March was a banner month for domain registrars, as Dotster, Go Daddy and eNom were the fastest-growing providers in our Hosting Provider Switching Analysis, adding more than a half million hostnames between them.
Go Daddy and eNom may be benefiting from speculative purchases amid growing awareness of improvements in the domain resale market. The planned sale of whitehouse.com (a porn site often confused with whitehouse.gov) gained widespread media notice in the U.S. last month, with many stories noting the sale of men.com for $1.3 million in December. In the first quarter of 2004, at least 24 domains changed hands for $25,000 or more at auction, according to domain industry observers.
Two of this month's gainers are demonstrating that bankruptcy need not be a barrier to growth - provided you can successfully jettison a damaged brand. Scandals don't get much larger than the collapse of WorldCom, but the renamed MCI is showing strength, gaining 55K in March after adding 14K in February. Also making our leaderboard is the former Metropolitan Fiber Network, which rebranded as AboveNet when it emerged from bankruptcy last September.
1&1 Internet AG continued to gain momentum with paid accounts in its U.S. unit, gaining 21,705 hostnames in March. Almost none of that gain came from other American hosting companies, however, as 19k were new registrations and another 650 were transfers from Go Daddy, Register.com and Network Solutions.