There’s no shortage of web-based companies offering the ability to secure an internet domain name.
But within that crowded field, Wellington company iWantMyName, has carved a small but growing niche, and after two years in business has moved beyond start-up to record revenue growth of over 250% a year.
Co-founder Paul Spence, who is also chairman of the capital’s IT professionals group ‘Unlimited Potential’, says domain name registration was deliberately targeted as an arena in which global growth was possible.
“We started in the middle of the recession, and despite the currency moving against us and tight terms of trade from suppliers and banks, we’ve survived,” he says. iWMN is a reseller for a European domain name register.
Its differentiation is to “provide an interface that is simpler and cleaner.”
Globally, about 10 big domain name players have between half to two-thirds of the trade, with the biggest, ‘Go Daddy’ having about a quarter of the total business.
“But if you look at their sites, they’re very hard to navigate, and they’re constantly trying to up-sell additional products and services,” Spence says. “If someone’s trying to save a dollar on their domain registration, that’s fine. But we’re not chasing that market.”
Who iWMN is after are the early adopters and those in the technology community, especially in New Zealand and the United States.
“We’re very focused on thought leaders and the early adopters market; they’re our champions,” Spence says.
“They have some influence in the community of developers, designers and techie-type people. Securing the interest of people like them is important; the same for any software product.” iWMN makes purchasing and managing a domain, “frictionless,” Spence says.
This type of business model sees new domain registrations, and an annual renewal of the same. Each year approximately 70% of people renew, allowing exponential growth.
Promotion of the iWMN site is non-traditional, “we’ve never paid for an advertisement, anywhere,’ he says. “We concentrate on optimising the site for search engines, and are hammering social media.”
This includes a bit of Facebook promotion, but much more so the use of Twitter.
“Twitter’s actively used because it attracts the early adopter audience,” he says. “We also blog in several languages, and by finding high traffic blogs contribute on the topic of the global domain industry. They back-link to us, and may also be part of our affiliate program. The job’s to get our name out there, quickly. It’s still a work in progress.”
Spence says though he had no personal experience in the domain name business, his business partners did. Looking at the sector it stood out as one that had a high probability of success.
We saw it “as a service that could generate revenue from day one, and be exporting from day one,” he says. “We made sales on the first day we turned the site on, and because most of the market is outside New Zealand, it is mostly export revenue for the country.”
“We truly are a weightless export.”
Growth will occur organically Spence says, with one source of revenue being the licencing of its platform to other domain name registers. Such global partnerships already include a Netherlands partner.
“With our model, we can roll out an internationalised version of our site, and we’re now looking for non-English partners.”