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Donuts to hike prices 50% on some TLDs

Kevin Murphy, June 2, 2016, 16:13:53 (UTC), Domain Registries

While some new gTLD registries are all about the giveaways and deep discounting, Donuts has taken the unprecedented decision to actually increase its prices.
The company announced today that it will add a whopping 50% to its wholesale fee for 10 of its TLDs.
The TLDs are: .camera, .camp, .cleaning, .dog, .glass, .kitchen, .plumbing, .shoes, .solar and .toys.
While Donuts does not disclose its wholesale fees, these domains typically retail for $25 to $40 for non-premiums.
We could be looking at a .dog at GoDaddy, for example, going up from $40 a year to $60 a year, if the increases are passed on proportionately.
None of the 10 TLDs in question have set the market alight, volume-wise. They’re all struggling around the 3,000 to 6,000 domains mark, according to zone file data.
Seven of the 10 zones have actually been shrinking in recent months.
All but one of them went to general availability in the first half of 2014, so have been on the market about two years.
The new prices will kick in October 1, Donuts said.
Renewal prices for domains registered before that date will renew at their original wholesale fee, the company added.

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Comments (29)

  1. Hayden says:

    Will this cause mass hysteria of registrations, maybe the economics are not adding up with fatcat salaries and overheads
    Gtlds still continue to be a unregulated joke, until someone can properly authoritize them, stay away

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      Currently the only regulatory issue is the fact that registries are obliged to give early warning of price hikes to registrars, but registrars do not have this requirement towards registrants. Other than that, the market seems to be working.

  2. Very smart move.. Higher prices work and don’t hold back demand on certain strings. There will be pressure to reduce again when round 2 comes though and .footwear .camping .cameras etc come out

    • Phil Buckingham says:

      I agree Smart move. its what any accountant worth their salt would do with strings that have been through two renewals with this price / volume relationship . The price hike far outweighs loss of volume.

  3. JZ says:

    so glad i never wasted my time buying these polished turds. nothing like price hikes 2 years in.

  4. “Renewal prices for domains registered before that date will renew at their original wholesale fee, the company added.”
    I believe this might be a violation of their registry agreement, in particular, section 2.10(c), which requires uniform pricing of renewals:
    The exceptions are:
    (1) “if the registrar has provided Registry Operator with documentation that demonstrates that the applicable registrant expressly agreed in its registration agreement with registrar to higher Renewal Pricing at the time of the initial registration”
    Ironically, this exception doesn’t apply, because the the class of older domain name registrants agreed to either standard renewal pricing, or “lower” renewal pricing!
    (2) “qualified marketing program” — doesn’t apply at all (since it can only last for 180 days, for example)
    So, my reading of the contract is that Donuts has to raise the renewal cost on the old registrants, too!
    Which makes sense, since otherwise one can see the opportunities for gaming, etc.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Not sure if I agree with you there George.
      That part of the contract was written, if memory serves, to prevent registries extorting deep-pocketed registrants — for example stopping charging Google a billion dollars a year for
      If a registrant is told at the time of registration their renewal fee is $X, I think the registry is probably compliant.

      • I don’t think so, reading it carefully.
        Example, someone registers “valuable” at a low renewal of $10/yr. Registry wants to oust existing registrants from the space, so they say “New renewal price is $1 million” for new registrants. But, a transfer of to the new registrant would also cost $1 million (since they weren’t party to the old registration agreement).
        So, if old owner of previously thought their domain name was worth $100,000, they’ve suddenly lost their investment, since they can’t sell it to anyone else (they can just keep renewing it for themselves).
        This discriminatory pricing scheme would be a way for registry operators to “take over” valuable domains by making it prohibitively expensive for the domain name to be transferred to anyone but themselves.

        • Kevin Murphy says:

          But the $1 million price would have to be for all new domains, not just the valuable one the registry wanted to take over.
          It would essentially be cutting off the possibility of future registrations just in order to screw over existing registrants.
          And if the name was so valuable, why not just reserve it as a premium at the outset?

          • Hello Kevin,
            The New TLDs are nothing more than Spam Spawn, which GOOGLE and its Ad campaigners are using quite capably in toppling the DNSs Nuetrality, which favors and promotes the Google Ad Networks Eternal costly Billing Cycle its entrapped customers get suckered into paying. Googles legions of Ad Network supporters are prolonging their rapidly obsolescing SEO Marketing strategies by throwing tons of illigitimate junk sites into the already bloated SEO Pipeline. This very effectively destroys a companies Brand Recognition within the huge SEO lineup of companies desperate to be found within Googles vast Maze of companies lost within its virtual Garden.
            How can the Really Smart money get around the Google Money Trap?
            Employ a subdomain instead of a new GTLD or other generic extensions, and in doing so you create the same positive effects a generic designation can have and at the same time dodge all the negatives found in the new extensions being promoted by SEO advocates. The really Smart Online Marketing Strategists steer clear of both the Google Ad Network and the Google inspired new TLD offerings.
            Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master )

  5. Aaron Strong says:

    I have been a proponent of New G’s, however there seems to be some indicators that are cause for concern. On one hand you have .XYZ basically giving away domains. This would not happen with any product that has demand. On the other hand you have Donuts raising renewals substantially to subsidize declining registrations. The actions by both creates confusion and instability. In no way does it create demand. To add to the concern, aftermarket sales are few and far between, without demand the New G’s will continue to struggle.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Donuts is not raising renewals. The price increases only apply to new regs.

      • Aaron Strong says:

        Thanks for clarifying that in this particular case. However, Donuts has raised prices on renewals in the past and with this announcement of raising prices with new regs, it continues to show inconsistencies, suffocating demand….

        • Donuts Inc. says:

          Aaron, Donuts never has raised its wholesale renewal prices.

          • Aaron Strong says:

            I registered several ‘Premium’ Donuts products and have seen increases in 2016 vs. 2015. I would be more than happy to show you if your interested. Based on your answer I am assuming it may be a GoDaddy price increase if not Donuts. If that’s the case we have a whole new dynamic to cause concern.

  6. Dunkin says:

    Donuts never increased renewals in the past. But there were some registrars (read: NOT REGISTRIES) which had wrong pricing correct the price.
    Also just for those who didn’t read it: this increase is for NEW registrations from 1 October 2016.

    • Aaron Strong says:

      “But there were some registrars (read: NOT REGISTRIES) which had wrong pricing correct the price.”
      If true, even some of the registrars are confused. Thanks for clarifying my initial point which remains “confusion”…….For the sake of non confusion I will leave off, as I began, saying that I am a proponent of the New G’s….

  7. page howe says:

    some clarity please, quick question old customers wont see a change, are they just talking about this year.
    in other words does the no change only apply to 2016, then in 2017 even old names go up.
    i think i remember it being explained, forces old registrants to fork over lots of years now

    • Donuts Inc. says:

      Page —
      If you have registered or will register a name in any of these ten gTLDs prior to October 1, 2016, your wholesale renewal fee will not increase (however, keep in mind, registrar pricing can be variable). While registries have the latitude to adjust pricing over time, no further price increases are planned, foreseen or contemplated.

  8. John says:

    It’s the beginning of the end people.
    The new TLD “revolution” is starting to look like a Bangkok hooker on a Sunday morning after the Navy has left town.
    How many times have we seen this in domaining, stocks, Beanie Babies, USA home prices, baseball card collecting (’89-93′) or whatever? Let’s call a spade a spade and stop kidding ourselves.
    Donuts raising the price on these just a farce. It’s a way of trying to save face for a failing extension.
    Also, the “having a sale” hype is beginning to get white-hot between .xyz, Donuts, Uniregistry, and all the other new TLD sellers. That’s when you know the fire is about to go out. Give it one more year and you’ll start to see blood in the streets gushing from these loser extensions that nobody wants.
    As Rick Schwartz Ali said: The numbers don’t lie
    It’s a classic bubble. Pop goes the bubble eventually.

  9. John says:

    Oops….ha, ha. I meant, “As Rick Schwartz always said”

  10. No registrant – no, not me either – likes paying more. But I think Donuts may be doing the appropriate thing in this case.
    As long as price hikes don’t affect renewals or transfers, then the only people affected are those who HAVEN’T registered domains in these nTLDs but who may wish to in the future. Existing registrants as well as end-user customers whom domainers might sell to would be grandfathered into the earlier lower prices.
    That seems a reasonable way to protect customers of all kinds. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    At the same time, raising the prices on unsold merchandise – as opposed to existing subscriptions – is perfectly acceptable.
    Donuts has an obligation to run its registries in the black and turn a profit, if for no other reason than to keep the engine humming. Existing registrants would be badly served if Donuts couldn’t maintain the registry at all. But if Donuts can bring in money, then they can market these nTLDs and raise awareness, which benefits brands built on those nTLDs.
    Sometimes prices must go up. There are economies of scale, obviously. When there are hundreds of thousands or millions of domains registered in a given TLD, it can afford to be cheap. But when there are only 3000 domains, well, the operating costs impose an extra burden on those registrants. It’s no different from anything else.

  11. To say that the Google inspired new Tlds are good speculative investments for the time being is a time sensitive ticking Bomb.
    They may for the time being be a good short term investment, but this will eventually fall a part like a cheap suit.The new Tlds are the least desireable Online Marketing Strategy for the really Smart Online Marketing Strategists. They may be fair short term quick buck vehicles but the .COM Sub-domain alternatives to the new TLDs far outweigh the properties that the new TLDs have and remain the superior Marketing Strategy over the Google supported usage of new TLDs.
    Who needs new TLDs ?
    Google desperately needs them to be adopted as to bolster their paying Google Ads supporters.Oh and of course they charge the Google Ad participants large sums of money to funnel traffic to business competitors. Wake up and smell the coffee,before your business suffers in the Google Ad Network.
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master )

  12. Hello Kevin,
    We are not proponents of the new TLDs because of their outright obsolescence do to no demand. The Regs are trying to create the impression of demand, but are failing miserably. Go back and read Rick Schwartzs many posts about lack of demand for the new TLDs
    Google backs the new TLDs , but even their support is waning. The new TLD Bubble has already burst, Google just does not realize it yet as an unsaveable strategy. Google will eventually pull the plug. If you are smart divest ASAP.
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger) (Former Rockefeller IBEC Marketing Analyst/Strategist) (Licensed CBOE Commodity Hedge Strategist) (Domain Master )

  13. KC says:

    We have two .link domains and have been told by our registrar – godaddy that the renewal price has now gone up 5000% – 2015-£6.10 2016-£319.93
    This is not by them but reclassification by Uniregistry. How can this happen without justification or notification. If it was a new purchase we could understand.
    This is surly blackmail
    The domains are only repointed, so guess customer will let them expire and are useless as covered by trade marks!

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