“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.

Who bought CentralNic’s Domains? Godaddy!

godaddy logo

It was recently announced in a press release by CentralNic, a London based domain services company, that they've sold several 2-letter .COM domains for $4.5 million dollars.  If you read the press release, which you can do so below this article, it does not specific what company/person bought the domains. The answer to that question is simple though.

Godaddy bought CentralNic's 2-Letter Domains

Godaddy bought CentralNic's 2-letter .com domains. How do I know? Do I have some special connection at Godaddy? Nope. Should I? Yes. Do I have incredible superpowers? Perhaps. I am a genius? Hell yes! 🙂

The answer comes from Godaddy's domain marketplace it owns, Afternic. In addition to it's premium domain division, NameFind, which owns hundreds of thousands of high quality .COM, .NET, and .ORG domain names.

CentralNic's domains are listed at Afternic under the NameFind seller profile. Here are the links to all of the CentralNic domains with minimum offer prices.

Editor's note – If anyone buys one of these domains through one of these links, I do believe I should get a broker's commission for that sale. Right, Afternic? 🙂

Did you notice when all these valuable 2-letter .COM domains were listed on Afternic? April 12th. Why is that significant?

CentralNic is Shutting Down Sub-Domain Business (kinda)

The above domains that were listed on April 12th. Several weeks later at the end of April it was announced that CentralNic would be shutting down selling sub-domains off he above listed 2-letter .COM domain extensions. What does that mean?

I could sell sub-domains off of this site's domain. For instance If someone wanted the domain – Cool.AdamYamada.com – I could sell that to you. You or someone you know could come up with any variations of words, numbers, etc.

CentralNic has been using the above domains to sell pseudo-domains to customers for many years.  It was a smart business model for CentralNic before they got to be a “real domain registry” so to speak.  CentralNic went from selling pseudo-domains to managing the technical backend for country code top level domains (ccTLDs) such as .LA, the domain for Laos, and .AM and .FM.

When the new domains rolled out, CentralNic was positioned with the technical DNS (domain name system) infrastructure to support many new domain extensions. The most popular for CentralNic has been .XYZ.  Of course .XYZ has experienced setbacks such as NameCheap dropping .XYZ support. Also Facebook and Instagram do not allow .XYZ domains on the social media platforms pages.

The company has been banking on the fact that many delegated ccTLDs sell sub-domains.  For instance in the .UK namespace the most popular choice has been .CO.UK for many years. CentralNic banked on the confusion with country domains that do the same thing.

It is confusing for those that don't deal with domains, web hosting, and webmastering. This is exactly what CentralNic understood while registrar customers using these do not. The confusion with what ccTLDs officially delegate and make available sub-domains vs CentralNic.

Canadian registrar and web hosting company Sibername posted the full email that went out to registrars.  All the domains that being shutdown.

  • AR.COM
  • GB.COM
  • HU.COM
  • KR.COM
  • QC.COM
  • NO.COM
  • SE.COM
  • UY.COM

It is interested to note that GB.com, SE.com, and NO.com are not currently listed on Afternic as far as I can see.  I can't remember if Godaddy/NameFind had all of these on Afternic but I believe they did back in April.

Unsure why GB.com, SE.com, and NO.com are not on Afternic while the other five 2-letter domains are. Perhaps NameFind/Godaddy have already sold them to buyers before acquiring them? Who wouldn't love to do that?

As an FYI to Godaddy/Namefind if you are reading this, you are technically breaking Afternic rules. You are not supposed to list domains you don't own. 🙂

Godaddy's 2-Letter Sales

Let's assume that CentralNic sold all 8 of the 2-letter domains to Godaddy/NameFind.

$4.5 million / 8 = $562,500 US dollars

There are only 676 2-letter .COM domains.  They are becoming much harder to acquire these days. Roughly 50% of 2-letter .COM domains are in use by companies while the other 50% are in the hands of seasoned domain investors.

So is $562,500 dollars for eight 2-letter .COM domains a good deal?  Probably was as Godaddy/NameFind isn't going to find that many people with so many 2-letter domains. CentralNic would find too many buyers intereted in a bulk sale.

SE.com currently is at Godaddy but has CentralNic nameservers and DNS.  I assume that has been transferred to Godaddy.

Jamie Zoch from DotWeekly reports Godadady sold nine 2-letter .COM domains in 2016 out of it's NameFind division.  This include;

  • MW.com
  • FH.com
  • JC.com
  • FJ.com
  • TS.com
  • GK.com
  • GH.com
  • JG.com
  • LF.com

Acquiring whatever 2-letter .COM domain inventory Godaddy can makes a lot of sense.

How long before CentralNic destroys other sub-domains?

CentralNic still sells sub-domains to customers on these domain extensions at the moment.

  • .AE.ORG
  • .BR.COM
  • .CN.COM
  • .COM.DE
  • .DE.COM
  • .EU.COM
  • .GB.NET
  • .GR.COM
  • .JPN.COM
  • .JP.NET
  • .RU.COM
  • .SA.COM
  • .SE.NET
  • .UK.COM
  • .UK.NET
  • .US.COM
  • .US.ORG
  • .ZA.COM

How long before they sell of these domains off to raise cash?

You might assume CentralNic's business is profitable, providing technical infrastructure for new domain extensions.  It's not.  CentralNic has a negative price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of -5,875 according to Yahoo Finance.  Seems being a registry backend isn't as profitable as people might expect.

It's only a matter of time before CentralNic sells off all these domains to Godaddy or another company.  Meaning whatever domain you have that is using one of these will be no longer go dark, forever.

If you are using one of the above listed sub-domains I highly recommend you switch to using a .COM/.NET/.ORG domain name for your business. You have the security of knowing these aren't going anywhere as long as you pay the fee each year.

In the past CentralNic hast lost control of domains. The most notably incident was with GB.com, which they sold to Godaddy.  A prior executive at CentralNic had control over GB.com which the company wasn't aware of.  Thousands of GB.com sites went dark since the executive changed nameservers to his new company/venture.

Godaddy is on a path to of domain registrar, premium domain sales, and web hosting world domination. 🙂

If you are using a CentralNic sub-domain that was sold to Godaddy, call and ask them to give you a free domain coupon. Godaddy/NameFind can afford to do so. Make sure to get a .com/.net/.org or at least a real ccTLD this time though.

What do you think of Godaddy buying these 2-letter domains from CentralNic? The real question I'm wondering, did CentralNic approach Godaddy to sell them these? Or did Godaddy approach CentralNic?

CentralNic sells Domains for US $4.5 Million [Press Release]

CentralNic plc, (AIM:CNIC), the internet platform business which derives revenues from the global sale of domain names, is pleased to announce that it has entered into its largest ever premium domain name sale agreement under which it will receive consideration of US$ 4.5 million.

Premium Domain Name Sale

Under the premium domain sale agreement entered into on 13 December 2016, CentralNic will receive US$ 4.5 million consideration in cash, the proceeds of which will be utilised to further accelerate growth within the Group. After accounting for associated costs and using an illustrative US$/STG exchange rate, the contribution to 2016 Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be approximately £2.8 million.

Pre Close Trading Update

The CentralNic Board confirmed that, as a result of this sale, the Company expects to finish the year with earnings in line with market expectations and substantially ahead of the same period last year.

During 2016 CentralNic’s wholesale division retained its position as the global leader by volume, accounting for almost one in three of all new Top-Level Domain name registrations. There are excellent prospects for future growth moving into 2017, resulting from a much larger base of domain names due to renew combined with the accreditation of the .xyz TLD by China’s Ministry for Industry and Information Technology.

CentralNic’s retail division became the Group’s highest revenue generator in 2016, augmented by the acquisition of the Instra Group in January 2016. Retail division earnings are expected to be in line with expectations in 2016, while the Group continues to focus on developing services to stimulate future growth.

CentralNic’s enterprise division has achieved record results in premium domain name trading. Progress was also made in developing software licensing and managed service revenues, although new corporate customer acquisition is taking longer than anticipated.

CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford said: “2016 has been a transformational year for CentralNic, adding significant scale to the Group with revenues expected to grow by over 110% and Adjusted EBITDA by over 65%.”

“The Group is now well positioned to continue to grow its recurring earnings businesses, notably wholesale and retail, while seeking to become an established supplier to the enterprise domain name market. We look forward to continue executing our growth strategy in 2017.”

Flippa raises commission fee to 15% for Websites, Domains, & Apps

flippa marketplace

Flippa, an online marketplace for selling digital assets, recently announced that they have raised the success fee on the marketplace from 10% to 15%.  This will likely make many sellers on Flippa upset.

The “success fee” is the commission Flippa gets when any transaction takes place on the marketplace or something is sold.  Flippa allows individuals and companies to list three types of digital assets; websites, domain names, and apps. The new 15% commission applies to everything.

If you feel the 15% commission is too much there is a way around it.  If you use the Flippa Escrow system, which is free, the commission fee is reduced slightly by 3%.  That means you only need to pay 12% commission when you sell on Flippa. That is if the buyer wants to use Flippa Escrow.  Sellers are allowed to give buyers the option of PayPal (which Flippa and I don't recommend), Escrow, and Flippa Escrow.

Another important change for Flippa sellers is that starter sites and established sites listing fees have been raised. To keep the quality of the listings Flippa charges a listing fee, they called it an insertion fee, to list on the Flippa marketplace. This is separate from the 15% commission they charge when you sell a website, domain name, or app.

You used to be able to list starter sites, basically new websites with little traffic or revenue, for $9.  Starter site listing fees are now $19.  Established websites listing fees with traffic and revenue has also been raised from $19 to $29.  It's unclear to me how Flippa defines starter sites vs established sites though.

In addition if you want to list your website in the website classifieds section, Flippa now charges $9.  To my understanding this used to be free. This means you put your website up for sale on Flippa but are not putting it in an active auction with a time limit.

Flippa has not said anything about charging an insertion fee for domains listed in a domain portfolio.  These are domains sellers list on the platform but again are not in an auction format. If Flippa did charge to list in the Domain Portfolio, I'm sure most sellers would just use other platforms.

To my knowledge no email notification has gone out about the increased 15% commission fee . Also it's not clear whether current auctions on Flippa are exempt from the increase and are grandfathered in at the old 10% commission rate. If you have a current auction on Flippa I would definitely ask customer support.

Flippa has added and tweaked many new features to the platform.  They just recently added a Request Reserve button to make it easier for buyers and sellers to share the reserve price.  I doubt this accounts for the increase.  Flippa more likely realized they could raise the commission fee, so they did.

How do you feel about Flippa increasing the commission fee to 15%? Does this make you upset or was this to be expected?