Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

CentralNic gobbles up another registrar

Kevin Murphy, October 27, 2022, Domain Registrars

CentralNic said it is to acquire California-based corporate domain registrar Intellectual Property Management Company for $7.6 million.

The company said the all-cash deal represents about 2.8x IPMC’s 2021 revenue and about seven times EBITDA.

CentralNic already plays in the corporate domain management space — it picked up BrandShelter when it merged with Key-Systems a few years ago.

But it’s the first acquisition in the domain space in a while. CentralNic is highly acquisitive, but recent buys have been mainly in the advertising and domain monetization space, which is driving huge growth.

CentralNic expects to blow past revenue estimates

Kevin Murphy, October 18, 2022, Domain Registries

CentralNic has updated its financial projections for the year, saying it expects to “materially exceed” the current analysts’ estimates.

The London-listed company expects to next month report revenue for the nine months to September 30 up 86% at $525 million and adjusted EBITDA of “at least” $61 million, up 89% compared to last year.

That’s just for three quarters. The latest analyst consensus estimate was for revenue of $626.6 million and EBITDA of $72.5 million for the entire year, the company said.

Twelve-month organic growth, excluding the effect of acquisitions, to September 30 is estimated at 66%.

CentralNic said growth is being “driven predominantly by the growth of the Online Marketing Segment, which continues to win market share as a result of the ever-increasing demand for online customer acquisition services that are privacy-safe.”

CentralNic picks up marketing firm for up to $19 million

Kevin Murphy, September 14, 2022, Domain Registries

CentralNic has made yet another acquisition, this time of a young Israeli online marketing company in a deal worth up to $19 million.

The company said it is buying M.A Aporia Ltd for $11.2 million, with the possibility of up to an extra $7.8 million in performance-related payouts by 2024.

Aporia provides services that research audiences and target advertising. CentralNic said it had revenue of $35 million last year, along with gross profit of $3.5 million and EBITDA of $2 million.

But CentralNic said the company is an exclusive supplier and therefore won’t increase its top line in the short term. Instead, it will improve margins and earnings by cutting out a middleman from the online marketing business.

CEO Ben Crawford described the move as “disintermediating the value chain… removing transaction costs and friction losses”.

CentralNic passes on abandoned dot-brand

Kevin Murphy, September 6, 2022, Domain Registries

CentralNic has sold on the dead dot-brand it acquired last year, to a company run by Sav.com’s CEO.

.case was originally owned by CNH Industrial, a large maker of industrial machinery, but it was sold off to CentralNic subsidiary Helium last year when the company dumped its portfolio of unwanted dot-brands.

I speculated at the time that it was acquired merely to be sold — Helium previously acted as an interregnum operators of .fans, and that turned out to be correct. CentralNic did nothing with it — the NIC page still shows images of diggers — and it has no registered domains.

The new owner is a company called Digity, whose president is Sav.com CEO Anthos Chrysanthou.

CentralNic revenue almost doubles

Kevin Murphy, August 30, 2022, Domain Registries

CentralNic has reported its first-half financial results, showing revenue up 93% to $334.6 million when compared to the same period last year.

Given the company’s acquisitive nature, some of the growth of course came from companies it has recently bought, but CentralNic said trailing 12-month organic revenue growth was a health 62%.

Adjusted EBITDA for the period was $38.6 million, up 97% on the first half of 2021.

Domain names, what the company calls its Online Presence segment, now account for a minority of CentralNic’s revenue, $76.8 million in the half, down a bit on last year due to currency exchange rates.

The company said it has been shaking up its strategy by reducing the amount of discounted domains it sells. Average revenue-per-domain went up from $8.90 to $9.60, but volumes were down from 6.5 million to 6 million as a result.

The Online Marketing segment grew 167% to $257.8 million. Organic revenue growth was 98%, “predominantly driven by CentralNic’s TONIC media buying business”.

Visitor sessions was up from 1.1 billion to 2 billion and RPM was up 87% from $106.

CentralNic signs Greenland deal

CentralNic says it has won a contract to supply registry management software to Greenland’s ccTLD.

It appears to be a software licensing deal rather than an outsourced registry back-end contract.

Greenland’s .gl domain is management by local telco Tusass, which awarded the contract.

Greenland is one of three countries comprising Denmark. CentralNic also supports .fo, for the Faroe Islands.

It’s not known how many names are registered in .gl, but with a population of barely 56,000 the number of local registrations is likely to be tiny.

The are no residency requirements to register .gl names, however, and prices are .com-competitive.

Perhaps its best-known domain was Google’s discontinued link-shortener service goo.gl.

CentralNic revenue almost doubles

CentralNic has reported its preliminary first-half financial report, showing a top line that almost doubled compared to last year.

The company, which nowadays makes most of its growth from domain monetization, saw revenue up 92% to $335 million, driven by acquisitions. Organic revenue growth was up 62%.

Adjusted EBITDA was up 85% at $38 million, CentralNic said.

The company credited its online marketing segment, which it has built through acquisitions over the last couple of years, for the bulk of the growth.

Speaking of acquisitions, CentralNic also said today that it’s on the hook for $1,138,400 due to the acquisition of KeyDrive — holding company for the likes of registrar Moniker and registry KSRegistry — which was carried out in 2018.

That’s at the low-end of the up to $10.5 million in performance-related acquisition payout announced at the time.

Universal unacceptance? ICANN lets XYZ dump languages from UNR gTLDs

Even as CEO Göran Marby was accepting an ambassadorship from the Universal Acceptance Steering Group last month, ICANN was quietly approving a registry’s plan to drop support for several languages, potentially putting dozens of domains at risk.

It seems portfolio registry XYZ.com was having problems migrating the 10 gTLDs it recently acquired in UNR’s firesale auction from the UNR back-end to long-time partner CentralNic, so it’s cutting off some language support to ease the transition.

The company told ICANN in a recent Registry Services Evaluation Process request (pdf) that internationalized domain names in Cyrillic, Chinese, Japanese and German were “causing issues with the [Registry System Testing] for the technical transition”.

“So, in order to move forward with the migration to CentralNic, we have no choice but to remove support for these IDNs. This will only impact fewer than 50 registrations in these TLDs,” the company told ICANN.

I asked both XYZ and CentralNic whether this means the IDN domains in question would be deleted but got no response from either.

Support for the four languages will be removed in .christmas, .guitars, .pics, .audio, .diet, .flowers, .game, .hosting, .lol, .mom according to contractual amendments that ICANN has subsequently approved.

The RSEP was published the same week ICANN signed a memorandum of understanding with .eu registry EURid, promising to collaborate on IDNs and universal acceptance.

The same week, Marby, who has stated publicly on several occasions his commitment to IDNs and UA, was named an honorary ambassador of the UASG to “help amplify the importance of UA work to enable a multilingual Internet”.

UPDATE July 24, 2022:
CentralNic CTO Gavin Brown says:

I can confirm that no domains will be deleted or suspended due to the withdrawal of these IDN tables. The RSEP request template we provided to XYZ incorrectly stated that domains would be deleted, however, neither we nor XYZ have any plans to delete or suspend any domains, and we hope to re-enable the IDN tables in the near future.

Domain sales down even as revenue booms at CentralNic

CentralNic has posted stunning growth for the first quarter, even as it sold fewer domain names.

The company said this morning that revenue increased by 86% to $156.6 million in the three months to March 31, helped along by a few acquisitions in the monetization segment. Organic growth for the 12 months was roughly 53%.

Profit was $4 million versus a $1.4 million loss. Adjusted EBITDA was up 83% to $18.5 million, the company said.

CentralNic said it processed 3.1 million domain registrations in the quarter, down from 3.4 million a year earlier, but said this was because it moved away from selling domains cheaply in bulk.

This meant average annual revenue per domain was up 11% to $9.50, it said.

The online presence segment, which includes domains, was up 2% to $39.7 million.

But the online marketing segment, which includes domain monetization, was up 158% to $116.9 million, again helped by acquisitions.

CentralNic also disclosed that the price it agreed to pay for the .ruhr gTLD, a German geographic, back in January was €300,000, split into two payments of €150,000.

CentralNic sees 51% growth in Q1

Kevin Murphy, April 25, 2022, Domain Registries

CentralNic says it expects to report first-quarter growth of 51% and that its 2022 performance is likely to exceed expectations.

The company, which acts as registry and registrar but now makes most of its money from domain monetization, said it expects Q1 revenue to come in at about $156 million, with and adjusted EBITDA of about 18 million.

The gains are largely driven by its online marketing segment, CentralNic said in a statement to the markets this morning.

The company said in January that its 2021 annual revenue growth was 37%.