Deal is a sign of the times in the expired domain business.
Web.com is now the sole owner of domain name auction site NameJet after acquiring Tucows’ (NASDAQ: TCX) interest in the business.
NameJet was created as a partnership between Enom and Network Solutions (now part of Web.com) in 2007 at a time when SnapNames was dominating the direct-transfer expired domain business. The deal meant that Network Solutions’ expired domain inventory would move to the new NameJet platform, delivering a blow to SnapNames. Oversee.net had just acquired SnapNames but knew about Network Solutions leaving the platform before completing the acquisition.
In 2014, Web.com acquired Snapnames from KeyDrive for $7.4 million. That meant that Web.com owned all of Snapnames and half of its competitor NameJet.
SnapNames and NameJet later combined forces on grabbing pending delete domains, which are domains that make it through the deletion cycle and are deleted by the registry.
Tucows acquired Enom last year and Enom’s half ownership in NameJet was a sort of “gift with purchase”. After the acquisition closed, Tucows shifted its expired domain name inventory from GoDaddy to NameJet, only to switch back to GoDaddy later in the year.
This was a big indication that GoDaddy was far better at monetizing Tucows’ expiring domain names than NameJet.
Today’s news makes sense. In fact, it probably makes sense to merge the SnapNames and NameJet platforms.
The big question is if Enom domains will remain on NameJet and for how long. This was obviously part of the negotiation and ultimate purchase price. If Enom leaves the platform for GoDaddy at some point in the future, it will further degrade NameJet’s role in the marketplace.