Domain name aftermarket hurts GoDaddy’s growth again

GoDaddy’s aftermarket business performed worse than expected last quarter, but some opportunities might be on the horizon.

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GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) reported Q2 earnings after the market closed this afternoon.

Total revenue was $1.0481 billion, up 3.2% from the same quarter a year ago. It was up 4.1% on a constant currency basis.

The Applications & Commerce segment delivered 10.9% growth, ahead of the company’s 8%-10% guidance.

But the Core Platform segment, which includes domain names, underperformed. Revenue fell 0.3% to $696.4 million.

Domains under management grew 3% year over year, but the aftermarket once again hurt results. Aftermarket revenue was down 5% to $101 million.

In prepared remarks, GoDaddy CFO Mark McCaffrey stated:

On Aftermarket, revenue decreased 5 percent to $101 million on a tough compare from last year. Over the last five years we built upwards of a $400 million revenue, two-sided marketplace. As a reminder, this business allows a buyer and seller to transact on our platform at their agreed upon valuation. This business rapidly grew as we scaled the operations, participants, and partnerships. What we see now is a post-covid normalization of this business as valuations on larger transactions have decreased and volume growth has slowed. With that we expect steady low to mid-single digit top-line growth for the business on a go-forward basis.

A reduction in big sales has certainly hurt. I also wonder if the boost GoDaddy achieved from buying portfolios years ago has waned. There’s probably some low-hanging fruit in each new portfolio that boost results for a year or two after each acquisition, on top of the value derived from suddenly adding lots of new inventory.

Looking ahead, I also wonder how Squarespace’s acquisition of Google Domains will impact both the core registration business and the aftermarket. On the registration side, GoDaddy will have one less name-brand competitor (or, at least, a much less well-known brand.) On the aftermarket side, Google Domains is an Afternic sales partner but caps the inventory it shows at $10,000. Squarespace does not currently appear to be an Afternic sales partner.

Squarespace could also make an attractive expired domains partner. Google does not currently send its expired domain inventory anywhere, instead letting it delete. GoDaddy could get a boost if it can strike a deal with Squarespace for what is soon to be a very large portfolio of domains dropping each month. Then again, the companies are stiff competitors in the website-building business.

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