It's not about the domain names. It's about the added services and add-on income streams. First get the domain registrations, then upsell. GoDaddy did an excellent job of adopting and implementing this model. (Though it might behove them to have an "express registration" process, for serious domainers, that removes all the added offers.)
I wonder how much money is to me made these days on domain names that are simply parked with registrars after registration? You know, the part about "using our domain name servers" as the default? Nice extra income stream.
I keep waiting to see domain registrars wade directly into the "domain parking as a service" service. I find it a bit perplexing that they have not done so more openly and aggresively, offering a high percentage share of the PPC revenue as an inducement to a) attract people to the registrar (better share if you roll over the domains?); b) attract more registrations; c) larger share based upon the number of domain names in the local registry, etc.
It's the evolving money streams of domain registration that I believe makes the acquisitions and mergers an interesting play. It's not about the domain name registrations.
OTHO, the portability of domain names should help drive the best, most honest, most generous dealers to success. There is a certain inertia to domain relationships, but as the numbers of domain names for any individual registrant increase the incentives to move can become more compelling.
So, which registrar will be first new registrar to announce a significant move into the domain parking service? I know Moniker is running TrafficClub. What about Enom, GoDaddy, Register.com, NetSol?
Any monopoly issues by offering both registration and parking? I lean towards doubt on that score, given the number of possible registrars and the fact that any parking service could also apply to be a domain registrar without much effort.
Bring on the competition and the better revenue shares and better domain parking systems!
[edited by: Webwork at 4:41 pm (utc) on July 26, 2006]