Rick Kirkendall Talks About Reaching 10 Million Domains
Andrew Alleman from Domain Name Wire was given an exclusive interview with Rick Kirkendall, Namecheap’s CEO. As Namecheap hits 10 million domains under management, it seemed like a good time to talk about the growth and evolution of the company.
The Interview – Re-published From Domain Name Wire
DNW: For a long time, you were a reseller, so it wasn’t clear just how big Namecheap was. Why did you decide to move your domains under your own registrar creds?
Kirkendall: I’ll start by saying that we’ve had our own registrar backend and our own accreditation for many years now. The sole reason we had continued to work with Enom was because of the partnership we formed with them over the years, and the extremely favorable terms they gave to us to stick around.
That being said, we were under contract with them, and once that contract ran out, we decided it was time to finally branch out on our own. Being on our own allows us to use our scale and leverage our size to work out better deals, and also to form partnerships that directly affect the value we are able to deliver to our customers.
Cutting out the middleman has also allowed us to build better technology, as well as directly affect how quickly and efficiently we serve our customers. It’s been a long time coming and we are excited by the road ahead.
What role have new TLDs played in reaching 10 million domains?
Kirkendall: The new TLDs play a role, but I wouldn’t say they are the only driver to our growth. As you’ve pointed out in some of your blog posts recently, we are one of the largest registrars when it comes to legacy TLDs such as .com and .net as well. Our growth is mainly being driven by our ever-expanding customer base, and that’s what is key here.
We have millions of customers on our platform, and that number continues to expand quickly. I would say, in terms of customers for a single domain registrar, we are the second largest retail registrar in the world. Our strategy from the get-go has always been to focus on many customers with a few domains, rather than a few customers with many domains. It is this same strategy that has allowed us to quickly scale across all TLDs – as we have a wide range of customers with different needs.
(Editor’s note: Namecheap is the 5th largest registrar for .com domains and the 2nd largest for new TLDs.)
What percentage of your revenue comes from domain names compared to other services you offer?
Kirkendall: Currently, it’s about a 60/40 split but I believe that given the size of our customer base, there is a real opportunity to really grow more on the auxiliary products side of our business. We are definitely trending this way in any case.
What is the biggest challenge for Namecheap as it scales past 10 million domains under management?
Kirkendall: The biggest challenge for us, and with our current growth trajectory, will be maintaining the current level of excellent customer support we have always provided to our customers. We are investing heavily on both the technology side, as well as in our people, so I have no doubt that both will combine to rise up to the challenges ahead to meet, and even exceed, on what we deliver now.
What does the ten million milestone mean for Namecheap, and also, you personally?
Kirkendall: First and foremost, this is an opportunity to stop and say thank you to all of our customers that have chosen our company and have stuck with us through the years, because without them, we wouldn’t exist today.
For us as a company, it really is a milestone that marks a lot of hard work and dedication from the many people on our team that have contributed directly to our success by continuously focusing on the needs of our customers.
For me personally, it’s an opportunity to reflect back, and be grateful to have been able to share this journey with such a great group of people I get to call my colleagues every day, and to be able to witness firsthand the effect our company, and the products we are able to deliver has on the way our customers are able to get online and succeed.
Do you have advice or tips for success? How did you manage to grow Namecheap to be more than just a domain registrar?
Kirkendall: I know this sounds like a clichè but it really is as simple as always putting the customer first. If you’re dedicated to your customers, and wake up every day with the intent to solve their problems, you are on a direct path to success.
At Namecheap we use domains as a gateway for our customers. We understand that the first thing people do when they get an idea, or inspiration for a business (or project), is to go and register the domain name. We use this opportunity to not only deliver the domain name, but to also present them with the other tools they will need to get online and succeed.
We’ve done a fairly decent job with this up to this point, but we are only getting started. Our ultimate goal is to be the one-stop shop that delivers everything a customer needs to easily get online, and all in one place. I believe the technology and platform we are building today will deliver on this in more innovative, seamless, and meaningful ways tomorrow. There’s more to come here and this isn’t just marketing speak, so watch this space!