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! ūüôā

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? ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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: ‚Äú2016 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%.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúThe 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.‚ÄĚ

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?

.KIWI gains 170,000 domain registrations in 2 weeks (Yeah, Right!)

kiwi domains

.KIWI, a new domain extension aimed at the New Zealand market, has experienced tremendous registration growth the past two weeks.

.KIWI has gained 170,000+ domain registrations according to NtldStats and NameStat, websites that track new domains. As of this writing there are 187,225 .KIWI domains registered.  This now puts the .KIWI domain 22nd in terms of domain registration volume on NtldStats.

These are impressive registration numbers for a domain I'm fairly sure few people know about.  I am doubtful many Kiwis, a term for people from New Zealand, even know about .KIWI domains.  This is who .KIWI was introduced for in the first place.

The main domain extension that people use in New Zealand is .NZ and more specifically .CO.NZ domains.  According to the Domain Name Commission, the governing body for .NZ domains, there are 668,000 .NZ domains across the entire .NZ domain space.  A good amount of domains for a country that has only roughly 4.4 million Kiwi residents.

With 170,000 .KIWI domain registrations in two weeks, does this mean that a bunch of Kiwis see the benefits of .KIWI domains? Extremely unlikely, what is more likely….

Domain Zone Stuffing

Okay, let's be honest. You don't get 170,000+ new domain registration magically out of thin air.  While it would be nice to root for the new upstart domain extensions the reality is we have seen this play many times before.  New domain registries claim success by jacking up domain registration numbers and stuffing the zone file.

.XYZ has done this many times and even given free domains.  .XYZ ran a deal with Network Solutions where they gave customers free .XYZ domains that matched the .COM domain in their account. The .XYZ registry also ran a promotion in the summer where they sold .XYZ domains for 1-2 cents.  Currently they have the most domains with 6+ million .XYZ domains registered.

Odd thing though is searching I can't find any registration deals for .KIWI domains that occurred in the past 2 weeks.  Is this a similar move like the .XYZ and Network Solutions deal?

There are only two domain registrars that have the bulk of .KIWI domain registration. They are Tucows, which resells domains through it's OpenSRS platform and runs the domain registrar Hover.  Tucows has 104,297 .KIWI domains under management.

Then there is Web Drive Ltd. which operated as DomainAgent.co.nz a reseller for .NZ domain names.  There isn't much info about the company but they seem to specialize in reselling .NZ domains to registrars.  They are a business to business domain registrar platform.  This makes me wonder if DomainAgent.co.nz and Tucows gave registrars .KIWI domains free to match whatever domain they currently own.  Or did domain reseller partners actually sell these .KIWI domains?

Currently it's really unclear.  Before this domain registration spike the .KIWI domain was stagnate at around 10,000 domains.  So they needed to do something.  I have never seen a .KIWI domain in a search result, but zone stuffing a bunch of domains that people are not using.

Most people wonder,¬† “Why would you want to have a ton of domains that are nto in use?” Simple, this enables the new domain company to claim success and show-up on the domain registration leadeerboards on sites like NtldStats and NameStat. .KIWI is 22nd on NtldStats board right now and 19 on NameStat for domain registration volume.¬† Great for recognition and and getting the world out there about you new domain.¬† It's a simple marketing really.

Like all domain registries, .KIWI has over 1 year to figure it out.  We all know the domain drops don't happen on expiration but take a few months after that.  So they try to get ahead of these drops by re-running deals.  Eventually this will catch-up to new domains though.

What are your thoughts about 170,000 .KIWI domains being registered in two weeks? Can this be legitimate domain registrations or is the .KIWI registry doing a classic new domain play?

Are you a Kiwi? Do you think .KIWI domains will ever be as widely used as .NZ domains ?

Facebook blocks .XYZ domains and new domains from Pages

facebook logo

Facebook apparently doesn't like .XYZ domains very much.  The social networking giant blocks .XYZ domains when users try to add the URLs to Facebook pages.

A Facebook user in the help community asked about adding .XYZ domains to their Facebook page;

hello, i really would like to add my .xyz domain name/site to a facebook page i have created, i noticed it would only allow, .com domains and other general TLD's only it would be great if someone can help me with this.

The response from Samuel on the Facebook Help Team;

Hi Malin,

Currently, it's not possible to add a .xyz website to your Facebook Page.

Ouch! No clear explanation was given why Facebook made this decision.  Likely it us because of the large amount of spam that is distributed on .XYZ domains and other new domain extensions.

Recently NameCheap stopped supporting .XYZ domains and will not allow customers to buy the new domain extension or transfer in .XYZ domains. If you already have an .XYZ domain at NameCheap you can still renew it. I wonder if this is one the complaints NameCheap got from customers? Not being able to add your domain to a  Facebook or other social networks would be a big deal.

On a promoted Reddit post by the .XYZ registry, other .XYZ customers complained about the same issue. The user @idvix said;

Facebook does not accept .xyz domains on their advertising platform… Good to know before you set one up.

There were no issues when @idvix added a .CH domain, the country domain for Switzerland, to Facebook however.

They systematically rejected around 20 variants of an ad pointing to a .xyz url and accepted the exact same campaign with the exact same pages under a .ch domain Never gave a reason even on appeal, but since the only thing that made the campaigns pass was the domain change I googled it and found out people reported the same problem on the facebook helper website

The Reddit user @shakesy also had trouble adding their .XYZ domain to a Facebook page. They recommended people;

DO NOT buy an .xyz domain. I bought one for my portfolio site because I thought it sounded cool. Turns out .xyz is a very sketchy domain used by alot of spam sites. As a resault, I was not able to share my site on facebook or twitter, as their security features automatically blocked it. Had to buy a second domain.

Getting the .XYZ domain approved was a real problem and time consuming ordeal, so they decided to use the ccTLD (country code top level domain) for Canada, .CA.

Spend days trying to get this solved. In the end, it was the xyz that Facebook didn't trust. Soon as I switched to a dot ca, all the problems were gone.

Facebook blanket blocks it because its used by an overwhelming number of untrustworthy sites, which is crappy. But also the domain has earned its bad reputation. End result is the same either way. If you want to share your site on Social Media, xyz is a bad idea. Ive also heard reports of email services blocking emails from xyz addresses.

The .XYZ registry suggested in the thread that the @shakesy use Facebook's debugging tool.  Also to make sure the content for the .XYZ domain meet the Facebook quality and Terms of Service guidelines.  @shakesy response to this;

Did all that. My content met all of Facebook T&S, made sure of that. Went through the debug process many times. None of it helped. Soon as I switched off xyz, the problem was immediately solved. Same content, same hosting, same everything. The only thing causing the problem was the xyz.

The user @weeandykidd complained about adding .XYZ domains on both Facebook and Instagram.

I have a few xyz domains but lord help you if you want to post them anywhere. Instagram blocks them, Facebook captchas and blocks them

Interesting since Facebook owns the photo sharing app Instagram.

So what did we learn? .XYZ domains apparently are going to cause issues when trying to add them to Facebook pages and other social networks.¬† In addition promoting posts on Reddit can be a major disadvantage for new domain companies. That's because smart writers will write about problems with your new domains users are actually having.¬† Not some BS marketing that you are trying to push. ūüôā

If this is happening with .XYZ domains, is it happening with other new domains? Very likely Facebook is blocking other new domain extensions in addition to .XYZ domains. I bet .TOP domains and other highly spammed extensions are having trouble getting added.

Have you had bad experiences with Facebook and .XYZ domains? Have you had problems adding any new domain to Facebook or another social network?

Want a good .BLOG Domain? Available Blog Domains (in .COM)

blog domain

Now .BLOG domains are in the wild and available for anyone to register, I thought I would do this article on good available Blog domains. Not in the .BLOG domain extension though since WordPress and Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, have gone batsh*t crazy with premium renewals.

Apparently Automattic wants $10,000 (price went up in 1 day) $11,500 per year for Adam.blog.  Have they lost their F#cking minds?

Yes, they have but those are not the only insane premium renewals being pushed by Automattic. Here are some others.

  • Beer.blog – $110,000
  • Marijuana.blog – $11,500
  • Cannabis.blog – $2,600
  • Hemp.blog – $700
  • Hash.blog – $700
  • Baseball.blog – $6,000

And there are plenty more of INSANE .BLOG domain renewals like that. Just to be clear that is not a one time upfront payment. Those listed price are what you need to pay each year.

On top of the complaints about premium pricing, WordPress has angered many potential Customers doing a “Bait and Switch.”¬† WordPress and Automattic offered many premium .BLOG domains to customers who paid a $250 application fee, then reserved them for company use.

I’ve lost so much respect for Automattic through this whole .BLOG domain launch process.

I used to think Automattic and WordPress was a cool and innovative company. Now it just seems like all the other domain name registries and other corporate tech companies. Sleazy and they don’t care about making customers happy. They only care about squeezing as much money out of .BLOG as possible.

I guess they feel the pressure to make back that $19 million they had to shell out for the .BLOG domain extension. Isn’t it a better to sell more and increase usage rates?

New Domain Reality Check

These insane new domain companies need a reality check.  To combat this insanity I've decided to start to a series that lists available .COM domains that match crazy new domain premiums.  If you can have a .COM and pay $10 per year to renew it, why pay an insane premium renewal?

Here are good available KeywordBlog.com domains that I found while doing some quick searches. The full domain is listed and the premium .BLOG domain pricing after.  All these domains can be bought for $10 at any registrar you desire.  I just prefer NameSilo these days, you can read my NameSilo Review.

It should be noted that all these .COM domains were available at the time of writing this article. These domains could be registered at any time after this posting. If after reading this you decide to register one of these domains, can you please leave a comment and let others know?

Blog First Names

Here are many common, and not so common, first names ****Blog.com domains that are available to register.  There are even more but these are the ones I've just decided to list.

Other available Blog Domains

Huge Indian city with 17 million people. This .COM would be a good registration in my opinion.

Greenville is a city in South Carolina. If you were from Greenville and wanted to start a website about happenings around the city, a nice domain to do it on perhaps.

Thoughts on Available Domain Lists?

There are also LOTS of good Keyword+Blog.COM domain combinations still available for to register. It doesn't take that long to look and find them. You do NOT need to pay a premium to get a good “blog” domain. ūüôā

My thoughts are the .BLOG domain extension isn't going to do well.  At least in the long run.  I already explained in this article with Matt Mullenweg talking the about .BLOG domain, the likely process a new blogger using WordPress.com will go through.

  1. Person buys .BLOG domain
  2. They use WordPress.com (free) or WordPress.org (self-hosted)
  3. They write 3-5 blog posts
  4. Try to get traffic, shares, and comments
  5. Not successful with blogging
  6. Go back to using Social Media
  7. Abandon blogging
  8. Domain renewal comes up… they drop the .BLOG domain

Getting traffic and getting good links is MUCH harder then when blogging was new.  It's not getting any easier by using a new domain.

Besides evidence has clearly shown that Millennials don't trust new domains.  In addition over 70% of new domains are parked and that number keeps going up.  The rest are being used for email spam as this IT Manager explained.  There is just no trust for new domains and adoption and understanding by the general public will be long and painful.

What do you think of this “Premium Regs” domain list?¬† Can you let me know with a comment below? If you like me doing this I'll start doing a regular weekly series highlighting¬†good available .COM domains, where the new domain has a premium renewal. If you have any suggestions for a plugins to help with affiliate links or to make the process easier let me know.¬† Are there specific keywords you would like to see?

Millennials HATE New Domains More Than Older People

The media always likes to talk about the how millenials are changing the world. Young people always embrace change and the hip thing, right? Not true when it comes to new domains apparently. 

According to the British SEO (search engine optimization) company Varn, millenails HATE new domains more than older people. At least they don't trust new domain names as much as the older generation.  

Varn asked people across the United Kingdom (UK) this question. 

“Do you trust companies with .co.uk and .com domains more than those with other newer domains such as .eu, .biz, .net, .fashion, .london and .digital, etc.?”

It should be noted that .EU has been around for over 10 years. The .BIZ domain has been around for almost 16 years and .NET… well that's been around for as long as .COM.  The big three extensions .COM/.NET/.ORG have all been around for 30 years.  So .EU, BIZ, and .NET are not “new” domain extensions.  However .FASHION, .LONDON, and .DIGITAL have only been available for a limited amount of time.  

Over 70% of people said they do not trust new domains.  This is not surprising considering new domain names distribute spam only. 

What was most interesting about Varn's research was the fact that Millennials and Generation Y trust new domains LESS than older people. Of the 25-34 year-olds surveyed;

  • 77.6% said  “I trust .co.uk and .com domains”.
  • Only 21.3% stated in the survery that they “trust all domains the same”. 

When “Mom and Dad” were asked the same question, 55-64 year olds response;

  • 61% of them trust .com and .co.uk domains more
  • 35% of them answered “I trust all domains the same”

That means the younger generation trusts tried and true .CO.UK domains and .COM domains 16.6% more.  While younger people trust new domains 13.7% less compared to older people. 

Young people trust don't trust these new domains. This makes sense if you think about it. If you are more used to using the web you get used to the standards. In the United Kingdom that is .CO.UK and .COM.  So that is naturally what young people trust. 

This totally explains why I need to help fix viruses and issues on older people's computers more often. They are visiting spam and malware sites that are on new domains getting the computer infected. Now we just need to educate older people to only use good country code top level domains (ccTLDs) such as .UK and .COM, .NET, and .ORG. Young people know intuitively to avoid new domains. 

Marekting, media, and society make us believe those that are Millenials and Generation Yers are supposed to always like the cool, new, and hip thing. Obviously this research and suvery show otherwise when it comes to browsing the internet. Particularly when it comes to new domains.

The claim from new domain registires, companies, and consulting groups is that these new domains are for the “next generation”.  That argument goes out the window if young people don't want to use them. More importantly if they don't trust a new domain space to begin with.

Amazingly older people trust new domains 13.7% more. Will you see new domain companies marketing to 55 – 64 year olds?  I doubt it because that's not a good use of marketing dollars. Why would you target a demographic that has money? ūüėČ

Are you a Millennial or in Genereation Y?  Are you older? What do you think of these findings?