| Shareholder Activism

Carlo Cannell: Thoughts about Generic top-level domain names (GTLDs)

Excerpts from the letters

Rightside is a gem in that it has many assets which are unique or difficult to duplicate. We have some good new domain-endings as well, with .news being one example, but this particular domain-ending and a clutch of others like it do not constitute enough of a “front” to gloss over the majority of your extensions which are low in value and should be spun-off.

Generic top-level domain names (“GTLDs”)

I am troubled by the pivot toward, and unrelenting propaganda about, new generic top-level domain names (“GTLDs”). Whilst I concede that new GTLDs are one of many opportunities in the emerging market for second generation domain names, Rightside Group, Ltd. (“Rightside”, “NAME”, or our “Company”) is the second-largest domain name registrar, a business that is here and now.

While I am a believer in new GTLDs, it is going to be many years before their revenue in any way materially approaches the revenue potential of our registrar operations. In my view, NAME’s registrar has become like a crazy aunt kept in the basement, one that you refuse to adequately clothe or feed, but who steadfastly spins straw into gold used to subsidize a stable of largely substandard new GTLDs such as .democrat, .dance, .army, .navy, and .airforce. Most of these new GTLDs are irrelevant and will never be sold in material volumes. NAME is holding back the growth potential of your registrar by pushing garbage extensions to a user base that quietly knows better.


The user interfaces at eNom and Namejet look and feel clumsy and stale. Looking past the main page of NAME’s sites, the logged-in front-end infrastructure is untouched and acts like time capsule to what existed half a decade ago. If you are interested to read insights like this, we are happy to offer you a free trial.