Displaying posts tagged under "VeriSign"
Verisign cites a number of headwinds in its existing TLD business while it withdraws one of its IDN applications.
Verisign held its quarterly investor conference call yesterday after releasing it first quarter earnings.
The company processed 8.6 million new registrations across .com/.net, compared to 8.8 million in the same quarter a year ago. The renewal rate also dipped.
Here’s what Verisign discussed on the call.
Why the growth rate is shrinking
Verisign blamed a number of factors for slowing growth:
- Registrars focusing on bundles and average revenue per user instead of using domains for customer-acquisition. The company has noticed some registrars returning to a domain-focused pitch, especially outside of the U.S.
- Changes in pay-per-click (e.g. parking, heavily monetized sites).
- The law of large numbers, which makes it more difficult to push the needle.
Additionally, CEO James Bidzos said it was too early to tell how much impact new TLDs will have on growth:
…there are roughly 100 — over 100 new gTLDs that are delegated into the zone, and they’re accepting registrations right now, and have been pretty much for most of the first quarter, for roughly almost 3 months now. And in total, there are about 570,000 registrations in, collectively, all of the new gTLDs year-to-date. I think that information is current as of just a couple of days ago. So it’s too soon to tell if any of those registrations or what part of those registrations are at the expense of a .com or a .net registration, because until we see the first renewal cycle on these new gTLDs, it’s really going to be difficult to assess how much impact they might have on the .com/.net zone.
The company expects 0.3 million to 0.8 million net adds in Q2.
Verisign has withdrawn its application .com IDN transliteration in traditional Chinese while retaining its simplified Chinese application. This was due to ICANN’s policy on variants, which Verisign said did not consider one applicant applying for variants. It hopes it will be able to reinstate the traditional Chinese application once this policy is settled. It went with simplified Chinese because it believes it’s a bigger market.
Also, Verisign thinks one of its back-end registry customers for new TLDs will launch in the second quarter.
Monetizing intellectual property
Verisign reported that it is beginning to receive inquiries from competing registry operators about using certain elements of its patented registry technology.
New registrations and renewal rate dip.
Verisign reported first quarter earnings today after the bell. The company reported revenue of $249 million, a 5% increase from the first quarter of 2013.
The company added 1.28 million net new names during the first quarter to .com and .net, ending the quarter with 128.5 million active domain names in the zone.
Some other metrics weren’t as rosy.
Verisign processed 8.6 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net last quarter. That’s below the 8.8 million number in the same period in 2013.
The final renewal rate from Q4 2013 also dipped. The renewal rate was 72.2 percent compared with 72.9 percent Q4 2012.
I suspect the company will blame changes in monetization on its conference call this afternoon. A bigger question going forward is if new top level domain names can siphon off some of those 8.6 million quarterly registration.
Universe of registered domain names slowing ticking upward.
Verisign has resumed publishing its Domain Name Industry Brief, a report it used to publish quarterly.
The company reports (pdf) that there were 271 million domain names registered as of December 31 across all top level domain names. That’s a 1.9% increase over the previous quarter and 7.3% for the year.
This number includes free .tk domain names. The Tokelau country code domain name is the most-registered ccTLD on the internet.
As always, Verisign took time to push its PR messaging in the report. (That’s the point, after all!)
One of those messages it has been pushing lately is that there are plenty of .com domain names still available.
Technically, that’s right. There are over 10 to the 98th (1 followed by 98 zeros) second level domains available under .com. Only 112 million of them are registered. 8 zeros vs. 98.
Of course most of those available domains are crappy.
For example, Verisign points out that only half of the possible 1.8 million four letter .com domains are registered. Yet that number includes domains with numbers and hyphens, so it includes losers such as z5-r.com. If you just include four letter domain names the universe shrinks to under a half million possibilities.
Here’s a chart showing availability by domain length:
Verisign points out that NTIA announcement has nothing to do with .com, but at least one analyst has downgraded the stock due to uncertainty.
Verisign issued a press release this morning reminding investors that Friday’s big news about the U.S. government transitioning internet responsibilities does not affect its lucrative contract to run the .com domain name registry.
Verisign shares were down about 6% in the first few minutes of trading today.
Last Friday National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to relinquish control of the functions under the IANA contract. This includes managing the root zone, a role in which Verisign plays a part.
But Verisign doesn’t get paid for playing its role in root zone management. While it was able to use its role with the root zone to apply a bit of pressure in the new TLD process, that didn’t amount to much.
Verisign’s contracts to run .com and .net are not directly affected by the NTIA’s announcement. However, at least one analyst warns that changes could affect Verisign’s ability to renew its contract in the future.
The U.S. government plays a role in the .com contract, and it’s possible that the U.S. government could bow out of it connection to awarding the .com contract in the future. But remember, it was the U.S. government that played the heavy last time the contract was renewed. ICANN agreed to annual price increases and the government later nixed them.
Given Verisign’s lucrative role in running .com, I suppose any news like this can be considered bad news. The status quo is good for Verisign.
Verisign adds to patent war chest.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted Verisign patent number 8,656,209 for “Recovery of a Failed Registry”.
Verisign describes the system as one that “enables a registry recovery service to retrieve zone files from a target registry, archive the zone files, publish the zone files to a managed DNS server, reconcile ownership of the zone files, and publish the zone files to a provisioning DNS server. The registry recovery service may also implement a WHOIS server for the zone and ownership information and may also implement zone specific features particular to the target registry’s TLD.”
It will be interesting to see what actually happens when some new TLD registries fail. Most will likely be absorbed by their existing back-end registry providers.
Verisign has told investors that it plans to begin “monetizing” its intellectual property. So far it hasn’t disclosed how it plans to do this.