Verisign reported their fourth quarter and full year 2018 financial results Thursday which showed 153.0 million .com and .net domain name registrations in the domain name base, a 4.5% increase and a net increase of 1.29 million registrations in the 12 months to the end of 2018.
While Verisign doesn’t break down .com and .net registrations in their financial results, in their latest Domain Name Industry Brief for the third quarter 2018, where there were 151.7 million domains for .com and .net, 137.6 million for .com, 14.1 million for .net. Going by previous trends, it’s likely the majority if not all the increase in the fourth quarter was for .com and .net either was roughly the same or declined.
In the fourth quarter 2018, Verisign processed 9.5 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net, as compared to 9.0 million for the same quarter in 2017.
The final .com and .net renewal rate for the third quarter of 2018 was 74.8 percent compared with 74.4 percent for the same quarter in 2017. Renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days after the end of the quarter.
On their website Verisign publish their financial results going back to 2012. By way of comparison, in the final quarter of 2012 Verisign reported they added 1.25 million new domains and ended the fourth quarter with 121.1 million active domain names in .com and .net, representing a 6.4% increase year over year.
For the fourth quarter 2012 Verisign processed 8.0 million and 33.1 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net, representing 0.9 percent and 3.0 percent increase year over year, in the fourth quarter and full year 2012 periods, respectively.
During the quarter, on 26 October, Verisign and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) entered into Amendment 35 to the Cooperative Agreement, which, among other items, permits Verisign, without further approval of the DOC, to agree with ICANN to change the .com Registry Agreement to increase wholesale prices for .com domain names up to 7% in each of the last four years of each six-year period of the .com Registry Agreement.
Financial Highlights for the quarter as reported by Verisign were:
- Verisign ended 2018 with cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $1.27 billion, a decrease of $1.15 billion from year-end 2017.
- Cash flow from operations was $219 million for the fourth quarter of 2018 and $698 million for the full year 2018 compared with $199 million for the same quarter in 2017 and $703 million for the full year 2017.
- Deferred revenues on Dec. 31, 2018, totalled $1.02 billion, an increase of $19 million from year-end 2017.
- During the fourth quarter, Verisign repurchased 1.2 million shares of its common stock for $175 million. During the full year 2018, Verisign repurchased 4.4 million shares of its common stock for $600 million.
- Effective Feb. 7, 2019 the Board of Directors approved an additional authorisation for share repurchases of approximately $603 million of common stock, which brings the total amount to $1.0 billion authorised and available under Verisign’s share repurchase program, which has no expiration.