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GoDaddy kicks out neo-Nazi site after dead protester post

Kevin Murphy, August 14, 2017, Domain Registrars

GoDaddy has given neo-Nazi web site The Daily Stormer a day to GTFO after it posted an article viciously attacking the victim of racially motivated violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In multiple tweets, the company said this morning that it had given the site’s owners 24 hours to move to a new registrar.

The tweets came in response to those who questioned why GoDaddy continued to host the site in light of an article posted about Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting white nationalists at a rally on Saturday.

A man has been arrested and charged with her murder, after allegedly driving his car into a crowd, injuring 19 others.

The article in question was a horribly vicious, cartoonishly misogynistic rant, by site founder Andrew Anglin, entitled “Heather Heyer: Woman Killed in Road Rage Incident was a Fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut”.

GoDaddy did not specify which terms of service the Stormer had breached, but its terms do include a prohibition against promoting violence.

The Stormer web site has a disclaimer on it stating it is “opposed to violence” and that it will ban any commentators who promote violence.

Within hours of GoDaddy’s tweets, a post appeared on the site claiming to have been written by notorious hacking collective Anonynous, which claimed the site was now under its control.

The post said that the site would be taken down within 24 hours and that quantities of material on the Stormer and Anglin had been obtained.

At this time it is not clear whether the site has really been hacked or is a hoax carried out by the Stormer itself, perhaps designed to make light of upcoming downtime.

The Daily Stormer’s domain has been hosted with GoDaddy since its launch in 2013.

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Tucows revenue rockets after Enom buy

Kevin Murphy, August 10, 2017, Domain Registrars

Tucows saw its revenue from domain names more than double in the second quarter, following the acquisition of rival Enom.

The company this week reported domain services revenue for the three months ending June 30 of $62.8 million, compared to $28.4 million a year ago.

That was part of overall growth of 78%, with revenue rising from $47.2 million in 2016 to $84.2 million this year.

Net income for the quarter was up 29% at $5.2 million.

Enom, which Tucows bought from Rightside for $76.7 million earlier this year, now accounts for a little under half of Tucows’ wholesale domains business, the larger portion going through its OpenSRS channel.

Sales from Tucows’ premium portfolio rose to $968,000 from $885,000 a year ago.

Its retail business, Hover, did $7.6 million of revenue, up from $3.6 million.

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GoDaddy domains business grows 15% in Q2

Kevin Murphy, August 10, 2017, Domain Registrars

GoDaddy saw its revenue from domain name sales increase by almost 15% in the second quarter, the company announced this week.

Its domains revenue was $263.3 million, up 14.6% on the same quarter last year.

That was part of an overall growth trend at the company, which saw revenue for the quarter up 22.3% at $557.8 million.

Revenue growth would have been a point higher but for currency fluctuations. GoDaddy now does about a third of its business outside its native US, helped a deal by its acquisition of Host Europe Group, which closed at the start of the quarter.

Net income for the period was $18.1 million, reversing a loss of $11.1 million a year ago.

Domains account for about 47% of overall revenue at the company.

GoDaddy said it had 17 million customers at the end of the quarter, June 30, adding about a million organically compared to a year earlier and 1.6 million from the HEG acquisition.

At the end of the quarter, the company had $591.2 million in cash and equivalents and debt of $3 billion.

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Gay.com, “worth $7 million”, donated to gay blog

Kevin Murphy, August 7, 2017, Domain Sales

The domain name gay.com has reportedly been donated for free to a gay rights group despite claims it is worth $6.9 million.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center said late last week that it is to take ownership of the domain, which will direct visitors to a recently launched blog.

The Center says it is the world’s largest provider of services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The donation comes from VS Media, which acquired the domain last year and seems to run it as a community hub slash dating site. It runs an adult webcam site called Flirt4Free.

Gay.com apparently gets 200,000 visits per month.

According to the Center, gay.com will shortly begin pointing to a blog currently published at VanguardNow.org.

Chief marketing officer Jim Key said in a press release:

We’ve only just begun to think about future possibilities for the domain. But for now, the traffic from Gay.com to our new blog will help even more people learn how we’re building a world where LGBT people thrive as healthy, equal, and complete members of society.

The company decided to give the domain away to a worthy cause and invited five major gay charities to make proposals, the Center said.

The $6.9 million valuation comes from a VS Media appraisal, but does not seem to me like a hugely implausible number.

Whois records do not show a change of ownership recently, but the domain has been using a privacy service for some time so changes may not be obvious.

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Grumpy campaign claims victory after auDA U-turns

Kevin Murphy, August 7, 2017, Domain Registries

Australian ccTLD administrator auDA has scrapped two unpopular policies following the ouster of its chairman last week, allowing campaigning domainers to claim victory.

auDA said it has done away with its member code of conduct and has reinstated its policy of publishing its board meetings’ minutes.

These were two of the key demands of Grumpy.com.au, a member-driven campaign orchestrated by domainer-blogger Ned O’Meara.

Grumpy had called for the unilaterally imposed code of conduct to be replaced by one created in consultation with members, and that’s what auDA is now promising.

auDA said:

A membership consultation process on a new Code of Conduct will be held, and a revised Code will be submitted to the 2017 AGM. A Code of Conduct for Board members will be developed as part of the next phase of governance work and members will have the opportunity to provide input prior to any final decisions.

The code banned members, under pain of losing their memberships, from harassing or abusing staff. But it also banned them from bad-mouthing the registry in public or via the media — effectively gagging criticism.

auDA also said it will reinstate the practice of publishing minutes. It had recently agreed to restore previously published minutes, but it appears than meetings in future will also be publicly minuted.

Reversing these two policies were two of four demands the Grumpy campaign had made.

Another, calling for the head of chairman Stuart Benjamin, was rendered moot when Benjamin, apparently fearing that he could not win a simply majority of votes, quit just a few days before a member vote was due to take place.

The fourth, which called for auDA to scrap its plan to build and operate an in-house registry infrastructure, also appears to be moot. The company now seems to be talking about outsourcing to a third-party back-end provider.

auDA had refused, citing legal reasons, to include anything but the vote of confidence in the chair on its agenda for last week’s special members meeting.

O’Meara, in a blog post Friday, welcomed the U-turns. He wrote:

Before a group of members ever took this massive step of calling a special meeting, we pleaded with auDA to sort these issues out. We were ignored; then rebuffed.

And here we are today – with every single resolution now resolved (hopefully) in the members favour.

That’s what you call a strategy that backfired spectacularly on auDA.

auDA also said that it has commenced the process of seeking out a new independent director/chair.

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