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Network Solutions tops estimates

The domain name company posts record revenues for the third quarter, reporting earnings that surpassed Wall Street expectations.

Network Solutions said today that it had posted record revenues for the third quarter, reporting earnings that surpassed Wall Street expectations.

The largest supplier of Internet domain names in the United States reported net revenues of $25.4 million for the quarter ended September 30, an increase of 109 percent over the $12.1 million posted for the quarter a year ago. Net income increased 144 percent to $3 million, or 18 cents per share, on a diluted basis. A consensus of analysts expected the company to earn 16 cents per share, according to First Call.

Network Solutions (NSI) has held a monopoly on the process for registering the most popular ".com," ".net," and ".org" domain names ever since the Net began its evolution toward commercial viability in early 1990s. Although its five-year government contract expired last month, the Clinton administration this month gave NSI a two-year extension.

Shares of NSI yesterday jumped 7.12 percent, or 3.13 points, ahead of the earnings news. The stock closed yesterday at 47 after trading as high as 58 and as low as 11.75 during the past 52 weeks.

"In the third quarter we saw continued growth in .com Web addresses, increasing our entire registration base 21 percent in the past quarter alone," chief executive Gabe Battista said in a statement. "We are introducing new products and services and capitalizing on the emerging market opportunities we've identified in the small business and global markets."

NSI said it registered a record 507,000 net new Internet domain names in last quarter, up 89 percent from the third quarter 1997 total of 269,000 names and a 14 percent jump from the previous quarter's total of 443,000.