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.

Summary

  • 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.

Final Remarks

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.

12 thoughts on “Review Of Netfleet

  • December 12, 2015 at 11:41 am
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    Wow, didn’t know they had SEVEN registrars.

    I’m skeptical about ‘aftermarket auctions’ returning -I believe they were done away with because it was BETTER for netfleet business. Think about it: If aftermarket auctions are there, then it will eat away at the drop-catching side of the business. Why should netfleet divert drop-catching dollars (100%) to aftermarket auctions, where it only collects a paltry 8% of the selling price? I firmly believe the status quo WILL NOT CHANGE and have no confidence in Jonathan Gleeson’s ability to direct change at netfleet.

    Netfleet is a one-man-band, Melbourne IT’s low-cost/high-margin automated cash cow. Resources are limited and strained, which is why most of us don’t expect a reply to our tickets within 48 hours.

    Do we ALL “need them”?? .. I can’t speak for everyone but I don’t think we do. With laughably poor customer service, no zone file options or domain forwarding and a ‘trash and treasure’ car-boot-sale fashioned marketplace where any pipe-dreamer (or pipe-smoker) can ask six or seven figures for a $25 name, I struggle to see what netfleet is good for other than automated CoR and drop-catching.

    Automated CoR: forget netfleet, go to Drop.com.au, which is $16 cheaper at $49.95. (netfleet charges $65.95.)

    Drop-catching: does anything good actually drop/expire anymore? nope.

    what then is netfleet good for? someone help me.. when was the last time netfleet’s aftermarket sold a name for five figures? [scratches head]

    • December 12, 2015 at 1:11 pm
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      As memory serves, Generate.com.au at $13k was the only aftermarket sale on netfleet for 2015

      • December 12, 2015 at 1:39 pm
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        *5-figure aftermarket sale, that is

    • Ned O'Meara
      December 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm
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      Your comments are too negative for my mind.

      I’ve had my issues with Netfleet as most people know (plus they’ve done some stuff that they’ve been called out on), but overall they have greatly contributed to the .au space. That was my whole point.

      The simple fact is if Drop get their act together again and start winning domains,  or if another dropcatcher comes along with a transparent bidding platform and they start winning domains; or if Domain Shield starts catching more – then watch NF react and change.

      • December 12, 2015 at 3:41 pm
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        I think my comments are an accurate description of netfleet as it is today, but you’re right they do not give credit to netfleet in the following ways:

        netfleet has done more than anyone else to tell people that domain names can be bought and sold. PRE-netfleet, most people didn’t know you could buy and sell a domain name.
        when it WAS running aftermarket auctions, netfleet provided a measure of portfolio liquidity
        netfleet has made drop-catching MAINSTREAM, rather than a ‘boys club’ under Domain Watch. even tho the Drop.com.au system is publicly available, it has never reached as many people as netfleet

        BUT:

        netfleet has STIFLED the .AU marketplace by allowing people to list names at whatever ridiculous prices they like (eg. QueenslandFishing.com.au $150 million, PropertyInvesting.net.au $10 million etc) and has applied few filters if any to the listings that are accepted. Every name listed for $10,000 or more on Sedo.com has been reviewed by a Sedo broker for quality. DomainNameSales.com is by far the best aftermarket platform at the dot com level because it filters names, screens buyers and does not entertain low ball offers.

        A good aftermarket platform/brokerage service behaves like a real estate agent, not an ‘op shop’.

        And that’s what netfleet is, it has more than 61,000 names listed but sells fewer than 2 per week at four figures or more. Why? because:

        most of the names are rubbish (hence the ‘op-shop’ simile)
        the good ones get lost in the mix
        netfleet does not allow dialogue between buyer and seller
        netfleet’s minimum bid level is far too low (should be at least $500) and increments are too small (should be $100).

        The result is that netfleet has GREATLY hampered and continues to undermine price growth.

        … in what way is this a “great contribution to the .AU space” ??

        PS. i very much doubt that Drop.com.au will re-launch their platform, because nothing’s dropping anymore. Most portfolio investors are consolidating and are only interested in quality names. The prospects for drop-catching are poor. It has been 2 months since your podcast with Cameron from Drop.com.au and NOTHING’S CHANGED with their platform. & I don’t expect anything to have changed even by this time next year. (other than for them to cease drop-catching due to non-competitiveness). you said it yourself @Ned, netfleet has 7 registrars. How many does Drop have? Three? .. And they don’t even have @Anthony. As for Domain Shield, there is a good chance it may become more competitive, @Anthony is a very smart and resourceful guy. But up against 7 opposing registrars- I don’t like his chances. He would need to control another 4 registrars to take the lead.

  • December 12, 2015 at 12:31 pm
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    Nice summary Ned.  Maybe too nice given their past performance – but like you, I genuinely hope they can pull themselves together and improve.  They do have a lot of good points they can build on.

  • December 12, 2015 at 5:50 pm
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    Thank you Ned.

    We recently had some issues needing attention at Netfleet and we found Jonatahn Gleeson very prompt and genuine.

    He responded with daily updates and we were very satisfied.

  • tim connell
    December 12, 2015 at 9:58 pm
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    yes ned, there is no doubt in my mind they have greatly contributed to the .com.au space and the purchasing of domains, they have helped me out many times but when they switched to blind i was very vocal about how i didn’t like it and it would lead to exactly what i feel it has become…… untrustworthy

    tim

  • December 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm
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    My feelings on Netfleet are splashed all over this website. I won’t keep shovelling “stuff” onto them. I give them a big thumbs up for being the most powerful drop-catching platform, I only wish they would change their system to a transparent bidding platform. I also hope they have stopped trying to market names from under their domainer clients. They definitely would have noticed I stopped using them on a daily basis, to maybe once a fortnight now. I mostly use Domain Shield.

  • Ned O'Meara
    December 17, 2015 at 4:44 pm
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    To the poster “Marty h” …

    I do believe in freedom of speech (even when it has a go at me!), but before I approve your article for publication, you need to give me a proper email address. Not hide behind what is obviously a false email address:

    marty19741974@gmail.com.au   – IP address

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