Gregg McNair is back in the news for the 2nd Monday in a row by joining with another huge name from the domain industry to form a new venture.
Last week it was Ken Hansen that left Neustar to join Greg McNair and in the Co.com registry and today its long time veteran in of Escrow.com Andee Hill who left Escrow.com last week to join Mr. McNair in a new online escrow company EscrowHill.com which is based in New Zealand that was formed to compete with Escrow.com.
The press release goes on to chat about two other now ex-escrow.com staff who are moving over to EscrowHill.com, Ryan Bogue who has been named General Manager and Donald Hendrickson named Operations Manager.
At TRAFFIC Ammar Kubba announced that his company was going to also launch a competitor to Escrow.com named Agreed.com.
Although Ammar is a very good friend and a partner with me on a few domains, I honestly told him even if he was going to bring something really innovative to the escrow business I though he would have a hard time gaining market share against escrow.com and I feel the same for EscrowHill.com
When I sat with Ammar and his team at TRAFFIC they showed me the Agreed.com platform and I saw some potential innovation as far as domains which are sold under payment plans and leases. Agreed.com has a automated system in place which seems to handle such transactions, at least set them up in a better and more affordable way than to escrow.com.
I told him I would use Agreed.com the next time I had one of those transaction, which honestly is not often, however I told him I saw no reason to move from escrow.com
So I see several problems for these two new businesses, both EscrowHill.com and Agreed.com.
Escrow.com has handled a lot of transactions, for a very long time and for almost everyone who has ever bought or sold a domain name.
In my case Escrow.com has handled thousands of transactions involving tens of millions of dollars, and at the end of the day, they provide a basic an administrative function.
An online escrow company collects the money from the buyer, verifies the funds are good, tells the seller to transfer a domain, verifies the transfer is complete and then pays the seller.
The second problem I see is its the buyer that typically pays the escrow fee, so the cost of the escrow fee is pretty much irrelevant to me.
As a Seller of domains, I’m just as happy having a buyer send me a wire direct, after all I know I’m going to transfer the domain either way, its the buyer that is worried and therefore its the buyer that usually pays the escrow fee.
And since its the buyer who pays typically its the buyer who makes the choice of escrow agent many times its the buyer that suggests escrow.com
I turn down sales all day because of the price, but once we come to an agreement with a buyer, I’m not going to lose a sale because they want to use Escrow.com or Sedo.com for escrow or want to wire me the money direct to save the fees.
However I am concerned with time.
So that’s the third issue.
Escrowhill.com, well they are based literally on the other side of the world and have a 17 hour time difference to EST.
Obviously as a seller I want the transaction done by the escrow agent properly but as quickly as possible and as I buyer I want the domain as soon as possible.
People do change their minds.
When I buy a domain name I wire my payment, it usually gets posted the same day (if its a business day) and I get the domain the same day.
Many sellers send in their payment the same day we come to a deal and I’m able to push the domain on the same day since escrow.com is 3 hours behind EST, which I think its a huge advantage for US based domain buyers and sellers and the same advantage Agreed.com has over EscrowHill.com
Although I know its a big world, and recoginze that in some cases the time zone of EscrowHill.com will be an advantage for certain buyers or sellers but its not for me.
Its also slightly more complicated to wire a payment overseas and some US buyers get very nervous when they see their money leaving the good old USA.
So if its not a substantial cost savings what is the motivation of moving from a company that many have done business with for more than 10 years and handled over $1.5 Billion in transactions, for almost everyone who has either bought or sold a domain name?
Personally I have never had an issue with Escrow.com, the buyers pay them, we transfer the domain and we get paid.
That’s the fourth problem for both Agreed and EscrowHill.com, I’m perfectly happy with Escrow.com, they do what they do and I haven’t had a bad experience.
I can be wrong, but I don’t think it takes a special talent to do escrow transfers of domain names.
Escrow agents are not domain brokers which have a unique set of skills and knowledge that would make you follow one from one company to another.
Don’t get me wrong I like Andee very much and we had some very nice chats at TRAFFIC.
I have 100% confidence in her and her team that they will get the work done.
But personally I still don’t see any reason to change as we sit today.
So again for me, its escrow.com business to lose,.
The only way Escrow.com loses a lot of market share will be if they screw up, if they can’t perform the work without the staff that left in the same timely fashion that they have done for years.
If that happens then that leaves the door wide open for EscrowHill.com or Agreed.com or for Sedo.com to get a bigger share of the market.
That’s my take.
Here is the press release:
One aspect of the domain space that bridges the whole industry is that of escrow; and the one person better known than any other in that context is the former Director of Business Development at Escrow.com, Ms Andee Hill.”
“Ms. Hill has established the licensed international escrow enterprise, Escrow Hill Limited with the backing of long time friend and industry entrepreneur, Gregg McNair:
“When Andee told me she was thinking about forming her own escrow business I was immediately enthusiastic. I have a reputation of connecting some of the best people in our industry and Andee is at the top both professionally and as an amazing human being,” McNair said.
“EscrowHill.com’s dream team includes Ryan Bogue as General Manager and Donald Hendrickson as Operations Manager.”
“Both have worked in the business of online escrow under Hill’s direction for over fifteen years combined. Together with Hill’s experience the new team offers over thirty years of online escrow experience!”
“The domain industry is undergoing incredible change and EscrowHill.com is positioned to provide secure, yet flexible, state of the art products and services.”
“EscrowHill.com will be able to meet the needs of both past and future generations of domain buyers, brokers and sellers. Hill’s reputation as an honest, discreet and hard working professional will now aspire to a new level.”
“During my fifteen years in this business, I have handled just about every aspect of online escrow.
“Regardless of my title, I have always known that understanding the client’s needs and providing excellent and secure service is invaluable. I have been fortunate to work with the industry innovator from day one. I have seen what works and what doesn’t. I have been even more fortunate to have created great relationships and trust with industry leaders. At EscrowHill.com I know I can do an even better job,” Hill said.
“Gregg has earned a strong reputation for honesty, integrity and for successfully making businesses work. He also has incredible enthusiasm and a heart for helping others. All are key factors in me wanting Gregg to support my endeavor at EscrowHill.com
McNair has assumed the non-operational role of Chairman, supporting Hill and her team with whatever it takes to build the best escrow business on the planet. Marco Rinaudo, Founder and CEO of Internet.bs has been appointed CTO of EscrowHill.com
Rinaudo, who has been a leader in the international hosting and registrar space since 1995, said, EscrowHill.com is formed and supported by the very best people in the industry. Our team has built the most sophisticated on-line internet escrow platform, fully automated and with more advanced security features than any other.”