Google announced on Monday that it is officially getting into the domain registration market business. For several hosting sector firms this caused an immediate financial fall-out. Most are probably unwarranted; let’s survey the playing field and potential setbacks.
So, who are we dealing with? I find most Google services clumsy, non-intuitive and hard to pay for. The first Google Domains marketing concept, which may have been dumped in the last 24 hours, is (or was) “invite-only domain registration service.” You remember Google+? Google is a bulldozer and when it puts its mind to it can even land a Chrome browser on my iPad.
To the battlefield.
Wix.com Ltd. (NasdaqGS: WIX)
This Israel-based registrar serves 50 million registered users of various hosting services. It was selected by Google to open the beta launch of its new domain registration service, Google Domains. Wix stock is up almost 15 percent.
Web.com Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: WWWW)
The company is highly associated with domain registration. In 2013, Web.com completed the $500 million acquisition of Network Solutions, this is after acquiring Register.com for $135 million back in 2010. As recently as March, Web.com purchased SnapNames. I do not know how much revenue is attributable to domain sales. Several days after the Google Domains announcement, Web.com is still trending down 15 percent.
Endurance International Group (Nasdaq: EIGI)
I call this an unwarranted proximity hit. EIG was pennies away from an all-time high when the Google announcement hit. Inter-day, it dropped 15 percent, and is still off 6 percent. The reality is that the EIG revenue base appears to be less than 5 percent domain registrations.
In the works:
It was just two weeks ago that the largest domain registrar in the world, the company with over 21 percent of the world-wide domain registration market, submitted an S1 to the SEC signaling an Initial Public Offering. When you go public you want to have the wind behind your back. In a previous blog post I stated this should be at least a $400 million IPO. It has hit a storm-front. I can feel the heat in the boardroom and almost hear words the WHIR does not print. They say timing is everything.
Demand Media, Inc. (NYSE: DMD)
Demand Media is planning to spin off its Rightside Group, Ltd. subsidiary and separate the business into two standalone public companies this summer. Rightside brands include eNom, name.com, and NameJetT. Again, timing is everything.
GoDaddy already controls 21 percent of the domain registration market. On the other hand there is Google which has 45 X the revenue as GoDaddy. Reality kicking in: even if Google does a bang-up job they have no real motivation to try to become lord and ruler over the domain landscape. The math does not work out. Google wants to be every place and this could be an add-on to otherwise lackluster services.
In 2011, I wrote a blog Google – Damned if you do. In your shoes I would re-evaluate my alliances.
Imagine a world where every hosting firm promoted Bing rather than Google AdWords?