Ethos Capital announced Thursday it has completed an investment to acquire a controlling interest of Donuts Inc. from Abry Partners. Based in Seattle, Washington, Donuts holds the world’s largest portfolio of top-level domains with 260 new gTLDs as well as providing registry services for a number of other top-level domains (both gTLDs and ccTLDs) through both its Donuts and Afilias brands.
Less than one month after it was announced Donuts were taking on the domain name registry business of Afilias, Ethos Capital has announced it is taking over Donuts by acquiring a controlling interest in the company.
Donuts dropped a bit of a bombshell on the domain name industry Thursday by announcing they were taking on the domain name registry business of Afilias, making it one of the largest providers of backend registry services for hundreds of ccTLDs, legacy gTLDs and new gTLDs.
Donuts has launched a new service to improve the security of the 4.5 million domain names registered in their 242 top-level domains. The new service, called TrueName, will prevent homographs. These are lookalike domain names that substitute letters or numbers with characters from Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic script tables for the purpose of malicious activity.
Donuts announced this week their .place new gTLD will become a generic top-level domain on 1 June, dropping the current eligibility restrictions.
Donuts has migrated the backend operations of all their 241 new gTLDs and 3.777 million domain names to the cloud using Amazon Web Services. It is the first major backend registry operator to migrate an existing on-premises backend to the cloud.
Announcing the move, Donuts says moving to the cloud has many strategic benefits for the largest new gTLD operator by TLDs and its registrar partners. The transition will allow Donuts to scale platform capacity according to the growth of its registrations while leveraging the redundancy and resiliency of the AWS platform. By leveraging the power of the cloud and AWS services, Donuts can expand its operational footprint in new geographies and deploy cloud services to efficiently process and analyse registry data for Donuts and its partners at a competitive cost structure.
“Our teams have mastered new technologies through this migration process. With this cloud migration, Donuts is positioned to take on new growth and innovation initiatives with confidence, knowing that our team of engineers and data scientists are up to the challenge,” reported Donuts CEO, Akram Atallah.
“We’ve fully automated the platform environment build-up, allowing us to set up a new registry platform in any geography with the push of a button,” says Benoit Levac, VP of Product and Engineering at Donuts. “This strengthens our position within the market as acquisition opportunities present themselves during this market consolidation.”
As one of the most innovative registries in the new gTLD era, Donuts is committed to maintaining the best platform and technology stack. Cloud enablement provides the scale and agility required to seize business opportunities ahead. Donuts plans to continue to optimise the new cloud platform to increase security, reliability, and adapt to the ever-changing technology landscape.
The .fan new gTLD hit general availability on 12 December in a marketplace where fans of sport and other forms of entertainment are well catered for. In the first 24 hours there were, according to nTLDstats, 996 registrations of .fan domain names, taking the total to 1,387. Today there are around 2,050 .fan domain names registered.
But for the fans of sport and other forms of entertainment, there is a second option with the .fans new generic top level domain which hit general availability in August 2015. There are currently 1,700 .fans domain names registered.
Searching a couple of registrar options, it appears .fan domain names are about half the price of .fans which at least in part explains the difference in registration numbers.
In their promotion of .fan, Donuts, the registry, has noted the first 24 hours of registrations were well in line with some of their most popular new gTLD releases.
They note that .fan is ideal for fans, followers, enthusiasts and their associated clubs, online communities and organizations in categories that include:
Amateur and professional sports
- Media and film
- Performing and Fine Arts (art, music, dance, etc.)
No doubt the same could be said of .fans, at double the registration fee.
Donuts Inc. announced the launch of the travel.domains website last week, with features to enable travel organisations, enthusiasts and industry professionals to browse, discover and purchase keyword-rich travel domains from its extensive TLD portfolio. Donuts travel TLDs include: .Travel, .Vacations, .Tours, .Voyage, .Cruises, .Holiday, .Flights, .Guide, .City, .Viajes, .Taxi, .Town, .Cab, .Reise / .Reisen, .Zone and .Limo.
Using Donutsâ powerful Relevant Name Search engine (RNS), website visitors can quickly find and select their domain names from a real-time inventory. When ready to check out, one click takes them directly to the registrarâs shopping cart (in this case, to Name.com), making the entire shopping process simple, seamless and convenient. Now that the website is launched, Donuts is offering travel.domains shopping cart integration to all registrars.
âItâs never been more important for travel industry companies, regardless of size, to own their identity on the web. Our goal with this website is to showcase our outstanding domain-name portfolio to those in the travel industry, and simplify the shopping and checkout process,â said John Pollard, executive vice president and general manager, Donuts registry. âThe integration experience with the registrarâs shopping-cart is one we hope to replicate with every registrar, because we think itâs a win-win: registrars acquire new customers, and travel industry pros find better domain names.â
In addition to powerful search and simplified shopping, the travel.domains website contains a wealth of information and case studies related to the online travel industry. Visitors can read about how travel TLDs are being used today, while Registrars can link to the site and obtain useful market data pertaining to the travel industry and merchandising content (e.g., logos, taglines, and âfast factsâ) for Donutsâ travel TLDs.
Itâs expected that global digital travel sales will surpass $200 billion by 2019, and sales are not just concentrated in large online travel agencies or walled gardens. There are hundreds of thousandsÂ of travel businesses looking to stand out on the web â particularly in markets that are not their home markets â and keyword-rich domain names help. Earlier in 2018, Donuts acquired the .Travel TLD due to strong growth in the category, the exceptionally high quality of registrants in the .Travel domain, and the strength and complementarity of the companyâs existing travel-related TLD portfolio.
The Donuts travel TLD portfolio is ideal for travel agencies and adventure companies, tour operators, hotels, hostels, bed & breakfast hosts, local resource sites and tourist attractions, travel writers and bloggers, and luggage and other travel-related retailers. TLDs such as .Properties and .Rentals are resonating with those looking to maximize their offers across multiple vacation rental sites. In fact, earlier in 2018, the domain name www.vacation.rentals was purchased for over $500,000, by an entrepreneur who has launched a vacation booking and rental service.
Travel enthusiasts and travel professionals can also leverage the Donuts portfolio for digital promotions and social posts. Recent research affirms the growing importance of web links that use real words, including new TLDs. In a survey conducted by Sapio Research and commissioned by Donuts, respondents overwhelmingly opted for branded short links using real words, over links containing long strings of characters and / or legacy short links. Reasons for preferring branded short links using real words included: more meaningful information, clarity of content, identification with the brand, trust and greater simplicity. To learn more about this survey, click here.
Donuts has announced their co-founder Jon Nevett is stepping down from his role as executive vice president of corporate affairs following the appointment of their new CEO Akram Atallah who is expected to commence in November.
In an announcement, Donuts note that Nevett will remain as a close advisor to the company having had had a tremendous, positive impact on Donuts since the companyâs inception.
As one of four Donuts co-founders and a domain industry veteran, Nevett was essential to Donuts in the new gTLD contention resolution process, enabling Donuts to secure 198 domains before their purchase of Rightside. In addition to business development at various times, Nevett managed Donutsâ legal, policy and HR teams.
Today Donuts manages 238 new gTLDs, or one in 5, and has 4.151 million domain names under management, accounting for 16.1% of all new gTLD domain names. Their 5 largest new gTLDs all have more than 100,000 domain name registrations: .ltd (572,500), .live (228,900), .life (187,700), .world (105,900) and .today (103,200).
In their statement lauding Nevettâs achievements, Donuts say Jon is a nationally recognised authority on Internet and DNS policy and has played a pivotal role in this industry for nearly two decades. He is a founding board member of the industryâs trade association, the Domain Name Association. Before co-founding Donuts, Jon was senior vice president at Network Solutions and chair of the boards of NameJet and Central Registry Solutions. Jon has been deeply involved in ICANN task forces, working groups, and panels. Jon worked closely with Donuts CEO Akram Atallah during Akramâs ICANN tenure and he looks forward to continued collaboration with Akram at Donuts.
They go on to say Jon currently serves on the ICANN Nominating Committee and the Registries Stakeholder Groupâs Executive Committee. His contributions to the new domain name industry and to ICANN have been extensive. For example, Jon helped form and served as the first chair of the New gTLD Applicant Group (NTAG) and was elected to three terms as chair of the ICANN Registrar Constituency. He was a member of ICANNâs IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG), which steered the move of this function to the global multi-stakeholder community.
Jon has leveraged his expertise in protecting trademarks as a member of the ICANN Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT), the Special Trademark Issue team (STI), and the International Trademark Associationâs Internet Committee. In 2009, Jon was appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerceâs Online Safety and Technology Working Group related to issues of child safety and the Internet. Jon received his undergraduate degree from Binghamton University and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
Akram Attallah, ICANNâs second in charge and President of the Global Domains Division has resigned, effectively immediately, and will be taking up a position as CEO of Donuts, where his former boss at ICANN, Fadi ChehadÃ©, is a partner. Attallah will be replacing Bruce Jaffe who is stepping down and taking on a role as a senior advisor to the company during the transition. Attallah commences with Donuts on 12 November.
Donuts is the largest new generic top level domain operator by the number of new gTLDs with 238 and second by the number of domains under management (4.1 million). In his 8 years with ICANN Attallah was a key person overseeing the introduction of new gTLDs.
âAkram made many, significant contributions to ICANN in a variety of roles, including as Chief Operating Officer, Interim President & CEO, and as the first President of the Global Domains Division,â said GÃ¶ran Marby, President & CEO of ICANN in a statement. âPersonally, I will miss his advice and his friendship, and I want to thank him for all he did in supporting me when I joined ICANN.â
ICANN will be recruiting a replacement for Attallah, whose last day was 9 October, but in the meantime Marby said he has âasked Cyrus Namazi, VP, DNS Industry Engagement, Global Domains Division, to serve as interim department head for the Global Domains Division, to help ensure a smooth transition. David Conrad, Chief Technology Officer, will provide executive support of the IANA team in the interim.â
âWe thank Bruce for his stewardship of Donuts, during which in his tenure as president and chief executive officer, the company raised over $100 million in debt financing to acquire Rightside, and successfully engaged in a process to sell Donuts to Abry Partners,â said Erik Brooks, managing partner at Abry Partners and Donuts board member in a statement. Abry Partners acquired Donuts in September this year and the move could be seen as one of the first major changes Abry is making since its takeover. Attallah and Abry partner Fadi ChehadÃ©, who was ICANN CEO & President prior to Marby, have a history working together, both prior to and at ICANN.
âWe are delighted to welcome Akram to Donuts,â Erik continued. âHis deep experience in managing global organisations and rapidly-growing technology companies will be essential to driving Donutsâ next phase of growth. We are confident that Akramâs proven track record in and outside the domain name industry will broaden Donutsâ reputation as the innovative industry platform for new top-level domains and will enable the company to pursue rapid growth along multiple pathways.â
âI am thrilled to join the Donuts team,â said Akram Atallah. âI relish the challenge of further expanding overall awareness of the companyâs incredible top-level domain (TLD) assets, discovering new ways to use and leverage TLDs, and through its growth and success making Donuts a recognised, global innovation platform for people and organisations to create and manage their digital identities.â
Akramâs diversified technology experience runs the gamut from engineering to operations to product development and marketing. Before ICANN, he was chief operation officer at CoreObjects Software, an engineering services start-up. Prior to CoreObjects, he was general manager of the Broadband Access business unit at Conexant, and before that was the general manager of its Universal Access business, where he grew it to more than $800 million in revenues. His accomplishments at Conexant also included improved profit margins, transforming the marketing and engineering functions, and restoring its global market leadership position.