Domain Industry News

Payoneer Exiting Domain Escrow Business

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Payoneer Escrow sent out an email to some of its partners today to inform them that the company is exiting the domain escrow business, and I was forwarded the email. Payoneer Head of Strategy and Business Development Matt Watts sent an email stating, “it’s with sincere apologies that I’m sharing news that Payoneer is discontinuing our escrow business.” The email continued, “While we have been excited and honored to service customers and partners like yourself, after careful review of our product portfolio have decided to commit our focus to other areas of the Payoneer business.

In 2016, Payoneer acquired a California-licensed Internet escrow agent doing business as Armor Payments, and the company began offering domain name escrow services. Brandon Abbey, formerly of Escrow.com, was hired by the company to help get its start in the domain escrow business. The global payments company has been offering domain name escrow services for approximately two years.

I believe the company will

Adam Matuzich Passed Away

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I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but I learned that Adam Matuzich passed away a week ago at just 36 years old.

I first met Adam via Mike Berkens more than ten years ago when he was working as Mike’s tech guy. Over the years, Adam and I had quite a few conversations about domain names and web development. There were a few times I had technical questions, and Adam was always happy to help me or steer me in the right direction. Adam provided some critical assistance to me when I dealt with a problem in 2014, and I appreciated his willingness to share information with me.

I was fortunate to be able to

Web.com Agrees to be Acquired for $2 Billion

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Web.com issued a press release this morning announcing that it’s board of directors approved an agreement to be acquired for $25.00 per share, which amounts to approximately $2 billion USD. The buyer is an affiliate of a private equity firm called Siris Capital Group, LLC. Web.com is a publicly traded company and the deal will need to be approved by shareholders.

Web.com is permitted to seek out a better offer. From the press release:

“Web.com may solicit alternative acquisition proposals from third parties during a “go-shop” period from the date of the agreement until August 5, 2018. There is no guarantee that this process will result in a superior proposal, and the agreement provides Siris with a customary right to match a superior proposal. Web.com does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the solicitation process unless and until the company determines such disclosure is appropriate.”

While Web.com is primarily consumer facing, the company has a major domain investor presence. The company either

MMX Acquires ICM Registry for $41 Million (Updated)

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According to a press release I received a moment ago (and published below), MMX has acquired ICM Registry, the company that operates several adult related domain extensions. ICM Registry extensions include .XXX, .Sex, .Porn, and .Adult.

The press releases stated that the deal involves “a combination of cash and shares,” although the dollar amount was not revealed in the press release I received. The Palm Beach Post published an article about the deal and wrote that the “British firm Minds + Machines Group paid $10 million in cash for the company.I am not sure if the total value of the deal is $10 million or if that is just the cash portion as the Post reported. I will connect with the ICM Registry to try and clear this up.

Update: ICM CEO Stuart Lawley clarified this discrepancy for me. He reported the total value of the deal is $41 million, with $10 million in cash and $31 million worth of stock at yesterdays’s closing price. Here’s a link to the official stock market announcement.

On May 2, Domain Incite reported that “New gTLD registry MMX could announce plans to be acquired as early as this week.” I am not sure if this means MMX will not be acquired or if there could be a subsequent announcement coming.

Here’s the press release that was sent to me by the ICM Registry:

Directi is #1 in 2018 LinkedIn Top Companies List

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According to an article published on LinkedIn yesterday, Directi has been named the #1 company on the 2018 LinkedIn Top Companies in India list. This list is comprised of companies that have offices in India where professionals would most like to work, “based on the actions of LinkedIn’s more than 546 million professionals (over 47 million in India alone).” Here’s how the list was determined:

“The Top Companies list is based on the billions of actions taken by LinkedIn members and looks at four main pillars: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention.”

Directi was found by Divyank Turakhia and Bhavin Turakhia, and the company was acquired by Endurance International Group in a 9 figure deal. From what I understand, co-founder Bhavin stayed on board, and I believe he still works with the company. Directi operates a number of domain industry companies such as Big Rock and Radix. The LinkedIn article notes that the global headcount at Directi is “more than 1,500.”

Some of the other notable companies on the list of 25 that ranked lower than Directi include:

Escrow.com Announces 2018 Masters of Domains

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Prior to the live auction today at NamesCon, Escrow.com announced its annual Masters of Domains awards to the ten highest grossing individual domain investors of the past year. The award is based on brokered transactions closed via Escrow.com. Each award winner was presented a special trophy and prize honoring their achievement.

This year, the top three Masters of Domains winners were Raymond Liu of 62.com, Andrew Rosener of Media Options, and Mohammed Hashim Al-Asadi of TopNames. I would imagine each of these top three brokers cleared over $10 million in deals last year. That is quite an achievement. Last year’s award winners can be found here.

Here are the ten award winning brokers for 2018 with some information about each provided by Escrow.com:

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