Tag Archives: Neustar

DDoS Attacks Inflicting Serious Damage To Brands: Neustar

DDoS attacks continue to be an effective means to distract and confuse security teams while inflicting serious damage to brands, according to a report released last week by Neustar, Inc.

The first quarter 2019 Cyber Threats and Trends report highlights new areas of growth in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks over the past year. One issue the report highlights is that while volumetric attacks over 50Gbps remain a relatively small segment of the overall threat picture at only 12% of attacks, their frequency has grown enormously when compared to the same period in 2018. The latest attacks morph over the course of the attack using a variety of ports and protocols to locate and exploit vulnerabilities. In Q1, 2019, over 77% of attacks used two or more vectors.

In particular, the trend of targeting subnets and classless inter-domain routing (CIDR) blocks to slow or stop network traffic across the internet is a disruptive DDoS threat, identified in the report. By using DDoS methods aimed completely at subnets, rather than specific IP addresses, an attack is often more difficult to detect and mitigate. These attacks often feature multiple vectors, and will switch between them as they migrate from subnet to subnet.

Neustar handled a mitigation for just such an attack in an around-the-clock collaboration between SOC engineers and a new customer who was quickly onboarded by Neustar after being dropped [during the attack] by their Tier 1 Internet Service Provider (ISP).

“Today’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies enable us to identify anomalous traffic and patterns, correlate data across systems, and perform behavioral analytics on users and entities,” said Rodney Joffe, Neustar Senior Vice President, Technologist and Fellow. “But none of these systems function without professionals who know how to deploy them, interpret their data, identify the existence and location of problems, and mitigate them.”

Such immediate personal involvement with expert engineers is a significant benefit in working with an estab-lished firm such as Neustar, particularly when under attack. “Neustar’s 10+Tbps of scrubbing capacity and variety of offerings are world class, and we have more power than ever to defend against the range of DDoS attacks,” said Michael Kaczmarek, Neustar Vice President of Security Products. “But it’s important to remember our most powerful defense: people.”

Neustar provides its customers with the resources and assurance that are needed to ensure data and infra-structure is continually protected against any type or size of DDoS attack. Neustar’s DDoS Mitigation Solutions offer the largest dedicated global network with over 10Tbps + of scrubbing capacity in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia and India.

A free copy of The Neustar Q1’19 Cyber Threats and Trends Report is available here.

.IN Registry Transition to Neustar Registry Platform Complete

In a short statement Friday on the TransitionSupport.in website, it was announced the transition of .in to its new Neustar-backed Registry platform was complete, with the transition completed at 00:01 (UTC) 1 March 2019.

As a result of the transition, .in and the 7 existing Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) are now being served by over 30 global DNS locations, provided by six anycast global networks, split across multiple redundant and high-capacity network providers. All DNS traffic is protected by Neustar SiteProtect DDoS protection, providing over 10Tbps scrubbing capacity globally.

In the near future, all 22 official languages of India will be supported, once the Centre for Development and Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and NIXI complete the remaining 7 language tables (Kannada, Oriya, Assamese, Sanskrit, Santali, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Malayalam), which will be launched in the .Bharat IDN TLDs selected by NIXI.

Neustar expands Indian Registry capabilities with new appointment


Nitin Wali image sourced from Twitter

[news release] Neustar Data Infotech (India) Private Limited, the India based subsidiary of Neustar®, Inc., a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information services, today announced the appointment of Nitin Wali to support its leading Registry Solutions business in India.

Mr. Wali joins the team as Regional Director, Technical Services, bolstering Neustar’s capabilities in India, where it will soon take over backend technical operations for the Indian .IN country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). Mr. Wali will bring his experience and expertise in digital transformation to this project and Neustar’s wider Indian business.

Passionate about creating a meaningful impact on businesses through technology, Mr. Wali’s experience includes over two decades in the technology industry working with leaders like Oracle®, IBM®, Intel® and Verisign®.

Nicolai Bezsonoff, Vice President and General Manager, Registry Solutions at Neustar, said Mr. Wali’s appointment would strengthen Neustar’s Registry business in India as he takes a leading role in the new .IN domain Registry.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nitin to the Neustar team,” said Mr. Bezsonoff. “He brings a wealth of expertise that will be invaluable as Neustar grows its presence in India, and we’re excited to see his strategic and result-oriented mindset support a new age of success for the .IN domain namespace, cementing its place in India’s digital legacy.”

In addition to his extensive resume, Mr. Wali is embedded in the Indian business and technology community. He is an advisory board member of the India SMB forum, India’s largest small and medium-sized business (SMB) movement, which provides a voice to and recognizes innovative, globally competitive SMBs in India. Mr. Wali advises start-ups as a mentor for IvyCamp and helps foster innovation in schools and colleges as a mentor for the Atal Innovation Mission.

Mr. Wali will commence his position with Neustar in mid-January 2019, ahead of the .IN Registry technology transition, expected to take place at the end of February.

About Neustar

Neustar, Inc. is a leading global information services provider driving the connected world forward with responsible identity resolution. Neustar Data Infotech (India) Private Limited is a subsidiary of Neustar, Inc. in India. As a company built on a foundation of Privacy by Design, Neustar is depended upon by the world’s largest corporations to help grow, guard and guide their businesses with the most complete understanding of how to connect people, places and things. Neustar’s unique, accurate and real-time identity system, continuously corroborated through billions of transactions, empowers critical decisions across our clients’ enterprise needs. More information is available at https://www.home.neustar.

.US Announces Live Town Hall Webcast

Neustar and the usTLD Stakeholder Council will hold a virtual .US Public Stakeholder Town Hall Meeting on Thursday November 29, 2018 at 11AM ET. The Town Hall will provide an opportunity for the community to hear from the .US team on the 2018 developments and for community discussions on how to build and grow the .US domain to meet the demands of the future.

Please take a moment and register here for the Town Hall.

In addition to an “open floor,” where your thoughts, suggestions and questions can be addressed, we plan to focus on two key topics:

  • Marketing and .US: The Voice of .US
  • 2018 Policy Year in Review and What’s ahead: Our Policy Recommendations, The world of GDPR, California Consumer Privacy Act and More

The meeting will take place virtually, and details will be circulated to all registered participants in advance of the meeting. If you’re interested in the .US domain space or internet growth and trends, you don’t want to miss this discussion. Register now. 

UPDATE: This posted was updated on 9 November after Domain Pulse was advised the agenda was changed to delete a discussion on “a place for the next generation: kids and participation in .US” so more time can be spent on the remaining 2 agenda items.

Neustar Acquires Verisign’s Security Services Customer Contracts

Neustar and Verisign have announced that Neustar will be acquiring Verisign’s Security Services customer contracts. The acquisition consists of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection, Managed DNS, DNS Firewall and fee-based Recursive DNS services customer contracts.

This acquisition will strategically grow Neustar’s leading Digital Defense and Performance solutions by expanding its enterprise customer footprint in several high-growth industries, such as technology, e-Commerce and financial services. Neustar features one of the industry’s most comprehensive security portfolios comprised of DDoS mitigation, web application firewall (WAF), authoritative and recursive DNS, IP and threat intelligence, and website performance management.

As part of the transaction, Verisign will continue to support the Security Services customers during the transition to Neustar, pursuant to a transition services agreement that is expected to be executed at closing.

“With this acquisition, Neustar will be able to accelerate its growth in the internet security market, supported by significant investments made to our DDoS and DNS infrastructure, and capacity over the last 12 months,” said Shailesh Shukla, General Manager, Digital Defense and Performance Solutions, Neustar. “We’re excited to introduce new customers to our broad portfolio of solutions and are dedicated to a seamless transition, working closely with the Verisign team. We are wholeheartedly committed to delivering innovative solutions that reduce the disruptions caused by malicious actors and providing world-class customer support.”

“We’ve grown the Neustar SiteProtect NG solution to be one of the world’s largest dedicated networks with more than 10 Tbps mitigation capacity and the Neustar NetProtect™ solution directly connects to a vast network of globally distributed data centers. This is a testament to our steadfast commitment to our customers and consumers. Our number one priority will remain providing all of our customers with a secure infrastructure built on a foundation of unmatched stability, resiliency and performance,” said Charles Gottdiener, President and Chief Executive Officer, Neustar.

“Verisign is committed to focusing on its core mission of providing critical internet infrastructure, including Root Zone management, operation of 2 of the 13 global internet root servers, operation of .gov and .edu, and authoritative resolution for the .com and .net top-level domains, which support the majority of global e-commerce. For this reason, Verisign is transitioning its Security Services customers to Neustar. Neustar has been focused on providing specialized web security and digital performance solutions for many years. Given this experience, we believe Neustar is well-suited to continue to deliver the innovative solutions and world-class performance to which Verisign’s Security Services customers are accustomed,” said Jim Bidzos, Verisign Founder, Chairman and CEO.

Commenting on the transaction, Jim Bidzos, Executive Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Verisign said: “Verisign is committed to focusing on its core mission of providing critical internet infrastructure, including Root Zone management, operation of 2 of the 13 global internet root servers, operation of .gov and .edu, and authoritative resolution for the .com and .net top-level domains, which support the majority of global e-commerce. For this reason, Verisign is transitioning its Security Services customers to Neustar.”

Use of “7 Dirty Words” Now Allowed in .US

After intervention from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Harvard University Cyberlaw Clinic, it’s now possible to register .us domain names with the “seven dirty words”.

The change of course in policy by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), part of the Department of Commerce, and Neustar, the .us registry, came about following the registration of the domain name fucknazis.us by Jeremy Rubin.

According to a post by the Cyberlaw Clinic, Rubin created the website and registered the domain name in 2017 and began offering a “virtual lapel pin” that allowed Ethereum (a popular digital currency) users to support opposition to anti-semitic and white supremacist conduct in the United States around the time of the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia last year. The registration was initially allowed, but then it was abruptly terminated due to the word “fuck” in the domain name.

“After a lot of back and forth (and significant patience on Jeremy’s part)—the domain name is now (back) in Jeremy’s hands and the site is now (back) up and running. We are also pleased that this incident prompted re-evaluation of a policy and practice of the United States Department of Commerce with respect to the .us country code top level domain (ccTLD) that clearly violated the First Amendment.”

It appears that the NTIA and Neustar had a policy of using the Pacifica list of 7 dirty words that can’t be used when registering .us domain names and it appears there had been discussions under way for some time as to whether it was still appropriate to enforce the list.

The list of 7 dirty words are 7 English-language words that American comedian George Carlin first mentioned in 1972 in his monologue “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”, notes Wikipedia. The words are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits.

In 1973 Pacifica station WBAI broadcast a version of Carlin’s routine that led to a complaint by a member of Morality in Media. There followed a declaratory order by the Federal Communications Commission and appeals which led to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 in 1978 that in the end formally established indecency regulation in American broadcasting. Which led to American broadcast networks “generally censor themselves with regard to many of the seven dirty words.” In 2010 “fleeting” use of expletives were ruled unconstitutionally vague by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York … as they violated the First Amendment due to their possible effects regarding free speech.”

Neustar Announces Executive Transition

Neustar®, Inc., a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information services, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Charles Gottdiener as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Gottdiener, who most recently was Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, succeeds Lisa Hook, who served as President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Neustar Board of Directors since 2010. Pursuant to months of collaborative planning, Ms. Hook will remain on the Board and work closely with Mr. Gottdiener to ensure a seamless transition.

Over the course of his thirty-year career, Mr. Gottdiener has established a track record of leading information services companies to drive innovation in client solutions, increase revenue and profitability, and scale operations. In his role as COO at Providence Equity Partners, Mr. Gottdiener oversaw the firm’s portfolio company operations, business development, human resources and other administrative functions. In addition, Mr. Gottdiener served as a Board member or interim CEO of several Providence portfolio companies, where he focused on driving enterprise value by building a culture of operational excellence and generating profitable growth. Prior to his role at Providence, Mr. Gottdiener spent seven years at Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) in multiple leadership roles, including President of the global risk, analytics and internet solutions business. Over the course of his D&B career Mr. Gottdiener established a track record of setting competitive business strategies, building high performing teams and launching new, innovative products to drive profitable growth.

Ms. Hook said, “Neustar has successfully completed the transformation we began in 2011 to become the leading provider of identity resolution-based information services. These efforts have been supported by a fantastic team with whom it has been both a pleasure and an honor to work. Last August, Golden Gate Capital and GIC offered us a compelling opportunity to further invest in our long-term growth and operational flexibility, and with Neustar positioned for future success, now is the right time for a leadership transition. I look forward to working with Charlie and continuing to serve on Neustar’s Board.”

Bernhard Nann, Chairman of the Board at Neustar, said, “With vast operational experience and a proven ability to accelerate business growth and drive profitability, we are confident that Charlie is the right leader for Neustar as the Company provides increasing value to our customers and a great place for our employees to develop their careers. His skills and experience in information services and his track record of creating a culture of operational excellence make him well suited to enhance and execute on our vision at Neustar. He will help drive tremendous value for the Company in the coming years.”

Mr. Nann continued, “Over the last 10 years, Lisa has been critical to Neustar’s successful transformation from a telecom services business into an information services provider, and we are grateful for her service and a smooth transition. We look forward to continuing to benefit from her tremendous expertise in her capacity as Director.”

Mr. Gottdiener said, “I am thrilled and honored to lead Neustar in this exciting phase of the Company’s growth. Neustar is unparalleled in its ability to deliver real-time, authoritative insights across marketing, digital performance and defense, as well as in risk, fraud and compliance. I look forward to working with the entire Neustar team, our partners at Golden Gate and GIC, and the Board to continue building Neustar’s leadership in the global information services market and in the service of our clients.”

Prior to joining Providence Equity Partners and Dun & Bradstreet, Mr. Gottdiener held several leadership positions with the Boston Consulting Group, CSC Index Ernst & Young Consulting and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Mr. Gottdiener received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College.

About Neustar

Neustar, Inc. is a leading global information services provider driving the connected world forward with responsible identity resolution. As a company built on a foundation of Privacy by Design, Neustar is depended upon by the world’s largest corporations to help grow, guard and guide their businesses with the most complete understanding of how to connect people, places and things. Neustar’s unique, accurate and real-time identity system, continuously corroborated through billions of transactions, empowers critical decisions across our clients’ enterprise needs. More information is available at https://www.home.neustar.

This news release was sourced from:
https://www.home.neustar/about-us/news-room/press-releases/2018/NeustarAnnouncesExecutiveTransition

.CO Gets Chinese Government Approval

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has approved .co for full commercial operations in the world’s most populous country, meaning Chinese .co registrants can now host their domain names and websites on Chinese servers.

While there have been several generic top level domains that the Chinese government has given such approval to, .co is the first country code top level domain (ccTLD) to receive such approval.

.CO is the ccTLD for Colombia, but since 2010 has been managed by .CO Internet S.A.S. in Bogota, Colombia, which today is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Neustar. It has been marketed as a generic top level domain (gTLD) and Google indexes .co sites as such.

Since launching for worldwide domain registrations in 2010, vast numbers of technology innovators and entrepreneurs have chosen .CO web addresses. Regularly identified with successful startups and world-famous brands, .CO’s “halo effect” — a certain credibility granted to startup companies adopting .CO domains — is a powerful benefit that is already enjoyed by millions of brands, businesses and entrepreneurs, and will now be available to the Chinese market.

“The final barrier our Chinese .CO domain owners have faced has now been overcome,” said Crystal Peterson, .CO Internet Director of Sales and Marketing. “Domain names ending in .CO are now fully approved in China along with China’s own .CN top-level domain, and other well-known global domains, such as .com and .biz.”

Neustar Announces Fourth Premium .NYC Auction For Travel and Tourism Domain Names

dotNYC logoNeustar has announced the fourth auction of premium .nyc domain names aimed at the travel and tourism sector will take place with Sedo handling the auction until 10 May.

This will give New Yorkers in the City’s five boroughs a curated selection of twenty-five premium domain names in the .nyc new generic top level domain (new gTLD). These rare and premium domain names are associated with the travel, hospitality and tourism industry, giving New York travel agencies, hotels, airlines, entrepreneurs, startups and businesses access to some of the most in demand digital real estate in the world.

The following premium domain names will be made available at auction:

see.nyc museum.nyc showtickets.nyc
guides.nyc pedicabs.nyc broadwaytickets.nyc
citytours.nyc carrental.nyc shuttle.nyc
bustour.nyc reservation.nyc limos.nyc
boattour.nyc tour.nyc concierge.nyc
shows.nyc visiting.nyc getaways.nyc
boutiquehotel.nyc theaters.nyc flights.nyc
lodging.nyc ticketbroker.nyc
hotelguide.nyc sightsee.nyc

“I can think of no more fitting tribute to kick off the summer travel season than with these travel-related web addresses,” said Nicolai Bezsonoff, General Manager, Registry Solutions, Neustar, who is the registry services partner of the .nyc top level domain. “Reaching those in-market travellers with a unique domain that signals they’ve reached a legitimate travel business based in New York will go a long way to engender the kind of brand trust that will keep customers coming back again, and again.”

The City of New York has long been the epicentre of fashion, technology and culture, welcoming over 60 million visitors who spent $43 billion last year alone. Travel and tourism activity supports over 383,000 jobs and generates nearly $25 billion in wages and salaries for working New Yorkers. Travel benefits the City immensely with six out of every ten visitors spending at least one night in the Big Apple. With the launch of .nyc’s premium domain names, the travel and tourism sector can create hyper-personalised marketing campaigns centred on unique and highly targeted domains.

New Yorkers will gain exclusive bidding access to the premium domains at 13:00 on 3 May until 13:00 EST on 10 May. As the bidding window is open for eight days, bidders should consider their bidding strategy carefully and be prepared to place their opening bids as soon as the auction opens. The auction will take place entirely online through the official auction partner, Sedo. All bidders should familiarise themselves with all the rules, restrictions and auction details. All of the auction details can be found at Auctions.nyc.

“Our visitors and residents have endless opportunities to discover and explore what our city has to offer. We are creating a closer bond between our city’s physical attractions and the city’s digital real estate online. Anyone in the travel and tourism space can now build a closer connection with our residents and visitors with a unique domain name that precisely reflects the link to NYC,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company.

In keeping with the City’s desire to ensure equitable access to these sought after domain names, the .nyc auctions have been designed to maximise participation, affordability and transparency. Bidding starts at just US$500 for all domains, a very low point of entry for these high-quality domains. This means small businesses, startup founders, organisations and individuals from every borough can participate equally in the auction process, vying for the chance to secure these high-value domains.

.nyc was launched in October of 2014 with the support of an innovative group of early adopters and enthusiasts, including Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and tens of thousands of local business owners, such as Sideways.nyc, Digital.nyc, and StartupHub.nyc, among others. Today, .nyc has become one of the largest and most well utilised of all city-affiliated domains.

Kathy Nielsen Gives A Masterclass on a Registry’s Planning Around Premium Domain Names

In this internet.bs interview series with leaders in the industry continues with a masterclass from former Sedo Director of Brokerage and current Neustar Premium domain name strategist Kathy Nielsen. In our interview Kathy gives a masterclass on a Registry's planning around premium names including tips on how to acquire reserved names and how to enter into discussions with high value end users. Kathy also gives us a preview into premium name developments in the .US, .TEL, .BIZ and .NYCTLDs.

This interview is a unique perspective on one of the most misunderstood parts of our industry, Registry Premium Strategy, and is a must read for any domain investor investing in keyword names.

Who are you and where in the world are you?

Hi, I’m Kathy Nielsen. I live in Boston, Massachusetts, home to one of the domain industry hot spots in North America. We’ve got several big domain industry players here but most people, even in our industry, don’t even realize it. Elliot Silver, Dave Evanson, EIG, Sedo, Afternic and Buy Domains are all here, not to mention a few other big domainers.

You have a long history in the domain industry, tell us a bit about your background and what you are doing at the moment?

I’ve been in the digital marketing and advertising world since 2001 and moved into the domain name industry in 2008 when I joined Sedo as Director of Brokerage. I worked at Sedo for several years, moving up from building and running the brokerage and auction division to VP of Business Development for Registry Services. I really loved working with all the registries, old and new, and decided that was the where I wanted to be.

I ended up moving to .Green, joining them to prepare for their launch. It was a great opportunity to go through the cycle of a new gTLD launch. Now, I’m working with Neustar. It’s really a dream job for me because I get to use all the aspects from my past. I work with new and legacy TLDs, Neustar owned and operated TLDs as well as their customer registries, registrar partnerships, premium names, auctions and end users.

I’ve been with Neustar since late 2016 and currently do a lot with .nyc, .co, .biz, .us and .tel. I also work with some of Neustar’s registry customers, supporting them with their premiums, marketing and distribution strategies.

At the moment, I’m doing a million things but one of the larger projects I’m working on is the first .nyc auction of 2018. The marketing planning and execution is really a major initiative so we’re working on that and will make the official announcement in early April. It’s going to have some stellar names and the best part is, bidding starts at only $500 so it’s very accessible. Anyone with a physical address in one of the five boroughs can get in on the bidding and have the chance to get a fantastic premium domain for a steal.

In past auctions, we brought in local individuals, agencies and businesses to bid and win some really great names. It’s not easy to get end users to an auction but we’ve been able to do just that and it’s been great to see some of these strong, premium .nyc names get into the hands of those end users who want to put them to use.

Neustar most notably operates as the Registry for .co, .biz, and .us, how are premium names in these TLDs performing?

.CO premiums are really stand out names. There are so many private sales out there that we don’t get to report and it’s too bad. We try our best to get as much as possible into the public sales databases and continue to do so. That said, the premiums have a very strong valuation and we see most of them selling well above 50K.

The registry continues to have a strong focus on direct-to-consumer marketing within the start-up and entrepreneurial communities. In March, we’ve been working with women entrepreneurs and leaders and have a major B to C campaign running called Be Courageous. You can see some of the campaign elements at BeCourageous.co. Our marketing covers the globe and I can really see how it has made a huge impact on the value of the .co TLD over the years.

With .biz, .us and .tel, there are other premium narratives at play.

As legacy TLDs, they didn’t launch with premium names as we know them today. However, each has a premium story.

.BIZ had reserved the 1 and 2-character names and only began to release them in recent years. Some of the 1-character domains were sold in 2011 in a high-profile auction at Sedo. More recently, in late 2017, the registry began to release some of the reserved 2-character domains. They have been selling at a steady pace, and we still have a nice group of them for sale on the premium marketplaces as well as distributed through many registrars that are connected to the premium distribution feeds.

.TEL has another unique story with premiums. The registry moved to a new gTLD contract in 2017 which allowed them an opportunity to make a few changes. The first change was to lift all prior restrictions on the use of a .tel and it is now a truly open, generic gTLD.

The second major change was that they were able to identify a list of premium names, price them and put them into a tiered premium name structure. This allows the .tel registry to sell their premiums through the registrar channel just like any standard priced name. We’re almost one year into the .tel changes and we’ve seen at least 1 premium .tel domain sell almost every day since the launch.

It’s really an efficient way for a registry and the registrars to make premium names available to consumers in a simple and direct way. .Tel also has a small group of super premiums, some of their highest valued domains, reserved for brokered sales. These names are priced and listed on the major premium marketplaces as well as distributed to registrars connected to SedoMLS. Included in this list are the 1-character .tel names! These domains present some interesting options for the telecom industry and we’ve seen interest even since listing them just one month ago.

Are there any names reserved at the moment which might be released in the future?

The .US ccTLD has most of its 1 and 2-character domains reserved by policy and have never been released. Neustar, in coordination with the .US stakeholder council, have reviewed a proposal for the release of many of those domains. The recommendation was for Neustar to present that proposal to the US Department of Commerce for approval. In terms of marketing, we’ve increased awareness campaigns for .US targeting young adults and early adopters to the social internet. These marketing campaigns along with a general increase in awareness stemming from the launch of new gTLDs has resulted in a new focus for .US. Consumers are seeing many naming options and are willing to be creative with a reliable and trusted brand like .US.

Do you have any advice for a domain investor looking to acquire a reserved name, either with Neustar or any other registry?

Definitely! Every registry is different, so it is important to connect and have a discussion about the domain you want. If you see that a premium name listed for sale with the registrars, it’s likely that it is a premium tier domain. These are not easy to pull out of the tier price inventory to negotiate so it’s very unlikely that will happen. If you really want a tiered price name, I’d recommend getting it like anyone else would, at your registrar.

But if you see super premiums, those higher value names, definitely do some research. Is it on a premium marketplace? If yes, that is a good sign it is super premium. If the whois says it’s reserved, that is also a good indicator that you will need to check in with the registry on its status and find out if they are willing to sell it. The registry will be able to work directly with your registrar to get it registered should you come to an agreement.

Most registries are open to a sale and negotiation, but keep in mind that the goal is to get domains into the hands of registrants that will develop and use them. If you have a plan and want to talk to the registry about acquiring a reserved domain, make sure you are prepared to share that proposal. You might also expect it to be part of any sales contract should you come to an agreement. The active use of a premium domain is a very important piece of the overall strategy for a registry and the long-term growth and health of a TLD.

You spend a lot of your time talking to end users about premium and keyword names, how has the discussion changed since the new gTLD program started?

There has definitely been a huge shift over the past 3 years. At first, the new gTLDs were just that. New. They were intriguing, but companies were not willing to use them for their primary naming needs because to them, there were too many unknowns. However, as time passes and more companies are publicly using new gTLDs, and consumers are getting more used to seeing them, they are getting to be a ‘must have’ for portfolios. Most of my end user conversations go like this:

Hi Kathy, we’re starting a new business (or launching a new product/idea) and we’d love your help with domain name strategy. We’re looking at ABCD.COM and wonder if we can get that.

We quickly see that someone else is already using that domain name or it’s owned by an investor.. This is when it gets fun. We have a discussion about alternatives including new gTLDs, how they came about, looking at companies that use them (I love the makeway.world website, it has fantastic examples that are constantly updated) and how they can play an important role for that new company.

In the end, we come up with a list of appropriate domains for that company and they usually buy several. Some are rich in keywords, which may be in the TLD itself, or even keyword combinations to the right and left of the dot. Keyword domains tend to be part of a domain portfolio and strategy and less of a company name. Generally, companies offer many products and services so they like to choose something short, memorable and catchy for their name, then use keyword domains for supporting ad campaigns, product details sites, etc. At some point, they may also acquire the .com but in most cases, they find so many suitable alternatives to start out. The naming possibilities for meaningful marketing campaigns, URL shortening, as well as available, memorable and brandable company and product naming options are just more abundant today. This is very good for the consumer.

Some domain investors can find it difficult to establish contact with end users, do you have any advice on how to get your foot in the door and how to ensure a sale once contact is made?

My approach is always outreach to those companies that I think might be interested. I’ve been told from many end users that they often get arrogant toned emails or calls saying they have to get domain.something because it is a perfect fit for their business. Then the price is astronomical.

First, I never tell an end user the domain I have for sale is a must for them. I begin a conversation about them. Their strategy, why I reached out and why I thought of them for this domain. In the end it might not turn out to be a good fit but each conversation I get with an end user is valuable. I learn why companies might not NEED the domain I think they need or would be a perfect fit.

Don’t assume. Listen, make them aware, and have a conversation. You’ll learn, you’ll improve your targeting efforts and you’ll have better success. When you get to that conversation point and discuss price, make sure your price is in line with market value. If you want to sell, know the market. The market is not based on the miniscule amount of domain sales that go for a million dollars. If you are in that boat, plan on holding out a long time for your sale. Those usually come when the buyer comes to you.

What is the most inspiring domain sale you have seen?

The sales that are most inspiring to me are the ones where the buyer puts the domain to good use.

I am inspired when I see what happens to the domain, how it gets built out, how it is used in marketing, and how it can turn into a brand of its own. Every great story helps in the education of new buyers out there, and supporting the value of a great domain.

I get chills every time I hear the story about sb.co. It is truly inspiring to me. Bottom line is that sb.co is just a fantastic premium name and it went to the perfect company – Springboard. Perfect in so many ways. It was a startup, helping startups, and add to that, helping women entrepreneurs. .co did a nice video about them on their website: http://www.go.co/case-studies/

I’ve certainly been involved in many 6 and 7 figure domain sales over the course of my career, but the ones I find really inspiring don’t have to do with the sale price, it’s more the use cases I find inspiring.

What are you most looking forward in the domain industry for 2018?

That’s a tough one. There is so much going on but what I’d really love to see is continued innovation on the ecommerce side of things. I’m looking forward to seeing some registrars, hosting companies or website builders adopt technologies that use more advanced technologies like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to help to make the domain shopping experience more meaningful and successful for the consumer. This may be wishful thinking, and I’m usually a few years ahead of myself with this kind of thinking, but it is coming, it’s just a matter of when.

With so many new naming options, a more intelligent search and discovery experience is really needed for consumers. ML and AI have so much promise to help make the discovery and buying experience more intelligent.

This interview was originally published on the internet.bs blog at:
internetbs.net/blog/2018/03/22/interview-with-kathy-nielsen-premium-portfolio-strategist/