Results from DOMAINfest beg the question.
The advent of the live domain name auction has given the domain name industry a huge boost in both high dollar investor purchases and media attention. Two years ago in New York, Moniker’s live domain name auction topped $10 million in sales.
Last month in Los Angeles, the live domain auction brought in only $800,000 over two nights selling 110 domain names. It wasn’t a big surprise given the economy and what’s going on in the industry.
Live auctions cost a lot of money to organize. In fact, when Moniker sold $10 million in one day a couple years ago, I wrote that Moniker wasn’t in the game to earn $1.5M in commissions. It wasn’t worth the effort. Moniker was in the game for the day it brought in $50 million in sales.
Unfortunately we’ve gone in the opposite direction.
But the bright spot from the auction was the silent online auction. It sold close to $500,000 in domain names. And it didn’t require an expensive auctioneer, spotters, and full bar to make it happen.
Do live auction domain names sell for more than they would in a silent auction? I would have answered yes a couple years ago. They get more attention. The auction fever and egos in the room push prices up. But I question this premise in today’s environment.
I don’t think Moniker should exit the live domain auction business. It should keep in the game, if nothing else for when the market returns. But I question holding auctions at all but the biggest events. And perhaps even those should be scaled back in favor or regular online auctions, similar to Sedo’s Great Domains auctions.