🤝 Handshake Domains Coming of Age

Decentralized Handshake SLDs are starting to take off, plus which media companies are dominating the SERPs

Hey there 👋,

In this week’s newsletter, I discuss:

  • Investing in Handshake blockchain top-level domains (TLDs), with the rise of decentralized SLDs (think .eth domains).

  • The epic report that Glen at Detailed.com just refreshed about the media brands that are dominating Google search results (and how you can compete with them).


I first covered Handshake blockchain domains on the ALTS by Flippa substack last March, where I bought my surname .patey/ TLD.

To recap, Handshake is a way to truly own your name, where no central authority, like ICANN, can take it away from you:

Handshake name owners have complete control over their data and can use their TLDs as they wish — from simply hosting a website to becoming a registrar that sells subdomains to others

I then attended the 2022 Handycon Handshake Conference where I saw that the top TLD owner Clay Collins (from Leadpages fame) with .c/ was making six figures a year selling SLDs (i.e. patey.c). I wrote about it in this post.

This really inspired me, so I started bidding on premium TLDs on Namebase but never heard back from the owners. So I ended up hitting the buy now on the .lazy/ TLD for 50K $HNS. (This buy now ended up being a top buy just before the whole crypto market tanked!).

I created the marketing site for Lazy Domains to be ready to stake the TLD and sell my own SLDs.

But my time in NFTs, and seeing the rise in ENS domains (such as the 10K .eth club which I wrote about here), convinced me that Handshake SLD names needed to be decentralized and rooted in Ethereum for mass adoption. Just like Impervious had done forking ENS with their Forever Domains.

My view is that people need to be able to buy and sell their SLDs as NFTs on platforms like Opensea, and have the future potential of using them as Ethereum wallet addresses like you can with .eth.

In July 2022, Impervious launched their Decentralized Registry, where you can stake your TLDs and sell dSLDs (I covered this on the Flippa blog here):

This is a great option but if dSLDs are the future of the space, I want to make sure I go with the registry with the greatest distribution. Looking at the Handshake SLD sale leaderboard that appears to be Namebase, which has Namecheap as a registrar:

However, Zach Brown has staked his .RECORDS TLD on Impervious and is about to break into the top 10 for registrations, due to doing effective outreach to record companies. He has sold almost 500 of his dSLDs (which are music NFTs), bringing in over 13ETH to date:

In August 2022 came the Handshake Decentralized SLD proposal by Aaron Oxborrow at Namebase, plus Chris Moos & Sam Ward). This was what I was waiting for, and it offered key benefits to TLD owners:

  • TLD owners get full control of pricing and distribution methods

  • TLD owners can benefit from sales by traditional registrars

  • TLD owners get recurring SLD fees streamed directly to their wallet

  • TLD owners can configure SLD aftermarket royalties using EIP-2981

  • TLD owners do not have to lock their TLDs forever, preventing upgrades

The proposal is to use an Ethereum layer 2, most likely Optimism, which Coinbase is now building on with the Base L2.

And now in March 2023, over 6 months on from the proposal, dSLDs with Namebase are getting close to becoming a reality.

There could be a great opportunity right now to pick up Handshake TLDs, where the price of the $HNS token you use to buy them looks like it may have bottomed (not financial advice!).

Even with my expensive purchase, it will only take selling 500 dSLD renewals at 0.01ETH ($15) to recoup my investment in one year. But of course, you need to be confident that your TLD has an audience you can reach.

I’m speaking at this year’s Handshake Conference tomorrow at 15:30 PST, with Alex Neto from Namebase, alongside Clay Collins, about staking Handshake TLDs and selling decentralized SLDs:

Want more domains in your inbox?

I also write the Dropping Domains newsletter:

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Content Sites

Glen Allsopp just updated his google domination report for 2023 showing how 16 big media companies are dominating the SERPs. The article is a bit epic:

For website investors looking to compete with large media companies (or sell to them), it’s a must-read. However, at over 20,000 words, I felt the need to ask ChatGPT to summarise it:

The article at the URL https://detailed.com/google-control/ discusses Google's level of control over the internet and the potential consequences of such control. The author argues that Google has become too powerful and is able to influence the flow of information online, which could lead to censorship and a lack of diversity in search results. The article also explores the various ways in which Google exerts its control over the internet, including through its search algorithm, advertising platform, and other services like YouTube and Google Maps.

Author: ChatGPT

The report covers the recent acquisitions and mergers that have been happening and shows which companies are dominating the SERPs the most:

Fandom (with its gaming brands) comes top, followed by Ziff Davis, Dotdash Meridith, and then Red Ventures.

So how on earth can you compete with the investment from the big dogs (some public companies)? Glen gives some wise words of encouragement:

These 16 companies, and those like them, don’t rank in every niche. Don’t always grow their sites. Don’t always take over the top results.

There will always be opportunities available if a bigger slice of the pie is your aim.

And if it’s your goal, who knows…you might be the next independent site they look to acquire.

You can read the full report here.

Want more content sites in your inbox?

I list the top deals across the marketplaces such as Empire Flippers and Flippa, every Monday in the Acquire Websites newsletter:

Ok, that’s it from me, until next week, be well.


Richard Patey - @richardpatey

Disclaimer: Nothing in this email is financial advice and I am not professional investment advisers. I send weekly updates on digital asset trends and what I'm doing personally - consider it informational and for entertainment purposes only.

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