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NameSilo profitable in Q1

Canadian registrar NameSilo today reported that it took a profit in the first quarter, reversing the loss of a year ago.

The company reported a net income of CAD 330,613, compared to a loss of CAD 3.8 million in Q1 2021, on revenue that was up 34.7% at CAD 10.8 million.

The registrar said its names under management had increased to 4.63 million by the end of March.

NameSilo now believes it is the 11th largest registrar.

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.

Tucows to reanimate Tucows brand as sales flatten

Tucows has become the latest domain name company to confirm it’s experiencing the post-pandemic blues, and said that it plans to revitalize the Tucows brand.

Reporting basically flat-to-down domain numbers on Thursday night, the company said that it plans to “more closely connect the Tucows parent and the registrar brands” in the coming months.

“For more than two decades, Tucows has been synonymous with domain registration. In the coming months, you will see a stronger connection of the Tucows brand with our registrar properties, with each anchored by the rich heritage of the Tucows name,” Dave Woroch, CEO of Tucows Domains, said in prepared remarks.

It’s not clear what this will entail in practice. The company’s main brands are Hover in retail and OpenSRS and Enom in wholesale, and you’d be hard pressed to find a mention of Tucows on any of their storefronts.

First-quarter domain revenue was “essentially unchanged” from the same period a year ago, at $61.5 million compared to $61.2 million.

Retail domains revenue was down to $9.1 million from $9.2 million. While wholesale revenue was $52.5 million versus $52 million, the increase was driven by value-added services rather than domain revenue, which was basically flat.

The renewal rate was a healthy 81%.

Woroch said that domain transactions “are now settling back in at pre-pandemic levels” after the lockdown bumps experienced over the last two years. He pointed to Verisign’s recent comments to suggest these are industry trends.

Including Tucows non-domains businesses, revenue was up 14% to $81.1 million and there was an overall net loss of $3.0 million compared to a profit of $2.1 million.

Secondary market fluffs GoDaddy amid slowdown concerns

Secondary market domain sales continued to drive growth in the first quarter, GoDaddy reported this week, amid fears of slowing growth in new primary market sales.

It’s difficult to gauge exactly how well domains are selling, because the company has stopped breaking out domains as a separate revenue segment in its quarterly earnings releases.

Instead, it’s bundled domains, hosting and basic security together into a new “core platform” segment, frustrating those of us who like to see domain performance to track broader industry trends.

This “core platform” grew by 9% year-over-year in Q1, to $699.6 million, and CFO Mark McCaffrey told analysts that 40% of this growth was driven by secondary market domain sales.

“Core Platform bookings grew 5% year-over-year,” McCaffrey added. Bookings give a better indication of new sales.

A week earlier, .com registry Verisign had said that its registrars were seeing primary sales volumes growth slowing due to the easing of coronavirus restrictions that had pumped growth and general post-pandemic economic malaise.

If that is happening, GoDaddy’s secondary market sales, where it has blurred the lines between retail storefront and aftermarket sales platform in recent years, provides some insulation.

Overall, in Q1 the company saw revenue of up 11.3% at $1 billion and net income up from $10.8 million to $68.6 million.

ICANN salary porn: 2021 edition

Kevin Murphy, May 3, 2022, Domain Policy

It’s that time of year again when ICANN publishes its tax returns and we all get to ogle the phat paychecks its top brass are cutting themselves with domain registrants’ money.

Headlining, CEO Göran Marby actually got paid a bit less in fiscal 2021, which ended last June, than he did the previous year — $908,674, plus another $68,866 from “other” sources.

That total of $977,540 is lower than the total of $1,059,222 he received in fiscal 2020, largely due to receiving about $94,000 less in bonus payments.

Marby was given a 5% pay raise in February 2021, though not without some director dissent.

The Form 990 goes on to disclose the salaries of 35 ICANN management and directors, showing that 19 of them make over $300,00 a year. Five, including Marby, receive over half a million dollars.

Directors, if they choose to draw a salary, take home a flat $45,000, which is sometimes paid to their companies instead. Chair Maarten Botterman had $75,000 paid to his consulting company.

The filing reveals that VP Cyrus Namazi, who left the Org during the period after attracting sexual harassment complaints from at least two female colleagues, was given a $375,000 golden parachute.

And former COO Susanna Bennett was given $380,380 in severance payments, despite the fact that her departure was originally described by Marby as her own voluntary decision.

Law firm Jones Day was the best-paid contractor, billing $8,769,608 in the year. That was up from $5,513,028 in the previous year.

Software developers Architect, Zensar and OSTechnical received $2,769,856, $1,396,232 and $1,093,070 respectively, presumably for work on the ICANN web site.

ICANN’s revenue for the year was $163,942,482, of which $97.5 million came from registrars and registries.

The Org had $555,804,201 in assets at the end of the year.

You can download the forms here.

A sign of things to come? Verisign slashes outlook in post-pandemic slowdown

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2022, Domain Registries

Verisign is warning that its business is going to grow slower than expected in 2022, due to the after-effects of the pandemic and general economic conditions.

The registry tonight reported first-quarter revenue of $347 million, up 7% on the comparable period a year ago, after raising its .com prices 7% last year.

But the company has slashed its sales estimates for the year.

CEO Jim Bidzos told analysts this evening that the company and its registrars have started to see a post-pandemic slowdown in sales, exacerbated by other unspecified “macro-economic factors”.

“Incremental demand for new registrations that grew during the pandemic is subsiding,” Bidzos said.

Many domain companies, including Verisign, saw growth spikes during the pre-vaccine pandemic, when many small businesses moved to online sales to stay afloat during recurring lockdown restrictions.

But that’s all over now, and the economic fallout most of us are feeling seems to also be affecting domain sales.

The company said its net income for the first quarter was $158 million, up from $150 a year ago. Its operating margin slipped a little, however, from an enormous 65% to an enormous 64.8%.

Verisign ended the quarter with 161.3 million .com domains and 13.1 million .net domains under management, up 4% combined at 174.7 million.

The renewal rate for .com and .net domains was estimated at 74.8%, up from 73.5% a year ago.

The company expects its domain base to grow between 1.75% and 3.5% this year. That’s down quite significantly from its February estimate of growth between 2.5% and 4.5%.

It added 10.1 million new names in the quarter, compared to 10.6 million in Q4 and 11.1 million in Q1 last year.

While Bidzos did not drill very deep into the other factors contributing to his pessimistic outlook, he did say that the war in Ukraine was not a factor. Sales in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are “not material”, he said.

I suspect what we’re looking at here is probably related to what the media here in the UK is calling the “cost of living crisis”, which is seeing the price of staples such as food and energy skyrocket and many people cut back on luxuries as a result.

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%.

Radix renewals drive growth as revenue hits $38 million

New gTLD registry Radix brought in revenue of $38 million in 2021, up 35% on the year before, the privately held company said today.

Profit was up 60% over the same period, Radix said, without disclosing the dollar amount.

It made almost as much in renewal revenue in 2021 as it made overall in 2020 — $27 million versus $17.9 million in the prior year. Last year 72% of revenue was standard-fee renewals versus 64% in 2020.

But the revenue from new regs was basically basically flat at $5.7 million versus $5.6 million — 15% versus 20% of overall revenue.

Revenue from premium-tier domains (both new regs and renews) was 12.5% of revenue, or $4.75 million, up from $4.5 million in 2020.

The customer country mix may be a little broader too. Radix said 47% of revenue now comes from the US, which is down from the 64% it reported for the previous year.

The company said .online is still the strongest performer in its portfolio.

GoDaddy now making over $1 billion a quarter

Kevin Murphy, February 11, 2022, Domain Registrars

It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago that GoDaddy became the first domain registrar to top $1 billion in annual revenue. It was actually 2013. Now, it’s doing that in a quarter.

The company last night reported fourth-quarter revenue of $1.02 billion, almost half of which was from domains, up from $873.9 million a year earlier.

Domains revenue was up a whopping 23.6% at $497.3 million, but this was mainly due to aftermarket sales and the registry business.

The company does not report its domains under management, growth or renewal rates in its quarterly earnings announcements.

CFO Mark McCaffrey told analysts that up to two thirds of the growth could be attributed to the aftermarket, where domains sell at premium prices, and GoDaddy “saw an uptick in both volume and average deal size”.

He also highlighted GoDaddy Registry as a key growth contributor, due to the launch in Q4 of a “reputation protection solution” that I can only assume refers to the AdultBlock service that blocks trademarks in the company’s four porn gTLDs.

GoDaddy sent out renewal notices for AdultBlock, valued at as much as $30 million, in December.

It’s not currently possible to measure the success of AdultBlock from public data sources. GoDaddy expunged the roughly 80,000 blocked .xxx domains from its zone file on December 1. Whereas they previously resolved to a registry placeholder, now they do not resolve at all.

Domains revenue for the full year was $1.81 billion, up 19.5%. Including non-domains businesses, annual revenue was $3.81 billion, up 15%.

The company had 2021 net income of $242.8 million, reversing a loss of $494.1 million in 2020.

Post-lockdown blues hit Tucows’ growth

Kevin Murphy, February 11, 2022, Domain Registrars

Tucows’ domain business was pretty much flat in the fourth quarter and full-year 2021, as the company hit the trough following the spike of the pandemic lockdown bump.

The registrar said last night that its Domain Services business saw new registrations down or flat in both wholesale and retail channels, even when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The company said (pdf) it ended the year with 25.2 million domains under management, down from 25.4 million a year earlier. The total number of new, renewed or transferred-in domains was 17.4 million, down from 18.2 million.

For the fourth quarter, the total new, renewed or transferred-in domains was 4 million, compared to 4.3 million a year earlier.

In prepared remarks (pdf), CEO Elliot Noss said that wholesale-segment registrations were down 6% to 3.7 million in Q4 and new registrations were down 27% from 2020’s pandemic-related “outsized volumes”.

In retail, total new, renewed and transferred registrations for the quarter were just over 310,000, down 16%, he said. New registrations were down 21% year over year.

The domains business reported revenue of $61.4 million in the fourth quarter, down from $61.8 million in the year-earlier period.

Domain revenue from wholesale was down to $47.1 million from $47.5 million. Retail was down to $8.7 million from $9.2 million. EBITDA across both channels was $11.6 million, down from $12.1 million.

The renewal rates for wholesale and retail were a more-than-respectable 80% and 85% respectively.

Some of the declines can be attributed to the pandemic-related bump Tucows and other registrars experienced in 2020.

Margins had been impacted a bit by the acquisition of UNR’s back-end registry business, the integration of which Noss said has now been fully completed.

For the full company, including non-domain businesses such as mobile and fiber, revenue for the year was down 2.2% at $304.3 million and net income was down 41.7% at $3.4 million.

The company also announced it has renewed its $40 million share buyback program.