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.
Accent Media, one of four applicants for .tickets, has won the new gTLD at auction after receiving a $1.62 million investment from CentralNic.
As part of the deal, Accent has dumped Afilias as its back-end provider and will switch to CentralNic instead.
Competing applicants Donuts, Famous Four Media, Shubert Internet and Tickets TLD are now expected to pull their applications, though none appear to have had their withdrawals accepted by ICANN yet.
It’s not clear how much .tickets sold for.
CentralNic acquired a 12% stake in Accent in exchange for its investment. Both companies are based in the UK.
The deal is believed to be unrelated to the $1.5 million investment in a gTLD applicant that CentralNic announced — with the proceeds earmarked for auction — last week.
Accent has applied for a quite restricted TLD, with anti-fraud measures at its heart. Its authenticated registration process is described as being a bit like the process of buying an SSL certificate.
CentralNic CEO Ben Crawford said in a statement:
The “.tickets” Top-Level Domain will be a compelling new tool to assist consumers to easily identify legitimate and trusted ticket sales sites, as well as empowering venues, entertainers and sports organizations to improve their use of the internet for enabling fans to purchase tickets. This investment realizes our strategy of investing in Top-Level Domain applicants as well as operating as a business partner to their operators.