In 2016 Kasimov and his London based company UKCI launched .art domain, the world’s only top-level domain designed for those who live and breathe art. Dedicated to the support of culture in a variety of forms, .ART empowers members of the art community to make strong statements in the online space.
.ART has also become the first domain zone in the Internet’s history to be granted ICANN permission for extending the WHOISTM domain information fields. .ART uniquely augmented the standard information to include artwork identification criteria. The extra fields are based on a standard established by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and endorsed by Interpol and other authoritative bodies.more about .art
Ulvi Kasimov Shares the .ART Journey
Venture investment, en vogue right now, has been around for a relatively short period — at least compared to other ways of doing business. One of the core success elements in venture investment is faith.Faith of the people in the ultimate success of their idea, and in the venture itself; and faith that progress and return on investment are in the imminent future.
A few years ago, equipped with this set of beliefs, I drew up the idea of the .art domain name registry. I relied on my support group: family, friends, associates and co-investors. The origin of the project is a long story. What I want to talk about now is a point of no return that I experienced, which is an integral part of any project.
The domain world is fully governed by a set of laws and rules administrated by ICANN; you can look it up on Wikipedia. Following these rules and instructions, my nine rivals, who also applied to operate the .art domain, and I, came to the point of no return. The decision on who will get to operate this incredible domain registry was to be made via an auction on July 17th, 2015.
This support made me feel confident and somewhat free when I considered bidding tactics. The first and most unexpected piece of news came just two days before the auction. All of my potential co-investors have withdrawn their commitments, arguing for the venture to be too risky compared to other opportunities.
So, two days before the auction, I was left alone with my rather strong competitors. I had no idea where to source the projected millions of dollars to participate in the .art domain auction. I’ve been in situations similar to this one — as challenging and difficult, but this was unprecedented. In the two sleepless days ahead of the auction, I kept repeating to myself one thing: «remember yourself, remember who you are, find the energy, the solution — like you did many times before.» This thought was my mantra.
Help came unexpectedly and not at all because of the mantra. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was seated on a sofa in a holiday cottage we visited with my entire family. I enjoyed some alcohol, can’t remember what kind, and was staring at the wall looking for a solution. My wife passed by. She stopped for a moment next to me and said: «Listen, Kasimov,» (this is what I am called when she’s cross about something), «stop suffering and step up to the situation. Take our savings, pawn the house or anything else if you need to, win this bloody auction and stop spoiling our vacation!»You can easily imagine this as a movie scene, but life, mine at least, has little resemblance to movies.
Her words didn’t get to me right away — this was the first time in our life together that she pointed out my cowardice; it simply hasn’t happened before. The comment my wife made worked like an ice bucket, or on the contrary — a bucket of boiling water. I jumped on the inside from how unexpected it was. Even more importantly, at that moment, I also realized that my family was more committed to and believed in me and this project than my so-called partners and managers. It was the most didactic moment of my life.
As you can guess, I did take up the offer. And we won the auction in the end. I continued to finance the project entirely with my family funds and no partners. Looking back, I am thankful for my luck and blessings. The .art domain registry has now over 110,000 adopters, many of whom I know personally. We are working together on partnership projects and charity initiatives. Over the years, .ART successfully introduced true innovation in the domain name industry and has been awarded a patent for our efforts. Together with my family, I have invested substantially in .art. So technically, we have sponsored every domain.
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