This is the final review of the current dropcatching platforms / registrars. Today I look at Netfleet.
Once again, these are a combination of my personal observations and experiences – as well as other people’s comments to me.
- Founded by David and Mark Lye, Netfleet has grown substantially over the years. From being originally just an aftermarket platform, they are now also the most successful and consistent drop-catcher in the Australian marketplace. This is predominantly by virtue of joining forces with / and being part of the Melbourne IT / Netregistry stable. If you don’t bid with them, you do so at your peril.
- They are able to call on at least seven registry connections when it comes to trying to snap domains – NetAlliance Pty Ltd t/a Netfleet; TPP Domains Pty Ltd trading as TPP Internet; Ziphosting Pty Ltd; Planet Domain Pty Ltd; Netregistry Pty Ltd; TPP Wholesale Pty Ltd and Melbourne IT Ltd.
- As a Registrar, NetAlliance t/a Netfleet has completed all ISS requirements, but is awaiting final sign off by the auDA.
- If you’re looking for a “bells and whistles” Registrar, then Netfleet is also not for you. No hosting; no forwarding etc – all you can do is change nameservers. However, they do have the best and easiest COR (Change of Registrant) out of all the registrars.
- They also do not encourage people having their domain portfolios with them – prices are currently uncompetitive for new registrations and renewals.
- Their dropcatching bidding platform is a sealed bid format. It used to be a transparent competitive bidding platform, but the powers that be decided some time ago to change direction. This has attracted a lot of criticism, however ultimately that’s their prerogative. And whilst they are so successful, it’s not likely to change!
- Another excellent feature of their platform is the stats that they provide – exact searches, CPC (cost per click); and DA (domain authority). None of the other dropcatchers can match them in this regard.
- Their customer service has unfortunately let them down over the years. Hopefully with the appointment of a new General Manager in Jonathan Gleeson, this will improve.
- They do have an aftermarket sales platform. This is one of the oldest in Australia, but sadly it is a “bit tired” and desperately in need of a rehash. Once again, Jonathan tells us that big things are planned.
Issues / Feedback
- Currently they are having some unfortunate glitches with their daily lists of domains available on the drops. They are aware of the issue which I wrote about here. This needs to be properly fixed as a matter of urgency. Some people have suggested to me that they are doing it on purpose in order to highlight domains. I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt.
- Many people (including myself) would like to see the return of transparency to the bidding process, and a removal of sealed bids. But once again, I do stress that ultimately it is their business model; and they can do what they want.
- One of the changes that Jonathan said he was going to introduce quickly was the ability to change bids on the drop platform. At the moment, once you make a bid, it is locked in (even if it is an obvious typo). So I hope we can get an update on when that feature is going to be available?
- Their is huge demand for the return of aftermarket auctions. I understand from Jonathan that this is high on the agenda.
- Many domain investors tell me that Netfleet needs to improve response times to tickets; and to provide the ability to contact “support” by phone. Hopefully Jonathan will also address this.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. I take my hat off to the original vision of the Lye brothers – and for how Netfleet has evolved to this day. Our Aussie domain market would be virtually nothing without them.
I think the biggest problem that Netfleet needs to overcome is the perception by a number of people that they can’t really be trusted when it comes to drop auctions. This is obviously due to past and current events. This is Jonathan’s biggest challenge – but I genuinely think he is trying hard – and will ultimately get there.
All I hope is that the new generation of management continue to introduce innovative features – and make special efforts with regards trust and confidence. This will best be illustrated by deeds rather than words.
I wish them well – because ultimately we all need them.
Should you wish to make any comments or suggestions, please do so here.