Pricing at GoDaddy for NeuStar’s .us and .biz domains is oddly high.
In February I wrote about GoDaddy’s price increase for .biz domain names. The registrar was charging $14.99 for .biz domain names, even though its wholesale cost at the registry is about the same as .com domain names (which GoDaddy sells for $9.99). It appeared that GoDaddy was just trying to make some extra profit.
But a couple weeks ago a friend pointed out that I may have missed the boat on this one. He said “Isn’t NeuStar the registry for .biz?”
Suddenly, it clicked. Indeed, NeuLevel is the registry operator for .biz. It’s essentially the same company as NeuStar, which runs the .us domain registry. GoDaddy has a history with NeuStar. Last year it teamed up with .info registry Afilias to try to win the registry rights for .us. NeuStar prevailed in the battle.
Could it be that GoDaddy is charging more for .us and .biz to shun NeuStar and put GoDaddy in a position to win the registry business in the future? Take a look at the search results when you plug in a domain at GoDaddy:
Hmm. You can choose all of the key domains, such as .com/.net/.org. You can even sign up for some more expensive ones like .tv. Heck, GoDaddy is even promoting .info, even though it’s only charging 99 cents for the first year. You have to scroll down to see an option to register .us and .biz domains.
So is GoDaddy playing hardball with NeuStar or is it just a conspiracy theory? I asked GoDaddy VP of Public Relations Elizabeth Driscoll about the theory via e-mail today. She responded:
“Our price points are a product of our internal research, testing and other market indicators.
Keep in mind we rotate ‘sales’ throughout the year — at times to coincide with topical events. For example, we had a .US promotion underway around Memorial Day, during which one-year .US registrations were just $8.99.
Perhaps the most important element for you to consider is this: Go Daddy registers more domain names than anyone else — by far! We have a 45% new domain name market share. Go Daddy is very much interested in the continued success of all the tlds we offer [her emphasis].”
That’s fair. But with 30 million domains and growing, the company certainly can twist some arms while helping out its friends at Afilias. Come to think of it, if I owned a registry I’d be working hard to make sure GoDaddy promoted my TLD.