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NSI beats analysts' expectations

Network Solutions, the world's dominant registrar of Internet domain names, reports third-quarter revenues and profits that exceed analyst expectations.

Network Solutions, the world's dominant registrar of Internet domain names, today reported third-quarter revenues and profits that exceeded analyst expectations.

The Herndon, Virginia, company posted net income of $7.3 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with $3 million, or 9 cents per share, for the third quarter of 1998.

Analysts had expected Network Solutions (NSI) to report per-share earnings of 18 cents, according to First Call. In early trading, the company's shares were up 3.38 at 97.38.

"Our registrar marketing strategy to drive revenue per registration pushed our net new registration sales past $100 million in the third quarter," Robert Korzeniewski, NSI's chief financial officer, said in a statement. "Our balance sheet is the strongest it has ever been as of September 30, 1999."

Overall, the company's net revenue grew 133 percent to $59.3 million, up from $25.4 million for the third quarter of 1998.

Under an exclusive government contract, NSI has had a monopoly on the registrations of popular domain names, such as those ending in ".com," since 1993. But for the first time, NSI is facing competition this year.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a nonprofit organization anointed by the White House last year to manage the Net's critical address system, has approved more than 80 companies, such as Register.com and America Online, to sell domains alongside NSI.

NSI noted a significant increase in Net name registrations. Overall, 1.3 million domain names were registered in the third quarter. International customers registered 406,000 names--up 194 percent from the third quarter of 1998.

"Moreover, we continue to believe that the global market opportunity for domain name registrations is in excess of 100 million, and we are committed to make the investments necessary to capitalize on new opportunities," NSI chief executive Jim Rutt said in a statement.

In addition to Net name registrations, NSI has been expanding other parts of its business to stave off competition. New services it launched this year include its Dot Com Directory service, a fee-based yellow pages listing of Web companies that register names with NSI. The company also has focused more diligently on helping small business get on the Web.