If you take a look at Go Daddy auctions right now you will see a ton of 5N .COMS dropping, and they’re all seeing strong bidding activity. If you add it up, just looking at ten of the 5N .COMs dropping equates to over $35,000…and there’s more than ten dropping.
So I decided it was time to do a bit of detective work to see if one person was dropping all of these names or if they all came from different people. I started with 99330.com and used DomainTools to take a look back in time to see how the WHOIS data has changed over time.
The furthest I could go back is to 2007 where the domain was under privacy at Moniker. According to the WHOIS the domain was registered back in 2004 so I’m missing three years of data. That being said, if the name was at Moniker in 2007 safe to say it was owned by a domain investor.
The name stayed at Moniker until 2010 and then seems to have changed hands (or just come out of privacy) to MDNH Inc. So what is MDNH Inc.? Well, according to Google that’s Marchex.
And this makes a lot of sense since in 2011 the WHOIS officially changes over to Marchex Sales. It looks like Marchex had the domain until 2015 when it changed hands and moved to a registrant in China with some pretty messy WHOIS data. The registrar on record is eName and both the name and organization for the domain are the same, simply listed as “liuxi” with a street name of “ping xiang shi xiang dong qu lao guan zhen guan li cun” which looks like a bunch of junk to me.
All that being said it’s safe to say this domain moved from Marchex to someone in China who wanted to remain anonymous. A few months later the WHOIS info changes again, a new registrant but similar random street address, this time “guangdong shenzhen futianqu bagualing 30dong” which actually does have some Chinese cities in it like Shenzen, and Guangdong which is a province.
The next month the same registrant moved it over to Go Daddy. In 2016 the domain remained at Go Daddy but seems to have changed hands again, this time to someone who definitely just wanted to put in random letters in for their name which is listed as “adasd123 sadad3” and Organization which is listed as “asdjqjwdjasd” – both of which are clearly just random keyboard mashings.
This was held by seemingly the same person for two years until it expired this year and now sits at $6,400 with three days to go in the expired auction.
Of course, this is just one name – what about the others?
Well I did the same WHOIS history checkup on 99676.com, 88036.com, 56055.com and they all seem to have a similar history. They all were owned at some point by Marchex, changed hands and eventually ended up being owned by someone in China who put random data in for their name and organization.
So what happened here?
I’m guessing one of my readers in going to chime in and shed more light but here’s my guess. Marchex bought a bunch of 5N .coms back in 2011, sold them to someone or some company in China…and then for some reason that company decided to drop all of them this year, or forgot to renew them.
What’s so confusing is that it’s probably a lot more than 10 names and $35,000 – this could easily be a six-figure loss for someone. Is it possible that whoever owned these never knew what they were worth? That seems unlikely if they were cutting a deal with Marchex and registering them in China, feels like a numeric domain investor. So why are they dropping all these names now? Is it just me or does it seem like something doesn’t add up here?
This is where detective Morgan has hit a dead end, but that’s where you come in as I know some of my readers are much more savvy when it comes to numeric domains and the Chinese domain market than I am. What happened here? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!