Domain Name Registrar Challenge Second Round East Region held in Toronto, Canada – if you want to see a breakdown of the first round, you can find it here.
To see how the seeding was done based on data collected by yours truly, check out the article that introduced 2020 Best Domain Registrar Challenge. You can just cut to the chase and view the bracket in the webpage or download the PDF of the bracket if you wish.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these registrars. All of these notes are my opinions. My opinions were based upon observations of services as provided on the registrar website.
(1)namecheap.com vs (8) namebright.com
NameCheap came into the bracket favored to make a championship run, but being favored doesn’t win championships. What does win championships is free privacy protection, robust searching features and a nice marketplace. Their marketplace features robust search and filter features, and is easy to view, participate and monitor.
Namebright defeated a tough opponent in bb-online.com in the last round, but NameCheap is a different beast. To defeat the number one seed in the bracket they’ll need to pull out all the stops. Boasting an at-cost registration, they’re currently about $0.30 cheaper for dot com domains than NameCheap, and that’s not going to be enough to win, even with bulk purchases. However, they also offer transfers at the same rate, which could save someone transferring 500 domains $150, which is money in your pocket. NameBright also features a marketplace, but it’s full of domains with buy-it-now pricing, with no auction format available.
This is a game that is going into overtime. Although NameCheap has a nicer marketplace, they don’t stay the most true to their name, and Namebright beats them at their own game. Despite supporting more TLDS (~418 to ~275), Namecheap is going to lose this game.
Final Score: NameBright 99, NameCheap 98
(2) hover.com vs (10) fabulous.com
Hover is a strong two seed, offering competitive pricing for registration in 430 TLDs packaged with free WHOIS privacy. With Hover, you can get volume discounts on domain renewals, with the lowest tier being 10-24 domain names.
Fabulous is a smaller registrar, owned by Directnic since 2017. They support 38 TLDs, but as far as I can discern, they do not offer privacy protection. While they offer a tiered pricing plan, their one-off prices are a big higher than some registrars. On another note, it’s pretty unclear what I get with a domain name with Fabulous, so I assume it’s just the ownership and, presumably, some DNS management on the backend. This is a matchup that Hover wins easily.
Final Score: Hover 87, Fabulous 59
(3) epik.com vs (6) rrpproxy.com
Epik is not just a domain registrar, but a set of powerful tools for domain investors. Branded as “The Swiss Bank of Domains”, they offer a robust marketplace, bulk search tools and an escrow service. Personally, I’ve found their registrations to be on the higher-end, but they run regular promotions that offer discounts.
RRPProxy aka “The Metaregistry” offers registration in more than a thousand TLDs. They also offer preorders for new TLDs in all phases. Digging more into the new TLDs, they offer a nice TLD Launch Calendar. They offer privacy protection, but do not say if it’s free or premium. An interesting note is that it’s not easy for me to search for a new domain here – which seems counter-intuitive. Although RRPProxy is a strong competitor for Epik, Epik will pull away in the end thanks to powerful and easy to use tooling targeting domain investors.
Final Score: Epik 81, RRPProxy 72
(4) hexonet.net vs (5) spiritdomains.com
Hexonet offers competitive domain registrations, though I see no mention of privacy on their site, nor is it an option during checkout. Perhaps, because they’re a German company, then they apply privacy to all transactions as part of GDPR. Hexonet also offers a daily drop list where you can purchase deleting .com and .net domains.
SpiritDomains, AKA Segra offers free email forwards, bulk action tools and theft protection as add-on products for domain registration. They have very competitive pricing (currently $8.95 for .com registrations). More, they offer a premium marketplace and sunrise TLD opportunities. At the end of the day, though I love that Segra is a small southern U.S. state, they can’t compete with the tooling that Hexonet provides.
Final Score: Hexonet 104, Spirit Domains 89
That wraps up the Domain Name Registrar Challenge Second Round East Region, where Namebright, Hover, Epik and Hexonet will be advancing to the sweet sixteen.