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Moniker gets a new CEO

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2014, Domain Registrars

KeyDrive has appointed Bonnie Wittenburg, Key-System USA executive vice president, as the new CEO of sister registrar Moniker.

She replaces Craig Snyder, who was CEO of Moniker and SnapNames and remains CEO of SnapNames. Wittenburg keeps her EVP roles at Key-Systems.

“Through her expanded role she will drive cooperation and develop a synergistic relationship between the KeyDrive members,” the company said in a statement.

The KeyDrive stable also includes Key-Systems, NameDrive and KS Registry.

Wittenberg is a 15-year veteran of the domain name industry, with previous stints at Network Solutions and Iron Mountain.

Key-Systems to take a loss on .hiv domains

Key-Systems said yesterday that it plans to make .hiv domain names available at “below net cost price”, in solidarity with would-be new gTLD registry dotHIV.

The registrar said it will also offer free .hiv names at launch to organizations involving in fighting the virus via its Moniker and domaindiscount24.com retail registrars.

dotHIV, also a German company, plans to donate all of its profits to HIV/AIDs charities.

Its application is uncontested and has already passed Initial Evaluation, but is the target of Governmental Advisory Committee advice, which has put its bid on hold.

Despite this uncertainty, Key-Systems said it expects the Sunrise phase for .hiv to start in December.

Moniker and SnapNames join Key-Systems stable

Kevin Murphy, February 1, 2012, Domain Registrars

KeyDrive has acquired rival registrar Moniker and rival aftermarket player SnapNames from Oversee.net, according to a statement on the company’s web site.

The deal, which closed in January, would make the combined company the sixth-largest ICANN-accredited registrar, with over 5.4 million domains under management, KeyDrive said.

KeyDrive formed with the merger of German registrar Key-Systems and aftermarket services provider NameDrive last July. It’s based in NameDrive’s native Luxembourg.

The deal gives the primarily European company an additional footprint in the US market. Moniker is based in Florida, SnapNames in Oregon.

It’s a not-too-soon exit for Moniker, which had a disappointing 2011 largely defined by the super-fast churning of domains under management and the regular canning of staff.

I’ve been hearing rumors that the two Oversee units were on the auction block for months.

It’s the fifth significant piece of M&A in the registrar market in the last six months, following the sale of Go Daddy and Group NBT to private investors, Tucows’ acquisition of EPAG and NetSol’s move to Web.com

Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. Indeed, there does not appear to have been an official announcement yet, beyond the KeyDrive home page.

The deal was first reported by DomainNameNews.

More details as they come in.

Salesforce.com pays over $1.5m for data.com

Kevin Murphy, June 7, 2011, Domain Sales

Salesforce.com has bought the domain name data.com for “an amount that significantly exceeds the $1.5 million reserve”, according to Oversee.net.

The domain had been due to be auctioned during the company’s DOMAINFest in Barcelona tomorrow, but was taken out of contention early with the private sale.

While Oversee did not disclose the buyer or final sales price, the Whois record already shows Salesforce.com as the new owner. It was previously owned by United Business Media.

Oversee said the deal brings its year-to-date sales to $11 million.

ICANN threatens to shut down registrar flipper

ICANN has said it will terminate one of its registrars for non-payment of fees, the thirteenth such threatening letter the organization has sent out this year.

The unfortunate recipient is #1 Host Brazil, which has just a couple hundred domains under its belt in the generic top-level domains.

I may be wrong, but based on some cursory research I’m inferring that the registrar is basically a shell accreditation, acquired in order to flip to a larger registrar.

There are 10 other “‘#1 Host” registrars, such as #1 Host Australia and #1 Host Canada, listed on ICANN’s list of accredited registrars, almost all of which were awarded in late 2005 to the same Texan.

They all use the same logos and, due to the hash sign, all appear at the top of alphabetical lists of ICANN-accredited registrars.

Apart from the Brazil and Israel variants, most of the other “#1” accreditations have been acquired by Moniker at various times over the last few years, according to Internic and Whois records.

#1 Host Brazil faces de-accreditation (pdf) on August 24 unless it pays almost $9,000 in ICANN fees and provides evidence of $500,000 in commercial liability insurance.

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