No, not agents, companies they own but that have a different name and business address and so on and are all registrered with ICANN
" On paper there are over nine hundred Registrars, but the true number is much smaller. Most accreditations are redundancies held by five companies.
- eNom (Demand Media): 138 Accreditations
- Oversee (Moniker/SnapNames): 128 Accreditations
- NameScout (Momentus): 108 Accreditations
- Directi (PDR/Answerable): 72 Accreditations
- DOTSTER: 53 Accreditations
The annual accreditation fee is $4000 US. This means eNom pays $544,000 - over one half million dollars per year to ICANN, for what advantage? Surely no company voluntarily pays excessive fees. Companies only expend funds if they can make it back three or fourfold. In addition to eNom, Oversee (Moniker) would pay ICANN $512,000 per year, NameScout $432,000 US, $288,000, and DotSter $212,000. In total, these five companies are paying ICANN $1,996,000 annually for no obvious reason. These funds are in addition to and separate from the fees associated with purchasing domain names. In essence, these five companies are supplying ICANN with 3% of its budget beyond the money that comes from domain sales.
In het session yesterday this question was debated and the answer from one of them was that in the beginning the domainregistrars and agents saw that they were selling domainnames for dollars while the investors and speculators resold them for sometimes millions. So they have set up separate businesses that could crawl their databases of domainnames that were not renewed and resell them at the highest bidder themselves - instead of some speculator from his home computer.
In other words, the big guys have set up some smokescreen companies to buy themselves all the interesting domainnames before anybody else could and to offer services to some other 'businesses' without being implicated themselves while still collecting the money (follow th emoney, always).
Question is how this can be transparant and how this could make it easy to wipe out fraud and brandjacking.