UPDATED: The Rise and Fall Of Oversee.net

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

January 2007:       Oversee receives $60M in Debt funding from Bank of America

February  2007:    Oversee holds the First Domainfest Conference in Hollywood

June 2007:             Oversee acquires SnapNames for a reported $35M.

July 2007:              Oversee named Mason Cole as Vice President of Communications & Industry who had worked for Snapnames since 2001

July 2007:              Oversee announces buying $7 Million in domains in May & 66 portfolio’s in past 10 months & Has over 600K domains

October 2007        Namejet.com is formed and Network Solutions & Register.com leave SnapNames.com

December 2007:   Oversee acquires Moniker for $65M

January 2008:      Oversee added Lawrence Ng as Chairman.

January 2008:      Oversee receives $150M in Private Equity funding from Oak Hill Capital Partners

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.

February 2011:        Domainfest live auction generates $500K in Sales but over a hundred people got a mysterious illness from the party at the Playboy Mansion

May 2011:                Monte Cahn files suit against Oversee, CEO Jeff Kupietzky and founder Lawrence Ngover $13 Million dollar incentive plan

July 2011:                Jeff Kupietzky resigns as CEO of Oversee

September 2011:    Oversee.net “lays off” 13% of its Staff

February 2012:       Oversee.net sells its Moniker & SnapNames domain aftermarket and registrar business units to KeyDrive S.A. for an undisclosed amount.

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.

Oversee Uncovers Huge Inside Bidding Scheme At SnapNames.com & Will Offer Refunds 11/04/09

Can Oversee Get Some Of The Money They Paid For Snapnames.com Back? 11/04/09

The 5 Most Surprising Things That Came Out Of The SnapNames Scandal 11/05/09

Will “Halvarez” Face Criminal Charges? It Maybe Up To You  11/07/09

Breaking News: SnapNames.com Puts Back Auction History To August 2004 11/07/09

12,000 Auctions: The Halvarez Effect On Our Account (So Far) 11/08/09

12,000 Auctions, 8,900 Bidders and 350,000 Bids: We Conclude Halvarez Was The Only Shill Bidder At Snapnames 11/12/09

An Open Letter To Oversee/SnapNames.com: Hey Guys Here Is A Plan To Fix The Halvarez Scandal 11/17/09

I Just Signed Off & Accepted The Snapnames Settlement Agreement 1/07/10

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.

By April 2011 Moniker.com had dropped to the 8th largest registrar, by June 2011 they dropped to the 9th.

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.

Comments

  1. says

    Very good history, and bad English lessons.lessons Please proof-read your articles, even with auto software.

    Question for Berkens: I really think your partnership with Cahn is a brilliant move; do you know if he’s under some sort of non-competition agreement not to be involved in dot com business after he sold Moniker, if he is , for how long? I think we need his genius again in after-market sales, and Registrar activities.

    Thank you.

  2. Snoopy says

    “So from a company with an implied valuation of over $1 billion dollars in 2010″

    Did anyone actually buy shares at that valuation, if not the number has no relevance.

  3. says

    So sad to see the decline of Oversee.net, a company which played a major role in forming my future as a domain investor. Their PPC program was one of the best and they have got one of the most knowledgeable staff.

    Best of luck to all at Oversee specially Lawrence Ng. and Sam Tseng.

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