For Domain Auctions, Online Component Still a Challenge

Domain auctions have a history of technical glitches.

Shortly after Moniker’s domain name auction at DOMAINfest in NYC concluded yesterday, I saw a couple blog posts heralding it as a great success. I was a bit confused, because I didn’t see the same thing in the actual auction room.

You don’t need to point fingers at the people who blogged about the auction, as apparently it did look like a huge success online thanks to problems with the online bidding interface. Domains were marked as ‘sold’ even though they weren’t.

At one point or another, all live domain name auction companies have experienced technical problems. One of the most talked-about this year was when Latona’s postponed its Las Vegas auction while it was running because of online bidding problems.

Yesterday, the auctioneer stopped multiple times to wait for the “internet clerk” to update the pricing online. Even to some people in the room, it appeared that certain domains sold that didn’t actually go under the hammer. Although there was certainly some human element to it, there are numerous technical challenges to staging a simulcast auction. Internet connections all across the world don’t see the same thing at the same time. It’s not really “real time”.

The good news for Moniker is that, although the live auction results during the show yesterday weren’t spectacular, the company closed a seven figure sale just before the auction and removed the domain from the live set. It is also working on closing more deals from this auction as we speak. In the end, the sales number will be OK. It’s just a shame that technology tends to slow down live auctions rather than adding to the excitement.


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