Today we have another instalment in our Q&A series, this time with Escrow.com. Escrow.com had a bumper year in 2018, with a 57% increase in domain transactions, but this was slightly tempered by the scammers and fraudsters online, while the “the regulatory environment is growing more complicated and challenging every day.” Looking forward, Escrow.com is aiming to “build the best online escrow service in the world. One of the greatest opportunities Escrow.com has is to get better and more efficient at what it already does well.” They also see dot-com remaining “king” of the TLDs and “domain names are as relevant now as they have ever been.”
Escrow.com provides escrow services, including to the domain name industry, holding money until both parties agree it should be released such as when a domain name is transferred following a sale, avoiding banks and lawyers, while providing certainty that payment will be made.
Domain Pulse: What were the highlights, lowlights and challenges of 2018 in the domain name industry for you?
Escrow.com: While the Escrow.com team values each and every domain transaction that it facilitates, the million-dollar-plus domains do tend to grab our attention. In 2018, Escrow.com saw a 57 per cent increase over the previous year of domain transactions worth over $1 million that closed on the platform. This figure reflects the broader volumes of transactions that Escrow.com saw in 2018, which suggests a healthy and liquid domain market.
Lowlights involve the various scammers and fraudsters that invariably try to take advantage of others via the internet. Fortunately, Escrow.com has industry-leading security and quality assurance mechanisms in place to protect users against such individuals.
As for challenges, the regulatory environment is growing more complicated and challenging every day. However, Escrow.com is working very hard to meet and exceed these obligations, and to help our users navigate through the steps they need to take to stay safe, secure, and compliant.
DP: GDPR – good, bad and/or indifferent to you and the wider industry and why?
Escrow.com: Escrow.com is, of course, entirely GDPR compliant. However, it should be noted that, being a financial service provider, GDPR tends not too much of an effect on Escrow.com’s day-to-day operations.
More broadly, GDPR may sometimes make it more difficult to access information about domain name transactions on services such as WHOIS, as records of some domain owners will no longer be readily available under the GDPR rules. This could have the effect of making it harder to verify if someone owns a domain name or whether a transfer actually takes place.
DP: What are you looking forward to in 2019?
Escrow.com: Despite some gathering headwinds in the global economy, the Escrow.com team hopes that the domain industry maintains the momentum it saw in 2018. Nevertheless, the domain economy and the broader global economy operate independently of our business, so Escrow.com will continue striving to build the best product and service it can. To this end, Escrow.com looks forward to working with its customers and partners across the globe.
DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead?
Escrow.com: The global economy has the potential to present a challenge in the year to come. However, it is not expected that this will distract Escrow.com from its mission to build the best online escrow service in the world. One of the greatest opportunities Escrow.com has is to get better and more efficient at what it already does well. Having dealt with some significant technical legacy over the past couple of years, it is expected that the improvements to the Escrow.com system to be more customer focused will soon become evident to everyone who uses Escrow.com in some capacity.
DP: 2019 will mark 5 years since the first new gTLDs came online. How do you view them now?
Escrow.com: As Escrow.com is a supplier to the domains industry, it doesn’t particularly matter too much which extension a domain claims. That said, dot-com domains are still king and make up a vast majority of Escrow.com domain transactions.
DP: Are domain names as relevant now for consumers – business, government and individuals – as they have been in the past?
Escrow.com: Absolutely, domain names are as relevant now as they have ever been. The world population continues to grow year by year, the percentage of the population online continues to increase with it, and the usage of online services by those online continues to increase as well.
This all points to domains increasing their relevance over time. For both individuals and businesses, the value of being discoverable online shows no signs of abating.
Previous Q&As in this series were with:
- EURid, manager of the .eu top level domain (available here)
- Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH (here)
- Afilias’ Roland LaPlante (here)
- DotBERLIN’s Dirk Krischenowski (here)
- DENIC (here)
- Internet.bs’ Marc McCutcheon (here)
- nic.at’s Richard Wein (here)
- Neustar’s George Pongas (here)
- CentralNic’s Ben Crawford (here)
- CIRA’s David Fowler (here)
- Jovenet Consulting’s Jean Guillon (here)
- GGRG’s Giuseppe Graziano (here)
- Blacknight Solutions’ Michele Neylon (here)
- Public Interest Registry’s CEO and President Jon Nevett (here).
If you’d like to participate in this Domain Pulse series with industry figures, please contact David Goldstein at Domain Pulse by email to david[at]goldsteinreport.com.