Based 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 Oversee.net. Here’s a quick third party view of things that have transpired.
Oversee.net 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 Oversee.net 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.