Pressure is on LogoBased on events and announcements throughout the domain industry during the last couple of years, as well as declining PPC earnings trends and harsh economic conditions, I believe there must be considerable pressure on Here’s a quick third party view of things that have transpired. purchased Snapnames, which was the leading platform to purchase expired and deleting domain names. They had many exclusive drop catching deals in place with some of the leading registrars.

A few months later, Enom launched Namejet, a direct competitor to Snapnames. Some of the exclusive registrars later shifted from Snapnames to Enom, costing Snapnames some of the better dropping domain names.

Oversee purchased Moniker a leading domain registrar and auction house that primarily held its live auctions at TRAFFIC shows during the year, grossing millions of dollars. TechCrunch reported the purchase price at $65 million.

Oversee announced staff layoffs.

Oversee holds a great annual domain conference in January, DomainFest, which is held in Hollywood, California with considerable fanfare and high praise from industry professionals.

Crowd favorite and Director of Business Development, Ron Sheridan departs from Oversee’s DomainSponsor.

Rick Latona enters live auction business directly competing with Moniker auctions at some TRAFFIC shows.

Rick Latona signs exclusive deal with Rick Schwartz and Howard Neu to partner on the TRAFFIC shows, leaving Moniker on the outside. In 2009-2010 TRAFFIC will expand to 6+ domain conferences annually, and it doesn’t appear that Moniker will be the auctioneer.

Fabulous announces free security feature which will compete with Moniker’s expensive Max Lock program ($19.99/domain or $124.99/portfolio), and Fabulous also announced a free privacy protection service that will compete with Moniker’s privacy, which costs $4.00 per year.

I know is managed by some smart people, but it seems that many deals they’ve made haven’t worked out as well as they wanted them to work out, and in other cases, competitors are offering better products/services at better prices. Oversee companies were the best of breed in some categories, but now it seems that’s being chipped away rapidly by nimble competitors. Oversee is a well funded company with big time VC backer Oak Hill Capital Partners, but who knows how much of that investment remains and how much previous investments are currently worth.

The people that make up the company are a primary reason why I do business with more than one Oversee company. However, with tough economic times, there are difficult business decisions that have to be made. The pressure seems to be on Oversee, and it will be interesting to see their next move.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I would take SnapNames any day over NameJet. Better pricing and better catches. Yeah an occasional name only pops up on NameJet, but most names end up on both and SnapNames has always won for me.

    How does one get a Fabulous account with good prices without owning 1500 domains?

  2. It is good to have competition 🙂

    As consumers, we all win that way 😉

    I wish everybody all the best.

    Who said the domain biz was easy?

    Not anymore! 2009 has been very different and 2010 will bring about even more changes to the industry.

    The best product / service always win though. ALWAYS!



  3. I am not 100% sure on this so please correct me if I am wrong.

    The reason Lost the exclusive expiring domains was because of the sale to Oversee.

    There was a sale agreement set before that if SnapNames was sold, then NSI could leave. Which I assume, Oversee might of overlooked this?

  4. Agreed this is an interesting post. This industry is rapidly changing for the better with more competition the customer should always win.

    Do you know which of the major registrars, that are not part of Oversee or Enom, have exclusive relationship Snapnames vs. Namejet?

    By major registrars, I mean GoDaddy/Wild West,, Network Solutions, Dotster, ONLINENIC, MelbourneIT and Tucows.

  5. **Interesting post. It is interesting what will Moniker do to survive at competitive live domain auction market.**

    Outside the auction sphere, getting their customer service back up to the par it was on before, would be a great reckoning. Moniker’s customer service is getting a lot of negative feedback on the forums lately, something they never got before they were acquired.

  6. @Kevin – I can’t agree more, I have historically worked with Snapnames and Moniker for awhile, but recently – wow! What the !@#$%^ is happening over there? I am still waiting on a domain purchased ($x,xxx) from snapnames over 1 1/2 months ago.

    Overall, I think the announcement and competition is great! Sometimes all the money in the world wont save you. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.

  7. You make some good points. I could not agree more that the pressure is on — and it’s on for every company doing business on the Internet. As an industry leader, we probably get more scrutiny than most but that’s a good thing.

    This is a competitive industry and we’re all pushing hard, which will reveal who’s in a position of strength. Oversee, as you point out, is well-funded with a strong balance sheet. Even if the scenario was as gloomy as you intimate, and it isn’t, I still very much like our chances.

    The SnapNames business has changed over time from the inventory side, but it’s still the most trusted auction platform in the industry handling the largest volume of sales each year. And the addition of third party sales brings us some very good names.

    And there’s a lot more to come from the integration of SnapNames and Moniker. Moniker continues to be the leader in a host of domain services. While its live auctions got a lot of the publicity, it is only part of the picture. Moniker works with individuals and corporations on sales, appraisal and registration.

    Thanks for the nice words about DOMAINfest. 2010 will be a knockout. And there will soon be more news on future DOMAINfest events, including new auctions, in the next few months. We continue to appreciate Ron’s role in starting that franchise and are pleased that Ron continues to consult for us even now as he pursues his passion for creating new businesses.

    You will soon be hearing more detail about new products and the benefits of doing business with Oversee. We’d be the first to recognize that some of the new tools and systems we’ve implemented created some short-term transition issues and welcome more feedback on it.

    Going forward, we’re optimistic that folks will continue to see our professionalism and ongoing dedication to our clients as we improve our services. You can really help us by sending your feedback directly to me, Peter Celeste ( or to your rep. I can be reached at

    • @Jeff

      This is very good to see – and I appreciate your comments.

      I’ve enjoyed working with everyone at Oversee – and I think the quality of your employees is one of your biggest strengths. I am looking forward to seeing some of the new products and tools from Oversee. From my experience, I really like the improved Snapnames interface, and I have been using it much more than I had before.

  8. Great blog post!!!

    Oversee has some challenges ahead of themselves. From Jeff’s comment it sounds like they will be producing several events in 2010. At what point though are their too many events???

    Even for yourself, someone who travels to all of the events. Do you see yourself slowing down with show appearances next year?

  9. I used to work at Oversee and dont feel they will make it beyond 2010.
    Leadership is not from the domain space nor Online space. When you lose key employees and replace them with contractor to hires you get a bad management team.
    I’d be very surprised if Oversee ever does antything. The heyday for them has come and gone. Cash is being burnt and I dont think they will ever get in the right direction

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