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  • Next Week’s Auctions are Important for Domain Industry

    1. BY - Feb 15, 2008
    2. Domain Sales
    3. 31 Comments

    Geodomain and TRAFFIC auctions conclude next week; important for industry.

    With all of the doom and gloom in the economy and questions surrounding the value of domain names, next week will be an important one for the domain name industry.

    First, Sedo’s Geodomain auction will end on February 20. The auction has already racked up over $2 million in bids, but none of the big ticket domains have reached their reserves. Iraq.com currently has a bid of 400,000 EUR and the domain has a reserve between 500,000 EUR and 1,000,000 EUR. Arabia is at $350,000, still below the reserve of at least $500,000. Iran.com is at $300,000 and has a reserve of under $500,000. Iran.com sold for $400,000 in June 2007, so I anticipate a reserve of more than that. You may recall that the domain received a bid of $735,000 in December, but the bid turned out to be bogus.

    Second, the TRAFFIC live domain auction takes place next week. There are lots of great domains in the auction, but will the big ticket bidders show up? Prospects are good, given that this is Moniker’s first TRAFFIC auction that will be simulcast through SnapNames’ online bidding software. People that don’t go to the conference can bid without submitting absentee or phone bids. This should boost sale prices.

    Also, for the first time ever, TRAFFIC’s domain auction will take place on two days. On Monday at 8:30 PST there will be a no/low reserve auction featuring domains such as Washington.biz, VideoGames.info, and InsurancePayments.com. The main auction takes place Wednesday, February 20 at 3:30 PST. Some of the domains that look promising at current reserve prices include:

    DVDs.com $100k-$250k
    Husband.com $50k-$100k
    Handcrafted.com $10k-$25k
    Baseball.net $25k-$50k
    Antidepressant.com $25k-$50k
    Trusts.com and LivingTrusts.com $100k-$250k
    SanJuan.com $250k-$500k
    SearchEngines.com $50k-$100k
    Offer.com $100k-$250k
    Cotton.com $10k-$25k
    Confidential.com $25k-$50k
    iam.com $1-$5k

    Will the auctions be successful and give momentum to the industry? Or will they prove lackluster and cast more doubt? “Frank”ly, it depends on if a few key people show up with their wallets.

31 Comments
  • This is something I’ve talked about with several people. This auction is probably one of the most important yet. Since 2 of us feel that way you can rest assured others are feeling the same. If the auction is off to a slow start, watch for some usual suspects to come in with big bids in an attempt to keep the positive press rolling.

  • @Adam – good point. If it’s not going well, it’s in the big guys’ best interest to get things going even if they have to ‘over bid’.

    If it doesn’t go well, then we might be looking at some buying opportunities in the coming months.

  • It would be good for the prices to drop, as this would give us little guys more buying opportunites for premium domains.

  • I still take a long term view and place more importance on the gradual growth we have observed in the industry over the last 5 years. Would be great to see forward momentum continue with a highly successful TRAFFIC. But if it doesn’t do record numbers, it is more likely representative of the cyclical rest period most industries experience periodically. And not some sign that all has come to an end.

    The greater context is what matters here and that is irrefutably positive (for the domain industry) in my view. I’ll tell you, there are some powerfully attractive names in there, and will be exciting news to talk about.

  • How do you submit a domain name to be submitted for the auction there? They have all kinds of info on the TRAFFIC site except about that.

  • Actually the next two weeks are extremely important to the domain industry. We also have the Affiliate Summit at the Rio in Las Vegas on the 24th, with Moniker hosting an auction on the 25th.
    In order to bring in more bidders to all of these events it is vital to publicize in the mainstream press. When the industry can bring in end users for these auctions is when we will finally realize the domain dream.
    We can all do our part by reaching out to our own contacts within businesses and media to let them know about these events. If you have domains for sale in these auctions research who might be interested in your domain.
    Google the keywords in your domain and see who is paying for the sponsored links. Go to their websites contact page and drop them a line about the auction and what you have up for auction. They may never hear about it unless you bring it to their attention. Do yourself a favor by making sure that your domain is very relevant, and keep your e-mail brief.
    If we all do our part we can increase awareness about these auctions by adding more bidders which will invariably bring sales higher which is in everyone’s interest.

  • renata,
    Go to http://www.moniker.com to submit domains to their auctions. Good Luck!

  • Regardless of the auction’s outcome, The domain industry is still an attractive mystery to the general public.

    The downward turn of the economy has brought out many investors looking for hidden opportunities online.

  • @ Kelly – I’m dissapointed it took so long for the list to be released this time. That makes it hard to market, especially with the first part of the auction taking place on a U.S. holiday.

  • I completely agree. I made several calls to Moniker and their explanation for the delay was the deal with Oversee and Snapnames and that they are short-staffed and working on expanding the size of their office space.
    I know that they also realize the value of getting the list out quickly so research can be done by buyers, and to get the most publicity possible so that we can get more buyers in play.
    Meanwhile, I think that until they get up to speed, all interested parties need to do their part to get the word out. I have 4 domains in the auction and I have been working on contacting organizations that may have a need for the domain. I also have contacts in areas that apply to other domains that I don’t own that I am e-mailing.
    If the auctions do really well for domains across the board we will all benefit in the long term. Generics going for 6-7 figures are awesome, but 2-3 keyword, descriptive or call for action domains, showing great sales will be what will keep this industry moving. It’s those domains that the average business owner or ad agency will be able to buy. When those domains are developed and publicized is when this industry will reach critical mass and all of the domain investors will profit.
    The generic domains are huge news and have brought mainstream press to the party. Now we have to keep the party going by sending out more invitations.
    Promote your domains and help promote other’s. What goes around comes around!

  • @ Kelly -that’s a reasonable but unfortunate explaction from Moniker. I think the combo of Moniker and SnapNames will be terrific, so I’ll give them a bye on this one :)

    That said, I think most live domain auctions are poorly organized. Oversee did an excellent job with its DomainFEST one by setting clear deadlines for submission and selection, and provided them well in advance. It’s hard to ask domain owners to ‘hold up’ there domains for an extra month, but the added exposure they can get is tremendous.

    Good luck with your domains in the auction.

  • I agree that it was a weak explanation, but I received it from a sales rep -not Monte- so I had to let it go at that point. No point ruminating over it… even though you can’t help but wonder what the possibilities might have been if the list was up earlier…
    Submissions for TRAFFIC – Disney are due March 4th and the show is May 20th, so perhaps they will have it worked out by then.
    Another suggestion that I have mentioned to Moniker is that they allow a brief description of the domain, provided by the owner. It could either be published in the catalogue or on the screen during the live auction. Moniker could set the parameters. I think it could be very helpful in describing aspects of the domain that might enhance the sale.
    For example, neonatalunit.com could be described as having great Geo sub-domain potential: Miami.neonatalunit.com, NewYork.neonatalunit.com etc… for every major city. It would be a great directory! Or of course, using the domain as an email address and charging for the use: SinaiMedical@neonatalunit.com. It’s a great way for a hospital to track incoming mail generated from a listing on that site.
    Any way, that’s just one domain. I own a few domains in the nanotechnology field that no one would consider buying unless they knew what I do about the latest research. So until that news becomes general knowledge those domains appear to be worthless. If someone purchased them now and started development, they would be ready and first in line to catch a huge wave.
    So meanwhile, I balance options of either developing on my own or sales to end users through my own marketing efforts.
    Maybe, if others get on the bandwagon, the auctions will let the domain owners suggest some marketing strategies.
    What are your thoughts on domain descriptions?

  • As I have stated for years — the domain industry has to reach out beyond its own borders and engage the main business sector, as in Fortune 1000 companies and beyond. The domain industry has become incestuous, and it’s not really fun keeping domain values “in the family”, so to speak.

    I’m very excited about Oversee’s purchase of both Snapnames and Moniker, because with this powerhouse of domain auctioning, and the financing behind them, they can absolutely start an advertising department that reaches out to thousands of companies that meet the category criteria relevance of the domains being offered in their auctions.

    It’s really not hard to understand. It’s just about PROMOTION of our product to the proper market, and I believe Oversee can accomplish this in the coming year.

    I heartily encourage everyone in this industry to support all domain auctions in the coming months, and to participate. Good luck to all!

  • What is interesting is the idea of putting domain names into a 401k or retirement committed fund: Especially for the .info and .biz names.

    I did say this on the other panel: and it is against the grain a bit, but I Have to say .mobi buyers beware. Insiders locked up all the good .mobi names that might have any distant chance of being worth something. The insiders will try to hype the .mobi endings and make it seem sexy, but its a figment of imagination. Wouldn’t be surprised if .mobi fails completely. .mobi has been choked out, and will not grow as free content, because no one will type in .mobi because there wont be content there.

  • I’d love to know how much promotion goes on.

    Please tell me that Moniker has 10 people on the phone calling up every potential brick and mortar bidder for the top 200 names? I have a feeling they don’t, and that a lot of press releases and form letters get sent out.

    Put me on the job, I’ll do it.

    As for the success of the auction, part of me hopes it doesn’t go so hot so I can stock up….

  • I wouldnt mind having iraq.com or .org

  • @ Gordon – there wasn’t much promotion this time around given the short turnaround from domain selection to the auction. The simple fact is that very few bricks and mortar companies show up to these auctions.

  • Andrew – I figured very few people would show up to these – but Imagine the excitement if a representative of P&G or someone showed up – even if just to watch.

    I looked through the list and immediately thought of people i personally know outside the domain space that should be bidding on some of these names.

  • Gordon,
    Check out post #10. Start e-mailing the people you know that should be bidding on the domains. Send them a link to Snapnames or Moniker’s site to make it easy. Even if we get more outsiders just watching- think of the talk around the water cooler after the auction. May inspire some adv. guys to talk to their execs….

  • ANDREW said “The simple fact is that very few bricks and mortar companies show up to these auctions.”

    My point exactly. Domain values will stagnate if that doesn’t change this year. Less domains will sell, and more domains will be sold for less, unless they are “super domains”.

    The domain auction sites need to factor in reasonable marketing efforts to make these domains known to the business sector outside the domain industry. The marketing has to be well organized, with detailed but easy to understand online education of “direct navigation” “targeted domain marketing” “generic domain values” “secondary branding” values of domain names. In other words, the business sector has to “get it” about the value of domains in their online (and offline) marketing and sales.

  • @ 19/20: Kelly and Stephen, I think it will be hard to get the big cos to actually participate in the auctions. It’s too complicated. They like to just buy things. Kelly, why not contact these likely buyers without putting your domains in auction? I’ve had success with that.

  • I have made contact with some companies for a few of my domains that would be a great fit and there has been some interest on their side. Unfortunately, it is a huge effort to get them to understand the value (my price) for the domain. I have sent links to all relevant sites listing prices realized, and pointed them to blogs and news articles for supporting evidence. I have also made the case using page views of Googles Traffic Estimator so they can get an idea how much it would cost them to rank in the 1-3 position with Adwords x 365 days x 5-10 years. Those results can be 5-6 figures!
    I have a continuing dialogue with a few companies, but some I had no luck with.
    I have also had interested parties contact me about some domains that I had already submitted with Moniker. In those cases I contacted my rep to handle since the contract with Moniker doesn’t allow a sale outside their venue once you have submitted domains with them…
    I will watch what happens in the silent auction this week and the Affiliate Summit next week and see what I sell and for how much. Then I can reevaluate whether to hold for another 6-12 months to let the market catch up. I haven’t submitted every domain with them, so that leaves me free to give the old-fashioned cold call a go if I choose.

    I really have a good feeling that Moniker aligned with SnapNames will increase PR and marketing efforts outside the industry. They really have everything to gain in that respect. They are, with others, the backbone and founding father’s of this great industry and geniuses in forward thinking so we might chalk up some of these mishaps to major growing pains.
    I believe that for my domains, an auction is the best avenue to realize the highest prices. I will just continue to focus on reaching out to companies to let them know when suitable domains are available to them – and encourage my rep at Moniker to do the same. It will only be a short time before the brick and mortars without a great domain will take notice and step up to buy. Meanwhile, I am not giving up any domain for a pittance. I’ll hold till the timing is right.

  • KELLY: “I really have a good feeling that Moniker aligned with SnapNames will increase PR and marketing efforts outside the industry. They really have everything to gain in that respect. They are, with others, the backbone and founding father’s of this great industry and geniuses in forward thinking so we might chalk up some of these mishaps to major growing pains.”

    Thanks, Kelly, for affirming my estimation of Oversee in the future. Additionally, there are other opportunities and “blow it wide open” juggernaut companies behind the scene that will help push domains into the business sector. Stay tuned!

    Great article, Andrew… thanks.

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  • Ok… after giving Moniker more than the benefit of doubt in my earlier posts, I have now reached maximum frustration with them. The Affiliate Auction begins at 3:00pm on Monday and is now 5pm cst on Friday and the auction list is not out….
    No possibility for a domain owner to know if their property will be up for auction, and no time for us or them to do any decent publicity on the domains.
    Also, what possible buyer has any chance to do research on any names they might be interested in? It is already the weekend, and everyone headed to the Summit now has a million things to do before they get there. How do you research domains 10,000 feet in the air with no internet connection???
    I called Moniker, once again, a few hours ago and the rep that answered is just as befuddled. Their commission hinges on the same things that sales rely on – bidders!
    Another interesting tidbit: no one is mentioning this! All quiet on the domain front. Is anybody else wondering what is going on?

  • @ 26 Kelly – I personally have stopped submitting domains for auctions until ‘the air clears’. I still think Moniker is the best way to get top dollar for domains quickly, but I want to give them time to sort things out. Part of the reason results from the last auction were ‘mediocre’ in my mind was that there was no time to research, line up financing, etc.

  • I am really hoping that the “sold-out” Affiliate Summit’s auction will be an “out of industry” success for domain sellers. The affiliate businesses pay a lot of money to Google to rank on their keyword searches, so maybe that knowledge will translate into some buying from this group. All I know is that I wouldn’t want my competitor to own the keyword search for my product or service. I have some great domains in the auction, I will let you all know how it shakes out.

  • Kelly, hopefully this Affiliate Summit auction do better than the last one. It’s proving hard to transfer Moniker’s success to these non-domainer conferences.

  • snapnames and moniker and working to closely. the industry needs more players at the top and not a monopoly. The affiliate summit will be better than last year as the last one was awful

  • @snes – SnapNames and Moniker are owned by the same company.

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