Expiring Domains – Competition Is Coming!

In what should be “music to the ears” of domain investors and other online entrepreneurs, Domainer can now reveal that development is well underway for a new drop catching platform quite aptly called DropCatcher.com.au. This will hopefully be launched later this year (subject of course to obtaining all necessary auDA approvals).

It was all a bit hush hush for a while, but I’ve been assured by the team behind the venture that it is going to happen. A lot of work has gone into it.

Who Is behind Drop Catcher?

They comprise some well-respected and trusted industry veterans – including IT professionals who are experienced in the dark arts of drop catching. 🙂

The CEO is Cameron Bell (Cam) – he is probably known to many people in the domain industry. He worked for Dark Blue Sea for around 17 years. Their brands at one stage included Fabulous.com, Drop.com.au, Yexa.com and Yexa.com.au, and Fabulous.com.au.

I’ve known Cam for over a decade, and consider him to be one of the best operators in the domain industry. He is a domain investors registrar – and an expert in drop catching. He is also very straight down the line and transparent. That’s why I had no hesitation in asking him to stay on when I acquired Drop and the two other registrars some years ago. When David Warmuz from Trellian bought Drop etc from me, he also engaged Cam to continue overseeing the business for a period of time. In fact, auDA insisted on it as a condition of Trellian’s approval!

If you want to see an old picture of Cam, and listen to a short (old fashioned) podcast Domainer did with him back in December 2015, check this out. 🙂

For the record, whilst I have been asked for advice and opinions over the past few months (as have other domain investors), I am not in any way involved in the new venture – my playing days are over.

The Need for Competition

I’ve been told by Cam that the momentum behind Drop Catcher was as a result of Trellian (current owners of Drop.com.au) buying out Netfleet, and effectively creating a monopoly in the .au market place. Cam believes that competition is not only healthy, but it is vital.

Drop Catcher stresses they are also great believers in transparent bidding processes, and from what they’ve told me so far, their proposed system sounds really good. It will apparently be very different to the current Drop.com.au platform with its bidding methods. One thing I can share is that the “dreaded increments” that exist at Drop will not feature in their platform. Due to commercial confidentiality, I’m not at this stage able to elaborate further on other aspects. So stay tuned!

Competition is wonderful!

Given some recent controversies – particularly this one – I think auDA should also be mightily pleased that there could be some active and transparent competition in the expired auction market. More so with the new licensing rules coming into force – and .au being introduced later this year.

There is no question that Drop will remain the front runner in drop catching given the amount of registrars they control, but as has been shown in the past, newcomers can ultimately win a share of the market if they know what they are doing. And I believe this new team certainly does.

Drop Catcher will be doing all it can to attract domain investor portfolios once accreditation has been achieved. Cam has delivered on specialised customer service in the past, and intends to do so again.

And did I mention a decent domain aftermarket is also being planned? More on this soon ….

Beta Testers Wanted

If you go to the new Drop Catcher landing page, you will see there is the ability to perhaps become a “beta tester” in the near future – and sign up for latest news updates.

I know I speak for a lot of domain investors and entrepreneurs in really wishing them well.

28 thoughts on “Expiring Domains – Competition Is Coming!

  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 7:02 am
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    Hip hip hooray. What other industry doesn’t have competition? Good luck Cam.

    Jeff

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 7:46 am
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    Will be interesting to see how successful it is at catching domains, as that is the measure of success and competition. Netfleet was not a real competitor for Drop for quite a while because it did not win many expiring domains.

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    • Neddy
      May 6, 2021 at 8:39 am
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      Agreed re Netfleet.

      Though according to my records, Netfleet started to catch a few again just prior to Drop buying them out.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:08 am
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    Competition is good.

    The key to the success of this venture will be the ongoing support of Australian domain owners. Not just from drop hunters but from business owners. Catching drops is probably just one aspect of the proposed business, another will be normal registrations for Australian enterprises. We have seen Godaddy from America, become a leader in .au domain registrations. We need to support Australian owned and operated businesses. We can support the new drop catch business by transferring some existing domains to them, buying domain names from them in the regular course of business and buying any other service that they may offer like SSL certificates or email accounts.

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  • Ed Keay-Smith
    May 6, 2021 at 8:13 am
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    This is greatly needed.

    Having a monopoly in ANY industry is unhealthy, Domain Name investing included.

    I look forward to using the DropCatcher.com.au service once it gets approved by auDA.

    Well done to Cameron Bell for throwing his hat in the ring.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:15 am
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    It will be good to have some competition back into the market and I am looking forward to seeing the new bidding system. It is also good to see someone with vast experience as a CEO. I am hoping the auDA approval comes through quickly. It would be hard to see how auDA could object.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:32 am
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    It can only be a good thing. Competition in this space is good for everybody.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:33 am
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    To be honest, I’m looking for a new Registrar to house all our domains and looking forward to new competition in the drop market. I’m looking forward to seeing what this new entrant can offfer. I wonder how long auDA will take to approve?

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  • Neddy
    May 6, 2021 at 8:36 am
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    Where’s “Charlie”? 🙂

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    • Avatar
      May 6, 2021 at 8:37 am
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      Has anyone checked on Charlie?

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      • Ed Keay-Smith
        May 6, 2021 at 8:47 am
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        Hmmmm… Interesting.

        The name “Charlie” was used by US & Australian forces to refer to the enemy in the Vietnam war.

        How appreciate that “Charlie” real name, who knows??? chose that as their alias. 🧐😜

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:36 am
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    It’s great the cat is out of the bag! I’ve dealt with Cam in the past and look forward to dealing with him again. I maybe only know of two other people in the Australian domain name industry with this much Registrar/Drop Catcher experience… I’m sure auDA will approve this quickly to end the monopoly.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:44 am
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    Timely for a new entrant, given new AUDA rules/reviews are likely to see a lot of names dropping in the coming quarters. Bravo!

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:51 am
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    This is exciting. Hopefully with an emphasis on actually providing a good user experience, and genuine care for customers, this will be a strong viable tool to drop catch .au domains.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:51 am
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    Wow there you go, I didn’t believe a new entrant was coming but here one is. All the best with it Cam.

    I still don’t know what domainers think having a second drop catcher will achieve in terms of auction results? because users will need to bid on both platforms, and the pricing on Drop will probably inform bids made on the other site.

    Since winning names is the only thing that matters, it will be interesting to see how things transpire here.

    A site that did not consistently win the best names would be like a crayon drawing on the domainer fridge in my opinion.

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    • Neddy
      May 6, 2021 at 9:22 am
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      Charlie, I have been waiting for today. As have most “peasant domainers” as you care to describe us. 😉

      This is from your post on May 3rd.

      “And there is no competitor coming. Competition does not betray its intentions to others inc the biggest mouths in the industry weeks or months in advance”.

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      • Avatar
        May 6, 2021 at 9:58 am
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        Whether this new drop catcher will be competition or not remains to be seen Ned.

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        • Neddy
          May 6, 2021 at 10:23 am
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          True dat “Charlie”! “The proof of the pudding is always in the eating”.

          But Cam is hungry and knowledgeable, and I believe he has an excellent team behind him. They may only win scraps to start with, but let’s see what the future holds.

          Competition and transparency is good!

          P.S. By the way, I love your new fallback position. 😉

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 8:53 am
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    Thanks for the well wishes Ned.

    I’m excited to be back in this space again after a break.

    DropCatcher is the platform you’ve all been asking for and I have a few tricks up my sleeve to ensure we’re competitive.

    Having both DropCatcher and Trellian can only be good news for the industry. If anyone wants to hit me up to say hi, you can get me through cam at dropcatcher.com.au.

    Cheers!

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 9:08 am
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    Nice logo 🤢

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 9:51 am
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    Great news Ned
    As everyone has said competition is a good thing, maybe Drop will need to look at their set bidding prices, as we believe them not to be really fair. I hope Cam will look at what Drop used to have when you just paid the price of the under bidder if your bid was in first. Good luck Cam

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 9:57 am
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    I’m very excited to hear about this. Cam, please consider re-introducing the old fully transparent and open bidding system where you can see where it’s up to and just bid whatever you like in $1 increments (like ebay auctions).

    Being forced to bid in large increments that jump up like crazy (and blind bidding) stopped me from bidding on names for fun years ago – it reduced my buying down from 1500+ domains in one year down to maybe 50 the next year.

    The upside was it did help to break my daily addiction, which made my wife very happy. 🙂

    I guess it makes sense to only have your servers try to win 20 domains per day than tie them up trying to win 500 per day, but it kinds of spoils the whole fun of the game.

    So here’s my marketing suggestion (since marketing is my game). If you want to win over the drop clients (quickly) and grow your business fast – just remember this – addicts need lots of small wins. Just look at any game or casino. Without the small wins, people won’t stick around.

    If you make all your domains affordable and winnable at any price (by going back to an ebay auction system and letting people bid whatever they want and see the bidding live) – you’ll have many more wins and make many more people happy. Even if your servers don’t initially win all the big names, you’re still giving your clients many more little wins and an opportunity to get that little endorphin rush.

    This gives people hope that your system is working and winning. Over time, as you get better and better at catching the more competitive names, you’ll already have most of their clients buying through you and getting small wins. Coding is hard, servers are expensive, but winning over and keeping clients is the hard part. Do this part well and you’ll put drop in a tail spin. My 2c for what it’s worth. 🙂

    Good luck.

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  • Luke
    May 6, 2021 at 10:14 am
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    Great to see Cam involved in the local domain industry again. I’ve signed up and look forward to seeing the new platform.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 11:05 am
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    I havent seen the domain auctions as fair for some time now. once the new drop catcher is working I may take another look at bidding. May make the playing field more fair

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 1:41 pm
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    Good news. I remember Cam from Fabulous era. Switched on guy.

    I can’t believe that a ccTLD like .au with nearly 3.5 million domains only has one expired domain auction house. Or that auDA allowed Trellian to dominate this space. All they did was give them a licence to print money at the expense of other registrars.

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  • Avatar
    May 6, 2021 at 2:18 pm
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    Congratulations Cam on coming back to the game!

    Competition isn’t something that has ever bothered me. In fact, I had an inquiry a year ago for a single-word .com.au domain. The buyer was also interested in a few others, and I happily gave him the details of the 3 other owners:

    “Hi
    Loyal is owned by Peter Harris. You can reach him at [email protected]—————-. From my experience he buys domains mostly for development.
    Shield owner can be reached at [email protected]————-.
    Resolve might be a tough buy as it’s owned by an end-user, not a domain name broker. Details for their IT company are Colin Chapman [email protected]————-”

    He replied:
    “Hi Tom,
    Thanks a bunch for this, it’s invaluable!
    Will keep you posted.”

    I replied:
    “I appreciate the reply.
    Yes of course, take your time. If you get the right domain name everything else falls into place in terms of your branding.
    I think this might be of interest to you. It’s a webinar that was posted yesterday that details some recent single-word domain purchases:
    https://domainer.com.au/domainer-show-episode-20-with-luke-smorgon/

    Then last week I received this reply:
    “Hi Tom,
    I hope you’ve been well.
    I found the Domainer webinar quite illuminating, and it would be very useful if I ever needed to buy a domain off Rob or Luke! Thanks for sharing. In the end, after much market research, I ended up going with a new / free domain.
    Thanks for your help in the past.”

    I didn’t make a sale. In the future Rob or Luke might instead of me, but it doesn’t really matter. We compete against each other every single day and that’s just life. The pie is big enough for everyone to enjoy, including David and Cam.

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  • Avatar
    May 7, 2021 at 5:30 am
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    We need to get away from the monopoly and create more competition.

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  • Avatar
    May 7, 2021 at 7:13 am
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    Way to step up to the plate Cam! Wishing you all the very best and great success. I hope you hit it out of the park.

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