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Uniregisty sends confusing .XYZ promo; Frank sends a follow up

Something about numeric .xyz domains being like bitcoin. And then…

I was left scratching my head today when Uniregistry sent out a promo for .XYZ domain names. It starts with:

If someone told you in 2010 to buy $100 worth of Bitcoin, would you have done it?

Today, I am happy to share one of the most exciting pieces of news for our industry since the gTLD program was announced nearly one decade ago. To foster innovation and creativity on the Internet, Uniregistry will now offer 1.111 billion .xyz domains for just $0.99 per year to register, renew, and transfer. These domains, coined the 1.111B Class, include all 6-digit, 7-digit, 8-digit, and 9-digit numeric .xyz domains between 000000.xyz and 999999999.xyz.

The email, which is signed by Frank Schilling, suggests that these domains can be used for a number of purposes and might make a good investment (much like bitcoin).

Perhaps one of Frank’s lawyers took a look at the email and suggested it might be problematic. Uniregistry just sent a second email signed by Frank, and this one shows the sender name as Frank Schilling.

This one starts:

About an hour ago we made an announcement about a new category of numeric domains released at low prices today by .XYZ, coined .XYZ’s “1.111B Class”. As a retail registrar, we are delighted to support our registry business partners, and we understand that .XYZ is going to put a significant marketing budget and all of its creative talent to bear to popularize what it sees as a special class of registration.

At the same time, you should know that neither Uniregistry nor I provide investment advice. Uniregistry sells domain names as tools for internet-based business and communications. Nothing in our emails or on our website should be considered a solicitation or offer to buy or sell a domain, TLDs, or domains in general as an asset class, as a security, option, future, or financial instrument.

It goes on to include what appear to be genuine (i.e., actually written by Frank) thoughts on domain name investing and the risk it entails.

It’s an interesting sequence of emails. I’m still scratching my head about .XYZ’s marketing push for these numeric domains.

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  1. John says

    I was actually watching that time Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle that he was no Jack Kennedy. It was a particularly unpleasant thing for someone to say in that context and frankly surprising when he did.

    However, not this time:

    .xyz is no Bitcoin. Not even within a billion miles.

    • Volker Greimann says

      Sure, but at that price it would be a steal! 1.111 billion domain names for a total annual cost of just 99 cents? That’s just 9.00090009e-8 cents per domain name!
      I should tell Frank to start registering the complete list of domains for me right away. I will give him that dollar at the next ICANN meeting!

  2. John McCormac says

    It is an interesting idea from a marketing viewpoint but XYZ is about to take a hit on those 1c registrations from last year. This kind of offer should be targeted at the Chinese market as some of the Chinese new gTLDs have higher concentration of numerical domain names than others.

  3. Dot Advice says

    Andrew , A huge number .xyz regs will drop in the next month or two , so they’ve somehow got to keep up the positive net growth profile. This is a bridge too far ?

    • Andrew Allemann says

      I have no problem with them pitching .xyz however they want. I just don’t get what they’re trying to do here, comparing .xyz domains to bitcoin and IP addresses.

        • Michael says

          Right, on the last promo spikes they had 10%-15% renewal. So, ignoring the 1.111B scheme, I expect them to drop to like 3M DUM. Yet, given the same will happen to .top, they will still be #1 by DUM

          • John McCormac says

            The renewal rates on promotions tend to be lower than that, Michael,
            Rates in the region of 5% are not uncommon. Even 5% of approximately 3 million isn’t bad. What distinguishes .XYZ from other NGTs is that it has a momentum. People may criticise the registry’s marketing but it has been somewhat successful. It may not be attractive to Domainers but Domainers are not necessarily its primary market.

  4. Josh says

    As soon as I saw the email come though on the cell and the mention of .xyz I didn’t bother to read any further, no joke. I do enjoy your coverage of things though Andrew so I did read your article 😉

  5. Joseph Peterson says

    Looks like Uniregistry jumped the gun by 1 day. Other registrars, including Epik, were told to wait until June 1 before publishing the .XYZ promo materials or changing prices. Since the cat is now out of the bag, there’s no harm in mentioning the 1.111B initiative now, I suppose. It’ll be everywhere soon enough.

    The .XYZ registry has put forward various use cases for 6, 7, 8, 9-digit numerical domains. Whether they’ll take flight, I have no idea. But I’m prepared to sit back and watch. Let’s take an empirical approach. Perhaps this category will fall on deaf ears. Then again, perhaps someone will view a vast supply of permanently cheap domains as a foundation for innovation of some sort.

    China likes to blow bubbles. The IoT is still emerging. Cars have VIN numbers – though I hate saying that, it’s so redundant … like “ATM machine”. Phone numbers, area codes, etc. Various adjacent systems use numerical identifiers.
    Domains have certain inbuilt verification processes, which – imperfect as they are – might be leveraged in some way. Domains are paid for, for instance.
    Domains entail whois records, which theoretically might be audited.

    Personally, I see no clear evidence that this is the game changer the .XYZ registry wants it to be. But I’d be interested in seeing what the open market makes of this, if anything.

    Unlike other cheap domains, which are given away for pennies during year 1 only, this category is designed to be permanently cheap – yet not altogether free. Different from .TK, in other words. And different from past .XYZ promos. Conceivably, therefore, these domains might be used differently from other domains.

    Will that happen? Beats me. Anything or nothing could happen – spam; Chinese pump-and-dump; or something potentially much cooler involving cars, phones, cryptocurrency, IoT, whatever.

    Personally, I’m just going to watch from the sidelines. Found myself registering .XYZ for the first time in order to create a shortcut to our own .XYZ landing page at Epik: Go3D.xyz. Spent a buck on it.

      • Joseph Peterson says

        @Andrew,

        Some of their language could be interpreted that way:

        “now $0.99 per year, every year”

        However, that could also be interpreted as multi-year registrations / renewals placed now – as opposed to future renewals.

        I’m far from being .XYZ’s spokesman, but I think they can and ought to maintain that low pricing. Cheap is easier to do for a high-volume registry. Particularly with a section of the name space that would otherwise go largely unused.

  6. Michael Castello says

    There was a time when IPs were indexed by search engines. Maybe everyone has forgotten? Try this one; just change the number at the end.
    66.161.7.113 or 66.161.7.??, etc. With IPs, DNS is not needed. Who needs an extension? Domain names are going backwards to numbers again. Who knew! The world is going mad I tell ya, mad… 🙂

  7. Michael says

    While the Bitcoin analogy is problematic under security regulation, selling at $0.99 still makes sense. Deduct 50% margin for the retail registrar so that it may still cover CC fees one a single registration. Leaves $0.50 registry fee. XYZ will probably pay less than 20% of that the CNIC. Leaves >$0.40. less ICANN fees leaves >$0.15 of gross profit. If they get to 1% saturation of the 1.111B block, it return ca. $17m in gross profit annually. At 0.1% saturation still $1.7m. Daniel is the most visionary RO out there.

  8. Dave Tyrer says

    I can’t see why any end user would want one of these when there will be trillions of IPv4 numbers available for free as far as I know.

    Robots don’t need domains, IP numbers are all the same to them.

    I can’t see how anyone could expect to resell one of these until all one billion have been regged – otherwise end users would simply “hand reg” them.

    If that were to happen, it would be three times the volume of the existing internet after 25 years of evolution. A miracle.

    Most of the cloud companies already have their own strings.
    Microsoft has billions of domains like 123456789.microsoft.
    General Electric has billions like 123456789.gecompany.

    They have no need for .xyz.

    If domains for IOT somehow do take off, more registries will apply for strings in the next round (I don’t even remember if there is such a thing as .iot).

    If it ever appears that xyz registry gets anything like say 10 million registrations, there is nothing to stop anyone else like Donuts from offering the same package on their 300 strings. So Donuts could offer 300 billion domains at the same price.

    To me it’s absolutely impossible to find a reason to invest in this scheme, except maybe find a few individual pattern repeaters like 22446688.xyz or whatever.

    • Joseph Peterson says

      I tend to agree with you. Cheaper to buy an nTLD in the next round and operate it in exclusivity.

      Nevertheless, if a registry wants to permanently REDUCE prices on a large subset of its name space, I’m all in favor of that experiment.

      We all complain when prices go up. Let’s not complain when prices go down. Skepticism about new use cases is fine. But this is the first time I can remember seeing an nTLD registry introduce a LOWER pricing tier. Let it set a precedent!

  9. Andrea Paladini says

    Desperate marketing move … .xyz is worthless junk … the bubble will burst the same soon, just wait and see … 🙂

  10. Peter says

    And yet my regular keyword .xyz domains will be 800x more expensive to renew this year with the jump from .01 special to $8.00 regular renewal. #dropping

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