CentralNic’s registry back-end business may have got a big boost by last week’s news that Google has adopted a .xyz domain for its new parent, but it is not yet the biggest back-end provider.
That honor still belongs to Rightside, which currently leads CentralNic by a few hundred thousand names, according to zone files.
When Google started using abc.xyz as the primary domain for its new company last Monday, it caused a sharp spike in .xyz’s daily zone file growth.
The volume-leading new gTLD’s zone had been netting about 3,000 domains per day over the previous week, but that number has risen to almost 8,000 on average since the Google announcement.
While undoubtedly good news for XYZ.com and CentralNic, the growth has not been enough to propel CentralNic into the top-spot just yet.
CentralNic said in a press release today that it currently has 1,444,210 domains, making it the “number one registry backend”.
But according to DI’s numbers, Rightside has at least 1,701,316 domains in new gTLDs running on its back-end.
The CentralNic press release, as well as an earlier piece on The Domains, both cite ntldstats.com as their source.
That site had been listing Donuts as the top new gTLD back-end provider for over a year, with CentralNic in second place.
The problem is that Donuts is not a back-end provider. Never has been.
The portfolio registry disclosed right from the start that it was using Rightside (then Demand Media).
A Donuts spokesperson confirmed to DI today that it still uses Rightside.
The company runs its 190 delegated new gTLDs on Rightside’s back-end. Rightside manages another 39 of its own on the same infrastructure.
Combined, these gTLDs make up 1,701,316 second-level domains, making it the largest back-end registry provider.
CentralNic’s revenue almost doubled in 2014, helped by the launch of new gTLDs.
The UK-based registry today reported annual operating profit of £497,000 ($759,000), down from £694,000 ($1.05 million) in 2013, on the back of revenue up 99% at £6.06 million ($9.25 million).
Billings– money taken but not yet recorded as revenue — was up a whopping 154% at £9.89 million ($15.1 million).
Part of the reason for the growth was the launch of new gTLDs last year.
CentralNic acts as the registry back-end for eight TLDs that launched last year, including runaway volume leader .xyz, which has about 880,000 domains in its zone file today.
Another big contributor was Internet.bs, the Bahamas-based registrar that CentralNic acquired for $7.5 million last year.
The registrar had about 400,000 legacy gTLD domains under management at the end of the year, according to DI’s records.
Both new gTLDs and Internet.bs started contributing to revenue in the second half of the year.
CentralNic also said that its new “enterprise” division, which sells premium domains and offers consulting and software, was a growth factor.
CEO Ben Crawford told the markets that the new gTLD opportunity has so far been “softer” than expected.
Only a small number of retailers received their accreditations from ICANN to sell domains under the new TLDs in 2014, and a lack of public awareness pending the launches of the “superbrand TLDs” such as .google, .apple and .sony, meant that the market for new TLDs in 2014 was softer than had been projected by ICANN and other industry experts. It was essentially limited to domain investors and other early adopters.
Opinion in split in the industry on how much reliance can be put on what Crawford calls “super-brands” to do the heavy lifting when it comes to public awareness of new gTLDs.
CentralNic today announced it has made $2.5 million by selling off some of its stash of premium domain names.
The sales appear to be of “non-core” names unrelated to its registry business that the company has been sitting on for a while, rather than names that it has reserved in its own subdomains and new gTLDs for which it acts as back-end.
The company did not disclose how many or which names it has sold, but the sales all seem to have happened in the last few months, since it first announced its intention to liquidate some of its premiums.
CentralNic said its portfolio comprises some 20,000 names.
The company also confirmed today that its financial results for the second half of the year will be in line with expectations.
Several new gTLD registries will release hundreds of thousands of currently blocked domain names — some of them quite nice-looking — next Wednesday.
It’s one of the first big batches of name collisions to be released to market.
The companies behind .xyz, .website, .press, .host, .ink, .wiki, .rest and .bar will release most of their blocked names at 1400 UTC on November 26. These registries all use CentralNic as their back-end.
The gTLD with the biggest “drop” is .host, with over 100,000 names. .wiki, .website and .xyz all have 10,000 to 20,000 releasing names apiece.
According to Radix business head Sandeep Ramchamdani, A smallish number — measured in the hundreds — of the .host, .press and .website names are on the company’s premium domain lists and will carry a higher price.
He gave the following sample of .website domains that will become available at the baseline, non-premium, registry fee:
analyze.website, anti.website, april.website, bookmark.website, challenge.website, classics.website, consumer.website, definitions.website, ginger.website, graffiti.website, inspired.website, jobportal.website, lenders.website, malibu.website, marvelous.website, ola.website, clients.website, commercial.website, comparison.website
Drop-catching services such as Pool.com are taking pre-orders on names set to be released.
Other registries have already released their name collisions domains.
I gather that .archi, .bio, .wien and .quebec have already unblocked their collisions this week.
Donuts tells us it has no current plan for its first drops. Rightside, which runs Donuts’ back-end, is reportedly planning to drop names in a couple dozen gTLDs on the same date in January.
As we reported earlier this week, millions of names are due to be released over the coming months, due to the expiration of the 90-day “controlled interruption” phase that ICANN forced all new gTLD registries to implement.
By definition, name collision names already have seen traffic in the past and may do so again.
CentralNic and Right Of The Dot have teamed up to offer a series of geographically themed registrar storefronts for new gTLDs.
Under a joint venture, the companies are launching sites such as london.domains, vegas.domains, tokyo.domains and nyc.domains.
ROTD, the new gTLD venture launched by Mike Berkens and Monte Cahn, acquired these premium domains from Donuts during the .domains Early Access Period.
The second level strings all match the third-party geo-gTLDs that will be offered via these sites. Another 12 will be launched before the end of the year, the companies said.
CentralNic, best known as a registry, will provide the back-end for the site, as part of its push into the registrar side of the market that kicked off with its $7.5 million acquisition of Internet.bs.