A big leap forward.
Undeveloped BV launches the Domain Automation Network in partnership with IBM and re-names to Dan.com!
The Domain Automation Network V1.0 is live!
We proudly introduce you to Dan.com today. The Dan domain name marketplace, is a natural evolution of the domain marketplace formerly known as Undeveloped. Dan focuses on automating inefficient processes that dominate the domain industry.
By creating the most advanced domain sales and transfer infrastructure that exists, Dan can handle simple and complex domain transactions and transfers, fully automated executed by smart contracts powered by our own blockchain.
The domain industry has grown massively as the Internet has been adopted in all corners of the world. This has resulted in the industry to nowadays finds itself in a very outdated and inefficient state. The industry suffers from complicated workarounds, which make it inefficient. Usable and available registered domains are hard to find and have become unaffordable.
In order to remove friction and to allow the industry to reach its full potential, something had to change. Our mission to create a more liquid and efficient domain marketplace has become a reality today.
A lot of new features are active now at Dan.com, ranging from automated domain transfers to the use of smart contracts and the introduction of a new WHOIS 2.0 format, powered 100% by blockchain.
Check out our press release for a brief overview of our launch. Want to learn in depth about the impact of Dan? Continue reading this blog post.
In the following blog post, I share with you what this historic milestone in the domain industry means for Domain Buyers, Sellers & lastly the Industry as a whole. We take an activist position in the Industry, as we believe that’s the only way to implement impacful change. This blog post is written in a way where the problem is described first, which is then followed up by the solution. Enjoy!
How Dan.com Impacts Domain Buyers:
First, let us start with apologizing to all domain buyers in the world. We are sorry that you have had to endure all the painful, time consuming, confusing and utter inefficient processes in the past to purchase a domain on the secondary market.
When we started our marketplace (Undeveloped.com) in 2014, the average domain transfer at domain marketplaces would take at best 48 hours, but often transactions could end up taking weeks.
By 2017, Undeveloped.com had brought the delivery time of a purchased domain down to an average of 15 hours, but this still wasn’t good enough.
Domains are digital goods that don’t require transportation or shipping. So why are domain transactions so extremely slow?
The top three reasons we identified are:
1: Manual processes. The standard in the market is to have domain transfer teams in place that manage domain transfers manually. This results in delays, mistakes and painful transactions. Besides that, this manual process also makes handling domain transactions too expensive. In essence, the more people you need to transfer domains, the higher the commission has to be to cover those expenses.
2: Outdated processes. Most processes that rule the domain industry are designed in the ’90 s and early 2000. Since the companies operating these processes have become giants due to the extreme surge in demand for domains, they did not have an incentive or the will to improve their processes.
We took the responsibility on us to improve the processes and now have an infrastructure at our disposal that can transfer domains instantly and deliver a purchased domain within minutes to the buyer.
We dubbed this new model BaaS (Brands as a Service). You can purchase a domain from anyone across the globe and still enjoy a 100% secure transaction without any delays. Like it should be…
3: Registrars (the primary market). All domains have to be managed at a registrar. Registrars are simply entities where you, in essence, manage your domains. Due to registrars building in domain transfer lock-ins (those pesky 10 to 60-day transfer locks) and outdated processes (some of the biggest registrars that manage most domains have manual ownership updates, manual processes to request auth codes and so on) they are keeping the industry from evolving as there is no universal standard in the market to handle domain transfers for.
The way we see it, due to the draconian lock-in processes of some of the leading registrars, a majority of the domains available on the secondary market are being held hostage and these processes are hurting the domain business very significantly while just a hand-full of registrars benefit from these lock-ins. Millions of domain owners don’t understand and or want these lock-ins.
Some of the lock-ins are even implemented by a regulatory body called ICANN. Their primary goals has to be to safeguard the industry as a whole but they have been servicing registrars mostly.
Some ccTLD extensions, like the .nl extension, which operate outside of the ICANN policies, are much more open and successful due to their open processes.
For example, a .nl domain can transfer 100 times in a single day from one registrar to another. The moment you transfer a .com domain, which follows ICANN’s policy, a 60-day transfer lock is implement causing a lock-in at the new registrar. Update the email address of your domain contacts, and again, most registrars will enable a 60-day transfer lock on your domain.
Do you want to receive a domain via an account change at the biggest registrar in the world and they will add a 10 or 60-day lock on your domain.
It does not have to be that way. We and also you, our dear reader should not accept this kind of policy and lock-ins anymore.
DAN.COM’s main goal is to create a standard we all can share in the industry that is by its nature an open network. Closed networks should not and cannot survive if a strong alternative is offered and adopted.
Back to how it can be done…
Due to the open nature of the .nl extension, such a small market ccTLD is now ranked as the 8th biggest domain extension (+5million active registrations) in the world while the Netherlands only has 18 million inhabitants. There are a plethora of examples that prove that extensions with lock-ins imposed by ICANN, don not perform as good as open extensions. So why are the majority of TLD’s continuing to make the domain market inefficient?
To conclude, there are proper case studies out there indicating that the policy and processes around popular domain extensions like .com domains, imposed by ICANN and the biggest registrars serve no real function. They only make the market inefficient by locking domains at registrars. The claim that these lock-ins are meant for security purposes are also false as proven by the extensions that don’t have lock-ins.
The above is a snapshot of some of the problems that keep the domain industry from achieving it’s full potential. We are now tackling the problems mentioned within the limitation framework that we have to cope with for now. In the near future we hope to create a group of industry stakeholders to start demanding the changes that are required to modernize the market.
Introducing your automated Domain Transfer Assistant (Dan Bot)
The Dan bot is a fully automated personal domain transfer assistant that handles all your domain transactions real-time, 24/7.
In order to create transparency in regards of what actions exactly the Dan Bot executes, all its actions ranging from creating smart contracts to sending you the correct payment link and reminder are stored on our own blockchain. Directly on the ledger you can validate all actions that the Dan bot executes by looking up the public hash of the transaction.
Our Domain Transactions Ledger, in essence, acts as an online notary and legal database that nobody can temper with. Our blockchain is specifically designed to handle domain transactions. Check out the Domain Transactions Ledger here: https://explorer.dan.com
The moment you purchase a domain, the Dan Bot knows exactly at which registrar the domain is registered, if the domain is locked and which transfer options are available per registrar.
We have designed Dan in such a way that Dan even knows what the good and less well-designed processes of the managing registrar of the domain is.
By doing this, you, the buyer will always receive transfer instructions that are tailored for your transaction which saves a lot of time and frustration. Anyone without any domain expertise can now benefit from a painless, smooth and swift transaction due to the new processes introduced.
But that is not all. Transactions in domain extensions that have no transfer locks will be handled instantly.
Imagine buying a .eu domain, and being able to develop the domain 5 minutes later. Just this time, put a hold on your imaginations since the described is a reality now!
Average domain delivery speed of domains at DAN.COM:
The above is a snapshot of data from our beta testing. In the coming period, we will continue implementing improvements to keep decreasing the average delivery time until we reach instantly delivery across 95% of all TLDs.
Amazon is offering a 2-hour delivery service for physical products, how come a digital product like domains cannot have the opportunity to navigate freely from one registrar & owner to another?
We cannot allow the old market to hold the backbone of the Internet hostage anymore and have to stop accepting today’s bad practices.
Nobody should dictate what you can or cannot do with your own assets. A proposal of ours would be to create the option for the domain owner to remove any locks, while preventing registries and registrars from forcefully locking domains on behalf of their customers. This is not accepted in any industry, and should not be accepted in ours either.
Buy, Lease to own or Rent a domain. Hassle free, secure and flexible.
Dan.com is the only marketplace in the domain industry that can handle domain transactions fully automated and can hold domains at its own registrar when the domain is under a payment plan or is being rented.
Through process automation, we are making premium domains affordable again. The average sale price of domains on the secondary market currently is $3.161. The better the brand, the higher the price tag.
Today, at Dan.com you can purchase high-quality domains that would yesterday cost you a small fortune, starting from just $10 a month.
And the best part is that there are no hidden fees, you get full flexibility and you can return the domain on a monthly basis without any penalties.
By doing this, we aim to make premium domains affordable again by democratizing access to premium names to all. At the moment, medium to big enterprises or only heavily funded startups end up using quality brands, which is a shame.
Especially considering that 44% of all registered domains are currently unused.
By removing this type of barriers, we are making sure that you, regardless of your budget can buy and use a premium domain while also making sure that more unused domains will hit the secondary market.
How Dan.com Impacts Domain Sellers
Liquidity is king for you. You don’t want to sit on your domains while they do not generate any revenue. You’ve been asking for change and we’ve listened.
Domain sellers currently have a businessmodel that is too fluctuating and doesn’t give any monthly income guarantees. Back in the “good days”, PPC (Pay Per Click) income would yield you a great return, today that’s not the case anymore. Being dependant on sales only, works for a fraction of professional domainers, while the rest operates without making a significant enough return.
Let us change that. The new models that we have created, remove the biggest barriers that domain buyers have. As a domain marketplace, we only succeed if we connect buyers and sellers through their inventory efficiently. By continuously improving our product, based on market input we continue to remove friction points and barriers to help you become more successful.
The most significant changes for you:
1: Generate more & recurring revenue. Our research indicates that 81% of all negotiations fail due to the interested party not being able to afford the asking price. By increasing the maximum term of our Lease to own model to 5 years, for example, you can sell up to 511% more domains a month while creating recurring monthly income. Later down the road, more advanced models will be introduced like variable rental price agreements where the rental price increases based on pre-defined and agreed on signals.
2: Automated domain transfers. No more unnecessary delays. From today, most of your transactions will be handled by the Dan Bot as well (if the domain you sold is eligible for Dan to work with). This will result in great added value for you since you do not have to wait for your transfer specialist to perform manual actions anymore. The Dan bot will interact with you and handle your transactions, even when our office is closed. Due to this process enhancement, you will also get paid out faster!
3: Rent or Lease to own domains with trust. One of the biggest reasons why many professional domainers avoid selling domains in installments or renting them out is due to the legal issues that model can introduce. The main question: “Who is liable for the content of this domain?” remained unanswered until today. We have built WHOIS 2.0, which also supports fractional domain ownership, to make sure at all times to be able to determine instantly who is liable for the hosted content. Because our blockchain and the data in it is at all times 100% accurate by design, you can Rent and Lease your domains with peace of mind.
By tackling the above, you can attract more buyers for your domains but also build a more future proof domain business by moving away from situational sales which vary every month to a recurring and stable business that grows month over month.
The new seller dashboard that we have launched today, brings you that focus so you can build a more profitable and stable domain business.
What’s Next For Domain Sellers?
After this launch, our focus switches to building out the features required to continuously implement proven improvements.
We have already started working on all items listed below and aim to launch the next items in the coming one or two quarters:
1: Domain negotiation assistance from the Dan bot. Negotiations are hard, especially because every single domain is unique. As a marketplace however, we have a lot of big data from the market. We want to empower you, by crunching, analysing and implementing all data and delivering you actionable advice. No more trading on hunches, trade with confidence from now on.
2: Fractional domain ownership. The first version is launched, all transactions at Dan.com now have the capability to introduce new owners to domains. The service to assign multiple owners to a domain or an entire portfolio will be offered via Dan soon.
3: Domain investor dashboard. Due to the introduction of fractional domain ownership, we can introduce a complete new service which will help our sellers to attract more capital to re-invest in their portfolio. The ground work is done, in 2019 this service will be offered to our sellers.
4: Domain type-in monetization via PPC/Affiliates. Eventhough we’re not strong fans of domain monetization in the model where the domain is not being put to good use, we’ve already built the framework to offer this to our sellers.
There are two routes we can go into: offer an integration with an existing player in the market to provide Hybrid for sale pages that dedicate 50% of the page on selling your domain and 50% on monetization. Or to integrate an ad-network.
Regardless of the route we go into, unlike other marketplaces or PPC providers, we plan to forward you, the domain owner, 100% of the revenue generated by your domains.
5: Cost price registrars. The title says it all. At cost price domain registrations and renewals. No hidden fees, no funny business.
How DAN.COM Impacts The Industry
The biggest unfought battle in the industry could be one between open and closed networks. Over the course of time, closed networks have no right of existence. We invite all stakeholders from the industry to join our open network initiative.
Our game changing network will introduce efficiency and overal a significantly better user experience for our customers. Our platform makes a change of control and ownership of domains easier, safer and instant. The use of blockchain technology makes it possible to automate processes required to provide trust-less domain transfers, also referred to as escrow. Escrow automation also makes it possible to introduce new domain purchase and use models like renting domains, lease to own, fractional domain ownership and domain exchange in a scalable and frictionless way. Read more about the network here: IBM Case study.
Simple API to spread the innovation across the board
Dan.com offers access to its network to anyone via a simple API. The Domain Automation Network has its own registrar to keep domains in escrow and its own payment gateway. Anyone can easily build their own domain marketplace for example and use the Domain Automation Network’s API to handle all their domain payments & transfers from one person/registrar to another.
Interested? Reach out to our team for more details.
About Undeveloped’s re-naming to Dan.com
As you’ve noticed, we’ve introduced a complete new brand, while keeping all the core elements of our previous brand in place. The new logo is for example an evolution of our old logo:
The focus of our new brand direction is to turn our brand into a Label or in a way a stamp of approval. Whenever you see our logo, you observe a unique and easily recognizable mark that stands for our values to ensure you will experience a secure, simple and fast domain ownership transfer.
The name itself, Dan allows us to introduce a more personal & internationally appealing brand. The brand in full is pronounced as: DAN DOT COM, which exists of exactly three words that contain three letters each.
We didn’t per se have to change our existing brand Undeveloped but this move shows our hunger for continuous improvement. We’re the most active marketplace in terms of development and innovation and don’t plan to slow down any time soon.
The current version of our UI/UX is a gradual evolution to the new. We did this on purpose to not introduce a shock change. Over the coming period we’ll implement our full re-design with the goal to create the most modern domain market not only in the back-end but also in the front of the store.
More details about the first real blockchain specifically built for the domain industry.
There’s a reason why we post the blockchain part at the end of our blog post.
Dan.com is not a crypto or blockchain company but an existing thriving enterprise (we’ve grown with +200% in the 2018 and are showing an accelerated growth rate this year) that uses emerging technology, like blockchain not for hype but for a real use case.
Traditional databases are limited and not per se trustworthy. A company can delete or edit data in its database, causing major data losses for its customers for example.
Blockchain, is a modern type database that goes beyond what we use traditionally. For example, due to the core capability of blockchain, the data stored cannot be deleted or edited by any party. Blockchain also introduced new capabilities that are being implemented across many industries like smart contacts, which are self-executable & legally acceptable contracts.
Dan.com uses it’s blockchain not only to automate domain transfers but also to solve legal problems with the new models we’re introducing. Besides that, Dan.com’s own Domain Transactions Ledger, is used as an online notary where you can verify and validate transactions fully transparently.
Besides that we’ve also used our ledger as a proof of concept for fractional domain ownership and how the outdated WHOIS protocol should and could work. We plan to offer our assistance to ICANN to explore if the industry is ready to move WHOIS as we know it today to the blockchain. The proof of concept is created and launched today. It is a bit bareboned at the moment but the innovation here is that the data shown is always 100% accurate and solves legal issues when domains are stolen or simply rented or leased. The next step for our team is to integrate the old data model in the new. This will be done relatively soon after our launch.
The next step is to find consensus within the industry to replace the current WHOIS with our proposed WHOIS 2.0.
In conclusion, today is an exciting day not just for us but for anyone that works with domains. We’re extremely proud that we’ve been able to introduce the first version of the Domain Automation Network within the limitations we have had as a bootstrapped company.
In the coming period you can expect more significant improvements to be rolled out as we’re not planning to slow down any time soon. To be continued!
With best regards,
Reza Sardeha on behalf of Dan.com team