Webcentral Group have offloaded its 50% share in the Australian registrar, aftermarket outlet and drop catcher NetAlliance, whose best-known brand is drop catcher and aftermarket outlet NetFleet, for A$500,000 (US$345,000) in cash to David Warmuz’s Trellian.
The acquisition adds over 15,000 domains under management to Trellian’s existing brands that including Drop.com.au, Fabulous.com.au, DomainShield.com.au and Above.com.
The NetAlliance group has been under siege in recent months with major issues around customer service, which Trellian is certain to act on. In a statement to customers Friday, Trellian state they have “a clear vision of the Australian domain market and will be investing into the redevelopment of NetFleet with the goal of further cementing it as the No1 AU Domain Marketplace, while competitive domain registrations and drop catching will continue to be operated through the Drop.com.au platform.”
“I am excited to have NetFleet join our ranks as an established AU domain aftermarket,” said David Warmuz, CEO of Trellian. “We see NetFleet as a great opportunity for our domain monetisation portfolio clients to have a marketplace where they can safely buy and sell their domain assets. Investing in new systems, dedicated support staff and a new domain brokerage service, we are confident that NetFleet will be the choice destination for AU domain sales.”
As a result of the sale, a Notices of Breach that was issued to the NetAlliance group in recent weeks is set to be complied with, most likely according to sources I’ve spoken to by Monday (23 November)
For Webcentral, they will now focus on their core business activities following their takeover, expected to be confirmed shortly, by Australian wholesale telecommunications provider 5GN. In a statement the company noted total revenue from NetFleet’s drop catching activity represented less than $500,000 per annum and reported approximately $100,000 in profit, of which Webcentral receives 50%.
“Our strategy is to focus on our core business, improve our customer experience and simplify the business structure to drive profitability,” said Managing Director Joe Demase. “We have identified a number of quick wins to optimise our platform assets and provided the team with clear direction of our roadmap for the future. I am very proud of the group in how they are embracing these new opportunities and are excited by their collaborative energy in building a successful future now the funding concerns for the business have been removed.”
“Drop Catching’ is the purchasing of domains if they are not renewed by the domain owner and then on selling it to someone else or back to the original owner. It is expected that this practice will be redundant in the near future once auDA, the domain governing body makes much needed changes to the industry.
That auDA is attempting to end drop catching is news to many in the industry and would be a surprise. Including to Trellian who note in their statement emailed to customers on Friday that “with the new auDA policy changes soon to be released that will simplify the ability to buy and sell .com.au domain names and soon direct registration of .au domain names, NetFleet is perfectly positioned to offer an exceptional service for both domain sellers and domain buyers.”