Verisign CEO: “I Don’t See Anybody Who’s Going to Abandon The .Com For a New gTLD

The CEO and President of Verisign James Bidzos had some pretty interesting comments regarding the new gTLD’s and the effect they may have on .com and .net registrations during its earnings call today.

I have listened to the last several Verisign earnings call and this is the first time I can remember an analyst asking a pointed question about the new gTLD’s and their effect on the .com and .net registry.

The question was asked by JP Morgan Chase & Co:

Any thought to whether the gTLD program, whether people coming in for new sites might actually be thinking about an alternative gTLD for .com? And maybe that’s having some sort of impact?

D. James Bidzos, Founder, Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Verisign:

“”As far as the new gTLD program, I don’t think that, I don’t see anybody who’s going to abandon the .com for a new gTLD.

There’s a lot of strong anecdotal evidence that, that may not be the case.

I can give you an example. So, for example, you may have seen that the U.K. paper, dailymail.co.uk, a very typical English configuration for a web address, using a company that U.K. configuration.

So dailymail.co.uk purchased dailymail.com.

They said that they purchased it because they wanted something that was more global that would allow them to get more traffic, especially in the U.S.

They paid GBP 1 million for it.

They bought it from The Charleston Daily Mail of Charleston, West Virginia, a 100-year-old Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper, who after they got their roughly $1.6 million for that domain name, were free to go out and buy whatever they wanted.

Then they chose to go out and buy CharlestonDailyMail.com.

If they bought it for retail, they probably paid about $10 for it.

So I think .com is very much the preferred, established reliable name.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future with the TLDs.

I’m sure some of them will do well, they’ll build some community.

But I guess I can give you one data point. If we look back, this is not the first time this has happened.

There have been some new TLDs before, and one of them that I think actually is a good idea of what success what might look like, a good example would be .co.

And I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with it.

.co is a short name, it’s just 2 letters. It’s a meaningful name that’s linked to company.

They went live in July of 2010.

They had a very robust marketing partner, they partnered with Go Daddy, the largest registrar.

They did 3 Super Bowl ads. They did, I thought, a very good job of marketing.

They did partner with Go Daddy on 3 Super Bowl commercials.

They have a substantial marketing budget.

They had no gTLD competition when they came out. And they’re not ICANN-regulated because they’re operating under contract from the ccTLD .co for Colombia.

So their history was that when they went live in July of 2010, they registered 100,000 domains in the first 10 minutes that they were live.

Less than a year later, in June of 2011, they had reached 1 million domains.

During that same period, by the way, that 11-month period, .com registered about 7 million.

Just under 2 years later, by April of 2013, they had gone from 1 million to 1.5 million, so they added 500,000 domains during those 2 years.

During that period, .com added 13.2 million. And then from April of 2013 until December 31 of last year, they added another 90,000 names, they closed the year at 1.59 million.

.Com added another 3.5 million during that time.

I think they’ve done a great job with .co. I think they’ve been successful there.

They ended the year at 1.59 million domains.

Their growth has slowed a bit, obviously.

But in Q3, we added 1.55 million names, that’s the entire size of the .co zone.

We added that in one quarter.

We typically have 5x the size of their zone in gross adds in a quarter.

So I think with somewhat in the neighborhood of, I don’t know, 400 or 500 gTLDs that are non-brand that’ll be distributed, it’s going to be a little bit more crowded.

They’re obviously more specialized and different.

I’m not sure where that’s going to end up, but I do know that we have at least one data point booked.

I think we’ve coexisted well and done well with .co, and I’m sure we will with the other gTLDs.

And I’m sure there’ll be a lot of excitement as they roll out over the course of 2014.

Mr. Bidzos of Verisign went on to say;

.Net is over 15 million registrations, so it is rather sizable.

.co, which I talked about, which I think, again, is an indication of what a successful gTLD launch is, basically between July of 2010, when they launched in the end of 2013, December 31, that 1.5 million names is not an easy thing to do.

But .net is still roughly 10x that size.

In General Verisign said they expected “.com and .net names added to the zone in the first quarter of 2014 to be between 1 million and 1.5 million names.”

Versign Reports: 127.2 Million .Com/.Net Domains, Revenue up 10%; Has $1.7 Billion In Bank &

VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ :VRSN ) reported financial results for the fourth quarter of 2013 and year ended Dec. 31, 2013.

VeriSign, Inc. and subsidiaries (“Verisign”) reported revenue of $246 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, up 7% from the same quarter in 2012.

The operating margin was 53% for the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to 58.8% for the same quarter in 2012.

Verisign reported net income of $292 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.94 for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to net income of $106 million and diluted EPS of $0.65 in the same quarter in 2012.

Financial Highlights

Verisign ended the fourth quarter with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $1.7 billion, an increase of $167 million from year-end 2012.

Cash flow from operations was $147 million for the fourth quarter of 2013 and $579 million for the full year 2013 compared with $171 million for the same quarter in 2012 and $538 million for the full year 2012.

Business Highlights

Verisign Registry Services added 1.29 million net new names during the fourth quarter, ending with 127.2 million active domain names in the zone for .com and .net, which represents a 5 percent increase over the zone at the end of the fourth quarter in 2012.

In the fourth quarter, Verisign processed 8.2 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net as compared to 8.0 million for the same period in 2012.

During 2013, Verisign processed 34.0 million new domain name registrations as compared with 33.1 million for 2012.

The final .com and .net renewal rate for the third quarter of 2013 was 72.7 percent compared with 72.5 percent for the same quarter in 2012.

Renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days after the end of the quarter. Non-GAAP Items

Verisign: Rise In Value Of Bitcoin Causes Surge In .Com/.Net Domain Registrations: 22K In 2013

Verisign just published a blog on how the rising value of Bitcoin has led  to surge of .com and .net domain name registrations.

 

The value of a Bitcoin surged from roughly $13 at the beginning of 2013 to an eventual high of $1,137 at the end of November (The chart below, courtesy of Coinbase, documents the ebbs and flows of a Bitcoin’s value).

 

 

 

By doing a search of the word “bitcoin” for the past six months, it is fairly easy to see a correlation between the two Bitcoin price surges shown above and surges in domain name registrations including the term “bitcoin” in the grapher results below.

 

 

It is interesting to see that despite the relative modesty of the April price surge when compared to the November/December surge, daily registrations for both instances peaked at roughly the same number: 490 and 472 respectively. That being said the density of the two domain registration surges in the graph show that significantly more domains were registered as Bitcoin approached its all-time high.

 

Did you register any Bitcoin related domain names in 2013? Are you planning to register some in the new year? Let us know in the comments below!

Verisign: .Com Registrations Blow Past 112 Million Mark For The 1st Time

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 3.40.05 AM

Verisign is reporting that the number of .Com domain names in the active zone file exceeded the 112,000,000 Mark for the first time.

The number of .com domain name registrations in the active zone crossed the 112 Million number today January 16th, 2014

The number of .net domain names in the active zone file is down slightly but still well over the 15 million domain name mark.

 

Verisign Is Taking Back Expired Two Letter & Two Number .TV Domains

Verisign logo

Verisign the registry for the .TV registry is apparently taking back any expired new Two letter (LL.TV) .TV domain names as well as any two numbered (NN>TV) domain names.

Recently a domainer that had a back order on a two letter .Tv domain and a two numbered domain received this notice from Verisign:

“Thank you for contacting Verisign Support. I reached out to our Operations team to determine where they were in their investigation. They have a resolution for the issue prepared. However, the business team has concluded that both 13.TV and GM.TV will be placed into Reserved status upon their deletion.

They will not be able to be registered by any registrar once that takes effect.

They are reserving these domains at the registry level for use in specialized promotions aimed at generating significant brand awareness and adoption of the .tv tld.

I do apologize for the inconvenience, I know you wanted to register these names.””

You can now see that the domain names have in fact been taken back from the whois:

Domain Name: 13.TV
Domain ID: 108626603
Updated Date: 2013-12-25T04:04:39Z
Creation Date: 2013-12-25T04:04:39Z
Expiration Date: 2023-12-25T04:04:39Z
Sponsoring Registrar: .TV RESERVED DOMAINS
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 9998
Domain Status: SERVER-UPDATE-PROHIBITED
Name Server: No nameserver
DNSSEC: Unsigned delegation

Could Verisign do the same thing with a two letter expired or a two numbered .net expired domain name?

What would stop them?