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Web.com formally announces bid for .web

May 30, 2012.web, Domaining, Domainnamewire, new tlds, Uncategorized, web.comComments Off on Web.com formally announces bid for .web

Web.com formally announced .web application.

Web.com, parent company of Network Solutions and Register.com, formally announced its bid for the .web top level domain today.

Of course, we’ve known about the company’s plans since at least October of last year. The company has been taking pre-reservations on its web site. The company also applied for a trademark on .web (that will be rejected) and said it’s been using it in commerce since last June.

I suspect ICANN may receive more applications for .web that any other top level domain. Web.com certainly knows it has a fight on its hand. It has posted .web pre-reservation terms that suggest it has superior rights to anyone else wishing to apply for the domain:

Since the “.WEB” TLD is obviously very similar to the Web.com trade name, trademarks, and the character string associated with the main Web.com web address, www.web.com, it is clear that Web.com should be the company to operate and administer the .WEB™ domain registry and this is a role that Web.com expects to assume and looks forward to doing so. Moreover, the issuance of .WEB™ to anyone other than Web.com would not only infringe on the trademark rights in Web.com, but the use of .WEB™ by anyone other than Web.com would mislead and confuse consumers into thinking that any website with the .web suffix was associated with or sponsored by Web.com. Therefore, Web.com has taken steps to secure the necessary approvals to operate and administer the .WEB™ domain name registry and remains committed to aggressively continue to pursue such approvals.

Language in the company’s press release is slightly less direct:

We believe we possess the natural platform from which to successfully market the new .WEB top level domain since we are the sole owner of the Web.com trademark as issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark office,” Brown continued. “With the resources of a nearly $500 million company and the inherent marketing advantage of the Web.com name, we believe we have the best opportunity to initiate and accelerate .WEB’s adoption as a universally understood and accepted top level domain.

Somehow I don’t think these claims will hold up with ICANN.


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Domain stocks doing very well this year

May 30, 2012Demand Media, dmd, Domaining, Domainnamewire, tcx, Tucows, Uncategorized, VeriSign, vrsn, web.com, wwwwComments Off on Domain stocks doing very well this year

Tucows more than doubles and other domain stocks also on a tear.

It has been a decent year for the NASDAQ so far. But returns on domain stocks have been exceptional.

Consider Tucows (TCX), which opened the year at 75 cents. It has more than doubled to $1.52 at today’s open. The company continues to buy back stock, but I also think there’s overall enthusiasm for its domain business and the prospects of its mobile phone offering Ting.

Demand Media, which owns eNom, has jumped 35% this year to today’s open of $9.52. Investors are becoming more comfortable with the company’s ability to adapt to search engine algorithm changes. It’s also well positioned to take advantage of new top level domains. As a registrar, it will certainly profit from other company’s new TLDs. More risky is its $18 million bet on its own new TLDs.

Web.com (WWWW), which owns domain registrars Register.com and Network Solutions, is also up 35% this year to today’s $15.97 open.

Finally, .com and .net registry VeriSign (VRSN) has marched forward 9% this year. It has a lot of new TLD clients (over 200 applications), but I suspect its revenue from new TLDs will remain insignificant compared to its .com registry revenue for the foreseeable future.


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Register.com Owner to Acquire Network Solutions

August 3, 2011Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Network Solutions, Register.com, web.comComments Off on Register.com Owner to Acquire Network Solutions

Register.com and Network Solutions to get married.

Two of the highest priced and oldest domain name registrars are getting married.

Web.com, which owns Register.com, will pay $405 million plus 18 million shares of Web.com stock as well as take on Network Solutions’ debt.

The cash portion of the deal will be funded with new debt: $600 million of First Lien Credit Facilities and $150 million of Second Lien Credit Facilities, as well as a $50 million revolver. The new debt will also pay off the remaining $84 million of debt from the Web.com acquisition of Register.com in 2010. After closing, the combined company will have $740 million of net debt.

Network Solutions is owned by a number of investors, primarily General Atlantic LLC.

The two domain name registrars have watched their market share suffer in favor of lower priced rivals such as Go Daddy, but have still managed to keep millions of domain names at higher prices. Typical registration prices at the registrars is about $35 per year. Their customers are less price-sensitive and often purchase full online presence packages.

The message from Web.com is clear: Register.com was a good acquisition for the company, so Network Solutions make sense as well.

I suspect we’ll see more consolidation in the registrar space over the next year.


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Web.com Buys Register.com for $135 Million

June 17, 2010Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, Register.com, web.comComments Off on Web.com Buys Register.com for $135 Million

Large registrar agrees to be acquired by small business hosting and design company.

Register.comWeb hosting and design company Web.com has agreed to purchase privately held domain name registrar Register.com for $135 million. The company views domain name registration as a lead generation tool for other services such as setting up web sites and hosting, and also sees cost savings of $10 million by merging the two entities.

Register.com is one of the original higher cost domain name registrars, which has stuck to its $35-a-year pricing similar to Network Solutions. It is the tenth largest domain name registrar with 2.36 million domain names according to RegistrarStats. That places it just behind Moniker.

Register.com also owns its own portfolio of domain names that its customers let expire.

With the acquisition Web.com is also inheriting a lawsuit filed by Chinese search engine Baidu. Baidu’s account was compromised and nameservers changed, apparently due to lax security controls by one of Register.com’s employees.


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