Tucows CEO Elliot Noss discusses the domain name business in the company’s latest investor call.
Tucows released Q4 2013 earnings and held its investor conference call this week. Here are some highlights:
* Tucows started charging for WHOIS privacy due to increased costs the company faces with the 2103 Registrar Accreditation Agreement.
* Domain parking is still a drag on the company. It expects a flat or downward trend. This also affects its expired domain sales revenue.
* The company sees GoDaddy’s acquisition of Afternic as a good thing because it will bring additional expertise to the secondary market for domain names.
* The company doesn’t expect much of a financial impact from new TLDs in 2014. Any impact will be in late Q3 and Q4 when better strings come out after resolving contention sets.
* Of the two sets of TLD launches so far (presumably Donuts’ first two batches of seven domains), people thought the first batch had better domains. But the second one outperformed the first, at least in the first couple days of availability. Tucows determined this is likely an awareness issue, so as people become aware of new TLDs launches might perform better. (It all gets back to new TLDs “coming out with a whimper“.)
* Hover, Tucows’ retail brand, saw 20% year-over-year growth in new registrations in Q4.
* The company started advertising Hover on TV and Ting (its mobile phone service) on TV, in movie theaters, and outdoor. It hasn’t been as effective as authentic endorsements and strategic partnerships, but Tucows will continue testing. (As an aside, I recently asked an employee why he stopped expensing his cell phone each month. Answer: “Ever since I switched to Ting, my bill is only like $20. So it’s not even worth expensing anymore.”
* Ting now has 50,000+ accounts and 80,000+ devices.