In the earnings call Tucows (TCX) which reported earnings yesterday revealed some interest facts and figures.
In general profit margins from domain name is increase due to new gTLD’s and ccTLD’s, sales of domains are slowing, and Tucows revealed they had a minority interest in an application for .group which lost a private auction. While those funds won’t be booked until Tucows 3rd Quarter, Tucows increased their guidance of profit for the 3Q by by $1 Million
Here are the highlights:
“As I mentioned last quarter, we’ve begun to see a resurgence in gross margin and OpenSRS, the Wholesale domains channel due to the shift in our sales mix to higher margin domains and services.
While most volume metrics such as transactions and domains under management were relatively flat compared to last year, gross margin dollars on Wholesale domains in Q2 grew more than 11%.
This growth appeared strong relative to the industry. As we move through the remainder of the year, we expect the increased contribution from ccTLDs and the new gTLDs to sustain this higher gross margin.
We are already offering nearly 200 new gTLDs from eight different registry operators.
We expect to add support for over 20 more in the coming months.
Last quarter, I talked about one of the metrics that we’re watching closely, the ratio of new gTLD sales to those of com and net. For the market as a whole, that number increased from 6.5% in Q1 to over 10% in Q2. Although that does include some registries giving away a large number of domains for free. For OpenSRS, it grew from 3% in Q1 to 4% in Q2. And for Hover, it grew from 6.5% in Q1 to 9.5% in Q2, with all those domains being sold at a healthy margin.
Again, when we look at these numbers, we consider the fact that on one hand new gTLD sales will likely be inflated in the early launch period at least at retail. But on the other, these are not likely to be the most popular new gTLDs.
OpenSRS relies on reseller adoption first and end-user adoption second and we’re pleased with how we are moving along that path. Hover offers perhaps the clearest, most usable presentation of all TLD options in the industry. The fact that Hover appears to be selling more than its fair share of new gTLDs, indicates to us that the true market numbers and certainly the OpenSRS numbers should continue to rise as more end users started encountering that clear full breadth of choices.
Finally, as impressive and perhaps as important is Hover’s quarterly 20% revenue gains versus prior year is a steady climb in net promoter score or customer satisfaction score. Hover posted an all-time best net promoter score of 71 in Q2. We take comfort in that. Competitors like Google are entering the retail domain space. They might have aggressive pricing or bundling strategies, but we’re confident that nobody will match our focus on usability and customer support.
Starting with Domain Services, gross margin for all Domain Services in aggregate increased $261,000 or 4% to $7.6 million.
Most investors will remember that in Q2 last year we reported that subsequent to the quarter end we had a large gain from the resolution of contention in two new gTLD applications, .media and .marketing. We had the same thing happen this year with the resolution of contention for .group. We had a minority stake in one of a group of applicants for the string. We will recognize the revenue in Q3 in our portfolio line of business. It is certainly smaller than last year’s gain and is much like a nice large sale in the portfolio business. The specifics are subject to confidentiality.
We have remaining minority interest in the applications for three strings .online, .tech and .store. We have no expected timeline for resolution of the rest. We also do not know whether we will win the strings and require capital, resolve the menu private option whereas the loser will be compensated or resolve the (indiscernible) option whereas the loser will receive nothing. I’m really saying that investors should view these applications as having option value.
With the strong performance in Q2 and the successful result of the .group application, we would like to adjust upwards our guidance for 2014. Previously, we were expecting our EBITDA for 2014 to be in $13 million to $13.5 million range. We are now comfortable in the $14.5 million to $15 million range.
Gross margin for the wholesale component of Domain Services, which includes wholesale domain services and other value added services increased $172,000 or 3% to $5.5 million from $5.4 million for the same quarter last year. Within Wholesale gross margin from wholesale domain services increased by $380,000 or 11% to $3.7 million from $3.3 million for the same quarter last year.
This increase is primarily the result of the ongoing shift we are seeing in sales mix to higher margin services that Elliot touched on earlier. This shift offset the negative impact on margin of a handful of larger customers that have migrated their businesses to their own accreditations. The migrations also impacted transaction growth such that transactions process during the quarter were relatively flat from the same period last year.
Gross margin for value-added services decreased by $206,000 or 10% to $1.8 million from $2 million, primary the result of one large customer no longer using our email platform and the impact that Google makes to its search engine algorithms or having on the secondary domain name market.
Gross margin for portfolio services decreased by $173,000 or 20% to $675,000 from $849,000 for the second quarter of last year as the secondary domain name market generally continues to experience softness as it adapts TO the challenges we’ve talked about in the past. On a percentage basis, gross margin from Portfolio services was 76%, down from 79% for Q2 of 2013.”