Major acquisition shakes up domain name investor landscape.
GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) is acquiring the Uniregistry registrar and marketplace, Frank Schilling’s Name Administration domain name portfolio, and other associated assets for an undisclosed amount. [Update: it was less than $200 million.] It is not buying Uniregistry’s top level domain name business.
Uniregistry employees will stay on with the company, and Uniregistry offices in Grand Cayman and Manchester will continue to operate.
“We’re bringing in the products, the talent, and everything that made Uni what it is,” GoDaddy VP of Aftermarket Paul Nicks told Domain Name Wire.
“This is a big day for our industry,” Schilling added.
Schilling built a valuable portfolio of around 375,000 domain names starting at the turn of the century. When many people dismissed the value of domains after the dot.com bubble burst, Schilling saw an opportunity to pick up vast numbers of domains that others let expire.
That inventory will become part of GoDaddy’s portfolio of domains, which will now number about 1 million names.
Schilling gave a litany of reasons for the sale but he said it was not a forced sale due to his recent divorce.
“I thought it was a really fair purchase,” he said. “It makes sense. There’s a value to the portfolio, and then there’s the time value of money. I would absolutely, over a period of time, earn back the entirety and still have a very valuable asset at the end. But doing a present value discount and factoring in what I could do with that capital, it made sense to do this deal. At my age, crystallizing the value that we’ve created here and putting it to work in other ways makes sense.”
After building his large domain portfolio, Schilling turned his attention to building a registrar and marketplace to cater to domain name investors. Ultimately, it was going to take much more effort and capital to compete with GoDaddy, though.
“We’ve been able to pull off a lot with a very small team,” Schilling said. “It’s built to scale with a much greater userbase. If you bolt it onto Godaddy, merge it, all of the things that make it so great with all of the Godaddy platform behind it…what a combination.”
“You can go big or go home,” Schilling added. “And I’ve made a cognizant decision to go home. I’m going to focus on where I think I can add value.”
Schilling will now focus on the registry side of the business. In addition to owning top level domains such as .link and .tattoo, Schilling operates a registry platform and works with other registries.
Schilling has no plans to rebuild his domain name portfolio.
Nicks said that this is more than just an acquisition of domain names and domains under management.
“The [Uniregistry] registrar experience will become our domain investor experience,” he said. “Today, you’re toggling between [advanced and regular views]. I want a customer to be able to toggle right into that investor experience.”
The deal is expected to close in Q2.
Zak Muscovitch says
Congratulations to both Godaddy and Frank!
My guess sub 50m sale due to divorce. Gd is paying sub 50$ per name on approx 400k names. Lets see gd report later and find out.
You are incorrect marc33. GD is paying far more per name for 100k+ sized portfolios. Frank earned no less than $200/domain.
Any guesses to the amount? the greats who have built up their portfolios are getting older, selling and godaddy is waiting with a big bag of money it seems.
I have a hard time not thinking godaddy is going to make uniregistry (which i loved before their ‘domain perks’) worse..I never sold domains through uniregistry so i can’t comment there but im sure it will be an afternic world now.
Andrew Allemann says
I don’t know much about the value. We should find out more in a future SEC filing. It depends a lot on how much value GoDaddy put on the registrar/marketplace vs. the domain portfolio.
Frank looks pretty youthful, maybe he was just bored of lowballers.
Been there done that, domain rich, cash poor, time to buy a NHL team
Rolf Larsen says
A great deal for both parties. Congratulations!
Paul Kapschock says
Congrats and good luck to both companies!
My guess is $100MM for the sale, portfolio + registrar + brandsight.
Who has a guess for – when will CentralNic acquire the registry business?
crap crap crap crap. this is bad for consumers but i guess its the free market at work. margins on fresh registration is way too low so there was bound to be consolidation.
Mark Thorpe says
The GoDaddy monopoly just got a lot bigger and the individual domain investor got even smaller.
There is no competition left for GoDaddy now.
Game, set, match, domaining is dead.
HugeDomains is next
they are buying names like crazy and will soon sell out to GoDaddy
With the stock market booming, GoDaddy is smart to buy out big portfolios
Godaddy can’t afford to pay many millions for a 60% pigeon sh$t portfolio, they want quality, they can get quantity thru their expired stream.
I just hope I can keep paying 8.59 for my .com renewals at Uni.
Godaddy is $8.29 lol
Meh. Waste of money. Guess they have nothing better to spend it on.
When you charge 20% commission on every sale, you can afford to.
My guess they acquire DNW next
Victor Pitts says
Congrats Frank, Uniregistry team, and Godaddy.
Interesting. I recently read an article here(https://hostingchecker.com/research/the-most-crowded-ipv4-addresses-on-the-internet/) and Uni was mentioned on the 7th place with 1,370k domains pointing to their IP. Wondering what is happening to the other million that is not included within the GoDaddy deal.
Client domains most likely will leave for Epik, and Namesilo
Are you trolling for Epik? Seriously, most people wouldn’t go near the guy.
No, it’s a viable option if you could stop holding grudges and open your eyes Charlie Brown. It has a working platform that has functional checkout options. Stop being an angry old man.
They already were leaving for Epik in droves. Also Uniregistry has never turned a profit, ever. Used to work there, GD got the short end of the stick unless they got that portfolio super cheap.
Frank Schilling had such an amazing portfolio, and I don’t doubt it was an amazing deal for Godaddy, but sometimes we need to move on with our life (doesn’t matter if it’s reason x or y).
My family still remembers that famous rum cake (after so many years) and all I can say now is good luck with your future Frank, entrepreneurial and personal, you are one of a kind.
Well said !
Berkins, Schilling, maybe michael mann next?
With the exception of the hiccups of the new GTLDs, I thought Frank did a commendable job building uniregistry.
congrats to frank & GD!
Agree, the service is very good overall. He has done a great job building it up, and obviously a great job with his own portfolio.
Brad Arthur says
Aman and Frank are very smart dudes. I’m pretty sure they worked out a win/win. Congratulations to both men and their organizations. Namaste. Namaste
congrats to both sides…. are we having fun yet?
Mario Gonzalez says
I really loved the experience at Uni, I was one of the first to sign up. Still unclear as to what is going to happen. Uni as a registrar will be no more and all our domains will no be in GD?
Andrew Allemann says
It’s not 100% clear from my conversation with Paul about exactly how it will be integrated. They probably aren’t even sure yet. But Paul made it clear they weren’t just acquiring the registrar to transfer the domains to GoDaddy. They want to take the best part of Uniregistry and make it part of their experience.
Perhaps using uniregistry’s control panel software for domain investor customers? I really hope they don’t make uniregistry no more. I kept some of my names at godaddy and some at uniregistry to avoid having all names in one place. So much for that.
They are going to put in maintenance mode for some time and then sunset the platform.
Unless built on same platform GoDaddy and Uni , no chance they are going to keep a whole set of developers and engineers around to maintain another platform, especially just for low margin domain investors .
They want low prices , do not buy value added services and want great customer service.
Just does not make financial sense to keep it alive
Andrew Rosener says
This is a monumental deal in so many ways and while in my eyes we lose the greatest alternative to GoDaddy, we get a tremendous leap forward as an industry. This is one deal where I am certain that the sum of the parts are worth far more than the individual entities. #Bullish
My #1 takeaway from this deal is that GoDaddy, the largest global image of the domain industry there is, doubled down on domain investors and the domain investment market. That says a lot and I hope everyone is listening.
I think that the current investor or passive holding market can 10X or more in the next 5 years. Digital Assets are going to eat the physical world and domain names are the original digital asset. These are foundational assets for the greatest economy on the planet. Frank is a pioneer who planted a flag for a lot of us to follow. Eternally grateful for that. Congrats to everyone involved.
On the one hand, I am so sincerely happy for Frank to get a proper exit and finally take his winnings off the table. But on the other hand, it also feels like the end of an era. For me, Frank represents a dream. Something to strive for. To build an empire in our little enclave of the World on the back of his confidence in the strength and value of his domain portfolio.
Gonna pour a little liquor out…
Logan Flatt says
Well said, Drew.
I think when the numbers come up out the price for the portfolio will be lower than the $100million he was offered in 2004.
Whilst certain types of names are going up in value (some very strongly) domain portfolios are not.
Even if so he’s made a lot of money since 2004.
Yes, I think this portfolio has been making maybe $20million a year before costs. Just a statement that portfolios have not been going up in value.
People are replacing lost parking revenue with sales but the aftermarket pie has not expanded.
Don’t forget about the 7-10mm he room out of that portfolio each year for 16 years since
Very well said. Frank was someone I looked up to when i was starting out with domain names. I don’t think anyone could do it quite like him. Definitely an end of an era. I used to battle benfranklin all the time at snapnames before namejet existed.
Michael Anthony Castello says
My guess is Frank sold for between $200 to $500 million. He may not have had the big generics but he had just about every other good drop since 2000. That portfolio was the goldmine along with the client-base for registration services. That changes the game for GoDaddy with this acquisition. Mike Mann should be next.
Don’t hold you breath waiting for them to buy Mike Mann’s portfolio, he is a good guy and deserves every success but the portfolio it is not comparable at all.
Huge portfolios of newer names are likely to struggle with the upcoming price increases. You can’t replicate portfolios like Name Admin, Buydomains, Ult Search with recent registrations.
GoDaddy’s has a history buying large portfolios, here’s a benchmark of another high quality portfolio they bought few yrs back.
28.1M for 200K names.
JAMB Runz says
Congrat to godaddy team and Frank..
Alan Dodd says
Wowsy! Congrats to both on this win/win deal. It’s been getting tricker and tricker to manage domains in bulk at Godaddy. Hopefully this will fix these issues.
okoye philip says
Great news for the domain industry, congratulations to both parties….
If this sold for $200M that would be insulting. I mean they could have BIN firesaled their portfolio of $100M+ of names if he needed fast cash.
I think Godaddy was in need of a new platform, and afternic viable options, along with landing pages for afternic.
As stated above this goes into maintenance mode for many months, then they will gut it, and clean house. Most employees will probably bail before that.
I hope customer data is not used for spam.
Robert Hillard says
GD can not even set up a business email account ..good luck with that expansion
Dave Tyrer says
I signed up with Uniregistry at the very end of 2016.
Since then, in slightly more than three years, I have sold just over a quarter million dollars in domains on the Uni Market.
My heartfelt thanks go to Frank Schilling, the Uni development team, the brokerage, the accounting team, the transfer specialists, the support staff and the entire magnificent team. Thanks for making a material difference to my life.
I sincerely hope every member of this unique and incredible team has a great future ahead of them.
Frank is crystal clear that this isn’t a home run.
“You can go big or go home,” Schilling added. “And I’ve made a cognizant decision to go home”
The thing to remember is life happens. Sometimes it’s time to move on and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Godaddy has not acquired the domain portfolio, to manage Uniregistry.com has bought the domain portfolio of Frank and with the acquisition domain portfolio Frank receives Uniregistry.com/market.
This is the same when the German company acquired Moniker.com from Monte Cahn, its CEO and Founder, after this Moniker was transformed, it was not the same domain hijacked DNS changed for Adsense ads, missing domains, security flaws, lost domain transfers, an incredible Chaos, Lawyers impossible to act against them armored like a panzer, I had 70 domains and I could only save 4 that I still have.
My domain portfolio in Uniregistry will not be managed by Goddady, after the experience in Moniker I do not want anything else to happen to me I am writing to a consulting company and brokers, it is the best in these situations
After this acquisition of Godaddy, it is preferable to invest in shares of Godaddy.com, there is a future to make money, much more than in a parking domain.
Time to leave Uni, now that godaddy’s service model will hit it.