Domain investing success story with Michael Castello – DNW Podcast #28

Michael Castello’s twenty year journey in domain names.

Domain Name Wire podcastMichael Castello, CEO of Castello Cities Internet Network, discusses the amazing story of how he got into the domain name business and picked up great domains like Nashville.com and Whisky.com. Like many early domain name investors, he stumbled upon domain names when life wasn’t going quite as planned. In this episode, he tells the story of how he sold Whisky.com for $3.1 million about a year ago. He also discusses the past, present, and future of the domain name business.

Also: .Sucks battle, Lady Gaga, and GoDaddy IPO.

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How domain name stocks did on GoDaddy’s IPO day

Competitors also get bump as GoDaddy soars.

GoDaddyGoDaddy went public yesterday and shares immediately shot up 30%, giving the company a $4 billion market cap. In very early trading today it’s up another 3%.

There are a number of similar public companies out there. I think the two closest comps are Endurance International (which owns Domain.com and a number of shared hosting companies) and Web.com.

Endurance International Group (EIGI) shares were up about 4% yesterday, giving the company a $2.6 billion market cap.

Like GoDaddy, EIGI carries a lot of debt. But the reason for the debt load is different. GoDaddy has debt because of the 2011 buyout; Endurance was a debt-powered rollup.

Web.com (WWWW) was up about 3% yesterday and has a market cap of just shy of $1.0 billion. The company owns Network Solutions and Register.com.

Shares of three other domain name companies were essentially flat yesterday: Rightside (NAME), Tucows (TCX) and Verisign (VRSN). None of these comps are as similar to GoDaddy as EIGI and WWWW.

GoDaddy sets IPO range, plans to raise $400M at up to $3B valuation

Company sets anticipated range in SEC filing.

GoDaddyGoDaddy revealed a planned IPO range of $17.00-$19.00 per share in an SEC filing this morning.

At the mid price point of $18.00, GoDaddy will raise $396 million. If it prices at the high end, and its underwriters exercise and option to purchase 3.3 million more shares, it could reach $481 million.

If it prices at $19.00 per share, the IPO would value GoDaddy at just shy $2.9 billion. On the low end it will be about $2.6 billion.

The private-equity investment in GoDaddy three years ago is rumored to have valued the company at $2.25 billion.

GoDaddy will trade under the ticker GDDY on the New York Stock Exchange.

GoDaddy names Chief Customer Officer, new CMO

One of GoDaddy’s original employees moves to new position.

GoDaddy announced today that long time Chief Marketing Office Barb Rechterman will be the company’s Chief Customer Officer, a newly-formed position.

According to a press release, this new position is “responsible for aligning the company’s products, services and engagement models with strategic needs and values of GoDaddy’s unique customer base.”

Rechterman has been with GoDaddy since it was founded in 1997. She has been a driving driving force behind the company’s marketing, even though most of the credit externally has been given to company founder Bob Parsons.

Phil Bienert, a former AT&T executive who has been with GoDaddy since 2013, will fill Rechterman’s shoes as Chief Marketing Officer.

GoDaddy’s latest patent applications

Company adds to its stack of pending patents.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has just published a handful of patent applications filed by GoDaddy.

Methods and Systems for Recommending Packages of Domain Names for Registration (application 14/500711) is a continuation of patents I wrote about earlier this month. It essentially describes a way to determining which domain names a user will want and presenting them as a package.

Two others are related to submitting an offer for a domain name when it is already registered: System for Communicating an Offer for a Domain Names (application 13/973823) and Method for Communicating an Offer for a Domain Name (application 13/973819). If the domain name you want is already registered, the registrar will ask if you want to submit an offer on the domain name.

The general crux of these two patent applications doesn’t seem novel (at least looking at what registrars have been doing for the past five years or so), but perhaps there are some claims within them that are unique.