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GoDaddy Acquires Domain Aftermarket Company Afternic

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GoDaddy announced on Thursday that it has acquired domain name aftermarket company Afternic. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition marks GoDaddy’s fourth acquisition in the last 14 months. In August, GoDaddy acquired Locu, a San Francisco startup that helps small businesses be found online.

While most of GoDaddy’s acquisitions and announcements over the past year have been focused on improving its small business hosting, even shifting its brand to explicitly serve small businesses,  the Afternic acquisition seems more focused on bolstering the domain-side of the business ahead of the new TLD rollout.

The program will fuel a more diverse aftermarket, GoDaddy said, and Afternic’s Domain Listing Service displays domain names at more than 100 different registrars, giving new TLDs registries a way to showcase aftermarket domain names.

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.

“Having the right domain name is vital, no matter your venture,” GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving said in a statement. “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 keep Afternic’s staff based in the Boston area, and is also acquiring SmartName, a domain parking service, as well as NameFind, a new service for helping entrepreneurs brainstorm a brand name for their business, a helpful tool for its SMB customers.

“This is a terrific move by GoDaddy and a real milestone for the domain industry,” Tucows CEO Elliot Noss said. “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 will continue to operate its BuyDomains.com marketplace of proprietary domain names and its website development group. Conlin will remain Name Media’s chairman and CEO, while also becoming a strategic advisor to the Afternic management team following the acquisition.

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