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Tucows exits its domain name portfolio

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 1
Company no longer holds a portfolio of domains for the secondary market.

Tucows (NASDAQ: TCX) released its Q3 earnings yesterday. You can see the numbers here (pdf), but they aren’t the headline for the domain segment. Instead, it’s this: after many years of owning its a domain portfolio, Tucows has exited that business.

It still owns a portfolio of surname domain names that it uses for its Realnames email service. But it no longer holds a portfolio of domain names to monetize via pay-per-click and to sell on the aftermarket.

It sold the remainder of its portfolio over the past few months. It made a bulk sale of $1.9 million during the third quarter and $1.4 million after the quarter ended. (I believe that GoDaddy was the buyer.)

Tucows CEO Elliot Noss explained the change in the aftermarket business in the latest pre-recorded investor conference call (pdf):

We have owned our own portfolio for a little over a decade now, and it’s been a great tactical business, consistently generating sales in the range of $2 and $3 million annually, with relatively little ebb and flow, and with some years punctuated by a larger bulk sale or two.

Throughout this period, two things were true. We were always adding to the portfolio through the expiry stream and we were always needing to increase the transaction volume in order to maintain the same levels. At the same time, the underlying demand in this segment was declining as the increasing sophistication of SEO and related online advertising technologies reduced the returns on direct navigation domain names. We have all witnessed the maturation of online advertising technologies over this time as they evolved from a relatively blunt instrument to an amazing precision tool that now tracks every element of our life with great accuracy and provides incredibly efficient, if sometimes annoying, results. Through this maturation, the value of domain name traffic has declined to the point where we made the decision, starting a couple of years ago, to first reduce our exposure to this segment, and  finally, to exit it completely. We do want to note that the value of a premium domain name, as a name for a company itself, has never waned — it’s at least what it was when we started this exercise –and might even be up over time. Despite the fact that premium names was the segment of the market that we focused on, the value of leads was the primary driver for the health of this segment.

Tl;dr: Direct navigation and domain parking went to shit, which has dramatically changed the domain name investing business.

There’s some good news for domain investors in this announcement. Investors were annoyed that Tucows would cherry-pick expiring inventory for its own portfolio. Now it’s sending all of it to GoDaddy Auctions.

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GoDaddy reports Q3 earnings; Website builder has 1 million paid users

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 2
Website builder hits key milestone as revenue continues upward climb.

GoDaddy reported third quarter 2019 earnings this afternoon.

Total revenue was $760.5 million, up 11.9% year over year, or 13.3% on a constant currency basis. The revenue number hit the midpoint of GoDaddy’s forecast for the quarter.

Domains revenue was $345.3 million, up 11.6% year over year. Revenue from the domains segment was $334.4 million in the second quarter.

The company also announced that its Websites + Marketing platform now has over one million paid users. The company reinvigorated the product with a new brand in September.

For comparison, Wix had 4.3 million paid users at the end of Q2 this year.

I’ve used the updated Websites + Marketing platform and believe it is well positioned for growth. Of all of the major website builder platforms (Wix, Weebly, Squarespace), GoDaddy’s is by far the easiest to use and set up a website quickly.

GoDaddy narrowed its revenue forecast for the year to $2.98 billion to $2.99 billion from $2.97 billion to $3.00 billion.

 

 

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Part of MarkMonitor sold to OpSec Security

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 3
Clarivate will retain the domain name business.

Clarivate Analytics (NYSE: CCC) is selling part of its MarkMonitor business to OpSec Security.

OpSec Security is an anticounterfeiting and brand protection company. It will acquire the MarkMonitor brand protection, antipiracy and antifraud business from Clarivate.

This does not include the MarkMonitor Domain Management business. Clarivate is re-organizing its business into two groups, one of which will cover intellectual property and will include MarkMonitor’s domain business.

The portion of MarkMonitor that Clarivate is retaining will still do brand protection as it relates to cybersquatting, trademark detection, etc. However, it will no longer do anticounterfeiting detection and mitigation, antipiracy, and antifraud.

Clarivate will retain the MarkMonitor brand.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the yar.

 

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Do you trust your domain name registrar?

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 4
Read the terms, but also consider which company you trust to hold your domains.

My story this week about Uniregistry adding a late renewal fee has snowballed. People actually read Uniregistry’s terms for perhaps the first time, and they didn’t like everything they saw.

The language suggests that Uniregistry can take your domain away without giving a grace period. That would obviously be bad.

But take a look at many other registrar’s terms of service and registration agreements and you’ll see something similar. They often reserve the right to not allow renewal past the expiration.

There are other terms in agreements, especially registry agreements, that let many parties take your domain name away.

Despite what Uniregistry’s terms say, the company told Website Hosting Review, “Uniregistry.com has never and will never simply appropriate someone’s domain name immediately upon expiration.”

Ultimately, choosing which registrar you work with comes down to more than a question of what’s in their legal terms. It comes down to a question of trust. Who do you trust to serve as your registrar and not screw you?

I’ve observed the trust factor of various registrars ebb and flow over the years. Sometimes it’s because key personnel leave or the company is taken over. Sometimes the registrar is run unethically, other times it’s run ineptly.

I definitely encourage domain investors to read the terms they agree to. But I also suggest that they think about which registrar they trust.

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Uniregistry adds “late renewal” fee

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 5
Registrar will charge a fee if you renew domains in the last ten days of the grace period.

Uniregistry sent a notice to customers today informing them that it has updated its Terms of Service, including adding a “late renewal” fee for domains renewed toward the end of the grace period.

The fee applies to domains registered during the final ten days of the 40 day grace period after a domain expires.

Uniregistry says it’s making this move in response to customers trying to renew at the last minute and missing the deadline:

We have observed a small number of incidents where some customers delay renewing their domain names until the last possible moment, as an expense management technique. While customers are entitled to manage their payment practices as they see fit, this practice has consumed an inordinate amount of customer support time and expense when customers fail to appropriately time these late renewals. In order to dis-incentivize this practice, we have instituted a nominal “late renewal” fee, which we hope will allow us to maintain lower costs for all of our customers.

The email notice doesn’t link to the actual terms of service, but the new language is in section 2.13.

It’s unclear how much the late renewal fee is. The Terms refer to Uniregistry’s pricing page, which does not currently list a late renewal fee. Presumably, it will be less than the $50 restore fee for .com domains. [Update: it will be $10 when it is imposed.]

There are two benefits to waiting to renew a domain. First, depending on how the registrar auctions expired domains, it could give you some intel into the domain’s demand. Second, it postpones the renewal expense.

But I’ve never really understood the expense management side of this. You effectively get 30-40 days of “free registration” but only one time. During this time, your domains will point to registrar default servers so your for-sale landers will not appear. If you really need this extra grace period, you should probably re-evaluate your finances.

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.Com Winners & Losers: A strong month for NameSilo

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 6
NameSilo has strong month. Here’s how other registrars fared.

ICANN has published the latest official data from Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) about the .com namespace. This registrar-by-registrar report covers June 2019.

NameSilo surged this month, landing at #5 on the monthly list. It’s also nipping at the heels of GMO for #10 on the total .com DUMs chart.

This month I began including Ascio and EPAG in Tucows’ numbers. Previously, I only included Tucows and Enom.

Here’s how registrars did in terms of new .com registrations:

1. GoDaddy.com* (NYSE: GDDY) 844698 (936,916 in May)
2. Xin Net Technology Corporation 254,177 (244,299)
3. Tucows** (NASDAQ:TCX) 188,913 (see note)
4. Alibaba (HiChina) 158,341 (127,090)
5. NameSilo (CSE:URL) 149,951 (86,680)
6. NameCheap Inc. 148,553 (154,281)
7. Chengdu West 128,004 (157,668)
8. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) 118,274 (119,903)
9. Endurance+ (NASDAQ: EIGI) 117,245 (127,762)
10. United Internet 61,939 (n/a)

Here’s the leaderboard of the top registrars in terms of total .com registrations as of the end of June 2019.

1. GoDaddy* 51,012,237 (51,026,467 in May)
2. Tucows** 13,265,609  (see note)
3. Endurance+ 6,928,107 (6,981,256)
4. Web.com++ 6,638,229 (6,677,492)
5. Alibaba 6,250,554 (6,308,304)
6. United Internet^ 5,558,557 (5,575,836 )
7. Namecheap 4,855,101 (4,799,244)
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 4,201,902 (3,982,474)
9. Google 2,580,499 (2,506,924)
10. GMO 2,081,293 (2,062,451)

Many domain companies have multiple accreditations and I’ve tried to capture the largest ones. See the notes below.

* Includes GoDaddy, Wild West Domains and 123 Reg
** Includes Tucows, Enom, Ascio and EPAG
+ Includes PDR, Domain.com, FastDomain and Bigrock. There are other Endurance registrars, but these are the biggest.
++ Includes Network Solutions and Register.com
^ Includes 1&1, PSI, Cronon, United-Domains, Arsys and world4you

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How to give your developer access to just one domain at GoDaddy

How to give your developer access to just one domain at GoDaddy
Here’s a tutorial on granting limited access to a developer to manage a single domain at GoDaddy.
Letting your web developer register a domain on your behalf or have full access to your registrar account is a bad idea.
Unfortunately, not all domain registrars offer an easy way to grant access to a developer to make changes to one domain name. GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar, offers a way but it’s not very intuitive. Here’s a tutorial.
1. Log in to your GoDaddy account and click the person icon in the upper right. In the dropdown box, select Account Settings.

2. Select the box to Delegate Access.
GoDaddy account manager with multiple options, including Delegate Access

3. On the right-hand side, under “People who can access my account”, select Invite to Access.
4. Enter the developer’s name and email address in the box that opens. Select Domains Only as the access level.
Delegation box on GoDaddy.com to enter a delegate's name and email address
5. Now that you granted the developer access, you need to grant access to the specific domain. To do this, you need to create a folder. Go to your Domain Manager, select the Settings dropdown and click on Manage Folders.
GoDaddy dialog box with option for Manage Folders
 
6. Click Add Folder and create a folder name. Select if you want the developer to be able to transfer the domain and allow the developer access to that folder.
GoDaddy dialog box to add a folder
7. Now you need to add the domain to the specified folder. Go back to the domain manager and search for your domain. Click the checkbox to the left of the domain and then choose Organize > Add to Folder. Select the folder you assigned the developer access to and you’re all set!
GoDaddy dropbox option for Organize with sub option Add to Folder
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Beware this PayPal invoice for GoDaddy domains

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 7
Scammer is sending PayPal invoices for domain renewals.

Fake domain name renewal emails are nothing new, but some aspects of one making the rounds are.

A Website Hosting Review reader received a fake renewal notice today. Instead of being sent from the scammer, the person sent it as a PayPal invoice. Here’s what it looks like:

A message on the invoice states:

The paid registration period of the domain [domain] expired. It is necessary to pay for the prolongation of domain name within a day from the date of having notice. We would like to inform you that if payment is not made within the specified time frame, domain delegation will be terminated. The domain will be deleted from the registry and can be accessible for registration to other customers.

The link goes directly to PayPal to make the payment, and the invoice includes the GoDaddy logo:

PayPal invoiceWebsiteHostingReview.org/wp-content/paypal-godaddy-renewal-300×222.jpg 300w, https://WebsiteHostingReview.org/wp-content/paypal-godaddy-renewal-768×569.jpg 768w, https://WebsiteHostingReview.org/wp-content/paypal-godaddy-renewal-1024×759.jpg 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1129px) 100vw, 1129px”>

Anyone can upload the logo of their choice when sending PayPal invoices. They’re supposed to use their own logo, though.

Clearly, the scammer is harvesting Whois to send these invoices.

The good news is that PayPal offers buyer protection, even for intangible goods. I suspect PayPal will be on to this quickly as it has systems in place to prevent scams.

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Upgrading GoDaddy two-factor authentication to a physical key

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 8
It’s a lot faster to log in with a physical key.

A physical security key, like this one from Yubi, is more secure and also faster to use.

At NamesCon in January, GoDaddy promoted the ability to use physical security keys that use the FIDO U2F standard for two-factor authentication.

I already use a key for Google, so this was interesting to me. Not only is this more secure, but it’s much faster to use than an app-based two-factor code.

Before switching to a physical key with GoDaddy, here’s what my login process looked like:

1. Access GoDaddy
2. Damn, I’ve timed out. Need to log in again
3. Locate my phone (I left it upstairs again!) and open authenticator app
4. Type code from app into my laptop browser window

Using a physical key is much easier. After entering my login credentials, all I have to do is touch the blue Yubi key inserted in my laptop (see picture above) rather than find my phone, opening the app, and typing the six-digit code. (You can also use Bluetooth keys.)

GoDaddy login screen asking to confirm physical hardware keyWebsiteHostingReview.org/wp-content/godaddy-two-factor-yubi-300×200.jpg 300w, https://WebsiteHostingReview.org/wp-content/godaddy-two-factor-yubi-768×511.jpg 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 846px) 100vw, 846px”>

Until GoDaddy released its new iOS Investor app, you couldn’t use a physical security key to log in on GoDaddy.com and then use app-based login on the app. The new app fixes this problem. Just set up app-based as your backup two-factor login.

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.Com winners and Losers: Dynadot stays hot

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio 9
Dynadot remains in the top ten registrars for new .com registrations.

ICANN has published the latest official data from Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) about the .com namespace. This registrar-by-registrar report covers April 2019.

Dynadot jumped into the top ten last month and it managed to stay there again this month. Dynadot has stopped its $6.99 promotional price on .com, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the Verisign/ICANN reports catch up to September.

NameSilo nudged its way back into the top 10 this month.

Also notable on the monthly chart is that Web.com (Network Solutions, Register.com) fell out of the top 10.

Here’s how registrars did in terms of new .com registrations:

1. GoDaddy.com* (NYSE: GDDY) 936,916 (970,751 in April)
2. Xin Net Technology Corporation 244,299 (324,617)
3. Tucows** (NASDAQ:TCX) 194,947 (191,620)
4. Chengdu West 157,668 (82,351)
5. NameCheap Inc. 154,281 (152,606)
6. Endurance+ (NASDAQ: EIGI) 127,762 (125,059)
7. Alibaba (HiChina) 127,090 (130,946)
8. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) 119,903 (119,976)
9. NameSilo (CSE:URL) 86,680
10. Dynadot 85,307 (104,837)

Here’s the leaderboard of the top registrars in terms of total .com registrations as of the end of May 2019.

1. GoDaddy* 51,026,467 (50,940,640 in April)
2. Tucows** 12,410,988 (12,484,323)
3. Endurance+ 6,981,256 (7,026,808)
4. Web.com++ 6,677,492 (6,713,881)
5. Alibaba 6,308,304 (6,288,135)
6. United Internet^ 5,575,836 (5,609,664)
7. Namecheap 4,799,244(4,745,085)
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 3,982,474 (3,814,331)
9. Google 2,506,924 (2,434,742)
10. GMO 2,062,451 (2,026,751)

Many domain companies have multiple accreditations and I’ve tried to capture the largest ones. See the notes below.

* Includes GoDaddy, Wild West Domains and 123 Reg
** Includes Tucows and Enom
+ Includes PDR, Domain.com, FastDomain and Bigrock. There are other Endurance registrars, but these are the biggest.
++ Includes Network Solutions and Register.com
^ Includes 1&1, PSI, Cronon, United-Domains, Arsys and world4you

© WebsiteHostingReview.org 2019. This is copyrighted content. Website Hosting Review full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) WebsiteHostingReview.org. Latest domain news at WHR.NEWS: Website Hosting Review.