Raymond Hackney Looks back at Domaining and the Internet of 2022
Raymond Hackney is a writer, domain investor and consultant based in Philadelphia. He founded the 3 character information website and price guide, 3Character.com. Ray is also Managing Editor of The Art of The Name, and he is a Contributing writer at MorganLinton.com and TheDomains.com.
First and foremost a Happy and Healthy New Year to all our readers, advertisers and partners. Looking back at 2022 it was quite the interesting year. From NFTs, Crypto, .xyz and DAN being acquired, there was a lot going on.
One theme that has been developing for awhile really took hold in 2022. The decentralization of domain investor engagement and commentary. If you go back a decade even just 5 years ago, conversation and engagement took place at Namepros and in the comment section of popular domain name blogs. Domainer Twitter has really become a thing, where there are those that used to comment quite a bit in other circles, they have kept most of their commentary on Twitter.
Namepros still gets traffic but I noticed several members who used to be quite vocal not posting as much. I checked up on a few longtime members to make sure they were ok. It was odd to see them go so long without at least one comment. Thankfully each and everyone was ok, they had just grown tired of the same old story on forums.
NFTs became a hotbed of discussion, several domain investors dove in and made quite the tidy sum. Shane Cultra was very transparent in his buys and sells and showed a lot of noobs what to look for when it came to delving into the NFT space. That actually started in 2021.
Crypto was certainly volatile in 2022 and it cause a lot of heated debates in the domain investor community. The discussion extended to blockchain names, from Unstoppable Domains to Handshake to .Eth it was quite a learning curve for those new to that area of domain investing.
Early in 2022 Namecheap shook things up by taking the controlling interest in Namebase.
As you may have already heard, Namecheap has acquired a controlling stake in Namebase!
Namebase will continue operating as an independent lean startup (this means we’re still the same platform you’re already familiar with), but will now also benefit from Namecheap’s invaluable resources.
While this news may be somewhat bittersweet, all of us at Namebase are ridiculously excited about Namecheap’s all-in commitment to lead Handshake towards mass adoption, because their fit with HNS could not possibly be any more aligned.
Namecheap not only comes with decades of deep experience in the DNS industry, but it was also the very first domain name register to ever accept BTC. That was back in 2013!
Namecheap was an OG in DNS.
Namecheap was an OG in crypto.
Namecheap is now an OG in something that combines the best of both DNS and crypto: Handshake.
On Namepros Aaron had a good point in my opinion.
Whoa. Will be interesting to see Namecheap walk the line between the world’s 2nd largest ICANN registrar and advancing adoption of the HNS root zone. I think they are fundamentally incompatible world views. You can’t say ICANN should have authority to regulate TLDs but here’s 100,000 more.
What does the whole future of WEB3 hold? Some think it’s the future, while others believe it’s time has already come and gone, it was just another pump and dump fad. Mark Zuckerberg might have bet too big on the Metavese becoming the end -all be-all. There will always be some new hype when it comes to tech, the key is to finding the things with staying power.
It certainly was a big year for Swetha and her .xyz portfolio. Towards the end of the year things started to get heated with domain name legends like Rick Schwartz and Mike Mann questioning the sales and if Swetha was a plant by Daniel Negari. Things got ugly for sure, some going as far as calling it misogyny.
We have never seen anything like Swetha in .xyz. One registrant making so many of the biggest sales, controlling so much of the non premium registration fee domain names.
I was the first person that ever interviewed Swetha. I was the one that gave her the moniker Queen of .xyz. I have detailed several of the end user buyers. I know others have done so as well.
It seems some try to write those developed sites as unimpressive or hurl some other negative term.
It will be interesting to see if .xyz continues to be an extension of choice for those in the Web3 space. Will Swetha continue to report sales?
There was a thread started on Namepros back in September about not being able to withdrawal funds out of the Masterbucks product at Epik. Enamebroker posted:
It happened on 23rd Aug 2022 and this matter lasted almost one month without any process. Masterbucks.com declined my fund withdrawal and disabled the button of fund withdrawal. And I contacted Epik.com and got no further action even if Rob Monster got involved in it for two weeks. All the time I was told in email by management review.
What is wrong with Epik.com? Do you think it is normal to disable fund withdrawal? How can I get back my fund from Epik.com? Thanks for your suggestion.
This thread became the gateway for many affected to tell their story. People have been posting updates, reviews and news for the entire fourth quarter of 2022.
This past week there was some interesting info posted by Derek Peterson:
I did a phone call with Brian Royce yesterday, a 3 hour phone call. Not a lot of new things to report, most of it is already known but there are some interesting things I can share:
1) “The board”, we keep hearing referenced, is actually just Brian Royce and Rob Monster, in a stalemate of sorts, but with Rob not allowed to make any financial decisions at all and control of nothing. There are also a bunch, and I mean a bunch, of share holders and creditors that are also controlling, to varying degrees, decision making, probably with varying degrees of threats of legal action.
2) The amount of money that Rob Monster blew is more than I thought.
3) Rob had access to his corp email taken away by Brian (rob at epik dot com) and those emails are now being forwarded, which made Monster very angry.
4) Monster has been asked to step down from the board by Brian Royce and the share holders and creditors but this kind goeth not out but by lawyers and paperwork.
5) It will probably not be easy to exorcise this Monster and harder still for creditors to ever be repaid.
6) They hope to have Kathleen, Igor, and others, paid out in January.
There are many questions that remain with regards to the future of Epik. Hopefully everyone owed money will get paid.
A longtime sponsor here and a favorite of many domain investors, DAN.com was acquired by GoDaddy. When the news broke I wrote how someone told me they thought it was a dark day for domaining. You don’t want GoDaddy to own everything. Competition pushes the giants to be better, and to innovate. It seems like the transition is going smoothly and GoDaddy will be better for having DAN.com.
2023 could very well likely bring about more consolidation in the domain industry. I hope it also brings about some new upstarts, more choices, more innovation is what’s needed to keep an industry fresh.
Thanks for participating here in 2023, I wish all of you the best and hope domain investing is a rewarding endeavor for you in the new year.
Article written by Raymond Hackney of the thedomains.com