Tucows and Afternic Deal Q&A

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…


  1. says

    There’s a post of the link to the video of Bill Sweetman and I posted my comments questioning his reasons for going with Afternic. Congrats to afternic but I don’t understand why they went with them even after watching the video.

    Link to Domain State

    Sorry to link out, hope it’s okay.

  2. Andrew says

    It’s fine to link out…prefer if you use tinyurl.com or a href tags to keep the URLs short on the screen though.

  3. says

    Oh well, so much for that…

    Got this email today on the very first name I backordered at afternic. Renewed by registrant or pulled for some other reason?

    Afternic Auctions: Withdrawn Domains

    Dear Rob Sequin,

    Unfortunately the following domain(s) have been withdrawn from auction and are no longer available.
    # taxiblog.com

    We apologize for any inconvenience and invite you to search for alternate domains:

    Questions on how Afternic Auctions work?
    Visit our FAQ page: http://www.afternic.com/help

    The Afternic Team

    Our phone numbers:
    866-846-5128 (US)
    781-839-7991 (worldwide

  4. says

    Hi Rob,

    Regarding taxiblog.com being withdrawn, I am looking into this and will contact you directly via email in the next 24 hours or so once I have an answer for you. One way or another, we will get this straightened out. ;+)

    Thanks for your patience and understanding.


    Bill Sweetman
    General Manager, Domain Portfolio

  5. says

    I have another tucows drop question…

    How do I backorder a Tucows domain that I know has passed its expiration?

    If I can’t do a backorder, how am I supposed to know that the dropped domain has entered into the Afternic system?

    Do I just go search at afternic and hope to time it right between auction start and auction end?

  6. says

    Hi Rob,

    Tucows does not offer a backorder service to notify customers when a domain has become available.

    One option you may want to consider is to subscribe to Afternic’s Daily “All Afternic Auction Inventory” list. From that list you can check each day if the Tucows name you are interested in has made its way to Afternic, which usually happens about 21 days after expiry.


    Bill Sweetman
    General Manager, Domain Portfolio

  7. says

    Okay then what is this for

    https://www.afternic.com/my.php?show=preorders ?

    I don’t get how tucows chose afternic to get the best prices for expiring domains if people don’t even know what’s dropping.

    I don’t see the “auction inventory” link. Can you post it? Do you mean setting up domain alerts?

    Honestly, if I can’t figure it with your help, how are the masses of potential bidders going to find ANY tucows domains dropping at Afternic?

  8. says

    Hi Rob,

    You can find out which names are dropping and available for preorder at Afternic by searching the Afternic Auctions section, downloading inventory lists (at the bottom of the Afternic home page), or by subscribing to matching RSS feeds here:


    In addition, the following blog post by Afternic’s Adam Gross explains how to view the expiring domains that are available and how Afternic Auctions works.


    If you have any other questions about using Afternic Auctions, please check out the Afternic Support section below…


    …or contact Afternic directly at 1-866-351-9586.


    Bill Sweetman
    General Manager, Domain Portfolio

  9. says

    Here’s a quick update for anyone still following this thread:

    Rob and I have been in dialogue via email over the last few days and the domain name that he was interested in and had placed a PreOrder on has been re-listed in the Afternic marketplace.

    Bill Sweetman
    General Manager, Domain Portfolio

  10. says

    This thread is hilarious.

    Here’s a translation:

    customer: Hey, what happened to that name I ordered?

    Tucows: Oops, that’s one of the expired names we appropriated. You can’t have it!

    customer: OK, well how can I pre-order names that will be expiring?

    Tucows: You can’t. Because we are a Registrar we get to park them, evaluate which ones get traffic and clicks (AKA “Tasting”), and WE keep those names, then we give the dregs that we don’t appropriate for our own portfolio to Afternic for auctioning to YOU SUCKERS. So, just wait for awhile, then search Afternic.

    customer: Huh?

    Tucows: STFU.

  11. says

    It is an easy process to win a domain at auction – provided you are the only buyer -otherwise things get hot, and you might have to pay more

  12. xe-cute says

    How do I keep an eye open for a specific domain name I want when it expires that is with Tuscows?

    I have been over to afternic, signed up, and simply can’t work it out.

    If it is not possible there than where do I go to back order?

    Thanks for any help.

  13. xe-cute says

    wow, that deal didn’t last for too long then, I wonder why.

    Thanks so much for the new info, much appreciated.

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