Bellevue-based Donuts has bought almost 200 of the new top-level domains that have been put up for bid over the past few years.
What: Donuts, a Bellevue startup operating a domain-name registry
Who: Paul Stahura, co-founder and CEO
Beyond .com: Donuts owns nearly 200 generic top-level domains (TLDs) that have been released over the past few years to diversify websites beyond traditional domains such as .com, .org and .net. Some of Donut’s TLDs include .movie, .restaurant and .school.
Never-ending auction: The new TLDs, managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, are each sold in a lengthy process that includes a pricey application fee and an auction if more than one company applied. Donuts has successfully bought nearly 200 TLDs since the bidding opened in 2012. The auctions are ongoing, though Stahura speculated they might end next year.
Expensive process: Donuts has raised more than $150 million from investors, mostly to pour in to the expensive process of applying for TLDs. Each application costs $185,000. The company made its first seven TLDs live in 2014, including the popular .photography.
Puzzle pieces: Donuts owns the TLDs but allows other companies to register domain names that use them. Registrars such as GoDaddy will register websites such as janedoe.photography. Donuts makes money from every registration.
Bid for Rightside: Donuts made a bid to buy part of public company Rightside, which owns TLDs and registers them. Stahura originally founded eNom, the registrar arm of Rightside, and sold it to Demand Media, which eventually spun off Rightside. Donuts wanted to buy the registry side of Rightside, which owns TLDs. “We think being a registry and a registrar kind of creates some problems for the channel,” Stahura said. Rightside rejected the bid.
Behind the name: Stahura decided the company name would start with “d” and its logo would be teal, a play off TLD. He looked through a dictionary and liked that Donuts has the letters “dns” (for “domain name system”) in it.
Growing up: Donuts has 40 employees in Bellevue and expects to grow to about 50 next year. Small businesses have embraced the new TLDs, Stahura said, and the company has accepted 2.5 million registrations in its TLDs. Some well-known websites that use its TLDs include Google’s X.company, Tmobile.careers and TheHungerGames.movie.
— Rachel Lerman