Tucows Inc. History
Tucows began as a start-up software distribution company and has grown to become the largest wholesale domain name registrar and a leading provider of internet services to web hosting companies and Internet service providers (ISPs). The company has reinvented itself more than once, proving the strength of its business model, leadership and ability to create and retain business relationships with service providers worldwide.
1993 — Tucows launches in Flint, Michigan
The origins of what is now Tucows began in Flint, Michigan in 1993. While working for local libraries, Scott Swedorski noticed the public's increasing interest in the World Wide Web and used his personal website to offer downloadable software. He dubbed this service TUCOWS, an acronym for The Ultimate Collection of Winsock Software, which quickly gained recognition as the first site to offer software on a freeware or shareware basis.
1994 — ISPs around the world begin to 'mirror' Tucows' libraries
Internet service providers (ISPs) and other partner sites around the work began 'mirroring' Tucows software libraries to provide fast, local downloads to their end-users and save on bandwidth costs.
1995 — Tucows acquired by Toronto-based ISP Internet Direct
Internet Direct was one of the first of Tucows mirror sites.
1999 — Tucows accredited by ICANN as a domain name registrar
When the domain name registration monopoly was opened to competition in 1999, Tucows used the opportunity to leverage its experience and relationships with Internet service providers and grow into new areas. The company applied for and received its registrar accreditation from ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in April 1999.
2000 — Tucows becomes the first wholesale registrar and launches OpenSRS
The company began accepting domain name registrations from ISPs and web hosting companies through the OpenSRS platform in January 2000. At first, registrations were available under .com, .net and .org. In the fall, Tucows added .uk and .ca to its service line. Since 2000, Tucows has continued to add new top-level domains including the gTLDs .info, .biz, and .name, and the ccTLDs .tv (Tuvalu), .cc (Cocos), .us (United States), .cn (China), and .de (Germany).
2001 — Tucows provides back-end registry services for Afilias and merges with Infonautics, Inc.
In May, Tucows launched the first EPP-based global registry management service, Liberty Registry Management Services (LibertyRMS), for generic top-level domains (gTLDs) including .info. LibertyRMS had an exclusive two-year contract with Afilias to provide the registry operations for the new generic top-level domain .info. Tucows has since sold LibertyRMS to Afilias.
On August 28, Tucows merged with Infonautics, Inc., an Internet information services company. On completion of the merger, Infonautics changed its name to Tucows Inc. The company was quoted on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol "TCOW."
2002 — Tucows begins sale of GeoTrust digital certificates and offers hosted registration infrastructure for accredited registrars
Tucows began offering GeoTrust Inc.'s suite of digital security products and services to its wholesale channel, in July.
In August, Tucows announced the general availability of its hosted registrar services platform (OpenHRS), an outsourced hosted registration service for ICANN-accredited registrars.
Also in August, the search and reference media sites eLibrary and Encyclopedia.com, were sold to Alacritude.
2003 — Tucows expands its suite of wholesale Internet services with Email and Managed DNS
In February, Tucows began offering email services to and for distribution by service providers. Managed DNS was added to the wholesale service line, in December.
2004 — Tucows adds back office solutions to enable service providers to help reduce business complexity and rapidly adopt new value added services; launches first wholesale blogging service.
Tucows reached 4 million domain names under management, in March.
In April, Email Defense, an anti-spam service, was added to the wholesale service line.
Also in April, Tucows acquired Boardtown Corporation, the producers of the Platypus Billing System and Wombat Help Desk for Internet service providers.
Tucows launched Blogware, the first wholesale blogging service for ISPs and webhosting companies, in May.
The wholesale service line was expanded to include Website Building tools, in June.
2005 — Tucows continues pattern of steady growth, completes IPO
In May, Tucows enhances its software download site by adding capacity and improving usability.
Shares of common stock in Tucows commence trading on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX:TCX) and on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:TC), on August 19.
2006 — Tucows extends commitment to Email services with acquisition of Critical Path's hosted messaging business and acquires the NetIdentity surname portfolio to offer personalized web services.
In January, Tucows completed the acquisition of Critical Path's Hosted Messaging Business. With this acquisition the company became a leading provider of hosted email services, provisioning millions of mailboxes.
Understanding the secondary market for domain names represented a new source of revenue for Tucows and our services provider customers, the company Domain Name Auctions and Parked Pages to its wholesale offerings, in February.
On June 19, Tucows completed the acquisition of Mailbank.com Inc. (doing business as NetIdentity). The acquisition of this large portfolio of surname-based domains extends opportunity to offer personalized web services to the wholesale channel.
On August 26, Tucows purchased the online calendar service Kiko.
2007 — Tucows continues to expand its presence in hosted email, launches a radical redesign of its software download site, and continues to innovate with its reseller services offerings.
On May 23, Tucows introduced the next generation of Tucows Email Service. The new email platform featured AJAX-enabled webmail, and competitive storage and features.
On July 31, a radical redesign of Tucows.com, one of the most popular software download sites in the world, is launched to enhance overall user experience, including new social networking features.
On November 19, Tucows announces two programs, Parked Pages Program and Expired Domains Program. Both offer additional sources of revenue to resellers, including a slice of the growing domain name re-sale market through a share of Tucows Premium Domains service sales revenues.
2008 — Tucows relaunches key brands, including OpenSRS and Hover, and reinvigorates Tucows.com with video content.
On July 31, Tucows rebranded its wholesale Reseller services division as OpenSRS. Resellers' sustained loyalty to OpenSRS was one reason behind the decision to re-launch the brand, and key to that loyalty is the company's reputation as the most reseller-friendly among Internet services wholesalers.
On October 29, Tucows launches YummyNames. The new service provides exclusive access to a large selection of premium domain names from the Tucows Domain Name Portfolio. Created especially with marketers in mind, YummyNames allows people to search for and obtain the perfect domain name for their organization from tens of thousands of high-quality domain names.
On November 6, Tucows reinvigorated its download site, Tucows.com, with a new video network. Butterscotch.com provides a new online video network that offers educational and user-friendly instructional shows designed to demystify technology for the average technology consumer.
On December 8, Tucows rebranded its retail division as Hover, providing consumers with a hassle-free domain management service that makes it easy for anyone to buy a domain name, set up a personalized email address and connect a domain name to all of their web services - in seconds.