GoDaddy made a major announcement in a press release yesterday afternoon. The publicly traded company intends to purchase .Club, .Design, and Minds & Machines (MMX) TLDs. These TLDs will be folded into the company’s GoDaddy Registry division. Terms of the acquisition of .Club and .Design were not disclosed, but GoDaddy will be paying $120 million USD for MMX assets, subject to various approvals. MMX is traded publicly on the London Stock Exchange.
Once these deals close, GoDaddy, which only briefly participated in the first and only new gTLD application round, “will own, manage or operate more than 240 top-level domain extensions, with more than 14 million domain names under management.” This figure includes various ccTLDs as well as new gTLD extensions.
I believe should make GoDaddy Registry the second largest registry operator, trailing just Donuts in terms of domain extensions owned and operated. More industry consolidation isn’t super surprising, but it was surprising that GoDaddy is going heavy on TLD operations and management.
There are still quite a few independently owned and operated TLD extensions and registry management companies. This acquisition news must be seen as a positive for them. GoDaddy has made it clear that it will be a player in this space, and more TLD buyers means better results for TLD operators looking for an exit. It will be interesting to see if GoDaddy acquires any of the UNR extensions that are coming up for auction later on this month.
After seeing this acquisition, I would not be surprised to see more consolidation in the registry operations space. That said, I would have to imagine GoDaddy kicked the tires on other TLD operators in the hopes of locking down deals before these deals were announced.
What remains to be seen is what impact this is going to have on the general domain name landscape. With GoDaddy’s growing presence in the non-.com space, it will be interesting to see if GoDaddy puts a greater focus on non .com domain names in the registration path and aftermarket offerings. Observationally, I have not seen GoDaddy make an effort to acquire new gTLD domain names for its NameFind portfolio, so it appears the company likes the registration aspect of this business but perhaps not the aftermarket.
This is pretty big news coming from a position of strength, and it shows that GoDaddy intends to grow its GoDaddy Registry business.