Los Angeles Business Journal

Demand Media Buys Name.com

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, January 7, 2013

Demand Media is preparing for the surge in new domain names that will become available later this year with its acquisition of domain registrar Name.com.

The Santa Monica media company announced Monday that is has acquired Denver-based Name.com for an undisclosed price.

Name.com has registered more than 1.5 million domain names since it was founded in 2003. The company’s 30 employees will remain in Denver.

Demand Media, which is best known for how-to articles found on its eHow website, has a domain registrar business called eNom that works primarily with business-to-business customers. The acquisition of Name.com adds a consumer-facing domain name registrar to its portfolio.

Demand Media is beefing up its registry services to prepare for the release of new top level domains – the word that comes after the dot – later this year. ICANN, the Los Angeles nonprofit that governs the domain name industry, plans to release more than 1,000 new top-level domains in late spring to create more memorable or distinctive web addresses, such as dot-insurance or dot-biz instead of the standard dot-com or dot-net.

Demand Media has applied to sell domain names at 133 of the new extensions, including dot-democrat, dot-republican and even dot-ninja.

“We decided that we want to invest pretty heavily in the world of top level domains,” said Taryn Naidu, the company’s executive vice president of registrar services. “Name.com gives us a different channel to be able to market and distribute our top-level domains. It’s very complimentary to our wholesale business.”

Although it might take time for new domain names to take off, Naidu said it will give people more domain name options and help them distinguish, say, Smith&Johnson.Attorney from Smith&Johnson.Accountant.

In the third quarter last year, Demand Media’s registrar business generated $34 million in revenue, up 11 percent from the same period in 2011. The growth was driven by an increased number of domain names available for registry on eNom.

Shares of the company closed Monday down 1 percent, or 13 cents, to $9.49 on the New York Stock Exchange.