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Demand Media in rumored IPO

Kevin Murphy, April 16, 2010, Domain Registrars

Demand Media, which owns number-two domain registrar eNom, could file to go public this summer, the Financial Times has reported.

Widely thought of as a “content mill”, Demand is in the business of mining search and domain data and pumping out content which it can sell ads against.

The FT, using anonymous sources, reports that an IPO, which could happen by November, would value the firm at $1.5 billion. Revenue is estimated to be around $250 million a year.

While selling domain names does not appear to be Demand’s core business, other domain name registrars have a rocky record when it comes to public listings.

Register.com, which used its early-mover advantage to IPO at the tail end of the dot-com boom, ended up going private after low-cost registrars like Go Daddy started eating its lunch.

Go Daddy itself gave the world a glimpse at its finances when it filed its S-1 back in 2006, but CEO Bob Parsons yanked the IPO at the eleventh hour, citing poor market conditions and his inability to keep his mouth shut during the traditional pre-offering Quiet Period.

Parsons said at the time that it’s hard to show a profit under GAAP as a growing registrar, due to the way registrations are accounted for.

Tucows, meanwhile, has managed to tick along quietly with a listing on the small-cap markets for years.

VeriSign creates .tv mini land-rush

Kevin Murphy, March 19, 2010, Domain Registries

Domainers are buzzing with the news that VeriSign has just made tens of thousands of premium .tv names viable for speculation.

The company cut the prices of its premium names and, more importantly, has reset the annual renewal fees for premium domains to the much lower standard flat renewal fee.

Judging from the Namepros forums, a lot of people bought a lot of domains and, potentially, got a lot of very good deals on one-word dictionary or three-letter .tvs.

Some domains appeared to have dropped off the premium list altogether, leading some to speculate that the prices were too good to be true, and that registrar glitches must be responsible.

However, I talked to Chris Sheridan, VP of sales at eNom, a little earlier and he seemed to be of the opinion that the prices were probably legit.

The new lower renewal fees, incidentally, do not appear to apply to previously registered premium .tv names, which is bound to cause angst for some.

I’m not usually much of a speculator, but I took a risk on a couple of cheap dictionary words a couple of hours ago. My new registrar is telling me the registrations were “successful”, but I’ve no idea whether I can believe it.