Welcome to the Domain Name Registrar Challenge Second Round South Region held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 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) godaddy.com vs (9) 123-reg.co.uk
As the over-all number one seed, GoDaddy arrives at the game with a slew of 5-star recruits starting and on the bench. GoDaddy supports ~453 TLDs and has more than a million active domain registrations. They also offer multiple marketplaces within GoDaddy, as well as integration within Afternic, which they bought in 2013. Because they offer so many services and marketplaces, and have integrated several platforms together, their user interface can be clunky at times.
To counter the power of integration the GoDaddy brings to the table, the 123 offers free domain privacy (GoDaddy charges an annual fee for privacy) as well as a renewal guarantee. Moreover, 123 offers a backorder service, so that you can pickup a domain as soon as it expires. Additionally, they offer bulk ordering of domains. 123 is a good registrar that has found a great niche, but going up against a powerhouse like GoDaddy proved too much for even a strong niche provider.
Final Score: GoDaddy 99, 123-reg 91
(2) ionos.com vs (7) namesilo.com
Being the self-proclaimed world’s largest hosting company will not help Ionos in this tournament. Ionos’ brings domain name registration starting at $0.75 per year to the table, including above-average pricing on most TLDs, including $1 for .com, .org, .net and .biz. Charges return to normal amounts after the first year. However, they lack a marketplace or auction platform. They do offer 1 free SSL cert with each registration, domain lock and even 2GB of free email space. Ionos does offer free privacy, though it was not explicit and didn’t see it was offered or free until I got to the final checkout page. I found it hard to just buy a domain, the way the website is set up, they highly encourage you to buy other services.
Namesilo charges $8.99 for a dot com TLD and do offer privacy, but it cost $0.75 per month (that’s $9.75 per year). It’s odd to me they apply this charge monthly. NameSilo recently reached 3 million active domain registrations. Namesilo specifically targets investors and provides a resource page specific to investors. Despite charging a little extra, Namesilo is going to win this powered on the back of their desire to serve the domain investment community with quantity discount and ease of registration.
Final Score: NameSilo 77, Ionos 72
(3) enom.com vs (11) porkbun.com
Enom’s biggest strength is perhaps the integration they offer with Afternic and Sedo. Their pricing is competitive, and they even offer some pre-registration for new gTLDs for domainers who are interested. They offer a back-order service, while their privacy runs $8 per year. Enom is a Tucows affiliate.
Porkbun offers above-average pricing, free privacy and, like enom, bulk searching capabilities. Many of enom’s tools is behind an account registration wall, even their bulk search, which seems unfortunate, as their other tooling is as well. Despite the promise of nice tooling focused for domain investors, enom, for me, doesn’t fulfill their promise well. They require you to create an account just to use bulk search, which seems intrusive. How do I know if I want to hire you before I see the goodies? Porkbun is going to win this matchup based on their pricing and free privacy.
Final Score: Porkbun 80, Enom 78
(5) openprovider.com vs (13) dreamhost.com
Based out of The Netherlands, Open Provider reportedly offers domain names at cost, though you must be a member to see those savings. Starting at only €49 per year, You save €2 for every €1 spent with this plan. Get rock bottom prices on 675 domain extensions and ALL new gTLDs and enjoy discounts on other products. Renew anytime!. Offering a mind-blowing 1300 “new and exotic” TLDs, this is the most TLDs I’ve read about a registrar offering. The biggest draw back I’ve noticed so far is that their website, while in English, always displays pricing in Euros, which I 1)had to verify it was Euro symbol, and 2)the conversion rate from Dollars to Euros.
Dreamhost is the current Cinderalla of the region, but they’re going to have to knock of five seed Open Provider to advance to the round of sixteen. Dreamhost currently offers .com registrations at $7.99, which is extremely competitive. Privacy is included, which is a nice option to have. Supporting 400+ TLDs is a good range to offer, though it’s not the 1300 that Open Provider claims. In this matchup I went against my gut, and chose Open Provider to defeat Dreamhost. Personally, between the two, I would go with DreamHost, but I think OpenProvider offers some interesting things that will put them into play later on, and quite frankly, some tools that domain investors may find interesting. This was a 2OT buzzer beater, but OpenProvider walks away. Cinderalla dreams end for DreamHost today.
Final Score: Open Provider 107, DreamHost 106
That wraps up the Domain Name Registrar Challenge Second Round South Region, where GoDaddy, NameSilo, PorkBun and OpenProvider will be advancing to the sweet sixteen.