Just recently, Anthony from Drop sent me an email about the possible dangers of being a “reseller”.
He sent me links to auDA policy, as well as the Synergy Reseller Agreement.
He subsequently made this post on DNTrade. This is an excerpt.
However under auDA Section 4 Market Conduct – If you are a Domain Investor and active in Drop Catching, it is safe to say that using a Reseller account is in breach and one should seriously reconsider using one. We would even take it further and suggest that the act of having an active Reseller account, even with no domains in it, would still be considered a breach on the rest of your domain portfolio managed by a different Registrar.
Whilst I have the majority of my domains at Drop, I do have around 500 at Synergy Wholesale (Synergy). At this stage, having an account at Synergy automatically makes you a reseller.
So naturally, I was worried. On the face of it, Anthony had raised some good points.
Follow up – Synergy Wholesale
I contacted Synergy for their take on it, and the initial response I got was that whilst it raised an interesting perspective, they felt it was a technicality on words. Just to make sure though, they may build a “I’m not a reseller option” into their interface; and modify the terms to clarify this.
They did finish by saying that they found it funny that their competitor was finding technicalities to scare Synergy customers!
Follow up – auDA
Today I spoke to Bruce Tonkin (Chief Operating Officer at auDA). He was aware of the situation.
In summary, he clarified that individual domain investors should not feel threatened. What auDA is more concerned about are some of the bigger corporate resellers who may pre-emptively register or warehouse domains based on what people may be searching for – and then offer them for resale at inflated prices. And there are also some other possible scenarios.
I then asked Bruce a couple of specific questions.
- If I bought a domain name on the expired auctions or privately or on an aftermarket platform, and then kept the domain at Synergy or other reseller (with a landing page or at a parking provider), would I be in breach of relevant reseller policies? No.
- If I as a domain investor created my own aftermarket domain sales platform on my own website (and the domains were at a reseller), would I be in breach of relevant reseller policies? No.
I think it was good that Anthony raised this potential issue. Like a lot of auDA policy, some wording can be confusing and contradictory at times.
As always though, it pays to make your own enquiries. If in doubt, speak to your registrar. Don’t take what I say to be gospel. 🙂