Frustrated With Sedo's "Listing Price"

Frustrated With Sedo’s “Listing Price”

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Sedo Listing Price

There are many things I like about Sedo, especially the people who work there. Two things frustrate me about the platform. The first point of frustration is the send to auction feature that I wrote about before. I strongly dislike that someone can make a private negotiation public, allowing others to participate. Others have like it, especially sellers, so that’s probably more of a personal opinion.

The second area of frustration for me is how Sedo’s “Listing Price” feature can easily be disregarded. When I see a Listing Price somewhere, I expect that to be similar to the asking price, which to me anyway, translates to what the owner wants for his or her domain name. I would expect this means that if I am willing to pay the listing price, that I will be able to buy the domain name. On Sedo sales threads after the offer is made, it’s even listed as “Desired Price.”

With the way Sedo works, I can also make an offer less than the listing price and can negotiate accordingly. The general idea is that if I offer less than the listing price, the owner will either stick to his listing price or attempt to negotiate a price that is somewhere between my offer and the asking price. However, it’s very easy for sellers to ignore their listing price and ask for an exorbitant figure.

Yesterday afternoon, I saw a domain name with a $1,000 listing price on Sedo. I offered $600 for the domain name figuring that it was close enough that the owner would be willing to negotiate. Worse case scenario would be that the owner replies letting me know the price is $1,000 and it’s firm. To my chagrin, the owner quickly replied and told me the price is $10,000.

I don’t understand why a domain owner is able to have a $1,000 listing price and then jack it up 10x when an offer is made. I do get that domain values and prices are dynamic and change based on news, comps, and other information, but it should be the responsibility of the seller to update his or her listing price.

If I wasn’t involved in the domain investment space and I was trying to buy a domain name like this, I would think domain investors are sketchy for having a listing price and then jacking it up when interest is shown.


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 (36)

    Acro

    Simple: when you have a listing price of $1,000 you scare off plenty a lowballer that’d otherwise offer $20 for it.

    As long as the listing price isn’t a BIN price, I see nothing wrong with it, as long as the ‘small print’ at Sedo explains what the listing price represents.

    Regarding the send to auction feature, as a seller I welcome(d) the ability to send non-flexible buyers into a bidding frenzy with other potential buyers. I’ve blogged about this extensively at http://acro.net/blog/domains/zfbot-did-it-how-i-doubled-my-sedo-sale-money-with-a-simple-email/

    April 18th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Theo,

      There is another way to avoid lowballers, such as setting a minimum bid. For example, the person with a $1,000 listing price can set a $800 minimum bid to avoid the BS $60 offer.

      In what other business anywhere is the actual price greater than the “listing price?” In the collectibles world (art, sports cards, memorabilia…etc), galleries have a listing price and then they often mark it down. In real estate, home owners have a listing price and unless they receive multiple bids at the same time, they are lucky to get their list price.

      In almost all cases I can think of, a seller would consider himself or herself lucky to get the listing price.

      If I was an end user buyer that pitched the acquisition of a domain name to my board of directors and the price was raised like it was, I would have been furious and thought it was a scam.

      April 18th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      Elliot Silver

      BTW, send to auction feature is fine if you’re a seller but sucks if you’re a buyer trying to work covertly. I guess there’s nothing wrong with using it since it’s an option. However, I think the term “listing price” is deceptive since it’s not the listed price but maybe a guideline if I am being generous, since $1k to $10k isn’t really close in my situation.

      April 18th, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Ron

      Real estate many agents would list houses with a lower listing price, hoping to get into a bidding war, happens all the time…

      April 18th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Never seen that. I guess that might work if you have a market where supply is low and demand is high.

      At the end of the day though, they sell to the high bidder, right?

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Elliot Silver

      The other thing with real estate is that it’s easy to get a market value for a home, so everyone would know if the price is undervalued and meant to get offers. For instance, a professional could asses the value of a million dollar home within 10% pretty easily using a variety of tools.

      With the domain market, you could ask 20 people the value of a name and you’d get 20 replies probably all over the chart.

      Underpricing a name under the guise of the listing price doesn’t really work in the domain market.

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      HowieCrosby

      @Elliot, isnt that the only way to enter domains into Sedo auction (newbie, was webname estate) But I can imagine that can be putting the nose out of the user placing the offer.

      April 19th, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Chris

    On the second point, that definitely is sketchy to me and if you list an “asking price” I’m right there with you that I’m thinking that is most I will pay but maybe there is room underneath.

    For the first point, I can see it being annoying to a potential buyer but I also think that it is a rare domain that is going to randomly get a second bidder on the name. If the name were really nice and I could time it perfectly to end with say a great domain auction then maybe but otherwise I think it is a waste of both parties time. It’s like taking a full court shot at the buzzer. Every 1000 times you score.

    April 18th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    RaTGeaD

    i think the biggest thing you don’t understand is that SEDO SUCKS!!! i have a few names that i’ve listed there from over ten years ago and they won’t let let me take them down unless i cancel each individual offer that’s ever been made. i don’t have that much antipathy toward any site that just puts up a a lot of domains and pockets 20% for doing nothing… but i just can’t get out of getting $60 offers for six figure names. TL:DR SEDO SUCKS.
    just my opinion… other opinions may differ.

    April 18th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I disagree, and I think the millions of dollars in sales they move every quarter shows that they have a solid business model. I happen to think this particular aspect stinks.

      April 18th, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Ron

      Sedo has not listened to the money, they wrote off some of their best portfolios with the godaddy integration, very sad, the exit of key management was another sign of things to come.

      The platform is solid, and access to the european market is a bonus, but they are not executing…

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Andrew

      Have you stopped to wonder if Sedo makes enough money from the Go Daddy integration to justify the loss some of domains listed for sale?

      They’re not idiots.

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Luke Summers

      Personally I think the more eyeballs that see my domains the better, and I’ve already had sales that have come through Go Daddy.

      I really don’t understand the big deal, the idea of a marketplace is to provide potential buyers, the more the better.

      Go Daddy represents a big pool of potential buyers, I was stoked when they were added as a partner.

      April 18th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    todd

    Did you make your offer through Sedo or did you contact the owner through the whois and make the offer?

    April 18th, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Never contacted the owner directly. I only made the offer via Sedo.

      April 18th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    todd

    Since you made the offer through sedo why don’t you make another inquiry through the whois just to see how he reacts

    April 18th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Elliot Silver

      There are far too many opportunities out there to waste time with someone who wants to play games, especially for just a $1k name.

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Aron

      Don’t you mean a $10,000 name.
      :)
      I’m with you on this one.

      I had a similar experience recently and realized that the listing price is totally irrelevant.
      Might as well say the name is 5 cents if it serves ZERO basis for establishing an asking price.

      – Aron

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Ron

    This is something that many seasoned domainers know, the BIN price is instant checkout with BUY IT NOW button.

    The list price, you can actually fill in an amount, listing price always tends to be lower to get negotiation started, you can spend days on sedo making offers on artificially low list price domains, the owners will never sell them, meant to reel fish in, keep them on the hook sort of…

    Sedo needs to fix this, not the domainers issue, they are using the tools of the platform to get the best return on their investment.

    April 18th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I do know the difference – been there before. I don’t think it’s intuitive though and don’t see the logic behind it.

      From my perspective, it’s playing games, and I assume a corporate buyer would be even less enthused about it.

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    todd

    Just curious, is the name worth $10,000 to an end user or is the guy just way off in his valuation

    April 18th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Not now, but maybe in the future. I don’t think that matters much though. My gripe is with how the price is presented on Sedo.

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      todd

      Totally understand, but was just curious if he was even in the ballpark in his valuation

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I don’t know what you would consider the ballpark. As you can see, he offered it to me for $10,000 so I can only guess that’s what he thinks it’s worth.

      My issue is that Sedo allows sellers to set a listing price that appears to be the price it will take to buy it.

      April 18th, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Andrew

    I’m with Elliot on this one. “Desired Price” is poorly worded at best. It should probably be removed altogether.

    April 18th, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Domenclature.com

    I understand the spirit of what Elliot is complaining about, and it pertains to Sedo, not the seller.

    However, in order for me to take sides, I need more information, such as the domain name in question. If the the name is say Sex.com, it will be hard to side with Elliot.

    I don’t see why the name should not be revealed since the culprit the form the basis of the complaint is named, and that would be Sedo, so why not release the rest of the facts? The domain name would be nice to release.

    April 18th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I can tell you his “listing price” was $1,000 and he countered at $10,000. We aren’t talking about a big name here. He apparently valued it at $10,000 which I could have bought it at had I thought it was worth that much.

      I don’t want to release the name because then the focus of this discussion would change. I don’t want the seller to see this and feel the need to get defensive.

      I think he was playing games, but it’s the platform that allowed him to do it.

      If, for example, I posted a name on DN Forum with my “Listing Price” and someone said “sold” I am quite sure I would get a whole bunch of flack if I didn’t sell it and said, actually, BIN is 10x the listing price.

      April 18th, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    JointVenturefy.com

    @Elliot my friend, and you are my friend:

    “If, for example, I posted a name on DN Forum with my “Listing Price” and someone said “sold” I am quite sure I would get a whole bunch of flack if I didn’t sell it and said, actually, BIN is 10x the listing price”. – Elliot

    With all due respect, that is not what happened in your story at Sedo. Apparently you made an offer, a low-ball offer; consequently, the seller had all right to change price. The seller could have gone to $5,000, $7,200, $50,000, or stamped “Not for sell at any price”, if he chose to. Because no binding contract had been consumed heretofore, the seller is in charge of his asset.

    Now, the scenario where you point to, to wit, accepting the BIN price, would have created a contract, of which the seller will be obligated to honor, that situation would have invoked Sedo’s intervention to force the seller to honor the price. But once you made an offer, the seller can start afresh with a new price offering. I am indulging you in this debate because I think it is important in other scenarios. Thank you.

    April 18th, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Elliot Silver

      It’s all true, but if you said you wanted $1,000 for a name, and I offered you $600, I would hardly think that’s a low-ball offer.

      The owner had every right to do what he did. The issue is that Sedo’s language on the website makes it appear that the seller is asking a price and it’s confusing for a buyer if that price suddenly increases 10 fold.

      In the scenario I mentioned in my comment reply to you above, I said if I went to DN Forum and said my “Listing Price” is $1,000 people would assume that language is the same as me saying it’s my “Buy It Now price” and if someone posted “sold” they would assume we have a deal.

      The language is confusing, no?

      April 18th, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Domenclature.com

      “It’s all true, but if you said you wanted $1,000 for a name, and I offered you $600, I would hardly think that’s a low-ball offer”. – Elliot

      Pardon me, I thought this important enough to respond.

      Again, it depends on the domain name, which is why I insist on its revelation. What determines a low-ball offer is NOT the asking price, but rather, the VALUE of the domain in question. As an example again, if the domain in question is Ass.com or Sex.com, and you countered with a $600 offer, it will be considered a low-ball offer by me, and actually, by most reasonable people, including yourself. It wouldn’t matter what the seller stipulated as an asking price. Nothing prohibits a buyer from offering more money than an asking price, and vice versa, the seller. I also notice your use of asking price interchangeably with Buy it Now Price; I believe the difference was pointed out by another commentator.

      In conclusion, we both share the condemnation of Sedo’s practices. We differ in thought about revelation of the domain name in question. Me, asserting that it is necessary for an accurate discourse, and you disagreeing. Therefore, we agree to disagree, without being disagreeable. 😉

      April 19th, 2013 at 2:47 am

    JointVenturefy.com

    BTW, I used our JointVenturefy.com name to leave a farewell comment for Bill Sweetman, and didn’t change over to our Domenclature.com for continuation of our discussion here, sorry if that created any unintended confusion.

    I agree that it is a confusing language, and actually, an unreasonable thing for both the seller, and Sedo to do. My point was that, in order to ascertain, and establish the degree of infraction, to the point of taking sides, I would need to know the domain name. Since you’ve stated the reasons why such information should not be divulged, I have accepted your explanation, and I thank, and excuse you.

    April 18th, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Laurence

    Elliot, This has happened to me on Sedo, the “Listing Price” was $3500.00

    I offered full price of $3500.00 and he countered with $9600.00

    I agree the “Listing Price” should have some close relationship to a price they are willing to sell for.

    Otherwise why put a price at all, it is meant to be a guide for the purchaser.

    April 18th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Elliot Silver

      Bingo. It’s always tough to figure out what to offer with these.

      If you offer full price, the seller is likely to think his list price was too low and jack it up.

      That’s the reason I offered $600 in my case. I would have paid $1,000 but I was trying to prevent what happened to you from happening to me.

      April 18th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    jimmy

    I have quite buying on sedo. Especially because of the 7 day auction BS. If I’m looking at 2 different domains and I put bids in on both to see which one will be a better deal for me, I don’t want to wait 7 days to pay one because some idiot seller wants to try to squeeze a couple more bucks out of me.

    I’ve had it where in your scenario, I actually offer the 1,000 and they still don’t take it and come back with a crazy price.

    Sedo sucks. I’m over it.

    April 18th, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Bruce

    The gist to much of this seems when Sedo uses
    Listing Price
    or
    Desired Price

    they should use
    Minimum Offer

    April 19th, 2013 at 2:49 am

    brand

    Hmmm, so im sitting here thinking on trying to sell a few domains at sedo, cause i list them now on godaddy in the featured section, but its a ghost town i don’t think anyone even looks in that section cause its all about expired domains at godaddy.
    then i got a fake bidder for $5000 on a domain at godaddy, now people are having problems with sedo.
    i guess there is no good place to buy or sell domains.
    but it was nice of godaddy to offer me 20% off my next order of $65 or more for my inconvenience on the fake bid.. haha.

    April 21st, 2013 at 6:46 pm

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