Hostgator Turns Up the Heat; Tucows Make News - Tucows Mooving into Stock Market
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Domain name registrar and general internet services company Tucows just started listing its stock on the American Stock Exchange on August 15 under the symbol “TCX.” The company priced the public offering of stock at $0.90 per share. It must have been very exciting, even for a firm with a 12 year history – which is practically venerable in internet time.
Tucows presents a more mature picture of an internet company. Even so, its core business is similar to Hostgator’s. It started in Flint, Michigan, in 1993 when Scott Swedorski began offering downloadable software from his personal website. This is when the company got its name; “Tucows” is actually an acronym for The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software. Swedorski’s site attracted attention as the first one to offer software on a “freeware” or “shareware” basis.
The site became so popular that other ISPs began to mirror its libraries. In 1995, Internet Direct, an ISP based in Toronto, Canada, and one of Tucows’ mirrors, purchased the company. Even today, the site boasts a huge library of downloadable software for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux-based computers – but it wasn’t until 1999 that it moved into the business it might be best known for today.
In 1999, the domain name registry was opened to competition, with the former monopoly holder all but kicking and screaming. Tucows leveraged its internet expertise to become an accredited registrar, a title awarded to the company by ICANN in 1999. By 2000, Tucows was registering domain names for .com, .net, .org, .uk, and .ca. The company has consistently added new top-level domains. Its customers can now also choose from the general top-level domains .info, .biz, and .name, as well as the country code top level domains for Tuvalu (.tv), Cocos (.cc), the United States (.us), China (.cn), and Germany (.de). Its most recent addition is .eu, a top-level domain meant to stand for the European Union.
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