More value with Tucows domains
A couple of weeks ago, we made a pretty big announcement that represented a fundamental shift in the way we think about domain name pricing. If you missed it, you can read all about it here. We made a couple of changes that day. First, we included more transparency in the pricing structure for domains that gives you a clear understanding of where your domain dollars are going. Second, we dropped our prices and added features to help you stay competitive in the domains marketplace.
Since that announcement went out, we’ve been working hard to build in several additional improvements all of which went live over the past weekend:
- As promised, the Tucows management fee, registry fee and ICANN fee are now listed as separate items in the Reseller Web Interface.
- We’ve also extended out new, transparent pricing structure to .mobi and .name domain names, too. (It was introduced for .com, .net, .org, .info and .biz domain names earlier this month).
- You can now offer one year .mobi registrations to your customers, down from the previous minimum of two years.
- Managed DNS and WHOIS Privacy are now available free of charge to Tucows customers, providing you with even more value to pass along to your customers.
Looking ahead, we’re going to strive to continue to find innovative ideas that add value and services to our domains package.
The Exceptional Squishy Cow
At our end of iteration review, like all good agile shops, we go through what's good, what could be done better, what still puzzles us and what we are going to do next time (but details on this are for another post). We also have The Exceptional Cow‚Ñ¢.
Whoever has the cow is responsible for triaging all incoming exceptions for that iteration. At the end of each iteration The Exceptional Cow is ceremoniously passed to the next bovine herder. As the cow herder, you have the responsibility of examining all incoming exceptions and fixing it if it is a no brainer or writing it up as a bug for someone else to fix if you don't have the time or if someone else has a much better grasp on the issue. Quite often all exceptions for the week are attacked in the final hours before we close off the iteration as we don't want to start new functionality at that point.
Simply put, whoever currently possesses the cow is responsible for handling any bugs, whether it’s by fixing them or writing them up in a bug report. It’s rather reminiscent of the “talking stick” tradition among North American natives or the conch in Lord of the Flies.
It’s the most interesting and practical use for a Tucows Squishy Cow that I’ve seen yet.
How the Tucows Rating System Works
Andy Brice, over at Successful Software did an experiment. He submitted fake software to hundreds of download sites and requested the software be given a top rating. You can read about the results of his experiments over on his blog. Needless to say, it would appear that there are lot of untrustworthy sites out there.
This raises an interesting discussion about credible, trustworthy download sites. So I thought it would be a good chance to provide some insight into how our Tucows software submission and rating system works.
An award from Tucows is not given lightly. In fact, just to make it on to our site, a software title needs to maintain a minimum three cow rating, and it needs to generate downloads. Titles that do not maintain an appropriate level of popularity are removed from the library on our site.
We offer a truly “best of” collection of software. One of our team members reviews every single piece of software that is submitted. In fact, over 70% of the submissions to Tucows are rejected because they fail to meet our stringent ratings criteria. In a nutshell, for Windows applications (we have different rating scales for Mac/Linux/Games, etc.), Tucows uses a 56-point rating scale with a large proportion of the rating based on usability (21 points), we allot up to 14 points for Help, Documentation and Support, 10 points for program enhancements, and 11 points for the opinion of the reviewer. The Tucows rating guide is so standardized, that a third-party site provides a “Tucows Rating Calculator” where software authors can analyze their title to get an idea of how it would rate on Tucows.
Our complete rating guide is available for anyone to see and includes details about the types of titles we will not accept and how we determine what to remove for our library. The bottom line for Tucows is this: our 5-cow rating system must be credible and trustworthy so our users can use our site with confidence.
Bill Sweetman Joins The Herd
I was just thrilled that we finally got to make it official earlier today and announce that Bill Sweetman has joined Tucows!
Bill and I have known each other for about eleven years now – since the very early days of AIMS (the Association for Internet Marketing and Sales). Interestingly enough, Bill presented at one of the first AIMS events and his topic was domain names as marketing tools. Back than it was rare that anyone gave much thought to the domain name they associated with their “web page” and fewer still treated domains as the marketing machines we know they are now. Bill saw the opportunity when few others did.
Since then Bill and I have collaborated on various projects, including writing for One Degree where his domain-related posts where always the most popular on the site. He’s been blogging at Sweetmantra and podcasting at Marketing Martini.
I’ve come to have a very high respect for Bill’s opinion and I’m really pumped about being able to work with him on making our entire domain name portfolio a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
So Bill, let me make it official – “Welcome to the herd!”
Elliot Noss and Amber Mac Talk About the New Tucows.com Site
Homepage is a show on CP24, Toronto’s 24-hour news channel, that covers stories about computers, high tech and the internet. It’s hosted by Amber Macarthur (often known to us in Toronto as “Amber Mac”), CityTV’s technology story anchor, former co-host of G4TechTV’s Call for Help and co-host of the CommandN podcast.
Our CEO Elliot Noss appeared on the show a couple of weeks ago to talk to Amber about the Tucows.com site. Topics covered include:
- The site’s revised look and change in focus from software downloads to solutions and how to get things done using your computer and the internet
- The community approach: readers of the site can sign up and contribute their own articles and solutions
- The solutions on the site: sometimes it’s software, sometimes it’s a service offered over the web, sometimes it’s something built into your operating system and sometimes it’s a procedure you can follow.
- How software downloads from Tucows have been scanned for viruses and our strict adware policies
We’ve got that segment (it’s 6 minutes, 36 seconds in length), and you can watch it in the window below or at full size on its Google Video page.
Tucows Reports Second Quarter Results for Fiscal 2007
All the details can be found in our investors area. We’ll be hosting a live conference call beginning at 8:30 A.M. on Tuesday, August 7th. We’ll record the call and post an archived MP3 within a few hours.
Update: the MP3 archive is now available at our investors site.
Tucows Reduces Wholesale Domain Name Pricing
How’s this for a radical idea: Charge less for each domain, then add more services and features and then fully explain where every penny of each transaction goes. It sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what we’re doing starting today.
Historically at Tucows, we've listed two separate fees for each domain name transaction: the domain price charged by Tucows and the ICANN fee charged in addition to the price. Starting on August 25 we'll list three line items for each new purchase, renewal or transfer: the price we're charged by the registry, the ICANN fee, and a management fee Tucows charges on each sale.
You won't be able to see the management fee as a separate line item in your accounts until August 25, but we've already implemented the new pricing structure behind the scenes. Effective today our prices are based on this new management fee model. Our new base price for a .COM name, for example, has dropped from $10.05 to $9.20:
Here’s how that price breaks down:
- Cost of a .COM domain name, charged by the registry to Tucows: $6.00
- ICANN fee: $0.20
- Tucows management fee: $3.00
.com, .net, .org, .info and .biz all get this cost breakdown treatment and a price drop.
As a customer, what do you get with this management fee? Quite a bit:
- Free Name Suggestion Tool powered by DomainsBot
- 50% of net domain parking revenue
- The ability to sell any of hundreds of thousands of premium domain names
- Access to a library of APIs and web-based tools for provisioning and management of domains
- Technical support.
And starting on September 1st we’ll be adding even more value with:
- Free WHOIS Privacy
- Free Managed DNS
We’re sure you’ll agree that this new pricing structure provides much more clarity into where your money goes when a domain is purchased through Tucows.