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CentralNic to manage .co.com’s back-end

Kevin Murphy, January 9, 2014, Domain Registries

CentralNic is going to run .co.com after all, kinda.

The two companies have signed a deal whereby CentralNic will manage the back-end registry for the forthcoming subdomain service, which domain owner Paul Goldstone launched a few months ago.

CentralNic, before it became the named back-end for 60 new gTLD applications, was known only for offering subdomains under us.com, uk.com and many other second-level names.

Announcing the deal today, .co.com also said that it plans to hold a sunrise period in February, to be followed by a first-come first-served landrush.

It’s already offering “premium” keyword domains privately to interested parties.

CentralNic reports profitable first half

Kevin Murphy, September 25, 2013, Domain Registries

CentralNic today issued its first financial statements since floating on London’s Alternative Investment Market earlier this month.

The company is profitable, reporting profit before tax for the first half of 2013 that almost doubled to $636,000 on revenue that was up 16% at £1,735 million ($2.7 million).

Revenue was down substantially and profit more or less flat sequentially, however. In the second half of 2012, the company took profits of £593,000 on revenue of £2.9 million ($4.6 million).

Seasonality? One-time fees from its new gTLD applicant clients? CentralNic didn’t say.

The H12013 results do not include any revenue from its deal with Go Daddy, which started selling .la domains in July, but it did include revenue from partnerships with two Chinese registrars.

Chairman John Swingewood said in a statement to the market:

The Company is undergoing sustained growth resulting from increased demand for our domain names, establishing new retail channels and securing new inventory. What is more impressive is that these results are yet to include revenues from sales of our pipeline of new Top-Level Domains, which include .college, .bar, .wiki and .xyz, for which the first launch activities are due to start at the end of the year.

The company, which is signed up to provide back-end registry services for 14 uncontested and 39 contested new gTLDs, raised £5 million in its IPO on September 3.

CentralNic raises $10 million in IPO

Kevin Murphy, September 3, 2013, Domain Registries

New gTLD registry back-end provider CentralNic raised a reported £7 million ($10 million) on its London Alternative Investment Market debut yesterday.

The IPO, which netted £5 million for the company and £2 million for existing shareholders, valued the company at £32.5 million ($50.6 million).

Its float price was 55p per share, but it’s trading at 66p right now.

CentralNic had previously said that it intends to use the money to expand its new gTLD business and to explore opportunities to provide back-end services for ccTLDs.

The company runs .la, has contracts to run 53 gTLDs, and sells subdomains under numerous pseudo-gTLDs such as uk.com and us.com.

CentralNic earmarks IPO money for new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, August 13, 2013, Domain Registries

CentralNic this morning formally confirmed that it plans to float on the Alternative Investment Market in London and said the money raised will help it buy stakes in new gTLDs.

The London-based company plans to hit the market at the beginning of September. CEO Ben Crawford told The Telegraph yesterday that the company hopes to raise £5 million ($7.7 million) with the IPO.

CentralNic said in a press release this morning:

The Directors believe that the funds raised for the Group by the placing of shares will allow the Group to enhance its global distribution network, acquire interests in new gTLDs, expand its own retail business and obtain contracts from governments to operate their country code TLDs (“ccTLDs”), especially in developing markets.

While the company is best-known for running pseudo-gTLDs such as us.com and uk.com, it also provides the back-end for the repurposed ccTLDs .la and .pw and has 60 new gTLD back-end contracts, 25 of which are uncontested.

Crawford said in the press release:

We are profitable, debt free, asset backed and about to capitalise on the major changes being made to the internet with the influx of new TLDs. We already have in place the required IT infrastructure and global retailer network. We have also been awarded a significant number of new TLD contracts so the Company is confident of expanding rapidly.

According to The Telegraph, the IPO could value the company at £30 million ($46.4 million).

The Alternative Investment Market is the low-cap little brother to the London Stock Exchange. CentralNic will be the second registry, after Top Level Domain Holdings, to list there.

Did GMO flunk evaluation on 27 gTLDs? CentralNic takes over the whole lot

Did would-be new gTLD registry services provider GMO Registry fail its ICANN technical evaluations?

The Japanese company has made a deal that will see CentralNic take over the back-end operations for all 27 of the applications it was signed up to service, it has emerged.

In a letter, provided by GMO to ICANN last week as part of its sweeping application change requests, CentralNic says:

CentralNic Ltd has entered into a contract with GMO Registry, Inc. (GMO) to provide backend gTLD registry services for their generic top-level domains.

The letter (pdf) goes on to enumerate the 10 critical technical functions — basically everything from EPP to DNSSEC to registrar management — that CentralNic will be taking over.

The letter seems to have been attached last week to change requests for each of the 27 applications for which the DI PRO database lists GMO as the back-end registry provider.

That list includes big dot-brands such as .toshiba, .sharp and .nissan, generics such as .shop and .mail, and city TLDs including .tokyo and .osaka. Even the original dot-brand, .canon, and GMO’s own .gmo are switching back-ends.

The requested changes certainly seem to explain why GMO has yet to pass any of its Initial Evaluations (as we noted on Twitter a couple weeks back) despite having prioritization numbers as low as 111.

GMO parent GMO Internet may not be widely known outside of Japan, but it’s a pretty big deal. The company had 2012 revenue of about JPY 75 billion ($730 million) and it owns a top-ten registrar, Onamae.

Per ICANN rules, the change request switching the applications to CentralNic back-ends are open for public comment for 30 days.