NameCheap may have sold over a million .xyz domains, but apparently it will sell no more than that.
The registrar confirmed to DI this evening that it is no longer taking .xyz registrations. It declined to explain why.
It has also stopped selling .college and .rent domains — two other gTLDs owned by XYZ.com. Other new gTLDs are not affected.
It’s reportedly not accepting inbound transfers either, though existing domains can be renewed.
The switch-off happened at the end of last month, a NameCheap representative said.
That’s just one month after the registrar celebrated its one millionth .xyz registration, which XYZ.com commemorated with a blog post bigging up NameCheap’s user-customers.
The move is peculiar indeed. NameCheap is the third highest-volume .xyz registrar, behind West.cn and Uniregistry, responsible for about 15% of .xyz’s domains under management.
It’s also NameCheap’s biggest direct-selling gTLD by a considerable margin.
NameCheap is well-known as primarily an eNom reseller — it accounts for 28% of eNom’s domains under management and 18% of its revenue, largely from .com sales.
But with new gTLDs it has started selling domains on its own IANA ticker, meaning a direct connection to the registry and more gross profit for itself.
According to June’s registry reports, the million .xyz names accounted for roughly two thirds of NameCheap’s total DUM (not counting names sold via eNom).
The closet rival in its portfolio is .online, which provided the registrar with about 81,000 DUM.
The registrar added about 350,000 .xyz domains in June, a month in which it briefly offered them at $0.02 each.
At that time, the company reported technical issues that led to a 12-24 hour backlog of registrations to process, though its blog post announcing the problem appears to have since been deleted.
NameCheap has declined to comment on the reason for the surprise move, and XYZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The fact that all of XYZ.com’s TLDs have been cut off suggests some kind of dispute between the two companies, but the fact that renewals can still be processed would suggest that NameCheap has not lost its .xyz accreditation.
More info if I get it…
XYZ.com became the first new gTLD operator to top five million domains in a single TLD last night, when .xyz added almost 1.5 million names.
According to our parse of today’s zone file, .xyz has 5,096,589 names, up 1,451,763 on yesterday’s 3,644,826.
On Monday, the number was just under 2.8 million.
The massive spike came after what was supposed to be the final day of a three-day discounting blitz, as registrars sold the names for $0.02, $0.01 or even nothing.
Uniregistry, which sold for a penny, seems to have claimed the lion’s share of the regs.
The company supplied DI with data showing it had processed over 1.16 million registrations on June 2, about 90% of which CEO Frank Schilling said were .xyz sales.
At its peak, Uniregistry created 95,793 new domains in an hour, this data shows.
Judging by the numbers published on its home page, the registrar has pretty much doubled its domains under management overnight.
The rapid growth of .xyz is very probably not over.
Some registrars said they will carry on with the penny giveaways for an extra day.
At least one popular registrar, NameCheap, told irritated customers that the popularity of its $0.02 offer meant it had a backlog of registration requests that would take 12 to 24 hours to process. Those may not have showed up in the zone file yet.
In addition, .xyz prices are expected to be dirt cheap — just $0.18 at Uniregistry, for example — for the rest of the month, at least at the 50-odd registrars XYZ says are participating in its promotion.
XYZ.com’s campaign to keep its volumes high as .xyz approaches its second anniversary seem to have resulted in basically free registrations.
Uniregistry said yesterday that it has started selling .xyz domains for just $0.01, and NameCheap is offering them for $0.02.
The prices, which apply to first-year registrations, kicked in yesterday and expire at midnight June 3.
Over in China, Xin Net and West.cn are both pricing the domains at a relatively huge CNY 2 ($0.30).
I expect there are similar offers at other registrars too.
West.cn. the largest .xyz registrar, said last week that it is also subsidizing renewals for the month of June, bringing the cost down to $2.73.
The aforementioned registrars have big splashes announcing the offers on their home pages.
XYZ said Friday that it has put aside “several million dollars” to advertise its birthday on registrar storefronts and elsewhere.
Uniregistry said that from June 3 to June 30 the price will be just $0.18.
Uniregistry’s current .xyz volume is measured in the tens of thousands. It’s ranked just behind Go Daddy, which does not appear to be participating in this promotion, by .xyz domains under management.
.xyz went into general availability June 2, 2014.
Since August 2015, not long after its anniversary deletes have been substantially outstripping renewals, but adds have been going nuts.
It has about 2.8 million domains in its zone file right now, two million of which have been added in the last 12 months.
Despite the anniversary hoopla this time around, there was not a big spike in .xyz registrations around its first birthday last year, when it added a fairly normal 50,000 or so domains.
Go Daddy appears to be putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to arguments about domain privacy.
The company is paying for “sponsored” posts on Facebook that promote the ongoing petition against proposed changes to Whois policy at ICANN.
This has been appearing on Facebook for me all day, seriously interrupting my Farmville time:
Clicking the ad takes you directly to the Save Domain Privacy petition, rather than a Go Daddy sales pitch.
As I reported last week, thousands of internet users have blasted ICANN with template comments complaining about proposed limits on Whois privacy.
There are currently over 10,000 such comments, I estimate, with over a week left until the filing deadline.
Registrars, Go Daddy among them, are largely concerned about a minority proposal emerging from in a proxy/privacy service accreditation working group that would ban transactional e-commerce sites from having private registrations.
They’re also bothered that intellectual property owners could get more rights to unmask privacy users under the proposals.
Despite Go Daddy’s outreach, Repect Our Privacy, letter-writing campaign, backed by NameCheap and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, seems to be responsible for most of the comments filed to date.
Not that it’s necessarily relevant today, but NameCheap and Go Daddy were on opposing sides of the Stop Online Piracy Act debate — a linked controversy — a few years back.
Tucows and Namecheap have both pulled out of their joint venture with Radix to run the .online registry.
Tucows revealed the move, which will see Radix run .online solo, in a press release yesterday.
Both Tucows and Namecheap are registrars, whereas Radix is pretty much focused on being a registry nowadays.
While financial terms have not been disclosed, Tucows CEO Elliot Noss had previously said that each of the three companies had funded the new venture to the tune of $4 million to $5 million.
I estimate that this puts the total investment in the deal — which includes the price of winning .online at auction — at $13 million to $14 million.
Noss has also hinted that the gTLD sold for much more than the $6.8 million paid for .tech.
.online has not yet been delegated.