Uniregistry sale price revealed, updates on .ORG, a startup rebrands from .COM to .IO and more – a week of domain investing news in one article

Hello, happy Saturday and welcome to the brand new 2020 edition of my weekly domain investing news update. I’ve decided to spice things up this year and rather than just sharing links to articles about what happened this week, I’m adding my own commentary and pulling in data from Twitter as well. Let’s dive right in.

Go Daddy’s acquisition of Uniregistry continues to be a top story, and this week data came out about what the likely sales price was. I first read about this on DomainInvesting.com which revealed the following:

I reached out to a representative from GoDaddy to ask if this figure includes the company’s recent acquisition of Over, a social content startup. This acquisition was reported by TechCrunch in late January and the Annual Report referred to two acquisitions from February. I was told that this figure includes the acquisition of Over, so the Uniregistry deal was for the $196.9 amount minus whatever Over cost to acquire.(Source – DomainInvesting.com)

This news led to domain investors across the world speculating on how good of a deal this was for Frank, i.e. did he sell to cheap? Shane shared his thoughts on Twitter and Andrew Rosner shared his thought as well in the following tweet:

DomainShane thoughts on Uniregistry sale

As for my thoughts about the Uniregistry sale. I think Frank has done an amazing job, made a ton of money, and will continue to do incredible things. It’s impossible for me to see anything but good things when someone who was a leader in our industry makes over $100M. Well done Frank, and for those saying he should have got more, try it yourself then! I think he did just fine.

Next up is easily the most controversial domain name news story of the year, Ethos Capital’s acquisition of the .ORG extension. This story has seen coverage in major publications like the New York Times and this week the less-than-loved PE firm made an announcement that could be considered a positive move by some:

Ethos Capital tries to save the .org deal. Ethos is “voluntarily” proposing to add an amendment to PIR’s .ORG Registry Agreement with ICANN in the form of a PIC. Upon completion of the acquisition, the PIC will become a legally binding amendment to the current Registry Agreement:

“Fees charged to registrars for initial or renewal registration of a .ORG domain name will not increase by more than 10% per year on average for eight years from the start of the current Registry Agreement, under a precise formula that does not permit front-loading of those price increases. Through this commitment, .ORG will become one of the only TLDs to have a price restriction and it will remain one of the most affordable domains in the world.”(Source – OnlineDomain)

While I think most people are still not going to be very happy with this deal, it does feel like PIR and Ethos are trying to do what they can to quell concern over the deal.

This week also marked the next release of the Liquid Domain Report from GGRG.com. I’ve known Giuseppe (founder of GGRG) for years, he’s an awesome guy and I think it’s very cool that he releases this report and shares all this data with the industry, for free.

DNJournal covered the report and shared a nice overview of the findings:

The latest report begins with a brief overview page that, for Q4-2019, shows the total dollar volume for publicly reported liquid domain sales jumped to nearly $7.3 million, a rise of over 30% from the previous quarter. However that news is tempered by seeing total liquid domain sales dip 13.3% at Escrow.com to about $12.2 million (individual domain sales information is not released by Escrow.com but they do their cumulative sales total for these domains).(Source – DNJournal)

In conference news, ICANN 67, which was originally scheduled to take place in Cancun, Mexico has been converted to a virtual conference given concerns around potential risk and spread of the Coronavirus. I think most people are happy with this decision, here’s the scoop from ICANN:

“This is a decision that the ICANN Board has been considering since the outbreak was first announced and it is one that we haven’t taken lightly,” said Maarten Botterman, ICANN Board Chair. “We know that changing this meeting to remote participation-only will have an impact on and cause disruption to our community; however, this decision is about people. Protecting the health and safety of the ICANNcommunity is our top priority.”(Source – ICANN)

This week NameCheap announced their 2019 revenue numbers which came in at $149M up almost 19% over 2018. I’ve always been impressed with NameCheap and it’s founder Richard Kirkendall is without a doubt one of the nicest people in the domain industry as well as one of the most successful.

What I think doesn’t get talked about enough is the kind of culture NameCheap has built within the company. Ask anyone who works there and they’ll tell you it’s an incredible place to work, and a great work environment attracts great people, and well, as you can see, great people are helping the company soar to new heights. Huge congrats to the whole NameCheap team, what a year!

And last but not least, this tweet from Josh Reason caught my eye yesterday and it doesn’t look like I’m alone as it has 60 likes already. A startup that raised their Series A last year is moving from a two-word .COM to a one-word .IO.

Okay, now that’s it from me – we’re off to Stinson Beach for a relaxing weekend on the beach to enjoy some of this awesome summer weather we’re getting in the Bay Area. I hope you all have a great weekend, thanks for reading!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton