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One company now owns almost a third of all registrars

Kevin Murphy, December 30, 2014, 10:41:10 (UTC), Domain Registrars

TurnCommerce acquired another 299 registrar accreditations from ICANN over Christmas week.

The company, which is behind domain properties including DropCatch.com, now has at least 452 registrars in its stable. That’s over 31% of the 1,456 total currently reported by Internic.

Each of the new accreditations is named “DropCatch”, followed by a number from 446 to 751. Each has a matching .com domain as its nominal base of operations and an associated LLC shell company.

At $4,000 a year for the base accreditation fee, TurnCommerce must be spending close to $2 million a year in ICANN fees alone.

Companies in the drop-catching business acquire large numbers of registrars in order to control more batches of connections with which to spam gTLD registries with “add” requests when potentially valuable domains expire and are deleted.

With almost a third of all accredited registrars now operating under the same control, one imagines TurnCommerce’s chances of securing the names it wants have been significantly improved.

As well as DropCatch, TurnCommerce runs retail registrar NameBright and premium sales site HugeDomains. It has plans to launch additional services at Expire.com and PremiumDomains.com shortly.

Its latest crop of registrars means ICANN has accredited over 2,200 companies since the gTLD registrar market was opened for competition 15 year ago, though many have allowed their contracts to lapse or, less frequently, have been terminated by ICANN compliance efforts.

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Comments (13)

  1. Snoopy says:

    I don’t think “spam” is quite the right word.

  2. Pat H says:

    I think its indeed worse than spamming, it’s about controlling the domain names industry and may have a very bad impact for fair play (or shall I say it sounds “greedy” to me? ) as well as ruining the image of domaining industry. Too bad to be true 🙁

  3. David Walker says:

    It’ll be interesting to see the success rates of drop catching after owning a large portion of registrars.

  4. One entity owning this much registrars is a big thing – I never looked at it this way. Of course the amount of registrations under management is not that high at all.

    Kevin, where do you see that those are newly added registrars? As far as I can tell they changed the names of their existing registrars.

    If you look here:
    http://www.iana.org/assignments/registrar-ids/registrar-ids.xml

    Newly accredited registrars are added at the bottom.

    The latest batch of their registrars already had 400-1,000 registrations under their registrars, so I’m not quite sure what indicates that those are new registrars?

  5. So much for the NTIA’s desire to have “competition and consumer choice” when ICANN is comprised of a tiny #RySG, each with Medusa like Snake-Oil vending follicles.

    C. The Principles.
    2. Competition.

    This Agreement promotes the management of the DNS in a manner that will permit market mechanisms to support competition and consumer choice in the technical management of the DNS. This competition will lower costs, promote innovation, and enhance user choice and satisfaction.

    http://www.ntia.doc.gov/other-publication/1998/memorandum-understanding-between-us-department-commerce-and-internet-corporat

  6. JZ says:

    I’ve never liked anything those guys have done. From vacuuming the drops to public auctions on caught domains, its all pretty greedy. They aren’t doing anything wrong but its clear they’ll bulldoze right over whatever and whoever they want without a care.

  7. Bashar says:

    With most top registrars auctions their names via services like namejet,snapnames,pool,godaddy auction, I don’t see any value having this tons of registry connections IMO

  8. I believe it hit me last night what the plan is 😉

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