Company lays off 18% of staff in preparation for “very difficult economic environment in 2009”.
Domain Name Wire has confirmed that Los Angeles-based domain juggernaut Oversee.net is laying off employees today.
From what we’ve been told it’s in the DomainSponsor division, but the layoffs may be more widespread. We are waiting on comment from the company regarding the number of effected employees. [See Update] The layoffs come just two weeks before the company’s DOMAINfest conference in Los Angeles.
Mason Cole, Oversee.net VP of Communications, released the following statement to Domain Name Wire:
Oversee is reorganizing its businesses because it expects a very difficult economic environment in 2009. As part of the reorganization, we have had an 18% reduction in force, including some managers.
Oversee will focus over the next year in the areas where it has a leadership position. Going forward, areas of focus include: Domain name monetization, Domain name aftermarket, Registrar, and Travel.
Accordingly, we’ve discontinued activity or investment in areas that aren’t as promising (mortgage, for example). The reduction is a result of the refocusing on key areas.
In August Oversee.net laid off 10% of its employees across its divisions including DomainSponsor, SnapNames, and Moniker.
Since then the domain parking business has continued to deteriorate. Current revenue from domain parking cannot justify previous staffing levels at many domain parking companies. Other divisions of the company are also likely hurting, including NameKing. The previous layoffs occurred under the former company president Lawrence Ng. This is the first round of layoffs under new president Jeff Kupietzky.
Oversee.net is not the only domain name company cutting employees. NameMedia trimmed its workforce near the end of last year, and domain registrar Tucows cut 15% of its staff in November.
Steve M says
Sorry to hear about this; a great group of nice, hard-working folks.
Had to be a very tough decision for the leadership to make.
Best wishes to them all.
I could never figure why they needed to have the amount of staff they did.. Same for Marchex and NameMedia.
Anyways, Oversee has been selling off names for the past few weeks like crazy it seems… Or at lest trying to!
They have added thousands of their best names to http://www.dnex.com
It’s a nice start… They have about 150,000 more names to go!!
Sign of the times 😉
Also, I should note that some of the “premium” domains that are for sale there… It looks like Oversee hasn’t even owned them for more than a year.
I am 99% sure that whenever price they paid in order to acquire all those domains, was a lot more then what they will be able to get. Bad ROI…Now they are trying to cut their losses and sell off whatever they can??
When some of the biggest portfolio holders and parking operators are selling off like this — there is definitely something going on behind the scenes. Put all the pieces together… !
Donna Mahony says
Best of luck to any caught up in this. I hope you all stay in the industry and keep in touch.
Rob Sequin says
Agree. This is not good for the industry but when CEO Ng left, I figured he saw the writing on the wall and better opportunities were elsewhere.
The CEO/Founder doesn’t leave his baby unless something is wrong OR that he no longer sees a great opportunity at his company anymore.
I imagine DS will loose customers because of this news. Moniker will probably be fine due to their rep for live auctions, brokerage and registrar. Snap will always be around but I imagine revenue is way down since people are probably being more selective in the domains they backorder for a couple reasons:
1. Less domain tasting and less people chasing drops so domains are just dropping for a hand reg. I have many domains that I like but don’t want to pay the $60 for so I have been letting them drop but monitoring them only to find that they are available for a hand reg. I have only lost a couple in several months and I’m not losing any sleep but am hundreds of dollars richer since I didn’t lay out $60 each for dozens of okay domains.
2. Less people speculating on domains and probably bidding less often and for less money.
So, I can see hard times for Oversee.net but Moniker’s high end brokerage deals are probably a bright spot for the company.
Attendance and auction results for DomainFest will be interesting to watch. I hope the conference is a bright spot for them in these challenging times.
Andrew Allemann says
@ wannadevelop – they have about a million domains and they are still buying.
Yea Andrew, lots of “risky” type of investments…… TM’s. 😉
They don’t have all that many good keyword domain names or anything with potential beyond generating a few clicks per year from typos/type ins.
Still one of the best portfolio’s in the world though, as far as profitability goes, without a doubt !
So how many people does this layoff equate to anyway?
Andrew Allemann says
@ JP – I think it’s around 35-40.
pissed off says
Oversee and domain sponsor appear to be total scam artists. I fought for months to get them to return my calls, emails and pay me a measly $50 bux they owed me. Now they seem to fallen even further off the face of the earth. I hope they fell long and landed hard…in hell.