Domain Name Wire

Domain Name Wire

Displaying posts under "Domain Registrars"

  • Christine Jones’ gubernatorial bid ends in primaries

    1. BY - Aug 27, 2014
    2. Domain Registrars
    3. 1 Comment

    Former GoDaddy exec places third in Republican primary.

    Christine JonesChristine Jones, former general counsel for GoDaddy, lost her bid to become the next governor of Arizona in the Republican primary yesterday.

    Doug Ducey, current Arizona treasurer and former CEO of ice cream franchise Cold Stone Creamery, took 37% of the vote in the primary. Jones finished third with 16.7% of the vote.

    GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons contributed over $1 million to fund attack ads against Ducey. Parsons told reporters his commercials were in response to Ducey claiming Jones was a “line employee” at GoDaddy; as general counsel she was one of the company’s top executives.

    Running in a Republican primary in Arizona, Jones and the other candidates leaned pretty far to the right to attract voters. Unsurprisingly, one attack against Jones was her cameo in a risque GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial.

    Jones’ 16.7% take in a crowded field was probably a lot better than people expected when she threw her hat in the ring. Her newly found name recognition should help her in business, or should she decide to run for another office.

  • Domain name registration and the Paradox of Choice

    1. BY - Aug 25, 2014
    2. Domain Registrars
    3. 7 Comments

    Offering too many choices might lead to more abandoned shopping carts.

    Paradox of ChoiceOne of my favorite books is Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice.

    The premise of the book is that more choice doesn’t necessarily mean more satisfaction. It can lead to regret, dissatisfaction, and indecision.

    The book references a report by Columbia and Stanford researchers called “When Choice is Demotivating” (pdf).

    One of the field experiments in the report involved a sample station at a gourmet food store. One of the sample stations had six different jams that customers could taste. They were given a $1 off coupon if they wished to purchase one. In the other case, the sample station had 24 different jams that customers could taste. They were also given the coupon.

    Were the people presented with 6 choices or 24 choices more likely to buy?

    Six. By a long shot. 30% of those that were presented with six jams to taste bought one. Only 3% of those presented with 24 choices bought one.

    This type of result is repeated over and over again in studies. When faced with too many options, people often select no option.

    Domain name registrars should take note when presenting domain name options.

    This is not a problem originated by new TLDs, although it certainly exacerbates the problem. Even before new TLDs hit the market, registrars returned dozens or hundreds of options for each domain lookup.

    The key is presenting options in a limited way, while also offering to show more options to users who want them. It boils down to a user design problem: making it simple for those that desire simplicity and offering choice to those that demand it.

    From this perspective, few domain name registrars are succeeding. Perhaps the best is Uniregistry, which shows six options and a link to view more.

    Here are how many choices I see at various registrars after doing a domain search:

    Hover 100 (because I stopped counting)
    Name.com 33
    Register.com 32 (but just four non-premium options are shown and separated)
    GoDaddy 10
    1&1 8

    You might argue that domain search is different. Someone came to the store determined to leave with a jar of jam. But what if the one jam they wanted was out of stock? Then they’re faced with a choice again.

    They search for something.com.

    Show them if something.com is taken. If so, show them if they can purchase it as a premium domain.

    If not, show them 2-3 alternative extensions or variations on the .com string.

    Then if they want to dig in, give me them the option to see more choices.

    I’m convinced that showing the right 5 or 6 options beats showing dozens of options every time. It may be that showing every option is just a default for poor domain search technology.

  • Domain name search is much improved (at some registrars)

    1. BY - Aug 21, 2014
    2. Domain Registrars
    3. 1 Comment

    A look at how major domain registrars are handling domain search in the wake of new TLDs.

    I’ve written a couple times about the state of registrar search as registrars grapple with an onslaught of new TLDs, most recently at the end of February.

    There’s good news for TLD registries: search is getting a lot better.

    Let’s run through the registrars I checked last time for an update.

    (For this article, I chose to search for “valleyview construction” for three reasons: The second word exactly matches a new TLD, that new TLD has several similar alternatives, and the .com is taken.)

    GoDaddy

    GoDaddy still defaults to tacking .com on the back of whatever search term you put in. That makes sense because most people are looking for it.

    Last time I searched, GoDaddy was pulling up TLDs related to the search topic but was not “spanning the dot”. For example, if you searched for Valleyview Construction”, it would offer ValleyviewConstruction.construction but not Valleyview.Construction.

    ValleyviewConstruction.construction is still the top result, but GoDaddy placed the spanning-the-dot version as the fourth result:

    godaddy-valleyview-result

    That’s pretty good. Although I think ValleyviewConstruction.construction is redundant and not a good choice, I can see the other side of the argument as well. Are companies willing to put a dot in the middle of their brand?

    By that token, perhaps ValleyviewConstruction.build is a better choice. That’s in slot 3. Or ValleyviewConstruction.contractors (slot 9) or ValleyviewConstruction.builders (slot 13).

    Without seeing the data, I can’t fault GoDaddy for these results. It has a patent on an Adwords-style bidding system for new TLD search results. Maybe putting .build up there with its $99 price tag converts well overall compared to one of the domains with a $39 pricetag.

    Or maybe I’m giving GoDaddy too much credit.

    As for .org, that’s a sensible result given that both .com and .net are registered. Registrars also place domains near the top based on marketing programs. That may well be the case for the .org, given that it’s on sale.

    Here’s a TLD breakdown of the first 20 results for this search at GoDaddy:

    .construction 8
    .com 3
    .org 2
    .build 1
    .builders 1
    .contractors 1
    .engineering 1
    .guru 1
    .watch 1
    .productions 1

    This seems reasonable, for the most part. The .com suggestions are pretty bad, though, throwing in similar words for “view” (e.g. valleylookconstruction). Presumably the search system doesn’t realize this is likely a brand or geo domain. I imagine that’s difficult to teach a computer.

    GoDaddy continues to improve.

    eNom

    eNom was on the ball early on. This makes sense given that it’s owned by a large new TLD applicant (Rightside).

    Here’s the top part of the search results page when I search for “Valleyview Construction”:

    enom-valleyview

    You see that call to Valleyview.construction immediately below the “box” results? That seems like a homerun to me.

    As for the domains in the boxes, .ninja and .haus are there because they are Rightside domain names. .Builders is a good match and is run by partner Donuts.

    Scroll down the search page a bit and you’ll see more suggestions and some premium (aftermarket) options:

    enom-valleyview-2

    The suggestions are all .construction.

    But scroll down more and other relevant TLDs come into play:

    enom-valleyview-3

    1&1

    First things first: did you know you can’t put a space in the search box at 1&1?

    That makes sense if you’re searching for a domain. Domains can’t have spaces. But in today’s world, registrars should treat the input as a search box, not a lookup box. It’s a name spinner, not an exact-match lookup.

    1&1 still has a dropdown box next to its search box. The dropdown box is getting rather long!

    Here are the suggestions I get at 1&1:

    1and1-valleyview

    Two possible conclusions: 1&1 hasn’t gotten around to programming new TLD suggestions into its main search results, or it has decided it’s more likely to close the sale if it gives familiar alternatives.

    Hover

    Here’s an interesting progress bar when you search at Hover:

    hover-valley-1

    More interesting is what Hover has decided to do with results. It has the most interesting search results of all of the registrars.

    It doesn’t separate them into categories that don’t make sense to the user, like “regular TLDs” and “new TLD”. Instead, it separates them into categories:

    • “Domains About You” .guru, .me, .expert, .actor, .democrat…
    • “Domains with a Clear Purpose” .tv, .pictures, .webcam, .recipes…
    • “Domains For Businesses” .bar, .consulting, .ventures…
    • “Domains For Organizations” .club, .university, .community…
    • “Domains for Products or Services” .construction, .build, .catering…
    • “Domains for Shopping” .cheap, .blackfriday, .luxury…
    • “Domains with Attitude” .cool, .fail, .buzz…
    • “Non-English Domains” .uno, .viajes, .futbol…

    There are also regional categories.

    This is an interesting approach. Hover seems to not try to figure out the meaning of the search, and instead steer you to the categories.

    It’s possible that the search term is taken into consideration at some level — .construction is the first results under “Domains for Products and Services”.

    I think a combination of figuring out the meaning of the search (i.e., including .construction, .build et al near the top) and the categories makes a lot of sense.

    Network Solutions/Register.com

    Like 1&1, NetSol’s search doesn’t allow for spaces. You’d think a registrar targeted to non-technical SMBs would allow free form search.

    Once you get past that, NetSol is now showing new TLDs above traditional TLDs:

    netsol-valleyview

    .Org and .info are at the bottom of the list.

    So there you have it… a look at how some of the bigger registrars are handling domain name search as of August, 2014.

  • Are industry-specific resellers the future of domain name registration?

    1. BY - Aug 19, 2014
    2. Domain Registrars
    3. 2 Comments

    Niche resellers and registrars are key for selling industry-specific domain names.

    Many of the new top level domain names coming to market are targeted to particular industries: .photography for photographers, .plumbing for plumbers, .solar for the solar industry.

    Selling these domain names through mass market domain name registrars is tricky. The domain names are unlikely to come up high in search results unless a particular keyword closely matches the TLD. Unless the customer is aware of the top level domain and specifically searching for it, she is unlikely to find it.

    To better target the industries their domain names are made for, domain registries need to work with industry-specific channel partners.

    Taken to another level, a domain name registrar or reseller that specifically targets the industry.

    Enter Momentum Names.

    I received a LinkedIn alert today that Matt Godson of Momentum Event Group was now also CEO of Momentum Names.

    Momentum Names is an eNom reseller specifically specializing in the sale of two of Rightside’s upcoming domain names, .lawyer and .attorney. This is a good target for Momentum given its network amongst lawyers for its conferences.

    I think this is a great idea for businesses that already sell products and services into a particular industry. For example, if I provided booking software for cab companies, it would make sense to set up a niche reseller selling .cab and .limo domain names.

    momentum-names

  • GoDaddy amends IPO filing, reports Q2 results

    1. BY - Aug 14, 2014
    2. Domain Registrars
    3. 0 Comments

    Company continues to grow revenue as it heads toward IPO.

    GoDaddyGoDaddy released its second quarter financial results today through an amended S-1 Initial Public Offering filing with the SEC.

    Q2 2014 revenue came in at $338.5M, up from $276.0M in the same quarter of 2013 and $320.2M in Q1 2014.

    The net loss for the quarter was $37.5 million, worse than the $35.3 million loss it turned in during the second quarter of 2013 but better than the $51.3M loss in the first quarter of this year.

    Although its revenue from the domains business is growing, it represents an ever lower piece of the pie. Hosting/presence and business applications continue to grow in importance to the company, making up a combined 44.2% of revenue last quarter.

    The company added 231,000 customers during the quarter. It has grown its base of domains under management by about one million so far this year.