Undeveloped.com was renamed to DAN.COM last week and introduced the blockchain powered Domain Automation Network in partnership with IBM.
So I asked Reza Sardeha, the CEO of DAN.COM, 10 questions:
1. How do you intent to bring liquidity to the domain name aftermarket?
Answer: We already do that. We introduced for example installments to the broader audience and that has resulted on average in 30% more monthly sales for our sellers. As bringing more liquidity in the market is one of our main focuses, we tackle that problem on multiple fronts. What most competing marketplaces ignore is that you need to create an efficient and barrier-less market so more end-users are willing to engage on the secondary market. That’s what DAN focuses on as well to ensure we keep driving the portfolio liquidity of our sellers upward.
About distribution. Our answer to the closed distribution networks out there is the Unused Domain Pool. One of the key components of DAN.COM will be the Unused Domain Pool, designed to create the ultimate registered but unused domain inventory and distribution network. The DAN network will provide automated domain transfer services for all domains in the network regardless of where transactions are initiated. The UDP will be launched in Q4 of 2019.
2. You say that domains managed in the DAN network are going to be transferred instantly. Will that only be true on the DAN registrar or on all registrars using your API?
Answer: For which domains we can offer 100% automated escrow always depends on third parties. For example .nl, .eu, .de transfers are done instantly and 100% automatically at DAN at the moment. For .com’s it’s more complicated due to poorly designed policy that keeps the secondary market locked at the moment. When the domain sold itself can transfer freely, DAN can handle the transfers automated. If a domain is locked by the registrar, we have a fallback process in place and have automated the process to facilitate a domain push at the managing registrar.
3. Do you intent to circumvent ICANN’s policy and the 60-day inter-registrar transfer lock? How?
Answer: There’s a method that we tested which works to circumvent ICANN policy, however, we want to play the game nicely and so haven’t implemented that method. In the coming time we’ll organize talks with ICANN, if they want to hear us out to propose a new process for sellers. Currently ICANN and registrars are holding our domains hostage and that has to stop. As a domain owner, you should at all times be able to unlock and transfer a domain. This is a simple but necessary feature to be introduced sooner than later. In our blog post I already shared best use cases of how non-ICANN aligned extensions have solved this issue and they are thriving. So all TLD operators should have a sense of urgency to change the old processes as the primary market has reached a certain cap in terms of growth, while the secondary market is becoming more often the primary market for the next generation businesses.
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 instantly?
4. How is WHOIS 2.0 going to work alongside the current ICANN whois? (Sorry to say but making ICANN move domain name whois to Blockchain could take decades.)
Answer: First we introduced a WHOIS that works 100% on the blockchain and offers more modern and rich returns. Our WHOIS can tell if a domain is under a rental agreement for example and the best part of it is that the data on the blockchain is irrefutable and accurate. The next step for us is to integrate the standard WHOIS in our WHOIS 2.0. We hope to work with ICANN or other stakeholders in the market that are open to innovate.
5. How is your new WHOIS 2.0 format going to work with GDPR? Or will it simply not include any contact information like it works now?
Answer: WHOIS 2.0 is 100% GDRP proof because we only store critical verification information on the blockchain, including the private blockchain ID of the parties behind the WHOIS data. The sensitive data, is not stored on the blockchain but on a secure database that only verified parties can access, like law enforcement authorities.
6. You said that “You do not have to worry about who is liable for the content hosted on a domain you rent or lease.”. Why and how?
Answer: On our Domain Transaction Ledger, at all times when a domain is rented or leased, we identify who is liable for the content on the domain. So now, law enforcement agencies, for example, won’t have to look at whois and wrongfully think the owner of the domain is liable for the content on it. We can now the smart contract signed by both parties involved including showing in which time period who was operating the domain content.
Just like renting out a store, the shop operator is liable for what he/she does in the shop, not the owner of the building. And that’s what we’ve introduce last week at DAN.
7. You say that The Domain Automation Network has its own registrar to keep domains in escrow and its own payment gateway.
What is the name of the DAN registrar? Do you own this registrar 100%? Is it a new registrar or did you buy it? Is it already operational?
Answer: We signed a deal with Metaregistrar.com to create our own domain holding registrar for DAN. DAN transfers domains automatically to its own registrar and keeps it in holding for the period a domain is rented or leased.
8. Will you really offer at cost price domain registrations and renewals? Is there a catch?
Answer: There is no catch. Not all sellers will qualify to join the registrar and of course, there will be a fair use policy in place so we do not lose money on registrations but from our analysis 40% of our sellers can save massively by registering their domains with us.
Also, the sale process is significantly improved when we manage the domain as the managing registrar. Once a domain is registered with us, regardless of the extension, we can promote on the for sale page that we can guarantee instant domain delivery. This added incentive for buyers will boost conversions and the seller can get paid out directly after the payment of the buyer is secured.
9. What features does the registrar offer?
Answer: Anything, you would expect from a registrar.
10. How did IBM help you and what is their role in DAN from now on?
Answer: Blockchain is new technology and isn’t easy to work with for existing enterprises that have technical debt. IBM helps us to keep the blockchain up and running, secure and stable. They also share their expertise with us, which is welcome as we plan to scale the blockchain significantly in terms of functionality in the coming time. Having the oldest tech company in the world to back our project has tremendous value for us and our users.
See our case study here: https://www.ibm.com/case-studies/dan-com