Domain Experts can be Wrong

The NamesCon auction, currently the biggest domain industry auction of the year, is over. Even though the live NamesCon auction and online auctions have ended the talk about them has not.

Noticeably many new domain extensions did not sell well this year. Much to the dismay of new gTLD supporters. Notably many .NET domains sold for under what one would expect, even with a room full of domain resellers. You can see the NamesCon auction results here.

The other discussions I’ve seen are about why Monte Cahn, who handles these premium auctions each year, did and did not accept certain new domains. Also why some new domains were and were not accepted with a reserve price. Many new domain extensions I saw in the auction were real head scratchers. Ebiz.online???

To be fair. It’s extremely hard to know what people are interested and to predict what consumers will want to buy. Not even a domain veteran like Monte Cahn, who started Moniker and runs Right of the Dot, can always know.

Here is a discussion with teams Frank Schilling vs Rick Schwartz over the new domain extensions at T.R.A.F.F.I.C, which could be considered the precursor to the NamesCon. Monte Cahn shares his thoughts on .IRISH and why it will be a successful domain extension. You can read the transcript below too.

Editor’s Note – If the video doesn’t load right up to the comments, you can skip ahead to the 29 minute mark.

New Domains vs .COM – Monte Cahn

The .IRISH discussion;

Monte Cahn – “Another good example is .IRISIH you know, there are a lot of people that relate, people feel like they are Irish, love the Irish,

Howard Neu – “Or .ITALIAN”

Monte – “Right, there is not going to be a .ITALIAN but there is going to be .IRISH. So you know, that is probaby going to be a very successful TLD. Besides what happened at Notre Dame. Anybody that is IRISH, there are 110 million IRISH people all over the world right know, you know. So that is another example of where people have an affiliiation to a specific TLD because of their background, religion, where they come from, what business they are in, and what they believe in. “

.IRISH Domains

So is the .IRISH domain extension successful? No.

According to NameStat and NtldStats we see .IRISH registration sits around 2,000 registrations. This essentially means they are not even making the bare minimum in yearly ICANN fees to cover the cost of running the domain extension. It’s estimated to cost $150,000 – $200,000 dollars per year in administrative costs to run a new domain extension.

I don’t consider registration volume everything but according to HosterStats data only 2.1% of sites of the total amount of domains are active sites. That is roughly 42 websites, which is well kind sad. We know John McCormac, the founder of HosterStats, wouldn’t make these numbers up as he is irish. 🙂

.IRISH used to be run by an independent company but now has been sold to the Donuts, which manages over 200 domains. If .IRISH was choosing a place to go die it seems Donuts was a great option for it.
.GAY, .ITALIAN, .JEWISH?

Right after the .IRISH comments Monte continued about another extension .GAY.

Monte- “Another way is .GAY, I’m sure everyone that is one everybody has heard of. It’s a community, it’s a feeling of, of what you belong to. So that is where it is going to make a difference I think on the internet.”

Then Frank Schilling, owner and founder of Uniregistry, weighed in;

Frank Schilling – “I totally disagree. I kind of dump the Geos in with the IDNs, a passion play. But the problem with Geos is the internet is global, when I’m in New-York City .NYC is going to be a great name right, but all of a sudden you polarize everyone from New Zealand, New Jersey, Delaware, all around you NYC. And if you are selling online you want to sell globally, right? And with .GAY, you can be in the most out there gay person on earth it doesn’t mean you want to you want to fly your flag in your URL and your email address.”

.GAY has not been delegated by ICANN yet over some community lawsuit shenanigans. I agree with Schilling here halfway. (I actually think .NYC could be a successful domain extension in the low run, but currently isn’t.) Why are you going to use .GAY in your email and domain even if you are really gay?

Rick Schwartz and Lonnie Borck, who are both Jewish, at no point in the conversation said “Hey, you know you guys are right! I’m really missing .JEWISH in my personal and professional email and website.”

Most people should not be inclined to show backgrounds, religious beliefs, political beliefs, etc. in a domain or website. Honestly you want to do business with people who may not have the same feelings or views about everything as you. Polarizing them immediately is not exactly the best message and first impression.

Predictions have been Very Wrong

The funniest part of the discussion is when Howard Neu, a domain lawyer, assumed there was going to be a .ITALIAN. Sure why not, makes sense right? I’ve made the same assumptions. Perhaps in the next round more garbage new domains will be dropped on us.

Personally as someone who follows domain names, I can’t even remember all the domain extensions. I always ask, “Is that a real domain extension?” … not good.

What’s the point here? While we are singling out Monte Cahn a bit here for sharing his thoughts on .IRISH, he’s not the only expert domain industry veteran that has been wrong, very wrong when it came to demand predictions on new domain extensions.

One panelist in the discussion was Simon Johnson who is part of the .KIWI registry. As written here on DomainAnimal there was an unusual surge in .KIWI registrations several months ago. The reason for this was that .KIWI had to give away roughly 200,000 domains as was reported by OnlineDomain. This was with a joint deal with the New Zealand web hosting and domain name company Umbrellar and the .KIWI domain registry.

They gave away .KIWI domains to customers that matched existing .CO.NZ and .NZ domains. Reminiscent of the .XYZ and Network Solutions deal.

.KIWI has had to resort to mongering to actually convince Kiwis, a term for people from New Zealand, to actually maybe buy one of these .KIWI domains. This is compared to the dominate ccTLD extension .NZ which has 672,000 registrations. No fear tactics required.

In my opinion it is one thing to make predictions that don’t materialize, and another to make claims which are just false. Of course these shenanigans are common with new domain companies.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen any domain industry veterans and experts make other predictions which just hasn’t happened? What were these predictions and thoughts? What do you think the future holds for new domains?

Ever Heard of Flipping a Domain Registrar?

Most of my readers have heard of flipping domain names, websites, apps, and other digital products. Have you ever heard of flipping a domain registrar or dropcatcher? How about several? 🙂

This recently happened with Drop.com.au, one of the main dropcatchers/domain name registrars/ for the .AU (Australian) market. Here is how it went down.

Ned O'Meara

Ned O'Meara runs Domainer.com.au where he shares tips, advice, and thoughts mainly about the Australian name-space and domain investing.  While most of his information is geared toward the .AU domain market his advice is useful for any wanting to become a more knowledgeable domain trader. “All That Glitters is Not Necessarily Gold” is great article and I recommend you read.

While Ned might not be well known outside of the United States, he is one of the top .AU investors.  He used to run DNTrade, a discussion forum for .AU domains.  He's also helped facilitate some large domain sales according to this OzDomainer interview.

End of the Road

Ned announced that this was the “End of the Road” for him as a domain investor a couple months ago. He had several big life events in the past year and stated;

Another opportunity has been presented to me, and I intend pursuing this with vigour. More on this at a later time.

So, after discussions with “she who must be obeyed” (my wife Frances), I have decided to stop being a domainer / domain investor. Even though I have enjoyed the cut and thrust over many years, it’s now time to call it quits. I have absolutely no regrets in doing so – life is very short.

He also said in the post he was selling a lot of his .COM.AU domains and handing over Domain Syndicates and eTrading, his domain businesses, to his son Luke.  I assumed he was doing this to either retire or open up a flower shop.  Or do whatever Australians do in retirement.

Editor's Note – I don't know much about Australia. I would be happy if someone paid for a trip there to learn more about the country. I've never been but what I do know is apparently “The Bachelor's” turn women gay.  Also many people think my Singing Dogs are Australian Shepherds. That means I should visit Australia, right? 🙂

Ned O'Meara made it clear he was selling most of his domain portfolio.  More importantly he was selling premium .COM.AU domains at absolute bargain basement prices.  A partial list of domains he sold from his domain portfolio included;

  • aviationtraining.com.au
  • bandits.com.au
  • bfr.com.au
  • bgw.com.au
  • bike.net.au
  • canberraflowers.com.au
  • creator.com.au
  • crowdfunder.com.au
  • dogwalkers.com.au
  • drivinginstructors.com.au
  • executivedesks.com.au
  • facialrecognition.com.au
  • gmc.com.au
  • healthclubs.com.au
  • mountisarealestate.com.au
  • pdb.com.au
  • snooper.com.au
  • strings.com.au
  • weddingreceptions.com.au
  • luck.com.au (my favorite)

My assumption at the time was Ned was just tired of the domain industry.  He wanted out and was willing to sell cheap after so many years of success.  Much to the chagrin of whoever bought these .AU domains.

I learned later this wasn't the reason and the story didn't end there.

Ned buys Drop.com.au

In a post titled “Exciting Times Ahead” Ned announced he actually bought the domain registrar/drop catcher Drop.com.au and two other Australian domain registrars with it, Fabulous.com.au and Yexa.com.au.

All three were sold as unit by Dark Blue Sea, which owns the domain parking platform and domain registrar Fabulous.com.  (Fabulous.com.au and Fabulous.com are separate registrars and entities.)

Some big news that I can at last officially share. As from later today, I start a new business life – and it’s one that I’m extremely excited about. I haven’t been able to discuss it up until now, because I only received regulatory approval three days ago.

I’m going to the “dark side” – through a new company, I’ve purchased the three Aussie registrars owned by Dark Blue Sea (in a share sale agreement). These are: Drop.com.au; Fabulous.com.au and Yexa.com.au. There are also several other domains. Fabulous.com is not included in the sale.

The reasons for selling off his domains became more clear as auDA (.au Domain Administration Ltd) , the registry for .AU domains, has certain rules on who can own a .AU domain registrar.

In Australia, you can’t be both a registrar and a domain investor (auDA policy). So I had to go through a big process of proper legal separation – particularly given that companies I formed and grew were large portfolio holders of domain names.

Can we send ICANN this memo? Because clearly they never got it. 🙂

The purchase was an incredibly smart move by Ned.  Especially since auDA will be introducing direct .AU registrations sometime in the next few years.  Currently they allow – Example.com.au, Example.net.au, Example.org.au, etc.

Soon you can register and own Example.AU without having any to type any extra “dots” or words.

Several other domain extensions have done this which includes .MX (Mexico), .UK (United Kingdom), and .NZ (New Zealand.).  Typically when a domain registry allows direct registrations this serves the financial interest of the registry operator (wholesaler) and registrars (stores).

With over 3 million .AU domain registrations, the majority being .COM.AU, it's a excellent time to get into the .AU domain registrar business. Theoretically you could double your yearly revenue as a registrar if you get all your customers to buy the direct .AU domains. They likely wouldn't happen but you get the picture there is money to be made there.

What about the little guy? Are these moves to direct registrations good for individual domain owners and small businesses?… Well that is debatable.

In the past Ned had been critical of auDA proposals to allow direct .AU domain registrations. From an average domain owners standpoint, who doesn't care about auDA or registry operators policies, it is very confusing.  Ned wrote about the issues in two articles on Domainer.com.au titled “Follow The Money” and “Still Following The Money.”

As a registrar Ned would have financially benefited from direct .AU registrations. He stated in the Exciting Times Ahead post;

I don’t resile from any of the previous opinions I have expressed on this blog. Particularly in relation to direct registrations; and my belief that the registry contract should go out to tender later this year (as was previously agreed to by the auDA Board).

Obviously, as a registrar, I’m going to potentially benefit if and when direct registrations are introduced. But I am still of the belief that they are not necessary given the current size of our .au marketplace. I also still hope (and do trust) that auDA will properly consult with as many registrants as possible before they decide whether to actually implement direct registrations – and in what manner they intend to do so.

auDA also smartly has clauses which prevent .AU domain owners from talking sh*t about them.

Given that I will be a registrar later today, I am limited under my registrar agreement as to what I can say and do. So please don’t expect me to go on a crusade – I need to concentrate on running my new business.

So he wasn't going to backtrack on anything he stated on Domainer, which I respect.  All seemed well and good and that Drop.com.au was going to get improvements from a veteran Aussie domain investor. Then…

Ned sells Drop.com.au???

About 20 days after Ned announced he bought Drop.com.au, he surprisingly announced he was selling the domain registrar/dropcatching business.

This may come as a shock to some, but I have decided to accept an offer to buy me out of the three registrars I recently acquired from Dark Blue Sea.

He continued in the Domain post;

Ultimately there were two factors that made my decision. Personal reasons (health and well-being); and the quality of the purchaser.

Drop has been my registrar of choice for around 8 years, and I like and respect the people that work there (Cam and Katherine). I made the purchase from DBS because I believed there was an incredible opportunity to restore Drop to its former glory. And in doing so, I would be able to offer past, present and future clients a great platform for domain investing (registrar services; drop-catching and aftermarket).

The new purchaser has the same intent – and given their extensive resources, they will probably be able to achieve this far sooner than me!

There was also a DNTrade thread “Changes Happening at Drop” announcing the sale.  Ned said after the sale was complete;

I am no longer a registrar. Thanks to everyone that supported me during my brief stint on the “dark side”. I intend writing an article about the experience sometime soon. It will make for interesting reading.

Wishing Trellian and Above all the very best with their revamp of Drop. Still my favourite registrar! :)

The buyer for Drop.com.au was the Trellian group which has offices around the world but is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. Makes sense as Drop.com.au and the associated registrars are just for the Australian market.

Trellian owns Above.com, a domain parking platform and domain registrar, and they also run several content based websites for the Australian and international market.  In addition Trellian builds search marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) software.

It is notable that Dark Blue Sea, which owns Fabulous.com, is one of the Above.com's main competitors.  Fabulous.com is also a domain parking system and domain registrar geared toward large portfolio holders.

This was a great move by Trellian, who might have been interested in purchasing Drop.com.au in the past.  I can only assume they didn't want to give money to a competitor buying a business from them.  Perhaps Trellian got a better deal buying from Ned then buying directly Dark Blue Sea?

Whatever the circumstances gives Trellian a stronger foothold in the .AU domain market, adding to the company's portfolio.

Above announced the completed sale on Twitter.

above twitter

So did Trellian;

trellian twitter

A Domain Registrar Flip

First “flip” of domain registrar, or several, I have ever seen.  If you consider this a flip. Do you?

Ned owned Drop.com.au and the associated registrars for 47 days.

Seems like an extremely short period of time. Hopefully he can finally enjoy retirement and do whatever Aussies do down under.  I assume he'll still check the .COM.AU drops and be on the lookout for good deals.

Ned's story of buying and running Drop.com.au briefly made me wonder, would you rather be a service provider ie a web hosting company or domain registrar, drop catcher, etc.? Get people to pay you for domain renewals and you for web hosting, email, etc.

Or is it a better idea to renew a few high quality domains and hope a entrepreneur or business will buy that domain? This way you don't worry about customer support and technical issues which can lead to unhappy customers. You just focus on inventory and sales.

What's is easier and what is potentially more profitable in the long run? I know I would rather run a domain registrar and web hosting company. Build a business with recurring revenue I can more easily sell.

But what about you? What are your thoughts, opinions, and experiences say to you?

“People still like .com’s” says Google

john mueller google

If you are like me you try to gain any advantage you can in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game for your websites. I also used to try to gain any edge for various clients websites. (In case you weren’t aware helping others with SEO is a painful experience.)

Even though my serious SEO days are behind me I still pop onto SEO discussion forums and the subreddit communities /SEO and /BigSEO once in awhile. It’s interesting reading different perspectives and what effect Google is having on people’s businesses. (If you guessed not positive, that would be accurate.)

Recently I noticed this quote from the user u/JohnMu in the /BigSEO subreddit.

For better or worse, people still like .com’s.

Why is this a notable comment? The person leaving the comment was John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst.

Mueller is known in SEO circles as the “new Matt Cutts”. Matt Cutts used to be the head of Google’s Webspam team and would make videos answering questions from people about Google’s thoughts and practices regarding ranking websites. The videos were highly useful and would be something that many marketers and professional search engine optimizers would write about, comment on, and debate.

In the past Matt Cutts commented on why he thought ccTLDs Hacks are not Good and revisited talking about ccTLD Generic use.

The videos stopped several years ago, much to professionals in the SEO space disappointment. Laster last year Cutts took a sabbatical from Google to work for the US Digital Service. (The US Digital Service is where Silicon Valley douches migrate to when they think they can fix all of government’s problems.)

SEO Fail – USDS.gov writes blog posts on Medium instead of using an in-house blog on the website. Why???

Matt Cutts has no plans to return to work for Google. Last month Cutts announced that he was the US Digital Service’s full time Director of Engineering.

Who did this leave to do community outreach when people hand questions about Google and SEO? John Mueller.

Mueller regularly heads up Google Hangouts discussions for Webmasters in English. As well he also holds Google Hangouts for Webmasters in his native language, German. Mueller is based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Mueller also leaves comments on Reddit once once in awhile. Extremely useful insight since it is coming directly from someone at Google with real authority. Compared to your cousin who thinks he knows about SEO. Of course… I recommend you take what Google says with a bit of a grain of salt. They’ve lead me astray more than once with “advice.”

So John Mueller, the current Google SEO community outreach authority, admits people still like .com domains and likely will continue to use them. What do you think about Google saying “People still like .com’s?”

AcornDomains switches to HTTPS/SSL

acorn domains

AcornDomains, a domain name forum for the .UK domains, recently switched to using a SSL certificate and serving pages over secure HTTPS protocol. You can read what the administrator of AcornDomains said about the SSL/HTTPS move here;

We’ve upgraded and made the move to SSL / HTTPS. I’m very clear it was going to need to happen so there’s no point delaying. Thank you to the people who made it happen e.g. @Adam H and my host. I take some of the things Google says with a pinch of salt and consider some of it as propaganda but SSL is going to be a fact of life IMO. So here we are. Upgrading your membership is always appreciated … its 24 gbp for a years forum support with benefits…just sayin.

The switch makes sense since most of the other major domain name discussion forums have moved to SSL/HTTPS. This includes Namepros and DNForum.

The change comes as Google is encouraging, while really forcing, many webmasters to switch to using SSL/HTTPS. Google has publicly stated that sites that use SSL/HTTPS will have an SEO (search engine optimization) boost. In addition websites that have login forms for users, such as forums, would start displaying a red warning indicating if the site was using standard HTTP protocol in Google’s Chrome browser.

The switch happened earlier this month but as a Chrome and Firefox user I’ve seen no red HTTP warning indicators while using Chrome. Maybe Chrome developers forgot to push the update?

Some have claimed they feel the SSL/HTTPS push is just another Google experiment. Do you remember the Google Authorship program? It was an attempt Google had to bring more “authority” to articles in it’s search engine for users. It would display a picture under articles tell you who wrote it. The Google Authorship program felt more like a veiled attemtp to get everyone using Google+, the company’s failed social network answer to Facebook.

Google killed the Authorship program without a clear explanation. People speculated it was affecting the company’s ad business click-through-rates to PPC (pay per click) ads were down. It made lots of SEO firms, webmasters, and regular joes annoyed since they were pushing everyone to use Authorship and Google just chucked the entire thing.

John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, has publicly stated that the move to use SSL certificates and serve pages over HTTPS isn’t going away. So you start a new site it should load using HTTPS and webmasters should move sites to it eventually.

There are ways to get free SSL certificates through Comodo via your web hosting company. There is also LetsEncrypt which is what AcornDomains used.

Is switching to SSL/HTTPS a good move for AcornDomains? Have you made the switch to SSL/HTTPS with your sites? Are you planning to in the near future? Do you find it annoying Google is doing this?

NameSilo launches Domain Payment Plans

namesilo

NameSilo, a domain name registrar, has just launched the ability to offer Payment Plans for premium domain names to customers.  The announcement by NameSilo came via an email which can be read below.

This means that customers can pay for a premium domain in the NameSilo Marketplace utilizing NameSilo's shopping cart and payment options. If the purchase price and transaction are under $5,000 customers can pay for a domain with a Credit Card, Debit Card, Skrill, PayPal, Bitcoin, Alipay, or Dwolla. If the purchase price and monthly payments are over $5,000 the buyer will have to pay via wire transfers.  At least that's my understanding from the email that management sent to customers.

The important caveat to using NameSilo's payment plan system, the domain must be registered at NameSilo to use the service. Once the initial down payment is paid, the buyer gets the domain immediately.  The payment and domain transfers is handled by NameSilo so it's understandable this is the only way to offer this service.

NameSilo offers extremely competitive pricing for domain names and obviously many great features.  It's $8.99 a year for .COM domains and $8.39 to transfer a domain to NameSilo. Transferring a domain there should be a no brainer if you want to use the Payment Plans service.

I decided to set several domains up with payment plans and it was easy. You can set the payment time from 1 – 12 months and the down payment amount you want. If there are too many default payments on your domain from a buyer, NameSilo will transfer the domain back to your account.

Since the NameSilo domain payment plans are brand new, I haven't used this option. I have sold a domain via the NameSilo Marketplace once beofre and it really couldn't be easier. Here is how the transaction went down;

  • Buyer emailed me.
  • We agreed on a price.
  • I set a lander with that price.
  • Buyer paid via NameSilo's checkout.
  • They immediately got the domain in their account, didn't have to do anything.
  • Waited to get funds transferred into my account.

NameSilo charges a 7.5% commission for Marketplace transactions.  While that might seem high most other registrars don't offer as clear domain pricing and good features.  NameSilo ONLY sells domain names and nothing else.  You won't be upsold on garbage new domain extensions, SSL certificates, SEO services, web hosting, etc.  They sell domain names and just focus on that.  In addition most marketplaces commission are 15% or more.

To release funds from you account NameSilo you have three different options.

  1. Account Funds – There is are no fees for disbursing funds into your NameSilo account. Funds can be used for buying, renewing, or transferring domain names with NameSilo.
  2. PayPalYou can have money transferred into a PayPal account. There is a 2% fee transaction fee and it must be above $20.
  3. Wire Transfer – You can have the funds disbursed into a bank account with a Wire Transfer. There is a $15 wire transfer charge.  You will need your bank's routing number for banks and credit unions in the US.  International wires will require an IBAN/SWIFT number.  You will need to enter in the bank address, phone number, country, and other relevant bank and credit union information.

I personally have many domain names that get inquiries often… but can't seem to move. People are shocked by the 4 figure asking price.  Next time I get an inquiry and someone isn't willing to pay a lot upfront, I'll be happy to offer a payment plan.  If you can do a payment plan with a domain, hey at  least that's a sale and steady source of income while the buyer is paying for it.

What do you think of NameSilo's payment plan feature? Is this appealing to you as a buyer and seller? Are you planning on offering this option to potential buyers that contact you in the future?

This post was submitted by WebHostingJobs.com.  The premiere and only jobs board for the web hosting industry. 

NameSilo Payment Plans [Email]

Based upon feedback we have received, we have just added some pretty exciting things to our Marketplace that we'd like to let you know about. As always, you can find more complete details about selling your domains on our Marketplace at – https://www.namesilo.com/Support/Marketplace.

Listed below are the highlights of our most recent updates:

  • Payment plans now available!
  • Set maximum number of months for payment plan
  • Set minimum down payment
  • Buyers receive the domain immediately after issuing the down payment
  • Buyers can prepay for their installment payments or get billed automatically. If more than 5 payments are missed, the domain is returned to you and you keep any earned payouts.
  • Add payment plan support at any time – even after bids/offers have been made. This means you can update any of your existing sales to offer a payment plan.
  • New Marketplace rules for payment methods accepted to make purchasing your domains easier for Buyers!
  • Any sale or payment plan payment under $500 no longer requires a verified method of payment
  • Our minimum price to require a wire transfer was raised from $1,000 to $5,000
  • AliPay, the most popular online payment processor in China, can now be used for Marketplace sales
  • You can now receive payouts immediately if the Buyer pays via AliPay, Bitcoin or wire transfer. Other payment methods still require a 7-day waiting period to receive your payouts.We hope these updates help you sell your domains by offering more options for your Buyers, easier payments for sales and faster payouts for you!

We'd like to thank you for your continued patronage, and please always feel free to let us know with any questions, concerns or ideas for improvement.

Thanks,

The NameSilo Team
support@namesilo.com

NameCheap Stops Reselling Domain Names

namecheap logo

It appears NameCheap, a domain name registrar and web hosting company, has stopped reselling domain names through Enom.

I noticed this when I was checking newly registered .COM domain names this morning. Sometimes you notice interesting trends and seeing yesterday's .COM registrations lots of whois data was appearing like this;

Domain Name: ********.COM
Registrar: NAMECHEAP INC.
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 1068
Whois Server: whois.namecheap.com
Referral URL: http://www.namecheap.com
Name Server: DNS1.REGISTRAR-SERVERS.COM
Name Server: DNS2.REGISTRAR-SERVERS.COM
Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Updated Date: 19-jan-2017
Creation Date: 19-jan-2017
Expiration Date: 19-jan-2018

Over the past several days many domains have been registered directly through NameCheap.  Why is this significant?

NameCheap has been in the domain registrar business for many years.  However through much of the NameCheap's years of operation they have acted as a domain reseller using Enom.  Many web hosting companies and registrars use Enom to resell domains.  Reselling makes sense if you don't want to get ICANN accredited to sell generic domain extensions.  (You do not need ICANN accreditation to sell country code top level domains.)

I stopped using NameCheap several years ago for big three extensions .COM, .NET, and .ORG since they are a reseller. I would often have issues with DNS not updating and other odd occurrences. Often support would use the term “Upstream Provider” when talking about Enom.  Since Enom support is terrible, this in turn hurts NameCheap's business.  Read my NameCheap Review to see my thoughts about NameCheap.

It makes sense to resell domain names when registration volume and domains under management is low.  Over the years NameCheap has grown aggressively and marketed heavily to web developers, webmasters, and anyone that needs online web services. This includes domain names, web hosting, SSL certificates, etc.

When you are talking about .COM, .NET, and .ORG domains the registration volume with NameCheap is high.  It's estimated that about 25% – 30% of Enom's reseller business comes from NameCheap.  That's roughly 2 – 3 million domain names, perhaps more.

While NameCheap has been able to provide direct registration for .COM, .NET, and .ORG domains for many years, they didn't make the switch.  They've kept reselling domains through Enom. It's been a mystery why but technical challenges were probably the reason.

NameCheap did move to use it's own registrar credential for managing new domains as well as ccTLDs over the past few years.  Any new domains you buy or transfers is registered directly with NameCheap.  The company announced they were stopping support for .XYZ domains which was a surprising move though. So you can't use .XYZ domains with NameCheap now.

The move to directly manage .COM, .NET, and .ORG domains shows just how large a domain business NameCheap has.  The registration volume is between 2,500 – 5,000 + each day.  That means in a year NameCheap could easily pick-up over 1 million .COM and .NET domain registrations.

This will also allow NameCheap to save money by selling direct and not reselling.  In addition to being able to provider better and more robust service and support to customers.  NameCheap can directly deal with domain issues, rather than submitting support tickets through Enom.

Tucows?

This is a smart move for NameCheap and something they should have done a long time ago.  NameCheap's decision to switch to using it's own registrar is unusually bad timing for Tucows. The Canadian technology company, Tucows, announced they are buying Enom for $83.5 million.

Is Tucows aware that NameCheap is moving away from reselling through Enom? Would they have paid so much for Enom if they knew what NameCheap was doing?

If racists at Rightside are aware of NameCheap's decision and said nothing to Tucows, that would be considered a large legal issue. That does make-up a huge portion of Enom's business.  To not disclose a company was moving away from service you just paid $83.5 million for… might make Tucows executive upset.

Whatever Tucows knows or doesn't know, it will likely will take a long time for NameCheap to completely unwind from using Enom as a reseller.  Millions of domains managed through Enom via NameCheap.

On the next Verisign report of top performing domain registrars for .COM and .NET, NameCheap is going to be on that list.  NameCheap is processing domain registrations and transfers directly now.

What do you think of NameCheap moving to use it's own registrar for domains? Good or bad move? Did Tucows get a good deal for Enom?  What about when you consider NameCheap is moving away from using Enom?

UPDATE – Got this note from NameCheap. New donains registrations and transfer will be with NaneCheap. When you renew a domain it will automatically transfer from Enom to NameCheap.

Indeed, the domains registered with us before the platform switch will maintain the connection with our upstream provider for the time being. Accordingly, registrations and transfers as well as all the future renewals of the domain names registered later will be handled by our system directly.