Domain Auctions: Problems & Solutions - Part 1 | DomainInvesting.com
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Domain Auctions: Problems & Solutions – Part 1

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Most domain investors would probably agree that the results of live domain auctions have been pretty weak recently. Aside from a few strong sales that have taken place, most auctions haven’t produced the results people hoped to see. I’d like to discuss problems I see in part one and give my advice to improve live auctions going forward.

In no particular order, here are some of the reasons I believe domain auctions haven’t been successful recently.

  • Lower PPC payouts and poor economy affecting domain investors’ spending ability

For a few years, live domain auctions were dominated by some of the wealthiest domain investors. Many of these people and companies were spending money that they earned from PPC revenue. With payouts down across the board, there is less money to reinvest.

Likewise, with the economy in the tank, there is less financing available for domain buyers. People can’t refinance their homes or other property as easily, and ultimately it means less money to spend on domain names. In addition, people are more reluctant to spend money on domain investments, favoring a stronger liquid position to stay protected.

  • The same domain names continue to be offered for sale.

There are a limited amount of top quality domain names that are openly available for sale. Many domain investors don’t wish to list their names for sale in a public venue and/or don’t want to set a price for their prized assets. Domain names are on the market longer, and consequently, even good domain names are allowed to be placed in different live auctions with the hopes that someone bids. Oftentimes, these domain names don’t have lower reserves, and they just sit on the shelf like day old milk. At one time their inclusion made a splash. Now it’s just embarrassing to see the same names at the same prices being auctioned in different venues.

  • People have ridiculous sales expectations.

Let’s face it. Everyone thinks their names are hot shit. No matter how many times Monte or Rick will hammer their sellers asking for reserve price reductions, many people are reluctant to do so. Gone are the days when a bidding war will ensure a domain name sells for what it’s worth or more. People don’t want to lower their price to a point where one bid will lead to a very bad sale.

Domain owners have lost faith that buyers will show up, and they are unwilling to drop their reserve prices. Auction houses are either desperate to keep certain names in auction with the hopes of drawing some interest (while locking down exclusivity) or they are praying that the needy end user just happens to show up, with all senses lost after being hit in the head with a bag of money.

  • Long exclusivity periods.

People like myself like to sell domain names quickly. I buy as low as possible and sell as high as possible, as quickly as possible. If I have a $20,000 domain name, I can’t/won’t take a chance and lock it up for 60 days because I need to move my inventory to generate much of my income. If the name doesn’t sell, I can sell it on my own, but I am obligated to pay a 10-20% commission. Some people may opt to not honor an agreement, but that’s certainly a reputation killer if not a legal problem. With lower sales rates, it’s not a guarantee that a domain name will sell at auction and it’s more difficult to justify a long period of exclusivity.

On the other side of the business, auction houses need to lock down these domain names. They can’t afford to spend time and effort selling a domain name if the name isn’t committed to them. I know for a fact that the auction houses work hard to sell domain names before and after auctions, so it’s not fair to not commit.

  • Too many auctions and lists not revealed until just before the auction.

There are so many auctions these days that people wait until the last minute to decide where to submit their domain names. This causes domain auction houses to scramble at the last minute to find buyers. Domain buyers have very little time to review their lists. I know the first live auction happened when people simply put names up on a white board, but times have changed and more money goes into buying a domain name.

  • End user buyers aren’t showing up.

Perhaps this is due to the above issue where lists aren’t finalized until the last minute, but it doesn’t appear that end users are showing up as much as they should (has always been an issue). I know that the domain auctioneers spend time contacting potential buyers, especially when it comes to high ticket names, but as any domain investor knows, it’s tough to get end users to buy. They have to want a specific domain name at the offered price at the time that it’s auctioned.

In addition, end users may not trust domain auctioneers as much as they would trust other auction companies who are more well-known. This industry is still young, and end users may not be  familiar or comfortable bidding at a domain auction held by a company whom they’ve never heard about. The registration process (and maybe previously a fee at Traffic I think) could also be a deterrent. Further, Snapnames still doesn’t allow remote bidding from a Mac (unless it has Windows).

  • Cronyism and friendships can impact auctions

In the domain industry, there aren’t thousands of active investors. There might not even be several hundred – I really don’t know. Compared to other industries, this one is pretty small and there are a lot of people who are well acquainted with each other. Many auction participants are both buyers and sellers. Auction companies want to accommodate their best clients, and sometimes that means accepting domain names that shouldn’t be in auction – or should be priced lower.

  • Too many domain names in auctions.

There are far too many domain names accepted in the live auction, and even more in the silent auction. I know a 4 hour auction isn’t unusual in the car world, but with sales down, it seems to drag on forever. Likewise, it’s difficult for buyers to wade through thousands of silent/extended auction domain names. People don’t want to put low reserves on domain names that might get a couple of looks and maybe one bid.

  • Automatic entrance into silent/extended auction.

It seems that most domain names that are submitted to the live auction but don’t make it are relegated to the silent/extended auction. IMO, these auctions are stuffed with bad domain names, and it makes it difficult to find good ones at good prices. Truthfully, I barely even look at the extended/silent auctions, and I am sure others feel the same way. As a result, domain owners are reluctant to put low prices on domain names that might end up seen by just a few people.

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Ultimately, I think people really lack confidence in live domain auctions right now. As a result, there are lower quality domain names with higher than acceptable reserve prices. In an effort to stem the bleeding, more (lower quality) domain names are being auctioned in the hopes of a sale, and buyers and sellers are frustrated. I don’t think most of these issues are new, but they are exacerbated by other factors.

Tomorrow, I will post some of my suggestions for how to improve domain auctions, but I would like to hear what you think about the current problems with domain auctions.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (39)

    Rob Sequin

    ALL excellent points.

    I would add simply that speculation is out of the domain market and most of us are(were) speculators.

    Now we are developers, frugal investors and sellers.

    I think the domain industry is still very healthy but I don’t see the buyers inside the industry like I used to.

    Just an effect of the economy and probably investors have too much inventory.

    So, how to fix the domain auctions? I’m looking forward to that post.

    February 8th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Claude

    Great post Elliot.

    I personally think a professional, outside auditor who verifies the methodology for selecting and pricing names for the auctions is one fix.

    If these auction companies were more transparent on their processes and assured quality control, I think more buyers and sellers would have confidence.

    I think the cronyism you mention is spot on.

    February 8th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Kevin

    I think you’ve nailed every point perfectly El!

    Excellent post!

    February 8th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Earl Naegele

    Elliot,

    As usual you nailed it.

    The challenge for any small industry is to get to the tipping point in order to become a mainstream demand product or service (i.e. the holy grail – end user).

    Go Daddy SB commercials move the needle a little, but the message has to get above the noise to all the key influencers who see domain names as the greatest ROI of their marketing budget.

    Another great post. I am working on such a model to take domain names to businesses in a vertical. Like any small industry that matures the participants and supply chain adjusts to demand. The key is to get the auctions or future derivitive models (;))and end users together.

    Earl

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Rick London

    Very good article Elliot!

    I agree with most of it. However it still comes down to the quality of the domain and the price,. Let’s face it, the majoirty of domains in the past auctions are total junk or so overpriced it is comical. Romance for 1M? What a joke.

    Guns.com was the top domain but I feel to sell it these days it would have to be about 400K.

    There are plenty of people with money for good domains.
    Loancalulator, LongIsland and Golflessons were probably sold to end users. They were good domains at fair prices.

    Lower PPC is not really relevant.
    There are very FEW domains sold that make sense for PPC paying for them unless you can wait twenty or more years. (unless substantial work is done)

    The auctions should only take a domain a second time if the price is lowered by 20%.

    The buyers DO know about the auctions and will pay a fair price. You do not see good art or other collectibles selling for nothing. Again the prices for junk domains are too high and very high prices for domains that are NOT great are a waste of time. Golfclubs.com, yes a good domain but 2M? Maybe 250K. Who are the buyers? The top club people do not need it or want it.

    I do not agree about friendships. There are enough buyers to buy any and all domains if the price is right.

    There were not too many domains, There were too many domain with absurd prices. The auctioneer should consider what they would pay for a domain and then add 50% at most and that would be the reserve.

    Paper.com 500-1m? So what it is one word! What is the use?

    Bachelor.com 250K? A joke. What would someone want it for? Bachelorparties.com maybe.

    Back to guns.com the top domain in the action. The auction should not mind a high price on this one as it is a key domain. Tell me one other key domain in the last auctions. Don’t tell me paper or publishing.

    Why would someone want publishing.com for around 400K?

    Even the lower priced domains are absurd. Socializing.com 20K. Who would want it?

    The owners do not realize that whoever buys a domain for the most part is going to have to spend X developing it.
    There are not that many companies out there that even need a domain and if they are going to spend good money it is not going to be 50K for fork.com.

    The way to change things that might work is very simple.
    Charge a fee to have your domain in auction. Perhaps 200-1K depending on the reserve of the domain. All the fees collected go back to buyers of domains at the same auction. The auction offers a credit say of 20K on the first 100K domain sold………………I would have to give it more thought but it would be worth a shot and eliminate many junk domains.

    Chilling.com 15K, I cannot stop laughing. Trick.com 250K?

    The auctions cannot get decent submissions so they take almost anything. Again if a domain is great like guns.com. loancalculator.com, LongIsland.com or even just good like Golflessons.com which we purchased a higher reserve is not bad. If we were in the gun business and had to have the top domain we would pay up.

    What people do not realize is that selling 1.3M in total at 15% still shows a profit for the auction house. Sure they would like to sell more but 1.3M is ok.

    Lastly I 100% agree that if an auction had GREAT domains they need to be advertised to the top buyers. I doubt the auctions do this. Guns.com should have been mentioned in a slick brochure to Smith and Wesson. Strum and Ruger
    etc. Of course you cannot present top companies with the majority of slop domains that were in the auction.

    One last idea. Sotheby’s or Christie’s could get into the domain business and perhaps be able to get far more publicity that what there is now for the domain auctions.

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      Elliot

      @ Rick

      Thank you very much for the thorough comment.

      February 8th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Kevin

    Also, my PPC revs are up, and site revs are all up, and display ad sales are up.

    Domain investors need to be doing innovative monetization solutions dealing direct with advertisers and most important of all setting up joint ventures.

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Elliot

    @ Kevin

    I don’t make any money via PPC (well, under $100/month not including Adsense) so I can only speak to what I hear.

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    dcmike77

    good posting.

    And Rick London couldn’t have said it better. Chilling.com for 15K and trick.com for 250K are laughable. Buyers want deals and these prices just scare them off.

    Charging sellers could be a great way to weed out the crap.

    Oh, and I still think Rick has the best names at the best prices. His are the only auctions I pay attention to now-a-days.

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Rob Sequin

    “Charging sellers could be a great way to weed out the crap. ”

    maybe this will be in tomorrow’s post. Great idea.

    Charge sellers a 1% fee, payable towards commission if the domain sells.

    You want to list a domain with a $15k reserve? You pay $150.

    This will show motivation of the seller, get higher quality domains into the auctions and/or get lower reserves.

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Alan

    Rick

    Thank you!!!

    best quote I heard for a while

    “Paper.com 500-1m? So what if it is one word! What is the use?”

    Exactly – many generics people hold are worthless outside of the domain community (Obviously paper.com is not worthless, its a great name but the theory of your statement is bang on).

    “Domainers” use methods such as age, 3 letter, one word (no matter what it is), 4 letter, 2 numbers – all these factors that only matter to … domainers and then complain about why an end user does not show up?

    If you can’t build the name into a valuable , memorable brand, use the name for SEO purposes or it has qualified traffic then its worthless outside of the domain community.

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Rick London

    Paper is not bad but maybe with a few hundred thousand.

    Hell.com has been in many auctions. Who would want it?

    We have pretty much unlimted funds and I cannot see paying even 50K for it.

    Laid.com 250-300K? Why do they even take these domains?

    February 8th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Biggie

    sup elliot

    i rarely read domainer blogs, but figured i’d throw my $0.16 worth in. 😉

    auctions are for products/items that are in demand and basically, the demand has went down.

    sure, economic issues play a part in auction failures, but domain sellers shouldn’t be obligated to support “auction houses” or venues, by lowering reserves in yielding to pressure from auctioneers.

    as their motivation is mainly commissions and notoriety.

    auction houses fail in their responsibility to promote and draw substantial interest, or survey potential buyers, “buying power”, prior to these auctions.

    imo

    in other words, they don’t seem to have any idea about the budgets for these buyers.

    yeah…this is auction stuff is new to most, but most in it… act like they know what they are doing. 😉

    for suggestions, i’d say the auctions should have less domains and less domain extensions.

    have separate top level com/net/org/info and separate cc/gtld auctions

    this way you won’t have people waiting for long times for names they wish to bid on.

    the auctioneers should also do pre-bid surveys to determine relative interest in the domain lists.

    those domains that don’t meet minimum interest levels will be dropped.

    the model needs some fine tuning and perhaps some domainers will get their personal feelings hurt :)

    but for those names that make the cut, the interest would be there.

    imo…

    February 8th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Aron

    I remember sitting in the DomainFest Auction thinking this:

    “I WISH there was something in this auction I wanted, because there’s NO ONE here!”

    For those that attend the auctions (like me),
    you can see first-hand how little interest there really is.

    I scoured the auction list thoroughly, looking for something to buy, because I knew there wouldn’t be many bidders.

    I think people are starting to give up on the auctions – sadly.

    There is an auction popping up on every corner, and they are diluted with overpriced names.

    If we had 2 BIG auctions each year, it would give the auction house time to market the names to potential buyers, and it would give the domain community something to get excited about.

    Having an auction every few weeks is really getting rediculous.

    Good post Elliot and some great comments in here as well.

    – Aron

    February 8th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    whoknows

    What is wrong with the domain investing industry? IMO, it comes down to a very specific example. Ad.com selling for just over 1 million dollars and is now a parked page. It blows my mind why a person would spend 1 million dollars for an investment to have it just sit there. That is like buying a house for 1 million dollars and just leaving it sit there forever. That is dumb, IMO.

    We need to invest in building brand names. Not trying to own all of the one word domains.

    Elliot, feel free to email me at coldfeet09 at gmail.com and we can talk more about how to get end users into domain auctions. I have some good insights I will am willing to share in privacy.

    February 8th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

      Elliot

      @ whoknows

      There’s a legal battle related to Ad.com… it hasn’t changed hands due to the AOL threat.

      February 8th, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Elliot

    Someone asked me who Rick London is, so I want to post an interview I did with him a while back:

    http://www.domaininvesting.com/5-with-rick-london-national-a-1-advertising

    February 8th, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Kevin

    The bottom line is if a domain is price realistically for the current market you can sell it in any venue.

    It’s that simple.

    February 8th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Elliot

    @ Kevin

    That’s true, but the problem is that people seem to have unrealistic goals and/or expectations.

    February 8th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    jeff

    many good points and thanks in all your posts…its interesting and mr london WOW. Amazing insight by one of the most generic holders in the world.. Also the most words i read by him, lol. Just kidding.

    it seems to be always the same issues on things

    i dont know about everyone else, who attends these domain auctions or even watches on the internet but the the auction house has to find a normal speaker and you cant even understand the numbers..I had a headache in 5 min. just by listening to all the rambling. Image the vegas people who had to wake up hung over and listen to all this. LOL..

    tons of problems happening..

    February 8th, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    jeff

    elliot you bring up a valid point.. be a 1k name, 5k or 20k name as your example your right.

    this reminds me some of your post a few months back and moving inventory. if you hand reg a name for 8 bucks, sell it quickly for 200, i surly would take this route and reinvest my capital..Keep the dollars flowing inn and out. upgrade your portfolio, draw a small income. this also ties into the amount of days..to long to be tied into.

    February 8th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Rick

    One other JOKE

    The time it takes to sell a domain is embarassing.

    One could equate it to the auction begging for a new bid.

    I buy expensive art, coins, antiques etc. A lot take a minute or two at most of the piece is very special.

    Fitnesstranier took an hour and a half! How can this be the way to run an auction. If a domain is good and priced fairly it will bring the right money fast.

    February 8th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Kevin

    @ Elliot

    And that’s exactly why so many names don’t sell.

    This is a time for immense creativity in domaining. Those that innovate and develop brilliant ideas will see more money than ever. Those that keep doing the same old same old will not.

    February 9th, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Alan

    Kevin said

    “The bottom line is if a domain is price realistically for the current market you can sell it in any venue”

    and

    Cuba Rob said

    “I would add simply that speculation is out of the domain market and most of us are (were) speculators. Now we are developers, frugal investors and sellers”

    Both of these points are critical to the state of the industry.

    Think about this – here we are in a state of economic disaster for many, a traditional source of revenue for domainers is lackluster at best, even many of the top domainers do not have a single developed site which is nothing more than a glorified parking page, big name bidders like vaxis, benfranklin, bunky8 – all these guys have essentially left the auction drops (which were a few of only a dozen or two people that ever drastically bid up a name – without them the values most domainers think their names are worth never existed), no single domainer can ever make any logical correlation between most sales reported from DNJournal and explain why they sold for xxx price or even explain why they sold at all and yet….

    The number of domain auctions has increased ten-fold since the early days of traffic.

    The same people are picking the names – Why not give people like Elliot, Rob London and others a handful of guaranteed picks for auctions to bring actual domain investors in the mix of choosing names? Sellers see it entirely different and if you spend too much time on that side the pipe dreams come a flashing everytime a catalog needs work – if we pick 5,000 and sell 2 % cool – we made our cut. It’s a numbers game for a sellers team but a quality game should you bring buyers in the mix for choosing the inventory. This is not the first time I have mentioned this – its been said in many meetings before.

    Rob’s comment about speculators we all were and now savvy investors speaks volumes.

    The industry is like any other industry right now – When people are selling you should buy – the problem is there too much crap out there and people do not sell smart. We are also blessed with the illogic of why people will spend $10,000 name in a drop auction yet never pay more than $200 in a private buy for the name — let alone even be able to dump the name for $2,000 a week after the sale.

    The industry is searching for value, searching for standards and its hard, if not impossible, to find what makes a quality name outside of the normal super premiums (you know – all those names that London guy owns but you need a baseline of agreement.

    Every auction must have a small amount – whether that’s 20, 50 or 100 names that are agreed upon as exceptional value to domainers BY domainers – not sellers.

    I have yet to see an auction with where any significant group of domainers all agree both the price and quality is great for the top 50 names (random number but it is has to be a good number here – easy for all to agree on the top 5 names ).

    Sure, Michael Berkens and I might like a few – Rlliot and Rick may like a couple – but the 4 of us may never agree (just picking names) on anymore than a handful of names at any given auction.

    ?? – You can’t find a dozen big time investors to agree on the top 50 names for an auction???

    I bet you go to a real estate auction and you can pick any of the top investors and they all know the best lots in the house.

    The auction houses can’t do this yet they are the experts?

    If we cant find a common measurement of quality within ourselves therein lies the biggest fault of domain auctions — the auction house is not tapping the resources they need for suggestions.

    That’s enough – I need coffee.

    Alan

    February 9th, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Dan

    Hi,

    Its late so I will not go on a rant.

    The main problem is…the wrong people are at the domain auctions.

    “Domainers”

    End buyers…need to be offered free flights, free rooms…

    You need the guy who is running J&J domain marketing plan…Invite him….pay him…drag him to the DomainFest.

    He “Gets it”…

    Have him speak…to these other “Madison street, Goggle PPC….morons.

    Then you need to send out special invitations to to the top 500-1000 people that are responsible for what he does…at other major companies….and let him explain to them…just how smart they are with “generic keyword domain assets”.

    It has always been the problem for domain actions.

    Do you not think…If someone would REALLY sat down with “Jerry Jones” and people in his organization…and really explain the VALUE of “COWBOYS.com”…

    He would not have… bought it for 275k?

    The “disconnect” could not be more revealing…when they turn back their bid of $275.00….

    Cowboys Org is worth close to 1.5 Billion….not including their new stadium.

    Ok…it turned to a “small rant”…

    Sorry…

    But I made may many post about this when Frank’s was running 7mile and blogging everyday.

    Screw the Playboy Mansion…The parting for domainers..

    Spend it on People that you can educate…AWAY from Madison Ave,..And million dollar Google Adword Campaigns….where they are getting a 3% CTR and 0,5% conversion rate.

    Peace!
    Dan

    February 9th, 2010 at 5:44 am

    M. Menius

    The public auctions have been struggling against their own self-defeat for quite a while. One extremely important reason they are suffering revolves around auction houses demanding unreasonable contract terms and not proactively working with domain submitters.

    The momentum of several yearsa go became stiffled when domain submitters were being bound to long contracts, that self-renewed, and good names were stuck in the silent auction when lesser names of friends were profiled in the LIVE auction. Also, auction houses were so overly focused on .com, to the near exclusion of everything else, that they would opt for a bad .com over a good quality alternative.

    So not only was the quality of auction inventory getting increasingly worse, but the lists were becoming far too long. These factors were brought to the attention of auction staff who basically dismissed (for a long time) constructive input and simply stuck to a formula that was basically souring both their sellers and their buyers.

    Could it have gone in a better direction. You bet. The economy was a factor, yes. But there has always been an opportunity to expand the auction scope and relevance into many other industries. That’s the future of domain auctions … to expand beyond the domainer circle. The domainer circle is good for a certain % of sales. But, this represents a relatively small %.

    The unanswered question is which auction house will be sophisticated enough to bridge that gap. It will be through innovation, creativity, and a modicum of openness to modify auctions to meet their sellers and buyer’s expectations. Doggedly sticking to an old format will not re-engage people.

    February 9th, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Jody

    “One last idea. Sotheby’s or Christie’s could get into the domain business and perhaps be able to get far more publicity that what there is now for the domain auctions.”

    Wow I love this idea.

    February 9th, 2010 at 8:19 am

    rick

    J and J does not get it. They own baby.com but have no interest in our babies.com which is better.

    No one cares about 800-cowboys or 800-packers.

    In all these years I cannot remember more than a few bona fide high offers for our top domains.

    The major companies are just plain stupid. Papa John’s spent MILLIONS on Superbowl ads but let us buy Pizza.com.

    I can go on and on. A few millon for the top domain (not marginal slop) is nothing for major companies. However very very few get it. Candy.com did but most don’t.

    ToyRus did after we reopened a secret auction.

    The auctions do almost nothing to promote the domains to the proper companies. Please note there are only ONE handful of top domain in any one auction that would be worthy of spending PR and ad money on.

    The true problem with the auctions is that there are very few great domains for sale and the ones that are want major money. The auctions take almost anything and pray.

    February 9th, 2010 at 8:23 am

    jody

    “One last idea. Sotheby’s or Christie’s could get into the domain business and perhaps be able to get far more publicity that what there is now for the domain auctions.”

    That’s a 100 million idea for someone. Try to ink a deal with 1 of them where you get a piece of all domains being auctioned off in future. Good luck to this person!

    February 9th, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Dan

    Hi,

    Good post: M. Menius

    Quote:

    “The industry is like any other industry right now – When people are selling you should buy – the problem is there too much crap out there and people do not sell smart. We are also blessed with the illogic of why people will spend $10,000 name in a drop auction yet never pay more than $200 in a private buy for the name — let alone even be able to dump the name for $2,000 a week after the sale End Quote

    No truer words have ever been spoken on this subject…IMHO

    Never did get these guys that spend way to much on a “drop domain”….but like you say would never spend more than $200 on a private buy.

    Never made any sense…and its been going on for years..

    I never got it and will never “get it”.

    And please do not tell me they just get ‘caught up in the action of a bidding war’…like their at a poker table thinking they have the best hand.

    Peace!
    Dan

    February 9th, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Stephen Douglas

    Nice article, El.

    Hope something inspired you to write it…

    February 9th, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Dan

    Hi rick,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Just because they have no interest in your domain….does not mean they do not “get it”…they are using many more generic domains…very well.

    For your sake… I hope they do…if not… It will bring a very nice price in time. You will be Ok….your domain is very nice.

    I do not know where the phone numbers came from…

    I am just saying…it was no brainier, marketing/Branding wise for them too buy it.

    Just for the “type in traffic”

    Besides, I would rather market all their merchandise under: Cowboys.com than Dallas Cowboys.com

    Just to own to protect your “brand”…275k is nothing.

    It was a complete breakdown on the part of the Dallas Cowboys org…not to buy the domain.

    I bet it gets over 2K+ a day in type in traffic from people looking to buy NFL Cowboy merchandise or Tickets to a game.

    It would have paid for itself…within a year…most likely 4- 6 months during football season.

    Like I said…”no-brainier” for Jerry Jones…his Billionaire for God sakes

    Peace!
    Dan

    February 9th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    SDM

    This reply incorporates some of what I had written several months ago in another post, but is seems as relevant now as ever.

    When selecting domains for auction, the event host should offer a preference for domains submitted with developed websites. For live auction events, every domain name offered for sale should be accompanied by a fully developed website.

    The underlying message of choosing not to develop a high profile domain name is that we have little interest in collectively moving our industry forward on the way to enriching ourselves personally. So instead of seeing innovation and evolution in the process, all we see is the same domain names over and over and over and over again. Why break a sweat when an end-user will pay top dollar and do the heavy lifting for us?

    Think about it, a domain name is registered and sometime thereafter, without having generated even a hint of added value, it is put back on the auction block – often multiple times. The price of the domain name increases in value with each subsequent sale – if we’re fortunate. What has the domain owner done to expand the interest of end users in a way that will meaningfully grow our business? Of greatest importance, what is the perception we create for the outside world by the way we conduct our business?

    Is it any wonder that we are sometimes wrongly accused of cybersquatting?

    Imagine the difference in public perception if a live, premium auction event was preceded by end-users touring a convention hall filled with hundreds of flat screen displays demonstrating fully functioning versions of the websites that will be sold to the highest bidder along with the domain name.

    The event sponsor could send out invitations generated from a list of prospective purchasers submitted by the domain owners. Full color brochure with metrics and analytics data for each domain name could be made available at the site venue in advance of the auction. There’s so much more that could be done. With a long-term vision for our industry backed by expectations and high standards, our domain business can only grow more sophisticated and compelling with each and every subsequent auction event.

    Did you ever wonder why the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas offers more to its attendees than just a photocopy of a patent and an order pad? Could it be that it’s because they want to be the ones who control their own destiny?

    In my opinion that is far less likely to happen if we, as an industry, are not willing to do the hard work. For now, we can simply hope that the fates will be kind, but I think we can all agree that wishful thinking is not a sufficient substitute for a good business model.

    February 9th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Louise

    Hi, Wanted to thank you, Elliot, for the article and everyone that commented, because as a newbie, this is all interesting and insightful. Please feel assured, the lesson learned from comments on all the “auction” posts across the blogs is: junk domains are not welcome. Henceforth, please feel assured, I will no longer submit to auctions so that my domains do not tarnish the catalog. Actually, I feel like I don’t want to offer my wholesome domains alongside porn domains, so I want to walk away in any case, but it’s all for the good. Of 27 submissions, Moniker only accepted two: GeoSatellites.com, .net, and .org and ShrinkStomach.com, .net, and .org but stuck them in the Extended Auction alongside 2000 other domains, and they didn’t sell. I am GLAD they didn’t sell! Diminish my little portfolio, junk to outsiders, but meaningful to me.

    Thanx for listening!
    Louise

    February 9th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Elliot

    Aron and I had a discussion about what can be done to improve domain auctions, and he has part 2 on his blog:

    http://symbolics.com/elliot-and-arons-suggestions-part-ii-improving-the-domain-auctions-your-input-needed/

    February 10th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Dean

    Great topic of conversation, I have been asking several bloggers to address the topic of your article. As someone relatively new to the domain world, but not new to the auction, internet and marketing fields I have made several observations.

    1. PROFESSIONALISM, It just seems that in an industry that is looking to constantly ascertain it’s legitimacy and is sometimes looked down on by outsiders I find still a lot of discrepancy in some of those who claim to be “professional” The lack of replies to inquiries, submissions and questions that I have submitted to companies like Moniker and others associated with the TRAFFIC auctions astounds me. Never so much as a Thank You or Dear John reply to inquiries I made about the auction. Are my expectations too high to expect a return e-mail from a business associate whom I had made an inquiry to? It’s been a real turn off, and seems to me to be indicative of their general attitude when dealing with what are supposed to be professional companies associated with this auction.

    2. YOU CAN’T KEEP BEATING A DEAD HORSE! I totally agree about seeing the same names up for auction at different venues. I also think this industry needs a transfusion of fresh new blood. Some of the domains I see listed seem just so tired and lagging behind the times! I think we need to see more progressive forward thinking names related to technology and all the exciting vibrant new things that are happening in the world of technology and computers instead of names like: Facewhitening.com, Concreteblocks.com, Trainingbra.com, Prisonjobs.com etc, ad naseum… and the reserves I mean common!!

    Which brings me to my next point…

    3. CRONYISM, I think your article touched on this subject briefly, but I think it is much, much more rampant that what we think. I mean when I see names like the one’s I mentioned above I have to scratch my head and think what kind of idiot submitted these names and what kind of idiot allowed them to be listed and with those ridiculous reserves!! I also think this kind of nepotism hurts all of us (the industry) as a whole when a potential end user or outsider to the industry sees these kinds of names and has to wonder about the intelligence level and integrity of an event that allows and perpetuates the sale of such base low quality products at such ridiculous asking prices.

    Finally, I think that it’s great that someone has addressed some of the issues pertaining to domain auctions, I have many other petty grievances that I could point out, but would rather stay focused on the positive aspects of our industry and have hopes that things will improve in the future.

    February 11th, 2010 at 1:43 am

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