This is a sequel to the article “Losing a Valuable Domain Name Can be Very Painful”.
None of the following would have occurred had the registrant renewed his domain name.
The extremely valuable domain name domains.com.au was not renewed by the registrant (an unfortunate oversight for which they accept responsibility), and the domain was purged from the registry. Instead of then appearing on Drop’s expired domain auctions, the domain was purposely withheld from the market and then subsequently acquired by Trellian (owner of Drop). Given that there is no real competition, their superior drop catching technology successfully snared the domain for themselves. Despite various representations to David Warmuz (the CEO of Trellian), he has decided to keep the domain name.
- The registrant (Steve) told me that he acquired domains.com.au for $40,000 + GST several years ago.
- He is a long established client of Drop. The majority of his domain names are held there, and he has been an active buyer on their drop auctions.
- That said, this particular domain was at Synergy Wholesale when it was purged.
- The registrant reached out to Synergy the day before the purge to see if there was anything that could be done, but unfortunately there wasn’t.
- He also contacted David Warmuz to explain his dilemma, and to ask for some sort of consideration if Drop were successful in winning the domain. David said he would think about it.
- I also contacted David by phone, and attempted some diplomatic representations on behalf of Steve. David told me that he had been after that domain for a long time, but conceded it was a difficult / awkward situation. He also told me he would think about it.
- I contacted Steph from auDA, and whilst she was sympathetic, she explained there was nothing she could do so late in the purge cycle.
- Steve followed up David several times, but initially to no avail. It appears David is intent on keeping the domain name no matter what.
Update: Steve tells me that David has informed him by SMS that he has decided to keep the domain.
My opinion (for what it is worth)
David has done nothing illegal – nor has he breached his registrar agreement.
If he had put the domain up for auction (and not withheld it), it probably would have sold for at least $50,000 – all of which would go into the Trellian coffers. Unless Steve was willing to cough up that sort of money, someone else would be the new registrant.
However, David has decided to keep it for himself / Trellian.
Therefore he has to contend with the “elephant in the room”. That is, as a registrar, he is now seen as actively competing against his own clients for his own benefit. Or in this case, not even giving his client base a chance to compete. I believe this is wrong.
David acknowledged to me years ago that this would be a no no – but it seems things have changed.
It still is within David’s power to make a gesture towards Steve. This doesn’t mean that he gives it way for nothing – Steve is happy to pay for his mistake. I’m sure if the roles were reversed, David would be hoping for such a gesture.
What price is goodwill worth?
I have been a loyal Drop customer almost from the beginning of their journey. At one stage, I even owned Drop before selling it to Trellian. The majority of my domain names are with Drop (over 4000) as I consider them to be the best registrar for domain investors. If I can’t speak up about this, who can?
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