Domain Industry News

Whoisology Acquired by WhoisXML API

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I noticed that the Whoisology.com domain name changed registrants to the Escrow.com escrow account. I reached out to Whoisology co-founder Ryan McKegney, and he confirmed that his company sold the Whoisology business to WhoisXML API earlier this year. “We were looking to focus on DomainAgents and since WhoisXML was already a Whoisology partner with deep expertise in the whois data and internet security field, we felt they were a very natural fit who could do interesting things with the site,” he told me.

The transaction price was not disclosed to me by either party, but the entire Whoisology business was sold.

Whoisology is a business that provides a number of services related to domain name Whois records. Users can perform reverse Whois searches via Whoisology to link various domain names to a particular registrant. The business also has archived historical Whois records as well. Whoisology can be helpful to

CentralNic to Acquire KeyDrive

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In a press release sent out this morning, CentralNic announced that it will acquire KeyDrive, the company that operates the Key Systems group and Moniker. The acquisition price is reported as “an initial consideration of $35.8m,” so I am not sure if that means additional consideration will be paid at a later date or if that is the total amount.

Of particular interest to US-based domain investors is the Moniker acquisition. Moniker, which was founded by Monte Cahn, was once one of the most popular domain registrars amongst domain investors. The company also ran successful domain auctions, particularly those held during the TRAFFIC conference. Moniker has had a difficult go of things over the last 5+ years or so, which has been chronicled by Andrew Allemann over the years.. It will be worth watching to see what CentralNic does with this once popular domain registrar brand.

The press release with full details is below (you will note that the press release refers to a merger but the email subject says it is an acquisition):

Payoneer Exiting Domain Escrow Business

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Payoneer Escrow sent out an email to some of its partners today to inform them that the company is exiting the domain escrow business, and I was forwarded the email. Payoneer Head of Strategy and Business Development Matt Watts sent an email stating, “it’s with sincere apologies that I’m sharing news that Payoneer is discontinuing our escrow business.” The email continued, “While we have been excited and honored to service customers and partners like yourself, after careful review of our product portfolio have decided to commit our focus to other areas of the Payoneer business.

In 2016, Payoneer acquired a California-licensed Internet escrow agent doing business as Armor Payments, and the company began offering domain name escrow services. Brandon Abbey, formerly of Escrow.com, was hired by the company to help get its start in the domain escrow business. The global payments company has been offering domain name escrow services for approximately two years.

I believe the company will

Adam Matuzich Passed Away

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I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but I learned that Adam Matuzich passed away a week ago at just 36 years old.

I first met Adam via Mike Berkens more than ten years ago when he was working as Mike’s tech guy. Over the years, Adam and I had quite a few conversations about domain names and web development. There were a few times I had technical questions, and Adam was always happy to help me or steer me in the right direction. Adam provided some critical assistance to me when I dealt with a problem in 2014, and I appreciated his willingness to share information with me.

I was fortunate to be able to

Web.com Agrees to be Acquired for $2 Billion

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Web.com issued a press release this morning announcing that it’s board of directors approved an agreement to be acquired for $25.00 per share, which amounts to approximately $2 billion USD. The buyer is an affiliate of a private equity firm called Siris Capital Group, LLC. Web.com is a publicly traded company and the deal will need to be approved by shareholders.

Web.com is permitted to seek out a better offer. From the press release:

“Web.com may solicit alternative acquisition proposals from third parties during a “go-shop” period from the date of the agreement until August 5, 2018. There is no guarantee that this process will result in a superior proposal, and the agreement provides Siris with a customary right to match a superior proposal. Web.com does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the solicitation process unless and until the company determines such disclosure is appropriate.”

While Web.com is primarily consumer facing, the company has a major domain investor presence. The company either

MMX Acquires ICM Registry for $41 Million (Updated)

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According to a press release I received a moment ago (and published below), MMX has acquired ICM Registry, the company that operates several adult related domain extensions. ICM Registry extensions include .XXX, .Sex, .Porn, and .Adult.

The press releases stated that the deal involves “a combination of cash and shares,” although the dollar amount was not revealed in the press release I received. The Palm Beach Post published an article about the deal and wrote that the “British firm Minds + Machines Group paid $10 million in cash for the company.I am not sure if the total value of the deal is $10 million or if that is just the cash portion as the Post reported. I will connect with the ICM Registry to try and clear this up.

Update: ICM CEO Stuart Lawley clarified this discrepancy for me. He reported the total value of the deal is $41 million, with $10 million in cash and $31 million worth of stock at yesterdays’s closing price. Here’s a link to the official stock market announcement.

On May 2, Domain Incite reported that “New gTLD registry MMX could announce plans to be acquired as early as this week.” I am not sure if this means MMX will not be acquired or if there could be a subsequent announcement coming.

Here’s the press release that was sent to me by the ICM Registry:

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