GoDaddy’s domain sales topped $1 billion for the first time last year, CEO Blake Irving told analysts this week.
The milestone was revealed as the registrar reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 earnings late Wednesday.
In the fourth quarter, the company had a net loss of $800,000, compared to a year-ago loss of $500,000, on revenue that was up 14.2% at $485.9 million.
For the year, its loss was $21.9 million, compared to $120.4 million in 2015, on revenue that was up 15% at $1.85 billion.
GoDaddy also breaks out its revenue by segment, showing that domains revenue was up 11.2% at $242.5 million for the fourth quarter and up 11% at $927.8 million for the year.
Domain “bookings” — a somewhat informal measure that gives an indication of cash sales from domain names (as opposed to revenue under GAAP accounting) — surpassed $1 billion for the first time, Irving said.
Tucows yesterday reported an 11% increase in revenue for 2016, driven partly by an acquisition, but warned that its more recent acquisition, eNom, may be shrinking.
The company reported revenue for 2016 of $189.8 million, up from $171 million in 2015. Net income was up 41% at $16 million.
For the fourth quarter, revenue was up 9% year-on-year at $48.8 million. Net income was down 9% at $2.8 million.
In a conference call, executives linked some of the growth to the April 2016 acquisition of Melbourne IT’s reseller business, which added 1.6 million domains to Tucows’ DUM.
While Tucows also operates its Ting mobile phone service, the majority of its revenue still comes from domains and related services.
In the fourth quarter, revenue was $30 million for this segment. Of that, $23.1 million came from domains sold via its wholesale network and $3.8 million came from Hover, its retail channel.
CEO Elliot Noss noted that the acquisition of the eNom wholesale registrar business from Rightside last month made Tucows easily the second-largest registrar after GoDaddy, but made eNom sound like a neglected business.
“The eNom business is a flat, potentially even slightly negative-growth business in terms of gross margin dollars,” he told analysts.
eNom’s channel skews more towards European and North American web hosting companies, which are a growth challenge, he said. He added:
We acquired a mature retail business and associated customers which for the past few years has been more about maintaining and servicing eNom’s existing customers as opposed to growth. It has not been actively promoted and as a result has a flat to declining trajectory. It’s something we don’t intend to change in the short-term, but as we look under the hood and get a better sense of the platform as we will with all of the operations, the long-term plan might be different.
The acquisition was “overwhelmingly about generating scale and realizing cost efficiencies”, Noss said.
Tucows paid $83.5 million for eNom, which has about $155 million in annual revenue and is expected to generate about $20 million in EBITDA per year after efficiencies are realized.
GoDaddy said its Super Bowl commercial, which aired yesterday, resulted in its “best ever” Sunday for new customers.
The company said in a press release it had seen its “its best-ever Sunday for attracting new customers in the books”.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it sold more domains than its previous Super Bowl efforts, nor that it made more money.
It seems the web site builder service GoCentral, which is currently offered with a free trial period, accounted for “about half” of these new customers.
GoCentral was the subject of the ad, in which the abstract concept of “The Internet” is embodied as an irritating hipster. It can be viewed here:
There were slightly fewer complaints about domain name registrars in 2016, compared to 2015, according to newly published ICANN data, but complaints still run into the tens of thousands.
There were 43,156 complaints about registrars to ICANN Compliance in 2016, compared to 45,926 in 2015, according to the data (pdf). That’s a dip of about 6%.
The overall volume of complaints, and the dip, can be attributed to Whois.
About three quarters of the complaints directed at registrars in 2016 were for Whois inaccuracy — 32,292 complaints in total, down from 34,740 in 2015.
The number of complaints about gTLD registries was pretty much flat at 2,230, despite hundreds of new gTLDs being delegated during the year.
The vast majority of those gTLDs were dot-brands, however, with nowhere near the same kind of potential for abuse as generally available gTLDs.
The biggest cause for complaint against registries, representing about half the total, was the Zone File Access program. I’ve filed a few of these myself, against dot-brands that decide the ZFA policy doesn’t apply to them.
Formal, published breach notices were also down on the year, with 25 breaches, four suspensions and four terminations, compared to 32 breaches, six suspensions and eight terminations in 2015.
That’s the second consecutive year the number of breach notices was down.
GoDaddy today said that its revenue for 2016 topped $1.8 billion.
In a preliminary disclosure to the markets ahead of its formal February 15 earnings announcement, the registrar said that annual revenue for 2016 is expected to come in at $1.84 billion.
That compares to $1.6 billion in 2015.
Its fourth-quarter revenue is expected to be $486 million, up from $425 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
GoDaddy said that at the end of the year it had $573 million in cash and equivalents and just over a $1 billion in long-term debt.