12 Aug

Situation On Domain Registration Pricing

With our new Domain Registration service launching at the same time as the new website and management back-end, one of the tasks that needed to be done was to establish pricing for domains.  This seemed straight forward at first, I mean, figuring how much to charge for a domain?  How hard could it be?  We’re pretty simple folks in terms of pricing, we like to both keep it simple, and be able to set it and forget it..  Our web hosting plans have gotten more resources added to them over time, but the pricing structure we have today has been in effect for a very, very long time.  We.  Like.  Stability.

With our old partner, the “big three” domains (.com, .net, and .org) were all $14.95 a year.  Obviously we had to be able to offer up cheaper than that, or this wasn’t even worth doing, right?  So just establish a baseline at say, $13.95, and run with it.. how complicated could it be, really?

Well, pretty complicated it turns out.  The last few months, along with getting all the finishing touches on the new website and back-end, we’d started actually digging into how we were going to price domains.  Turns out, there’s a ton of variables there, starting with there being hundreds of domain TLDs, run by many different companies, each with their own pricing structure and requirements.

So we started a little spreadsheet.  We focused on the big three first, and plugged in our $13.95 ‘beat the last deal!’ goal.  We factored in our cost, credit card processing fees, and… wait..  We’d loose money on every .net domains we sell!  But we’re good on .com and .org at-least, right?

Well, it turns out that with the variation between the three, we felt that with .com we were actually charging too much at $13.95.   So we expanded the spreadsheet, dumped a couple dozen TLDs in, and continued running numbers.  Point blank, no ‘keep it simple’ pricing structure was going to make it work.   Then we started factoring in some other variables we knew of:

  • Over time, in general, our costs can go down the more domains we sell.  (We’re not talking a huge amount here, but something)
  • Some TLDs run routine, limited time promotions on their pricing, which of course comes with more rules.  (Maximum price points, some promos are good for new registrations only, others for renews, etc)
  • Some registrars routinely raise the price of some TLDs.  (I’m looking at you .net!)

 

After much gnashing of teeth and crunching of numbers in a spreadsheet that was quickly growing way too unruly for the stated simple purpose, there was a brainstorm… Why not automate all this?

In the end, that’s what we ended up doing.  We’ve written some back-end code that will pull a list of all our upstream pricing, tack on our other costs (credit card processing fees, most notably), a small profit margin, and then price the domains on our site accordingly.

What this means for you:

  • If a TLD goes up in price at the registry, our price on said domains will increase.
  • If a TLD should lower a base price (I don’t know that it’s ever happened, but one can dream, right?) our prices will go down.
  • As our domain volume increases, and we find ourselves in new tiers with better upstream pricing, the prices we offer will automatically go down to reflect our reduced costs.

 

One massive side effect of this is, and the marketing folks will hate it, is that our domain name prices aren’t very “pretty”, they don’t all end in “.95”, “.99”, or “.88” because of the thin margins we’re talking about here, rounding everything to something ‘pretty’ would defeat the purpose of us attempting to make all the domain prices fair in terms of our costs.  At the end of the day, this is what we’re running with (this list is generated in real time, using our current pricing as of the time you are reading this):

.academy - $16.32
.accountant - $15.72
.accountants - $19.95
.actor - $36.54
.ae.org - $23.17
.agency - $19.59
.airforce - $29.22
.amsterdam - $41.42
.apartments - $47.65
.archi - $14.51
.army - $29.22
.art - $13.02
.asia - $15.85
.associates - $16.32
.attorney - $36.54
.auction - $29.22
.band - $28.00
.bar - $71.92
.bargains - $16.32
.beer - $29.22
.berlin - $50.01
.bet - $15.80
.bid - $4.22
.bike - $7.85
.bingo - $47.65
.bio - $14.99
.biz - $17.70
.black - $14.51
.blog - $28.05
.blue - $4.48
.boutique - $29.35
.br.com - $55.01
.build - $73.14
.builders - $29.35
.business - $9.74
.buzz - $33.54
.bz - $25.61
.ca - $16.46
.cab - $29.35
.cafe - $29.35
.cam - $10.29
.camera - $53.75
.camp - $53.75
.capetown - $30.44
.capital - $47.65
.cards - $29.35
.care - $29.35
.career - $91.50
.careers - $47.65
.casa - $29.22
.cash - $6.64
.catering - $29.35
.cc - $24.04
.center - $7.85
.chat - $29.35
.cheap - $29.35
.christmas - $71.92
.church - $29.35
.city - $7.85
.claims - $47.65
.cleaning - $53.75
.click - $13.73
.clinic - $47.65
.clothing - $29.35
.cloud - $8.46
.club - $3.01
.cn - $9.14
.cn.com - $47.57
.co - $32.33
.co.com - $31.66
.co.in - $8.78
.co.nz - $22.93
.co.uk - $8.90
.coach - $47.65
.codes - $47.65
.coffee - $9.67
.college - $63.38
.com - $11.08
.com.au - $15.80
.com.cn - $9.14
.com.co - $18.61
.com.de - $8.85
.com.mx - $19.13
.com.ru - $5.86
.community - $29.35
.company - $9.74
.computer - $29.35
.condos - $47.65
.construction - $29.35
.consulting - $31.66
.contractors - $29.35
.cooking - $29.22
.cool - $6.64
.country - $29.22
.coupons - $16.32
.courses - $34.88
.credit - $9.67
.cricket - $15.72
.cruises - $47.65
.cymru - $17.02
.dance - $43.86
.date - $4.22
.dating - $47.65
.de - $8.85
.de.com - $23.17
.deals - $29.35
.degree - $43.86
.delivery - $47.65
.democrat - $60.94
.dental - $47.65
.dentist - $35.32
.desi - $18.24
.design - $47.52
.diamonds - $47.65
.digital - $29.35
.direct - $29.35
.directory - $19.59
.discount - $29.35
.dog - $6.64
.domains - $29.35
.download - $4.22
.durban - $30.44
.earth - $21.22
.eco - $69.04
.education - $19.59
.email - $4.22
.energy - $11.48
.engineer - $29.22
.engineering - $47.65
.enterprises - $29.35
.equipment - $19.59
.es - $8.65
.estate - $29.35
.eu - $3.39
.eu.com - $23.17
.events - $29.35
.exchange - $29.35
.expert - $47.65
.exposed - $19.59
.express - $29.35
.fail - $29.35
.faith - $8.46
.family - $21.90
.fans - $70.70
.farm - $29.35
.fashion - $29.22

.feedback - $34.88
.finance - $47.65
.financial - $47.65
.firm.in - $8.78
.fish - $29.35
.fishing - $29.22
.fit - $29.22
.fitness - $29.35
.flights - $47.65
.florist - $29.35
.football - $19.59
.forsale - $29.22
.foundation - $29.35
.fun - $21.22
.fund - $47.65
.furniture - $47.65
.futbol - $24.34
.fyi - $19.59
.gallery - $19.59
.games - $17.12
.garden - $29.22
.gb.com - $81.85
.gb.net - $14.75
.gdn - $11.66
.gen.in - $8.78
.gift - $19.46
.gifts - $29.35
.gives - $29.22
.glass - $53.75
.global - $14.51
.gmbh - $33.54
.gold - $91.44
.golf - $47.65
.gr.com - $23.17
.graphics - $19.59
.gratis - $19.59
.green - $14.51
.gripe - $29.35
.group - $22.81
.guide - $29.35
.guru - $6.64
.haus - $16.32
.health - $69.04
.healthcare - $47.65
.help - $33.25
.hockey - $47.65
.holdings - $47.65
.holiday - $47.65
.horse - $29.22
.hospital - $45.82
.host - $92.66
.house - $29.35
.how - $28.05
.hu.com - $47.57
.icu - $7.56
.immo - $29.35
.immobilien - $60.94
.in - $12.07
.ind.in - $8.78
.industries - $29.35
.info - $16.17
.ink - $33.54
.institute - $19.59
.insure - $47.65
.international - $19.59
.investments - $11.48
.irish - $7.85
.jetzt - $18.49
.jewelry - $47.65
.joburg - $30.44
.jpn.com - $47.57
.kaufen - $43.91
.kim - $4.48
.kitchen - $16.32
.kiwi - $35.32
.kr.com - $41.59
.la - $36.54
.land - $29.35
.lat - $28.05
.lawyer - $36.54
.lease - $47.65
.legal - $47.65
.lgbt - $14.51
.life - $4.83
.lighting - $19.59
.limited - $29.35
.limo - $47.65
.link - $11.34
.live - $4.22
.loan - $4.22
.lol - $30.44
.london - $36.54
.love - $29.22
.ltd - $7.85
.ltda - $4.22
.maison - $47.65
.management - $19.59
.market - $29.22
.marketing - $29.35
.markets - $57.28
.mba - $29.35
.me - $4.22
.me.uk - $8.90
.media - $29.35
.memorial - $47.65
.men - $4.22
.menu - $36.54
.miami - $17.12
.mn - $50.64
.mobi - $20.73
.moda - $36.59
.mom - $34.88
.money - $29.35
.mortgage - $43.86
.mx - $54.66
.nagoya - $17.02
.name - $11.11
.navy - $29.22
.net - $16.04
.net.au - $15.80
.net.cn - $9.14
.net.co - $18.61
.net.in - $8.78
.net.nz - $22.93
.net.ru - $5.86
.network - $19.59
.news - $21.90
.ngo - $43.86
.ninja - $36.54
.nl - $10.24
.no.com - $47.57
.nom.co - $18.61
.nyc - $8.46
.nz - $17.76
.one - $9.70
.ong - $43.86
.online - $35.32
.ooo - $14.51
.org - $14.16
.org.cn - $9.14
.org.in - $8.78
.org.mx - $17.76
.org.nz - $22.93
.org.ru - $5.86
.org.uk - $8.90
.partners - $47.65

.parts - $29.35
.party - $4.22
.pet - $4.48
.photo - $31.71
.photography - $22.81
.photos - $19.59
.physio - $85.34
.pics - $33.25
.pictures - $13.36
.pink - $4.48
.pizza - $47.65
.place - $29.35
.plumbing - $53.75
.plus - $29.35
.poker - $14.51
.press - $71.92
.productions - $29.35
.promo - $14.33
.properties - $29.35
.pub - $32.88
.qc.com - $23.17
.quebec - $35.32
.racing - $8.46
.recipes - $47.65
.red - $4.48
.rehab - $29.22
.reisen - $19.59
.rent - $63.38
.rentals - $29.35
.repair - $29.35
.report - $19.59
.republican - $29.22
.rest - $36.54
.restaurant - $47.65
.review - $8.46
.reviews - $43.86
.rip - $17.02
.rocks - $13.36
.rodeo - $29.22
.ru - $5.86
.ru.com - $47.57
.run - $19.59
.sa.com - $47.57
.sale - $29.22
.salon - $47.65
.sarl - $29.35
.school - $29.35
.schule - $19.59
.science - $8.46
.se.com - $47.57
.se.net - $47.57
.services - $29.35
.sex - $93.92
.sexy - $61.00
.shiksha - $15.80
.shoes - $31.45
.shopping - $28.05
.show - $29.35
.singles - $29.35
.site - $29.22
.ski - $14.51
.soccer - $19.59
.social - $60.94
.software - $29.22
.solar - $53.75
.solutions - $9.67
.soy - $28.00
.space - $21.90
.srl - $4.22
.store - $55.38
.stream - $4.22
.studio - $21.90
.study - $28.05
.style - $29.35
.supplies - $19.59
.supply - $19.59
.support - $19.59
.surf - $29.22
.surgery - $47.65
.sx - $36.59
.systems - $6.64
.tattoo - $46.35
.tax - $47.65
.taxi - $47.65
.team - $29.35
.tech - $49.96
.technology - $19.59
.tel - $17.02
.tennis - $47.65
.theater - $47.65
.tienda - $47.65
.tips - $11.48
.tires - $93.88
.today - $4.83
.tokyo - $17.02
.tools - $9.67
.top - $1.80
.tours - $47.65
.town - $29.35
.toys - $16.32
.trade - $4.22
.trading - $70.70
.training - $29.35
.tube - $28.03
.tv - $39.65
.uk - $8.90
.uk.com - $41.59
.uk.net - $47.57
.university - $47.65
.uno - $30.44
.us - $4.83
.us.com - $25.49
.uy.com - $55.01
.vacations - $29.35
.vc - $35.32
.vegas - $65.82
.ventures - $47.65
.vet - $29.22
.viajes - $47.65
.video - $28.00
.villas - $47.65
.vin - $47.65
.vip - $14.39
.vision - $29.35
.vodka - $29.22
.vote - $73.14
.voto - $73.14
.voyage - $47.65
.wales - $17.02
.wang - $13.36
.watch - $29.35
.webcam - $8.46
.website - $24.34
.wedding - $29.22
.wiki - $30.86
.win - $4.22
.wine - $47.65
.work - $6.10
.works - $5.43
.world - $4.22
.ws - $28.41
.wtf - $29.35
.xyz - $12.19
.yoga - $29.22
.za.com - $55.01
.zone - $6.64

Yeah, I know, it’s not pretty… but it is an accurate and fair pricing scheme that reflects the underlying registry costs of each TLD.

Now, promotional deals, those get interesting.  As each promo usually comes with special rules, time limits, etc, there’s going to be some manual work involved in promotions, at-least in the beginning.   We also need to make some changes on our site to better call out when a domain registration price is the result of a promotion, so as not to shock anyone who happens to see a promo price in the last days of a promotion period, but comes back after the promo ends only to discover the ‘new’ higher price (which is actually the normal, every day price).

In short, domains is still an ongoing process (yes, we have many more TLDs to get added to the system, they’ll be coming in over the upcoming days), but we now believe we have a fair and sustainable pricing method that will make it much easier overall.  As of today we have sixteen TLDs in the system, more will be coming soon,  and promotional pricing should start appearing as well.