Rightside used its first quarter earnings call yesterday to address, albeit indirectly, some of the criticisms recently leveled at it by activist investors and competitors.
CEO Taryn Naidu revealed for the first time how the company sees the new gTLD market playing out in the longer term.
He said than in three to five years, Rightside expects annual revenue from its registry business to come it at $50 million to $75 million.
That’s a hell of a lot more than it makes today.
In the first quarter, registry revenue was $2.6 million, compared to $1.6 million a year ago. Annualized, that’s a shade over $10 million.
On the back of an envelope, Rightside seems to need roughly 50% growth per year over five years to hit the low end of its target.
Naidu told analysts that one factor built into this projection is that third-party registrars will start to sell just as many new gTLD domains as Rightside’s registrars do.
Currently, Rightside sees 15% to 20% new gTLD, but with others it’s 3% to 5%, he said.
Naidu said he expects margins to be 20% at the EBITDA level.
The revelation of these targets may go some way to address investor concerns that Rightside is putting too much effort into its new gTLD business at the expense of its cash-generating registrars.
Naidu last night also addressed concerns about eNom, which Cannell had called a “time capsule” due to its aging user experience.
He admitted that eNom is “encumbered by some older technology” but said it was being fixed.
“Later this quarter we will be rolling out the first phase of our development efforts, which include a dramatically revamped user interface, a new suite of software development tools and a new developer hub to help our partners learn, develop and test faster,” he said.
The registrar business brought in $44 million in the quarter, up from $41.9 million. Aftermarket revenue was $9.3 million compared to $7.3 million.
Overall, revenue was up 9% at $55.1 million, with a net loss of $5.1 million. That compared to income of $1.9 million a year ago.
Naidu also seemed to obliquely address the criticism that a lot of Rightside’s new gTLDs are shit — .democrat, .dance, .army, .navy, and .airforce have been singled out by Cannell and others — by talking about how the company doesn’t necessarily put the same amount of effort into marketing its whole stable.
Some gTLDs will be marketed more heavily later, he said, comparing it to a real estate owner holding on to parcels of land for later development.
Naidu also talked up Rightside’s prospects in China, where apparently .pub is doing quite well because registrants think it means “public” rather than “drinking establishment”.