News / Blog

Tucows Statement on ICANN Legal Action

On Friday the 25th of May, ICANN filed a legal action1 against EPAG, a Tucows-owned Registrar based in Bonn, Germany. This action was taken because of a disagreement between Tucows and ICANN on how the GDPR should be interpreted, with respect to our contracts. While we look forward to defending our position in court, the below is intended to provide some context and insight into the dispute.

The GDPR begins with a statement of its core principle: “The protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data is a fundamental right.” Tucows has long been concerned with privacy and the rights of our customers, and takes the principles enshrined in this law extremely seriously.

In order to have a domain registration system reflective of “data protection by design and default”, we started with the GDPR itself and crafted our procedures and policies around it. We built a new registration system with consent management processes, and a data flow that aligns with the GDPR’s principles. Throughout the registration life-cycle, we considered things like transparency, accountability, storage limitation, and data minimization.

We realized that the domain name registration process, as outlined in ICANN’s 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement, not only required us to collect and share information we didn’t need, it also required us to collect and share people’s information where we may not have a legal basis to do so. What’s more, it required us to process personal information belonging to people with whom we may not even have a direct relationship, namely the Admin and Tech contacts.

ICANN’s goal since discussions about the impact of the GDPR on domain registration began has been to preserve as much of the status quo as possible. This has led ICANN to attempt to achieve GDPR-compliant domain registration via ‘process reduction’, as opposed to Tucows’ approach of starting with the GDPR and rebuilding from the ground up. These two approaches have led to significantly different results, and consequently a need to determine whether ICANN’s insistence on the collection of the full thick Whois data and this data’s transfer to gTLD Registries is in compliance with the GDPR. It is this disagreement and need for legal clarity that is at the heart of the lawsuit filed by ICANN.

On the 17th of May 2018, the ICANN board passed a ‘Temporary Specification2‘, meant to temporarily bring gTLD registration services in line with the GDPR. The goal of the Specification is to serve as a stop-gap while the ICANN community works to resolve and balance issues between privacy law and existing ICANN policy.

With that background in mind, we perceive three core issues with the Temporary Specification that we do not believe are compliant with the GDPR. These issues are the collection, transfer, and public display of the personal information of domain registrants and the other contractually-mandated contacts.

Personal Data Collection

Article 5(1)(c) of the GDPR speaks to data minimization: collecting and processing only what personal data is necessary. It is clear to Tucows that we need to continue capturing some information about the domain Registrant—we always want to ensure we have the ability to contact the person legally responsible for the domain. However, in the vast majority of gTLD registrations, the Registrant (Owner), Admin, and Tech contacts are the same. As such, collection of Admin and Tech contacts is meaningless, as the data belongs to the Registrant.

That said, in the less common scenario, the Admin or Tech contact does not match the Registrant. In these cases the mandatory collection of their contact data is problematic because it requires us to store and process personal data belonging to people with whom we have no legal or contractual relationship.

ICANN will need to prove that the minor, marginally incremental benefit of collecting, processing and transferring Admin and Tech contact data at the request of third parties outweighs the principles of data minimization and lawful processing enshrined in the GDPR. We find the argument that duplicative technical contacts are necessary for the security and stability of the DNS implausible. We were not convinced this was the case when we first examined the law, and we remain unconvinced following the release ICANN’s Temporary Specification.

Tucows will continue to ensure that those with legitimate purposes, including law enforcement, intellectual property, and commercial litigation interests will have access to domain registrant information. On a daily basis, we see plenty of important circumstances wherein we find sharing that information to be legally is necessary, and this will not change. We collect a contact for the owner of each domain name sold on our platforms, and have the ability to contact the owner. When necessary, we also share that contact with law enforcement and others with a legitimate interest.

Personal Data Transfer to a Registry

ICANN’s continuing requirement that registrars transmit all data collected to the relevant registry is counter the GDPR’s principle of use of data only when a legitimate legal basis applies. There are circumstances where this transfer is necessary and reasonable, for example where a TLD has specific registrants requirements such as geographic restrictions. We are not opposed to these circumstances, but require agreements between ourselves and the registry for the specific collection, processing and transfer of that personal data.

However, as the registrar, we collect data that we need in order to enter into a contractual relationship with and provide requested services to the registrant. Transfer of that data to a registry is unnecessary—this is proven by the decades-old ‘thin model’ that 140 million .com and .net domains follow. We don’t feel that the temporary specification offers a robust legal basis for the transfer of data to registries and therefore presents an unacceptable risk under the GDPR.

Personal Data Display

ICANN has also required that we continue to publish the organization, state/province, and country fields in the public Whois. We disagree that the organization should be published because, although it is optional, many people do not realize this and put their own first and last names in the organization field. We do not want to expose the personal data of these registrants because of a misunderstanding, and it will take considerable time to educate registrants and cleanse this data from the field.

Desire for Clarity

Fundamentally, ICANN and Tucows disagree on how the GDPR impacts our contract. The facts and the law as we see them do not support ICANN’s broader view of what will impact the security and stability of the internet. Neither do we find the purposes outlined in the temporary specification proportional to the risks and consequences of continuing to collect, process and display unnecessary data. We look forward to, and welcome the clarity that will come from this legal action.

1https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2018-05-25-en
2https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2018-05-17-en

Tucows Reports Continuing Strong Financial Results for First Quarter 2018

– Quarter Highlighted by Strong Year-Over-Year Growth Across Key Financial Metrics –

TORONTO, May 9, 2018 – Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ:TCX, TSX:TC), a provider of network access, domain names and other Internet services, today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

Summary Financial Results

(In Thousands of US Dollars, Except Per Share Data)

3 Months Ended March 31
2018
(unaudited)
2017
(unaudited)
% Change
Net revenue 95,796 69,568 38%
Net income 3,744 2,446 53%
Basic Net earnings per common share $0.35 $0.23 52%
Adjusted EBITDA1 10,378 6,339 64%
Net cash provided by operating activities 9,573 2,402 299%

This Non-GAAP financial measure is described below and reconciled to GAAP net income in the accompanying table.

Summary of Revenues and Gross Margin
(In Thousands of US Dollars)

Revenue Gross Margin
3 Months Ended March 31 3 Months Ended March 31
2018
(unaudited)
2017
(unaudited)
2018
(unaudited)
2017
(unaudited)
Network Access Services:
Mobile Services 21,872 17,963 10,606 8,396
Other Services 1,736 1,287 795 462
Total Network Access Services 23,608 19,250 11,401 8,857
Domain Services:
Wholesale
Domain Services 58,428 39,092 7,114 4,629
Value Added Services 4,435 4,057 3,577 3,332
Total Wholesale 62,862 43,000 10,691 7,961
Retail 8,437 6,402 4,027 2,784
Portfolio 889 917 704 655
Total Domain Services 72,187 50,318 15,422 11,400
Network Expenses:
Network, other costs (2,343) (1,233)
Network, depreciation and amortization costs (1,630) (971)
Total Network Expenses (4,204) (3,314)
Total revenue/gross margin 95,796 69,568 22,619 16,944

“The first quarter was a solid start to 2018, with strong year-over-year growth in revenue, net income, adjusted EBITDA and cash flow from operations,” said Elliot Noss, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucows Inc. “Our domains business continued its consistent performance as the Enom integration continues to progress on plan. Ting Mobile posted another quarter of solid year-over-year revenue and margin growth. On Ting Internet, we continued to see strong adoption in our three active towns and we prepared to start lighting up customers in our next two. Meanwhile, we announced our next Ting town, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.”

Financial Results

Net revenue for the first quarter of 2018 increased 38% to $95.8 million from $69.6 million for the first quarter of 2017 and benefitted from the accelerated revenue recognition of $14.6 million related to a bulk transfer of 2.65 million domain names during the first quarter of 2018.

Net income for the first quarter of 2018 increased to $3.7 million, or $0.35 per share, from $2.4 million, or $0.23 per share, for the first quarter of 2017 driven by the growth in Adjusted EBITDA and lower statutory tax rates as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Adjusted EBITDA 1 for the first quarter of 2018 increased 64% to $10.4 million from $6.3 million for the first quarter of 2017 driven by Enom and Ting Mobile.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the first quarter of 2018 was $16.6 million compared with $18.0 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017 and $15.0 million at the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Notes:

1. Adjusted EBITDA

Tucows reports all financial information required in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Along with this information, to assist financial statement users in an assessment of our historical performance, the Company typically discloses and discusses a non-GAAP financial measure, adjusted EBITDA, in press releases and on investor conference calls and related events that exclude certain non-cash and other charges as the Company believes that the non-GAAP information enhances investors’ overall understanding of our financial performance.

The Company believes that the provision of this supplemental non-GAAP measure allows investors to evaluate the operational and financial performance of the Company’s core business using similar evaluation measures to those used by management. The Company uses adjusted EBITDA to measure its performance and prepare its budgets. Since adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial performance measure, the Company’s calculation of adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies; and should not be considered in isolation, as a substitute for, or superior to measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. Because adjusted EBITDA is calculated before recurring cash charges, including interest expense and taxes, and is not adjusted for capital expenditures or other recurring cash requirements of the business, it should not be considered as a liquidity measure. Non-GAAP financial measures do not reflect a comprehensive system of accounting and may differ from non-GAAP financial measures with the same or similar captions that are used by other companies and/or analysts and may differ from period to period. The Company endeavors to compensate for these limitations by providing the relevant disclosure of the items excluded in the calculation of adjusted EBITDA to net income based on U.S. GAAP, which should be considered when evaluating the Company’s results. Tucows strongly encourages investors to review its financial information in its entirety and not to rely on a single financial measure.

The Company’s adjusted EBITDA definition excludes depreciation, amortization of intangible assets, income tax provision, interest expense, interest income, stock-based compensation, asset impairment, gains and losses from unrealized foreign currency transactions and infrequently occurring items, including acquisition and transitions costs. Gains and losses from unrealized foreign currency transactions removes the unrealized effect of the change in the mark-to-market values on outstanding unhedged foreign currency contracts, as well as the unrealized effect from the translation of monetary accounts denominated in non-U.S. dollars to U.S. dollars.

The following table reconciles net income to adjusted EBITDA (dollars in thousands):

3 Months Ended March 31
2017
(unaudited)
2016
(unaudited)
Net income for the period 3,744 2,446
Depreciation of property and equipment 1,232 757
Amortization of intangible assets 2,331 1,761
Interest expense, net 896 868
Provision for income taxes 1,183 (125)
Stock-based compensation 578 318
Unrealized loss (gain) on change in fair value of forward contracts (3) (18)
Unrealized loss (gain) on foreign exchange revaluation of foreign denominated monetary assets and liabilities 176 (50)
Acquisition and transition costs1 241 382
     
Adjusted EBITDA 10,378 6,339
1 *Acquisition and other costs represents transaction-related expenses, transitional expenses, such as duplicative post-acquisition expenses, related to our acquisition of Enom in January 2017. Expenses include severance or transitional costs associated with department, operational or overall company restructuring efforts, including geographic alignments.

Conference Call

Tucows management will host a conference call today, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. ET to discuss the Company’s first quarter 2018 results and outlook for the Company. Participants can access the conference call by dialing 1-888-231-8191 or 647-427-7450 or via the Internet at http://www.tucows.com/investors.

For those unable to participate in the conference call at the scheduled time, it will be archived for replay both by telephone and via the Internet beginning approximately one hour following completion of the call. To access the archived conference call by telephone, dial 416-849-0833 or 1-855-859-2056 and enter the passcode 5873817 followed by the pound key. The telephone replay will be available until Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at midnight. To access the archived conference call as an MP3 via the Internet, go to
http://www.tucows.com/investors.

About Tucows

Tucows is a provider of network access, domain names and other Internet services. Ting (https://ting.com) delivers mobile phone service and fixed Internet access with outstanding customer support. OpenSRS (http://opensrs.com) and Enom (http://www.enom.com) manage a combined 24 million domain names and millions of value-added services through a global reseller network of over 39,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover (http://hover.com) makes it easy for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. More information can be found on Tucows’ corporate website (http://tucows.com).

This release includes forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including statements regarding our expectations regarding our future financial results and, including, without limitation, our expectation regarding our ability to realize synergies from the Enom acquisition and our expectation for growth of Ting Internet. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Information about other potential factors that could affect Tucows’ business, results of operations and financial condition is included in the Risk Factors sections of Tucows’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements should be evaluated with the understanding of their inherent uncertainty. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to Tucows as of the date they are made. Tucows assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as may be required by law.

Tucows, Ting, OpenSRS, Enom and Hover are registered trademarks of Tucows Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Contact:

Lawrence Chamberlain
Loderock Advisors
(416) 519-4196
lawrence.chamberlain@loderockadvisors.com

Tucows Reports Continuing Strong Financial Results for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017

– Fourth Quarter and Year Highlighted by Record Revenue, Net Income, Adjusted EBITDA and Cash Flow from Operations –

TORONTO, February 14, 2018 – Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ:TCX, TSX:TC), a provider of network access, domain names and other Internet services, today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2017. All figures are in U.S. dollars.

Summary Financial Results
(In Thousands of US Dollars, Except Per Share Data)

3 Months Ended December 31 12 Months Ended December 31
2017
(unaudited)
2016
(unaudited)
% Change 2017
(unaudited)
2016
(unaudited)
% Change
Net revenue 90,621 48,805 86% 329,421 189,819 74%
Net income1 11,199 2,817 298% 22,327 16,067 39%
Basic Net earnings per common share1 1.06 0.27 293% 2.12 1.53 39%
Adjusted EBITDA2, 3 15,275 7,333 108% 41,356 30,130 37%
Net cash provided by operating activities 14,081 9,067 55% 31,897 22,509 42%

1. Net Income and Earnings Per Share for the fourth quarter and Fiscal 2017 reflect a net positive implementation impact from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 of $5.8 million and $0.55 per share, respectively.

2. This Non-GAAP financial measure is described below and reconciled to GAAP net income in the accompanying table.

3. Adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter and twelve months of 2017 reflect the impact of the purchase price accounting adjustment related to the fair value write down of deferred revenue from the Enom acquisition which lowered Adjusted EBITDA by $0.8 million and $7.8 million for the fourth quarter and first twelve months of 2017, respectively.

 

Summary of Revenues and Gross Margin
(In Thousands of US Dollars)

Revenue Gross Margin
3 Months Ended December 31 3 Months Ended December 31
2017
(unaudited)
2016
(unaudited)
2017
(unaudited)
2016
(unaudited)
Network Access Services:
Mobile Services 23,795 17,839 11,094 8,951
Other Services 1,357 919 405 254
Total Network Access Services 25,152 18,758 11,499 9,205
Domain Services:
Wholesale
Domain Services 48,320 23,130 6,514 4,398
Value Added Services 4,538 2,336 3,978 1,819
Total Wholesale 52,858 25,466 10,492 6,217
Retail 8,711 3,883 4,141 2,086
Portfolio 3,900 698 3,377 555
Total Domain Services 65,469 30,047 18,010 8,858
Network Expenses:
Network, other costs (2,260) (1,285)
Network, depreciation and amortization costs (1,513) (355)
Total Network Expenses (3,773) (1,640)
Total revenue/gross margin 90,621 48,805 25,736 16,423

 

“The fourth quarter saw strong growth across each of our key financial metrics, capping off a year in which we delivered record financial performance while achieving our operational goals,” said Elliot Noss, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tucows Inc. “We completed a major acquisition that solidified our position as the second largest domain name registrar in the world, and remain on track to realize acquisition synergies that will contribute approximately $5 million in incremental annualized EBITDA by 2019. Ting Mobile posted its sixth straight year of top line and bottom line growth. And on Ting Internet, we continued to build the foundation of a business that we expect will become a meaningful contributor to our business and deliver growth for many years to come.”

Financial Results

Net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 86% to $90.6 million from $48.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2016.

Net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased to $11.2 million, or $1.06 per share, from $2.8 million, or $0.27 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2016. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 was positively impacted by the tax related implementation impacts from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for $5.8 million or $0.55 per share.

Adjusted EBITDA2 for the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 108% to $15.3 million from $7.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase in adjusted EBITDA2 was the result of the acquisition of Enom in January 2017, an outsized domain portfolio sale and growth in Ting Mobile.

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017 increased to $18.0 million from $12.5 million at the end of the third quarter of 2017 and $15.1 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016.

Notes:

1. Adjusted EBITDA

Tucows reports all financial information required in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Along with this information, to assist financial statement users in an assessment of our historical performance, the Company typically discloses and discusses a non-GAAP financial measure, adjusted EBITDA, in press releases and on investor conference calls and related events that exclude certain non-cash and other charges as the Company believes that the non-GAAP information enhances investors’ overall understanding of our financial performance.

The Company believes that the provision of this supplemental non-GAAP measure allows investors to evaluate the operational and financial performance of the Company’s core business using similar evaluation measures to those used by management. The Company uses adjusted EBITDA to measure its performance and prepare its budgets. Since adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial performance measure, the Company’s calculation of adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies; and should not be considered in isolation, as a substitute for, or superior to measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. Because adjusted EBITDA is calculated before recurring cash charges, including interest expense and taxes, and is not adjusted for capital expenditures or other recurring cash requirements of the business, it should not be considered as a liquidity measure. Non-GAAP financial measures do not reflect a comprehensive system of accounting and may differ from non-GAAP financial measures with the same or similar captions that are used by other companies and/or analysts and may differ from period to period. The Company endeavors to compensate for these limitations by providing the relevant disclosure of the items excluded in the calculation of adjusted EBITDA to net income based on U.S. GAAP, which should be considered when evaluating the Company’s results. Tucows strongly encourages investors to review its financial information in its entirety and not to rely on a single financial measure.

The Company’s adjusted EBITDA definition excludes depreciation, amortization of intangible assets, income tax provision, interest expense, interest income, stock-based compensation, asset impairment, gains and losses from unrealized foreign currency transactions and infrequently occurring items, including acquisition and transitions costs. Gains and losses from unrealized foreign currency transactions removes the unrealized effect of the change in the mark-to-market values on outstanding unhedged foreign currency contracts, as well as the unrealized effect from the translation of monetary accounts denominated in non-U.S. dollars to U.S. dollars.

The following table reconciles net income to adjusted EBITDA (dollars in thousands):

3 Months Ended December 31 12 Months Ended December 31
2017
(unaudited)
2016
(unaudited)
2017
(unaudited)
2016
(unaudited)
Net income for the period 11,199 2,817 22,327 16,067
Depreciation of property and equipment 1,114 518 3,728 1,824
Amortization of intangible assets 2,330 304 8,400 953
Impairment of intangible assets 110 15 111 43
Interest expense, net 865 148 3,567 450
Provision for income taxes (1,033) 2,570 1,748 9,046
Stock-based compensation 623 214 1,457 799
Unrealized loss (gain) on change in fair value of forward contracts 54 (31) 17 (323)
Unrealized loss (gain) on foreign exchange revaluation of foreign denominated monetary assets and liabilities (45) 336 (805) 829
Acquisition and transition costs* 58 442 806 442
Adjusted EBITDA 15,275 7,333 41,356 30,130

*
Acquisition and other costs represents transaction-related expenses, transitional expenses, such as duplicative post-acquisition expenses, related to our acquisition of Enom in January 2017. Expenses include severance or transitional costs associated with department, operational or overall company restructuring efforts, including geographic alignments.

 

Conference Call

Tucows management will host a conference call today, Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss the Company’s fourth quarter 2018 results. Participants can access the conference call by dialing 1-888-231-8191 or 647-427-7450 or via the Internet at http://www.tucows.com/investors.

For those unable to participate in the conference call at the scheduled time, it will be archived for replay both by telephone and via the Internet beginning approximately one hour following completion of the call. To access the archived conference call by telephone, dial 416-849-0833 or 1-855-859-2056 and enter the passcode 7376628 followed by the pound key. The telephone replay will be available until Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at midnight. To access the archived conference call as an MP3 via the Internet, go to http://www.tucows.com/investors.

About Tucows
Tucows is a provider of network access, domain names and other Internet services. Ting (https://ting.com) delivers mobile phone service and fixed Internet access with outstanding customer support. OpenSRS (http://opensrs.com) and Enom (http://www.enom.com) manage a combined 28 million domain names and millions of value-added services through a global reseller network of over 39,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover (http://hover.com) makes it easy for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. More information can be found on Tucows’ corporate website (http://tucows.com).

This release includes forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including statements regarding our expectations regarding our future financial results and, including, without limitation, our expectation regarding our ability to realize synergies from the Enom acquisition and our expectation for growth of Ting Internet. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Information about other potential factors that could affect Tucows’ business, results of operations and financial condition is included in the Risk Factors sections of Tucows’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements should be evaluated with the understanding of their inherent uncertainty. All forward-looking statements are based on information available to Tucows as of the date they are made. Tucows assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as may be required by law.

Tucows, Ting, OpenSRS, Enom and Hover are registered trademarks of Tucows Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Contact:

Lawrence Chamberlain
(416) 519-4196
lawrence.chamberlain@loderockadvisors.com

Tucows Announces $40 Million Stock Buyback Program

TORONTO, February 14, 2018Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ:TCX, TSX:TC) today announced that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback program to repurchase, from time to time, up to $40 million of its common stock in the open market.   

The new $40 million buyback program will commence February 14, 2018 and will terminate on or before February 13, 2019.  Purchases for the new $40 million buyback program will be made exclusively through the facilities of the NASDAQ Capital Market.  The previously announced $40 million buyback program for the period March 1, 2017 to February 28, 2018 has been terminated.  

All shares purchased by Tucows under the stock buyback program will be retired and returned to treasury.

The timing and exact number of common shares purchased will be at Tucows’ discretion and will depend on available cash and market conditions. Tucows may suspend or discontinue the repurchases at any time, including in the event Tucows would be deemed to be making an acquisition of its own shares under Rule 13e-3 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Subject to applicable securities laws and stock exchange rules, all purchases will occur through the open market and may be in large block purchases. Tucows does not intend to purchase its shares from its management team or other insiders.

The purchase will be funded from available working capital and existing credit facilities. As of February 13, 2018, Tucows had 10,588,958 common shares outstanding.

NO STOCK EXCHANGE, SECURITIES COMMISSION OR OTHER REGULATORY AUTHORITY HAS APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN.

About Tucows

Tucows is a provider of network access, domain names and other Internet services. Ting (https://ting.com) delivers mobile phone service and fixed Internet access with outstanding customer support. OpenSRS (http://opensrs.com) and Enom (http://www.enom.com) manage a combined 28 million domain names and millions of value-added services through a global reseller network of over 39,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover (http://hover.com) makes it easy for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. More information can be found on Tucows’ corporate website (http://tucows.com).

This news release contains, in addition to historical information, forward-looking statements related to the proposed stock buyback program, including the timing, manner and total number of shares to be purchased under the proposed stock buyback program. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. Information about potential factors that could affect Tucows’ business, results of operations and financial condition is included in the Risk Factors sections of Tucows’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements included in this document are based on information available to Tucows as of the date of this document, and except to the extent Tucows may be required to update such information under any applicable securities laws, Tucows assumes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements.

Tucows, Ting, OpenSRS, Enom and Hover are registered trademarks of Tucows Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Contact:

Lawrence Chamberlain
(416) 519-4196
lawrence.chamberlain@loderockadvisors.com

Ting Internet 2017 Build Scorecard

Our Build Scoreboard represents an estimate of how many serviceable addresses we have built to so far in each of our Ting Internet towns out of what we project to be our total potential build in each town. We will update this annually to help shareholders easily track both progress and potential.

Tucows Reschedules Fourth Quarter Investment Community Conference Call to Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 8:00 A.M. (ET)

TORONTO, February 5, 2018 – Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ: TCX, TSX: TC) today announced that it has rescheduled its fourth quarter 2017 financial results conference call to Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. (ET).  The Company expects to report its fourth quarter 2017 financial results via news release at approximately 7:00 a.m. (ET) the same day.

Participants can join the call by dialing 1-888-231-8191 or 647-427-7450. Participants can also access the conference call via the Internet at http://www.tucows.com/investors.

For those unable to participate in the conference call at the scheduled time, it will be archived for replay both by telephone and via the Internet beginning approximately one hour following completion of the call. To access the archived conference call by telephone, dial 1-855-859-2056 or 416-849-0833 and enter the pass code 7376628 followed by the pound key.  The telephone replay will be available until Wednesday, February 21, 2018 at midnight. To access the archived conference call as an MP3 via the Internet, go to http://www.tucows.com/investors.

About Tucows

 Tucows, Inc. is a provider of network access, domain names and other Internet services. Ting (https://ting.com) delivers mobile phone service and fixed Internet access with outstanding customer support. OpenSRS (http://opensrs.com) and Enom (http://www.enom.com) manage a combined 29 million domain names and millions of value-added services through a global reseller network of over 40,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover (http://hover.com) makes it easy for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. More information can be found on Tucows’ corporate website (http://tucows.com).

Tucows, Ting, OpenSRS, Enom and Hover are registered trademarks of Tucows Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Contact:
Lawrence Chamberlain
(416) 519-4196
lawrence.chamberlain@loderockadvisors.com

Tucows Fourth Quarter Investment Community Conference Call is Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 8:00 A.M. (ET)

TORONTO, January 30, 2018 – Tucows Inc. (NASDAQ: TCX, TSX: TC) plans to report its fourth quarter fiscal 2017 financial results via news release on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at approximately 7:00 a.m. (ET). Tucows management will host a conference call on the same day at 8:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss the results and the outlook for the company.

Participants can join the call by dialing 1-888-231-8191 or 647-427-7450. Participants can also access the conference call via the Internet at http://www.tucows.com/investors.

For those unable to participate in the conference call at the scheduled time, it will be archived for replay both by telephone and via the Internet beginning approximately one hour following completion of the call. To access the archived conference call by telephone, dial 1-855-859-2056 or 416-849-0833 and enter the pass code 7376628 followed by the pound key. The telephone replay will be available until Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at midnight. To access the archived conference call as an MP3 via the Internet, go to http://www.tucows.com/investors.

About Tucows

Tucows, Inc. is a provider of network access, domain names and other Internet services. Ting (https://ting.com) delivers mobile phone service and fixed Internet access with outstanding customer support. OpenSRS (http://opensrs.com) and Enom (http://www.enom.com) manage a combined 29 million domain names and millions of value-added services through a global reseller network of over 40,000 web hosts and ISPs. Hover (http://hover.com) makes it easy for individuals and small businesses to manage their domain names and email addresses. More information can be found on Tucows’ corporate website (http://tucows.com).

Tucows, Ting, OpenSRS, Enom and Hover are registered trademarks of Tucows Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Contact:
Lawrence Chamberlain
(416) 519-4196
lawrence.chamberlain@loderockadvisors.com

Why Tucows Doesn’t Take Down Domains for Website Content Issues

The answer to this question is long and complicated. Our goal in this statement is to try to be transparent about our reasoning and process. Fundamentally, Registrars are a key piece of the DNS, and part of the technical infrastructure of the Internet. Consequently, it is neither appropriate nor effective to resolve content issues at a Registrar.

Controversy tends to be focused on a single domain, but it is a mistake to consider domains in isolation. A free and open Internet hangs in the balance of how Registrars, ISPs, and other similar parties respond to takedown requests. Tucows controls about 10% of the total domains that exist today—the second-most of any single company in the world. This is an immense responsibility and our choices have extremely broad implications.

We do not see ourselves, or similar infrastructure companies, as the appropriate arbiters of what content belongs on the Internet. That power belongs to agencies of justice and should continue to be exercised via due process.

What is our role in relation to website content?

Tucows and its domain-related brands (OpenSRS, Enom, and Hover) are Registrars. It’s important to understand what a Registrar is, and what it can and cannot do. Registrars manage the technical infrastructure, which enables the buying and management of domain names. Domain names are not websites; they are strings of characters (such as ‘example.com’) and act as a human-friendly layer that points to a website. Web-hosting companies, rather than Registrars, provide the services that allow website content to be available online, making that content accessible to Internet users.

Tucows cannot exercise control over the content of a website pointed to by a domain registered via our platform.

Because we’re not a web-hosting company, we cannot remove specific pages or content on a website. The tools available to a Registrar to address content issues are very blunt; we can only suspend a domain, or force the registrant (owner) to move it elsewhere.

We don’t consider forcing a registrant to transfer domains off our platform to be a compelling solution for multiple reasons:

1. It resolves nothing with transgressive website content. Forced transfers only push domains pointing to problematic website content elsewhere, which is both unfair to our competitors and devoid of actual resolution.

2. Multiple domains from multiple registrars may be pointed at a single website, limiting the efficacy of suspending any one single domain. If a domain is suspended, a replacement domain may be registered, pointed, propagated, and socialized in minutes, leading to an endless game of whack-a-mole.

To be clear, asking a Registrar to suspend a domain is an ineffective method of resolving content issues. The content can be relabeled, quickly and easily, with a new domain name, or accessed by use of an IP address.

Web-hosting companies are in a better position to address content issues. Web-hosts have the ability to provide a much more granular response and almost always have a direct relationship with their users and content.

Who has the right to decide what’s online?

We have Terms of Service that allows us broad capacity to cease providing services, as do most providers. The issue at hand is not what we could do, but what we should do. Tucows has always believed in a free and open Internet. It is imperative that those who operate as a fundamental piece of the Internet’s infrastructure, such as Registrars, Internet exchanges, and ISPs, remain content-neutral; their neutrality is essential in preserving the diversity of content on the Internet.

There are two scenarios in which we suspend domain names:

1. If there is evidence of due process

The reason due process is fundamental is that it represents the norms we’ve established as a society. When a court order arrives, dictating action, we can be confident that a domain has transgressed the law.

2. In “exigent circumstances”

This is where we are confronted with a situation that appears to represent an imminent threat of violence, injury, or significant crime. These are exceedingly rare. The judgement on exigent circumstances is always contextual and informed by as much information as we are able to gather at the time.

What should you do if you wish to remove content from the Internet?

Generally, the first step would be to approach the website owner, either via the contact information on the site itself, or through the contacts in Whois. Your second step would be to contact the web-host. Tucows is primarily a wholesale Registrar, and many of its resellers are web-hosts. You can identify the Tucows reseller responsible for a domain here. You can identify the reseller of a domain registered through Enom here.

Lastly, if you think the domain in question falls into one of the categories above, you can submit a ticket to our abuse team.

In conclusion

While, as an organization, we may vehemently disagree with the values and ideas a given website aims to disseminate, we feel the power to decide what types of content should and should not be online must rest with the people, rather than in the hands of a select group of corporations.

Further reading:

If you are interested in further reading regarding the relationship between Registrars and content, you could start with the following links:

 

Clarifying the Daily Stormer issue

Tucows (which owns the Enom, OpenSRS, and Hover brands) finds racism and its proponents detestable. We are proud to be a diverse company based in the most diverse city in the world. As well, Charlottesville, Virginia is home to a Tucows office and many of our employees there. We have all been shaken and deeply saddened by recent events.

In regards to the current issue around the Daily Stormer website, Tucows was never the webhost nor the registrar for the domain. Tucows provides a domain privacy service for millions of domains belonging to our wholesale domain resellers and to other registrars. The domain in question was transferred to one of our registrar partners and the privacy service was automatically applied.

Like Google, and GoDaddy before them, we felt this domain clearly violated our privacy service terms of service by inciting violence, and removed the privacy protection from the domain.

We are also monitoring our systems for incoming transfer requests for the Daily Stormer domain so that we can give our resellers the opportunity to deny those requests.

Domain names are gateways to speech and we take our responsibilities towards free speech and expression extremely seriously. Incitement to violence is not protected speech and the Daily Stormer regularly conducts such incitement, which is why we no longer provide it with any service.

The process of balancing free speech and the ugly opinions that people share is neither easy nor pleasant. Every day we receive many, many complaints about the content on any number of the 24 million domains on our platform. Let us be exceptionally clear: we find the content of many of these pages patently abhorrent and evidence of the worst that humanity can stoop to. Nevertheless, there are legal mechanisms and processes in place for dealing with issues of free speech and we consider it our responsibility to follow them.

We have and will act in what we call “exigent circumstances” where there is an imminent threat of violence or crime. GoDaddy responded to the Daily Stormer appropriately under these circumstances. However, these circumstances aside, we have found that the clearest path forward, to protect freedom of speech and expression, is to act where we have evidence that due-process has been observed. When such is provided to us, we act on it.

Telcos want control of the Internet. Together we can still stop them.

Time is running out to protect the Internet as we know it.

Today is a day to rally. A day to talk, to reach out and especially to act.

It’s the last chance to fight to keep fair and equal access to the Internet. The day we exercise our freedom of speech to maintain the same right online. The day we hold high the principle of common carriage; the principal that service providers must serve the general public without discrimination. A principle that started with blacksmiths, innkeepers and ship owners and is today part of our social contracts with public airlines, railroads, buses, taxicabs, freight and phone companies and yes, Internet service providers. The latter, because as Public Knowledge said so succinctly:

“Networks are so vital to the functioning of society that the maintenance of such networks cannot be left to the market solely.”

The Internet is the world’s principal source of information. We deserve access to all lawful content unedited, unfiltered, uncensored, unfettered. We want real journalism, not an echo chamber. We want to hear all voices, not only the ones who’ve paid to speak.

We don’t want a two-tiered system controlling online communication.

We are not alone.

At Tucows, we believe the Internet is the greatest agent for positive change the world has even seen. We are thrilled and humbled by what can be achieved when billions of people have access to information and a vehicle to communicate, collaborate and co-create. We are increasingly wary of large corporations that are willing to compromise customer experiences and impede progress to protect market share. We are similarly concerned about politicians that legislate on the Internet without truly understanding the world they are affecting.

So today we ask you to join our voice to protect the open Internet, by asking the FCC to preserve net neutrality. It’s easy. We promise.

Tucows Cuts the Crap

TORONTO, May 3, 2016After successful forays into fiber Internet, cell phone service and domain names, Tucows (NASDAQ: TCX, TSX: TC) removes the yoke from tucows.com/downloads.

There was a time when offering software and shareware for people to download was good, honest work.

But then. Then, things got ugly. Then came the dark days where software download sites needed to wring every possible cent out of their wares. Even Tucows downloads, the seminal software download site, was not immune.

Those days made finding a download button in among the various masquerading ads more like tiptoeing through a minefield. Downloading software became a high stakes mission: Double check the pop-up blocker to ensure it’s working. Fire up AdBlock. Deep breath. Swoop in, grab the software in question and run. Oh yeah, and be exceedingly careful what you agree to in the installation process of said software.

No, I don’t want to run a scan on my computer.

Yes, I really do want to close this browser window.

Please. Please just let me go. You can have your software back. Please.

It felt like the digital equivalent of shoplifting, but with all the moral turpitude squarely on the purveyor’s side.

No more.

Tucows.com/downloads is once again a bastion for the way software downloads should be.

With Tucows’ success in wholesale and retail domain names (OpenSRS and Hover, respectively) and more recently with mobile phone service (Ting) and fiber Internet (Ting Internet), tucows.com/downloads has become less relevant when looking at the balance sheet.

“We don’t lightly walk away from opportunities or revenue,” said Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows. “In the end, though, we’d rather have the Tucows name associated with good; with a belief in the power of the Internet to affect positive change. An ad-heavy site that packages browser toolbars along with every download isn’t something we want the Tucows name associated with,” he continued.

In other words, Tucows is in the enviable position of being able to walk away from easy money in favor of doing what feels right.

“On the Tucows downloads site today, you’ll find no flashing ads. No toolbars. No pop-ups,” said Noss. “You might see a few plugs for other Tucows services, but nothing too egregious… and certainly not anything that’s pretending to be a download button.”

In the end, the hope is that maybe, if you enjoy downloading software from the only ad-free downloads site on the Internet, you might consider registering your next domain name with Hover, ditching your current cell phone plan for Ting, moving to a Ting fiber Internet town and embarking on a new career as a domain name reseller on the OpenSRS platform.

About Tucows.com/downloads
The Tucows downloads library has been online since 1993 where it launched, suitably enough, in a public library in Flint, MI. There was a time when almost literally everyone on the nascent Internet touched the Tucows downloads site.

Keeping busy
In 1999, Tucows launched OpenSRS (opensrs.com) to challenge the wholesale domain tools and options of the day. OpenSRS today is a major wholesale domain registrar and contributor to the Tucows business with over 13 million domain names under management and 13,000 reseller partners.

Hover (hover.com), meanwhile, challenges the idea that domain names are necessarily complicated and that the path to finding the right online home for your idea is a process that’s littered with upsells and confusion.

Ting (ting.com) challenges the bloated, overpriced and intentionally confusing cell phone plans of the day. In so doing, it saves over 200,000 families and businesses a bunch of money on their monthly mobile phone bills.

Ting Internet (ting.com/Internet) challenges the idea that fiber Internet only makes sense in bigger cities. It brings gigabit fiber Internet access to cities and towns throughout America. Towns that would otherwise be passed over as big guys race to get major metros online with fiber.


Media Contact:
Andrew Moore-Crispin
1-844-275-1773
andrewmc@tucows.com

Investor Contact:
Lawrence Chamberlain
416-848-1457
lchamberlain@national.ca

Ting job fair: Join the Ting team in St. Catharines!

We’ve put together a beautiful office space in downtown St. Catharines at the corner of King and James (Map). It’s a great place to spend the working hours and we’ve got the whole third floor to ourselves.

We’ll be holding a career fair from 3pm to 8pm on Thursday, September 10 and Monday, September 14, 2015. Our management teams will be on site and ready to talk to you about a career at Ting and Tucows so please bring your resume.

If “mobile that makes sense” and “crazy fast fiber Internet” sound like the kind of mission you can get behind, we’d love to meet you. Maybe even hang out for nine hours a day, five days a week for the foreseeable future.

We’re specifically looking for people to join our Customer Experience team in the following positions.

• Customer Experience Manager
• Customer Advisors
• Network Operations Center (NOC) Analyst

Check the Careers section for more details.

We’re always looking for great people to join the team so come out and say hello.

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Mass Surveillance – The Day We Fight Back

Hey, Let’s All Get Together to End Mass Surveillance

Being able to conduct our private online affairs privately is important.

If you don’t need any further convincing, jump down to find out why online privacy matters to us, what we’re doing to help protect it and how you can help.

Perhaps our opening statement seems weird and anachronistic, seeing as we live in a world where people are increasing both the amount of information they share, and the speed at which they share it.

Here’s why we think online privacy is important.

Privacy gives us the space as individuals to find and define our sense of self, and for organizations and companies to innovate and experiment.

Mass surveillance strips us all of the opportunity to choose what information we share, when, where and with whom. The choice between what’s public and what’s private is now in the hands of those that control the data.

Over the past eight months, the details of various national mass surveillance programs have been brought to light. We find the broad and unmitigated power that’s being entrusted to bodies like the National Security Agency (NSA) truly frightening.

We are pretty upset about it. We think you should be pretty upset about it too.

These mass surveillance programs undermine trust in our governments and in the corporations that provide access to and services on the Internet. Most importantly, it undermines trust in the Internet itself. It is the Internet that brings us together and allows us to share in each other’s experiences.

Why it matters to us

For OpenSRS: There is a crisis of faith in the organizations that govern the Internet. That, consequently, undermines how our business operates. The policies and procedures that are part of running the Internet infrastructure businesses depend on requires global trust in the organizations that develop and enforce them. Perhaps these organizations, like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), are too closely connected to the US government, but can they become more global without benefitting those that would seek to control, censor and undermine the Internet?

For Ting: We’ve tried very hard to build a unique service. We’re open and transparent in our pricing and in how we interact with our customers. After years of gouging and poor customer service, it’s no wonder that there is a general lack of trust in mobile service providers. Now, though, it’s also clear that some companies have been providing warrantless, wholesale data access to surveillance programs. Customers are now concerned that we’re providing their phone records and meta-data to these programs without notification or due process. Though we haven’t received any law enforcement requests for user information, these concerns are understandable.

What we’re doing about it

We’re trying to raise awareness through this post and by participating in The Day We Fight Back. We’re also raising money for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

  • Hover will be donating $1 for every domain transferred to Hover on February 11.
  • Ting will be donating $1 up to $10,000 for everyone that shares this post from the Ting blog using the sharing tools there.

What You can do About It:

Here’s the great bit. Just over a year ago, citizens joined together online to defeat some rather heinous digital communications legislation. We know that individual voices matter, and we’ve seen the change they can bring.

If you’re American: Use the banner at the bottom of this post to contact your legislator and let them know that mass surveillance is unacceptable.

If you’re Canadian: Sign the petition hosted by OpenMedia. Or you can find and contact your member of parliament. Now is an excellent time to ask for increased oversight of the Communications Security Establishment (CSE).

Global citizens: Visit The Day We Fight Back and tweet, Facebook, or G+ your support for ending programs of mass surveillance.



10th Anniversary Telecommunications Forum, February 24-25, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada

tf2014

Tucows CEO Elliot Noss has been invited to speak at the 10th Anniversary Telecommunications Forum on February 24-25, 2014 in Ottawa. He’ll be delivering a lunchtime keynote presentation on February 25 titled, “The Dire State of Networks in Canada, and How We Can Take Advantage of It.”

His presentation is likely to get the attention of a few carriers, some policy makers and industry players and a whole lot of potential customers.

We’ve had great success in the US market with Ting, and we’d love to help push for change in the Canadian market as well.

We’ve secured a 10% discount off the regular conference fee. Use discount code #19382 when you register.

Visit http://www.insightinfo.com/tele/ for more information and to register for the event.

Take Action for Fairer and Better Laws Governing the Internet

This week, we’re asking for you help to sound the alarm over a proposal currently making its way through the US House Judiciary Committee that would expand and harshen certain parts of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

There is a possibility that the proposed changes to the CFAA could come up for a vote as early as this week, according to Demand Progress.

The amendments proposed would allow for the CFAA to be interpreted so broadly that all sorts of mundane Internet use could be criminalized, even going as far as to criminalize breaking a website’s fine print terms of service agreement. Something as simple as creating a Facebook page for your cat, or adding a couple of inches to your height in your online profile for an Internet dating service could expose you to prosecution for a federal crime under the CFAA.

Justice for Aaron Swartz

You’ll note a “Justice for Aaron” badge or banner on many Tucows sites this week that alerts visitors to the need for action, directing them to a site set up to explain the situation and asking them to contact their elected lawmakers.

Aaron Swartz was an Internet activist who was prosecuted under the CFAA in 2011 for downloading academic journals from a system called JSTOR. Earlier this year, Aaron committed suicide due, in part, to the pressure of a potential jail sentence of up to 35 years and a fine of a $1 million that he faced as a result of the heavy-handed prosecution.

Aaron was very involved in fighting against things like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and was instrumental in the creation of web standards and protocols like RSS and Markdown in addition to his activist work.

In memory of Aaron, US lawmakers have joined together to proposed a series of amendments to the CFAA called, “Aaron’s Law.” These changes would tighten the Act and would ensure that no one else would face the kind of persecution that Aaron Swartz faced thanks to the CFAA.

Take action

We ask that you take a look at the Justice for Aaron website and get involved. That could mean contacting your elected representatives if you live in the US, or simply raising awareness by putting the badge on your website or Facebook profile this week. Join sites like BoingBoing, Reddit, Demand Progress, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Tucows in this effort.

If you want to learn more about Aaron Swartz, Aaron’s Law or the CFAA, you can visit some of the links below.

Verisign and the US Department of Commerce – Our Take

This morning, it was announced that Verisign and the US Department of Commerce had come to an agreement that allows Verisign to continue to operate the .com domain for another six years.

What was missing from that contract was the hot topic of conversation this morning – Verisign no longer has the right to four price increases of 7% over the term of the agreement. In other words, .com domains will likely remain prices at $7.85 until November, 2018 when the new agreement comes up for renewal again.

Verisign does have the right to increase prices if they can prove “extraordinary” expense resulting from and attack or threat of attack on the security or stability of the DNS. Any price increase would require Verisign to prove that the increase served the public interest before the Department of Commerce would approve.

Verisign could also seek a price increase if it could prove that market conditions no longer warranted the new restrictions that are put in place with this agreement. Again, that would require Department of Commerce approval.

Tucows’ Take

Elliot Noss, Tucows President and CEO, says that the new agreement between the Department of Commerce and Verisign “rights a wrong in the last contract.”

Tucows has been very outspoken about .com pricing, and we were clear at the time of the last renewal that we did not believe Verisign should have been given the right to price increases.

It’s good news for registrants and the Internet as a whole.

Elliot also suggests that the new contract could even turn out to be good for Verisign going forward. The previous contract provided them with an opportunity to raise prices. As a public company with a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder value, Elliot notes that investors, who often think in the short term, would put immense pressure on Verisign to exercise those price increases.

He goes on to suggest that having the option to raise prices four times in the next six years may have turned into a competitive disadvantage for Verisign given the new gTLDs coming online within the next 12 to 18 months.

By not having price increases available to them as a way to grow revenues, Verisign is will be driven to more efficiency and innovation. Certainly, the conference call Verisign hosted this morning featured a lot of talk of innovation, patents, and the addition of new value-added and revenue generating services like Distributed Denial of Service attack protection.

One thing is for sure, and perhaps this is the most important part of the contract extension announcement: Verisign continuing to be the operator of the .com extension for the next six years is great news for everyone. Verisign has proven itself to be an exceptionally good operator of the root. From a technology and service perspective, .com is clearly in good hands.

You can read the US Department of Commerce statement here.

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