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GoDaddy price increases lead to revenue growth

GoDaddy last night reported domains revenue ahead of forecasts after it raised its prices and sold more higher-priced domains on the aftermarket.

The company’s Core Platform segment, which includes domains and hosting, reported first-quarter revenue up 4% compared to a year ago at $725 million, with domains revenue driving growth, up 7% percent to $532 million.

Domains under management was 84.6 million at the end of March 31.

“Our growth was driven by strong demand for domains in the primary and secondary market, increased pricing in the primary market and a higher average transaction value in the secondary market,” CFO Mark McCaffrey said in prepared remarks.

Aftermarket revenue was up 12% to an unspecified amount.

Including the company’s other revenue streams, GoDaddy reported net income of $401.5 million on revenue up 7% at $1.1 billion.

Verisign, the .com registry, last week reported stagnating .com growth that it blamed in part on US registrars raising their retail prices, leading to lower first-year sales and renewals.

.com still shrinking because of China

Kevin Murphy, April 29, 2024, Domain Registries

Verisign’s .com gTLD shrunk by over a quarter million domains in the first quarter due to softness in China and US registrars’ pesky habit of putting up prices and the pain is likely to continue for the rest of the year, according to Verisign.

There were about 159.4 million .com domains and 13.1 million .net domains at the end of March, down a combined 270,000 from the end of 2023, Verisign said during its first-quarter earnings call on Thursday. Most of the decline appears to be in .com.

Registrations from Chinese registrars, which are about 5% of the total, were down about 360,000 in the period. Not ideal, but a lot less sharp of a drop than the 2.2 million it lost in Q4.

There were 9.5 million new registrations across both zones in the quarter, compared to 10.3 million in the year-ago period.

But CEO Jim Bidzos told analysts that competition from low-priced new gTLDs, some of which sell year one for under a dollar, is likely harming .com’s growth among cost-conscious Chinese registrants.

But he said the company is also seeing “softness” from US registrars, which he said are increasingly focused on increasing average revenue per user and putting up retail prices. This leads to fewer new registrations and renewals.

Bidzos said Verisign expects to introduce new marketing programs in the second half of the year — around the same time as the company’s base .com wholesale fee goes up from $9.59 to $10.26 — to help offset these declines.

The renewal rate for Q1 is expected to be about 74% compared to 75.5% a year ago. Bidzos said the total domain base shrinkage could be worse in Q2 due to the larger number of names coming up for renewal.

The company lowered its guidance for the year to between 0.25% growth and negative 1.75%. In February, it had guided flat, with a 1% swing in either direction.

Verisign’s top and bottom lines continue to grow during the quarter, with revenue up 5.5% at $384 million and net income up from $179 million to $194 million.

Tucows reports 2023 results

Kevin Murphy, February 23, 2024, Domain Registrars

Tucows reported a domains business that was slightly stronger in the fourth quarter, as the company’s overall revenue grew by over 10%.

The registrar said its Tucows Domains unit grew by 2.6% at $61.8 million in the period, compared to Q4 2022. Gross profit was up 2.5% at $18.9 million and adjusted EBITDA was $10.8 million, up 2.1%.

For the full year, Domains brought in revenue down slightly at $242.1 million from $243.2 million in 2022. Gross profit was down from $78.2 million to $66.7 million and adjusted EBITDA was down to $42.6 million from $44.8 million in 2022.

CEO Elliot Noss said that he expects EBITDA for the domains business in 2024 to be $43 million.

Tucows’ domains under management was up at bit at the end of December, with 24.56 million names compared to 24.54 million at the end of Q3 and 24.39 million at the end of 2022.

Domains represents about 31% of the company’s overall business, with its Ting internet access services and Wavelo telecoms software unit making up the rest.

The company’s total revenue for Q4 was flat sequentially at $86.9 million, up from $78 million in the year-ago period. Full-year revenue was $339.3 million, up from $321.1 million in 2022.

ICANN spends $5 million more than planned in first fiscal half

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2024, Domain Policy

ICANN published its second fiscal quarter financials yesterday, revealing a roughly $5 million overspend in the second half of 2023.

The Org spent $72 million of its $74 million revenue in the six months to December 31, more than the $67 million spend it had budgeted for.

ICANN said the overspend came mainly in its Community and Engagement reporting segment, with the $4 million excess “driven by higher than planned costs for ICANN78, community programs, and meetings support”.

The same report shows that ICANN 78, which took place in Hamburg last October, cost about $900,000 more than expected largely because it spent more on air fares and had to put on more sessions than it originally expected.

It also spent about $100,000 on its 25th anniversary celebration, a line item that had not appeared in its budget. Because who can predict an anniversary, right?

Hamburg was the most-expensive meeting since the pandemic ended, costing about $5.4 million and attracting over 2,500 attendees. The Kuala Lumpur meeting a year earlier had cost $4.7 million.

ICANN’s revenue was described as “flat”, but a breakdown shows a roughly $1 million (rounded) shortfall in both registry and registrar transaction fees compared to the budget. This is likely linked to shrinkages in Verisign’s .com sales over the period.

GoDaddy reports strong domains growth

Kevin Murphy, February 14, 2024, Domain Registrars

GoDaddy reported its fourth-quarter financial results last night, including growth in primary and secondary market domain sales it described as strong.

The company reported Q4 net income up 1,132% at $1.13 billion, on revenue up 5.8% at $1.1 billion. Income was higher than revenue due to a tax fiddle worth about a billion dollars.

CEO Aman Bhutani told analysts that domains revenue growth in the quarter was up 4%, while domains bookings was up 7%. Aftermarket domain sales totaled $118 million, an increase of 14%, he said.

For the full year, GoDaddy had net income up 295% at $1.39 billion on revenue that grew 4% to $4.25 billion. The annual results were of course also affected by the same tax situation.

.com is shrinking but Verisign raises prices again anyway

Kevin Murphy, February 9, 2024, Domain Registries

Verisign has confirmed that it plans to exercise its fourth and final .com price-increasing power under its current registry contract, even as its domains under management continues to head south.

The company confirmed last night that it will increase the annual registration and renewal wholesale fee for a .com domain from $9.59 to $10.26 on September 1 this year. It’s the last of the four times it’s allowed to raise prices by up to 7% in its current contract with ICANN, which expires in November.

The news came as Verisign reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 financial results, which were as profitable as we’ve come to expect.

But in terms of domains under management, .com and .net continued to decline, which CEO Jim Bidzos told analysts was all China’s fault. Domains managed by Chinese registrars shrank by 2.2 million in Q4, leading to an overall .com/.net shrinkage of 1.2 million names.

There were nine million new .com/.net registrations in Q4, down from 9.7 million in the same quarter in 2022.

Bidzos said the decline in China was due to factors such as stricter local regulations and a weaker economy, and said he expects those challenges to continue to hit Verisign’s numbers in 2024. He did not blamed higher prices for the drop.

Indeed, the .com zone file has been shrinking by about 1,500 domains per day on average since the start of the year. Zone numbers are usually a reliable predictor of DUM trends.

Revenue from China was down about $14.4 million, CFO George Kilguss said.

Bidzos said Verisign expects its DUM to be flat this year, with a possible 1% swing either way.

For Q4, the company reported revenue up 3% year over year at $380 million, with $265 million net income, up from $179 million a year earlier.

For the whole of 2023, revenue was up 4.8% at $1.49 billion and net income was $818 million, up from $674 million in 2022.

Team Internet says revenue beat estimates

Kevin Murphy, January 29, 2024, Domain Registries

Team Internet gave a preview of its 2023 earnings report this morning, saying that revenue grew faster than its own targets and analysts’ estimates.

The company, formerly CentraNic, expects to post revenue around $835 million, up 15% on 2022, and profit up 12% at $96 million for the year.

The firm’s Online Presence segment, which includes the domains business, had revenue up 16% at $179 million, while the far larger Online Marketing segment saw revenue up 14% at $656 million.

Team Internet will report its full results on March 18.

GoDaddy domains revenue crosses half a billion

Kevin Murphy, November 3, 2023, Domain Registrars

GoDaddy sold more than half a billion dollars of domain names in the third quarter even as volumes slightly decreased, according to its latest earnings release.

The company had domains revenue of $508.2 million in Q3, compared to $494 million a year ago and $492.7 in the second quarter, according to regulatory filings. The aftermarket revenue component was down 2% at $107 million.

It had 84 million domains under management at the end of the quarter, compared to 84.2 million at the end of June. About three quarters of GoDaddy’s DUM are in gTLDs and about 60% are in .com, according to registry reports.

Overall, GoDaddy’s revenue was up 3.5% compared to a year ago at $1.07 billion. Net income was $131 million compared to $100 million a year ago.

China has .com’s growth by the balls

Kevin Murphy, October 30, 2023, Domain Registries

Verisign has downgraded its expectations for .com/.net growth for the year into potentially negative territory, citing — not for the first time — low demand from China.

The registry expects its domain name base to grow at a maximum of 0.4% or shrink as much as 0.4% by the end of the year. That compares to a prediction of between 0% and 2.25% growth at the start of the year.

“Low demand from China remains the primary source of drag on the overall domain name base growth,” CEO Jim Bidzos told analysts on Thursday. “Excluding registrars based in China, both our domain name base and new registrations are up year-over-year”.

The company’s regulatory filing for Q3 shows that China revenue was down from $26.8 million to $22 million over the year. It was the only one of the four geographic reporting segments to show a shrinkage.

Verisign ended Q3 173.9 million .com/.net domains under management, down 0.1% over the year and down half a million names in the quarter.

While DUM growth may be on the decline, price hikes compensate and keep Verisign’s dollar-growth going.

The company reported year-over-year revenue growth up 5.4% at $376 million for the quarter of 2023. Net income was $188 million, up from $169 million a year ago.

Tucows and GoDaddy see weakness in big-ticket aftermarket sales

Two of the industry’s largest registrars saw weakness in their first-quarter revenues which they attributed largely to a lack of high-priced secondary market sales.

This lumpier and less-predictable side of the market saw Tucows overall domains revenue down 4% in the period, while GoDaddy saw its “core platform” revenue down a million bucks or 0.2%.

GoDaddy said a 5% increase in domains revenue was “offset by tough compares for our aftermarket business as well as the continued uneven flow of large transactions.”

Tucows said it has “experienced a weaker aftermarket for domain sales, most notably at the higher end of the price range”.

GoDaddy’s core services revenue was down to $698 million from $699.6 million a year ago. Overall revenue was $1.036 billion, up 3.3%. Its net income was down 30% at $47.4 million.

Tucows’ overall revenue was down 0.8% at $80.4 million, with a net loss of $19.1 million compared to a loss of $3 million a year ago.