New pricing structure draws ire of some customers.
Tucows (NASDAQ:TCX), owner of the dominant reseller domain name platforms Enom and OpenSRS, is introducing new pricing on both of its platforms. The pricing is not uniform across the brands.
The pricing structure looks somewhat like an airline mileage club, requiring a minimum annual spend and number of new transactions in order to get the best pricing.
For example, the top Platinum Plus plan on Enom requires an annual domain spend of $100,000 and 1,000 new registrations or inbound transfers. That plan offers $9.00 .com domains and $12.00 .biz, .info, .net and .org domains.
The baseline Enom account will now pay $13.50 for .com domain names and $17.00 for .biz, .info, .net and .org.
Pricing for other TLDs at Enom hasn’t been adjusted yet but that will change in the future, the company stated on its site.
Despite being owned by the same company, OpenSRS has named its tiers differently and they come with slightly different prices.
Price changes like this are relatively easy for domain name investors — they can just move to another registrar. Many registrars offer .com domains for less than $9.00 to volume customers. I suspect many domain investors will leave Enom as a result of the price change.
But domain resellers are a bit more sticky. Moving to a new reseller platform is challenging and requires a technical investment. Plus, with both Enom and OpenSRS now owned by the same company, that really just leaves Endurance International Group’s ResellerClub as a big option. (GoDaddy also offers a reseller platform but it historically hasn’t been as flexible.) (See the comments for a list of other reseller registrars.)
ResellerClub has price tiers based solely on how much money is deposited, and it starts out very low. The baseline .com price is $9.99 and .coms are $8.89 with a $3,000 deposit.
I’m sure Tucows has done a careful calculation of how many customers it expects to lose from the price change and the resulting impact on its bottom line.
Here are some reactions on Twitter to the price change:
Bye bye @OpenSRS, @eNom and thus @Tucows . It was fun while it lasted; increasing all my pricing across the board is not something I can do to my customers. The move is going to be a pain, too. 🙁 End of an era. Sniff.
— Frank Michlick (@fmichlick) May 1, 2018
Looks like the airline model of miles flown + annual spend to reach a status tier has moved into the domain industry as new pricing tiers are rolled out.
Is it time to switch registrars?
— eckhaus (@eckhaus) May 1, 2018
In response to a request for comment, Tucows CEO Elliot Noss told Domain Name Wire:
There are two important elements. First, the Enom reseller pricing was, in many respects, quite inconsistent when it came to price and volume. It is never easy to get from that to something more consistent, which is important for fairness. It often depended upon who you knew.
Second, over the last few years, and particularly with the GDPR, we are incurring more and more costs. This is especially true in compliance as more and more of the world views domain names and domain registrars as the single neck to choke.
We want more transparency and more predictability and we want to reward the resellers who are most successful.
As for the price difference between Enom and Tucows, Noss said “Each was starting from a different place and we want to be sensitive to what each group of customers would encounter. Over time, and once we have moved to a single platform, you should expect pricing consistency.”
This story has been updated with a statement from Tucows CEO Elliot Noss.