With the news that Oversee.net sold DomainSponsor.com as well as their owned and operated domain portfolio which reportedly numbered between 700K and 1M domains, to Rook Media, it marks the end of to a 14 year run of one of the biggest companies to ever exist in the domain space.
It’s important to point out that the current management of Oversee.net including Debra Domeyer who was just appointed CEO back on March 2, 2012 were not involved in much of what happened to this company over the years.
It’s a really interesting story on many levels
Since the company is not public we can only take information that was made publicly available.
It’s just my opinion but it could be that Oversee may have lost the most money of any company in the domain name space. As I said don’t have all the numbers, so it’s just a guess but an educated guess.
Also on a personal note, over the years I have done millions of dollars in business with Oversee.net starting from the days when Ron Sheridan got my company Worldwide Media, Inc, to place its domain name portfolio at DomainSponsor to spending money with Moniker and Snapnames, so I find the story kind of sad and it brings me no pleasure in reporting and revisiting the timeline and stories
Keep in mind that while Oversee.net was founded in 2000 and DomainSponsor in 2002, we didn’t start writing TheDomains.com until in December 2007.
Here is a timeline of the company with a lot of assistance of CrunchBase.com as well as other sources including TheDomains.com
2000: Oversee is founded by CEO and Co-Founder Lawrence Ng.
September 2001: Oversee named Ron Sheridan as Director of Business Development
July 2006: Oversee named Jothan Frakes as Senior Director
July 2006: Oversee names Jeff Kupietzky as CEO
February 2007: Oversee holds the First Domainfest Conference in Hollywood
June 2007: Oversee acquires SnapNames for a reported $35M.
December 2007: Oversee acquires Moniker for $65M
January 2008: Oversee added Lawrence Ng as Chairman.
August 2008: Oversee fires 10% of its staff
November 2008: Jeff Kupietzky named President of Oversee.net
January 2009: Oversee lays off 18% of its workforce 39 people including Jothan Frakes
February 2009: Third Domainfest held resulting in $3,148,000
January 2010: Fourth Domainfest live auction produced $930K in Sales plus a low reserve auction of $150,000
May 2010: Oversee holds a Domainfest in Florida and the auction generated over $2 Million in Sales.
December 2010: Monte Cahn who headed up Moniker, the live domain auctions and Snapnames.com leaves the company.
January 2011: Oversee acquires ShopWiki.com for undisclosed amount
January 2011: Oversee names Scott Morrow and Debra Domeyer as Co-Presidents.
July 2011: Jeff Kupietzky resigns as CEO of Oversee
September 2011: Oversee.net “lays off” 13% of its Staff
March 2012: Debra Domeyer & Scott Morrow are promoted to Co-CEOs and will also hold seats on the Board of Directors.
August 2012: Monte Cahn Settles Lawsuit for an undisclosed amount
April 2014: Oversee.net sells DomainSponsor and its domain portfolio for an undisclosed amount.
Of course the timeline only tells part of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say now for the rest of the story as told over the years on TheDomains.com
On January 15, 2008 we reported that Oversee received $150,000,000 investment from Oak Hill Capital Partners, a lot of that money was used to buy Moniker.com and Snapnames.com
When they acquired SnapNames.com, it was the largest drop aftermarket and had exclusive arrangements with the then largest domain name registrars to auction off their dropped domains including NetworkSolutions.com and Enom.com.
Of course the price Oversee paid for SnapNames.com was based on all the business Snapnames.com had done in the years previous to the sale selling drop domains for these registrars, however just a couple of months after acquiring Snapnames.com, NetworkSolutions.com and Enom.com used an escape clause in its contract with SnapNames.com (which Oversee either didn’t see or didn’t consider) to exist SnapNames.com.
Not only did that cause SnapNames to lost its most valuable drop inventory but to add to its problems NetSol and Enom.com started their own drop service NameJet.com to compete with SnapNames.com which of course went on to become the largest domain drop auction house.
Then we learned that a former employee of SnapNames.com had engaged in bid rigging, which came to be known in the domain industry as the Halvarez scandal.
Oversee lost three ways on the The Halvarez scandal.
Oversee had to refund Millions of dollars to bidders for bids placed back when they didn’t own SnapNames.com; the rigged bids artificially inflated the revenue numbers for SnapNames.com for the year previous to Oversee purchase, which in turn increased the amount which Oversee paid to buy SnapNames.com and Oversee’s reputation in the domain industry took a big hit.
Here are some of the stories we wrote about the Halvarez scandal.
Then in 2009 Oversee bought Moniker.com but by and saw tremendous loss of domains under management once Monte Cahn left the company at the end of 2010.
Today Moniker.com is the 17th largest registrar.
In 2010 some insiders of Oversee.net put there shares up for sale on SecondMarket.com based on an implied valuation of Oversee of over $1 Billion dollars and there was talk about the company going public.
So from a company with an implied valuation of over $1 billion dollars in 2010 to have just a handful of developed sites, well for me and in my opinion its kind of sad.