Register.com agreement latest win for NameMedia.
Today NameMedia — which operates Afternic and BuyDomains — announced that it has signed Register.com as a premium promotion partner. That means that visitors to Register.com can purchase any of the domains at the “premium” promotion level listed on AfternicDLS in a simple purchase with instant fulfillment. It also means domains registered at Register.com are eligible to be listed at the premium level on the service.
Both NameMedia and the other heavyweight domain name marketplace Sedo have been trying to expand their reach using distribution agreements with instant fulfillment in which someone can buy a premium domain name just like registering a regular domain name. This is viewed as the holy grail of aftermarket domain name marketing.
So far, NameMedia has locked up Network Solutions and Register.com. All Sedo has nailed down so far is sister registrar 1&1. If the battle of retail distribution is in inking these agreements, which platform signs up the most top 10 registrars over the next 12 months will win.
That’s not to say Sedo can’t also sign deals with Network Solutions and Register.com. However, Sedo is at a great disadvantage because most domains on its platform aren’t priced. In order for instant purchase and fulfillment to work, domains must be priced. Sedo has been trying to get more of its inventory priced, but it’s a slow and uphill battle.
The problem for Sedo is that most people will only list a fixed price at one platform. If someone has a domain with a fixed price at Afternic, they don’t want to have a fixed price at Sedo too in case the domain happens to sell on both platforms prior to removing the inventory after a sale.
By nabbing Network Solutions and Register.com, NameMedia has captured two of the high cost, premium registrars. Of the other top 10 registrars, Go Daddy and Moniker are the most important. What NameMedia lacks right now is domainer inventory, since few domainers keep their domains at Network Solutions and Register.com. Go Daddy offers both inventory and distribution, although it may decide to lock out other providers in favor of its own premium listing service. Moniker has substantial premium inventory that NameMedia needs to tap into, although it lacks end user distribution.
The next 12 months will be critical in domain name aftermarket distribution. Let’s see if Sedo responds.