New gTLDS Provide “Significant Opportunity” For Melbourne IT

Melbourne IT’s half year results for the six months ending 30 June, released this week, show an 11 per cent year-on-year decreased in revenue to $87.6 million and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $7.0 million, down 30% year-on-year. But the organisation predicts brighter days ahead with 17 companies confirming they will apply for a new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) in 2012.

It was a disappointing result for the internet-based technology services company, severely impacted by the high currency valuation of the Australian dollar, that assists more than 350,000 customers around the world, including domain name registration services.

“We remain confident of a much improved second half. The domain name industry’s decision to allow companies to register a wave of new, high-value, Top Level Domains provides a significant opportunity for Melbourne IT DBS, and we also expect improved performances from our Enterprise Services (ES) and ForTheRecord (FTR) divisions,” Melbourne IT CEO and Managing Director, Theo Hnarakis said.

Melbourne IT say 17 customers have already signed to apply for their gTLD when ICANN opens the three month application window on 12 January and that more than 230 expressions of interest from large companies have been received in relation to obtaining a ‘.brand’ domain.

New customers added in the six months to 30 June included Virgin Enterprises Limited, The Body Shop Australia, Australian Red Cross and Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, and one or more of these companies could be included in the 17.

In an interview with ZDNet, Hnarakis said “That [figure] doesn’t include all the other things we can charge for in the future.”

“We believe that we can generate a reasonable amount of applications [for gTLDs] and I’ve indicated pricing is between $45,000 and $75,000. That doesn’t include management or any other activities.

“Even a modest number of applications will bring a substantial impact.”

Hnarkis, however, was playing full revenue forecasts for TLD sales close to his chest in his ZDNet interview, indicating only that they would be in the millions.

“I don’t want to give you the absolute detail. We are in a competitive environment. We don’t want to be sharing this with our competitors,” he said.

On the drop in earnings, Hnarakis said “Melbourne IT’s first half result was disappointing, being particularly severely impacted by the succession of post-float highs registered by the Australian Dollar in the past six months and continued soft conditions in the United States and Europe. On a constant currency basis using 2010 foreign exchange rates, revenues were down 6% to $92.1 million and deferred revenues down 4% to $52.1 million.”

The full Melbourne IT announcement is available from:
www.melbourneit.info/assets/announcements/Melbourne-IT-H111-Results-Release-230811.pdf