The domain investment space has been abuzz today regarding the reported price increases on some of the new extensions operated by Uniregistry. GoDaddy commented about the news in an earlier blog post, and .Club also chimed in from a registry point of view.
This afternoon, I had a conversation with Rightside CEO Taryn Naidu. We chatted about the industry news of the day, and he shared some perspective with me that I can share with readers:
“The business decisions of any one registry aren’t representative of the new TLD program.
At Rightside, we believe in our TLDs and the program as a whole. To drive our business forward, we are focused on building relationships with our customers and channel partners alike and believe that transparency and trust are critical factors in doing so. I want to reassure our valued customers who have invested in our TLDs that we will not be following suit.
We continue to see our registry business grow, with healthy average sale prices in the $20 range and over $7M worth of premium sales across our TLDs. Coupled with year 2 renewal rates closing in on 80%, we feel good about what we are building here.”
There are quite a few different business models amongst the companies that operate the new domain name extensions. My guess is that Uniregistry’s price strategy will not likely be adopted widely. Time will tell, but it is good to see Rightside letting its customers and the industry know that they will not be following suit.
Given Rightside lost $33million in 2016 I don’t think Taryn is in a good position to comment on what might happen with their extensions in the future. It is entirely possible that price’s could rise or they could get bought out (and prices would likely rise).
Note franks comments on OnilineDomain today,
“I am sure that every other registry will eventually copy the higher price model or be bought by one that does.”
All these guys will deny price rises until the day they are brought in, and if it works for Uniregistry they’ll likely all follow.
Couldn’t that be said about any company? What’s to say that Google doesn’t start charging for Gmail or other services that are currently free or low priced.
Elliot, I don’t think so, because everyone would just switch to Hotmail or whatever other provider springs up, Google has no real market power to charge, they don’t have much incentive to try it either because Google is highly profitable.
With the new tlds this move is all about trying to get money from brands who are not very price conscious and aren’t even using the domain (hence there is no “switch” to take place). Lose 80% of your customers, but keep the 20% who may be able to withstand huge price increases and barely even look at the bill.
20% of gmail users would not withstand a huge price increase, in fact they wouldn’t even pay 5 cents for a gmail account.
“Couldn’t that be said about any company?”
Not if there are pricing limitations built into the registry agreement, as there are with older TLDs.
“What’s to say that Google doesn’t start charging for Gmail or other services that are currently free or low priced.”
It’s easy to transfer your email from Gmail to another provider, and they know that, which is why they don’t. It’s a ten minute job for a tech to switch to another MX. Transferring your entire business to a different domain is much harder, not to mention branding, goodwill, sunk SEO costs, historic links, SSL certificates…
What Frank Schilling has done is draw attention to the elephant that was always in the room; there’s nothing to prevent registries from changing renewal prices at their will.
It would be tough for me, someone who has used the same @Gmail.com address since literally day one of beta testing, to switch to another service. Sure, I could theoretically switch to something else, just like someone could switch domain names.
That said, my Gmail example may not be the best example.
Let’s see Rightside put out something legally binding, that registrants can claim against if any of their strings ever do go up in price, e.g. a long term price guarantee that would legally bind anyone who ever bought the string as well.
They’d never do it, because they do actually want the flexibility to put up prices, or sell out to someone else who plans to put up prices. Doesn’t matter what they claim their intentions are on this blog, that is just PR. Uniregistry said prices wouldn’t go up for 5 years, now they have 3000% increases on some strings.
Fair point. One of the biggest criticisms of Uniregistry was because of the comments about pricing that were made on the record.
Rightside has gone on the record here, and hopefully they honor it.
Google could charge for search and I would pay it. I tried switching to bing recently and gave up. A lot of this talk about prices is overblown. The name program is new and there were bound to be changes.
This all feels about as much fun as my cell phone plan.
Oh yeah, suck it up, the dog wags the tail, not the other way around.
If ICANN were doing its job – overseeing a smoothly running internet – responsible limitations on price hikes would be added to every single registry contract.
Just because ICANN turned a blind eye to this concern while wheelbarrows of cash were being wheeled in from registry applicants, that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to add such a provision. ICANN is currently using strong-arm tactics to force many registry operators to adopt the URS, at the behest of the trademark lobby. Well, domain owners – both domainers and end users – are a very large constituency also … just scattered and disorganized. Nevertheless, I see no reason why we couldn’t petition ICANN to do its job in terms of regulatory oversight.
What chance has ICANN got of bringing in provisions that would clearly damage existing registries and who is going to bother taking up the fight the fight with them?
At this stage, nobody is going to bother.
I share this concern too. It gives the new gTLDs a bad name and people are affraid to invest in it.
It should be like .com.
Once you have purchased a domain name at a set non-premium price, that domain should continue to be renewed at that price (or at least at the regular price for non-premium domains of that extension) wether or not the name is considered premium at a later moment.