The Directors of Minds + Machines Group Limited (AIM: MMX) are pleased to provide an update on the launch programme of its portfolio of new top-level domains, its registrar sales channel activity and the development of services for its own wholly-own registrar, Minds + Machines Registrar Limited.
gTLD Launch Programme
In September, names within the following new top level domains in which Minds + Machines has an interest will go on General Availability (“GA”) to the public on the following launch dates:
GA launch date
On entering GA, all domain names applied for prior to this period, including applications by trademark owners during the Sunrise period, businesses and consumers during the Land Rush period, and Londoners and London-based businesses during the .london Priority Reservation period, will start being registered and issued to applicants where there is no competing application for the same name. Where there are multiple applications for a domain name, applicants will be invited to participate in an auction for that domain name. The Board anticipates that approximately a quarter of Sunrise and Land Rush period applications in a domain are likely to go to auction.
On entering GA, domain names will also begin being sold to the public through Minds + Machines’ network of ICANN-accredited registrars on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as through the Company’s wholly-owned registrar.
Fred Krueger, executive chairman of Minds + Machines, commented:
As already seen across the new gTLD programme to date, moving into General Availability marks day one of the real registration drive for a domain. This is when registrars can begin to market, and consumers start to buy the names of their choice, without the delays and uncertainties associated with applications made before GA opens.
And as registrations grow within a domain, the key indicator will be the actual value of the domains sold when compared to the standard US$7.85 paid each year to VerisSign by registrars for an address in .com, and not just the top-line number of domains registered in a new gTLD.
Sales Channel Update
In support of the move into GA, the Board is pleased to report that the Group has continued to expand the number of registrars through which addresses in its domain portfolio can be retailed to the public. Registry-Registrar Agreements (“RRAs”) have now been signed with over 70 ICANN-accredited registrars across Europe, Asia and US including the world’s four leading registrars 1&1, GoDaddy, Host Europe, and Tucows.
The Board is also pleased to report the acceptance of Minds + Machines’ Premium Pricing strategy by registrars whereby the registry ranks the wholesale price of a name based on its perceived value.
Antony Van Couvering, CEO, added:
We are particularly pleased with the adoption of Premium Pricing by registrars. We believe this will help reduce domain name speculation and allow the registry – and registrars – to capture a greater percentage of the value of generic addresses over the long-term.
Development of Minds + Machines Registrar services
The Company has additionally continued to develop its wholly-own registrar, Minds + Machines Registrar Limited.
As set out in the Company’s readmission document published earlier in March this year, the Company engaged Needly Inc. (“Needly”), a web-tool developer backed by a range of West Coast investors including Upfront Ventures, to develop the working registrar platform for Minds + Machines Registrar Limited (Ireland) which was initially launched in November 2013. Needly is providing a range of additional software development and support services to the Group, including developing Minds + Machines’ Premium Name database, designing and implementing dedicated registrar services for each top level domain launch, and has also developed a range of test online marketing initiatives to provide Minds + Machines with key insights into the market-place. The total payments to be made to Needly under the current arrangements are expected to amount in aggregate to approximately £840,000. The Board anticipates that Needly’s development work will be completed in October this year by which time the Company intends to have expanded its own in-house capability to support the ongoing future development of its registrar business without need for further consulting and support services from Needly. Under the terms of an agreement entered into today between Needly and the Company (“Agreement”), Needly has also agreed, inter alia, that the Group may hire at the Group’s sole discretion certain employees of Needly and offer and distribute any of Needly’s current and future products and services (on no less favourable terms to the Group than the terms offered by Needly to any third party distributor). The Company has full ownership of any intellectual property rights in respect of the development of its registrar platform.
Michael Salazar, CFO, added:
Needly played a key role in developing our sales distribution channel having first built us the platform and now the tools that enable us to develop direct relationships with our customers across multiple top level domains. We are now bringing these functions in-house to support the ongoing development of our registrar business.
Needly’s scope of work and charges are being overseen by the independent directors of the Company, comprising Michael Salazar, Elliott Noss and Keith Teare (the “Independent Directors”) as Frederick Krueger is a 53.5 per cent. investor in Needly, and the relationship with Needly is being treated as a related party transaction (Antony Van Couvering and Caspar Von Veltheim are also investors in Needly owning 2.99 per cent and 0.12 per cent. of Needly respectively). The Independent Directors consider, having consulted with the Company’s Nominated Adviser, that the arrangements with Needly and the Agreement are fair and reasonable in so far as all shareholders are concerned and in particular, that Needly’s service is cost and time effective in meeting the Company’s key business objectives and ICANN’s rules.
For further information, please contact:
Minds + Machines Group Limited
|Antony Van Couvering||Tel: +1 310 452-1491|
Beaumont Cornish Limited (Nomad)
|Roland Cornish/Michael Cornish||Tel: +44 (0)20 7628 3396|
N+1 Singer (Broker)
|Shaun Dobson/Ben Wright||Tel: +44 (0)20 7496 3000|
gth media relations
|Toby Hall||Tel: +44(0)20 7822 7493|
For further information, please go to www.mindsandmachines.com/investors
About Minds + Machines Group Limited
Minds + Machines Group Limited is a publicly traded holding company listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange focused on the new generic top-level domain (New gTLD) space. Top-level domains, such as .com and .net are regulated by ICANN. ICANN is currently expanding the number of new generic top-level domains from the current 23 to over 1000 through its ‘New gTLD program’. The Group is one of the leading applicants for new gTLDs under this programme.
About Minds + Machines’ Registry and Registrar operations
Minds + Machines’ registry operations are provided through its wholly owned registry services providers: Minds + Machines Limited (Ireland), which works internationally with commercial organisations, cities, not-for-profits and entrepreneurs to operate New gTLDs; and Minds and Machines Limited (UK), which partners with the official promotional organization for London, London & Partners, to operate the .london New gTLD. In addition, the Group wholly owns Minds + Machines Registrar Limited (Ireland) and Minds and Machines Registrar UK Limited, each an ICANN-accredited registrar. Further information on Minds + Machines’ registry and registrar operations can be found at www.mm-registry.com and www.mindsandmachines.com respectively.