Brandon Abbey Departs Amid Company Shake Up

In April of 2015, it was announced that would acquire in a $7.5 million deal, pending regulatory approval. The deal was approved, and it closed a few weeks ago. Late last week, I learned that Brandon Abbey is no longer with after an 11 year tenure as its President.

In an email sent to me on Sunday, CEO Matt Barrie confirmed Brandon’s departure: “We parted ways on good terms. As you know Brandon has been running the business for a long period of time and is well known for doing a good job. However we think the potential for is much bigger. We’re moving to up the tempo of the business and run it as a high growth technology company.

I reached out to Brandon, and while he confirmed that he is no longer with the company, he declined to comment.

I attribute much of’s superior reputation and industry best practices to the leadership that Brandon brought the company. I always appreciated his knowledge of the domain name business and his discretion in my business dealings with the company. Whenever I had a buyer or seller who was concerned about using the company for a transaction, I would put them in touch directly with Brandon for reassurance. I am going to miss Brandon’s presence at the company.

Matt informed me about other changes at that have been made and others that are forthcoming:

“We pre-hired a dozen people many months ago while we were waiting for regulatory approval. We now have a whole product team in place, run by Jackson Elsegood who is the product manager who reports into Senior Director of Growth, Michal Kot. This team has been working on revamping the product for the last few months. We also hired and trained up a multilingual customer support team. Keith Gettle, who is in the California office and who you probably know, has been promoted to Operations Manager and has been busily training up the team. The first deployment of that team is about to go live in the next few days and offer support in Mandarin and Cantonese to cater for the rapidly growing Chinese market in the Asian timezone.

Soon we move to 24x7x365 support like we do with (from offices in seven countries). Currently Freelancer is in 34 languages and 20 currencies. We plan on doing the same with, over time. As part of this process, we would very much like to hear from our customers and partners their feedback about the most desirable features to put in the product. So please, give us feedback!”

Matt also let me know that “[m]oving forward Keith, Jackson and Mauli Fry (who has been promoted to Partnership Manager) will be the main contacts to put people in touch with regarding transactions.

I am glad to hear that people like Keith, Mauli, and Sandra Gordon will continue to work at Sandra and Keith, in particular, have been very helpful to me during the past few years years. In a subsequent email, Matt told me that “Sandra is of course still one of our great escrow managers,” and I agree with him on that.

Matt told me the company will retain its presence in California. The company also plans to add licensure in other jurisdictions as well. Matt told me, “We believe that’s long tenure of operating history and being the only licensed, bonded and regulated business- together with great customer service- is its sustainable competitive advantage.

I look forward to seeing the promised improvements and hope will maintain the excellent reputation that Brandon helped create. I want to thank Brandon for all of his help over the years, and I hope our paths cross again.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. This is very sad news for me, as Brandon has been one of the single most professional and attentive people I’ve dealt with for over a decade. I would add Sandra to that group, so I’m relieved that at least Sandra will continue. Brandon, however, has set a gold standard for responsiveness and lightning fast resolution of problems that is unmatched in the domain world, in my opinion. I am genuinely sad to seem him go. I wish him nothing but success elsewhere. A great guy.

    • Word Up Cameron. Very sorry and sad to see Brandon leave He’s a great guy and always made me comfortable knowing he was running the ship, and very smoothly, there at Definitely he will be missed. I wish him the very best.

  2. This is a big loss. Brandon was a top guy and it’s sad to see that the new management weren’t able to see what he brought to the table. I just hope this isn’t a sign of things to come and that loses its core customer base because of ‘ambition’. Thank God Sandra is still around.

    I wish Brandon every success going forward and hope to catch him in the industry.

  3. I hope Brandon has much success in whatever adventure he is undertaking! I am just concerned about those of us who advertise for Escrow and if our agreements will still be honored by Freelancer.

  4. Definitely a big loss for the company, hope they will keep their high quality standards, good to know at least Sandra Gordon is still there.
    Thanks a lot to Brandon for his professionalism and kindness, he’s a great guy, hope he’ll remain in the industry, I wish him all the best.

    • IMHO there was some sort of sudden significant disagreement with the new ownership (did they change their mind on some major guidelines for the business? …), that’s why Brandon left and declined to comment …

      Hope the new owner will manage the company properly, not messing it up and keeping fees at the same acceptable level.

      Thanks again to Brandon, a true gentleman, as JSL said as well.

  5. Brandon was a rock at escrow, as stated above he brought the gold standard.

    I have noticed in recent weeks
    seems understaffed, as they seem to have a hard time responding, and closing out sometimes.

    I assume Brandon owned a portion of escrow as the mystery owner never appeared, and we will see radical
    changes coming.

    That is why competition is important in this industry. No I do not consuder ecop competition.

  6. Wish him the best as well. In my experience, Brandon took care of business. The last issue I had, Brandon diagnosed, fixed, & followed up with me in less than 30 minutes.

    Sadly, with most companies, we have become accustomed to spending more time listening to hold music while waiting to speak with someone who often has no idea how to fix a problem.

  7. Like most, I am VERY surprised…

    Thanks Brandon for all you have done for the domain industry but also for me, I wish you all the best.

  8. has had huge technological issues. Glad to see new management step it up. On the front end, looks great. On the backend, there were issues.

  9. I wish him the best, finding a good professional isn’t easy nowadays…
    Regarding, I hope they add Paypal withdraw for European users like Sedo has.
    Sedo external transfer has the risk of our buyer finding an alternative domain that may jeopardize the agreed deal.

  10. has been one of the best and most solidly reliable components for successful domain name investing and getting deals done and completed securely and promptly.

    I hope they stay on course going forward.

  11. Brandon WAS He supported the domain industry like no other person has and in return the domain industry helped make what it is today. It is all starting to make sense of why i had so many problems this last month


  12. I did about 15 transactions in the past few years with I never heard about Brandon but I had a great experience throughout, we will know soon if the changes will be for the better or the worst. if you see a price increase or delay in payment this will be your first clue.

  13. Brandon provided highly competent, conscientious, professional and personal service making the ‘gold standard’.

    Seems like an opportunity for Frank S to snag him as advisor, or to head up a new division of Uniregistry. Dont believe California is big on non-competes. 😉

  14. Just had a friend complain to me about unusual glitches at when doing transactions and especially in getting the closings done on a timely manner.

    We both hoped that it would stay the steady rock it has been and of course I now read to my horror that “Mr Escrow” Brandon Abbey has departed and new team brought in place.

    New teams from outside of the domain space always turn out to be a disaster for functionality and reliability at least in the registrar side.

    I hope the competitors to launched from domainer circles did not stop too soon because stops being the reliable rock it has been then the whole space is screwed.

    Please, new owners of do NOT break things in your rush to develop things.

    Most domainers have been badly burned at various registrars when new teams have been bought in place to develop things with grandiose visions.

  15. I am deeply saddened and extremely disappointed to hear about Brandon’s
    departure from  

    Brandon’s hard work, personal attention to details and commitment to excellence,
    over the last ten years, are the driving force behind the company’s
    growth and success during his tenure.

    For me, even more than the bonding, licensing and auditing, it was Brandon’s integrity, sterling character and genuine nature which instilled in me the highest levels of trust and confidence in

    Brandon genuinely cared about his customers.  He would never hesitate to make himself available to accept calls from buyers or sellers, be they mom and pop retailers or fortune 500 CXOs, to assuage any concerns they might have, pertaining to the escrow process.  He genuinely cared about his employees and he genuinely cared about the domain investors and the domain industry as a whole.  

    Brandon’s departure from is not only a great loss for, it’s a great loss to the entire domain industry.  While Freelancer might have installed someone to take Brandon’s position, they have not replaced him…  that would not be possible.

    I wish Brandon continued success and happiness in his next endeavor.

  16. Brandon is one of the top professionals I’ve known and respected in this industry over many years and I am very sorry to see him go.

    I first used in October 2001 and for most of that time I’ve known that Brandon was there to help me if I ever had a problem.

    A lot of the comfort that I have had in the integrity of the company was because of his own integrity. I have great respect for him and hope that his next adventure offers him the opportunity to have as great of an impact on our industry as this one has.

    Thank you, Brandon!


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