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September 27, 2013

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Here's the The Lowdown from DN Journal,
updated daily
to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry. 

The Lowdown is compiled by DN Journal Editor & Publisher Ron Jackson.

Blockbuster Acquisition: GoDaddy Buys Afternic and SmartName From NameMedia - NameMedia Keeps BuyDomains

In one of the most significant  acquisitions in domain industry history GoDaddy has purchased two major business units from NameMedia -  domain aftermarket sales platform Afternic and domain monetization company SmartName, as well as NameFind, a new service NameMedia recently rolled out for helping entrepreneurs brainstorm a brand name for their business. The price paid for the three services was not disclosed.

GoDaddy will continue to operate the acquired brands under their current names. Meanwhile, NameMedia will keep its well-known sales platform, BuyDomains, as well as a huge portfolio of domain names, a number of which they have developed into active businesses. 

The news first came this morning in letters to Afternic and SmartName customers from NameMedia CEO Kelly Conlin. Less than an half hour later we received the official release from Godaddy that, in reference to the key Afternic acquisition, said, "The move creates an unprecedented level of domain name 

aftermarket inventory from one source and a frictionless marketplace – enabling buyers to purchase registered domain names offered for sale quickly and easily."

GoDaddy also said the impending arrival of hundreds of new gTLDs also played a major role in the acquisition noting, "The move bolsters ICANN’s upcoming Top Level Domains (TLD) program by fueling a more diverse aftermarket. Afternic’s Domain Listing Service (DLS) displays domain names at more than 100 different registrars – including 18 of the top 20. This gives new TLDs registries and resellers the best chance and easiest way to showcase their aftermarket domain names. As an example, instead of choosing a single registrar to sell an already registered name like Pizza.NYC – the name can be offered across the entire DLS network – giving the seller the most exposure and customers the best experience."

Blake Irving
GoDaddy CEO

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving said, "Having the right domain name is vital, no matter your venture.  GoDaddy is working to bring the ‘domain aftermarket’ together with new registrations and make both super-simple to access. Our customers need an easy way to buy the name they want, regardless of whether it’s new or has been registered previously. This acquisition forms a registrar-led process that creates faster and more trusted transactions across the board.”  

GoDaddy plans to incorporate the DLS into its domain search results and add its aftermarket domain name inventory to the DLS in the coming months. GoDaddy Vice President and General Manager Mike McLaughlin added, "The success of the new TLDs and the aftermarket relies on a tight-knit group of diverse registrars and Afternic has done tremendous work to bring everyone together." 

Godaddy also noted "Afternic’s Fast Transfer network completes the transaction instantly, and will leverage the full security of GoDaddy’s world-class architecture, without requiring days for a domain name to transfer or having to negotiate confusing industry regulations."

Afternic SVP of Business Development Bob Mountain, who will remain Afternic’s Chief Revenue Officer, said, "GoDaddy's adoption and endorsement of Afternic as the standard for Fast Transfer will accelerate the growth of the domain aftermarket across the entire industry. Registrars around the world are realizing that the aftermarket presents a significant opportunity for revenue growth. GoDaddy's acquisition and investment in Afternic is a win for registrars, domain owners, and customers, and will provide the necessary scale to grow the aftermarket for years to come."

Several of GoDaddy's industry partners reacted favorably to the news. Tucows CEO Elliot Noss said, "This is a terrific move by GoDaddy and a real milestone for the domain industry. Making it easier for customers to find, buy and manage aftermarket domain names is important. That is why GoDaddy, Tucows and other large registrars are working together for the industry and for customers." 

NameMedia CEO Kelly Conlin added, "Afternic and GoDaddy share a vision for creating a unified domain aftermarket. By operating Afternic with the interests of the registrars and their customers first and foremost, this transaction not only fulfills this vision, but reinforces that registrars are the very best place to find all available domain names.” Conlin, in addition to continuing in his currrent role, will become a strategic advisor to the Afternic management team following the acquisition. GoDaddy plans to keep the Afternic staff in the Boston area.

Bob Mountain
Afternic SVP of Business Development

NameMedia CEO Kelly Conlin

(Posted September 19, 2013)  

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