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?



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?
My brother Robert, who is also an ICA member, got me 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.


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.


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



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/


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:


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



Click Here for the Form.


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.

ICA Member Profile: Brian Harbin

Brian Harbin has been an independent domain broker with GritBrokerage for over 4 years. He is also the Director of Sales for NamePros for the past 3 1/2 years. Brian has been in sales since he was 18 (about 20 years now) when he started selling educational books door to door as a freshman at the University of Georgia. He then transitioned to building an insurance agency which he ran for 14 years. About 4.5 years ago a friend introduced him to brokerage in the domain name industry, which turned out to be a perfect fit based on his background in sales and it allowed him to work from home, which was important at that time.

Brian has been married to his wife Jen for almost 13 years. They have 3 boys Stone (10), Max (6), and Charles (2). They have lived in Jacksonville, Florida now for 12 years.

Profile Questions

Name: Brian Harbin
Company: GritBrokerage
Favorite Industry Blog(s): NamePros

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I’ve been married to my wife Jen for almost 13 years. We have 3 boys Stone (10), Max (6), and Charles (2). We have lived in Jacksonville, Florida now for 12 years. I have been in sales since I was 18 (about 20 years now) when I started selling educational books door to door as a freshman at the University of Georga, and then I transitioned to building an insurance agency which I ran for 14 years

How did you get involved in the domain industry?
About 4.5 years ago a friend introduced me to the industry and it was a perfect fit based on my background in sales and needing to work from home more at that time in my life

What is your current role?
Domain Broker/Owner (GritBrokerage) and NamePros (Director of Sales)

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
I believe in what the organization stands for.

Can you share a prediction about the future of the domain industry?
The best is yet to come.

What do you like most about the domain industry?
It’s exciting to be a part of an industry where the best is yet to come. I think there is more and more awareness of the value of domain/internet assets, and I think we are all positioned well for when the demand becomes even greater.

If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
That people relied less on email and utilized more phone and face to face interaction.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges the domain industry is faced with?
Credibility and integrity. I think groups like the ICA will help put a face to the internet/domain industry which is needed. Certain people are drawn to our industry by being able to work behind a computer, and even though they sometimes can/do add value to our industry, others exploit that ability and there remains the issue of maintaining a level of ethics that this industry will need in order to garner a wider respect for exponential growth.

What do you wish other people knew about the ICA?
The need for organizations like this one and the greater initiative they are serving.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the ICA?
For me, it just made sense to support the overall industry.

What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
The sale of ICE.com earlier this year.

What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
Don’t heavily invest in domains when you first jump into the industry. Use the time to study and learn from those that are successful before you spend your hard earned money.

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
I buy, renovate, rent, sell homes and properties locally. I also have coached both of my sons’ flag football teams the past few years

Favorite place to get away:
Hotel at the beach with my wife.

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

ICA Member Profile: Kate Buckley

Kate is CEO and Founder of Buckley Media. She has 23 years of experience in integrated marketing and business development, with deep experience in global domains, brand development, naming, creative strategy, storytelling, and social media. Kate’s background includes big agencies (Gray and Landor) as well as 20 years experience with premium domains (CCIN/The Castello Brothers). She is an expert at premium domain consulting and representation, specializing in ultra-premium .COMs. Kate has three publicly recorded domain sales in the Top 15 Global Sales for 2018 (DNJournal.com)—the only individual or company to do so.

She graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky with a BA in Advertising/PR/Communications. Kate also holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Spalding University), and is a Certified Professional Life Coach and Corporate Trainer (LCIOC), Public Speaker (AMA), and accomplished artist, award-winning poet and author. She is Poet Laureate Emerita of Laguna Beach, California. Kate’s a strong believer in supporting communities; apart from her involvement in a personal capacity—volunteering and providing pro bono branding services, she also ensures that Buckley Media donates a considerable portion of the proceeds of each domain sale to worthy charities such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, WaterSchool, and With My Own Two Hands Foundation.

Profile Questions

Name: Kate Buckley
Company: Buckley Media
Favorite Domain: Translate.com (currently under exclusive brokerage)
Favorite Industry Conference: NamesCon
Favorite Industry Blog(s): DN Journal, DomainSherpa, Elliot’s blog, DNW.com

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I’m a peripatetic Kentuckian who somehow ended up in Southern California. I’ve been in branding and marketing since 1995 and premium domains since 1998. I’m also a poet, writer and visual artist (KateBuckley.com), and an avid supporter of a variety of causes including Big Brothers Big Sisters. I live with my boyfriend, Todd Henderson (CEO of InkAgency.com) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Murphy, in Laguna Beach.

How did you get involved in the domain industry?
David and Michael Castello recruited me in 1998 to help them launch, monetize, and run PalmSprings.com. David and I had PalmSprings.com grossing $1M annually just between the two of us. It was a tremendous learning experience! I went on to work with them on LagunaBeach.com (which I later sold for them for $600,000) and Nashville.com, as well as a variety of other CCIN brands. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the world of ultra-premium domains.

What is your current role?
I founded Buckley Media in 2013 as a branding and domains agency. I’d just sold LagunaBeach.com for the Castello Brothers, along with a marketing plan and site redevelopment blueprint I’d created. The new owners hired me on to implement my plans, thus the formation of Buckley Media. Since that time, I’ve had the pleasure of branding a number of exciting companies (both startups and established companies) and brokering (on both the buy and sell side) some amazing domains including my recent sale of Sleeping.com and Snoring.com for over $1M. I work on an ongoing basis with both the Castello Brothers and Roy Messer on their amazing portfolios, as well as a select number of other domain investors on their valuable ultra-premium domains: https://www.buckleymedia.com/featured-premium-domains.html

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
I believe in the ICA’s mission and tactics, and want to be part of helping move things forward in a coordinated, elegant, intelligent and transparent fashion. I also very much appreciate the ICA’s advocacy and aims.

What do you like most about the domain industry?
It’s entrepreneurial and ever-changing. In order to succeed, one must have a high risk-tolerance, good people skills, and be both a creative and strategic thinker. It’s never boring.

If you could change one thing about the domain industry what would it be?
Greater alignment on best practices. Greater transparency and an established code of ethics.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges the domain industry is faced with?
We’re not regulated and are ever-changing, so we need to self-regulate and co-create best practices that serve to move the domain industry forward. We also need to better educate the public on the value and highest and best use of domains in a coordinated and cohesive manner.

What unexpected doors opened for you because of your involvement in the domain industry?
I’ve met some of the most fascinating people I know through the domain industry. It’s also allowed me to make a good living on my own terms, doing something I greatly enjoy.

What’s the best advice ever received (domain related or otherwise)?
Listen far more than you talk.

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
Writing, painting, reading, hiking, Stand Up Paddleboarding, cooking, wine tasting, travel.

Favorite place to get away:
Anywhere that my boyfriend and I can unplug from work for a bit and enjoy exploring the world together. Next up, Croatia!

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

ICA Member Profile: Slade Michalec

Slade got his start in internet marketing, working on the affiliate marketing side of things where focus was on website optimization and user retention/recovery. After hearing Hobi speak of the domain industry for several years, Slade became more fascinated with domains. He eventually made the career jump and began brokering premium domain names at Domain Holdings. Since the beginning to where he is today as Co-Founder of Lumis, Slade has not looked back! Read more