Exclusive – Interview with the Buyer of Digital.com, Richard Kershaw

Digital.com sold in the Heritage Auction for $325,000 and with the buyer’s premium the total price to the buyer came to $373,750. After the auction we communicated with the gentleman who purchased the domain name, Richard Kershaw.

We decided to ask Richard a few questions about what he does, why he purchased the name and how high he would have bid if there was a bidding war ?

TheDomains.com: What business are you in?

Richard: I own two internet businesses, both based in London:

#1. Wish.co.uk, an e-commerce startup (most famous for our zombie experience days: http://is.gd/Cgif3s). We’ve had press in 50+ countries and every continent except Antarctica (PR info here: http://wish.co.uk/press/)

#2. WhoIsHostingThis.com, a popular webmaster tool that has been featured in Time.com, Daily Mail and the New York Times.

I also own several hundred generic domains, such as yacht.co.uk. While I have done many deals in the $XXXX-XX,XXX range, this is my most substantial domain purchase by some distance.

TheDomains.com: What are your plans for Digital.com ?

Richard: I have specific plans for Digital.com in 2015, but for now I will plead the fifth. Watch this space!

TheDomains.com: Are you concerned about the new gTLD’s?

Richard: No. I believe .COM – and the equivalent CCTLDs, like CO.UK – will remain the “gold standard” of domains for the forseeable future.

Can you imagine anybody building a serious brand on a .NINJA or a .ROCKS domain? I can’t.

I’ve no doubt that a handful of gTLDs will become moderately succesful – perhaps akin to the .BIZ or the .INFO of this decade – and predict that the succesful ones will be those closest to existing TLDs familiar to consumers (like .WEB).

However, I believe that the majority of gTLDs will struggle or fail, and we’ll see a race to the bottom, with registries discounting heavily in a desperate attempt to attract limited retail interest.

We’ve already seen this kind of behaviour to attract market share. This reminds me of $0.99 .INFO domains and .TK free domains in the past, two promotions that more or less guaranteed that these TLDs were most famous primarily for their spam/malware problems.

I anticipate that the value of premium .COMs (and their local ccTLDs equivalent) will remain steady. Regular consumers – not domainers or webmasters – will be typing  .COM into their browsers by default for decades to come.

To that end, I have just placed a $373,750 bet to put my money where my mouth is.

TheDomains.com : How much would you have been willing to spend on the domain if others bid on it

Richard: Significantly more than I paid for it. I never dreamed I’d win the auction with that bid. I had predicted prior to auction that an ad agency or media agency would win with a seven-figure sum.

Verisign Reports: 128.9 Million .Com/.Net Domains; 57.2% Profit Margin & $1.5 Billion In the Bank

VeriSign, Inc. (VRSN), the registry for .Com and .Net reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2014 after the market closed today and lets face it .com and net growth are basically stalled.

VeriSign, Inc. reported revenue of $250 million for the second quarter of 2014, up 4.6% from the same quarter in 2013.

Verisign reported net income of $100 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.71 for the second quarter of 2014, compared to net income of $87 million and diluted EPS of $0.55 in the same quarter in 2013.

The operating margin was 57.2 percent for the second quarter of 2014 compared to 55.2 percent for the same quarter in 2013.

Second Quarter Non-GAAP Financial Results

Verisign reported, on a non-GAAP basis, net income of $96 million and diluted EPS of $0.68 for the second quarter of 2014, compared to net income of $92 million and diluted EPS of $0.58 for the same quarter in 2013.

Financial Highlights

Verisign ended the second quarter with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $1.5 billion, a decrease of $178 million as compared with year-end 2013.

Cash flow from operations was $121 million for the second quarter compared with $147 million for the same quarter in 2013.

On July 23, 2014, the Board of Directors approved an additional authorization for share repurchases of approximately $491 million of common stock, which brings the total amount to $1 billion authorized and available under Verisign’s share buyback program, which has no expiration.

Business Highlights

Verisign Registry Services added 0.42 million net new names during the second quarter, ending with 128.9 million active domain names in the zone for .com and .net, which represents a 3.7 percent increase over the zone at the end of the second quarter in 2013.

In the second quarter, Verisign processed 8.5 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net as compared to 8.7 million for the same period in 2013.

The final .com and .net renewal rate for the first quarter of 2014 was 72.6 percent compared with 73.2 percent for the same quarter in 2013. Renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days after the end of the quarter.

Verisign announced an increase in the annual fee for a .net domain name registration from $6.18 to $6.79, effective February 1, 2015, per its agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Businessweek: Pitbull Looking at Domainer Merlin Kauffman $7.5 Million Bitcoin Fund

Bloomberg/Businessweek.comm, just published a piece on the hip-hop artist known as Pitbull,  one of our South Florida celebs and his business ventures outside of the music world.

According to the article  Pitbull’s attorney is trying to get his client Pitbull to possibly invest in Bitcoin and are looking forward to a meeting none other than Merlin Kaufman, who in addition to being a world-class domain investor is running a Bitcoin Fund:

“Zigel slides over a stack of articles about Bitcoin and mentions a possible sitdown with Merlin Kauffman, who runs a $7.5 million Bitcoin investment fund focused on the hardware that runs the currency.

Pitbull flips through the pages quickly, not displaying much interest.

“I still want to know, what exactly is Bitcoin?” Pitbull says. “How real is it? Is it going to be adopted and be disruptive?”

“The people who are going to adopt it are young,” Zigel replies. “If it’s something they decide they want to do, it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

“What makes this real money?”

Zigel, looking unsure, glances quickly at the articles Pitbull has shoved back toward him. “It’s very speculative right now,” he says. “There’s nothing that’s holding it together.”

Pitbull is dubious. “No gold, no nothing?”

“No banks behind it, no.”

There are many people into the Bitcoin thing, as investors, miners, traders, market makers and otherwise

Many of them have ties to the domain community,  which is why you see  number or articles about Bitcoin and other crypto currencies on TheDomains.com

Of all the Bitcoin movers an shakers out there its pretty amazing that Pitbull’s attorney names someone in the domain community on the first page of the five-page story.

You can read it all here.

Did Lebron James Lease or Buy Lebron.com? After 6 Years Domain Points To LebronJames.com

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CBSNews.com published a blog post about a week ago about a domain investor who owns Lebron.com since 2008.

The story,  which in a very positive light,  chatted about a domain investor, Patrick Nagle. whom they described as a “Tech-savvy Maryland businessman”.

“As millions of basketball fans search online for news of what team free agent LeBron James will be playing for next, Mr. Nagle has found a way to benefit.

Type in LeBronJames.com and you go to James’s official Web site. But type in lebron.com and you’ll end up wherever Nagle directs you. Nagle bought the domain name lebron.com back in 2008.”

“Now he has taken all of the Web traffic looking for basketball news at Lebron.com and directed it to Nagle’s own personal LinkedIn profile instead.”

In an email to CBS News today, Nagle says, “I’ve been buying and selling Internet business for the past 15 years (since I was 16). I stumbled across Lebron.com when I co-founded OurSpace.com in 2008, an Urban Social Network, (later acquired by News Corp). I thought lebron.com was a great domain, so I bought it.”

Now about a week after CBS News published the story the domain name Lebron.com is forwarding for the first time since 2008 to Lebron James Official site LebronJames.com

The whois record has not changed so we don’t know if there is a lease and/or sale in the works, or maybe Mr. Nagle responded to a C & D letter based on the story.

We don’t have the answer yet but the timing of the forwarding of the domain to Mr. James official site on the heels of the story would seem to indicate something is in the works.

As for Mr. Nagle he seems to be another one of those people who has been in the domain investment space for a very long time but isn’t a well know figure in the community but appears to be making some big money from domaining.

The article goes on to quote Mr. Nagle to say:

“I recently re-sold MarijuanaMD.com in less than week for mid six-figures after acquiring it for $800.

I don’t know what Lebron.com is worth — but I do know it is a quality generic name.”

Nagle says he owns or runs around 3,000 domains and web properties, but has “stopped buying and selling to focus on a new business.”

.XYZ Debuts on RegstrarStats.com As The 8th Most Registered Top Level Domain Extension

 

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.XYZ has become the 8th most registered Top Level Domain according to RegistrarStats.com.

.XYZ domain registrations are only surpassed by .Com, .Net, .Org, .Info, .Biz, .US and .Mobi (actually .US is a ccTLD not a TLD)

This is the first day I have seen .XYZ stats picked up by RegistrarStats.com which shows .XYZ picking up over 4,000 registrations and the only one of the now top 8 to pick up net registrations (of course .XYZ does not have deletions yet)

Years before there was ntldstats.com, and namestat.org, which have popped up this year to track stats on the new gTLD’s,  RegistrarStats.com was the go to source for to find stats on domain name registrations across TLD registries and registrars.

While the two newer services are free, RegistrarStats.com is subscription based and you have to be approved to spent the money and get access.

Also unlike the two newer services RegistrarStats.com tracks stats not just on the new gTLD’s but on all incumbent strings like .Com, .Net and .Org and although it generally does not track country code extensions (ccTLD’s) but does include .US.

Since launching just a few months ago, .XYZ has passed .Asia, .Name, .Tel, .Pro, .XXX to name a few.

While most will still point to the Network Solutions fee domain giveaway to account for .XYZ success, I haven’t seen the number move on the NetSol side for many days and the percentage of .XYZ registrations was a high as over 86% coming from NetSol is now sitting at 77%.

According to ntldstats.com, which is updated sometimes twice a day, .XYZ tops 300,000 registrations at the moment at 301,627.

RegistrarStats.com is updated once a day.