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.

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…

Chris Sheridan and Steve Banfield are leaving Rightside

Two key figures at eNom are moving on.

RightsideA longtime fixture in the domain name industry — as well as a newer hire — are leaving domain name company Rightside.

VP of Business Development Chris Sheridan is leaving the company this week to join website maker Weebly. His experience at Rightside, where he worked on the eNom business, will be highly relevant to Weebly. Prior to eNom/Rightside, the “selfie king” worked at Verisign.

Sheridan’s former clients and other external business partners will now work with Dwayne Walker, Rightside’s SVP of business and market development.

Separately, SVP & GM of Registrar Services Steve Banfield is leaving the company at the end of this month. He joined Rightside in 2013. A Rightside spokesperson provide this statement to Domain Name Wire about the transition:

Steve Banfield is leaving Rightside at the end of January as part of an organizational restructuring, and he is working with the company’s management team to ensure a smooth transition for our employees and customers. Steve’s external clients and partners on the eNom business will now work with Jeff Eckhaus, our SVP of market development. Steve’s responsibilities on the Name.com business have been transitioned to Matt Delgado, Rightside’s SVP of operations.

Rightside earnings: 15 TLDs generate $2.5 million, strong eNom performance

Rightside grows its eNom business, new TLDs generate $2.5 million in revenue as of end of Q3.

RightsideRightside released third quarter earnings after the bell today.

Revenue for the third quarter came in at $48.8 million, up from $45.5 million in the same quarter last year and $46.7 million in the second quarter of 2014.

The company swung to a profit with a $4.1 million bottom line. However, its adjusted EBITDA — which presumably is a key metric it wants to be valued on — was ($0.6) million.

A particular bright spot for the company was moving the needle in its domain name registration business. Organic growth (excluding the Name.com acquisition) in domain services was 10.5% due to onboarding more eNom wholesale partners. Rightside had been having trouble growing this fairly mature business.

On the new top level domain front, Rightside recorded a gain of $8.6 million for withdrawing seven applications for new top level domain names.

As of the end of the quarter, Rightside had 15 top level domains out in general availability for an average of 89 days each. The company had generated over 80,000 registrations with almost $2.5 million in total cash sales. That’s an average of above $30 per domain name. While many of its domains have a wholesale price of $20, its initial sales include sunrise and landrush/EAP pricing. It also sells some domains for premium prices.

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

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.

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