Neustar Acquires .CO Internet S.A.S. for $109 million

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR), a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analytics, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire .CO Internet S.A.S. and certain associated assets. .CO Internet is the exclusive operator of the worldwide registry for Internet addresses with the “.co” top-level domain.

Since its global launch in 2010, names under management for .co have grown to more than 1.6 million in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Neustar has an existing partnership with .CO Internet to provide registry services and infrastructure support for .co extensions, the top-level domain assigned to Colombia.

“The acquisition of .CO Internet is a Continue reading

U.S. Department of Commerce Renews Neustar’s Contract For .US

Today, Neustar Inc. (NYSE:NSR) announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded the company the contract to continue administering the .US Top Level Domain (TLD), the official country code domain of the United States. Neustar has successfully administered this critical domain since 2001, when the Department of Commerce first selected the company to build and manage the new domain.

“We are honored that the Department of Commerce has selected Neustar to continue managing America’s domain name that millions of businesses, non-profit organizations and consumers use to manage their online presence,” said Lisa Hook, Neustar President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are committed to Continue reading

Neustar Launches One Of The First .Brands: .neustar

Neustar, the .biz and .us registry, launched what is one of the very first .brand New gTLDs: .neustar. The website is located at nic.neustar.

Neustar currently intends for the .neustar gTLD to be used exclusively by Neustar and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates. Neustar intends to use the gTLD for its own branding purposes only.

dotneustarNeustar has been selected as
Continue reading

Domain Name Association Signs 8 New Members: Nominet, Afilias, Neustar, etc.

The Domain Name Association (DNA), the global trade association for the internet domain industry, has welcomed eight new members from all over the world, bringing the total to 30.

The newest members are: Continue reading

ICANN posts for public comment the proposed renewal agreements of the .INFO and .BIZ Registries

ICANN posted today for public comment the proposed agreements for renewal of the Registry Agreement for .INFO and for .BIZ. This proposals are a result of discussions between ICANN/Afilias Limited and ICANN/Neustar, Inc. respectively.

After review of the public comments received, the ICANN Board will consider the proposed .INFO and .BIZ Registry Agreements for renewal.

A new provision is included to require the registry operator to amend its Registry-Registry Agreement to require registrars to use the 2013 RAA if registrars representing 67% of the registrations in the TLD sign the 2013 RAA. If the remaining registrars do not sign the amended Registry-Registrar Agreement requiring registrars to become a party to the final 2013 RAA within a certain time period, then the registrars’ access to the TLD registry system will be suspended (that is, those registrars will not be permitted to add new registrations). This requirement is dependent upon the registry operators of identified comparable gTLDs also submitting similar requests to amend their Registry-Registrar Agreements.

The original Registry Agreements had this duration:
.info 18 December 2006 – 31 December 2012
.biz 18 December 2006 – 31 December 2012
The contracts were then extended last December for another 6 months thus ending in 30 June 2013. All current gTLD Registry Agreements can be found here.

Here is the detailed information:
.INFO

Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

ICANN is posting today for public comment a proposed agreement for renewal of the Registry Agreement for .INFO. This proposed draft is the result of discussions between ICANN and Afilias Limited, and will be considered by the ICANN Board after public comment. The current agreement is scheduled to expire on 30 June 2013.

The current registry agreement for .INFO, like other registry agreements, provides for presumptive renewal so long as certain requirements are met. The agreement also provides that upon renewal, changes may be made to render the terms similar to other comparable agreements. The proposed renewal agreement includes modified provisions to make the agreement in line with other comparable agreements, as well as additional provisions that are currently proposed in the final draft of the New gTLD Registry Agreement posted for public comment.

Included in the proposed renewal agreement are the following provisions:

  • Threats to Security and Stability: A new provision has been added to allow the registry operator to temporarily prevent the registration of one or more names in the TLD in order to respond to an imminent threat to the security and/or stability of the TLD or the Internet.
  • Use of Registrars Accredited Under the 2013 RAA: A new provision is included to require the registry operator to amend its Registry-Registry Agreement to require registrars to use the 2013 RAA if registrars representing 67% of the registrations in the TLD sign the 2013 RAA. If the remaining registrars do not sign the amended Registry-Registrar Agreement requiring registrars to become a party to the final 2013 RAA within a certain time period, then the registrars’ access to the TLD registry system will be suspended (that is, those registrars will not be permitted to add new registrations). This requirement is dependent upon the registry operators of identified comparable gTLDs also submitting similar requests to amend their Registry-Registrar Agreements.
  • Emergency Transition provisions: A new provision proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement is included in the renewal agreement to provide for emergency transition in the event the registry is unable to sustain certain critical registry functions for a period of time.
  • Code of Conduct: The registry operator will be required to comply with the Registry Code of Conduct as proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
  • Resolution of Disputes: The dispute resolution procedures were updated similar to the New gTLD Registry Agreement to require the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation before they may initiate arbitration.
  • WHOIS: The WHOIS output is required to be compatible with ICANN‘s common interface for WHOIS (InterNIC), and if requested by ICANN, the registry operator must provide a link on its website to a webpage designed by ICANN containing WHOIS policy and education materials.
  • Cross-ownership Restrictions: The renewal agreement lifts restrictions on cross-ownership of registry operators and registrars or registrar resellers.

Posted for public comment are both clean and “redline” versions of the agreement and modified appendices as follows:

Contractual Compliance Review:  As part of the renewal process, ICANN conducted a review of recent performance under the .INFO Registry Agreement. The compliance review covered areas including: Timeliness and Content of Monthly Reports; Add Grace Period Limits Policy; Bulk Zone File Requirements; and Payment of Required Fees. ICANN analyzed relevant data and documents and found that Afilias is in substantial compliance with the .INFO Registry Agreement in the areas reviewed by ICANN. The assessment can be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/reports/operator-afilias-info-03jun13-en.pdf [PDF, 87 KB]

Section II: Background:

ICANN and Afilias Limited entered into Registry Agreement on 8 December 2006 for operation of the .INFO top level domain. The current registry agreement for .INFO may be viewed at: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/info

Section III: Document and Resource Links:

Current .INFO Registry Agreement and Appendices: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/info

Section IV: Additional Information:

None

.BIZ

Detailed Information
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:

ICANN is posting today for public comment a proposed agreement for renewal of the Registry Agreement for .BIZ. This proposed draft is the result of discussions between ICANN and Neustar, Inc., and will be considered by the ICANN Board after public comment. The current agreement is scheduled to expire on 30 June 2013.

The current registry agreement for .BIZ, like other registry agreements, provides for presumptive renewal so long as certain requirements are met. The agreement also provides that upon renewal, changes may be made to render the terms similar to other comparable agreements. The proposed renewal agreement includes modified provisions to make the agreement in line with other comparable agreements, as well as additional provisions that are currently proposed in the final draft of the New gTLD Registry Agreement posted for public comment.

Included in the proposed renewal agreement are the following provisions:

  • Threats to Security and Stability: A new provision has been added to allow the registry operator to temporarily prevent the registration of one or more names in the TLD in order to respond to an imminent threat to the security and/or stability of the TLD or the Internet.
  • Use of Registrars Accredited Under the 2013 RAA: A new provision is included to require the registry operator to amend its Registry-Registry Agreement to require registrars to use the 2013 RAA if registrars representing 67% of the registrations in the TLD sign the 2013 RAA. If the remaining registrars do not sign the amended Registry-Registrar Agreement requiring registrars to become a party to the final 2013 RAA within a certain time period, then the registrars’ access to the TLD registry system will be suspended (that is, those registrars will not be permitted to add new registrations). This requirement is dependent upon the registry operators of identified comparable gTLDs also submitting similar requests to amend their Registry-Registrar Agreements.
  • Emergency Transition provisions: A new provision proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement is included in the renewal agreement to provide for emergency transition in the event the registry is unable to sustain certain critical registry functions for a period of time.
  • Code of Conduct: The registry operator will be required to comply with the Registry Code of Conduct as proposed in the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
  • Resolution of Disputes: The dispute resolution procedures were updated similar to the New gTLD Registry Agreement to require the parties to attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation before they may initiate arbitration.
  • WHOIS: The WHOIS output is required to be compatible with ICANN’s common interface for WHOIS (InterNIC), and if requested by ICANN, the registry operator must provide a link on its website to a webpage designed by ICANN containing WHOIS policy and education materials.
  • Cross-ownership Restrictions: The renewal agreement lifts restrictions on cross-ownership of registry operators and registrars or registrar resellers.

Posted for public comment are both clean and “redline” versions of the agreement and modified appendices as follows:

(Note: Redlines for Appendix 2, Appendix 9 and Appendix 11 are not included because there are no proposed changes to current versions.)

Contractual Compliance Review: As part of the renewal process, ICANN conducted a review of recent performance under the .BIZ Registry Agreement. The compliance review covered areas including: Timeliness and Content of Monthly Reports; Add Grace Period Limits Policy; Bulk Zone File Requirements; and Payment of Required Fees. Neustar was found to be in compliance with the .BIZ Registry Agreement in all areas reviewed by ICANN. The assessment can be found at: http://www.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/reports/operator-neustar-biz-03jun13-en.pdf [PDF, 67 KB]

Section II: Background:

ICANN and Neustar, Inc. entered into Registry Agreement on 8 December 2006 for operation of the .BIZ top level domain. The current registry agreement for .BIZ may be viewed at: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/biz

Section III: Document and Resource Links:

Current .BIZ Registry Agreement and Appendices: http://www.icann.org/en/about/agreements/registries/biz

Section IV: Additional Information:

None

Wholesale prices in 2019: .INFO at $14.42 and .BIZ at $15.25 while .COM remains at $7.85

ICANN posted for public comment the proposed renewal agreements of the .INFO and .BIZ Registries. The new contracts will have a 6 year duration spanning up to 2019.

Afilias Limited, the .info registry, and Neustar, the .biz registry, as per the current ICANN registry contract can increase the wholesale price of .info and .biz domain names up to 10% every year. This privilege will continue to exist in the new contract ending in 2019.

.info price is set to increase by 10% to $8.16 on September 1st 2013. This is the Maximum Service Fee (as defined in the .INFO Registry Agreement) for annual increments of initial and renewal domain name registrations (including renewals associated with transfers from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another) in the .INFO registry.

On February 22 2013, Neustar Inc. announced they will be increasing the annual wholesale .BIZ domain registry fee to $8.63 per year, effective September 1, 2013.

On November 30th Verisign, Inc., the registry operator for .com, got it’s contact renewed for another 6 years but although Verisign got the contract renewal, it lost the right to raise the wholesale price of .com for the next 6 years. .com price will stay at $7.85 plus the ICANN fee.

So if Afilias and Neustar increase the wholesale prices 10% for each of the next 6 years thewholesale value of .info will be $14.42 in 2019 and the wholesale value of .biz will be $15.25 whilethe .com wholesale price will still be $7.85. The wholesale price of .info and .biz will be almost double of that of a .com.

Registries should be able to increase wholesale prices according to inflation. US inflation was at 1.1% in April. Registries are making a lot of money as it is with the current prices, so what is the point of these increases? To keep the investors happy?

Maybe it is time for the the U.S. Department of Commerce to deny this plan of raising prices 10% each of the next 6 years for .info and .biz. I will closely watch the comments made on the .info and .biz agreement renewals and give updates. Also the .org agreement renewal is coming up shortly.

Neustar Q1 2013 Resport: Revenue increased 8% to $216.4 million, Net income decreased 1% to $33.8 million

Neustar, Inc., the .biz .us and .co registry and a provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors, today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2013.  The company also announced that it plans to purchase up to $250 million of its Class A common shares beginning May 7, 2013 through December 31, 2013.

Neustar, Inc. today also announced that Leonard (Len) Kennedy will join the company as Senior Vice President and General Counsel, effective May 13. In this position, Mr. Kennedy will oversee Neustar’s legal and external affairs efforts, including public policy and government relations. Mr. Kennedy comes to Neustar from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he served as Associate Director and General Counsel and, most recently, as Senior Advisor to the Director. Previously, he served as General Counsel and Chief Government Affairs Officer at Sprint Nextel.

Results for First Quarter 2013 Compared to First Quarter 2012

  • Revenue increased 8% to $216.4 million
  • Non-NPAC revenue increased 10% to $107.1 million
  • Net income decreased 1% to $33.8 million, including the impact of a $10.9 million charge for the loss on debt modification and extinguishment
  • Net income per share was flat at $0.50

Non-GAAP Results for First Quarter 2013 Compared to First Quarter 2012

  • Adjusted net income increased 23% to $54.1 million, representing a 25% margin
  • Adjusted net income per share increased 25% to $0.80

“In the first quarter, we made progress on each of our 2013 priorities,” said Lisa Hook, Neustar’s president and chief executive officer.  “We submitted our proposal for the NPAC contract in early April, and we remain confident in our ability to provide world class service to the communications industry.  In addition, we continued to implement our strategy through targeted investments in our people and platforms, while identifying and executing on significant growth opportunities.”

Paul Lalljie, Neustar’s chief financial officer added, “The 25% increase in first quarter adjusted earnings per share demonstrated strong operating leverage and prudent cost management.  Our first quarter results and leading indicators provide us with the visibility to affirm our full-year guidance.  In addition, we have announced a $250 million share repurchase program that returns significant capital to our shareholders while maintaining our ability to invest in the growth of our business.”

Discussion of First Quarter Results

Consolidated revenue totaled $216.4 million, an 8% increase from $199.6 million in the first quarter of 2012.  This $16.8 million increase included growth in all three of our operating segments.  In particular:

  • Carrier Services revenue totaled $132.2 million, a 6% increase from $124.4 million in 2012.  This increase was primarily due to a $7.5 million increase in NPAC Services revenue;
  • Enterprise Services revenue totaled $44.8 million, a 13% increase from $39.5 million in 2012.  This increase was due to higher revenue in both Internet Infrastructure and Registry Services; and
  • Information Services revenue totaled $39.5 million, a 10% increase from $35.7 million in 2012.  This increase was primarily due to higher revenue in Verification and Analytics Services.

Operating expense totaled $145.6 million, an 8% increase from $135.2 million in the first quarter of 2012.  This increase was primarily due to the expansion of the company’s operations.  In particular, stock-based compensation increased $5.1 million driven by performance-based equity that was granted to a broader employee base.

Cash, cash equivalents and investments totaled $378.2 million as of March 31, 2013, compared to $343.9 million as of December 31, 2012.  The debt refinancing completed in January 2013 resulted in total debt obligations of $623.8 million as of March 31, 2013, compared to $587.3 million as of December 31, 2012.  During the first quarter, the company purchased approximately 551,000 shares of common stock at an average price of $44.38 per share, for a total purchase price of $24.4 million.

Business Outlook for 2013

The company affirmed its guidance for revenue and adjusted net income provided on February 5, 2013:

  • Revenue to range from $895 million to $915 million
  • Adjusted net income to range from $220 million to $230 million
  • Adjusted net income per share to range from $3.28 to $3.43

Conference Call

As announced on April 18, 2013, Neustar will conduct an investor conference call to discuss the company’s results today at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time).  Prior to the call, investors may access the conference call over the Internet via the Investor Relations tab of the company’s website (www.neustar.biz).  Those listening via the Internet should go to the website 15 minutes early to register, download and install any necessary audio software.

The conference call is also accessible via telephone by dialing (888) 437-9315 (international callers dial (719) 325-2223) and entering PIN 5300732.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available through 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) Thursday, May 9, 2013 by dialing (877) 870-5176 (international callers dial (858) 384-5517) and entering replay PIN 5300732, or by going to the Investor Relations tab of the company’s website (www.neustar.biz).

Neustar will take live questions from securities analysts and institutional portfolio managers; the complete call is open to all other interested parties on a listen-only basis.

This press release, the financial tables and other supplemental information are available on the company’s website under the Investor Relations tab. This includes reconciliations of certain non-GAAP measures to their nearest comparable GAAP measures that may be used periodically by management when discussing the company’s financial results with investors and analysts.

About Neustar, Inc.

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses.  More information is available at www.neustar.biz.

ICANN selects CNNIC, Neustar and Nominet as backup registry operators for New gTLDs

Marking another milestone in the implementation of the community-developed New gTLD Program, ICANN today announced the selection of three geographically diverse emergency back-end registry operators, or EBEROs. The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), Neustar, Inc. and Nominet were selected to guarantee domain names within a new gTLD continue to resolve in the event of a failure by a new TLD operator.

Emergency back-end registry operators are activated only if a registry operator fails to provide or is unable to sustain five critical registry functions temporarily or in the case of transition from one registry operator to another. Having them in different regions of the world reduces the chance that a natural disaster would affect all three at any one time.

“The impending new gTLDs represent a new phase in the history of the internet, and we’re delighted to play a key role supporting them as an EBERO, sitting at the heart of the expanding global domain name space,” said Lesley Cowley, CEO, Nominet.

EBEROs mitigate risk that a failed new TLD operator could impact the stability and security of the Domain Name System. However, EBEROs are limited in the services they can provide. For example, EBEROs will maintain critical registry functions but will not provide any additional services that a TLD operator may have offered its customers, such as web hosting or network analytics. The critical functions covered by EBEROs are:

  1. DNS resolution for registered domain names
  2. Operation of Shared Registration System
  3. Provision of Whois service
  4. Registry data escrow deposits
  5. Maintenance of a properly signed zone in accordance with DNSSEC requirements

The three selected organizations met stringent technical requirements and demonstrated years of experience in operating domain name services, registration data directory services and extensible provisioning protocol services.

.biz 10% price increase coming on September 1st 2013

Today, February 22 2013, Neustar Inc. announced to all of the .biz accredited registrars and ICANN that they will be increasing the annual wholesale .BIZ domain registry fee, effective September 1, 2013, following the required six month notice to Registrars. The annual domain name registration and renewal fees will increase by USD $0.78 from the current USD $7.85 per year to a maximum of USD $8.63 per year. That is an almost 10% price increase.

Neustar Inc., the .biz registry, a per the ICANN registry contract can increase the price of .biz up to 10% every year. The previous increase was done last year on February 1, 2012 ,from $7.30 to $7.85, including the ICANN fee. That was about 7.5%.

In December, PIR, the .org domain name registry, announced a price increase in .org effective July 1st 2013. Registrar price for .org will increase from $7.45 to $8.19. If you add the $0.25 ICANN fee the .org wholesale price will be at $8.44 in July.

Verisign announced that the .net registry fee will be increased from $5.11 to $5.62 effective July 1, 2013 as well.

On November 30th Verisign, Inc., the registry operator for .com, got it’s contact renewed for another 6 years but although Verisign got the contract renewal, it lost the right to raise the wholesale price of .com for the next 6 years. .com price will stay at $7.85 plus the ICANN fee.

Neustar Rates Super Bowl Advertisers and their Website Performance

Neustar set up website monitors on over 25 of the top Super Bowl advertisers’ websites, gauging website performance every 10 minutes from Washington, DC and San Francisco.

Those sites were:

  • Anheuser Busch
  • Audi
  • Best Buy
  • Bud Light
  • Budweiser
  • Cars.com
  • Century 21
  • Chrysler
  • CokeChase
  • CocaCola
  • Ford
  • FritoLays
  • Gildan’s
  • GoDaddy
  • Hyundai
  • Kia Motors
  • M&M
  • Mercedes
  • Mondelez International
  • NFL.com
  • Pepsi
  • Samsung
  • Sketchers
  • SodaStream
  • TacoBell
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • GetCrackin.com

The Results showed that the cokechase.com website was nowhere before the game and after that the website constantly timed out after 30 seconds. Also their home website http://www.cokeacola.com also went down for hours. Also Gildan Activewear website went down for a few minutes. Taco Bell’s new version of their website resulted in a larger, and slower loading website.

You can read the complete report here.