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Donuts made about $750,000 from landrush so far

Kevin Murphy, February 4, 2014, 20:14:00 (UTC), Domain Registries

Donuts managed to sell well over $500,000 in new gTLD domain names over the first six days of its Early Access Program, according to our calculations.

Our estimate, which is somewhere between back-of-the-envelope and hard analysis, is based on the latest zone files for its first seven live gTLDs — .bike, .clothing, .guru, .ventures, .holdings, .plumbing and .singles.

The exact number I believe is somewhere closer to $750,000, but it’s actually quite difficult to pin down the exact value of domains sold to date due to the complexity of the Donuts pricing scheme.

Zone files show that as of last night Donuts had sold at least 3,650 names across all seven of its new gTLDs currently on the market.

That’s including sunrise sales and the first six days of the novel EAP, which saw buy-now prices decrease every day for a week, but not including its Domain Protected Marks List blocks.

My revenue estimates are for EAP only, ignoring sunrise.

Donuts’ EAP fee started off at $10,000 on January 30, then was reduced to $2,500, $950, $500 and $100 every day. It’s been at $100 for the last few days and will revert to baseline prices tomorrow at 1600 UTC.

So by figuring out the registration date you can figure out how much the name sold for, kinda.

Domain Name Wire managed to establish last week that the company sold six three domains at $10,000.

Based on a few hundred additional Whois look-ups, DI has found that the company sold at least 120 names during EAP at at least $500 each, at least 150 at at least $950, and at least 25 at at least $2,500.

That would bring the total haul for the first few days of EAP fees to about $300,000.

Add all this to roughly $200,000 worth of names that have appeared in the zone files since the fee dropped to $100, and we get to about $500,000 in total EAP fees, not including sunrise names.

Add in the baseline registry fees and you get to something like $550,000.

However, Donuts has also priced many attractive names at a “baseline” premium. That means when regular pricing commences tomorrow, premiums will still cost more than regular names in each TLD.

A registrant told us today that gun.guru will costs him about $400 a year to renew. That’s the baseline price. Judging by the date, he paid $950 in EAP fees and Go Daddy’s registrar markup too.

There’s no way to easily figure out what the premium pricing was after a domain has already been sold, which makes it difficult to calculate Donuts’ landrush windfall, but I believe it’s in the region of $750,000 so far, with a day yet to run.

It’s an estimate of the revenue from EAP’s first six days, only counting first-year fees.

It also requires the same caveats as usual: we’re using zone file data here, which does not present a full picture of the number of names sold.

If the pricing scheme seems confusing to you, you’re not alone.

There wasn’t a great deal of participation by registrars in the EAP, due to concerns about the high prices, implementation work, and complexity causing confusion among customers.

Several registrars seem to be treating tomorrow’s price drop as the “proper” general availability launch date for the seven gTLDs concerned.

Go Daddy, which has had new gTLDs in its storefront for the last couple months, seems to have got the majority of registrations, as you might expect. Almost a quarter of names appearing in zone files over two days last week were registered via its Domains By Proxy privacy service.

That said, its Super Bowl commercials on Sunday do not appear to have made a significant impact, focused as they were on branding Go Daddy rather than any TLD offering.

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Comments (15)

  1. I’d be very careful making any assumptions.

    In front of all, just barely a month ago, we all saw Mr. Stahura offer e.bet to Schwartz for nothing; and indeed, another domain to another guy, I forgot his name now. All these can be found on thedomaining.com, which I am boycotting.

    Therefore, there’s no way to know how these domain names are being “sold”, or dispensed; did anyone do a quid pro quo? Were there offers similar to the one made to Rick Schwartz (which he declined BTW)?

    It’s going to be a painstaking process to figure out what’s going on. But, don’t be blind-sighted.

  2. Andrew says:

    Those are pretty solid numbers. Any sense of a breakdown between the 7 TLDs?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      .guru is leading by a mile: over 1,600 names. Then .clothing, with fewer than 900. The other five have 120-300 each.

  3. Kassey says:

    It’s hard work, so thank you, Kevin.

  4. Ryan says:

    Can clothing sustain a registry with 2000 registers?

    And the other 5, say they get 2000 each?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      With 2,000 names, I expect you could break even — just about — if your average fee per name was high enough.

      But what makes you think they’ll settle at 2,000?

      I don’t think it’s Donuts’ game plan to have a live-or-die landrush. We’ll probably have a better picture in a couple of days after the aforementioned “proper” GA starts.

  5. Bob says:

    Ryan, it’s very early to be making conclusions from any numbers (especially as these TLDs haven’t even opened for regular business yet). We think it’s smarter to look at how a TLD has performed the first month, first quarter and then first year. And volume is only one metric that’s important.

    Bob Samuelson, Donuts

  6. 3 of the 6 day 1 EAP registrations found by Domain Name Wire actually are sunrise registrations. They where registered before 16h UTC, so can’t be day 1 EAP…

    Only a difference of 3 names, but at the EAP day 1 pricing, obviously a big difference in revenue for Donuts

    • Andrew says:

      Bart is correct. 3 of them appear to be sunrise, just “registered” on day one of EAP (probably before EAP kicked off). Of course, this calls into question if something was registered on day 3, was it actually registered in the morning and was then part of day 2?

      I suspect most of the first few days orders were placed well in advance and submitted as soon as the round opened, though.

      • Kevin Murphy says:

        Whois also has the UTC registration time, and I took that into account in my spreadsheets. Most were registered at 1600 on the nose, as you might imagine.

  7. Vladimir Shadrunov says:

    @Bob Samuelson, can you confirm how many registered domains are actually not in zone files? Say, a percentage of those that are in them.

  8. Phil Buckingham says:

    Kevin, Bob – is access to zone files public or private.

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