our domain names than from selling dead fish, and the rest is history!

I’m married to my wife Anna, who is really the big boss at Media Options behind the scenes, for 14 years and we have two young kids. We recently moved our family from Panama to Europe where we are splitting our time between Lisbon, Portugal and Duesseldorf, Germany.

How did you get involved in the domain industry?
I had started buying domain names in College in the mid to late 1990s. Mostly garbage although I could have been buying great names at that time! After a failed attempt at importing “Pata Negra” ham into the USA from Spain, the domain names I owned related to that idea turned out to be valuable to the guy who eventually managed to get FDA approval and we sold them to him in exchange for a whole leg, of what was at that time the most valuable meat in the World, plus $5,000 or so. This is when it clicked for me that EVERYONE is going to want their business name and related industry domain names. I was already late at this point so I decided to launch MediaOptions as a domain brokerage business in order to create the cash flow needed to build our own domain portfolio. That’s quite literally all we’ve been doing ever since. Today the brokerage business represents the majority of the business although we, through other companies, do own a reasonably good portfolio of domain names including things like: EM.com, Quilt.com, Beacon.com, Flawless.com & many others like this. In total, I believe the various companies own around 5,000 – 6,000 domain names.

What is your current role?
My role is CEO of MediaOptions. I act as an advisor to several of the other related portfolio companies. My primary focus is closing on tough negotiations, maintaining our top tier relationships & bringing in new business. The most difficult part is staying focused but maintaining momentum and increasing our footprint without getting too far outside our lane.

At the same time, I am also CEO & Founder of Ganjapreneur.com, an industry leading B2B media company in the legal cannabis market. That is a business that we have bootstrapped for the last 4 years and is now profitable and growing. We have one of the leading podcasts as well as a booming lead generation business in the cannabis space. The primary operations are managed and executed by my COO, Noel Abbott.

Oh and I almost forgot that I’m also CEO of DomainSherpa.com! Although that is almost like volunteer work at this point! We don’t earn a profit from DomainSherpa, but I do think that its a critical and extremely valuable tool for our entire industry. Heck, we have even used it to support the ICA and that message. It’s a very effective and popular soapbox with an incredible and rapidly growing audience. Although most of the credit for DomainSherpa’s success since we took it over from Michael Cyger at the end of 2017 goes to Tess Diaz, who has been working with me at MediaOptions since 2012 or so I believe. She is partially responsible for getting me full time into the domain business in fact, back from her time at GoDaddy where she was my executive account manager.

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
We have millions of dollars invested in domain names! Domain names have been good to us. the ICA is the only thing standing between us and damaging policies pushed by overly aggressive trademark and business lobbyists as well as the ever-growing threat/tensions around Verisign.

Can you share a prediction about the future of the domain industry?
I believe we have reached a tipping point in digital commerce and media where companies are finally realizing the value of domain names and their necessity. Not just to have a domain but to have the best version .com domain name for their brand, product and/or service. I think premium domain names are on the cusp of a renaissance with tons of new use cases and value propositions emerging on the horizon. Virtually every mega macro trend out there right now supports the argument for increased demand and increased value of the top tier domain names. I think we are in the early stages of a new wave of demand.

What do you like most about the domain industry?
No question about it, FREEDOM. Freedom to live where and how I want. Freedom to make as much or as little as I want based on the work I do and the risk I take. Freedom to live one of the most sovereign lifestyles of anyone I know. I know lots of folks with a lot more money, but I know very few folks with more freedom that we in the domain industry enjoy.

If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
If the industry had a consensus on domain valuation and a tool to objectively value premium domain names, it would be game-changing.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges the domain industry is faced with?
I think the biggest challenge the domain industry will face over the next 5 – 10 years is Verisign. Not price increases on domain registrations, but I suspect they want to come for our margins. They want to control the inventory and allow “premium registrations” of domain names directly to end users with premium pricing that has been “normalized” by the new gTLD program. Verisign is a dangerous animal because as .com domain registrations peak as they are, Verisign has to look for growth outside of new registrations. Dot Web is not going to provide that growth. Their approved price increases will give them some relief but won’t exactly set the world on fire for their investors. I think Verisign will try and turn the .com domain aftermarket into a Registry Product. Just my 2 cents…

What do you wish other people knew about the ICA?
If you are a serious domain investor, you would be silly not to support the ICA, it’s your only insurance policy against your investment. Would you buy an apartment building without home owner’s insurance?

What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
I always say that all roads lead back to domain names. That has been the most rewarding thing about my career in domain names. I have met, spoken with & negotiated with some of the most interesting, successful & iconic people & companies of our generation or lifetime. I believe that my entire sense of perspective has been shaped by the vast reaches of the universe that domain names touch. Domain names are never boring, I wouldn’t change it for the World…

What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
The first piece of advice is from my high school wrestling coach: “Pain is temporary. Pride is forever.” The second piece of advice is from my ex-boss in the seafood business: “Always do what you say you are going to do.”

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
My primary interests are learning (about everything), food, travel & sunglasses.

Favorite place to get away:
My favorite place to travel is probably Greece. But having just arrived in Portugal, I must say that I’m blown away at the number of incredible and diverse places this country has to offer. We canceled our plans to go to Greece this summer just to explore more of Portugal. I hope everyone comes to Lisbon in June for the NamesCon Europe event. I think it’s going to be amazing and take it from me, Portugal is a country made for domain investors!

The views expressed here are the personal views of the member and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ICA.