Domain names are one of the biggest investment opportunities on earth. Storefronts continue to struggle. Companies like Amazon are making shipped items much more practical than burning petrol and commuting to stores. Look no further than NameCheap for evidence of the recent trend. The cult domain name company posted a $149,000,000 revenue number in 2019. It now manages over 10.5 million domains. The company added 1,240,000 domains under its umbrella in 2019.
NameCheap offered the following statement:
“During the year, Namecheap welcomed over 675,000 new customers onto our platform, and continued to see our product mix expand with the addition of our Logo Maker, Business Card Maker, Validation and CDN products launching into market. Our other product verticals, such as Hosting and Private Email continue to outpace our strong domain business trajectory, contributing more and more to our overall financial performance.”
After a Q1 post of $37,000,000, Namecheap was right on the money with their yearly projection in 2019. The company initially forecast a strong $148,000,000 in annual revenues. The growth is significant from the company’s posting just two years ago. The popular cult domain registrar has grown over 25% since that time. Revenues continue to suggest a strong domain marketplace and a growing awareness of the value domains hold.
Coming .com Crisis?
While yearly revenues were positive for Namecheap, the company continues to be worried about upcoming .com registration hikes. Namecheap is concerned that an estimated 70% hike in domain fees with ICANN could destroy the market for itself and domain investors alike. The company sent the following EMail to domain investors on February 10th. The words were penned by CEO Richard Kirkendall.
The Following is a NameCheap email sent to all registered users from CEO Richard Kirkendall on 2/10/20.
“Help Us Avoid .COM Price Increases
We have important information to share with you that will affect the price of your .COM domains.
Last month, ICANN, the organization that oversees domain names, announced significant changes to the contract it has with Verisign, Inc. who operate the .COM top-level-domain (TLD).
ICANN made these changes in secret, without consulting or incorporating feedback from the ICANN community or Internet users. Although ICANN has a history of making similar deals behind closed doors, and also of ignoring unified opposition against such action, we are focused on leading the fight against price increases that will harm our customers (and the Internet as a whole). This is a crucial time to raise our voices given that .COM domains make up 40% of all registered domain names online.
What does this change mean?
Wholesale registries charge Namecheap a set fee per domain name per year. According to this new agreement, Verisign will be allowed to increase the wholesale price to registrars for .COM domains every year for 8 out of the next 10 years, and the increases don’t stop there.
This will mean that .COM wholesale domain prices can grow by more than 70% over and above current prices over the next decade. The contract also allows for other price increases, which could drive prices up further, ultimately making .COM domains less accessible and more expensive for everybody.
Why is ICANN doing this?
Alongside these contract changes, Verisign agreed to pay ICANN an additional $20 million dollars over five years to support ICANN’s domain name system initiatives, without any clarity about how ICANN will spend the money, or who will ensure that the funds are properly spent on domain infrastructure.
So, what can you do to help?
These changes will have significant impact on the Internet for years to come, and only ICANN and Verisign have participated in this decision. If you want to make sure your voice is heard, let ICANN know how you feel about their recent decision. The Public Comment period is open until February 14, 2020.
You can leave your comment on the .COM proposal using ICANN’s form.”