New gTLD registry RightSide has slashed the minimum price of its so-called “Platinum” tier premium domains and dropped renewal fees for these domains down to an affordable level.
The price changes come as part of two new marketing initiatives designed to start shifting more of its 14,000-strong portfolio of super-premiums through brokers and registrar partners.
The minimum first-year price of a Platinum-tier name has been reduced immediately from $50,000 to $25,000.
In addition, these domains will no longer renew every year at the same price. Instead, RightSide has reduced renewals to a more affordable $30.
“We weren’t selling them,” RightSide senior VP of sales and premiums Matt Overman told DI. “There is not a market for $50,000-a-year domain purchases.”
Now, “we feel comfortable enough with amount money we’re going to make up-front”, Overman said.
However, premium renewals are not being abandoned entirely; non-Platinum premium names will still have their original higher annual renewal fees, he said.
RightSide has sold some Platinum names in the five and six-figure range, but the number is quite small compared to overall size of the portfolio.
But Overman said that “none of them sold with a $50,000 renewal”. The highest renewal fee negotiated to date was $5,000, he said.
Before yesterday’s announcements, RightSide’s Platinum names were available on third-party registrars with buy-it-now fees that automatically applied the premium renewal fees.
However, it seems that the vast majority if not all of these sales came via the company’s in-house registrars such as Name.com and eNom, where there was a more flexible “make an offer” button.
Under a new Platinum Edge product, RightSide hopes to bring this functionality to its registrar partners.
It has made all 14,000 affected names registry-reserved as a result, Overman said. They were previously available in the general pool of unclaimed names and available to registrars via EPP.
Each affected name now has a minimum “access fee” of $25,000 (going up to $200,000 depending on name) that registrars must pay to release it.
They’re able to either negotiate a sale with a markup they can keep, or sell at “cost” (that is, the access fee) and claim a 10% commission, Overman said.
A separate Platinum Brokerage service has also been introduced, aimed at getting more professional domain brokers involved in the sales channel.
Brokers will be able to “reserve” up to five RightSide Platinum names for a broker-exclusivity period of 60 days, during which they’re expected to try to negotiate deals with potential buyers.
While no other brokers will be able to sell those names during those 60 days, registrars will still be able to sell those reserved names.
Overman said that if a registrar sells a name during the period it is under exclusivity with a participating broker, that broker will still get a commission from RightSide regardless of whether they were involved in the sale.
“We won’t give that name to any other broker, but if it sells through a registrar they still get their 10%,” he said. The registrar also gets its 10%.
This of course is open to gaming — brokers could reserve names and just twiddle their thumbs for 60 days, hoping to get a commission for no work — but the broker program is expected to be fairly tightly managed and those exploiting the system could be kicked out.
RightSide will be making the case for the two Platinum-branded offerings at the upcoming NamesCon conference in Las Vegas, where it also expects to name its first brokerage partners.
.CLUB Domains will today release 9,200 previously reserved .club names into the channel at premium prices.
The registry is also offering free T-shirts to the first 500 people to purchase a premium name for $59.99 and more, personalized with said name.
While the names will become available at 1500 UTC today, the full list is not expected to be published until midnight UTC at landrush.club
CMO Jeff Sass gave the following list of examples of names to be released: watches.club, vino.club, ocean.club, elite.club, driving.club, comicbook.club, Chinese.club and gambling.club.
A thousand of the names are three-character strings.
The first-year prices are suggest at between $100 and $10,000 at the retail level, Sass said.
All premium names renew at standard-name pricing, he said.
The T-shirt offer requires the user to tweet using promotional hashtags and expires December 31.
The domain name industry is about to get a new type of conference.
Domain broker Ryan Colby of Outcome Brokerage is to host what is believed to be the first domain “hackathon”, and says he already has domains he estimates as being worth $3 million submitted for the event.
Codemology, as the conference will be called, will be held over two days in Charlotte, North Carolina, in October.
The idea is to bring the owners of premium domain names together with angel investors and young, skilled developers, with the hope that some workable business ideas might emerge.
“We are trying to utilize the ‘excess capacity’ of premium domains in the marketplace, which are just sitting there doing nothing, oozing with potential, waiting for the next killer idea,” Colby told DI today.
Over the weekend of the event, the goal will be to create a bunch of “minimal viable products” for each selected domain that could be developed further.
It’s a free event, but attendees need to go through an application process before being given tickets. Colby said he’s marketing the event at university students and those who regularly attend hackathons.
The list of domains that will be used has not been finalized yet, but Colby’s clients have already submitted at least four pretty terrific one-word dictionary .coms.
Domains in new gTLDs will also make an appearance.
“If you’re a domain owner, why not submit it to the kid from MIT who might have a winning idea? There’s no risk, and huge upside if something comes about,” Colby said.
The developers keep the IP rights to whatever they code during the event, he said.
“It’s up to the domain owner to choose to collaborate, buy their IP or walk away,” he said.
Colby said he’s working on an app that will allow people to vote on domains that have been submitted, with the most popular ones being used at Codemology.
He said he’s hopeful of running similar events in other cities after the Charlotte conference.
Rightside is to run a promotion that will discount renewals on premium names down to .com prices.
From May 16 to June 30, if you buy any of the domains that Rightside has marked as premium — except the super-premium “Platinum” names — the wholesale renewal fee will be just $10.
Registrars will mark this up according to their own pricing models.
Normally, the price you pay at the checkout is the price you pay every year after that.
The deal is overtly targeted at domainers.
Rightside said: “At these reduced prices, you’ll have more time to find the right buyer for any domains you register, and incur lower fees to transfer to them once you do. If you’re looking to add high-quality domains to your portfolio, this will be the time to do it.”
The reduced renewals only apply to names registered during the six-week window, but they do pass on to subsequent registrants if the domain is sold.
Rightside is calling it a “first-of-its-kind” promo, but in reality it’s just a temporary regression to the once-standard industry model.
Remember, prior to the 2012-round gTLDs, only exceptions like .tv charged premium rates for renewals.
Premium renewals are now very commonplace, but are by no means the rule, in the new gTLD industry.
For Rightside, the offer means the company may experience a brief cash windfall as domainers, who generally hate premium renewals, take a chance on the registry’s names.
There’s also a potential marketing benefit to be gained from having more domainers on board as unpaid salespeople.
But it does rather suggest the premiums are not flying off the shelves at the rate Rightside wants.
The company recently disclosed that in the first few months of the year it made revenue of $674,610 selling 1,820 premium names, leading to an average price of $372. Twelve five-figure names had been sold.
Over its portfolio of 39 gTLDs, Rightside has flagged over 964,000 as premium, or about 25,000 per TLD.
Dot London is to auction off 50 premium .london domains over the next two weeks.
The names are all currently registry-owned, and include the likes of dentist.london, flats.london and coffee.london. The full list can be viewed here.
The auctions are scheduled to end on July 30 and all have £100 ($155) starting bids.
According to the registry, it has sold over 3,000 names from its premium list since its launch last year. Some live examples include golf.london and catering.london.
The .london gTLD has a tad over 63,000 names in its zone file today.