Escrow.com acquired for $7.5 million

Company known for securing domain name transactions is acquired by Australian company.

Escrow.comFreelancer.com, an online marketplace for freelance services, has acquired escrow service Escrow.com for $7.5 million.

Escrow.com is a popular service among domain name investors and has handled over $2.2 billion worth of transactions to date.

Margins for escrow services are slim, and today’s acquisition announcement puts it in perspective: Escrow.com handled $220 million transactions last year, generating $5 million in revenue and just $1.2 million EBITDA.

Escrow.com will remain a California based company and will operate as usual going forward.

Freelancer.com recently raised AUD$10 million, in part to fund the acquisition.

I’ve reached out to Escrow.com president Brandon Abbey to find out if he will be continuing with the company.

Digging into .xyz’s domain name registrations

A look at how .xyz domain names are being used.

.xyz is big — about 900,000 domains — but it’s also controversial since many of the domains were given away for free.

Even stripping away the freebies, .xyz is still big. I called upon dataprovider.com to run some numbers. (Earlier this week I used dataprovider to compare usage in .London and .NYC.)

Using data from last month, dataprovider was able to reach about 550,000 .xyz domain names (the rest were inaccessible in their spidering). Here are some of the interesting stats.

The majority of domains, as you’d expect, have registrar placeholder pages. But look at the high numbers for content sites as well. Click here to continue reading…

Orient Express Travel Group engaged in Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Australian company didn’t disclose prior purchase attempt and its rights post-dated domain registration.

A three person World Intellectual Property Organization panel has found Australian travel company Orient Express Travel Group to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking.

The travel company filed an aUDRP against the domain name etg.com.au. It uses the domain name etg.travel.

The panel found that Orient Express Travel Group was less-than-forthcoming in its aUDRP filing. It didn’t disclose that it first attempted to buy the etg.com.au domain name before filing for arbitration.

Also, its case was based on common law rights that the panel determined are very recent (if existent), and postdate etg.com.au’s registration date by about six years.

The complainant was represented by Norgate McLean Dolphin, and the respondent was represented by Cooper Mills Lawyers.

Expired Domain Report: Breaking down Chinese buyers

Joseph Peterson reviews recent expired domain name sales on NameJet, including which short domains were picked up by Chinese buyers.

Anyone who reads these weekly reports on the expired domain market (or, rather, NameJet’s share of it) will have noticed that the chart can be divided into Chinese purchases and non-Chinese purchases. The split is fairly clean. GEAI.com ($8.2k)? China. HNBC.com ($6.4k)? China. DAIG.com ($2.8k)? China. DUVI.com ($2.5k)? Probably not China.

And why is that an exception? Because pronounceability influences the decisions of Western domain investors in ways that don’t apply to the Chinese market. Many domainers have long espoused a conscious preference for 4-letter domains of the CVCV format (i.e. alternating consonants and vowels). Of course China uses Pinyin a fair amount, and the West has its institutional acronyms. But, in general, there’s a wide rift between China (which buys character sequences) and the West (which seeks word-like domains). Click here to continue reading…

Verisign reports earnings, 1.51 million net adds

Company reports continued growth in domain name registrations and base.

Verisign reported first quarter earnings after the bell today, including some fairly solid numbers for new registrations and net additions in .com/.net.

8.7 million new .com and .net registrations occurred in the first quarter, up from 8.6 million in the same quarter last year. It’s not a big jump, but it’s headed in the right direction. That netted out to 1.51 million more names after accounting for deletions.

Revenue for the quarter was up 3.9% compared to Q1 2014 to $258 million. Earnings dipped from $94 million to $88 million.

If I were an analyst on today’s conference call, I’d ask what the average revenue per registration for a new .com domain is after taking out direct marketing payments to registrars. I’ve seen lots of promotions on .com lately, including one registrar offering unlimited .com domains for $5 toward the end of last year. It makes sense for Verisign to do this. But for anyone modeling the business, it would be good to understand how much the company is getting for a new .com domain name these days.