A reader first alerted us to certain dropping domain names having a “reserve price” well above the general minimum back order over at Namejet.com which is generally $69 for Pre-release domains.
Certain registrars have for year been releasing its dropping domain inventory on an exclusive basis to NameJet.com (other registrars do this with SnapNames.com). Included in the NameJet.com list of exclusive drop registrars are two of the biggest, NetworkSolutions.com and Register.com, which are now both owned by the public company Web.com (WWWW).
Generally when a domain hits the delete cycle for non-payments these registrar send the domain to Namejet.com first. The typical back order for a “pre-release” domain dropping exclusively to NameJet.com is $69.
If more than one than one back order is received on one of these exclusive dropping domains then the domain goes to auction.
If no back order is placed, the domain continues to go through the normal drop cycle where it becomes available on a first come first served basis for re-registration or what is called a free drop domain.
However a number of pre-release drop domains are not available to be back ordered for just $69 on NameJet.com
Rather they are priced into the hundreds and thousands of dollars.
I reached out to Matt Overman the General Manager of NameJet.com who confirmed that the registrars they have exclusive drop arrangements with, have the ability to place a reserve on a domain in excess of the $69 back order fee.
Although Mr. Overman said this was not a new development, I haven’t seen it myself in past years.
For example below is a list of domain names all expired and/or in pending delete status, registered at either NetworkSolutions.com or Register.com which are available for back orders as pre-release domain names on NameJet.com, but instead of $69 the minimums are as low as $649 and as high as $12,566.
While some of these domains are generic in nature others clearly present Trademark infringing potential.
While its not clear how the registrars are pricing the expired domains, it seems pretty clear that traffic and back links play a huge roll.
To the extent the domain is generic, registrars are becoming domainers selling domains for premium dollars.
More troubling is that these registrars are placing reserves in the thousands of dollars for potentially trademark infringing domains.
Citizensbankofcharleston.com (back order reserve $6,348) a domain which seems to have been owned by the bank.
Careers-tkmaxx.com (reserve price $8,186) which seems to be a possible infringement on tj maxx or another online store txmaxx,
Painps3.com (reserve price $1,930), PS3 is Trademark by Sony maker of the PS3 gaming system and “Pain: is a video game for the system whose official site is: painthegame.com.
Another domain name on the list Movietoob.com, seems to be a typo for the MovieTube which is a registered trademark, the minimum back order price for Movietoob.com as set by Register.com is $1,050.
My Florida is a trademark as well, and the TM owners, Florida Department of Management Services, have been pretty vigilant in defending its MyFlorida mark, filing 10 UDRP on variations of the domain MyFlorida.com. The domain name 2MyFlorida.com has a minimum back order reserve price of $934 set by its registrar, Networksolutions.com
To the extent the registrars are price fixing higher reserve prices on domains that have potential TM issues, the registrars are acting more like cybersquatters benefiting off of the traffic while the domain is parked after expiration and then trying to sell the domain based off the traffic for premium dollars.
This is especially important because registrars typically have immunity from cybersquatting claims, even when they make money off the the traffic from placeholders, but by placing minimum back order amounts well in excess of the $69 minimum, they seem to be attempting to sell the domain in an amount in excess of the registration fee opening themselves up for claims outside of their safe harbor.
What is not clear yet is what happens to these domains if they do not get a back order meeting the reserve set by the registrar.
Do these domain name go into the regular drop cycle or are they held and monetized and sold by the registrars like Tucows.com does with YummyNames.com
You can be sure we will be tracking these to find out.
Here is a list of domain names we found all expired, all registered with NetworkSolutions or Register.com and currently available for backorder with Namejet.com with prices ranging from $625-$12,688
The domains are sorted in descending order, with domain name with the highest priced backorder listed first so that grillpartsonline.com has a minimum back order of $12,566: