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09|19|2013 09:52 am EDT

Go Daddy to acquire Afternic and Smartname from Namemedia

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Registrars

As announced in an email to members of AfterNIC and Smartname, Go Daddy is to acquire the two platforms from Namemedia.

Afternic and Smartname will continue to operate as separate brands and the business terms are going to continue to be the same. Go Daddy will be joining Afternic’s Fast transfer network.

For details see the full text of the emails after the jump:

September 19, 2013

Dear FirstName LastName,

We have some exciting news to share with you.  Afternic has agreed to be acquired by GoDaddy.  This will be made public later today but as a valued member of Afternic we wanted you to hear it from us first.   This has some powerful benefits for you and our industry.

First, Afternic will continue to operate under the Afternic brand. Your account services will remain in place to support you.  Your business terms with Afternic will remain the same and you will continue to manage your account directly from the Afternic.com control panel.

Second, GoDaddy will be joining Afternic’s Fast Transfer network, meaning your domains will be available on a Fast Transfer basis to GoDaddy’s massive audience of customers seeking a domain.  Fast Transfer domains enjoy by far the highest sales velocity so this should translate into incremental revenue for you.

Most important, GoDaddy is making this move as an endorsement of Afternic as the industry standard by which cross-registrar fulfillment of aftermarket transactions can occur.  Afternic will operate as an industry utility.  The adoption of—and investment in—this technology ensure that that the domain industry can reduce friction and increase velocity of aftermarket domain sales.

We believe these changes will benefit our industry as we move towards an increasingly distributed and unified domain aftermarket and are excited to work with you to realize this vision.

We’ve included some questions and answers about the transaction. We invite you to contact your Afternic representative with any other questions you may have.

Warm regards,
Kelly Conlin
Chairman and CEO
NameMedia
kelly.conlin@namemedia.com

Q&A
Q:  What led to today’s announcement of GoDaddy’s acquisition of Afternic?

A:    Both Afternic and GoDaddy share a vision for a unified domain aftermarket that allows any registrar anywhere in the world to offer for sale all of the available secondary market domains with the same confidence that exists in the primary market. Afternic is the premier domain aftermarket, founded in 1999. GoDaddy is the world’s largest registrar, founded in 1997. Both of the companies appreciate that success on the Internet is built around connectivity. In the case of the domain aftermarket, this means that a standard needs to exist for registrars to connect to a trusted source of aftermarket domains. Afternic has built that connectivity platform—called Fast Transfer—and GoDaddy will not only join the platform, but will commit to investing in enhancements that will benefit the entire domain industry.

Q:    How does this affect my Afternic account?

A:    Afternic will continue to operate as a stand-alone site and Afternic customers can manage their portfolios there for parking, listing, appraisals, escrow and other services directly at the Afternic.com control panel as they always have.

Q:   Does this mean that Afternic will be absorbed into GoDaddy?  How will Afternic be operated going forward?

A:    GoDaddy plans to operate Afternic as a utility for the industry, helping drive standardization. Afternic will continue to operate under the Afternic brand, and the same customer service, sales and business development team members whom you know and work with today will continue to support your business.

Q:    How will this benefit me as an Afternic customer? 

A:    First and foremost the largest registrar in the world is committed to joining the Afternic reseller network so your sales velocity should increase when your Afternic-listed domains are available on GoDaddy.com as Fast Transfer.  Second, GoDaddy’s ownership brings more resources for developing cutting edge aftermarket technology.  As a result your registrar will soon be able to provide Afternic opt-in services from their control panel, saving you the time and effort of managing your portfolio in multiple places.  Lastly, the Afternic network will continue to accelerate its growth giving you more places to sell your domains.  Afternic added nine new registrars last quarter and we expect to increase the pace of growth going forward.

Q:     Why is the domain aftermarket so important to GoDaddy?

A:    GoDaddy believes that the domain aftermarket has tremendous growth opportunities for all registrars and that a highly functioning aftermarket will continue to position registrars as the place to get a name, whether primary, secondary or new gTLD. When compared to other market categories, like automobiles, the percentage of the market represented by the aftermarket has been very low in the domain industry. This is attributed to many factors, including the awareness of registrants to the opportunities in the aftermarket, the validity of the inventory that’s in the aftermarket, and the presentation of aftermarket inventory on reseller sites. In short, every efficient market has a clearing platform that enables supply to connect with demand, and GoDaddy believes that every stakeholder in the domain industry will benefit from a unified platform: domain owners can opt-in to the aftermarket directly from their registrar control panel, domain buyers can see the most comprehensive supply of validated inventory when searching for a domain name with the same purchase experience as buying a domain on the primary market. It’s a level playing field: Afternic is the interchange network that connects the aftermarket, and GoDaddy participates as any other reseller, supplying its registrants’ inventory for sale across the entire network and providing all of the available inventory for sale on its website.

Q:    Will GoDaddy continue to support Standard Transfer?

A:    Standard Transfer will continue to be supported.  Some TLDs do not support Fast Transfer so we expect Standard Transfer will be part of the aftermarket for years to come.  We do believe though that the registrar-centric Fast Transfer approach is the future growth of the aftermarket.


Q:    How does this impact the sales team who’s been selling my portfolio?

A:    The Afternic sales team will remain in place and will be available to support you.  Your account manager will remain the same and Afternic will continue to support you with their fully integrated CRM system and world-class sales operations.

Q.     Is Go Daddy also purchasing the BuyDomains portfolio or marketplace?

A:     No, BuyDomains will continue to be operated independently by NameMedia.

These FAQs can also be found online here.

Dear FirstName LastName,

We have some exciting news to share with you. SmartName has agreed to be acquired by GoDaddy. This will be made public later today but as a key customer we wanted you to hear it from us first. We are confident that you will find this change a positive experience for several reasons:

First, SmartName will continue to operate under the SmartName brand. Your account manager and the SmartName team will remain in place to support you and you will continue to manage your account directly from the SmartName.com control panel. No changes are needed from you, and you will continue to receive your parking payments as you always have.

Second, scale matters in domain monetization. As the world’s largest registrar, GoDaddy will be able to leverage the best of its world-class programs in domain management and customer service for the benefit of Smart Name’s customers.

Most important, GoDaddy is making this move because they want to create an industry utility—the single standard by which domain owners can park their domains for the best results or sell their domains to the broadest audience.

We believe these changes will benefit our industry as we move towards an increasingly distributed and unified domain aftermarket and are excited to work with you to realize this vision.

We invite you to call your SmartName account manager with any additional questions you may have.

Warm regards,
Kelly Conlin
Chairman and CEO
NameMedia
kelly.conlin@namemedia.com

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