SeekingAlpha Issues Brutal Opinion On Demand Media/Rightside: “Titanic Will Hit The Iceberg”

SeekingAlpha.com published what can only be described as a brutal assessment on shares of Demand Media, Inc last yesterday after Demand said it would spin off its Rightside division into a separate public company on August 1st as well as on Rightside.

The post entitled; Demand Media: Titanic Will Hit The Iceberg

Here is are the conclusions from the article:

“eHow.com and Livestrong.com continue to decline in page views and will have lower EBITDA in Q2 2014.

Rightside reported negative EBITDA in Q1 2014.

Google entered the registrar space in June 2014.

Expect even more margin pressure in the near future.

Both businesses are a melting ice cube.

The Company needs to be taken private to implement a turnaround. Otherwise, expect 15-20% declines in the stock.”

The post goes on to say that:

“Demand’s current stock price of $4.53 will become $3.78 post spin-off.

Demand’s current market cap of $416mm will be split $69mm Rightside and $347mm Demand.”

“Google announced they will become a registrar. ”

“It is impossible for Rightside to compete in this space now and in the near future.”

“Rightside will have to increase sales and marketing to compete against Go Daddy and now Google. The secular dynamics of this industry are not in the Rightside’s favor.”

Interestingly the article does not even mention Rightside as a new gTLD operator or as the backend provider for its new gTLD and the 200+ new gTLD’s that Donuts will be operating. SeekingAlpha only looks at Rightside as a domain name registrar.

You can read the entire article here.

If Your Looking For A Generic .Democrat, They Are In Short Supply & Carry Premium Prices

I was going though some generic .Democrat new gTLD domain names yesterday to see what premium generic domains are available for Preregistrations as the extension goes live tomorrow.

Its expected that many candidates will grab their .Democrat domain name when running for office.

However when it comes to generic domain names .Democrat domains are either not available as being on the collision list or being reserved by the registry or pretty damn expensive for domain investors as they carry premium registration and renewal prices. (All prices are quoted from Enom.com which is owned by the same parent company as the Registry.)

I was surprised to see hacks thrown into the premium category for example the domain ElectA.democrat is priced at $585 registration and annual renewal fee.

iam.democrat is priced at a staggering $875 a year, while VoteForA.democrat is priced at “only” $109.

On the Generic front I found these domains carrying premium registration and renewal prices of $875:

Convention.Democrat

Blog.Democrat

Voters.Democrat

Socialist.Democrat

Social.Democrat

Gay.Democrat

GayMarriage.Democrat

Platform.Democrat

For around $600 you can register

Party.Democrat
Failure.Democrat

$300 will get you one of these:

Reelect.Democrat

Nominate.Democrat

BeA.Democrat

Fail.Democrat

These generic terms are reserved or on the ICANN collision list or otherwise not available:

Vote.democrat

Voting.democrat

Elect.democrat

Election.democrat

House.democrat

Congress.democrat

President.Democrat

Hillary.Democrat

Clinton.Democrat

HillaryClinton.Democrat

Senator.democrat

Blogs.Democrat

NYC.Democrat

Choose.Democrat

Abortion.Democrat

California.Democrat

Whitehouse.Democrat

Demand Reports: Registrar Revenue Up 11% But eHow & Content Continues To Decline

Demand Media, Inc. (DMD reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014 today after the market closed

Its our personal opinion that the sooner  Demand can spin off Rightside from the rest of the mess the better.

Rightside operates the back end of all Donuts new gTLD extensions, owns 107 new gTLD’s with Donuts, Owns Enom the 2nd largest domain registrar on the planet as well as Name.com another top 10 domain name registrar.

The eHow business I never like.

Anytime you rely on Google for your success, I think your in trouble and I think the eHow side is pulling the whole company down.

Here are the highlights as pointed out by Demand:

Q1 2014 Financial Summary:

Total revenue ex-TAC declined 8% year-over-year, with 11% year-over-year growth in Registrar revenue offset by a 19% decline in Content & Media revenue ex-TAC. Excluding the acquisition of Society6, total revenue ex-TAC decreased 15%.

Registrar revenue grew 11% year-over-year, primarily due to growth in Name.com domains under management.

Domain Name Services:

Rightside has signed 29 registry operator agreements with ICANN to date, and we have an interest in over 80 applications or registry operator agreements. Seven of our extensions, including .ninja, .reviews and .social are currently in “landrush” phase and six of our extensions, including .consulting, .actor and .pub, are currently in their “sunrise” launch phases.

Our owned and operated registrar channels offer the broadest selection of new gTLDs as we now distribute 156 of the 165 new gTLD extensions

To date, businesses and consumers have registered over 80,000 new gTLD domains at eNom and Name.com, making us one of the largest distributors of new gTLDs.
Our back-end registry platform now powers over 100 of the 165 new gTLDs and has processed almost 500,000 new gTLD domain registrations to date.
Owned & Operated revenue declined 18%, driven primarily by lower traffic to key properties and the strategic shift away from higher CPM direct sold display advertising sales, partially offset by revenue of $6.7 million from Society6. Excluding the acquisition of Society6, which was acquired at the end of Q2 2013,

Owned & Operated revenue decreased 32%.
Network revenue ex-TAC declined 27% due to lower revenue from our domain monetization and Pluck social tools businesses, offset partially by 33% growth in our Content Solutions business.

Adjusted EBITDA decreased 55% year-over-year, primarily reflecting the negative impact from traffic declines on high-margin revenues and a mix shift to lower margin commerce and Registrar revenue.

“Our results in the first quarter were in line with our expectations, and we remain optimistic about our long term opportunities. We are focused on making targeted investments to reaccelerate revenue growth and increase shareholder value,” said Demand Media’s CFO Mel Tang. “Additionally, we are preparing for and are on track to complete the separation of the business into two standalone companies this summer.”

Business Highlights:

Content & Media:

March 2014 US and Worldwide comScore Rankings:

On a consolidated basis, Demand Media ranked as the #21 US web property and Demand Media’s properties reached more than 80 million unique users worldwide.

eHow.com ranked as the #31 website in the US and reached more than 46 million unique users worldwide.

Livestrong/eHow Health ranked as the #3 Health property in the US, with more than 17 million unique users worldwide.

CollegeHumor/Cracked Network ranked as the #2 Humor property in the US, with more than 15 million unique users worldwide. Cracked.com itself had more than 6 million unique users worldwide.

During Q1 2014, Society6 membership grew to over 550,000, a 114% year-over-year increase from a year ago. Additionally, image uploads increased 35% year-over-year, and there are now more than 1 million unique designs available on the site.

Can New gTLDs Save Demand Media ?

Scott Hopkins wrote a piece on Seeking Alpha today stating that the new gtlds were the last chance for Demand Media. Demand Media has been languishing in the stock market for awhile now. The stock is down 25 % this year and is down 46 % over a one year time period.

Demand Media owns Name.com and Enom and that is where Hopkins believes the magic has to happen. He is not a believer in the Demand Media web properties such as eHow and LiveStrong.com.  He refers to these sites as digital sharecropping, always at the whim of another Google algorithm update.

So if Demand Media is going to make a turnaround, Hopkins sees that happening with the new gtlds. It is worth noting some of the registrar figures Hopkins used in his hypothesis are not accurate. His reference to Name.com as having roughly 500,000 registrations is way off compared to latest numbers from registrarowl.com, they put Name.com at 1.2 million as of December 2013.

The article actually quotes Michael Berkens referring to a post he wrote in 2012 but its really just a post on a poll

Michael has already responded to Scott on seekingalpha.com as he believes he has been misquoted but nice to see that confirmation that people from outside the industry read thedomains.com

From the article:

Summary

  • New domain name extensions are being released daily. Will people use them?
  • DMD needs to move away from reliance on search engine traffic.
  • Profitability will depend on eNom and Name.com versus GoDaddy.

Right now Demand Media owns Name.com and eNom wholly. They also own a stake in Namejet. As far as market share is concerned, as you might expect, GoDaddy.com is the leader, with about 30% market share and growing. Second, is eNom with about 8% market share. Name.com is hardly relevant with approximately 500,000 domains registered and less than 1% market share.

eNom is in a valuable position at second place and growing. At over 6 million domain names registered, the company has 20% of the business GoDaddy, the undisputed leader in domain names, accounts for.

The most important element of the success of Demand Media’s domain name companies will be to how well the new gtld’s are promoted and how well the registrars promote them. However, even with great promotion, new TLD’s fail.

He goes on to discuss .CO although he focuses too much on the O.co situation and not the fact they have 1.6 million regs and that they just got bought out by Neustar for $109 million. I think every new string would love that scenario in the long run.

Read the full article here

Web.com Officially Announces The Acquisition of SnapNames.com

webdotcom-logo

Web.com Group, Inc. (WWWW) officially announced today that it has acquired SnapNames from KeyDrive S.A.

Shares are down over 2% in early trading today.

The questions yet to be answered is how will the acquisition effect where expiring domain names from Web.com registrars, including NetworkSolutions.com and Register.com will be going.

All expired domains of Netsol where going to SnapNames.com until it was acquired by Oversee.net, the company that sold SnapNames.com to Keysystems. Once Oversee.net acquired SnapNames.com Netsol went into partnership with Demand Media, INc (DMD) to form Namejet.com which has over the last years been the exclusive auction house for expired Network Solutions domains.

We have asked both Web.com and Demand Media, Inc over the weekend how this acquisition will effect dropped domain names but neither has furnished a definitive answer.

SnapNames is a drop service and online auction house including expiring, deleting and privately-owned domain names.

“We are very pleased to bring SnapNames under the Web.com umbrella,” said David L. Brown, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Web.com. “This acquisition enables us to enhance our existing domain related assets and provide additional services for customers who are looking for specific domain name addresses. In today’s expanding domain resale marketplace, SnapNames is a global industry leader with experience and expertise in domain lifecycle management and auction services.”

“”Web.com owns two of the world’s largest retail registrars in Network Solutions and Register.com. With the addition of SnapNames, Web.com will further expand its global partnership channel by leveraging SnapNames’ extensive international network, thus helping customers find the right domain names the first time they look. In addition, the acquisition complements NameJet, the domain name auction platform managed through a joint venture partnership with Web.com and Rightside.””

In a press release issued by the seller of SnapNames, Key-Systems said:

“Moniker now plans to work even more closely together with KeyDrive and its sister company Key-Systems to strengthen its position on the US registrar market and to become an even more powerful international registrar.

“KeyDrive will be reinvigorating the Moniker brand with new technology, products and commitment to their customer service”, said Alexander Siffrin, Chairman of KeyDrive.”

“”The disposition of SnapNames will have no negative effect on the customer experience of the Moniker clients. The same staff will be taking care of all customer needs and customers will access their accounts as before. Moniker will continue to work with SnapNames as in the past and the usual business will not be interrupted for clients.””

“”In February Bonnie Wittenburg assumed the position as Moniker CEO. Under her leadership the synergies and cooperation that existed between Key-Systems and Moniker will be increased. A series of new service offerings is planned by Moniker in the future through this increased cooperation. Wittenburg plans to focus much attention on the development of Moniker’s customer service as Moniker expands the product offerings.””

“”Among the unique strengths that the parent company KeyDrive and its members bring are the commitment to offer a broad range of domain name extensions including pre-registration for over 700 new top level domains, a large ccTLD offering and a variety of domain-related services such as professional registry services and IT infrastructure services accompanied by a strong costumer focus provided by domain experts.””