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GoDaddy Buys Afternic To Beef Up Its Domain Registry Marketplace

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GoDaddy has made another acquisition, its fourth in 14 months: it has bought Afternic, a specialist in aftermarket domain sales — that is, reselling domain names that are already owned. Afternic was owned by NameMedia, and GoDaddy says it is also acquiring SmartName, a domain parking service, as well as NameFind, essentially a name generator, from the same group.

For a company that has recently made moves to expand the kinds of services that it sells to site owners on its platform — exemplified by the acquisition of M.dot to help those owners create mobile internet sites; Locu to help them organize and distribute their business data to other sites/services; and Outright for bookkeeping — buying Afternic is a sign of how GoDaddy is not straying too far from its bread and butter business of domain registrations. GoDaddy adds that part of the reason for the acquisition is to help prepare for changes in the domain name market as new gTLDs get rolled out.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but GoDaddy notes that the company has turnovers of around $1 million per week in aftermarket domain sales. GoDaddy, which is based in Scottsdale, says it will keep Afernic operating in Boston, where it is based. NameMedia, after selling the three businesses to GoDaddy, will continue to operate its BuyDomains.com marketplace of proprietary domain names.

GoDaddy notes that the acquisition will enable over 100 registrars (including 18 of the top-20) to offer aftermarket domain names directly to their customers.

The addition of Afternic, indeed, consolidates the market for those who buy and sell domain names. “GoDaddy is working to bring the ‘domain aftermarket’ together with new registrations and make both super-simple to access,” noted GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving in a statement. “Our customers need an easy way to buy the name they want, regardless of whether it’s new or has been registered previously. This acquisition forms a registrar-led process that creates faster and more trusted transactions across the board.”

This is also partly what appeared to drive the sale of Afternic to GoDaddy by NameMedia.

“Afternic and GoDaddy share a vision for creating a unified domain aftermarket,” said Kelly Conlin, the Chairman and CEO of NameMedia, in a statement. “By operating Afternic with the interests of the registrars and their customers first and foremost, this transaction not only fulfills this vision, but reinforces that registrars are the very best place to find all available domain names.” Conlin will become a strategic advisor to the Afternic management team following the acquisition, while staying in his role as CEO and chairman of NameMedia.

And now GoDaddy’s posted its own announcement of the deal here.