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.
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.