The latest in the Domain Pulse series of Q&As looking at the year in review and the year ahead comes from a domain investor’s registrar perspective. Today Marc McCutcheon from Internet.bs, part of the rapidly growing CentralNIC group, discusses how CentralNIC’s merger with Key-Systems brought a lot of hard work and some incredible opportunities, GDPR is a good thing, registrars offering below-cost .com domain names is unsustainable, there are too many new gTLDs for investors to make money and domain names will continue to be relevant for the foreseeable future.
Domain Pulse: What were the highlights, lowlights and challenges of 2018 in the domain name industry for you?
Marc McCutcheon: Highlights and challenges are the ongoing consolidation of the industry. Our parent company CentralNIC merged with Key-Systems in the middle of 2018 and that has brought with it a lot of hard work as well as some incredible opportunities. Having access to Key-Systems’ full set of ccTLDs has been a huge gain for Internet.bs and we are currently in the process of adding as many as we can to our offering.
No real lowlights!
DP: GDPR – good, bad and/or indifferent to you and the wider industry and why?
MM: It has been a pain from an operational point of view but I think overall it is a very good thing, I personally would rather not have my data thrown about and stored so it is good to know that some responsibility has been forced on all companies. In reality there has not been much of an impact to any of our customers or us, we have always offered free WHOIS privacy and all we have had to do is make sure that customers are aware if we are passing any of their personal data to a Registry or supplier which is a good thing anyway.
DP: What are you looking forward to in 2019?
MM: Mostly just letting all of the changes from the past year settle in. We went through a transformation last year to bring our website design up to the high standard our service deserves, and I am looking forward to doing some marketing this year and hopefully growing our customer base. A lot of people worked very hard last year and hopefully we will see the benefit of it this year.
DP: What challenges and opportunities do you see for the year ahead?
MM: It is going to be a highly competitive year amongst domain investor registrars next year. Some registrars have been pricing under cost for .com and I expect that this year that will discontinue as it can’t be sustained, so there will be opportunity to gain customers via transfers. With an expected .com price increase in Q4 of 2020 we will be trying to encourage customers to renew for multiple years at the backend of this year so that is an opportunity for us.
I don’t know what ICANN is going to throw at us with respect to accredited privacy providers or WHOIS changes but we are well prepared to tackle anything no matter how horrible!
DP: 2019 will mark 5 years since the first new gTLDs came online. How do you view them now?
MM: I get excited whenever I see one in the wild and I’ll point them out to whomever is with me, they usually don’t care though. It is a bit like that. I think that they are a great branding tool for businesses but there isn’t a lot of money in them for Registrars or Domain investors, there are just too many TLDs.
DP: Are domain names as relevant now for consumers – business, government and individuals – as they have been in the past?
MM: Of course! The internet continues to grow and they are the primary addresses for the content it holds, they’re not going away anytime soon.
Previous Q&As in this series were with EURid, manager of the .eu top level domain (available here), with Katrin Ohlmer, CEO and founder of DOTZON GmbH (here), Afilias’ Roland LaPlante (here), DotBERLIN’s Dirk Krischenowski (here) and
If you’d like to participate in this Domain Pulse series with industry figures, please contact David Goldstein at Domain Pulse by email to david[at]goldsteinreport.com.