Domain company Oversee.net buys expired domain leader SnapNames.
Just a few short years ago SnapNames was selling expired domains for $60 each. As it pushed for the domain wait listing service it would have been a political problem to use competitors’ auction models. It has since matched their model, auctioning off domains to the highest bidder while also forging exclusive arrangements with registrars to auction their domains. SnapNames has grown rapidly as a result and domain company Oversee.net just announced that it is acquiring the company.
Oversee.net is best known as the parent company of domain parking company DomainSponsor. It also runs mortgage lead generation site Low.com, advertising service Revenue.net, and owns a large portfolio of domain names.
Judging from SnapNames’ F.A.Q.s about the acquisition, the main concern for SnapNames’ customers is a conflict of interest. Oversee.net bids on domains at SnapNames. Now that they own the company will they have an unfair advantage?
At a simple level, yes. Oversee.net can afford to bid more on domains because it will now earn its subsidiary’s standard commission on sales. That is unavoidable and can’t be debated. But the greater concern is twofold:
1. SnapNames could divert some domains from auctions directly into Oversee’s portfolio rather than offering them to the public. Hopefully the registrars’ contracts with SnapNames prevent this.
2. Oversee.net could obtain additional intelligence about domains prior to the auctions (e.g. traffic levels). This would give the company an unfair advantage.
Oversee.net needs to build a deep firewall between its acquisition operations and SnapNames to prevent any appearance of a conflict.