Auty believes base of .com/.net domains missed his Q3 forecast.
JPMorgan analyst Sterling Auty lowered his forecast for growth of the domain base at Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) in Q3. He lowered his estimate from 1.62 million net adds to just 1.27 million based on zone data from Verisign’s website.
In the same quarter last year, Verisign’s official tally was 1.99 million growth of .com/.net.
Starting this year, Verisign no longer provides a quarterly growth forecast. It only gives an annual forecast. These forecasts are easy to hit because it can pull levers to push registrations. So you can expect full year growth to be within Verisign’s forecast of 3.0% to 4.25% on 153.0 million, or 4.59 million to 6.51 million for the year. Through the first half of the year, growth was 3.1 million domains.
My general observation is that many registrars are offering cut-rate .com registration prices on first-year registrations starting late last year. Verisign offers rebates and promotions to registrars that reduces the cost to less than its standard $7.85 fee.
Auty noted that a shortfall in new registrations could impact GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) and Wix (NASDAQ: WIX).
GoDaddy has been selling some of its valuable domain inventory lately. This sometimes happens toward the end of the quarter and boosts the company’s numbers.
Shares in Verisign and Wix are down about 2% today. Shares in GoDaddy are down about 5% at publication.