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Uniregistry makes Whois opt-in

February 21, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Uniregistry makes Whois opt-in

New Cayman Islands law forces Uniregistry to change Whois policy.

Domain name registrar Uniregistry is making the publication of Whois data opt-in for registrants.

The move is in response to a new Cayman Islands Data Protection Law. Think of it as the Cayman Islands’ version of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Many of Uniregistry’s clients are domain name investors who want their information disclosed in Whois and they will be able to opt-in to doing this.

Technically, ICANN requires all registrars to provide a way for their customers to opt-in to have their information published in Whois but few have enabled this capability.

For domains with masked Whois records, Uniregistry will provide a form for people to contact the domain owner.

Most (but not all) other big domain name registrars began masking Whois data carte blanche after GDPR went into effect in May even though the law doesn’t cover non-EU citizen/resident data.

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Nelson Mandela Foundation wants Mandela.org domain name

February 21, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Nelson Mandela Foundation wants Mandela.org domain name

Organization files cybersquatting complaint under UDRP with World Intellectual Property Organization.

Nelson Mandela Foundation logoNelson Mandela Foundation Trust has filed a cybersquatting complaint against the domain name Mandela.org.

The organization was established in 1999 when Nelson Mandela stepped down as President of South Africa. It was created for Mandela to do charitable work such as building schools, HIV/AIDS work and research. It now also handles the legacy of Mandela.

It uses the domain name NelsonMandela.org.

A Brazilian man owns Mandela.org. Prior to that, the domain name was owned by domain name investment company Internet REIT.

For a long time Mandela.org has resolved to a scarcely populated website that says it is under construction.

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End user domain name sales up to £30,000

February 21, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on End user domain name sales up to £30,000

A German telecom company, tire distributor, and a Mexican paint brand bought domains last week.

graphic of briefcase full of money related to end user domain name sales

This week’s top end user sale has an unknown buyer, but we will surely find out their identity soon. In addition to .com many ccTLDs made their way to the list: .de, .co, .ch and .it

Here are some end user sales from Sedo last week. You can view previous lists like this here.

DuoBank.com £30,000 – The Whois changed from someone in Korea to Scalar IT, a CDW company. I assume that’s outsourced IT for the buyer. When I search ‘duo bank’ I get a result for an investment firm that uses DuoBank.com.br.

Berel.com $8,200 – A Mexican paint brand and manufacturer.

Heuro.com €4,800 – Forwards to Heuro.ca, a Canadian resource and treatment program provider for those suffering from a brain injury.

Toniton.com $4,300 – Brand protection company Brimondo bought this domain name, ostensibly for a client.

CashOnly.com $4,000 – The domain name forwards to StaffOnly.com, which says “We help startups turn ideas into compelling products.”

Cannaflower.com $3,888 – Forwards to BerkshireCBD.com, a wholesale distributor of hemp flower plants.

MyBoardingHouse.de €3,750 – Forwards to MyBoardinghouse.net, a German apartment rental listing site.

Hiring.co $3,553 – Great keyword domain in development as a job listing site for the New York City area. Currently, they’re only showcasing security jobs but it’s hard to tell if that will be their sole focus.

3imedia.com $3,500 – Forwards to 3imedia.de/de/ – a German Telecom Firm that now owns the .Com of their domain.

Doc-Doc.com $3,300 – A Spanish language online portal and app of professional doctors available by chat, video consultations and home visits.

Kirchenaustritt.ch €2,990 – Forwards to mgqrmryww.cyon.link, which appears to be a template in development. It translates to roughly “leaving the church” in German.

Fritzreifen.com $2,500- Forwards to Fritzreifen.de, which has a literal translation of “Fritz tires” and is a German distributor of motorcycle and various types of commercial vehicle tires.

CorsoTrading.it €2,100 – MoSEO SrlS is an Italian web developer and SEO company. Its address is Corso Roselli, so this might be a domain for one of its clients or a project it is building.

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Two thoughts from GoDaddy’s conference call yesterday

February 21, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Two thoughts from GoDaddy’s conference call yesterday

GoDaddy execs comment on WordPress and the domain aftermarket.

GoDaddy logoGoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) released Q4 2018 and full-year earnings yesterday and held its investor conference call.

Two things in the call stood out to me.

First, the company discussed continued progress on GoCentral and its growth in managed WordPress.

GoCentral is GoDaddy’s homegrown website builder. It’s designed to be extremely easy for any type of business to start a website. I’ve tested the product and it’s definitely an easy way for a restaurant, mechanic, or any of hundreds of other types of businesses to create a web presence quickly and without the help of a developer.

On the call, GoDaddy CEO Scott Wagner noted, “Our Managed WordPress offering automates the entire process of starting and maintaining a secure WordPress website, which saves our customers literally hours of work, frustration and distraction.”

Later, in response to an analyst’s question, he said (quoted from SeekingAlpha transcript):

The biggest issues with WordPress, if you are working and using on it, are plug-in maintenance and overall security and just the level of time and attention that it takes to actually run that. Look, our managed platform, managed WordPress platform, totally automates and simplifies that process and we are making it easier and easier and easier. And so the feature improvement is both security layer, but more importantly, on app plug-in and theme updates to just make it super easy for performance and reliability. So I think you are seeing it not just for pros, but also for pros handing sites like that off to individuals or small businesses that are managing it for themselves.

I think that starting a WordPress website is something in which GoDaddy really shines. It uses onboarding wizards similar to GoCentral to get you started quickly. I’ve used WordPress since 2005 and, despite all the improvements in the platform, still find it hard to spin up a site with a good design. It’s much, much easier with GoDaddy.

Wagner noted that GoDaddy is now the largest host of paid WordPress instances.

One future opportunity for GoDaddy is to help companies make the leap from GoCentral to managed WordPress. GoCentral is a good product and will meet many companies’ needs. Over time, though, they might want to get the flexibility of WordPress. It would be very powerful to have a one-click migration from CoCentral to managed WordPress.

Dreamhost is doing this to a degree with its Remixer product. Remixer is a much simpler website builder, though.

The other thing on the call that caught my attention was CFO Ray Winborne’s comment on the domain aftermarket:

For the first quarter, we expect revenue of $705 million to $715 million, representing 11% to 13% growth versus the first quarter of 2018, as we began to lap the gains from changes in merchandising of aftermarket domain sales in early 2018.

This reconfirms that GoDaddy saw a marked improvement to aftermarket domain sales when it changed how it presented premium domains in domain search results. At NamesCon this year, GoDaddy GM Paul Nicks said conversions increased 30% with this change. It apparently had a material impact on GoDaddy’s revenue. I think there’s other low-hanging fruit here that GoDaddy can tap in 2019.

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GoDaddy tops $3 billion bookings in 2018

February 20, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on GoDaddy tops $3 billion bookings in 2018

Company crosses milestone as growth continues.

GoDaddy logoGoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) released Q4 2018 and full-year earnings today after the market closed.

The company crossed $3 billion in bookings in 2018, coming in at $3.01 billion, up 15.0% from 2017.

Revenue was $2.23 billion, up 19.2%. GoDaddy expects slower revenue growth in 2019, targeting 12-13%.

Domain name revenue in Q4 was $314.3 million, up 11.6% from $281.6 million in the same quarter of 2018. For the year, domain revenue was $1.22 billion.

The company ended 2018 with 18.5 million customers.

Subscriptions to web presence products, including GoCentral and managed WordPress, were up 40%.

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Wix hits 4 million paid subscribers

February 20, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Wix hits 4 million paid subscribers

Company adds 147k net paying subscribers during Q4.

Website building system Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) (Wix review) reported earnings and subscriber numbers today.

The company added a net 147,000 premiums subscriptions in Q4, reaching 4.0 million overall (rounded). That’s 24% growth in subscriptions compared to the end of 2017.

Wix also added 5.9 million registered users in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to 142 million. In other words, about 3% of registered users are paying subscribers.

Q4 revenue was $164.2 million, up 39% year-over-year. Collections (e.g. cash receipts) hit $176.1 million, up 33%.

For the year, revenue was $603.7 million, up 42%. Collections were $658,385, up 36%.

The company forecasts $755 million – $761 million in revenue during 2019 and collections of $817 million – $827 million.

Shares were down over 10% following the earnings release.

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ISP files lawsuit to recover Inch.com domain name

February 20, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on ISP files lawsuit to recover Inch.com domain name

Company alleges that Inch.com and Siteline.com are stolen.

A New York internet service provider has filed a lawsuit (pdf) to recover Inch.com and Siteline.com, which it says are stolen domain names that the company registered in 1995.

Internet Channel Corp. filed the in rem lawsuit in Virginia last week. It notes that Inch.com still resolves to a website about its business.

The domains have an interesting history. The historical Whois records at DomainTools change from Internet Channel to Thorn Communications in 2006.

I can’t find much information about Thorn Communications, but a Yelp review states that the company is non-responsive. The phone number on its website doesn’t work. And the company’s landlord won a judgment against it.

Thorn is an outsourced IT shop, so these domains might be stuck in limbo.

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.Inc domains will be about $60,000 at Early Access

February 20, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on .Inc domains will be about $60,000 at Early Access

Start a purchase order if you want to buy a .Inc domain in April.

Yesterday was day one of early access for .Dev domain names. I watched with amusement as Google’s Ben McIlwain (podcast) responded to complaints on twitter about the $10,000+ price tag. He explained that it was a Dutch auction and they should just wait a few days to buy the domains at lower prices.

If people were startled by .Dev’s early access prices, wait until they hear about .Inc.

Early access for .inc starts on April 30, but you’ll need to raise your credit card limit to participate. Expect to pay about $60,000 (not a typo) to get a .inc domain on day one. That drops a few thousand dollars on the second day. Wait until day 3 to pay about $30,000. The final day is still in the $6,000 neighborhood.

.Inc will always have a premium price tag, even in general availability. Retail prices will be about $2,000 per year.

I assume the value in these domains is for companies with common names that could be registered by someone else. I doubt cybersquatting will be a big problem; I don’t know many cybersquatters who will risk $2,000 on these names.

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Google’s .Dev domains are now available…for a hefty price

February 19, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Google’s .Dev domains are now available…for a hefty price

Wealthy developers can get a .Dev domain today. Others should wait until next week.

Today is the first day that non-trademark holders can register domain names ending in .Dev.

Google is releasing the domain name in Early Access today. The Dutch-auction style phase started at 4:00PM UTC.

On the first day, expect to pay over $10,000 for the right to register a .dev domain. This drops to roughly $3,000 tomorrow and under $200 on Monday.

General availability begins February 28. Expect to pay around $10-$15 retail for .dev domains that Google has not marked as premium.

Google’s .app domain took off like a rocket ship last year and there are now more than 350,000 .app domains registered.

.Dev looks like it won’t be quite the same juggernaut. Sunrise trademark registrations appear to be lower than .app.

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Tucows releases “Tiered Access” Whois request data

February 19, 2019Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Tucows releases “Tiered Access” Whois request data

2,100 requests for Whois data so far.

Graph of Tiered Access whois requests at Tucows

Most Whois data requests are related to trademark infringement.

Domain name registrar Tucows (NASDAQ: TCX) released data today about requests for Whois information under its tiered access program.

The company started the program following the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Policy (GDPR) last year. At that time, Tucows masked Whois records for all domain names on its platform.

People could still ask for Whois data through an online platform.

The company, which has over 20 million domains under management, said it has received 2,100 data access requests since starting the tiered access program in May. 65% of the requests came from a single requestor.

While Tucows didn’t name this company in its blog post, it’s certainly AppDetex on behalf of Facebook, which flooded Tucows with requests timed around ICANN meetings.

Overall, Tucows provided data on 25% of requests including for 21% of AppDetex’s requests.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story. Only about 5% of requests were denied; the other 70% of requests weren’t fulfilled because the requestor didn’t respond to Tucows’ request for more information. So the majority of requestors that provided all the information Tucows wanted got data.

90% of requests came from commercial litigation. This includes the AppDetex requests.

Tucows points out that few requests came from security researchers. (That said, I believe most security researchers use Whois data in bulk to connect the dots, so requesting individual records is not feasible.)

The data don’t include ICANN Compliance requests. Tucows has not given personal registration data in response to any of ICANN’s requests but has been able to help ICANN investigations without disclosing this data, it said.

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