Moniker Auction Nets $4.4 Million, sells for $850,000

Moniker’s live domain auction ends with mixed results.

If tonight’s domain name auction was a barometer for the domain industry, we know nothing more than we did before the auction began. The results were, well, mediocre.

Before it began, I set a personal range for the auction. Anything less than $4 million would be a failure, anything greater than $6M would be a success. The auction ended up squarely in the middle, with $4.4 million changing hands (including $200,000 from Monday).

Here’s my take:

-.Mobi did very well, with going for $20,000, for $60,000, for $26,000, for $110,000, and for $20,000.

-A very low percentage of domains sold. When you combine it with the results of Monday’s live auction the sell rate is better, but still not great. A lot of domains didn’t meet their reserves.

-I’m not a fan of splitting the auction between low reserve and high reserve domains across two days. SnapNames pioneered this with the DOMAINfest auction last month. It keeps enthusiasm down, suppresses prices of lower-priced domains, and keeps smaller players from being interested in the main auction. With all of the domains that were passed tonight, even some low value sales mixed in between would have kept the tempo upbeat.

Here are the sold domains. These were captured live, so the results are not final. 850000 470000 300000 200000
[Adult names] 110000 110000 110000 110000 100000 92500 85000
SKINNY.COM 80000 and 80000 75000 70000 62500 60000 55000 52500 45000 45000 37500 36000 35000 35000 35000 34500 30000 30000 30000 29500 27500 26000 25000 25000 22500 20000 20000 20000 20000 20000 18500 18000 17700 17500 17500 17500 17500 17000 17000 17000 17000 17000 17000
USEDSNOWMOBILES.COM 16000 16000 15000 15000
WORLDPHONES.COM 15000 15000 15000 14000 12000 12000 12000 11000 11000 10500 10000 10000 9750 8500 8000 8000
DUI.MOBI 7000 7000 7000 7000 6000 and 6000 5000 4000


  1. says

    I was unable to track the auction, but it appears from the sales list that there was substantial interest. As stated, .mobi made a pretty nice showing, and Computer.US went for $17,000. I would like to have seen more .US, .biz, .info, and .TV domains included in the auction. In particular, was a very good value as checking lottery numbers is extremely popular online and perfect for mobile internet.

  2. Franois says

    I didn’t bid in this auction for the same reason I didn’t bid in DomainFest:
    The auction started 0h30 of the night (Paris time).
    I am wondering when they will stop starting auction the afternoon in pacific time.
    Start these auctions the morning in Pacific times and the auctions will happen at beter hours for the rest of the world.

  3. says

    Monikers use of the live online bidding certainly seemed to increase the interest in the names. While they didn’t sell any million dollar names, sellers and buyers needed to be a little closer in what values of names are in the marketplace. This show was an excellent example of a well run, well participated domain name auction and one I watched from end to end. As the owner of hundreds of hundreds of domain names, it’s nice to sell value and possiblities for my names I can’t wait for Miami. Nice work Monte, and all the staff at Moniker.

  4. Andrew says

    I agree that the online bidding helped. With regards to seller and buyer expectations, one great example is I believe the bidding started at $10k and had a reserve between $10k-$25k. I tried to bid online, but other people were bidding so fast and furiously that I couldn’t even get my bids in. It finished at $75k. If the reserve were set at $50k, the auction wouldn’t have drawn in as many people and wouldn’t have finished as high.

  5. Andrew says

    @ 2 – the time was perfect for just about everyone in the U.S., however. It didn’t run too late and didn’t start too early.

  6. Franois says

    Glad it was perfect for you Andrew.
    The problem is USA is just one country of the world…
    If you want to sell at higher prices and more domains you don’t have to ignore domain investors outside USA.
    I complaint because it’s the second time I wanted to bid but was unable due to this very bad timing.
    TRAFFIC, MONIKER, OVERSEE… and domain owners lost probably another pair of millions dollars of sales due to this fact.
    You can accomodate the timing so it’s good for Americans and others countries.
    Another thing that can be done is let people bid the 24/48 hours before the live auction, this way one that could be online for the auction time have a chance to place his offer.

  7. Andrew says

    I completely agree and am not trying to say the US is all that matters. It’s just that if it started in the morning it might miss a lot of US investors.

    There is a solution — you can bid as far in advance as you want through an absentee bid. You just fill out a simple form and fax it to Moniker.

  8. Francois says

    Ok, then it makes sense.
    I am sorry, I ignored most US investors only work the aternoon because the morning they continue sleeping.
    I just defend worlwide investors that deserve to at least can sleep the night…

  9. says

    What a surprise got such a high price! I would not have thought it’s that interesting. Thanks for posting the list. It gives one an idea on how to price similar names to the ones sold.

  10. says going for what it did surprised me also. Just go to show that one mans meat is another mans poison.LOL. As for the comments about when the auction started. I’ll agree that overseas buyers are issues when running from Vegas but there isn’t any right time. This has always been a US(VEGAS) event and normally you had to fly in. The fact that you could even put in a bid remotely opened the event to the entire world. If you want something bad enough, you’ll drink a cup of coffee.
    Scott Neuman

  11. says

    – from the domains blog

    the TRAFFIC Live auction did 4.3 million in sales so far with the online extended still going on.
    Some are sounding the alarm that this is a bad sign for the domain industry, since the auction did quite a bit less than the Miami TRAFFIC auction held in October.
    However, you need to look at the big picture:
    • Most importantly, which held an auction just three weeks ago did over 3.1 million dollars in their live auction and another 1 million dollars in the silent auction.
    In the past, many of the domains that sold at domainfest would have been submitted and been sold at TRAFFIC.
    The silent TRAFFIC auction should do 1-2 Million dollars next week, as I would expect, then the combined amount for this TRAFFIC show would be $5,500,000-$6,500,000 (the live, silent and no reserve auction which did almost 200K on Monday night). Including the domainfest auction the total will be $9,500,000-$10,500,000.
    $10 Million+ in domain sales within a month is pretty good in my book. Also don’t forget there was an auction at the idate show, which was also held within this same three week period that produced another $160K in Sales.
    For comparison sake the Miami TRAFFIC show was held in October 2007. The show previous to that was the TRAFFIC New York show that was held in June.
    • This TRAFFIC auction was top heavy with expensive names – this was on purpose. There were 60 names out of 234 priced with a reserve of $100,000 or more. This translates into over 30% of the domains offered for sale. At Traffic Miami there were only 36 domains in this price range. This caused a loss, assuming 20K domains in their place, of at least another $500K in sales.
    • The most important factor in whether a domain is going to sell at auction is the reserve price. Take a name like which had a $10K reserve and sold for just short of 100K. One needs to price their names not at the top price they would like the name to sell for but at a price that will attract interest and bidding.
    Lastly, we are in a depressed market from an economical point of view. Many in the domain industry are concerned about PPC income over the next 12 months and Yahoo just took away all arbitrage from their PPC publishers. This has a 30% negative impact on revenue for most monetizing their domains through Yahoo. Google continues to put pressure on their publisher network by announcing that domains in kiting and tasting will not be able to be monetized in the future and they are getting very strict on adult.

    Overall, the auction did just very well and we will continue to push forward. We will be in Europe two times having auctions in the next 5 months with the domainer meeting in Paris in June and CAC auction in Amsterdam in April….so you all will be able to bid during your time.

  12. says

    I completely agree with Mr Cahn’s statements. I don’t see how this event nor the events recently in the past could be considered poor in any respect. The market seems even or growing. 8 years ago, you’d never see the average prices of domains in this price range. It’s very much like land. They only made so many of one name and location. I’ll looking forward to the future traffic shows.
    Scott Neuman – President

  13. says

    Great to see .mobi doing so well considering all the naysayers not too long ago. I was considering putting in this recent auction as it may have done fairly well. Maybe next time.

  14. says

    Andrew, I don’t agree that .mobi did very well. While the sales were OK, two weeks ago, on February 7, Rick predicted on his blog: “I would expect at least 2-4 of the .mobi domains will easily break the record. I would think that and will shatter the record.” I don’t think Rick was alone in this expectation – this was what was expected in the general community. In light of this, I’d say .mobi’s showing was, like the rest of the auction, mediocre.

  15. Andrew says

    Monte and Scott – note that nowhere did I say the auction went poorly. In fact, I said it was not failure. It also wasn’t a resounding success.

    I think the low sell rate was the biggest concern.

  16. Andrew says

    @ Jeff – it’s a matter of perspective. Compared to the last Sedo .mobi auction the results were poor for .mobis. But those prices were outrageous. And so, quite frankly, was $200k for So I think 6 figures for pretty much any .mobi is good. Compared to recent sales, I must say that seemed low.

  17. Andrew says

    Scott, what dollar figure would you call a “resounding success”? $1M? $3M? My main concern was the number of domains that didn’t sell, followed by the lower-than-usual sales total.

    But I want to be clear, too. Moniker is the market leader in live auctions and does it very well. They have moved this industry forward, and I have nothing but respect for them. This is NOT a failure.

  18. johndaniels says

    Talk about buying blue sky: dont the .mobi names generate, like, zero traffic? what would they be buying then? spec? Ive got some domains that generate 0 traffic you can have for half that, friend!

    All i can say is: ouch. Whoever bought that is either sleeping off their vegas hangover and reachin’ for the alka seltzer, or got caught up in the ;insider hype” which is all this domain name is: Just like th article on this site is trying to pmp .mobi. hype, no real value or substance. Certainly not enough (if any) traffic to justify that level of speculation. might be good for spontanious road trips…but porn? just go to

  19. johndaniels says

    Its called “ruinous market saturation. Thats why this auction failed. more useless domain name endings, and more ‘liberalization’ and more greed based saturation will just make it harder on all of us.

    The domain area is not dead: the value systems just are seeing less support for junk multi word domains: Because frankly theres nothing special about them.

  20. says

    Before anyone starts ringing the fire alarm, please take this into consideration:

    During Wednesday’s TRAFFIC luncheon, Ron Jackson announced that $21,000,000 of domain names sold in January 2007.

    Ron then said that January 2008 is on track to do no less than $25,000,000 in gross domain name sales.

  21. Andrew says

    @ johndaniels – Oh yeah, it’s pure speculation. The speculation is that .mobi will catch on and people will actually use it. If that happens, it (maybe) pays off. If it doesn’t, then the .mobi domains are virtually worthless.

    I’m getting ready to write my latest .mobi summary…stay tuned.

  22. says

    The very fact that there are so many sellers flooding the gates, its a wonder the sales prices have held up as well as they have. Of all the asset classes we have followed over the years domain names are on steroids x 100

    We are experiencing a lack mentality on the part of domainers. This fear can be smelled by buyers, and they love it. Do you understand you control letters of the alphabet that drive eBiz? Domainers are gate keepers and key holders. Don’t panic and know you are in control. In the end all assets are sold for the value that the seller holds. You are in control, keep your powder dry and know what your names are worth.

  23. Andrew says

    @ 24 Jeff – Man, I wish I could find those eager sellers. My experience over the past month is that everyone I contact about their domains still thinks they’re worth 10x more than I think they’re worth :)

  24. Francois says


    Just got a mail saying the next live auction is also scheduleded at 3h00 PM PST.

    Too bad you was purchased by a Californian company ( so now all your auctions are no longer available to Europe :(

    With a New York or Florida buyer Europe will have be really more happy and you will have make more milions dollars sales…

    A BIG lost for the domaining this purchase.

  25. Andrew says

    @ 26 Francois – It the Affiliate Summit that determines the time, I doubt Oversee has little choice.

    You should submit absentee bids.

  26. Francois says

    I will no longer comment on this.
    Some people may think I am allways pesting when I am simply looking to wake up companies in order they improve their services…

  27. Cee says

    I’m one of the owners of a site that didn’t sell in the live auction because it didn’t meet its reserve. I’m not a domainer or professional at this, just an owner of a name for a long time that now has some value. Sadly, I got the advice that Monte mentions above *after* the auction (“One needs to price their names not at the top price they would like the name to sell for but at a price that will attract interest and bidding”) and it fell just short of the reserve. A question: Are those at the live auction made aware of the reserve prices, or can they just assume based on the starting bid price?

  28. Andrew says

    People are made aware of the reserve “range”, but not the specific price. Since you barely missed the reserve, why don’t you post the domain here and see if anyone wants it?

  29. says

    Cee, with any product, getting what you want is what you want. Sometimes what we want isn’t what anyone wants to pay and personally, they were paying for names at Vegas. I’ll suggest letting Monte try again in Miami and at the show inbetween. Certainly he wants the name to sell and he does a decent and hardworking marketing of the names before hand. You yourself might want to put out PR’s if it’s a high value name. I did sell my name at my reserve this time around but didn’t the last two times. The third time, I lowered my reserve passed the amount of bidding from the last two auctions and came to a level I felt fair. Monte did ask people at the end of the live auction if they wanted him to bring up a name again. While you do have an agreement with Moniker, you might want to allow wiggle room if Moniker and you agree to it. As for “Top Price vs “Attract Interest”, if you wanted $110,000 for a domain but put a reserve of $10000(a starting price) and it sells for $20000, you are stuck with a $20000 selling price. It really is a catch 22. It really depends on how badly you want to sell the name. Moniker wants to make as much as they can on a name and it’s not to their benefit to sell a name for $10,000 when they think they can get $100,000. They don’t seem to to just give things again but if it only reaches $20,000 rather then $100,000, then that was the fair market value for that day. Tomorrow maybe more or less. Best wishes. Scott Neuman –

  30. Cee says

    Andrew – thanks for the reply. I may do that if I find out that it wasn’t sold in the online extended auction.

  31. Cee says

    Scott, thanks for the words of advice and good wishes, and congratulations on selling your name. I’m definitely learning some lessons in hindsight, and I certainly wish I had found this site before the auction rather than after. :-) I’d only found out about my domain name being accepted in the premium auction just before the auction, but if it goes up again, I’ll definitely try the PR tip.

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