Co-founder leaves company and will focus on his website building platform.
Minds + Machines released 2014 results today, and also announced that the board has voted co-founder Fred Krueger out of the company and his role as executive Chairman. Keith Teare, a British tech entrepreneur, will take over as Chairman.
The move doesn’t come as a complete surprise to me. Krueger has seemed more excited about his website building software, Mozart, than the core process of top level domain names. In his departure letter, he states that he will be able to focus completely on building out Mozart now that he is no longer with Minds + Machines. Mozart has been integrated into Minds + Machines’ registrar.
Krueger has not been afraid to speak his mind, and my impression is that he was very emotional about new top level domain names versus .com.
For example, in 2013 he commented on DomainIncite:
New TLD registries are going to have the last laugh as all these new TLDs crush (and I mean crush) dot com domainers. Good luck standing up to this tsunami of alternatives to your bad and overpriced domain name portfolios gentlemen…
Another interesting thing from the annual report: Minds + Machines CEO Antony Van Couvering said its registrar isn’t there to compete with other registrars.
Registries can now own registrars and vice versa. Although I’m not sure if the company has publicly stated it, I believe its goal was to build its own registrar into a viable competitor for end user registrations. Now the company says:
…we have created this registrar not to replicate or compete with the primary distribution channel – the mainstream registrars – which is a low margin and typically expensive business, but rather to have the tools to open up new distribution channels through selected affiliates and resellers.
This is a smart move. Registries need a way to drive registrations for affinity deals, but competing head-to-head with the likes of GoDaddy doesn’t make much sense and can be counterproductive.
On the financial side, Minds + Machines reported “cash revenue” for $5.0 million for 2014. Because revenue has to be recognized over time for a domain name, this resulted in $1.9 million in revenue last year. It also had gross receipts of $37.5 million from private auctions to resolve new top level domain name contention sets.