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Rook Media acquires DomainSponsor

Oversee.net has sold DomainSponsor and its domain name portfolio to Rook Media.

Rook MediaOne of the largest domain name parking companies has been acquired.

Rook Media has acquired domain name parking company DomainSponsor from Oversee.net, the companies confirmed today.

DomainSponsor is one of the oldest domain parking companies, serving customers since 2002. Rook, on the other hand, just launched in 2011. Rook was founded by former employees of NameDrive, a parking company that was acquired by KeyDrive in 2011.

Oversee.net has previously sold off a couple businesses including registrar Moniker and expired domain service SnapNames. But DomainSponsor was the company’s initial business, so the company has essentially sold off its core. Oversee.net continues to run a number of vertically focused lead generation websites, which has been the area of growth for the company in recent years.

Rook CEO Ash Rahimi told Domain Name Wire today that Rook and DomainSponsor will continue to operate as separate parking platforms for the foreseeable future.

“The customer experience will be the same as it always was,” said Rahimi. “We will be incrementally taking the best features of Rook and DomainSponsor and implementing them across platforms”.

Rahimi said the acquisition brings together the best of international monetization with Rook and U.S. monetization with DomainSponsor.

“We are the largest domain parking company by a fair margin at this point,” he said.

Rahimi says the acquisition has been several months in the making.

“It takes time,” he explained. “We’re two competitors in a pretty small industry. It’s difficult to go out there and get the usual data [necessary to evaluate an acquisition].”

The acquisition, which closed last Friday, includes Oversee.net’s owned and operated domain name portfolio. It does not include the DomainFest conference brand.

All of DomainSponsor’s approximately 30 employees have joined Rook. That doesn’t include Dwayne Walker, who has been the face of DomainSponsor at conferences in recent years. Walker will help with the transition but remain with Oversee.net.

Oversee.net CEO Debra Domeyer told Domain Name Wire that the company wasn’t actively shopping DomainSponsor for sale. It didn’t have serious conversations about an acquisition with any companies other than rook.

“I’m real positive about [the acquisition],” she said. “I feel really good about the Rook team and I’ve gotten to know them really well.”

Domeyer says that Oversee.net now has about 50-60 employees.

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  1. Jim

    So a company 10% of DomainSponsor buys them and their O&O portfolio which if I remember right was more than 750k domains. Something sounds fishy.

    I know that Oak Hill has not been happy with Oversee for a while, I wonder if they just took the product and decided that they wanted somebody else to run it.

  2. Matt

    Interesting. Just speculating, but I imagine the combined entity will get a higher rev share with Google, so that’s a couple million a year, tax savings of being based in Switzerland rather than CA is probably worth several million, plus reduced competitive pressure and less exposure to litigation (potentially a big deal for the O&O portfolio), and one can imagine how transferring DS to Rook starts to make sense. Maybe Oversee gets an annuity-like earn-out better than their previous profit, but still allowing them to focus completely on their growth businesses. Or maybe they’re so pessimistic on the outlook for parking that they’re happy to trade that cash-cow annuity for whatever lump sum Rook was able to finance. Anyway, congrats to Oversee and the Rook guys!

  3. Top Sarge

    I was told my a birdie that everybody has the same deal with Google. So they will not get a higher revshare because of the combined companies.

    • Andrew Allemann

      I was told by a little birdie that everyone will get the same deal, but it might still have the higher rev shares for higher volumes, so it might still benefit them.

  4. Dave

    Wow what a exciting deal.. NOT. Surprised Rook wants to buy a business that is constantly decreasing. The Dsp “nameking” portfolio contains alot of TMs. Dont understand why the guys involved try to create a buzz around this, seems like 2-3 years late to the party.

  5. Karim Ibrahim

    I made arookmedia for one of my domains which was getting good traffic .
    And with rookmedia,I made some 240$ in the first month,,not with any invalid clicks,
    and clicks were surprisingly low too.
    One day when Iogged in,they said I am banned,neither they sent me any email so we can talk,nor did he sent any warning or gave my money..
    In the end,rookmedia suddenly closed my account without any email or anything,so I cannot contact them,and took my240$

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