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CentralNic to Acquire KeyDrive

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):

Moniker DDOS Attack Update


Last week, Moniker suffered a DDOS attack that left some customers unable to log in to their accounts. This was more bad news for customers of the domain registrar that suffered a major security breach  last year.

On April 14, Moniker posted a brief update on its Facebook page to let clients know that there was an  issue, and the update was also posted on the company’s Twitter handle as well:

“Moniker is currently experiencing intermittent service interruptions, likely the result of a DDoS attack, particularly for clients attempting to reach our services from Asia. Our team is working diligently to identify and resolve the issue. We appreciate your patience.”

In response to comments on those  Facebook and Twitter updates, Moniker continued to let customers know they were working on the problem but did not have a timeline for a resolution.

On Sunday night, I reached out to representatives from Moniker to get more information about the attack, and I received an updated statement this afternoon:

Monte Cahn Back in the Domain Auction Business

I received a press release from NamesCon and domain name consulting firm RightOfTheDot, LLC announcing that there will be a live domain auction at the NamesCon conference. From my perspective, the most interesting aspect of this news is that it means Monte Cahn, founder of Moniker and its popular domain auctions, is back in the business of domain conference domain name auctions.

Bucking the tradition of a domain conference hosting a live domain name auction, NamesCon did not have an auction during its inaugural event in January. Yesterday, conference organizer Richard Lau cited the experience of Monte Cahn and Mike Berkens with domain auctions in announcing the news. According to Lau, “We were initially reluctant to offer a domain auction, but the 15 years of domain auction experience, strength, reputation, and relationships that ROTD presented convinced us that their auction will contribute to the distinct and diverse activities and sessions that NamesCon is known and respected for.”

While at Moniker, Monte played host to some of the most exceptional domain auction results, including the TRAFFIC auction that famously sold $12.4 million worth of domain names. Since that auction in 2007, the domain space has changed quite a bit. Subsequent auctions produced much more modest results, and I think conference organizers have been less focused on the domain auctions, which were once considered the most anticipated aspect of conferences.

I think Monte and his team became known for hosting exciting domain name auctions. In addition to the buzz generated with large sales, there seemed to be more excitement in the room. I can recall many times when Monte  was  standing on the stage whooping up the crowd. I presume he will bring this back and hire auctioneers who will liven up the auction floor.

This is not the first domain auction Monte will have presided over since his Moniker days. During the Summer, ROTD oversaw the successful .Global auction in London that saw 35 .Global domain names sell for $63,780. This will be the first domain conference auction for Monte though.

I reached out to Monte to ask a few questions to learn about the upcoming auction and his expectations for it. He was kind enough to respond, and his answers are below.

Advice to Moniker (Updated)


I was briefly on the phone with Moniker support this morning, and I was told the website would be coming online at 9am. Well, it’s now 9:30 as I publish this, and it’s still not online.

Ordinarily, I would let this all play out and assume things will get resolved, but unfortunately for me, I am in the middle of a large deal that involves the sale of a domain name that is registered at Moniker and should be pending transfer depending on when the buyer initiated it. Complicating things further, the domain name is set to expire late this month, so if a transfer is not successful, I will need to renew it so its expiration doesn’t lapse.

I have about 50 or so domain names currently registered at Moniker. For a variety of reasons, I had moved many of my domain names to other domain registrars in the last few years, and I don’t use Moniker much anymore. Most names I have there were either not worth paying to transfer out or purchases where the seller pushed to my Moniker account and I didn’t transfer them out.

This leads me to the topic of the post – some advice to Moniker. Here’s what I think Moniker should do in the coming hours and days:

Moniker Provides Update

I ran into a login issues at Moniker this weekend, and I was fortunate to call them first thing this morning and have it resolved (as far as I can tell) by technical support. Based on what I read in the comment section of yesterday’s blog post as well as comments on Domain Name Wire and OnlineDomain.com, others seem to be having issues with Moniker as well. The company upgraded and updated its platform over the weekend.

For my company, the timing on this issue is not good, and I hope my issue is really resolved and doesn’t impact my account beyond the login trouble I faced. I am in the middle of a sale involving a domain name at Moniker, and the payment should clear by tomorrow. I had requested the authorization code and unlocked the domain name last week, but for some reason the name was locked when I logged in, and I was assigned a new EPP auth code for the transfer out. Luckily, the customer support person was very nice and she guided me through the process of unlocking the name and requesting the authorization code.

This afternoon, Moniker posted an update on

“Moniker Reimagined” Announcement


I want to share an email I received a few moments ago regarding some changes at Moniker. For a few years, Moniker was my “go-to” domain registrar, and I kept the majority of my domain portfolio there. In the last couple of years, I moved many domain names away from Moniker, although I still have about 50+/- domain names registered there.

Here’s the email announcement I received from the company this morning:

“We’ve gone back to the drawing board, literally. By investing in system upgrades and platform enhancements, we’re changing how we do business.

Adding product offers, improving support, and developing our

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