Joseph Peterson reviews the past week of expired domain name auctions.
It will surprise some people that the country responsible for last week’s #2 Namejet expired auction is Turkey. Kemer.com ($11.4k) describes a seaside resort region. No, Italy, Greece, and Spain are not the only countries on the Mediterranean. ICANN has offices in Turkey, and so do domain investors. Meanwhile, there’s nothing surprising about the $16k sale of 9135.com. China has deep pockets and loves brevity.
After those 2, BeSeen.com ($5.6k) struggles to be seen in last week’s sales chart. Even so, it’s a superb domain for SEO or advertising in general. I’m curious about the decision process behind the purchase of DecisionMaking.com ($3.1k). A few possible uses for this common phrase come to mind, but only the buyer knows his own plans. Click here to continue reading…
Analyst becomes more bullish on new top level domain name potential.
B. Riley analyst Sameet Sinha has increased his forecast for new top level domain name registrations after attending last week’s ICANN conference in Los Angeles.
Previously, he was calling for about 20 million new TLD registrations from 2014-2016, now he’s pegging it at 29 million and says that might be conservative. He estimates top line potential of $900 million during this period.
ICANN recently downgraded its forecast for budget purposes for the fiscal year ending June 2015 from 33 million to 15 million; Sinha’s forecast calls for 5.7 million registrations during that period.
My guess is Sinha is closer to the truth, but even his estimates will require increased registration velocity going forward.
Sinha points to a number of factors in his bullishness:
- Awareness is very low now, and can only improve going forward.
- New business models including vertical integration, premium domain sales, and internet of things create upside.
- Recent private new TLD auctions reaching 8 figures raises the bar, and increases valuation of strings.
Sinha maintained his $15 price target on Rightside (NAME). It currently trades for $9.75.
Thank the Chinese and discount pricing for continued demand for .com domain names.
Verisign handled 8.7 million new registrations in .com and .net in the third quarter this year, the most ever in a third quarter.
That amounted to 1.15 million domain names added to the namespace. The addition was basically all in .com, as .net continued a flat/slow decline.
So why did .com do so well? And why did .net flounder? Here’s Verisign’s viewpoint, gleaned from its Verisign’s Q3 investor conference call last night.
Why .com did well
- The Chinese are registering a bunch of .com domain names. This is a big area of growth. (Verisign actually blames a Chinese holiday week in October for slowing down .com registrations during that time.)
- One of the largest U.S. registrars refocused on acquisition and offered discounts on .com
- .com is a strong brand and “strong, trusted brands always do well”. As new TLDs come out and people are confused, they will feel comfortable with .com
Why .net dropped
- New top level domains are causing confusion for non-.com domains. It’s also giving them alternatives to .net.
I’m not surprised that .net is struggling in the face of new top level domains. I suspect this applies to all non-.com and non-dominant ccTLD domain names.
Verisign still negotiating with ICANN over .com transliteration domain names.
Owners of IDN.com domain names that are patiently waiting for .com transliterations are going to have to keep waiting.
In an SEC filing today, and on its investor conference call, Verisign said it has received an extension to the deadline for negotiating its contracts for these domains with ICANN. The new deadline is December 31.
The company would not disclose the specific terms of the contract that it is trying to negotiate.
I can imagine that, whatever the terms are, ICANN doesn’t want to do any favors for Verisign right now. ICANN and Verisign have been sparring significantly over the past couple years. It’s also unclear what leverage, if any, Verisign has for negotiating new TLD contracts.
Unfortunately, IDN.com owners are the ones caught in the middle.
Suit alleges 35 domain names were stolen from a GoDaddy account.
Acme Billing Company filed a federal lawsuit (pdf) in U.S. District Court this week to recover 14 stolen domain names, including 9 three letter domain names.
The suit alleges that an unknown person stole 35 domain names from Acme Billing Company’s GoDaddy account. The company became aware of the theft in early August and worked with GoDaddy to recover 21 of the domain names. It filed the suit in an effort to recover the other 14. Click here to continue reading…