CentralNic has acquired the unfortunately named Bahamas-based registrar Internet.bs for up to $7.5 million, in an effort to bolster its registrar business.
The deal is for a mixture of cash ($2.7 million), newly issued shares ($2.5 million) and a delayed performance-related payout of up to $2.3 million.
CentralNic is best known as a registry and back-end provider, but it also has a registrar, TLD Registrar Solutions, which is aimed primarily at registries that want to vertically integrate.
The acquisition means the company now has a medium sized ICANN-accredited retail registrar arm too.
Internet.bs has well over half a million gTLD names under management, according to registry reports. According to CentralNic, it has 28,000 customers in 199 countries.
The company made a profit of $730,000 last year, CentralNic said.
The launch of .xyz took back-end provider CentralNic’s registry down for 15 minutes on Monday.
That’s according to an email sent by the company to registrars, copies of which were forwarded to DI today.
The email says that CentralNic’s EPP systems were down between 1603 and 1618 UTC on Monday, just a few minutes after .xyz went into general availability. It goes on to say:
The large volume of EPP
commands exceeded our database system’s capacity to handle them, causing a bottleneck which then propagated back to the EPP application servers.
As you know, we have launched a number of SLDs and TLDs in the past; this is the first launch that we have experienced any issue with, despite some of our previous launches being of comparable size.
.xyz took almost 15,000 registrations in its first 10 hours, many of which will have been concentrated in those first few minutes.
CentralNic said it intends to put in place some measures to prevent a similar crash when it handles .ink’s launch day for Top Level Design on June 23.
Registrars will have their number of simultaneous connections to the registry limited, the email says. CentralNic will also turn off some functions of the database for the short duration of the initial surge.
The company added that the time of registration recorded by registrars may be out of whack with the time recorded by the registry as a result of the outage.
Radix no longer plans to use ARI Registry Services for any of its new gTLDs, I’ve learned.
The company has already publicly revealed that CentralNic is to be its back-end registry services provider for .space, .host, .website and .press, but multiple reliable sources say the deal extends to its other 23 applications too.
I gather that the split with ARI wasn’t entirely amicable and had money at its root, but I’m a bit fuzzy on the specifics.
The four announced switches are the only four currently uncontested strings Radix has applied for.
Of Radix’s remaining active applications, the company has only so far submitted a change request to ICANN — which I gather is a very expensive process — on one, .online.
For the other 22, ARI is still listed as the back-end provider in the applications, which have all passed evaluation.
Radix is presumably waiting until after its contention sets get settled before it goes to the expense of submitting change requests.
CentralNic has replaced ARI Registry Services as the exclusive back-end registry services provider for four new gTLDs.
Radix, the new gTLD portfolio applicant formerly affiliated with Directi, will use CentralNic “exclusively” for .press, .host, .website and .space, according to a press release this morning.
ARI was originally listed on Radix’s applications as the technical services provider for all four, but as a result of change requests submitted in January ARI is out and CentralNic is in.
All four were either originally uncontested strings or have since been won by Radix at auction.
The news of the switch follows the announcement last month that CentralNic has also become a “preferred” back-end for portfolio applicant Famous Four Media, alongside ARI and Neustar.
New gTLD portfolio applicant Famous Four Media has selected CentralNic to provide back-end registry services, joining existing providers ARI Registry Services and Neustar.
CentralNic will be “a preferred provider” of Domain Venture Partners, which is the parent company of Famous Four’s 60 new gTLD applicants, according to a joint statement issued by the companies today.
Neither firm wanted to give any firm details about how CentralNic fits into Famous Four’s strategy, such as whether CentralNic might replace existing back-ends as it did with 27 formerly GMO Registry bids.
Famous Four is already partnered with Neustar on 52 new gTLD applications and ARI on five more.
DVP chief operating officer Charles Melvin told DI in a statement:
CentralNic will sit as one of our preferred backend technology partners. We are in the process of agreeing terms with a limited number of select providers to sit on our preferred panel. Until such agreements have been put in place it would be inappropriate for us to comment on them.
The deal is related to DVP II, an investment vehicle through which DVP hopes to raise up to $400 million “to acquire Top-Level Domain registries, some of which are already live.”
We were leaked a copy of a June 2013 investor presentation related to DVP II, in which the company said its back-end partner had “the lowest fees in the industry”.
With its new “preferred panel”, it looks like the company is hedging its bets.