|Industry:||Domain Name Exchange|
|Ownership:||NameMedia Inc., 2009|
|Headquarters:||230 Third Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451|
Afternic provides domain listing, resale and aftermarket purchase services. The site has evolved over the years to include a host of features, including safeguards and security to protect both parties involved in a sale. Features for buyers provided by the site include detailed checks of domain names listed on the site, and also a negotiation team that will locate owned domain names that are not on the market, and work out a sale. Sellers profit from using the site because of the massive levels of established traffic on the site, as well as efficient systems of domain parking, pricing and, of course, escrow.
In listing their domain on Afternic, sellers can profit from Afternic's distribution network as well.
There have been concerns, both regarding the level of protection for parties engaging in a deal on Afternic, and also with the appraisal system that Afternic uses to assess the worth of available domains. There have also been complaints about the traffic on certain offered domains having been misrepresented . However, these issues have not been confirmed by a reliable authority.
Afternic has been in the business of reselling domains for years. However, the company has changed owners several times, and it's evolution has hardly been smooth-sailing. A major change in company ownership came when Register.com purchased Afternic.com for about $48 million dollars in September, 2000. Within two years Afternic had failed, and Register.com announced that it was shutting down the company.
However, an internet entrepreneur, Roger Collins, and his brother, Michael Collins, purchased the company for a mere $100,000 dollars in 2002. Roger Collins was the creative mind behind quite a few online businesses, including ProProject ASP and ChangeNotes.com.
Roger Collins was also the owner of NameBuySell.com, and the apparent intention behind the Afternic purchase was to channel the intensive and established traffic of the site to power the domain resale business that was the staple financial map of NameBuySell.com.
It was also part of Collin's game plan to turn Afternic.com from an independent exchange profile to that of an exchange-broker network.
In 2006, when it was acquired by NameMedia Inc. the site had over 1.8 million domain name listings. This success was only strengthened by the NameMedia acquisition, as NameMedia also owns BuyDomains.com. This formed a very strong business model, in which domains from BuyDomains could avail of the considerable Afternic aftermarket sales infrastructure. The site has grown significantly since its acquisition by NameMedia, and now holds more than 3 million domain names in its listings, with some domain names (for example, Fish.com) selling for more than a million dollars.
Products and Services
Afternic does not actually sell expired or unowned domain names, being primarily a resellers market. The inventory of domains on the site is dominated by member auctions. The site also draws upon domain names from BuyDomain.com, as well as resellers that come under the banner of the site's DLS program.
Pre-order: Domains that are due for expiry can be pre-ordered as well. And of course if the domain name actually lapses from ownership on expiry, and Afternic.com obtains ownership, that domain name is put on live auction.
Messaging and Mediation: The site has an internal communication and messaging infrastructure that allows for communication between buyers and sellers. The site also maintains mediators and arbitrators to deal with issues that may arise between parties to a deal.
Appraisal: Afternic provides a service whereby they appraise the value of sites offered for sale. This system has been criticized for not being realistic, but there are few automated systems that are. No studies have been conducted with results either for or against the Afternic site appraisal system.
Name.com, a domain name registrar, has recently been integrated into Afternic's distribution system, allowing customers at Name.com to sell the names that they acquire on Afternic's extended networks. The new arrangement also makes transfers of such domain names virtually instantaneous, further inducing buyers to close a deal, which considerably benefits sellers. Press releases by Afternic.com indicate plans to similarly incorporate other major registrars into Afternic within a few months, though whether or not these plans will be successful remains speculative at the time this was written.