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March’s Top 5 Stories on Domain Name Wire

April 1, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

A look back at March 2015 in the domain name business.

Was March a slow news month? Looking over the top stories from last month, there wasn’t a lot of breaking, hard-hitting news. But there were some interesting domain name sales and other developments.

Here’s a rundown of the top stories from last month:

1. 2 Things that could harm domain names – the value and importance of domain names is always under threat.

2. The most influential person in the domain name industry is… – this was apparently the most interesting question on the 2015 Domain Name Wire Survey.

3. Goldman Sachs and other end user domain name buys – Goldman Sachs was among the buyers of domain names at Sedo last month.

4. LuxeValet.com shortens domain name to Luxe.com – the company bought the shorter domain name through Heritage Auctions.

5. IPC asks ICANN to halt controversial .Sucks domain name roll out – sunrise has now begun for the controversial domain name.



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GoDaddy shares pop 30% at open

April 1, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

So far, so good for GoDaddy’s IPO.

It’s not an April Fool joke — GoDaddy is off to a great start in the public markets.

Shares began trading at about $26 today, 30% over where the IPO priced. The $20 pricing was itself above the expected range of $17-$19.

At $26 a share, the company is being valued at about $4 billion.

The nice open might be affecting shares of rival Web.com (NASDAQ: WWWW), which are up close to 3% today. Other domain name stocks are mixed. Tucows shares are up about a percent and Rightside is trending downward.

We’ll see if GoDaddy’s 30% jump holds through the day.



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IBM’s Softlayer hit with ICANN breach notice

April 1, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Notice appears to be triggered by customer complaint.

ICANN has sent a breach notice (pdf) to Everyones Internet, Ltd. dba SoftLayer, citing multiple contract infractions. Softlayer was acquired by IBM in 2013.

According to the most recent .com registry report from November, Softlayer’s domain business is meaningful. It had about 90,000 .com registrations at the time.

The breach appears to be triggered from a dispute about the domain name southaustralianweddings.com and maintaining registration records for it. But it also cites a number of other areas of non-compliance:

  • Failure to provide a link to ICANN’s registrant rights and responsibilities.
  • Failure to clearly display and link to renewal fees and post‐expiration renewal fees.
  • Failure to provide details on pre- and post-expiration notifications.

ICANN is asking the registrar to resolve the issues by April 20.



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.Club tops 200,000 domain name registrations

April 1, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

.Club domain marks big milestone.

.ClubThe .Club team is celebrating after crossing the 200,000 registration barrier less than a year after launch.

The numbers can be attributed to a good domain, low pricing, broad distribution and aggressive marketing.

Although officially #3 in the zone file rankings, I believe .Club is #2 in arms-length registrations, behind only .xyz.

GoDaddy, which featured .Club on its home page for several weeks after it launched, is the number one registrar for .Club. Customers have registered over 60,000 .Club domains at GoDaddy. eNom and GMO Internet both have 20,000+ .Club registrations.

.Club has raised about $10 million in funding so far, with its most recent round valuing the business at about $25 million.



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GoDaddy goes public today, raises $460 million

April 1, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Company prices above expected range, valuing company at over $3 billion.

GoDaddy will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange today under the symbol “GDDY”.

The company priced at $20 per share and sold 23 million shares, raising $460 million. This was above its planned price range of $17-$19, and values the company at just over $3 billion.

The initial public offering should bring a lot of attention to the domain name industry today. It will be interesting to see if it has an effect on other publicly traded domain name companies, such as Web.com (WWWW) and Rightside (NAME).

Stay tuned for updates today.



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Sedo increasing minimum offers and commissions

March 31, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Low-ball offers now must be a bit higher.

SedoDomain name marketplace Sedo is increasing the minimum offer people have to make on a domain name as well as the minimum commission sellers pay.

Effective April 9, the minimum offer for most domains will increase from $60 to $90 (or EUR) or 75 GBP. Sellers will pay at least a $60 commission on all sales.

The minimum offer price will likely be greeted positively by those people frustrated about getting $60 offers on their domains. I’m not sure that $90 will feel much better, though. Sellers can always set whatever minimum offer price they’d like.

Afternic recently made the opposite move, lowering minimum buy now prices to $50 and minimum offer prices to $20. Both had been a rather high $250. Afternic charges a minimum commission of $15.



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Rightside stock up 50% this year

March 31, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Shares rebound from tough 2014.

2014 was miserable for owners of Rightside stock. Its shares sank 58% from $15.82 after being spun off from Demand Media to $6.72 at the close of 2014. Ouch.

2015 is seeing a big reversal. Shares opened today at $10.11, up 50% from the January 2 open of $6.76.

The fundamentals of the business don’t seem to have changed, but people are buying the stock. I suspect a lot of the sell-off in 2014 was from people who invested in Demand Media and didn’t care to own a pure-play domain name business. They went ahead and took the tax loss. It’s worth noting that most domain name stocks had a weak 2014.

Here’s a chart showing Rightside’s stock performance.

Rigthside owns eNom, Name.com, a large domain portfolio, half of NameJet and Rightside Registry.



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Why Donuts is revealing domain name renewal rates

March 31, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

By predicting and revealing renewals, Donuts hopes to get registrars and domain name investors on board.

Donuts has posted an update on its renewal rates, showing an overall 68.4% rate after ten days.

The update also highlights a reason Donuts predicted its renewal rates ahead of time and has continuously revealed its rates now that domains are expiring: It’s marketing.

Co-founder Richard Tindal explains that renewal rates on Donuts domains are much higher than those of .com domain names registered in the same year. This is bad for registrars, he reckons:

Why should you care that new .COM names are renewing at 50% or lower. The entire population of .COM renews at 72% which means it’s a healthy TLD, right? Well, not if you’re a registrar who’s deciding where to spend marketing dollars on new customer acquisition in 2015. If you spend those dollars acquiring more .COM customers you’ll need to figure a 50% renewal rate into your calculation of lifetime value / return on campaign. Don’t calculate that return at 72%.

I don’t think this is a completely accurate assessment.

It’s more about the type of customer your acquire than whether they choose a .com or new TLD. If you acquire a customer who plans to create a website or business on the domain, it probably doesn’t matter if they register a .com, .biz or .guru. The renewal rates will be about the same. Your rates will be much lower if you sell to someone who’s just registering for future use or as an investment.

Donuts is also revealing renewal rates to market new TLDS to domain name investors. I suspect part of Donuts’ early prediction was to convince domain name investors to renew. Tindal writes:

It’s similar if you’re a domain investor. As great as those old .COMs are, when you buy a .COM from the registry in 2015 you’re buying into 2015 quality, and that quality has declined to the point where names will soon renew below 50%. If you’re in the business of buying or selling domains, rather than being a user of them, you should have a good look at current year renewal rates for the TLD you’re interested in. It’ll surprise you.

I don’t think this is very relevant. Yes, some domain investors register truly awful names. But the majority of .com domains registered in any given year were previously registered. They aren’t really 2015 registrations.



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Royal Caribbean files lawsuit to capture typos

March 30, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Cruise line goes cruising for typos.

Royal Caribbean CruisesCruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises has filed an in rem lawsuit (pdf) against two typos of its RoyalCaribbean.com domain name.

The two domains — RoyalCaribean.com and RoyalCarribean.com — forward to another domain name that is a lead gen site for cruises and is branded with “Royal Caribbean”.

I wouldn’t be surprised if these domain names get a good bit of traffic. While writing this story I’ve confused the typo and correct version multiple times.

It’s interesting that Royal Caribbean is just coming after the domain names now. Both domain names were registered in 1999 and the current owner has owned them since 2005-2006.



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Tips to Sell More Domain Names with Jeff Gabriel – DNW Podcast #26

March 30, 2015Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off

Sell more domains with these expert tips.

Domain Name Wire podcastWant to sell more domain names? Jeff Gabriel, VP of Sales for DomainNameSales.com, has sold many domains (including some record-breakers). He shares tips for how to sell more domain names in this episode of the Domain Name Wire Podcast. Many of the tips are universal and can be used to sell more of anything, not just domains.

Also: Donuts’ renewal rates, .PING and Verisign-supported study suggests .com domains perform better than new TLDs.

Subscribe via iTunes to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, or click play below or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)



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