Richard Lau (L); Andrew Rosener (M); Sharjil Saleem (R)
Founder — NamesCon
Session Name: Fireside Chat: “Turning Up The Heat on Record Domain Sales”
Richard — Vancouver, B.C.
Andrew — Panama City, Panama
Sharjil — Dubai, UAE
Domain name you wish you owned:
Richard — Music.com
Andrew — X.com
Richard — .com
Andrew — .com
Richard — Sabastian Maniscalo’s Aren’t You Embarrassed?
Andrew — Sinner on Netflix
Sharjil — Icos
Richard — Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben
Andrew — One River by Wade Davis
Sharjil — Crypto
Richard — Manoj Bhargava
Andrew — Peter Moehrke (aka “Charlie Tuna”)
Describe your company and how long you have been there.
Richard — I’ve been knee-deep in domain names since 1997. Neck-deep since 2000. I’ve bought and sold domain names, registrars, websites and conferences. My main focus now is on Resume.com, which we’ve been building for over 7 years. A resume builder that has served over 2.5 million users, it’s a feel-good business based on a freemium model.
Andrew — Media Options is a leader in domain name brokerage & acquisitions. I believe we are the oldest pure play domain brokerage firm still in existence today. I am the founder and currently the CEO and have been since the beginning in 2008.
Sharjil — I started in an IT company where I used to provide IT Services. I then later switched to the domain industry as a broker and investor.
What can attendees look forward to during your session?
Richard — We want to delve into the stories behind some of the hottest sales of the past year. Brokers are taking on a more prominent role in domain name sales. I dig into great domain name sales and see what tips, tricks and lessons are there to be learned and shared.
Andrew — In-depth knowledge and experience in the domain name aftermarket, with a primary focus on high value domain name sales and acquisitions.
Sharjil — How I negotiate to close seven-figure deals.
What can attendees do in order to prepare for your session? Are there any questions or scenarios they should consider in advance?
Richard — Bring some popcorn, and a question or two. The goal of this session is to have everyone learn something new.
What would you like attendees to learn or take away from your session?
Richard — I’d like people to learn how to approach domain name sales with confidence, see the value in their holdings, and also learn more about these domain brokers who are very interesting people indeed!
Andrew — The value of premium domains and why they will continue to rise in value. Understanding the difference between a premium or high value domain, and everything else.
Sharjil — Negotiation with the buyers.
What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
Richard — We are at the very beginning of a sea change. The next generation will be the largest users and adopters of the new TLDs. A lot of us have a fixed mindset and are waiting for the change but that change is generational, not overnight.
Andrew — I like individual and specific domains that use a new TLD, but I’m not a huge fan of the overall program. I think its a mistake for folks to pick winners and losers based on the extension itself. Each domain is unique and needs to match well with its TLD. But if I have to pick winners, I love .Club & .XYZ.
What kinds of changes do you foresee within the industry in the next year 5 years?
Richard — There’s a lot of amalgamation going on. Large portfolios of domain names are being purchased by even larger holders. Vertical integration of the sales process will deliver domain names to the end-users faster and more securely than ever before. Over the next 5 years I think we will see the larger registrars grow by leaps and bounds, while smaller registrars raise their prices and offer boutique services to corporate clientele.
Andrew — I think we will continue to see more and more consolidation of companies and portfolios and I think we’ll see more adoption of alternative domain sales / lease structures.
What are you most looking forward to at the upcoming NamesCon?
Richard — Seeing old friends and new faces! I am sure I’ll have two dinner meetings each evening and I’m looking forward to it all. Breaking bread with people face to face is vital in our virtual industry. The value of a handshake and conversation cannot be understated.
Andrew — See friends and catching up with folks.
Sharjil — Meeting with the like minded brokers and investors and learning more about this industry.
What industry trends or topics do you think will be at the forefront of panel and keynote discussions this year?
Andrew — Blockchain, China, Value trends
Sharjil — Crypto domains, as I am mostly dealing in this niche now.
Whats something most people don’t know about you?
Richard — I had colon cancer at aged 30 and was told I had 18 months to live. It’s now almost 18 years since that time and I’ve never been healthier!
What was one of your biggest “a-ha!” moments in life?
Richard — When Steven Sacks showed me an online tool on Goto.com where you could enter in a domain name, and it would guestimate what the daily traffic on that domain would be.
Andrew — When someone gave me $5,000 and a $7,000 leg of exotic ham in exchange for a mediocre domain name I knew in that moment, that EVERYONE in EVERY INDUSTRY would want their related domain names.
Sharjil — When I closed ETH.com in 30 minutes.
How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?
Richard — In my youth, I couldn’t picture past 25 years old. Nevertheless, I didn’t realize you could have so much fun working. Really, I’m just work-playing now.
Andrew — My career looks nothing like what I envisioned in my youth. But if I take a step back, I was always the consummate salesman – and I don’t think it matters what you are selling, you just have to find joy in what you do.
What advice can you offer those who are just getting their start in the domain or related industry?
Sharjil — Be patient and stay focused.
How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
Richard — I buy and sell internet domain names. Just the name portion of a website. Yes, really, you can make a living at it.
sp;I buy and sell high value domain names.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Sharjil — Stay focused, and fight for every moment.
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