When Is A Sale Not A Sale?

Recently I wrote an article about what appeared to be an awesome domain sale on the expired auctions. The domain was RPL.com.au – and it sold for $13,158 + GST and fees ($14,474) on the 2nd December 2015. The successful dropcatcher was Netfleet.

However, it looks like the domain has not been paid for as yet. The reason I say this is that I checked the WhoIs again earlier this week, and saw that the email address is still [email protected] This only happens when the invoice hasn’t been paid.

I’ve been aware of this for a while, and so that’s why I decided to write a story (earlier this week) about this and other domains that don’t get paid for. It is a real quandary for dropcatchers.

A Further Surprise

Given that Netfleet are aware that the domain hasn’t been paid for as yet, I was a bit nonplussed to see the sale appearing on the Top 20 leaderchart at the well-respected DNJournal. Netfleet would have had to supply some sort of evidence in order for DNJournal to publish this, so I’m not sure what’s going on. Maybe it was just an oversight by them?

What Happens Now?

But the bigger picture here is what happens now?

If this sale is not going to be concluded, does the domain get deleted and put back on the expired auctions?

Under current auDA policy, I can’t see any other option for Netfleet given that nearly two months has passed since the original sale.

Hopefully this will be resolved one way or the other very soon. I have a great deal of sympathy for Netfleet in this regard.

Very Positive Footnote!

It was terrific to see the sale of Toys.com.au being reported on DNJournal. Great purchase by a very smart and respected operator.

I’m heading down to Brisbane in the next couple of days, and will have the pleasure of catching up for lunch with Jeff Marr (purchaser of Toys.com.au) – along with the silver-haired fox Don Rankin.

Stay tuned for some hot goss! ūüôā


24 thoughts on “When Is A Sale Not A Sale?

  • January 28, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    What I think has happened in this:


    (a) Buyer RPL Central won the auction and extended payment terms were requested by them/granted by Netfleet; RPL Central paid the balance over 2 months; Netfleet reported the sale to DNJournal because all funds have now been received; due to the extended payment terms neither the buyer nor Netfleet has remembered to update the contact email addresses for this domain; perhaps the buyer has now this past week requested an update of the contacts via a support ticket, but Netfleet true to form is yet to respond to this ticket -even after several days. This is not in the least improbable.

    (b) (i) Buyer RPL Central was pressured into buying the name by Netfleet telemarketers (what a shame Netfleet can’t ¬†instead commit resources to replying to support tickets within 48 hours like every other registrar in the country!) and had a change of mind for whatever reason; OR a fraudster created the Netfleet account for ‘RPL Central’ and bid on its behalf without its knowledge and failed to make good; … then (ii), in either case, Netfleet or another party (could be any .com.au investor) reported the sale (along with the Toys.com.au sale, which too was in a prior week (and prior year!)) to DNJournal and Ron Jackson did not¬†sight¬†a receipt, but merely an invoice and Netfleet’s home page and the WhoIs records pertaining to each name.


    (c) Something else.


    … As for “What should happen if?” etc, I really don’t care. (Chuckles).. But I think from a¬†registrar-policy-compliance¬†point of view Netfleet is free to do one of two things in harmony with its duties as registrar: either (a) allow the non-paying registrant to keep the name (assuming fraud is not involved, merely non-payment) without enforcing their contractual rights to collect payment; or (b) immediately delete/purge the name from the registry. Holding the name for any period of time for the purpose of awarding it or selling it to another registrant would be in breach of registrar agreement/duties etc. That means a registrar should not be able to award the name to the next lowest bidder, neither should they be able to hold an aftermarket auction for the name. They should delete the name and could re-auction it as an *expiring* domain.

  • January 29, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Never a dull moment. Makes you wonder how many others..

    • January 29, 2016 at 9:49 am

      I dunno @Barb, the drops have been pretty dull since Xmas, nothing’s dropping any more


      Thread hijack:

      He’s already shut down most of the add-on services at Domain Shield, will @AnthonyPeake please roll over and sell out to Drop.com.au already? @Cam, you guys could use three more connections to the registry and turn-key auction platform that isn’t 7 years old. Domain Shield + Drop.com.au = more powerful than Netfleet (when combined). … Oh that’s right, nothing’s dropping any more so what’s the point..

      • January 29, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        @Paul – don’t know¬†how Domain Shield stays in business. I put some $25 bids on a number of¬†domains and they didn’t even try for them. Hand regged a couple of them later. ūüôĀ

        • January 29, 2016 at 1:06 pm

          @GenX I have heard from one Domain Shield customer that @AnthonyPeake is trying to get away from the registrar side of the business and focus purely on drop-catching. The reformatting of Domain Shield’s homepage reflects this new direction.

          Two well-known domainers owe him quite a bit of money and one of them notoriously fails to renew names in its large portfolio until the remaining days of the 30-day expiry period. Smells like liquidity issues to me.

          With customers like that, who needs competitors?!

          And then there’s the $25 threshold which I have spoken about before and needs to go. As do the $50 and $100 thresholds. Just not worth it since the volume of quality names expiring has completely dropped off.

          Domain Shield and Drop.com.au are living in fantasy land if they think that they will be cash flow positive in 6 months time.

          Netfleet will continue to do well because of its scale, but profitability will decline in the absence of outliers like Toys.com.au which went for $82,350 plus GST and costs on Xmas day.

          I cannot wait for the next 6 months to pan out.

          (1) “Drop-catching” industry capitulation

          (2) auDA’s decision to (a) abandon .au or (b) proceed with .au on a 3+ year timetable (meaning .au will be redundant by the time of its inception (chuckles))

          (3) More cracks appearing in the new TLD program. New TLD numbers will begin to decline due to (i) no more new ones being launched(!) -easy to have growth during the launch phase, but what happens when there’s nothing left on the launch calendar? and (ii) abandonment of new TLD names by speculators in favour of (a) .com and ccTLDs and/or (b) other speculative investments eg. Bitcoin and/or ZCash.

          • January 29, 2016 at 1:24 pm

            @Paul – or Josh or Tobias or Matt or Jason or the other identities you have made posts under (all not published).

            If you’re going to make potentially defamatory statements like the one below, please substantiate. Do¬† you know this to be a fact (and if so, how do you know) – or are you just passing on rumour and gossip?

            Two well-known domainers owe him quite a bit of money and one of them notoriously fails to renew names in its large portfolio until the remaining days of the 30-day expiry period. Smells like liquidity issues to me.


            • January 29, 2016 at 1:38 pm

              Not in the least defamatory @Ned as no name or identifying information has been given.

              • January 29, 2016 at 1:57 pm


                I see as usual you’re on your own agenda – and not willing to answer a specific question. ūüėČ

                So here it is again.

                Do you know this to be a fact (and if so, how do you know?) ‚Äď or are you just passing on rumour and gossip?

                I find the latter tends to be rife in our industry. Some of the stuff I’ve heard about you is unprintable. ūüėČ

                • January 29, 2016 at 3:15 pm

                  Rumour and gossip @Ned

                  • January 29, 2016 at 4:41 pm

                    @Paul – thanks for that confirmation that it is simply rumour and gossip.

                    However what pisses me off is that your statement sounded very unequivocal – as if it was a statement of fact. That obviously was generated from somewhere. Interesting to know from whom.

                    I’m also genuinely surprised that someone of your intellect would promote such “rumour and gossip”. It potentially tars a number of people without foundation.

                    If there is any truth to the “rumour and gossip”, then ultimately Anthony from Domain Shield would have had to share this with someone else (or others). If so, I imagine there would be some serious Privacy Act implications. I can’t imagine him being dumb enough to do that!

                    So unless you have any facts, please refrain from throwing mud.

                    And it would be also be appreciated if you don’t hijack threads again. ūüėČ




          • January 29, 2016 at 2:43 pm

            Two well-known domainers owe him quite a bit of money and one of them notoriously fails to renew names in its large portfolio until the remaining days of the 30-day expiry period. Smells like liquidity issues to me.”

            He does not have to pay AUDA until the domains are renewed

            Sounds like a red-herring at best; mischievous at worst

            • January 29, 2016 at 4:42 pm

              @Greg – agreed. See my response to “Paul” above.

  • January 29, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Two good articles Ned.

    Something has to happen to change this system. I know of a couple of other domains sold by Netfleet that have “[email protected]” as registrant email. I was chasing one of the domains, and was probably the underbidder. So if the top bid isn’t real, then I’ve missed out as well. Not Netfleets fault. But remedies need to be available to protect all parties. What does auDA think?

    • January 29, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      @Warren – I’ve written to Lujia at auDA about this. Hopefully we will get some clarification next week.

  • January 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    I’ve noticed that buyer of rpl.com.au has¬†got several other domains on the drop which the email address is not Netfleets. So maybe just a payment issue on this one?

    • January 29, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      @Scott – I noticed that too. You might well be right.

  • January 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    It was great seeing Toys.com.au¬†on the DNJournal sales chart, as it’s always a sign¬†of progress when underrepresented market sectors¬†receive their due.

    However, it’s bad news if RPL.com.au was reported prematurely¬†or even erroneously. ¬†I’m sure Ron Jackson at DNJournal, whom I greatly respect, does his utmost to ensure accuracy. ¬†But we’re all fallible, especially when reviewing sales in less familiar TLDs and at less familiar venues.

    DNJournal has (from the beginning)¬†underpinned much¬†of the domain industry’s crediblity as a whole. No¬†market place¬†can afford to jeopardize that. ¬†So I would urge NetFleet to be more careful in its sales reports, waiting until transactions have finalized. ¬†That way both¬†they and¬†the domain market generally will¬†be viewed with more confidence by investors ‚Äď both domain investors and corporate investors. ¬†Confidence ultimately leads to larger infusions¬†of cash, after all.

    • January 29, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      @Joseph – good comments as usual.

      On reflection, I don’t think there was anything underhand to this. Maybe just a case of one hand not knowing what the other hand was doing (at Netfleet).

      I’m sure it will be “sorted out in the wash”. ūüôā

  • January 30, 2016 at 8:52 am

    All sorted out. Netfleet acknowledged to Ron Jackson that it was an oversight on their part – sales data from the last two months was submitted in bulk apparently.

    DNJournal has corrected the record. http://www.dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm

    Here is how the sales leaders stacked up for the week ending Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 (a previously reported sale of RPL.com.au was removed from the chart shortly after publication when we learned it had not been completed due to the buyer reneging on the purchase)

    Which gets me back to the bigger picture. There should be some protection for dropcatchers in this event – or failing that; there should at least be some mechanism to delete the domain and put it back on the expired auctions. Imho.

    If anyone is interested, RPL.com.au is available for backorder as at this morning. ūüėČ

  • January 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Surely if the winner of the auction reneges then the winner should then be the next highest bidder.


    • January 30, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Not as easy as that David because of current auDA policy.

      It is not the dropcatcher’s domain to onsell.

      That’s my understanding anyway – I might be wrong. Hopefully auDA will clarify.

  • January 31, 2016 at 7:54 am

    @Ned – why feel sorry for dropcatchers?

Comments are closed.