ICA Member Profile: Kate Buckley

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Kate is CEO and Founder of Defining.com (formerly Buckley Media), the world’s first agency combining Premium Domain Services—Sales, Acquisitions, Corporate Domain Services, with a full suite of top tier Branding & Growth Services.

In the domain industry since 1998, Kate’s a regular speaker and panelist on domains and branding, including keynoting NamesCon; has been published by The Business Journals, Forbes, and other key publications, and has been interviewed or profiled by DNJournal, Domain Name Wire, Domain Sherpa, Domainer Show, Hooked on Startups, Kickstart Commerce, TheDomainShow.com, and more. She is also a member of the Forbes Business Council and was most recently named to the Forbes Next 1000. A proud member of the ICA, Defining.com is also a member of ICANN Business Constituency where Kate serves on the Credentials Committee.

Profile Questions

Name: Kate Buckley
Company: Defining.com
Favorite Domain: Defining.com 😉
Favorite Industry Conference: NamesCon
Favorite Industry Blog(s): There are many that I regularly read/listen to and appreciate; DN Journal and DNW.com probably stand out the most.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your personal story.
I’m a 9th-generation Kentuckian who found her way to 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 Promises2Kids. I live with my partner (in life and business), Todd Henderson, and our Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Murphy and Lila, on a half acre in Solana Beach (North County San Diego). You can often find me tending to the gardens when I need a break from the computer.

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—my first ever brokered sale) 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?
CEO/Founder, Defining.com (formerly Buckley Media). I founded Buckley Media in 2013 after selling 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 helping many, many companies buy and sell world-class domain names, and of course we have a full-service branding arm as well. On the sell side, we’re really excited about our current crop of domains under exclusive management: Defining.com/domains

Why did you choose to support the ICA?
I strongly believe in the ICA’s mission, 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)?
Be curious and open. Listen far more than you talk.

What are your main interests outside of the domain industry?
Writing, painting, reading, hiking, biking, gardening, cooking, travel, entertaining.

Favorite place to get away:
Anywhere Todd and I can unplug from work for a bit and enjoy exploring together. The Santa Barbara wine country is a frequent and beloved getaway.