Bill Sweetman of Tucows answers questions about its deal with Name Media’s Afternic.
After today’s announcement that Tucows (AMEX: TCX) is sending expired domain names to Afternic, there were a couple lingering questions. I asked Bill Sweetman, General Manager – Domain Portfolio at Tucows to fill in the gaps.
Domain Name Wire: With SnapNames and NameJet the dominant players in expired domains, pulling in higher bid prices than other platforms, what made you decide to go with Afternic?
Sweetman: We believe the bigger and long-term opportunity in the secondary domain market is with the SMB market, so we chose to work with the one company that really understands that market and how to sell to them. Afternic also has the most user-friendly marketplace and best customer service of any of the expired name services we evaluated. And with 100,000+ expired domains from Tucows now flowing into their platform, Afternic is a dominant player in expired domains.
Domain Name Wire: If I understand correctly, resellers who initially sold the domain registration will get 10% of the expired domain selling price. Does this provide any incentives to resellers to “play down” renewal notices and communications?
Sweetman: Tucows resellers are smarter than that and realize that keeping a domain customer and the opportunity to sell them other services (like email and hosting) is worth far more than what they might get for the expired domain name if it were to sell at auction. Remember, only a small percentage of expired names are ever sold at auction.
Domain Name Wire: Anything else I should know about this deal?
Sweetman: This is a great deal for our resellers and for anyone who is interested in easily purchasing an expired domain name.
Ed: Here’s my take…huge win for Afternic. Combined with Melbourne IT domains, people will have to pay attention to Afternic for expired domains (although still not to the extent of SnapNames with Register.com and NameJet with NetSol/eNom). I agree with Sweetman that the longterm play in the aftermarket is end users, and no one does better at that than Name Media (more on that in another post). But I’m not sure if end users will start buying expired domains. End users want to buy a particular set of domains in a particular time frame, and the expired domain market doesn’t work that way.
Further speculation…will Name Media ever buy an existing registrar? It has a tight relationship with Domain Discover, and I believe Afternic is an accredited (but inactive) registrar. I don’t think they own another registrar…