TL; DR: Domain registration services include more than just buying an address for your site. Dynadot not only sells domains to retail customers but also manages an auction for domain investors. In addition to providing VPS, website, and email hosting packages, Dynadot helps site builders launch sites in a straightforward manner. The company’s next move is to fine-tune its website and aftermarket services for domain investors.
It seems as if the tech industry’s unofficial slogan is growth at all costs.
But some of the most innovative companies start and stay small to serve the needs of a specific customer base. Entrepreneurs focused on a specific market segment often find value in these targeted operations — and it makes for a great customer experience.
The domain registrar and host Dynadot is one of them. The company focuses on providing low prices and intuitive user interfaces for customers who want a straightforward experience.
“Our company has always been on the smaller side,” said Brett McKay, a marketing expert with Dynadot. “It started in 2002 with our CEO, who just wanted to create a simple site for his mom’s small business. He found that registering domains at that time was fairly expensive, and many of the registration sites had confusing interfaces. So he seized the opportunity to start a business selling domains on a site he coded himself.”
Today, the company caters to retail purchasers (who buy domains for personal or business use) and investors (who buy and sell domains to profit off the markup). Dynadot runs a full-service domain exchange where customers can buy and sell domains, including those that are expired or up for auction.
In addition, the company offers three types of hosting: email, website, and VPS. The VPS offers a budget-friendly option for cash-strapped entrepreneurs. Best yet, the company’s website-builder tool makes for a simple drag-and-drop design experience.
Domain Registration Has Seen Significant Growth
As the industry has increased in size, it has also increased in complexity. Regulations on managing domain names have affected registrars and site builders alike.
“We’ve been hiring, adding new services, and optimizing where we can as the industry evolves,” Brett said. “Domain registrars have changed quite a bit over the years with new regulations,” he said.
Domain registration has been an often-overlooked part of the web’s plumbing since its earliest days. Strictly speaking, domain names aren’t required; websites are always accessible through an IP address. But a domain name is easier to remember than a string of numbers.
Two recent, major changes affecting registrars include the release of dozens of additional top-level domains and a gradual relinquishing of U.S. control over domain registration. After serving the market for nearly two decades, the Dynadot team has seen its share of industry change.
The release of new TLDs is also a big factor. When regulators approve new TLDs, competitive registrars must act quickly to incorporate them into their systems. Unfortunately, it’s common for some players to cut corners and introduce extra costs.
“I’m proud of working at this company,” Brett said. “We have really focused on transparency. There’s a trend with the registrars in this industry to insert hidden upsells and add-ons that some non-technical customers may not understand. We’re very transparent through our sales process and we try to include as much as we can for free.”
Common consumer traps include low first-year prices followed by high renewal rates and charges for features that are usually free, like domain privacy and transfer locking. Of course, that’s in addition to outright scams related to domain registration.
Investors Need a Streamlined Platform to Succeed
The strong investor market for domain names often takes retail customers by surprise. Investors come in two broad classes: The first includes people who snap up promising domain names at a low cost so they can resell them at a premium.
The second is made up of specialty companies and hosting providers that buy domains frequently for their own retail customers. With the gradual release of new TLDs over the last few years — there are now more than 1,000 — a hosting provider that can’t access all of them is at a disadvantage.
“Over the last two and a half years, we’ve been seeing strong momentum and high user retention, not just on the retail side but also in terms of the investors,” Brett said. “We strive to make our system accessible to all types of users. And we’re very responsive when it comes to requests for new services and additions from our users. We have an excellent pipeline of recommendations.”
Dynadot’s commitment to transparency means the company doesn’t deliver a confusing user experience to trick customers into a sale. Instead, a simple and clean interface helps retail and investor customers manage their domains with minimal technical confusion.
“Because domain investors are such a huge part of our business, making sure they’re happy, and they have the tools they need to do things efficiently is key to staying on top,” he said. “I think that’s one of the main advantages that we have over larger registrars like GoDaddy. There are so many logistics they have to go through to actually implement changes.”
Dynadot’s team of over 60 employees is dedicated to customer support. And a commitment to acting on user feedback — combined with a nimble team — results in a faster and more seamless customer experience.
Efficient Registration for a Variety of Needs
Domain registrars often go unnoticed in the flashy web industry, but they perform a vital service serving both retail and investor customers. Entrepreneurs can easily use Dynadot to register a domain name or two. And, on the investor side, the company delivers a rich environment for buying, trading, and selling domain names that otherwise aren’t available for purchase.
Moving forward, Dynadot will focus on fine-tuning its website to offer a more streamlined site-building environment for customers.
“We’re overhauling some of our pages on our site for added clarity,” Brett said. “We also recently released additional aftermarket tools.”
For Dynadot, a commitment to transparency leads to a low-cost, easy-to-use solution for domain registration and hosting. For a site builder or entrepreneur, Dynadot can offer both domain names and server space from a single control panel.
And for Brett, the biggest return on investment is the feeling you get from providing a great user experience: “We’re always focusing on providing positive customer experiences while improving our services overall,” he said.