Domain drop-catching service DropCatch.com has added five hundred new registrar accreditations to its stable over the last few days.
The additions give the company a total accreditation count of at least 1,252, according to DI data.
That means about 43% of all ICANN-accredited registrars are now controlled by just one company.
DropCatch is owned by TurnCommerce, which is also parent of registrar NameBright and premium sales site HugeDomains.
Because gTLD registries rate-limit attempts to register names, drop-catchers such as DropCatch find a good way to increase their chances of registering expiring names is to own as many registrars as possible.
DropCatch is in an arms race here with Web.com, owner of SnapNames and half-owner of NameJet, which has about 500 registrars.
The new accreditations would have cost DropCatch $1.75 million in ICANN application fees alone. They will add $2 million a year to its running costs in terms of extra fixed fees.
That’s not counting the cost of creating 500 brand new LLC companies — named in the new batch DropCatch.com [number] LLC where the number ranges from 1046 to 1545 — each of which is there purely for the purpose of owning the accreditation.
In total, the company is now paying ICANN fixed annual fees in excess of $5 million, not counting its variable fees and per-transaction fees.
Because the ICANN variable fee is split evenly between all registrars (with some exceptions I don’t think apply to DropCatch), I believe the addition of 500 new registrars means all the other registrars will be paying less in variable fees.
There’s clearly money to be made in expiring names.