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.vegas beats all six new M+M gTLDs combined

Kevin Murphy, September 16, 2014, 08:42:17 (UTC), Domain Registries

Minds + Machines’ first day of general availability for its first six wholly owned new gTLDs has produced some very disappointing numbers.

The company managed to net just 1,694 new domains across .country, .cooking, .vodka, .rodeo, .horse and .fishing combined yesterday, according to this morning’s zone files.

It has fewer than 2,000 names across all six zones.

Meanwhile, .vegas, which also went to GA yesterday, managed to net 2,933 new domains, ending the day at 3,903.

Here’s a table of M+M’s performance over its first seven or eight hours of GA, which began at 1600 UTC yesterday.

Net GainTotal Domains
.vodka421469
.cooking378439
.fishing350388
.horse287327
.country182220
.rodeo76107
TOTAL16941950

Assuming the zone files are fresh, it’s a poor first day for the company whichever way you look at it, especially given that M+M has been accepting pre-registrations in its TLDs since November 2013.

As well as being vertically integrated, M+M has about 80 third-party registrars on board to sell its names, including the largest.

Afilias’ .organic, which also went to GA yesterday, shows just one new registration today.

However, this can be attributed to the fact that registrants need to submit credentials for manual verification before their new domains are allowed to go live in the zone file.

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Comments (17)

  1. Gaz says:

    I can’t see these being the correct numbers. I had a look at the prices at one point and found many of the obvious domains were taken. I can’t have been that unlucky!

    Considering it is a publicly traded company, you would have thought they’d have tried to get as many into the zone files as possible from day 1.

    You can see that Minds and Machines Registrar Limited doesn’t have any of these domains listed against them – which is where a lot of the pre-registrations will have taken place, so they’ve not even uploaded their own yet!

  2. Snoopy says:

    Could be a good short selling opportunity for minds + machines.

  3. “Die on the vine”
    That’s what it looks like folks.
    Dead.Horse
    You could see this coming a YEAR away.
    And their numbers go DOWN from here.
    That was their BIG day.
    Consolidation is coming sooner than I even thought.

  4. D Weill says:

    For those of us who actually follow the company these figures are not a surprise. As shareholders our focus is actually on the profitability of the company not on gross numbers.

    The share is easy to borrow and if you would like to go short that is of course possible. That is how markets are made – buyers and sellers. I personally am invested in MMX and I am quite confident about the company’s future and its actual results.

    Perhaps you would like to take the other side of this trade?

  5. Donald says:

    Rick Swhartz just dropped one at the thought of actually taking up dweills challenge!!

  6. Snoopy says:

    D Weill,

    What total number of registrations would you have had to have seen today before you’d conclude that the results were bad? If they had 1000 reges total would that be poor?

  7. BeekeeperDan says:

    I personally NEVER give CREDENCE to the OPINIONS of people who THINK that it’s clever to use CAPS LOCK to reinforce a POINT. Saying it louder does not make it any more true or credible. How will their numbers ‘go DOWN from here’ are you expecting them to sell a negative number of domains next week?

  8. Funny that people talk about “shorting” MMX (a thinly traded stock, where insiders hold a very big large fraction of the shares; shorting is unwise in that scenario).

    Regardless, the shares are down 10% today, LOL! I predict single digits soon.

  9. First of all, congratulations to the .vegas guys. It’s a great TLD and it will do very well. I’m sure this is just the beginning for them.

    Despite this article’s dismissive headline, Minds + Machines is not disappointed in our Day One numbers for the six TLDs we released yesterday — not to mention the huge success of .london, which came out last week. We’ve done very very well with our premium names, and in these six new TLDs we’re realizing a high per-domain value — over 17,000 CEY (.com equivalent years, see http://www.circleid.com/posts/20140825_a_new_way_to_value_registry_business/) — equivalent to very large boatload of .giveaway names.

    The fact is that these TLDs are squarely targeted at vertical markets, where awareness is not high — yet. Our task as a registry is to increase that awareness, and we’re confident that we will.

    We’re just not very interested in creating .com clones. We’re also not interested in counting the number of names we can move at commodity pricing. That’s a mug’s game. We’re interested in creating meaning, utility, and lasting value in the communities that these domains represent, and that corresponds to shareholder value. That’s not going to happen instantly, and registration numbers, without context and without any reference to actual value, are a very poor metric. The fact that our premium names are doing so well tells us that we’re on the right track.

    We’ve got plenty of work to do, but no worries here.

    Antony

    • Josh says:

      If the numbers are so shitty, gotta believe M+M will pull the advertising on domainincite. They’ve been advertising cooking rodeo etc for months.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I’m still intrigued by the CEY idea, but I don’t think it would achieve everything you suggest it would, and I think it would be very difficult to implement.

      The main difficulty is that calculating CEY is based entirely on knowing the wholesale annual fee asked by the registry for each domain name sold.

      Despite what you said in your CircleID post, that number is *not* widely known for most gTLDs. It’s certainly not routinely public data. Nor is it static.

      Registries do not publish this data point publicly – to the best of my knowledge M+M does not do so — and in many cases registrars and registries are bound by their RRA not to disclose it at all.

      Premium wholesale prices — which vary massively within TLDs as well as between TLDs — are also not usually publicly disclosed in any structured, machine-readable manner.

      Sure, I and others tracking these things can work our contacts or mess around on registrar web sites for days on end to get a reasonably good idea what fees many registries are charging.

      But registries are able under the new RA to increase or decrease their prices without the same kind of public disclosures we’re accustomed to in .com/net/biz etc. A world of thousands of gTLDs, with varying business models, constantly changing their fees, would be a bit of a nightmare to track accurately.

      It would be extremely tough to come up with a CEY metric that would be reliable and consistent across a large number of TLDs over a long space of time.

      Even if it were doable, I wonder how useful it would be.

      Sure, CEY would be good for measuring the relative financial health of registries — particularly those that, unlike M+M, do not publish their financials two or four times a year — but would it be a good yardstick for “demand” or “popularity” or “use”?

      If you sell ice.vodka to Smirnoff for $100,000 tomorrow does that necessarily equate to the same level of “demand” reflected by 12,738 .com sales?

      Reasonable people could, I think, disagree. In the first instance the registry had to convince one marketing guy to get the requisite sign-offs for the purchase. In the second, 12,738 individuals had to have the impetus to go to Go Daddy, enter their credit card details and activate their domains. And maybe $7.85 makes a bigger dent in the wallet of a registrant in India than $100k would be to Smirnoff?

      And would it make a difference if ice.vodka was sold for the same price to a domainer, bent on parking the name for a few years, instead of Smirnoff, which intended to use it?

      What about .luxury, with its $400 wholesale fee? If the registry sold the premium vodka.luxury for $800, would it be fair to count that as equivalent of an extra 50 .coms being sold, when it’s only really the price of a second .luxury registration?

      I’m not completely ruling out implementing the CEY idea – as I say, I’m intrigued and I’m hearing similar calls from others – but I don’t think it is necessarily a killer metric for the overall non-financial “valuation” of a gTLD.

      Ultimately, I think it depends on what you want to infer from your metrics.

      I think zone file counts on GA day are a very good way to gauge domainer demand for a given gTLD.

      One could argue (though I’m not sure I would) that domainer demand is a vicarious way of measuring end user demand, if you assume that domainers have a knack of sniffing out resale opportunities.

      If you’re looking to measure the financial health of a registry business, maybe something like CYE would be the way to go.

      Zone files show that .club now has slightly more domains than .xxx, but ICM charges 7x more for its domains than .CLUB. Clearly, you don’t look at the zones alone to see which registry has the better revenue stream. That would make no sense at all.

      If you’re looking to measure development maybe the best thing to do would be to spider every name in the gTLD and see what HTTP responses you get back.

      If you’re looking to measure popularity among internet users, maybe data sources like Alexa would be useful.

      Different metrics are useful depending on what you’re trying to measure.

      Anyway, to summarize, I like the CEY idea (though I have a feeling CYE might be a better acronym) but I don’t think it’s necessarily the killer metric for new gTLD performance. And, even if it could be easily implemented, I don’t think it would remove the usefulness of zone file counts.

    • Chris Hughes says:

      CEY over-intellectualises the issue.

      Average revenue per domain would more than suffice.

      It prevents the introduction of an arbitrary and variable benchmark in the .com price and also prevents the need to account for the ‘true’ .com benchmark ; the average .com price including aftermarket sales. After all, it is this value leakage that premium pricing is seeking to address.

      All pretty academic though as none of the levels of information discussed would be released by private or publicly owned registries, either through choice or statutory limitation.

    • Jason D says:

      I agree with Chris Hughes, the average rate per year for each domain is all that is required. CEY just gives an over inflated result, if multiple years are acquired initially.

      Taking the premiumname.london in the example given on CircleID on 25th Aug. CEY of 38 is clearly incorrect as it covers 2 years, yet $7.85 is for 1 year. $150 PA/$7.85 = 19x CEY PA which is accurate and meaningful.

    • Mark says:

      17,000 CEY at $7.85 a pop, that’s $133,450 over 6 TLDs after the first day of GA. Now substract the $185,000*6 = $1,110,000 application fees plus the marketing, and you have a long way to go to break even

  10. Snoopy says:

    The other issues with any of the “registry formulated statistics” is that you can’t trust their numbers or methods, everything is a sales pitch to get you to register more.

    eg Minds + Machines/.london claimed 2/3 of the way through the sunrise that they were looking at 50,000 applied for names. A month later the extension is released with 24,000 land rush names. Not even half.

    “It is anticipated that more than 50,000 applications for Dot London domain names will be made by the end of the priority period *. Demand is expected to be even higher when Dot London domains go on general sale September 9.”

    Unsurprisingly, despite the numbers being less than half the claim a month before and they still tell us it is a “huge success”.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Remember that “applications” does not mean “registered domains”.

      .london could have had 50,000 applications, but if a lot of them were for the same domains the actual number of registered names would be lower.

  11. D Weill says:

    What matters frankly to me as a shareholder is actual financial results – in MMX’s case I believe we will have the interims reported shortly and by my estimates they will be quite positive and very impressive.

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