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Afilias acquires StartingDot domains .archi, .bio and .ski

Registry now owns three more new top level domains.

afilias-logoDomain name company Afilias has acquired three top level domain names and plans to acquire many more.

The company announced today that it has acquired StartingDot, the company behind .archi, .bio and .ski. (Learn more about StartingDot and .Ski in this podcast.)

StartingDot has resisted the trend of offering dirt-cheap domain names. GoDaddy is currently charging over $70 for each of StartingDot’s domain names.

.Bio is StartingDot’s most-registered domain name with about 15,000 domain names in the zone.

Afilias hopes to acquire many more top level domain names and has even set up a special email address for top level domain owners to start discussions: WeBuyTLDs@Afilias.INFO.

Unlike many of its registry back-end peers, the company applied for many top level domain names that it now runs. It is making an end-to-end play after acquiring domain name registrar 101Domain.

The registry is in a bit of a precarious position. It receives over $30 million annually for managing the backend services of .org, but that contract has been put out to bid. It tried to raise $100 million in an IPO in 2014, but canceled those plans.

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  1. Nick says

    Wow those are horrible extensions. They buy the worst extensions and the registrar with the worst reputation. There has to be better investments for these companies.

    • wordsoutwards says

      Why horrible? These 3 TLDs are each very different – so even someone who dislikes all 3 out to allow for some nuances in horribleness.

      .ARCHI I’ve always disliked. .SKI is a bullseye – albeit for a niche market. Meanwhile, .BIO has a variety of uses; so I expect .BIO to be a modest success.

  2. Nick says

    .ARCHI is ugly and if I was an architect I would hate to be called an archi, or my industry to be called archi. Then .bio has zero consumer use, just some bio tech firms, to tiny to be worth the cost. Then.ski, while it is not ugly, it’s kind of nice, but again can’t grow enough to be worth the cost.

    • wordsoutwards says

      Not being in the registry business myself, I don’t care whether Afilias or StartingDot can arrange for these TLDs to “grow enough to be worth the cost”.

      Corporate profits will interest registry operators and their share holders, but from the vantage point of registrants – which is where I’m sitting – only 2 questions really matter:

      (1) Can I think up a good brand name for an end user in a given TLD?
      (2) Can I profitably resell domains in a given TLD?

      I disagree that .BIO “has zero consumer use, just some bio tech firms”. Personally, I own just 4 .BIO domains – for me a very small stake. But none is meant for a biotech firm.

      • Nick says

        You should care, cause nobody knows what will happen to the 4 names you own when the registry one day realizes that the cost to keep running some of these extensions will always be more than what they make yearly, and decide to close some of them down

        • wordsoutwards says


          You’re bringing up an entirely separate issue. Let’s distinguish between

          (1) Afilias’s acquisition of StartingDot and its 3 TLDs, which is an investment in its own right;


          (2) The ongoing profitability of running those 3 TLDs.

          You said, “There has to be better investments for these companies”; and that refers to #1. The ROI for Afilias is a completely separate question from the sustainability of this or that TLD.

          Afilias might have spent $1 gazillion for 3 TLDs and the company that comes with them, but all that matters to me is that a specific TLD generates enough revenue to cover its own maintenance costs. In that case, Afilias loses $1 gazillion; but the TLD breaks even. 2 different issues.

          Naturally, registrants are affected by the risk of an underperforming TLD being retired. But Afilias operates a large number of TLDs – many quite successful. They can afford to wait years to see which TLDs catch on.

        • Jane Doe says

          At 15,000 registrations, .bio is generating $400k+/year

          Another $150k+/year for .ski

          And $90k+/year with .archi

          All they need to do is maintain their numbers with an aim to grow.

          • Nick says

            Okay, didn’t know .bio had that many registrations. However, just maintaining numbers with an aim to grow for the other 2 is not true. Unless you really think they have to pay zero employees, and had zero cost to run each extension. Annual fees alone is 60k for each. Seems like you don’t think the extensions need any employees focusing on them at all.

  3. Rubens Kuhl says

    .bio has a distinct advantage of meaning “biotech” in some markets (like the US) and “organic” in some other markets (like Europe). .ski is also nice considering its high value market and being written in that way in relevant languages. .archi is not one of my favourites and considering what we know now, .architect and .architecture could have been better options.

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