Still Following The Money

Do you want to know who else is really going to gain if direct registrations are allowed to come in?

It’s the good old “drop catchers”. For those not in the know, “drop catchers” are approved auDA Registrars who utilise sophisticated software to secure domains that have freshly become available. Each day over 1000 expired domains “drop” and become available for re-registration at the Registry, and clients of these dropcatchers put bids in with them to try and secure the best of these.

Don’t get me wrong here – I love dropcatchers. They have benefited my business enormously over the years.

Who Are The Dropcatchers?

Currently there are three dropcatchers in Australia. Netfleet, Domain Shield, and Drop. The most prominent and successful of these is Netfleet.

Without bothering you here with the precise ownership structure of the various entities involved, suffice to say that 50% of Netfleet is owned by the Netregistry Group (who were acquired by Melbourne IT in 2014).

What Has This Got To Do With Direct Registrations?

You just have to look at recent history close to home to get the answer to this. I’m referring to New Zealand.

For purposes of this article, let’s hypothetically assume that direct registrations of .au are allowed, and that existing rights are granted to current holders similarly to what happened in New Zealand.

If they were eligible, they had a finite time to register their interest in the domain. Any domains that weren’t secured for whatever reason then became available for anybody to register at 1pm, 30 March 2015.

Enter Netfleet in conjunction with DomainZ (also part of Melbourne IT). They let everyone know that they were in a position to use their “cutting edge technology to attempt to register domains ahead of the field”. But of course you had to pay for the privilege!

This was part of the standard email they sent to people on their mailing list:

On 30th March 2015 at 1pm (NZDT), newly released .nz domain names will become available for registration on a first-come-first-serve basis. Domain names such as, or for example. Competition for these highly sought after domains with be very, very high, so we’ve teamed up with Domainz, Melbourne IT, Netregistry, TPP and Zip Hosting and will utilise our cutting edge technology to attempt to register domains for you, ahead of the field.

Is this of interest? If so, jump on to Netfleet and plug in some of your favourite keywords or domain names to see what sort of pricing you can snap these domains up at:

Furthermore, we can send you a list of some of the best .nz domain names we have found – just reply to this email for further information.

If you have any questions, please let us know!

  • By the way, their list of “some of the best .nz domain names we have found” amounted to over 6900 domain names.
  • This is a screenshot of their web page. Minimum bid was $99; though for the best names they encouraged people to put in bids of 4 figures in order to secure the domain.


Netfleet NZ Domains


So How Would This Affect Australian’s?

You don’t need to be a Rhodes Scholar to work that one out.

For those that advocate the introduction of direct registrations because they believe it is going to “open up the space & allow businesses to register domains that have previously been unavailable”, then consider what I’ve shown you here.

And apply now for the increase on your credit card limit or small business loan!

Because if direct registrations of .au become available at a certain time and date, then this is where a smart dropcatcher can really score!


As always, this is in my humble opinion.

What do you think?


Important Disclaimer
  • I am a member of the auDA 2015 Names Policy Panel.
  • I am also a domainer / domain investor with a substantial portfolio of domain names.
  • I therefore have a “vested interest”.


7 thoughts on “Still Following The Money

  • Avatar
    September 15, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Surely auDA will stop this gouge oh wait they’ll probably get in on it like they did with the geo auctions.

  • Avatar
    September 15, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Inevitable if direct registrations go ahead.

    This whole thing only makes sense to me if the period of protection granted to existing registrants is around 5 years long. Seems like a fair amount of time for people to choose if they want to migrate over, without the burden of unnecessary costs. Otherwise it lacks merit.

  • Avatar
    September 15, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    They also stand to benefit in years to come when premium direct registrations start to drop, or premium are discarded by existing registrants in favour of .au

  • Avatar
    September 15, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Maybe we should build a drop catcher Neddy??

  • tim
    September 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    premium’s aren’t going to drop by choice, …….. by mistakes ! yes , i like the sentence ” they let everyone know…..” YEH, after the decision was made to have a .nz created


Comments are closed.