ShellOil.com Expiry Weirdness

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When I was looking through my Dropping.com email yesterday, I saw that ShellOil.com was coming up for expiry auction at NameJet. I did a historical Whois search at DomainTools, and I saw the domain name had been owned by Shell International Petroleum Company before it expired. The domain name was created back in 1997, and it looks like the company has owned it for many years.

I tweeted about the expiration, mentioning the Shell global and Shell US Twitter accounts:

Someone replied that perhaps the company was moving away from the “oil” branding and that may be a reason for the expiration. I replied that the US Shell Twitter account nickname is “Shell Oil Company,” and even if the company was moving away from the oil branding, it wouldn’t seem to make sense to let the name drop and available for anyone to buy. Domain names are relatively cheap, and renewing a domain name like this one seems to be a no-brainer to me. Maybe it slipped through the cracks, or maybe they didn’t want it – only they would have the answer to that.

I followed the NameJet auction page as the bid deadline came up, and I was surprised that there were no backorders. Even names that appear to be obvious trademarks to me regularly get bids at expiry auctions, despite the investment risk. I then noticed something interesting – the auction had a minimum bid of $325 rather than the typical $69 minimum backorder bid. Perhaps this higher minimum bid amount dissuaded people from bidding on the domain name.

From my outside perspective, it doesn’t really make sense to me that Shell didn’t renew the domain name. It was also strange to see an expiry auction like this with a much higher than normal minimum bid. Some weirdness all around on this one.

1 COMMENT

  1. Elliot,
    I also noticed the name was being auctioned at NJ.
    Shell US is using Shell.us, so I guess they thought they don’t need it anymore, even if I’d have suggested them to keep it for TM defensive purposes.
    As a purchase it’s a no-no, it’s a domain with a “sue me” tag attached. 🙂
    As for the reserve price, I think it was set by NetSol. Once I asked NJ for another case and they told me it was the Registrar setting the reserve on the expiring name.

  2. So by NetSol setting the starting price at $325, that would constitute cybersquatting since they are implying they own the ShellOil.com domain.

    Why else would it not be the typical $69?

    Even the content on the parked page shows Oil/Gas ads.

    I challenge anyone here to prove to me that what NetSol are doing is legal.

    • It has been known for a while and evident in cases such as Medicare.com that netsol/networksolutions do as they please, you are lucky some names even make it to auction wink wink.

      I once bought a name from a company that was in redemption at netsol, I paid the company, they logged into netsol to renew/transfer and name was gone. They were told they didn’t renew it in time and the cc was denied (within the non mandatory renewal period at this point). They fought it as it was not true according to them, they asked for emails/invoices showing it was denied, no evidence was given. Turns out the $25,000 backorder at namejet means they were never getting their/my name back. Namejet and Netsol are in bed, at that time the COO or CEO or CTO whatever he was I spoke to in order to complain about the case sat on BOTH boards! Now tell me how a fair no bias decision could be made by a rar when they stand to profit at namejet? I am ranting now but that one has burned me up when I think about it for several years now.

  3. ShellOil.com is owned by New Ventures Services Corp… so pretty ballsy of Network Solutions, who owns New Ventures Services Corp! Not only to raise the minimum bid price from $69 to $325 on NameJet, which is partly owned by them, but keep it, park it and display shell / oil ad links etc.

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