Minds + Machines: layoffs, plan for cash and more

Big updates from one of the biggest new top level domain name companies.

Publicly traded Minds + Machines (London AIM: MMX) released a corporate update today, and it’s big.

The company has close to $50 million in cash in the bank, which gives it plenty of time to wait out the hoped-for surge in acceptance of new top level domain names. But it’s not going to sit back and watch its cash position dwindle each quarter. Instead, it’s taking action to become profitable soon and find a way to return the cash to shareholders. I think these are smart moves that should please shareholders.

Here are key items from the update.

1. Minds + Machines had layoffs last month, for the right reasons. The company says this will save the company $1.3 million per year and it is hunting for more ways to save money. It’s also moving from technical expertise to a sales organization.

Most importantly, it targets becoming profitable next year.

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Verisign to hike .Net prices 10%

Domain registration bills increasing.

Verisign announced that it is raising its wholesale price for .net domain names in February.

The current fee is $6.79, and this will jump 10% to $7.46 effective Feb. 1, 2016.

Verisign is able to increase the price of .net domain names annually. A 2012 contract extension for .com domains keeps that price fixed at $7.85 for the duration of the contract. Click here to continue reading…

Google registers domain names for Google Play’s return to China

Domain name registrations suggest Google is indeed going back to China with Google Play.

Google Play ChinaIt appears that Google Play, the search giant’s app store, is indeed making another play for the Chinese market. There have been rumors about a return to China in recent months.

Google registered a number of domain names related to Google Play in China yesterday and today, including:

googleplaychina.com, googleplaychinaedition.com, googlechinaaccount.com, googlechinaedition.com, gcaapis.com, gcaauth.com, gpceauth.com, gpceimages.com, gpcedata.com

and about a dozen related domain names.

As this Venture Beat article points out, Google Play could grow much faster if it reentered China. These domain name registrations suggest the company is indeed getting ready to make the move back into china.

Google reiterates how new TLDs are handled in search results

Google issues details on how new top level domain names affect search engine results. (In short, they don’t.)

Google has posted to its Webmaster Central Blog about how it handles new top level domain names in search. Because of the importance of this issue to the industry, I have republished the questions answered in the post along with my commentary.

Q: How will new gTLDs affect search? Is Google changing the search algorithm to favor these TLDs? How important are they really in search?
A: Overall, our systems treat new gTLDs like other gTLDs (like .com & .org). Keywords in a TLD do not give any advantage or disadvantage in search.

DNW: This answer leaves a lot open. Google highlights the keywords searched that are in the domain name, and it will highlight the top level domain name if there’s a match. I think what Google is saying is that, as of right now, it doesn’t matter if “photography” is to the left or right of the dot in the domain name.

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My thoughts on .Co turning 5

Driven by good marketing, .Co celebrates success on fifth anniversary.

.Co 5 yearsFive years ago today, on July 20, 2010, the .Co domain name entered general availability.

I remember sitting at a table at the Austin Convention Center during HostingCon, trying to track general reaction to how the domain name launch was going. It certainly looked positive, especially since Overstock had just paid $350,000 for O.co.

Five years later, it’s safe to say .Co is a success. Hands down. The business sold for over $100 million just four years after launching.

But its success was not guaranteed. Click here to continue reading…