Minds + Machines posted an operating profit of almost £3 million ($4.9 million) for the first half of the year, almost entirely driven by the proceeds of losing new gTLD auctions.
The registry record a profit to June 30 of £2.9 million on revenue of $68,000.
The “profit on gTLD auctions” line item that permitted that seemingly impossible profit number was £7.1 million ($11.6 million), based on M+M losing eight out of 12 private auctions.
The company had £22 million ($36 million) in cash and other current assets on its balance sheet at the end of the period.
None of M+M’s big TLDs had launched in the first half, hence the low revenue. Since the half ended, .london has proven successful and several more new gTLDs wholly or partially owned by M+M have also launched.
In his statement to the market, chair Fred Krueger said:
A key variable in our financial position is the dynamic of private auctions, which we have embraced, and which has worked tremendously to our advantage. We believe that our current still contested strings represent significant assets which we have the potential to monetize either to further our existing new TLDs or to purchase additional new TLDs at auction.
He also reiterated CEO Antony Van Couvering’s call for a new metric to track gTLD registry health that is based on revenue-per-domain rather than simple volumes.
His outlook for new gTLDs was arguably less cautious than his counterpart at CentralNic, which reported its half-year numbers yesterday and talked of demand “falling short of industry expectations”.
Name registration data available to-date indicates a strong opening for a variety of new products/domains, and also shows that we are still very early in the adoption curve for new TLDs. We expect that the growth of almost all new TLDs will likely follow an “S curve”, as it historically has for newly launched TLDs, rather than a straight line.
He also reconfirmed that M+M plans to aggressively pursue its new integrated registrar business as a means to drive growth in its gTLDs, rather than simply relying on the channel.
Minds + Machines’ first day of general availability for its first six wholly owned new gTLDs has produced some very disappointing numbers.
The company managed to net just 1,694 new domains across .country, .cooking, .vodka, .rodeo, .horse and .fishing combined yesterday, according to this morning’s zone files.
It has fewer than 2,000 names across all six zones.
Meanwhile, .vegas, which also went to GA yesterday, managed to net 2,933 new domains, ending the day at 3,903.
Here’s a table of M+M’s performance over its first seven or eight hours of GA, which began at 1600 UTC yesterday.
|Net Gain||Total Domains|
Assuming the zone files are fresh, it’s a poor first day for the company whichever way you look at it, especially given that M+M has been accepting pre-registrations in its TLDs since November 2013.
As well as being vertically integrated, M+M has about 80 third-party registrars on board to sell its names, including the largest.
Afilias’ .organic, which also went to GA yesterday, shows just one new registration today.
However, this can be attributed to the fact that registrants need to submit credentials for manual verification before their new domains are allowed to go live in the zone file.
There’s a definite wild west flavor to today’s crop of new gTLD launches, in a week which sees no fewer than 16 strings hit general availability.
Kicking off the week, today Minds + Machines brings its first wholly-owned TLDs to market.
Following the successful launch of .london, for which M+M acts as the back-end, last week, today we see the launch of the less exciting .cooking, .country, .fishing, .horse, .rodeo, and .vodka.
Afilias’ rural-themed .organic also goes to GA today.
As does .vegas, an oddity in the geo-gTLD space as it’s a city pretty much synonymous with one vertical market, gambling. Or three vertical markets, if you include booze and prostitution.
.vegas names do not require a local presence, so I’m expecting to see gambling businesses the world over attempt to capitalize on the Vegas brand regardless of their location.
A second batch of launches is due on Wednesday September 17.
Sticking with the wild west theme, RightSide’s .republican is due to go first-come, first-served.
With a somewhat more eastern flavor, Radix Registry’s first new gTLDs — .website, .press and .host — all hit GA on the same day.
Donuts’ .loans, .life, .guide and .church all enter their standard-pricing phases, while .place and .direct enter their premium-priced Early Access Period on Wednesday too.
Dot London Domains’ .london had just shy of 35,000 domains in its zone file this morning, after its first partial day of general availability.
That’s an addition of 12,421 domains over yesterday’s number, making .london the 11th most-registered new gTLD.
This makes .london — which in my opinion has had one of the best launch marketing campaigns we’ve seen this year — the most-successful gTLD, in volume terms, after its first GA day.
It has beaten the 33,012 names that .在线 (“.online” in Chinese) and the 31,645 names that .berlin had in their zone files at the end of their respective GA days.
.london domains are not particularly cheap, either. Minds + Machines sells at £30 ($48) a year and Go Daddy (which lists .london at the top of its UK home page today) sells at $59.99.
UK-based Domainmonster, part of Host Europe Group, performed well with a £34.99 ($56) annual fee.
There were 22,547 .london names claimed during the “London Priority Period”, a combined sunrise/landrush phase that gave first dibs on names to trademark owners followed by London residents.
The registry has not broken down the mix between sunrise and landrush, but I believe based on the paltry sunrise performance of every other new gTLD to date that the vast majority were landrush names.
The full priority period queue has not yet been processed — domains with more than one applicant are currently in auction.
Back-end provider Minds + Machines, recently told the markets that it expects about a quarter of landrush/sunrise names to go to auction, so we could be looking at something like 7,500 applications (as opposed to domains) currently in the auction queue.
What this may mean is that .london had roughly 30,000 applications during its priority period, about 20,000 less than it had predicted back in July.
Dot London Domains is closely affiliated with London & Partners, the PR machine for the Mayor of London, so it had resources and access to throw at an effective marketing campaign.
The forthcoming .london gTLD didn’t get a look in during the opening ceremony of ICANN 50, held this morning in London.
The host city gTLD’s complete absence from the two-hour event — it wasn’t mentioned once — would have escaped notice had it not been for the abundance of plugs for .wales and .cymru attendees received instead.
.cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. The gTLDs are to be launched simultaneously.
Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones was given stage time to announce, in between anti-English quips, that the Welsh government is to dump .gov.uk in favor of the two new Welsh gTLDs.
Later, a Welsh male voice choir (presumably a famous one) took to the stage to sing a couple of songs and announce that they too are planning to use .wales and .cymru for their web sites.
Nominet chair Rennie Fritchie also plugged the upcoming launches during her five-minute slot.
You’d have been forgiven for wondering if you’d accidentally got off the plane in Cardiff.
Where was .london?
Did Dot London Domains seriously drop the ball here?
Or did .london’s absence have something to do with the fact that the host ccTLD and meeting sponsor, Nominet, is the registry for .wales and .cymru but was beaten to the .london back-end contract by Minds + Machines?