Price: too high. I am paying $8.49 per .com right now with Fabulous. NameCheap is 10.69 with no coupon. Asking for 12 is too high if I am renewing a lot of domains.
API: A lot of registrars have API access. I am not sure what is special about yours. I've worked with Fabulous, eNom, DirectI, and a couple others. Some are better than others, but what makes you special? In fact, you seem to be built on top of eNom's API.
DNS: This is perhaps the only real selling point I see. You're essentially upselling on better DNS and foregoing all the other potential upsells (like hosting). How do you compete against the professional DNS companies? It only takes a NS change for me to be using their services. You're using Route53, why wouldn't I do this myself?
Maybe I am not your target audience, but I am struggling to figure out who is. I understand the economics of registrars and I feel like you've cut yourself too small a slice to be sustainable. I have doubts about the funding because you don't own a registrar which reduces costs long term but requires quite a bit of capital. But also creates higher pricing requirements which means less customers. You've given up all but one upsell possibility, which has a lot of competition that geeks are generally familiar with. Your audience is supposed to be savvy, so if they are developing a system that requires a lot of domains they can figure out how/where to get them cheaper and setup DNS too most likely.
I like seeing innovation in the domain space, but I fear for the economic viability of this. I also don't honestly see any innovation here. You've complained about what people don't like, but a lot of companies are already going after you main complaints.
I think the registrar innovation is pretty dead because of the shitty economics of it. The margins are getting eaten up by VeriSign every year. They make more money doing everything but registrations. Maybe your DNS upsell will work, maybe not. Good luck.
Your argument is definitely valid and I agree with you that the economic viability is limited in the sense that NameTerrific is not an extraordinarily competitive product in the market.
However there are many small but extremely useful features in NameTerrific that are not available elsewhere, such as DNS Snippets, Profiles and Domain Admins. They simplify the domain management for web designers/developers.
I don't want NameTerrific to be the cheapest registrar, the most professional DNS service provider or a losing department of a hosting company. The vision I see is an all-in-one platform that covers every aspect of professional domain management. You get the best uptime and easiest management automatically, and you can customize the experience the way you want.
The reason that the APIs haven't been released today is because I'm adding OAuth to it. NameTerrific is designed to completely open up the domain industry to all developers.
Unfortunately domainers are never my target audience. Many professional domainers get accreditation themselves to take advantage of cheap prices and stuff like domain cancellation. There's no point competing in such a low margin field.
But well, I believe that there will be people (hopefully a lot of them) who want something simple and straightforward and are willing to spend $2-$3 extra a year to get a professional product without doing much work.
I am glad you recognize that. I worry tremendously about companies that don't realize the economics of registrars. Very few domainers actually own registrars, the biggest guys do, but most aren't technically inclined and work with existing registrars (eg. Fabulous, Enom, Moniker). Even at $2-3 margins you're going to need tens of thousands of domains to cover costs. You want the best support, but are a 1 man operation, to hire a 24/7 team, you would need 3 people working full shifts (if that includes you), we're talking at least 50,000-70,000 domains (not even sure what costs you have, so that would be on top). That's a lot of domains. I hope the DNS is really popular and has great margins, because you're going to need them.
As far as features, you have not looked around enough apparently. Profiles and domain admins are something that have been around for MANY years. I think even your registrar, eNom, has that functionality with subaccounts and access levels. I know my registrar, Fabulous, has them. I even have DNS templates (seemingly equivalent to your snippets). I have had this stuff for the past ~5 years?
Except I can buy DYN's service for a domain registered anywhere. This is being packaged as an upsell of domain registration. I compare to both, but since it requires me to choose them as a registrar to use, I focus primarily on the registrar component.