I had a talk with Kristaps Ronka the CEO of NameSilo (NameSilo is an advertiser here at TLDinvestors.com). Kristaps shares his thoughts on the coming year, NameSilo products and much more
Q1) It was almost one year ago when you decided not to sell the company. Do you feel good about that decision and if so why?
KR: We are happy to keep growing the company with our own resources. We are cash flow positive, making investments in our technology and continuing to expand our offering. Just this year alone, we released 2 new platforms in addition to improving our existing platforms that include NameSilo, Catch.Club (our drop-catching domain solution) and NameLot (our domain brokerage).
Naturally, we have also grown our team to support these new products, primarily across support and development. As we head into 2023, we are more committed than ever to building innovative platforms and become a one-stop shop for domain investors around the world!
Q2) One of the new initiatives you started was the your brokerage product, NameLot.com. How are things going there?
KR: Things are going well. We believe we have a top-class product built and the work of gaining traction in usage is ongoing. We finished this year with 2,000+ users listing nearly 175,000 domains on NameLot. Our brokers have helped these customers achieve over $200,000 in revenues from these sales and we hope to continue scaling these figures up further in 2023.
Q3) What are your thoughts on the domain market as a whole as we head into 2023?
KR: 2023 will certainly be an interesting year for our industry.
All the external pressures we’ve seen this year – ranging from the highest inflation on record since the early 90s to the volatile crypto market – likely has most of us on edge for the year ahead.
But there are also reasons to be optimistic. Domain registrations still grew 3.4% YoY and it hasn’t only been across the largest extensions. gTLDs and ccTLDs have also been growing. More and more businesses are getting online and domain reselling is also on the rise. All these factors will likely lead to more demand for domains, resulting in more competition and innovation.
At NameSilo, we are working hard because we want to be a big part of that innovation in 2023.
Q4) In your opinion why should domain investors transfer their domain names to NameSilo?
KR: Domains are a commodity and their underlying cost is the same at every registrar. We offer low-cost domains that come with free features such as WHOIS privacy, domain parking, e-mail forwarding, security features and much more. We have also invested in customer support and towards domain investor-centric products such as Catch.Club and NameLot in addition to our domain name Marketplace.
Our Discount Program allows domainers to save across all of our extensions; the more active domains you have with us, the higher the discount. For our largest customers, .COM domains cost as low as $9.35 for registrations and renewal (with no purchase limits and no coupons required). Transfers are also competitive at $9.95, and this price is available to everyone.
In short, check us out and test our products yourself!
Q5) Do you see making any changes to the NameSilo marketplace, some have complained that every good name seems to be renewed. Perhaps changing the times when names go to auction?
KR: To be perfectly candid, regardless of what changes we push on our Marketplace (specifically Expired auctions), there will be a group of consumers that don’t like it. So, we do our best to balance out the changes without penalizing existing registrants or impeding auction bidders.
Over the past year, we have pushed a few notable improvements for a better bidding experience – including adding a proxy bidding option as well as featuring expired domain traffic stats (visits, clicks, CTR%).
These changes seem to have improved the overall user experience for the majority of our customers.
And we’re always open to additional innovation.
As it pertains to changing the auction process specifically, we have explored this idea but ultimately, determined that it would lead to a ton of customers losing valuable names. We do realize that some users currently use our expired auctions to determine market value on their domains before renewing last minute, but this is a pretty risky strategy. We have had cases where some customers forget to renew, and they end up losing their valuable domain names.
Q6) What are the biggest challenges you face as a domain registrar? What does the future look like for registrars?
KR: The domain industry is a challenging one, especially for registrars.
Firstly, it’s extremely competitive. For every domain that is registered with you, there are likely half a dozen other registrars that customer considered. Thus, it becomes necessary to always offer competitive pricing, high-quality support and robust products. Missing on any of these even for a few days could mean that your customers move their domains to your competitors.
Secondly, getting in front of the right customer is also a big challenge. In a market where the largest players can afford to outbid you on cost-per-click ads, or other industries also partner with your competitors to offer your services, it becomes very important where and how you invest your marketing.
As far as what the future looks like, these market pressures will force registrars to continue innovating. Some will start to offer additional services (such as hosting, security, website builders etc.) to grow their audience and their margins. Others will try to cost-cut and make their operations as lean as possible. Others still, will look to sell or partner up in an effort to grow. It’s really quite simple – you adapt or you die!
Thank you for your time Kristaps
KR: Thank you Raymond