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Schilling expects GoDaddy to return after dumping Uniregistry gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 14, 2017, 17:18:03 (UTC), Domain Registries

Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling has expressed his “surprise” that GoDaddy has decided to stop selling his company’s gTLDs, but said he expects the registrar to return in future.

GoDaddy’s decision to stop new registrations and inbound transfers for Uniregistry’s portfolio of gTLDs came after the registry revealed price increases for 16 strings that ranged from nominal to over 3,000%.

The registrar told Domain Name Wire yesterday that Uniregistry’s move presented “an extremely poor customer experience” and “does not reflect well on the domain name industry”.

Registrars are of course the customer-facing end of the domain name industry, and the burden of explaining renewal price increases of 5x falls on their shoulders.

But Schilling seems to expect the ban to be temporary.

“We are extremely surprised by GoDaddy’s reaction but are pleased that our extensions are available at many other registrars who support our approach. We remain ready to support GoDaddy when they decide on a path which works for their customers,” he told DI today.

“We expect them to return,” he added.

It’s a plausible prediction. GoDaddy’s statement to DNW said Uniregistry had been cut off “until we can assess the impact on our current and potential customers”, which suggests it’s not necessarily permanent.

GoDaddy is Uniregistry’s first or second-largest registrar in most of the affected gTLDs.

But because the gTLDs in question have so few domains in them, the number of GoDaddy-sponsored domains is typically under 1,000 per gTLD.

Even in the much larger zones of .click and .link (which are receiving small price increases and will still wholesale for under $10), GoDaddy’s exposure is just a few thousand domains and it’s nowhere near the market leader.

I wonder how much of GoDaddy’s decision to drop Uniregistry has to do with the reaction from domain investors.

Ever since DI broke the news of the price increases a week ago, there’s been a stream of angry domainer blog and forum posts, condemning Schilling and Uniregistry for the decision and using the move as a stick to batter the whole new gTLD program.

For registrars, it doesn’t necessarily strike me a terrible deal.

While they will have to deal with customer fallout, over the longer term higher wholesale prices means bigger margins.

Registrars are already adding about a hundred bucks to the $300 cost of a .game domain, and the price increase from $10 to $300 of the Spanish equivalent, .juegos, likely means similar margins there too.

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Comments (29)

  1. While GoDaddy might not be the market leader by new gTLDs registration volume (i.e. number of domains), it may very well be that they’re on top when considering overall new gTLDs registration REVENUES, given that they didn’t participate in many of the promos at less than $1 that other registrars did.

    At DomainGang, Theo calculated that GoDaddy represented just 2.7% of Punyregistry’s total registrations (for the TLDs with price increases), see:

    http://domaingang.com/domain-news/numbers-what-percentage-of-uniregistry-gtlds-are-godaddy-customers/

    However, when considering revenue, it could be far more significant.

    • Acro says:

      Thanks, George. I did the best math I could 🙂

      Not familiar with GoDaddy’s inner agreements, or their revenue stream up-pricing (as they normally do) for end users that aren’t aware of domainer discounts.

      If it’s speculation time, it’s valid to ponder whether GoDaddy has other motives to proceed with such a decision unilaterally, and in particular without informing Uniregistry first.

  2. It’s the uncertainty if they will raise prices again in the future. I expect GD to drop more extensions and other registrars will too.

    Did NameCheap bring back support for .XYZ domains? No.

  3. Acro says:

    The math shows GoDaddy’s “exposure” to Uniregistry gTLDs is very minimal, even when taking into account the affected (priced up) gTDLs:

    http://domaingang.com/domain-news/numbers-what-percentage-of-uniregistry-gtlds-are-godaddy-customers/

    For these gTLDs, GoDaddy adds up to 2.76% of Uniregistry domain registrations.

  4. Acro: As I pointed out in a comment submitted earlier (that hasn’t shown up yet), it’s likely that GoDaddy represents a more significant fraction of REVENUES (as opposed to just registration volume), given they weren’t doing all the promos for less than $1 that other registrars were/are doing.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      You comment got put in the spam folder by Akismet. I’ve unflagged it. If it happens again let me know via a side channel, as I almost never check the spam folder for false positives.

  5. R P says:

    Expectations are not always correct.

    Godaddy is a big dog and Uniregistry a flea.

    A 3,000% unexpected rate hike when owner was on roadshow past few years promoting new Gs as usurping .com to Gdaddy customers.

    All depends upon who you want to do business with I reckon.

  6. Rev says:

    Acro your math is very heavy handed you need to remove ALP names promo, and all North Sound Names. The names that weigh in your calculation are domainer promo reg’s.

    Godaddy’s active channel is real small business type users that the gtlds need to innovate towards them.

    Taking .link and .click out godaddy holds over 13K registrations, those are quality customers.

    Not a dozen customers who owns hundreds, if not thousands of promo names, which will be dropped.

    • Acro says:

      Rev – I did the math that relates GoDaddy to Uniregistry. Cherry-picking gTLDs would skew the math. I could have included the non-hiked gTLDs but since GoDaddy blocks these too, it seems that it’s a policy against Uniregistry, not against price hikes.

      I pointed out the relation of gTLD to price hike already (link/click have the lowest.)

      I don’t know how you can assess the quality of GoDaddy customers from the gTLD registration numbers – only GoDaddy knows. Numbers are impersonal.

  7. Aaron Strong says:

    Based on recent developments, some people should stop predicting the future, such as the headline states….

    • Rev says:

      Agreed, I don’t think Godaddy even knows what it will do going forward. The reason they pulled all of Uniregistry strings was because they can’t take the chance, they could raise the price 10,000% next month.

      Better they work backwards, and work with the registrants they have, and limit their exposure to blowback, even though others thing end users will pay anything for a bunch of non tangible binary characters.

      • R P says:

        Seems like there are now far wider implications for new Gs than just Uniregistry. Don’t think Uniregistry is very important to them.

        Customer service head needs to come up with approved response to affected customers. Execs are digesting implications and formulating overall new G strategy. Imo.

        This is a game of chess. Frank owns 150K .coms and therefore hedged. Many new G string operators are not.

  8. MM says:

    I can see GoDaddy going back to all registries and implement price increase cap contracts. Donuts and others may be on the hook here.

    • Snoopy says:

      Highly likely Godaddy would push for something like that. Will registries sign though? Most ntlds are going to need large price increases to become profitable, they maybe be better of just winging it and saying no.

      • Larry says:

        Agree MM.

        What Frank and others should have done was start at $300 and worked his way back down. That way the registrars and the customers don’t get pissed off as hell.

        As a clueless end-user if I had a domain at GoDaddy and then the price went up $300 from $10 I would never do business with GoDaddy again, even though it’s not their fault. I would not care what the explanation was why the price went up because they are the one that sold me the domain.

        It’s so patently unfair to end-users and ICANN, being the scumbags they are, never put price any of these extensions, or even legacy extensions that matter.

        Shame on ICANN
        Shame on Frank
        Shame on Uniregistry

        Everyone knew well in advance that these things would never sell and now look where we are, in a sh*t hole.

        I put 90% of the blame on ICANN for allowing this kind of system to exist. Could ICANN be any worse than organization?

  9. kd says:

    As reported last week by many different people, this is one of the death blows to nTLDs. It won’t be a swift kill by any means. It will likely take a decade and slowly TLDs will pop and fizzle out. The writing is on the wall and such a move by Uni shows how foolish one would be to build a business on a fundamentally questionable business model.

    • Acro says:

      Who said so, Nostradamus? 🙂

      ICANN let the cat out of the bag 3 years ago, and it’s never going back in. Fact.

      I understand the time is ripe for some to spit out venom, but there is no “I told you so” moment here.

      A single registry’s decision on a handful of unpopular gTLDs does not dictate the value or potential of the gTLD program; in fact, this is the best thing that can happen, a raw awakening, that money for Registries isn’t in domain investors.

      • It’s not with end users or developers either. 🙂

      • Sean says:

        ICANN let .mobi, .biz, .aero, .travel, .info out of the bag over a decade ago and they’re not going back. Fact.

        Too fuc*in’ funny, Acro. None of those extensions mean a damn thing today and none of the new TLD’s will mean a damn thing tomorrow.

        I never liked you Acro, but I do know you’re smart, and would expect more from your brain than that.

        • Acro says:

          “I never liked you Acro” – Oh, my “fan” base showed up. 🙂

          I hear Drew Rosener is starting up a domain blog troll list, make sure you sign up.

          Educate yourself, or at least, if you stick to what you know, don’t disparage others that know better.

  10. John says:

    The “money grab” model has doomed the new gTLDs barring any real change. .Com is still laughing…

  11. Hello Kevin,

    Why have you broadcast that Go-Daddy will return for more bad business with Uniregistry? Has there been an announcement by Go-Daddy? or is this wishful thinking? JAS 3/14/17

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master http://www.UseBiz.com)

  12. Mark Thorpe says:

    If GoDaddy is smart and they are IMO, then they should not reverse their decision.

  13. dan b says:

    Anyone stating new GTLDs are “doomed” is delusional, protecting their 1000+ .com legacy business or a paid commentator. Anonymous blog trolls lie. Numbers do not. There are 25 mil names registered today. in 10 years there will be 100 million. These same sorts of doomsday remarks got posted up when there were 1 mil names in new gold

  14. dan b says:

    Anyone stating new GTLDs are “doomed” is delusional, protecting their 1000+ .com legacy business or a paid commentator. Anonymous blog trolls lie. Numbers do not. There are 25 mil names registered today. in 10 years there will be 100 million. These same sorts of doomsday remarks got posted up when there were 1 mil names in new gold

  15. Andrew says:

    I don’t think GoDaddy’s move has anything to do with domainer gripes. Domainers are easy to explain the price increase to: Hey, blame Frank. It’s the end users that registered domains at GoDaddy and built websites on them that will be hard to explain this to.

    • Hello Andrew,
      Youre comment = ” It’s the end users that registered domains at GoDaddy and built websites on them that will be hard to explain this to.”
      Go-Daddys injection of new TLDs into The S.E.M. Platform will eventually cause disaster for Go-daddy. To count on the S.E.M. Platform for strategically gaining any upper hand is totally counter-intuitive. Jas 3/15/17

      Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master http://www.UseBiz.com)

  16. Registrar says:

    It’s also possible GD may apply this decision to HEG brands too if/when they complete.

    So this could have bigger impacts on Uniregistry in europe in the future if they do stick to it.

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