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Domainmonster joins 123-reg stable

Mesh Digital, owner of the Domainmonster and Domainbox registrars, has been acquired by rival/partner Hosting Europe Group for an undisclosed sum.

Operating mainly in the UK and Germany, the buyer says it is the largest privately owned hosting company in Europe, already the owner of large registrars including 123-reg/Webfusion, a Mesh reseller.

“They’ve been a technology partner of ours for some time with the Domainbox product, so it’s the logical partner for us,” Mesh CEO Matt Mansell said.

“Our focus isn’t on hosting,” he added. “They’ll bring a good range of hosting and software-as-a-service products to our customers and we’ll bring good domain services to their customers.”

Mansell will join Host Europe as head of domain strategy.

The fact that new gTLDs are expected to launch next year was not a particular driver of the deal, he said.

With its new acquisition, Host Europe will have five million domains under management, according to the company.

Mesh, based in Godalming, UK (it’s 30 miles away and I’ve never heard of it either) has 15 employees and turnover of about $5 million, Mansell said.

Pricing competition begins in .xxx

DomainMonster plans to charge between $75 and $300 for .xxx domain names, a fair bit cheaper than the only other registrar to so far disclose its prices.

A single .xxx domain will cost $99.99, dropping to $89.99 and $74.99 if the customer has more than 10 or more than 25 items in their cart when they check out, according to CEO Matt Mansell.

DomainMonster’s pricing scheme offers discounts on all products – including non-domain services – when more than 10 are purchased at the same time, and this will also apply to .xxx.

For trademark holders wanting to register or block their names during the sunrise period, the company will charge $299.99, $289.99 and $249.99, all but $50 of which is non-refundable.

Grandfathering prices for existing porn sites without trademarks will cost $199.99, $179.99 and $149.99, with the same non-refundable component. Landrush fees will be the same.

The only other registrar I’m aware of to announce prices so far is Key-Systems. Regular .xxx names will cost $133 there, with landrush names checking in at about $250.

ICM Registry, the .xxx manager, will charge $60 for domains during general availability. I hear through the grapevine that its fee to “block” a trademark for 10 years is $162.

According to ICM, the ratio of pre-registered domain names to registrants works out to between 20 and 30 names per person, so it’s seems possible DomainMonster’s volume pricing has a market.

About 60 registrars have been approved to sell .xxx domain names so far.