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Moniker Exiting the Drop Game?

January 8, 2015

One of the company’s drop-catching proxy registrars SantiamDomains recently (and quietly) changed hands and is now under Web.com’s ownership.

This article is purely speculative, but it’s based on something that I learned today while troubleshooting some domain administration issues.

A domain that I had caught at Snapnames back in March of 2014 is coming up for renewal soon.  I had it marked in my spreadsheet as being held at Moniker.  However the domain no longer appears in my account there.

A quick check of the whois revealed that the DNS was still pointed to Moniker’s name servers and my domain was still successfully forwarding to my primary website.   The whois also showed SantiamDomains as the registrar of record.

Then I remembered that I had recently received a renewal email reminder, but rather than coming from Moniker, that reminder had actually come from Network Solutions.

The account number they referenced was not the same is my primary NetSol account, and the name could not be found in the dashboard of my primary NetSol dashboard either.

I then decided to do a whois lookup on the registrar SantiamDomains.com.  That search reveals an admin email of @web.com.   Web.com is of course the parent company of Network Solutions.

If you perform a google search for SantiamDomains + Moniker, you can see that there are still a load of search results from domain contact details that link the two.  SantiamDomains was in fact at one time owned by Moniker.  I also still have the original Snapnames email that confirms this.

I can’t find any news brief or articles online that talk about it, so the acquisition (or acquisitions) of Moniker’s accredited subsidiary registrars must be going on behind the scenes.  That fact may not be all that extraordinary however.

What is particularly of interest though, are the following conclusions:

  • Along with the change of hands of SantiamDomains, my domain was transferred out of my Moniker account and into another registrar without my knowledge. I never received any notification of this.
  • Moniker evidently agreed to include domains as part of the sale of their partner registrar.  Even if they were simply wanting to consolidate or liquidate a portion of their drop-catching services, why would they want to reduce the number of their customer domain holdings?  Isn’t that the core of their business?  Why not keep the domains (and hence customers), and simply part with the registrar technology and accreditation?

This last point I suppose could raise another speculation.  Is Moniker, which was acquired just two years ago by the KeyDrive Group, possibly gearing to change hands again to Web.com in the near future?

Moniker has in recent years, as many readers are no doubt aware, become something of a black swan or registrar of ill repute, due to various technical and security issues that have plagued the company.  I myself could provide a list of snafus, technical difficulties and headaches that would cause the scrollbar on this page to expand to near infinitesimal proportions.

Of course I’m being hyperbolic in the sense that the scrollbar would not expand to infinity, however if you doubt my supposition of Moniker’s declining reputation then simply have a look around at some of the feedback you can find about them on various domain forums, such as here, here, here, here, and here (cached), among others, from just the past few months.

In any event, the purpose of this article is not to bash Moniker, but simply to raise the question about whether they are looking to exit the drop game, or perhaps by some chance, KeyDrive is preparing to jettison them off to Web.com.  The former could  make sense in light of parting with registrar drop catchers, and the latter could make sense in light of their apparent parting with domain names, but again I have no concrete knowledge or even rumors of either scenario.

I will leave it to the more professional domain bloggers to follow up with the companies involved for comment and ascertain whether there is any substance to these possibilities, if anyone so desires.  I am simply proposing possible scenarios based on what I experienced today with  my missing domain and uncovering the apparent change in ownership of SantiamDomains.

Additionally I wanted to let others know in case you have any domains that were won at Snapnames by SantiamDomains.  If so then you ought to verify whether they are still in your Moniker or account, or whether they’ve quietly flown the proverbial coop and have been deposited into a NetSol account in your name that you may not be aware of.  If I hadn’t received the renewal email from Network Solutions concerning this domain, i would have never known what happened to it.

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