GoDaddy amends IPO filing

GoDaddy updates S-1, but it doesn’t include final 2014 financials.

GoDaddy filed an amended S-1 statement with the Securities & Exchange Commission today.

I’ll save you a couple hours of combing over the new document for changes…there aren’t many, unless you’re fascinated by GoDaddy’s corporate and shareholder structure and its investors’ plans to minimize taxes.

Using Intelligize’s Smart Compare feature, I compared the current S-1 to the previous one filed November 17. Essentially, the majority of changes are related to tax distributions and Tax Receivable Agreements (TRAs).

The filing doesn’t include full year results for 2014, which I expect to be filed within the next few weeks. I’ll write about the updated results when they become available.

GoDaddy is expected to go public in the first half of this year.

Web.com strikes deal with investors, Rightside extends deal with NameCheap

Web.com and Rightside reveal deals.

Here’s some news about two publicly traded domain name companies.

Web.com has struck a deal with Okumus Fund Management, which owns about 15% of the company’s shares, to add two new members to the board of directors. John Giuliani, the former CEO of Conversant and Rick Rudman, the former CEO of Vocus will join the board. Shares in Web.com (NASDAQ: WWWW) are down about 2% today, slightly above their 52 week low.

In other news, competitor Rightside (NASDAQ: NAME) announced that it has extended its contract with reseller NameCheap and is extending the maturity date on a loan it made to the reseller.

NameCheap’s registrar agreement with Rightside business eNom is extended until June 30, 2015 and will renew annually after that. Rightside lent NameCheap $2.5 million, and the maturity date on the note was pushed back to June 30, 2015.

NameCheap is eNom’s largest customer by far, representing 23% of domains under management as of last year.

Shares in Rightside are down about 5% today.

Web design company sues GoDaddy over “It’s Go Time” slogan

Company says it was using the slogan first.

A small web development company is suing GoDaddy over its “It’s Go Time” slogan, arguing that it started using the moniker well before GoDaddy adopted it.

Plaintiff The Easy Life, LLC runs GoWeb1. The company says it is actually a reseller of GoDaddy’s domain name services. It alleges that it has had the same account manager at GoDaddy and has been emailing newsletters to that account manager — including the It’s Go Time slogan – since at least October 2011.

GoDaddy applied for a trademark on “It’s Go Time” in 2013 on an intent-to-use basis, and started using the slogan shortly thereafter.

The plaintiff has filed multiple oppositions to GoDaddy’s trademark application.

GoWeb1’s website prominently displays “It’s Go Time” in a couple places, as you can see in the image. However, it may have ramped up this use after GoDaddy filed its trademark application. Archive.org is down at the time I’m writing this, but a Screenshot.com image from late 2012 doesn’t show the slogan on its home page. It shows up in the next screenshot at the end of 2013. The GoWeb1.com “It’s Go Time” slogan has a forward slanting font similar to the one GoDaddy is using.

The lawsuit (pdf) doesn’t have exhibits showing how the company has using “It’s Go Time” for its marketing.

The Easy Life argues that GoDaddy’s use of the term can “damage Plaintiff’s impeccable reputation”:

On information and belief, Defendant’s annual revenues exceed over one billion dollars. Defendant, with its vast resources, is well positioned to exploit and trade on the goodwill which Plaintiff has developed in the IT’S GO TIME mark, as well as damage Plaintiff’s impeccable reputation. Relevant consumers will come upon Defendant’s Services offered in connection with the IT’S GO TIME mark and will likely believe that such services are associated or affiliated with, or endorsed or sponsored by Plaintiff, which they are not. Indeed, viewership estimates of the 2015 Super Bowl during which Defendant broadcast an advertisement exceed 100 million viewers.

GoDaddy wants to patent domain suggestions based on geography, business type

Patents reflect techniques for better targeting domain name search results.

GoDaddy has filed three patents for targeted domain name search results based on the user’s location or business type.

Two of the patent applications were filed in August 2013, and the third (continuation) patent (embedded below) was filed in September 2014. All three applications were published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today.

The patents explain methods of determining the location, language and business type of a user, and then targeting both top level domain names and second level domains to that person.

For example, GoDaddy might determine the most popular TLDs based on the type of company (for-profit, non-profit etc) and location, then show search results keyed to this popularity: Click to continue reading…

Moniker lost over 60,000 .com domain names in October

Registrar plunges below 900,000 .com registrations mark.

MonikerVerisign’s latest .com monthly report has been published by ICANN, and Moniker’s woes from its platform switch over the summer appear to have finally caught up with it.

Moniker lost 61,191 .com domain names to transfers in October 2014. After its disastrous platform switch in June, it lost at least 17,500 .com domains to transfers each month, peaking at 26,681 in September. The October jump is huge. (ICANN publishes the reports after a three month waiting period.)

The registrar dropped below the million .com registration threshold in September. In October it dropped below 900,000.

Its October numbers were also hurt by few new registrations. Only 3,272 .com domains were registered at Moniker in October, but 19,192 were deleted. Click here to continue reading…