Solving Submission Bias with Financial Incentives
Long time users of Craigslist bemoan that there’s so much spam on the site. Google for “craigslist submitter” and you’ll see ads for software that will automatically submit ads to Craigslist every few minutes. But there’s a simple solution to this problem: if Craigslist charged 25 cents per ad submission, the volume of spam would drop overnight but the volume of legitimate submissions would hardly change.
When I hear domain auction houses complain about the volume and quality of domains submitted for their auctions, I think they should look at a similar solution.
For example, they could charge $1 per domain submitted. But then they’ll get complaints if they don’t accept any of your domains.
Or, they could charge $10 for each domain that is accepted. People will stop submitting bad domains if they pay $10 for each and they don’t end up selling.
Bido is controlling the problem by requiring all auctions to start at $1 with no reserve, thus scaring away people who know their domains aren’t worth much. Of course this can also scare away people that are unsure of the quality of auction bidders.
I think the best solution is to charge a fee and limit submissions. For $20 you can submit up to 20 domain names. If none of them are accepted you will get your money back.
This should eliminate 90% of the bad submissions and a relatively small amount of the good ones. Auctioneers would have fewer and higher quality domains to sift through and ultimately have better domains in their auctions.
People would complain, but the only ones complaining are people you don’t want to submit domains anyway.
M. Menius says
Just limit submissions to 3. Why would someone submit 20 domains anyway? They’re just trying to offload junk. Limit it to 3 and people will likely send quality names. Eliminate the silent auction, keep the live auction limited to 100-125 good quality names. And spend effort/time promoting outside of the tiny domainer circle.
I have seen so many ridiculous junk names included in Moniker auctions. One is left questioning the legitimacy of the whole operation. The huge volume of auction passes is an indication of two things: 1. that the name shouldn’t be in the auction to begin with, and 2. buyers are increasingly judicious with their money and time. A good number of domain registrants no longer have interest in 120 day contracts particularly when a name is pushed to the dead (silent) auction. What a waste. Requiring a registrant to encumber a name for that length of time is a terrible business practice. Seriously, what’s the point? Thousands of names tied up in a contract that will receive zero sales push. No incentive when you can outperform the venue with a number of other alternatives.
Steve M says
This is an excellent idea, Andrew.
I’d be happy to pay a fee for submissions and/or for those actually included.
The auction cos are regularly buried in 10,000-100,000+ submissions for each auction.
Make it $10/name submitted with a limit of 10-20 names, and 80%+ of all the junk would immediately disappear.
I would, however, keep the silent auction/s, as some buyers prefer that acquisition path/option.
I don’t have a problem with the silent auction as long as it’s small. No more than 500-1000 domains. Otherwise it’s too much to sift through.
Sam Nunez says
Wouldn’t it be better to charge a fee as a % of the reserve price? That way you create an incentive for sellers to keep the reserve price low, which should benefit anyone. You can still have a minimum as well to limit junk submissions….
Andrew Allemann says
Sam – good point, and that’s what Bido is doing now.
Sam Nunez says
Yeah, and I like the refundable piece too…. but they still need to approve of the auction though…