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NameCheap Overtakes Go Daddy In Google (elliotsblog.com)
300 points by tnd on Apr 20, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments

1,019 people +1'd this

That's what I see under the NameCheap listing, which is number 2, Wikipedia is #1, with GoDaddy at #3.

The GoDaddy listing doesn't seem to have any +1s under it.

Could this be the effect of Google using G+ data to influence its search results? Thus, by giving more weight to G+, plus, GoDaddy's sinking popularity "socially", equals, a drop in its rank.

"name" is also in the URL of namecheap. It is very hard to counter legit sites with the exact keyword match in their URL, even if you have many more quality links going to you.

Try "hosting" and you'll see what I am talking about.

Not knocking your point, but https://www.google.com/search?q=domain+registration&pws=... also shows NameCheap above Go Daddy

See how it bolds "domain names", though? Google is now notorious for this; it will search for what it thinks you meant, rather than exactly what you typed. It's silently adding "name" to your query for you.

It's quite handy though, it looks for close synonyms where it expects they will return superior results.

For instance, if I search for "how to learn Castillian", it might replace that with Spanish since that also describes what I'm looking for and will get more results.

As soon as you try searching anything related to programming or computing, where you need exact matches, you start to loathe it (of course, there is always verbatim mode). I've also had a case where it included the antonym of one of my search terms in its "auto terms". Of course, since this is google, all of these associations are probably auto-generated at some level. So weeding out bugs would probably be rather hard.

It "might", but in this case, it gives you exactly what you want.

That's a good point, although https://www.google.com/search?q=%22domain+registration%22... still has NameCheep first and "name" is no longer bold.

For me it is only doing that in the sponsored ads, not the actual results. Citation required.

Google has a "verbatim" mode that does not do this. http://www.google.com/search?sugexp=chrome,mod=11&source... Still, namecheap is above godaddy

Does NameCheap let you do (I forget what it's called) your own nameserver on your own domain for free?

i.e. having registered example.com with NC, can you set up ns1.example.com to be the nameserver for example.com free of charge? Many registrars charge a fee for this (when they really shouldn't)


Seriously? Downvotes? It's just a question. There WAS a company that does that, it was mentioned here on HN during the great GoDaddy exodus, but I cannot recall which.

I didn't downvote you, but, on the surface, your question is nonsensical. A registrar provides only one useful service - "Identify what the DNS servers for this domain are." That's what you pay your annual fee for, so, to ask "does name cheap let you do your own name server on your own domain for free" doesn't make sense to most people.

Indeed, it's the _inverse_ that is somewhat rarer, which is providing DNS services for a domain for free. Not all registrars provide free DNS services in addition to being a registrar.

They refer to it as 'private nameservers', and it should be free.


yes, they offer this ONLY if you have "a Reseller, VPS or Dedicated server" service with them. In other words, if you just use them for domain names, then chances are you don't get this.

Name.com offers this service for free to domain registrations: http://www.name.com/faq/create-my-own-name-servers

EDIT: I stand corrected, please see: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3869727

I just tried registering my own nameservers on my NameCheap-hosted domain and it does appear to work even with a plain domain subscription.

I do this for all of my domains with no trouble and no additional cost.

NameCheap offers full DNS hosting for free. In fact, you can use their DNS hosting without being a customer.

They also support all record types.

I believe this may be referred to as a glue record.


Name.com offers this service free of charge. I use it on my domains.

This is pretty core behavior for domain owning power users. Locating your namserver at same facility as your webhost will theoretically reduce your points of failure.

You can specify it in the domain settings. I haven't used it but the option is available (with out showing any upgrade button)

I've never seen a registrar that does this, and I have five domains on Namecheap currently.

To verify search results with no personal settings, append &pws=0:


Google has been testing some pretty major algorithm changes in the last 5 or so days. Everything has been extremely volatile and major SERPs are changing every few hours.

Several prominent, white hat companies have even went missing in the Google's rankings for their [brand name] this week: https://plus.google.com/111294201325870406922/posts/NhssnKgf...

Not buying this as a long lasting rankings change until it sticks around for several weeks.

Do you have some kind of article or source to back up your first comment? I'm interested in reading it.

Distilled, one of the more well-known and reputable SEO agencies have a good post on what they've been seeing: http://www.distilled.net/blog/seo/google-updates-april-2012/

I also work with a larger number of sites and have seen all kinds of crazy things in a number of different industries the last few weeks. Fllow SEOs at other agencies are seeing the same fluctuations.

I can confirm that this is happening. Usually I'll get a couple search terms on the first page that go up or down any given week. Most of the search terms I monitor have had lots of flux in the last few weeks.

I actually was just in the middle of buying a domain name, decided that while I'd like to get away from GoDaddy I can't really afford to transfer all of my domain names right now and would like them all with the same register.

Well at checkout for some reason the PayPal button was missing and I didn't feel like typing in my CC (I know thats pretty lazy) so I decided to check and see NameCheap's price and with private registration (which was free) it was going to be $8 cheaper than GoDaddy. Needless to say I'm going to start moving my domains over.

Coupon code when transferring: SWITCH2NC

IIRC you get 2 years of private registration for free when you transfer to NameCheap, but it won't stay free after that period. When your privacy service runs out, renewal costs around $2 per domain per year. But then again, you can use the WGSPECIAL coupon to make that 99 cents. Those two coupons always work.

NameCheap overtook Go Daddy for the author. Search results change based on location, your preferences, search patterns, and just about everything else. One search does not a ranking change make.

If you log out or search in Incognito Mode (basically stripping out that personalization data), NameCheap does show up first for the term "domain name."

> (basically stripping out that personalization data),

Except for your IP address, along with all of the information sent along in your user agent string (browser, operating system, etc....)

I don't know how Google takes advantage of any of that, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's no real way to get a 'canonical' unfiltered search at all... and even if you can, it makes this kind of statement 'X overtakes Y' rather meaningless if most searches have the potential to be so heavily filtered/bubbled.

I tried that, and Wikipedia was #1 for me, which is probably a better result than any particular registrar.

Sorry, I meant #1 as far as actual domain name registrars go.

Namecheap was #2 and GoDaddy was #3. I think the author was referring to the fact that while Wikipedia has always been #1, GoDaddy & NameCheap had switched spots.

Again, depends. For me NameCheap comes up at 7th place in incognito mode. GoDaddy isn't on the first page but are on top for the advertised results.

EDIT: I'm in Sweden (Europe)

Are you in the united states?

Add "gl=us&" to the query (after the "#" or after the "?") to see results for US geolocation.

And search from an Incognito Window, so your Google Cookie is not sent along with the search request.


As I mentioned, I used a different computer to see non-personalized results. You can check it out on a proxy search tool like NewIPNow.com to see unpersonalized results.

Incidentally, I have 100+ names at Godaddy and bid on their auctions, while I do not have an account at NameCheap.

Crud. There goes my hipster cred. Been using NameCheap for years, now they are too mainstream.

Don't worry: you salvaged some of it with that comment ;)

I figured this will affect GoDaddy in the long term much more than it did in the short term, when people said "after all the fuss, it seems GoDaddy didn't lose that many users".

The point was that people wrote a ton of negative articles about GoDaddy then, and since that day forward virtually no one will recommend GoDaddy anymore, and instead will (probably) recommend NameCheap or someone else. I would expect the GoDaddy exodus to continue in the next few years.

yes...but all those stories would have boosted GoDaddy by quite a bit in rankings in Google

My guess is that this change is temporary and that someone at GoDaddy is calling their Google rep...and we'll see a fix shortly.

GoDaddy actually uses Adwords(and they rank #1...so they spend the most)...NameCheap doesn't appear to be(at least for the domain name search term). And they have a valid claim for being the biggest domain registrar...so Google loses nothing by playing the game and getting them to rank higher

Google is not permitted to allow the AdWord spend influence their search results.

Is not permitted, or does not? Serious question

I think US anti-trust law, and various promises that Google has made to the authorities in the past as part of M & A deals, prohibit them from crossing the line.

They do not allow the AdWords spending to directly influence search results. There's likely some higher-order effects which could influence the results, though.

yes...but I'd bet they have a lot more recourse if they are a major Google customer...if a bug lowers your rankings..tough...but if you are a customer it'll get resolved.

Between their recent multi-day nameserver outage and their lack of auto-pay and their clumsy interface I'm growing increasingly tired of namecheap...

Go Daddy was catching some flack[0] when it was discovered that they were appending their link to the bottom of web pages built with their web page builder tool called Website Tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if Google caught on and devalued a lot of their links with similar anchor text.

[0] http://yoast.com/godaddy-link-building/

Now some of the aggregators need to send traffic to them also I.e. leandomainsearch.com and domaintyper.com which I love promote godaddy.

I send traffic to Godaddy too, even though I use NameCheap.

The reason? If you're trying to make a commission for referrals, then Godaddy still whoops NameCheap. Far more domain buyers will use Godaddy, so more chance for commission.

You should stop doing that because they supported SOPA. Don't sell out.

If we stopped frequenting all businesses that make political decisions we disagree with, we'd have no businesses left. That's sort of the reality of it. I still shop at Target despite donations to a republican candidate for governor in Minnesota, I still eat at Chick-fil-A despite donations to groups against gay marriage.

Are you boycotting every company that supported SOPA, including many many book publishers, Nike, Ford, Nintendo, Disney, and Wal-Mart? Do you refuse to watch movies produced by members of the MPAA? Have you stopped purchasing music from record company members of the RIAA? If not, then "don't sell out," and more importantly, don't tell the grandparent commenter what to do.

You really find Chick-fil-a appetizing and support gay rights at the same time? I'm jealous of you - I once loved it, and now the idea of eating there makes me slightly ill.

It's your own personal decision about what you want to support in this world, but everybody gets to have an opinion about it esp. if you announce it on the internet.

Inertia because inertia is not an argument, it's just what inertia is. When you shop at companies that do things that are morally reprehensible to you, while avoiding a million other options, that just sounds like apathy.

I think my moral obligation ended when I stopped using Godday's services for my hundreds of domains. I boycotted Godaddy before SOPA, for their support of the Arizona immigration law. I put up banners on my site for that law and SOPA. Stopped directing traffic to them.

But really... my customers want to use Godaddy. If I can get a couple bucks per registration, who am I to tell them no?

I don't think it's selling out. I give my customers choices, and they pick Godaddy.

Your customers probably don't care as much as you like the increased referral money.

Actually, GP's site (HotNameList) seems to offer a choice between GoDaddy and NameCheap when you click "Buy".

With GoDaddy listed furthest to the left, which is the #1 spot in L-R languages..

True. But, I have other statistics to shed light on this:

Plenty of people get domain ideas from my site, but then don't click on my BUY link. I can determine this because I see multiple domains get registered on the same day as I list them by the same person -- highly unlikely otherwise.

So based on approx 20,000 listings that have been registered, around 40% of those registrations go to Goddady. But for the vast majority of those registration, I didn't get a referral. Or even a click.

So, people use Godaddy a lot more than any other registrar. And I put it on the left. Based on usage pattern mentioned above, I don't think it's because it's on the left.

Trust me, the site is truly just a hobby. :) Except that every once in a while, I make a bunch of money when I buy a domain myself that the site finds, and resell it.

I get to see the daily listings before anyone else, so ... I do feel a little bit bad about that, though.

Namecheap does not seize your expired domain and does not try to sell it back to you overpriced. Namecheap does not have a bloated disfunctional website. Namecheap does not have hidden costs. Namecheap is developer friendly, has an API and a sandbox. Namecheap does not fuck the consumer.

I'm very happy to report that in the UK GoDaddy don't even appear on the first page of results!


I tried a Google search for "domain name" (in Chromium Incognito Window, to avoid any "social" stuff) on my Netbook.

I don't see Wikipedia or NameCheap. I don't see any search results at all.

What I see above the fold is exclusively advertisements. In the center column are huge AdWord ads including deep links. And in the right column is another stack of 160px Adword ads.

Then there are some internal Google links (sign in, Why these ads?, +You, etc).

That's it! Well done, Google.

Of course Go Daddy still has the actual top result... the first sponsored result in the peach box. Along with Network Solutions and 1&1.

Not on verbatim search with personalization off. This is one of the reasons I really dislike personalized search; it makes searches irreproducible.

Why is that an important property of searches?

Sometimes I like to search for things to see what kind of buzz there is about them. Other than that, there's just something unsettling and vaguely frustrating about a system that doesn't work the same way for me as it does for someone else. I can't give any examples of where there's a crucial need for short term reproducibility of searches; it's more that there are lots and lots of petty cases where it is slightly annoying.

Because people like easier SEO optimisation :P

I predict the SEO circle jerk will out them soon for begging, borrowing and or buying links. Way to blow up their spot.

It's not going to matter. Godaddy already has about 100x the external links that NameCheap does (according to SEOmoz[1] and Majestic SEO[2]). If NameCheap moved up, it was for reasons other than external links.

1. http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/comparisons?site=www.godaddy...

2. https://www.majesticseo.com/reports/compare-domain-backlink-...

GoDaddy also has north of 50 million domains registered versus 3 million for Namecheap. If I understand correctly, GoDaddy doesn't make any (or very little) of domain sales, it's the other services like hosting, email, etc that generate the revenue.

How much GoDaddy charges for domains has little to do with their SEO ranking.

They do use it as a loss-leader because most people starting a new site search for domain names over hosting when starting out.

Go Daddy is on 8th place for me.

2nd for me even though Matt Cutts (I follow on Google+) shared GoDaddy on Blogger.

I am looking for alternatives to "Go Daddy". What choices do I have other than "NameCheap" ?


This topic has come up a few times:

Four months ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3383817

Nine months ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2753471

A year and a half ago: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1766439

I like Gandi.net. A bit more expensive at $15.50 for a .com, but it includes DNS, SSL, web redirection, and email (nice for setting up forwarding addresses).

Is SSL free at Gandi.net?

For every domain, you get 1 year of free SSL -- when you need to renew the certificate you do have to pay for it.

Free for a year, IIRC.

I second Gandi.net. Their interface is much nicer and much more intuitive. $15 per domain though.

Not to mention WHOIS privacy.

I migrated all of my domains over to NameCheap

1. Easy to use interface. Very straightforward. So much better than GoDaddy's mess.

2. Prices are negligible.

3. What else do I need from a registrar?

Bonus - Their CEO doesn't kill elephants.

Highly recommend!

Even those without domains to move can also do something useful, Convert any links to GoDaddy that you may have to plaintext. This also boosts your remaining links :D

While at it, convert all links you may have to crummy places to plaintext.

Is there a reason you don't want to go with NameCheap? All around they seem to be quality. I've used them for 2 or 3 years now and they are great.

I personally use https://www.inwx.de/en They have an API, provide nameservers, are comparatively cheap (at least for the TLDs I own) and have a nice minimalistic interface targeted at professional users

I've been using www.dyn.com for years and would happily recommend them. Not the cheapest but they are a lovely company to deal with (and are probably one of the most hardcore DNS providers in the world - Twitter offloads their DNS to them for example).

I have been using nearlyfreespeech.net for several years now, and it has been just about perfect for my needs. If your site will have low traffic, or if you want just registration and DNS, then I would highly recommend NearlyFreeSpeech

Just a few days ago, I was about to move to namecheap but then I find out their interface was a little too simple. It was missing more advanced features that even godaddy has like import/export zones. Looking for other suggestions too.

There are dozens of choices - just don't follow the Lemmings that think they need to get the "largest" provider.

I've registered a couple of domains with Name.com and it's been pretty painless and easy to do what I need.

hover.com is incredible. They aren't cheap but their interface and support is worth it to me.

I just transferred all my domains from GoDaddy a few weeks ago and Hover made it simple, got it all done within a few hours. Had some trouble with a subdomain and a custom landing page and Hover's support was very helpful in helping me rectify the issue.

Name.com is my personal favorite. Simple, clear, and not a lot of handholding.

GoDaddy still wins for "domain names" when I'm signed out or in.

Whatever it is I'm for it. F u daddy.

OH! What is SOPA has done to Go Daddy. Oh my

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