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My question to Godaddy's CEO at NamesCon: Domain Liquidity for the industry

Located in Local Events and Meetups, started by Rob Monster, Feb 5, 2020

Replies:
480
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38,859

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Was Rob Monster's question at NamesCon out of bounds or bad form?

  1. The industry needs to be having that conversation and Godaddy should engage

    81 votes
    62.3%
  2. No, we don't need domain assets to become more liquid or bankable

    3 votes
    2.3%
  3. What's NamesCon?

    4 votes
    3.1%
  4. This thread is stupid

    42 votes
    32.3%
Total: 130 vote(s)
  1. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Earlier this morning, I wake up to seeing a lovely comment from Shane Cultra on his blog:

    upload_2020-2-5_8-47-38.png
    To my eyes, that comment from Shane is actually pretty crazy. Ironically, many people told me unsolicited, that my question was the highlight of the Q&A. This is not the first time that Shane has spoken out of school against me with trash-talk and it probably won't be the last since it shamelessly drives up his page views for his affiliate site. I don't know if anyone has a video of the Q&A section of Aman's keynote but if so, would be great if someone would upload the actual video clip. I believe anyone who objectively reviews my question will find it to be rather selfless. It was a question about domain liquidity. There were 2 parts, and I believe they were reasonable and sincere.

    Part 1: Domain Liquidity via Loans

    As some folks know, Epik provides interest-free loans secured by domains. This is popular but we cannot lend to everyone in the amounts that everyone might like. Compared to Godaddy, we are a relatively small company without access to the vast pool of capital that Godaddy has access to. I asked if Godaddy would consider extending domain loans to its customers. The lending model is proven. Godaddy has the ability to scale it to a much greater degree. Rather than forcing Godaddy customers to abandon domains to their expiry stream, why not allow Godaddy customers with liquid names to borrow against their portfolio? It seems reasonable to me.


    Part 2: Working with US Congress to make domain names a bankable asset.

    I have also been a long-time believer in the potential for domain names to be a respected asset class. The challenge there is that the banking industry does not recognize domains as a bankable asset class. People can donate domains to non-profits and can get a write-down for their investment basis, but if you go to a bank and ask to borrow against a 3N.com, they have no idea what you are talking about. The House subcommittee on banking could engage here but we would need some lobbying power to make that happen.

    For anyone who has ever studied the history of the housing market, the correlation between the availability of borrowing capacity and the prices of the associated asset is indisputable. When credit is available, asset prices go up. If domain owners could more methodically borrow against their domains at conventional banking rates rather than only from hard money pawnshops that dominate the landscape today, it would be a game-changer for making the pie bigger for everyone.

    I will be interested to hear what folks have to say on this very reasonable topic about domain liquidity that can greatly impact the future of the industry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  2. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    If that was the question I think it's a fair question, it would be interesting to hear how they feel on that topic, especially at a conference they own.
     
  3. Mister Funsky

    Mister Funsky Top Contributor VIP

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    Unexpected obligations kept me from my road trip to Austin...even bought a cargo van so my dog and I could travel and stop for local flavors along the way (put a couch, microwave and dorm fridge in it so I could travel in style).

    I am glad Rob is out there innovating and speaking up on behalf of the industry. If those in higher postions (registrars, etc.) don't intervene, I am afraid it will be slowly dismantled by regulation and international fragmentation.

    btw, I am familiar with Braden Pollock because of his affiliation with epik, but truth be told I will have to giggle the poster of the tweet Rob has referred to above...I've heard/seen the name and assume they are a domainer.
     
  4. sharfab

    sharfab Established Member

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    We already read Shane's blog and Rob also gave his version of what took place, and they both have different opinions about what occured. I think it's time for us to view the video and form a objective opinion...
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  5. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    imo it is something that GD would not like to discuss publicly:
    https://www.namepros.com/threads/huge-domains-sniping-godaddy-closeouts.1135689/
    - 21 pages already with some very interesting findings and theories inside.
    It is likely that the video did not address the issue in a way we all need, but of course lets see the video first.
    So far, the pie is extremely good for GD and some of their big clients. Changing the scheme would not necessary make the whole pie bigger. Would GD bother? And, most importantly, why? Only if they see some competition, but, taking in account how "fast" decisions are made in companies of such a size, it is not obvious that we'll see any changes in foreseeable future...
    Everybody is looking for more business as the result of his namescon participation, and with daily actions, as a matter of fact. It is neither good nor bad. Domain blogers in general tend to post too many affiliate ads of untrusted suppliers (but they pay!). I have therefore started to read almost all of them (with one exception - "whitelisted" blogger, he is also NP member, whom I would not name here as it is irrelevant for this topic) with active adblock and some custom ublock origin rules. Nothing personal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  6. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I agree GoDaddy does not want to change things, they are in the best position, so it does not make sense to discuss something in public where they would look like they are not helping the whole industry.
     
  7. garptrader

    garptrader Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Once upon a time the bulk of Aftenic sales were reported and Godaddy published a monthly summary report of Godaddy Auction results. What happened to the transparency? Godaddy benefits from the millions of domain renewals from investors as well as margins from expiring domain auctions on their platform mostly from investors. Yet what tools do they provide reporting-wise to aid in gauging the market? What are they doing to promote premium domains to end users rather than offering dozens of cheaper alternatives to those same potential buyers? How can a prospective domain investor assess the industry's potential? Godaddy is positioned to provide the tools yet what do they provide?
     
  8. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Which is a large problem. Conflict of interest. Competition for a (limited) space between new gtld registries and premium domains. @Rob Monster - if it is not under NDA, can you please share how active are new gtld registries in securing better (or any) positions in registrar search results, and registrar websites in general? Any bonuses, extra discounts, direct payments etc?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  9. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP Blue Account

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    same recycled comments; “make it about epik”

    now more important topic, improve liquidity?

    when the 60 day lock is abolished

    and you can easier sell domains (if u can do it million dollars stocks, why not domains?

    that will help liquidity, less barrier to entry it’s
    all interconnected network. will help market

    GD biggest offender of forced 60 lock, which i doubt they’ll change, citing ICAAN policy,
    enforce on closeouts only ones do for pushes

    Samer
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  10. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    There is definitely a video out there of the full Q&A so hopefully it turns up. It was very sincerely a question about making the pie bigger and inviting the new CEO of the industry behemoth to lead in a couple of important areas that would help the industry enormously. As the economy becomes progressively more digital, it is inevitable that the raw land of the Internet will become bankable, particularly to the extent that we make it safe for regulated lenders. To do that, we need help from regulators. We also need to make it easy for regulators to not get it wrong, e.g. with things like objective appraisals and possibly domain insurance so that the bank can be insulated from unforseen risk factors when lending against a domain. I really believe this area is scope for an industry breakthrough but it needs strong industry sponsorship.
     
  11. NameDeck

    NameDeck Who's afraid of red ... VIP

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    I voted this thread is stupid.

    Who cares what Shane thinks? If you're looking to disrupt a market, and we know you are, there will always be haters and people pushing back. Stick to your plan, don't let other people get to you with their negativity and keep asking questions.

    That being said, judging by what you posted you raised some valid questions but I agree it's probably not in GDs best interest to discuss this or even work on new ways to improve the status quo.
     
  12. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    The registries do Market Development Fund (MDF) deals, rebates, and price breaks to encourage registrars to move domains. I think registries could be more aggressive with MDF, and I believe some registries are about to get really serious about funding development of platforms. However, it would also be interesting to explore allowing registries to extend earmarked trade credit, e.g. borrow against your .COM to fund speculation in .CO. It has not been done yet but it is not crazy and is certainly possible to implement.
     
  13. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Thanks for the support there.

    As for Godaddy protecting the status quo, there was a long-winded comment made by a disabled delegate that shined a bit of a spotlight on the status quo. The domainer had been registering garbage for many years until one day an account rep took him aside and showed him what NOT to register and that made all the difference. Though it was not his intent, the modus operandi of Godaddy was exposed, which is to get people to register and renew vast amounts of unsellable crap year after year.

    With Aman coming into the company, he is speaking about EMPOWERMENT. This is one of my favorite words, and indeed the back cover of the NamesCon program guide was all about that topic. So, I actually felt like I was like-minded with Aman and again I really enjoyed his remarks which seemed genuine and sincere. As an Indian, he can surely see that there is a vast scope for impact from digital empowerment. If his actions match his rhetoric, then he should be sincerely interested in solving the liquidity problem.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2020
  14. NonHipster

    NonHipster Established Member

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  15. biggie

    biggie Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Hi


    if that is the premise, then it is fallacious

    why?

    since no registrar forces any person to register a domain, then
    GD or any other registrar doesn't "force" any registrant to abandon their domains.

    the other aspect is valuation of a portfolio

    for an owner to borrow against a portfolio, then the valuator would have to be universally accepted

    and GD would have to prevent appraisal for unregistered domains, to have a "control" over valuation for existing registered domains.

    the other issue would be nglt's, cctlds, idn's etc, etc when it comes to appraisal values and trying to get consensus on value.

    sorry, but I wouldn't have entertained an answer either, when or if it was an out of the blue question.

    something like that, probably should have been discussed through a scheduled meeting.


    imo….
     
  16. oldtimer

    oldtimer Do some good for humanity and the environment VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    @Rob Monster , Godaddy's business model is designed to monetize the dropping domains as a source of revenue for the company and I doubt that they are going to be willing to change that model anytime soon.

    The very fact that there is some contrast between Epik's way of doing business and Godaddy's is what has made Epik popular amongst domainers, so why would you want GoDaddy to become like Epik.

    I believe you should put all your efforts into creating even more contrast between Epik and other Registrars by coming up with new innovations and giving domainers even more options that perhaps don't exist elsewhere.

    I have domains both at Godaddy and Epik and I like each one for different reasons. The very fact that Epik is different than Godaddy has made Epik popular amongst domainers and so I believe that maybe it's best if you just focused on your own projects and created even more new ways to empower domainers instead of messing around with the Big Daddy. ;)

    Disclaimer: I like both Godaddy and Epik, but I am not affiliated with either one (or anyone else for that matter, as I like to think of myself as an impartial and free spirited domain intellectual :)).

    Domain Intellectual, I guess maybe I just coined a new term for the domain Industry. ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  17. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Both of those issues are extremely complex for a large number of reasons, so I would not expect a speaker from a major corporation to be prepared to answer a question like that, on the spot.

    Brad
     
  18. Brands.International

    Brands.International formerly lolwarrior VIP

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    Promotional banner of Epik is again in General Discussion thread.
     
  19. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    I have no animosity towards Godaddy at all. We are a tiny company by comparison. The industry benefits when the industry titan adopts ideas that have been tested elsewhere. By now it is not a secret that we don't care who makes money or who takes credit, as long as we make the pie bigger for a lot more people.
     
  20. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I disagree, he was called out as pulling a dick move, so I understand trying to get the communities thoughts.

    If no one is allowed to mention their name anywhere in General discussion then I will let the mods know I am going to spend however long reporting every post where someone mentions their name or company or similar name they own to a service and they can delete a ton of posts.
     
  21. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    I was illustrating a point.

    Godaddy apparently had put their slide deck together the night before the conference. The theme of the task was very obviously empowerment, which is the central theme of Epik as was evidenced by the back cover of the NamesCon program guide which the conference organizers were kind enough to sell to us even though Godaddy owns NamesCon.

    If you understand the context, I think it makes sense. I did not run into you at NamesCon, were you there? I was actually looking for you. We had some fans there. Evidently Shane is still a critic.
     
  22. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    There literally an advertising banner in the post.

    Brad
     
  23. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    No it's not Brad, that's an ad being paid for, Namepros is making that money.
     
  24. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Coming back to the point:

    Is it not reasonable that Godaddy management could use their legal and financial resources to shepherd a long overdue process to make domains bankable?

    Is it not reasonable that Godaddy could extend trade credit to customers who have non-horrible domains instead of having them drop names that they would otherwise keep?

    Godaddy has very deep competency in financial engineering. This should be right in their wheelhouse.
     
  25. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Aha, that's funny. We paid for a sponsorship. It appears on every page of NamePros after the first post. :) If anyone wants to buy NP ads, talk to @Brian Harbin of Grit Brokerage. He is also a NP ad sales rep.
     

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