Tag Archives: MMX

MMX Domains Under Management Rise 34% in 6 Months

mmxco-logoIn a period of what Minds + Machines (MMX) refer to as “consolidation”, domains under management (DUM) for the 27 new gTLDs they currently manage has risen 34% in the 6 months to 30 June, according to their unaudited interim results released Tuesday. Today DUM stands at 1.084 million according to nTLDstats.com.

The first half of 2017 also saw top-line billings of $5.6million (revenues $5.3million), which they called “a strong performance given key 2017 inventory releases” were held back until the second half of 2017. The billings and revenue compare to the first half of 2016 where there was $8.1million in billings ($7.4million revenue) driven by the .vip launch.

Other highlights outlined in the MMX statement were:

  • Quality of earnings significantly improved, renewal revenues increased more than two-fold to $2.4million (45% of H1 2017 gross revenue), compared to $1.1million H1 2016 (15% of gross revenue);
  • Central KPI target of renewal billings to be greater than fixed OPEX achieved for first time in period:
    H1 renewal billings nearly tripled to $3.1million;
  • Fixed OPEX reduced 45% to $2.6million when compared to the Group’s full operating costs in H1 2016 (30% when compared to 2016 ongoing operations);
  • H1 Operating EBITDA of $0.2million (H1 2016: $1.1 million) generated in spite of $2.1million lower revenue in period;
  • Net cash contribution of $0.2million generated from operations, $80k ahead of H1 2016;
    Cash and cash equivalents of $14.2 million at period end (H2 2016: $15.3 million), the decrease primarily due to payment of provisioned liabilities;
  • H1 2016 group losses of $1.9million reduced to $0.5million group loss H1 2017 – H1 2016 loss per share of 0.24cents reduced to 0.08cents H1 2017.

“The first half of 2017 has been a period of consolidating the transformational progress of 2016 with the business on course to deliver its maiden year of profitability as an operating business this financial year,” said Toby Hall, CEO of MMX.

“Importantly, the quality of earnings in H1 2017 have dramatically improved. Renewal billings have nearly tripled to $3.1million in the period from $1.1million last year with renewal revenue more than doubling to $2.4million accounting  for 45% of H1 revenue compared to 15% in H1 2016.

“The Company has likewise continued to work hard to manage down costs with fixed operating costs reduced by 30% to $2.6million in H1 2017 when compared to those of the continuing operations of H1 2016 ($3.8million) and by 45% when compared to the Group’s full operating costs in H1 2016. This has allowed the business to achieve one of its central KPI’s  of renewal billings being greater than fixed OPEX for the first time in the period allowing new sales to  increasingly drop to the bottom line.”

“As a result of the completed restructuring, off comparatively lower H1 billings of $5.6m due to the decision to hold back key new inventory releases to H2 – the business has transformed a H1 2016 billings based group loss of $0.5million to a H1 2017 $0.2million profit. And with the current momentum of Q3 sales, where sales of approximately $6million have already been achieved to date, the business is well on course to deliver its first year of profitability. The Directors therefore look forward with confidence, the strategic review process remaining ongoing as the Company and its advisors look to an outcome that can best enable an acceleration of what we increasingly consider to be a de-risked, proven business model that is delivering a balanced mix of revenues across the regions.”

MMX Sells Over $3.4m in Premium .VIP Domains Since late June in China

mmxco-logoSince late June, Minds + Machines (MMX) have sold over $3.4 million in premium .vip domain names, of which approximately $2.8million has closed in the 10 days to 12 September, and mostly to Chinese domain investors.

MMX is expecting a solid second half of 2017 in addition to the .vip sales. The .boston new generic top level domain (gTLD) which they provide registry services for launches in October and they’re entering the main renewal seasons for their leading new gTLDs.

MMX has 27 new gTLDs in their portfolio with 1.085 million domain names under management. The largest is .vip with 762,300 registrations followed by .work (107,500), .london (74,500), and .bayern (31,700). For all but their .country, backend registry services are provided by Nominet.

“We are building a strong, long-term, annuity based business with each of our regions now contributing well to the renewal revenue mix,” said Toby Hall, CEO of MMX.

“The exceptional renewal rates achieved in China in H1 are, in no small part, a direct result of the premium pricing policies introduced at the launch of the .vip TLD. The significant interest we are now experiencing in our 2017 premium inventory allocation follows our recent Beijing approval and, we believe, lays down further foundations for strong recurring revenues in subsequent years from the region.

“These latest sales also mean we are making excellent progress towards achieving management’s top-line billing targets for China for the current year, with more than 60% of our 2017 China premium allocation now sold in recent weeks. These sales, along with the launch of .boston in October, will however further accentuate the H2 weighted nature of our business as we now enter the main renewal seasons for our leading properties in Europe and the US.”

Beijing Gets On Board With the Rest of China Allowing .VIP, .SHOP and .LTD In Boost To All 3

The Chinese market is one that requires lots of perseverance for the operators of TLDs wanting to offer their domain names to local customers. To get approval the registry operator must get approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) first, and then the local regional communications department of the region where the domain owner is based must also recognise the TLD.

To date Beijing, a market of 22 million people, has been the only holdout. But on 16 August MMX’s .vip was the first of three foreign new gTLDs, along with .shop and .ltd, to be recognised by the Beijing Communications Administration. .vip is the first new gTLD in the top 10 by registration numbers to gain this permission. The approval gives the 3 new gTLDs a significant competitive advantage in a region with an economy with a GDP of circa 2 trillion CNY and a rapidly developed start-up/SME business sector.

MMX management also believe this latest permission will further accelerate the transition of those domains originally bought by investors in 2016, before MIIT approval, into the hands of SMEs. Already China's leading search engine, Baidu.com, recognises over 705,000 individual .vip pages from 188,764 different .vip sites and the Company is aware of further initiatives that will directly contribute to this continued usage growth of the domain in the coming months.

From mid November 2017, MMX will also begin selling Chinese character (IDN) .vip names into the Chinese market.

Separately, the MIIT approval process continues to progress on track on up to a further eight TLDs in mmx's portfolio.

.boston Enters Sunrise Phase of Launch

dotboston-logoMMX launched the first phase of availability for the new .boston top level domain on 1 August.

The “Sunrise” phase gives Boston businesses with trademarks first priority in claiming their .boston domain names through August 31. The commencement of the Sunrise phase marks a 70-day countdown until general availability of .boston domains for the public on October 10, 2017.

The next and last phase before general availability — the community phase — will commence on August 8th, at which time .boston domain names will be made available to government entities and non-profit organisations at a discounted rate.

Starting on October 10th, names will be made available to the general public through leading registrars in the US on a first-come-first-served basis. A number of registrars will likely allow pre-registrations starting in mid-September when wider marketing initiatives for  .boston begin.

With the launch of .boston, Boston becomes only the fourth city in the US with a top level domain, providing a unique opportunity for Boston residents, businesses and local organizations to set themselves apart from competitors, and signal their direct association with “The Hub”.

“The rollout of .boston presents an exciting opportunity for the city of Boston,” said Solomon Amoako, VP of Channel Strategy at MMX . “Whether you’re an established brand looking to lay the cornerstone of your digital Boston real estate, a local not-for-profit group or business wanting to open more doors to your organisation with a unique URL, or just a passionate Bostonian looking to show pride in your city through your online presence, .boston has something for everyone.

MMX is the official registry services provider for .boston, supporting .boston’s marketing efforts and operating the technical infrastructure of the new TLD.

For more information on how to get a .boston domain name, please visit nic.boston.

MMX Predicts Higher Than Average .VIP Renewals in China

Minds + Machines (MMX) is expecting higher than average first year renewal rates for its .vip new gTLD in China. Based on early manual renewals, the registry is seeing renewals significantly ahead of those typically seen by new generic top-level domains in the region, according to a statement released 7 June.

MMX uses first year renewal rates as an important internal benchmark. To date, actual deletions for the first 31 days of registrations for .vip from China are currently less than 1%, with manually confirmed renewals for the same period already at over 60%, with the remainder being placed on auto-renew by registrars on behalf of their customers.

Whilst not all of those placed on auto-renew will be renewed, MMX expects the overall renewal rate for the first month of .vip registrations, which will be published in late July, to place .vip in-line with the best-in-class renewal rates of leading western facing top-level domains (i.e. c. 70% and above).

“The .vip renewal rates from China, which have not been reliant on aggressive discounting tactics, are testament to the inherent value of the .vip extension and hard work of our retail partners,” said Toby Hall, CEO of MMX.

“This bodes well for our Chinese premium revenues in H2 as we begin releasing our 2017 .vip premium inventory for the first time to the broader market in Q3, traditionally the main domain investment season in the region, on the back of .vip's exceptionally strong renewal profile.”

MMX is also expanding in China with approvals for 8 new gTLDs currently progressing through the MIIT (Chinese regulator) for potential future release in China.

By domains under management, or registrations, MMX is sixth largest registry operator with 1.104 million domain names according to nTLDstats.com. By new gTLDs under management it’s the third largest with 26 behind Donuts (2.203 million DUM and 197 gTLDs) and Rightside (640,000 and 40). The largest registries by DUM are XYZ.COM with 5.703 million DUM and 6 new gTLDs followed by Famous Four (5.171m and 16), Jiangsu Bangning Science & Technology (one (.top) and 3.943m), Radix (2.342m and 9), Donuts and then MMX.

Is MMX Set For Takeover As New gTLD Industry Consolidates

mmxco-logoMinds + Machines Group Limited (MMX), operator of 26 new gTLDs with 1.1 million domains under management (DUM), has announced that they have received a number of informal approaches from parties interested in purchasing the sixth largest new gTLD registry by DUM.

In an announcement MMX said their Board has appointed US investment banking firm, Headwaters MB, to review the various strategic options open to the Company to maximise value for shareholders.

In the leadup to the approach or approaches MMX has been restructured successfully by the new management team into a profitable business with an increasing recurring revenue stream, a world class asset base, and one of the strongest footprints in Asia following the launch of .VIP and the subsequent MIIT approval in China.

During the last 18 months, the new generic top level domain market has experienced unprecedented growth and trading by MMX has, and continues to, reflect this. Registrations are up over 40% year to date. The sector remains highly fragmented and the review will explore how strategic options might accelerate shareholder value, in particular whether and how MMX can participate in a broader industry consolidation. The outcome of the strategic review may therefore include, but not be limited to, an acquisition by or sale / merger of the Company.

MMX will make a further announcement to update shareholders on progress of the strategic review when appropriate.

MMX Sees One Million .VIP Registrations By End of 2017 On Back of Strong Chinese Demand

Demand from Chinese investors in new gTLDs remains strong and is largely responsible for the recent 200,000 new registrations in .vip, valued at $1.3 million, the registry MMX (Minds + Machines) has reported.

The announcement comes as registrations for the 1215 new gTLDs to have been delegated passed the 29 million mark on 31 March, according to nTLDstats.com. The largest remains .xyz with 6.617 million followed by .top (4.510m), .loan (1.954m), .win (1.193m) and the only other with more than one million registrations, .wang (1.091m). It is interesting to note there are currently almost 2.995 million domain names in the “upcoming deletes” status.

The orders for .vip comprise both standard names and premium names, including 61 premium domain names sold via the recently completed eName auction. The order contracts also ensure high renewal rates for the new registrations and a guaranteed minimum of $1.3 million of income payable to MMX over the life of the contracts.

It is expected that the registrations will show on industry sites tracking new gTLD registrations, such as nTLDStats.com, over the next ten days and will take total registrations in .vip to in excess of 800,000. Currently nTLDstats.com shows .vip with 796,000 registrations and is the seventh biggest new generic top level domain by domains under management.

“The latest registrations underline the ongoing vibrancy of the Chinese domain name market and the long-term potential of .vip both in China and potentially the wider Asia region,” said Toby Hall, CEO of MMX. “It also bodes well for the upcoming first-year renewals season following the industry breaking first month launch of .vip last May. Management is confident of its ability to exceed the 2017 one million registration target set for .vip.”

MMX has identified a number of factors which it believes is driving .vip's growth in China, namely:

  • domain investors recognising the long-term relevance of .vip web extensions for China's burgeoning SME market as well as the region's established corporates
  • the first mover advantage generated for .vip in China via it gaining MIIT regulatory approval (announced December 2016)
  • the supportive entrepreneurial environment within the China's fast growing internet industry
  • the strength of MMX's in-country management team and in-country distribution partners.

MMX also announced that a Heads of Terms agreement announced on 21 March 2017 regarding mmx's geographic TLDs has now proceeded to contract on the first of the geographic TLDs with the second to proceed in due course. The Directors believe the agreement will lead to a material increase of registrations in the two relevant geo TLDs over the next twelve months.

MMX Targets One Million .VIP Registrations And Asian Expansion Of Its New gTLDs

Minds + Machines Group, aka MMX, who operates 26 new gTLDs with over 852,000 domains under management has announced it is targeting one million .vip registrations as part of an expansion into Asia.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange MMX reported they have successfully launched .vip into the Chinese market with over 586,000 registrations today, making it a leading gTLD in China as well as one of the top 10 new gTLD's worldwide. Following .vip's success in China, MMX is now looking to target other territories within Asia and is pleased to announce that Japan's leading registrar group, GMO, has commenced marketing .vip into Japan.

GMO accounts for approximately 90% of gTLD registrations in the Japanese market and is an important strategic partner for the Company.  Alongside .vip, GMO is also marketing .work, another gTLD in the MMX portfolio.

MMX noted there has been interest from certain new distribution partners in South East Asia and India for certain TLDs within its portfolio and is additionally reviewing its options for extending its retail distribution footprint more widely into these regions.

Within China, MMX reports it is participating directly in the auctions of .vip premium names currently being held by eName, one of the leading registrars in China. Within the first five days of the auction, gross sales of .vip premium inventory released by MMX through the auction has reached CNY1.1 million (approx. US$160,000). The eName auctions will run through to the end of March 2017 and continue to evidence the underlying asset value and popularity of .vip in China.

MMX is targeting global registrations of .vip to surpass one million by the end of 2017.

MMX is additionally progressing submissions to MIIT, China's regulatory body for the Internet, on up to a further eight of its wholly owned TLDs, which (if approved) will allow mmx to target the growing Chinese SME market with its extensions. China currently accounts for over 46% of new generic top-level domain registration and remains a growing and important market.

MMX is also expanding in the US strengthening its distribution and sales channels team with the appointment of a highly experienced new business development director who will focus on further monetisation of MMX's premium inventory across its portfolio of TLDs in North America.

Additionally their .boston new gTLD is scheduled to be released for 'general availability' in September 2017. The Company is working together with its distribution and retail partners to implement a strategy to support the launch.

In relation to the Company's geographic TLDs, mmx is also pleased to report that Heads of Terms have been signed with a distribution partner which the Directors believe should lead to a material increase of registrations in two of the Company's geographic gTLDs over the next twelve months.

“Following the positive progress of 2016 reported in January, I'm delighted that the momentum has continued into 2017,” Toby Hall, CEO of MMX, commented. “Significant progress is being made on a range of initiatives that should deliver meaningful standard name registration growth and awareness across a number of our TLDs in 2017, as well as premium inventory sales which typically benefits the profile of our top-line billings. We are well placed for further future growth and, with operating expenses under control, we look forward to the rest of 2017 and 2018 with confidence.”


Domain Registrations Face An Uncertain Future But Opportunities Are There: Domain Pulse Panel

Domain name registrations are in a state of flux around the world. While registrations in the more than 1,200 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) continue to grow strongly, registrations in the legacy gTLDs such as .com are declining and among country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) registrations are growing very slowly. And the trend is only likely to continue.

These are the findings of research conducted by CENTR and presented by Patrick Myles, CENTR Data Analyst, on day one of the Domain Pulse conference in Vienna last Thursday 16 February, attended by around 300 people. Domain Pulse is the annual conference of the registries for the German-speaking countries – Austria (.at), Switzerland (.ch) and Germany (.de).

Among European ccTLDs, the focus of CENTR’s research, Myles noted how growth rates (not registrations) have been declining for several years with an apparent stabilisation in the last few years.

So is it possible to arrest this decline in TLDs apart from the new gTLDs, and even in the new gTLDs will their growth rates come to a halt sometime soon?

In a following panel session, Michiel Henneke from SIDN that the .nl registry is particularly worried. In a country with 17 million people and 5.7 million registrations, and now the .amsterdam new gTLD, they have to focus on a probable saturation and face a future of low, if any, growth in .nl. The Netherlands also has less of a profile, Henneke said, than Amsterdam, making the city new gTLD appealing in international markets.

Even the rise of new gTLDs poses something of a threat to ccTLDs. Henneke noted that a few major Dutch companies have established their own TLDs and others, along with some regions, are interested in future applications. This could easily result in a decline in registrations in other areas as major brands often have hundreds, if not thousands, of registrations and small business may find a regional gTLD more appealing.

Even SIDN’s own research shows a worrying trend. Usage of websites is increasing but Google and Facebook are taking out an ever larger piece of the pie and it’s ambiguous as to whether young people are interested in domains.

But there is a bright spot – whenever EURid conducts a promotional campaign, .nl registrations rise!

Looking to the future, Henneke said “diversification not an option for every ccTLD as they’re answerable to government bodies. But SIDN has been experimenting with opportunities in similar areas. “DNS is required for e-billing so SIDN became a co-creator of a DNS billing service in the Netherlands, but there are few other markets that are as attractive when it comes to revenue as domain names and the e-billing service is just a small part of revenue. We’ve also taken over an e-identity company with 12 million users, so we believe this will be a significant contributor to future revenue.”

For Toby Hall, CEO of MMX who operates 26 new gTLDs, they have a focus on China where there are huge opportunities. But this is an opportunity that many ccTLDs don’t have. In a number of cultures where there’s an entrepreneurial spirit and energy that could have a positive outcome for all in the industry. Hall has found that the younger generation are wanting to use TLDs for other reasons than simply for a website or email, and that kids often relate to email as something in school.

“For the long term integrity of any domain name it has to resonate and have something of value,” Hall said. “We should be wanting to encourage new ways of thinking for new gTLDs”

For .berlin, they have had their own experiences. In a bid to stimulate registration growth in the early days, they gave away or sold cheaply around 90,000 domains in the early days, but they didn’t gain anything long term as many of these didn’t renew. Three years on from the launch of General Availability, registrations have now stabilised and are gradually increasing, now sitting at 59,000. These days the registry has even increased their registration fee with no detrimental impact on registrations.

Even MMX has had their own learning experiences. In the early days MMX set up a registrar to sell the registry’s own domains but they found this was “a wrong turn” as it created tension when doing deals with key registrars, and it was expensive. “It doesn’t make sense to create a distribution channel one will be competing with.”

Katrin Ohlmer, CEO of Dotzon, said it’s “not about the number of registrations but the usage and addressing the right target group. One of the main tasks for registries is to get message across is that a domain name is useful for a number of reasons, not just web and email.”

For .berlin which Ohlmer has been involved in from the start, 50% to 60% of .berlin domains are in active use.

On the threat to ccTLDs. Ohlmer observed that Audi has been setting up domain names for each of its dealers in Germany. Ohlmer also believes that with usage by brands, awareness of new gTLDs will increase and result in more registrations.

To drive registrations, Ohlmer wants to see it made easier for people to use their domains.

“For kids, it’s more about how easy is it to use for websites. If getting a website was as easy as getting a Facebook page, many more would have their own website and domain name,” she said.

“We need to change a lot of the language associate with domain names to appeal to a wider audience,” said Hall.

MMX Abolishes Premium Renewal Prices For New Premium Domains

mmxco-logoRegistrants of premium domain names for any of the new gTLDs wholly-owned by MMX (formerly Minds + Machines), and whose domains were first registered on or after 6 January 2017, will now pay the standard domain renewal prices the company announced. MMX is the second new gTLD registry to announce such a move that will appeal to, among others, domain investors.

The largest of MMX’s new generic Top Level Domains is .vip, which recently gained approval from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology that will allow its domains to be legally sold and hosted within the country. It currently has over 568,000 registrations. The announcement applies to the 25 new gTLDs that MMX wholly owns, the largest being .work (78,000 registrations), .bayern (31,000), .casa (18,000), .miami (11,000), .nrw (11,000) and .beer (11,000), their only gTLDs with more than 10,000 registrations.

“MMX is committed to delivering the most domain-investor-friendly premium name programs in the industry,” said Toby Hall, MMX’s CEO. “We started the process of rebooting our strategy in July last year, when we alerted our many registrar partners that 100% of our premium names sold after January 6th 2017 would have standard, GA renewal prices. As an added incentive to strengthening our existing partnerships and building new ones, we are likewise revisiting the price tiering of all our premium inventory across the portfolio. The upshot of our new Premium Program is that all registrants will ultimately have access to much more affordable purchase opportunities with sharply reduced carrying costs.”

“We were able to successfully pilot the concept of premium inventory renewing at standard prices through the launch of our .VIP extension in May last year,” said Michael Salazar, MMX’s COO & CFO. “The support was exceptional and provided the validation to implement the strategy across our wider portfolio. We look forward to seeing how this Program develops in 2017.”

“The ultimate goal of the Program and the wider initiatives MMX is putting in place is simple: we want to demonstrate we are great partners to have in your corner,” said Solomon Amoako, VP of Channel Management and MMX’s most recent appointment. “If you’re a domain investor, a registrar, an aftermarket platform, a broker, or an affiliate, we’re here to structure deals that can provide excellent profit potential both for yourselves and your end-customers.”

The announcement comes two weeks after Rightside announced it was lowering the cost of domain name renewals across its 40 new gTLDs such as .news (78,000 registrations), .live (78,000) and .rocks (75,000). Rightside’s newly launched Platinum Edge program enables registrars to sell their Platinum domains at a low renewal rate while also providing marketing support and materials to registrar partners.

Platinum domains represent the highest value inventory across Rightside’s 40 new TLDs, as determined by popular search terms and geographical and industry specificity. The Platinum Edge program allows registrars to offer individuals and brands the best possible domain for their needs.