In its earnings call this afternoon, GoDaddy discussed its acquisition of around 30 new gTLD extensions. The company cited the “efficiencies of scale” for why the acquisition made sense, and I mentioned that I am curious about whether GoDaddy acquired any of the extensions that were offered for sale by UNR in its auction at the end of April. As you may recall, UNR announced it would be auctioning 23 of its TLDs in separate no reserve auctions.
I reached out to Shayan Rostam, Chief Growth Officer at UNR, and I asked him if he can share a status update on the auction and perhaps share some of the results. Shayan replied with a press release (published below) that will hit the wires shortly.
In short, the 23 auctions netted “gross receipts of more than $40 million USD,” according to the press release. There were between 10 – 20 bidders in the auction. Six of the winning bidders are first-time operators who have not operated a TLD before. UNR has decided to keep the individual bidders or winning bid amounts confidential. It is possible this information will emerge at a later date.
I will be surprised if GoDaddy, Donuts, and XYZ did not come away with any of the extensions that were on offer, particularly since some have strong revenue streams. I suspect we will learn more about who acquired what extensions in the coming days as contracts are signed and the extensions change hands.
UNR Sells 20+ Top Level Domains for More than $40 Million
Between 10 and 20 Bidders, Including Six First-Time Operators, Won More Than 20 Top Level Domains in a Historic, First-of-its-Kind Auction Event
GRAND CAYMAN, Cayman Islands, May 5, 20201 — Uni Naming & Registry Services (UNR.com), a leading internet technology and services company, has successfully concluded the largest public sale of Top Level Domains in history. Following its April 28-30 auction event, the company has announced gross receipts of more than $40 million USD for its 20+ TLDs.
Top Level Domains are owned by the largest companies in the world, including Google, Amazon, GoDaddy, and Microsoft. Now they are owned by people and companies like you. UNR’s April auctions mark a watershed moment. Never before have so many TLDs been made publicly available and first-time registry operators now have the opportunity to participate in the democratization of this scarce asset class. More than 250 businesses and individuals signed up to potentially join in this historic event, and ultimately 17 bidders deposited tens of millions in deposits to participate. Neither UNR nor its affiliates bid in the auctions.
Although the identities of the new owners remain confidential at this time, between 10 and 20 bidders came away as winners, including six who will be operating TLDs for the first time. The broad range of winners include established registries, investment firms, blockchain companies, and high net-worth individuals.
In speaking about the outcome of this event, Frank Schilling, Founder of UNR remarked; “All UNR shareholders should be exceptionally pleased with the final outcome of this first-of-its-kind event. We are deeply satisfied to have seen so much new interest and blood enter the arena. The winners today were not just those who walked away with new extensions, but all participants in the naming arena – including the registrants and registrars vending these valuable domains to the public. UNR is especially proud to have been bold enough to help make this type of event a possibility for the entrepreneurs and dreamers of tomorrow. We are excited to introduce so many new operators to the domain industry and help them further develop their TLDs with our class-leading technology and software.”
The move to sell its Top Level Domain portfolio allows UNR to focus on its growing registry services division and IP rights protection technology, which already supports numerous third-party gTLDs and ccTLDs. Registry operators and .Brands interested in receiving a proposal for UNR’s “Registry in a Box” service, or joining the company’s upcoming UnifiedBlock protection product, should contact email@example.com.
$60million was invested initially.
“He’s put up $60 million of his own money to stake his claim on a giant, emerging piece of the Internet — the opening up of so-called generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, to include pretty much anything. The king of all domain extensions — .com — is under attack as never before.”
Source for that: https://www.cnet.com/news/here-comes-the-greatest-internet-landgrab-in-history/
I wonder how much $$$ has been made in registrations, sales, and renewals in that time.
I’m sure they will have some great spin about how it has done well for them!
Clear that is has been a lousy investment and Frank was completely wrong with all his AM Radio stuff.
They made money with the TLDs they didn’t get. Not spin, it was real money. Also registrations and renewals as Elliot said.
Forgot about the $$$ earned on lost auctions or private deals to bow out of auctions.
BS and spin, all these registries have spent a tonne of money on running and setup costs. You don’t sell something for a one third loss after 10 years and do well out of it.
The share price of all their competitors have cratered, the loss is real and obvious despite the spin. They are all selling out or doing a firesale.
For once Snoopy has a good point.
If you buy some land for $1m, sell half of what you bought for $700k, mine your part of the land earning an additional $1.5m (net of extraction costs), then sell the mined land for $800k…
Your takeaway in this scenario Snoopy is that they lost $200k? When the math of this scenario shows that they made $2m.
What you have come up with is hypothetical nonsense Matt. You’ll think up anything to try and argue New TLDs haven’t been a disaster.
You are confused again. I am not making any point about new TLDs being great or about these specific TLDs being great.
I am making the point that FS and his business made significant $ from them. This is independent of any value proposition that new domains may or may not offer. Facts are facts.
You are conflating FS’s investment/registry success with your opinion on whether new domains are good for investors/end users. They really have little to do with each other.
He made money so your comment “Clear that it has been a lousy investment” is ridiculous – unless you can lay out the numbers and please include the registrations/renewals they collected on and also the free money earned on lost auctions and private deals to bow out of the auctions.
Would you sell your mined land if you thought you could extract more from it?
While $40m is a relatively strong number in my mind, I don’t think it is a positive story. Markets are around all time highs, domain names are at all time highs, there is a ton of cash going into alternative investments, and there is a ton of capital available right now. All of these factors likely should mean it is the absolute best time to sell assets like these. The result was decent at $40m but I don’t think the sale is a show of strength.
These may not have been the best extensions, but I was only surprised at the number because I set the bar very low in my head.
IMO the aftermarket sales data shows the real story, and it’s not good. I have a fair amount of capital I want to put to work because .coms have gotten very challenging to buy at reasonable prices. I still wouldn’t touch these new extensions because I don’t think there’s a strong likelihood of making any money.
Elliot, in all honesty – from the perspective of an end user first, domainer second – I pretty much find the extensions FS sold to be about as lackluster and unappealing as it gets. Even .game. Some of them even downright horrible.
And you need to stop that drinking habit regarding beer and what not. It’s very bad for you. I’m saying that for your good, and I’m not saying you have a “problem” either. In fact I’m confident you don’t. But the prevalent idea about “light” or “moderate” drinking is a myth. Including a “medical myth.” Your biggest downfall would even be if your wife says it’s okay and you make the mistake of thinking that must be right since she’s a doctor. I could almost write a book about all the problems with that mode of thinking. It doesn’t matter how smart any doctor is – they can be super smart, and still super wrong. The truly good doctors are also happy to receive input from people like me and often even love it. Long story short – your life and health are on the line.
A neurologist I know once also strongly exhorted against all drinking and explained a major problem with doing any of it.
This blog comment has been brought to you from a place of true benevolence and good will. Like it or not – it makes “good blog.” 😉
I’ve had beer fewer than 10 times in the last year, so you should probably stop making assumptions.
I’m not making assumptions, only going by what you have said about yourself and your beer fridge in the past. Then you have the opportunity to clarify and update if desired, such as now. To which I would also now reply that your new information is surprisingly good, much better than what your past information tended to indicate. Although I would still advocate for “zero,” even I won’t make much of < 10 in a year now regardless. And I recommend the kind of coffee recipe I gave here yesterday too if you are not yet familiar with adding a substantial amount of saturated fat to coffee (again, no assumptions): https://domaininvesting.com/why-i-retired-my-pet-websites/#comment-90907. If you like coffee and don't use exclusively organic yet either, I very strongly recommend that too, as well as not using tap water if the water in your area is fluoridated.
WTF is this John? Are you projecting?
“Would you sell your mined land if you thought you could extract more from it? While $40m is a relatively strong number in my mind, I don’t think it is a positive story…”
Elliot, agree with everything you said.
I’m not making any case for these being great TLDs but I think that FS should be happy with the sale for the reasons you mentioned.
About selling mined land, there’s an argument to be made for selling even if it can be mined a little further because of the risk and the other opportunities that the $ can be invested in.
TL:DR; summary “man in cayman sells crap, new owners think you can polish a turd”
Love it – you are a master of succinctness.