Domain Auctions

Snapnames Seller Program Announcement

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I received the following email on Sunday regarding changes in the Snapnames commission plan. While the commission plan is good news for higher value sales, names that only sell for the minimum of $60 will have the commission rate more than doubled. Instead of paying a $12 commission on a $60 sale (20%), we will now pay the new $25 minimum. With this in mind, I am going to have to reevaluate the domain names I submit for Snapnames auctions, as most of my sales were for the minimum.

“Hi Elliot,
I

Domain Roundtable Final Auction List Released

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Final Domain Auction List


After much hoopla, the final Domain Roundtable live auction list was released at 12:00AM this morning. About 35,000 total domain names were submitted for this auction of only 450 names. Kudos to Jay Westerdahal and his staff for devising a system to rank the best names, and then for manually reviewing the names. I believe that it is essential for a domain expert to review the domain names, which is what took so long for the final list to be released.

While there are a few high value domain names in the auction, there are also quite a bit of so-so names (at least in my opinion). The challenge will be to run this auction without losing the attention and interest of bidders, which is difficult even in a smaller auction.

I believe the top 5 values in this auction are:
AZ.com – $500,000 (just look what the folks at NV.com are doing)
Copies.com – $80,000 (many uses for this great name and a fair reserve price)
Rehabilitate.com – $25,000 (low reserve for hot keyword)
FinancialCounseling.com – $5,000 (owners says it earns $30/month in ppc, valuing it at $3,600 on 10x revenue multiple alone)
Event.com – $165,000 (30,000 visitors/month! Best value in the auction)

**Added Bonus**
Southerner.com – $6,000 (yes, it’s mine, but I think the price is right)

Snapnames Seller Program Test Two

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Back in June, I wrote about my first test with the Snapnames Seller Program. Because of the success I had in the first test, I decided to transfer 62 additional names for auction. The difference between this test and the first test was that I did not have any “premium” names listed. All of the names I submitted were generic names that I hand registered within the past couple of years and hadn’t developed.

Out of the 62 names I submitted, 42% of them sold. Although my first test had a sales rate of 63%, I would argue that there were better names in that lot. The only negative this time was that only 3 names went to auction with more than one bidder. One of the names sold for over $450 – not bad for a name that I hand registered about 6 months before.

Because I’ve realized that Snapnames can be a good revenue channel if the right names are auctioned, I have been registering many domain names with the intention of listing them after the mandatory 60 day registry hold period for new names. I have been evaluating the type of names that sold – especially the ones that went to auction during my two tests, and I’ve been registering similar names. Since many people search Snapnames using common high value keywords, I have been searching for these types of names.

Using the Snapnames service, the minimum sales price if only one bidder bids is $60, less 20% commission, yielding a total of $48 for the name. The cost of registering a name is $7 and the cost of transfering the name to Snapnames is an additional $7. The net profit for each name sold is $34. Based on that, I would need just a 38% sales rate to break even, and every one of those sales higher than the $60 minimum lowers the sales rate even more.

The new dashboard created by Snapnames is also very helpful. I can see if a domain name has bids, the date it ends, and who is bidding on the name when it goes to auction. I do have a couple of recommendations to improve the dashboard:
1) When a name is in auction, I would like to see the amount of time remaining rather than the end date. This would be similar to what is seen in the buyer’s dashboard.

2) Also, when names are scheduled, it would be nice to see how many bidders there are for the names that have bids. This could give me advance warning of whether a name is likely to sell for just $60 or if there are multiple bidders that will allow it to goto auction.

If you would like more information about the program, let me know and I will put you in touch with the director of the program.

Domain Roundtable Auction Preview

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Jay Westerdahl and the Domaintools staff has released the preliminary list of 450 domain names scheduled for the Domain Roundtable auction on August 15th, in Seattle, Washington. Judging by the massive amount of comments on the various blog threads written by Jay, I would imagine that they received close to 100,000 domain name submissions from which to choose 450. As I posted in the comments section of the Pick The Winning Domains thread started by Jay, I was baffled at the comments from people who submitted their names. Just based on the sheer amount of comments (and presumably emails, too), Jay and his staff certainly had their hands full.

What were people thinking by submitting hundreds of domain names, when the auction was going to only include 450? If a person can’t pick out their top 10-20 names (maximum), they probably should be investing their money elsewhere. Needless to say, the preliminary list has been released, and here are some of my thoughts:

Great Names – Low Reserves!
Event.com – $165,000
DailyFeeds.com – $3,000
Rehabilitate.com – $25,000
RealityTelevision.com – $1,000
Growers.com – $25,000
(All of my names, but don’t have a need to over-sell them)

Great Names – Reserves Way Too High!
Sucker.com – $70,000 (Cool name, but not for $70k)
Technique.com – $149,000
Magicians.com – $200,000 (Unless David Blaine attends, no magician is paying $200k for this)
Baked.com – $75,000 (If the response to this on Ebay is an indication, it’s priced way too high)
Sculpting.com – $120,000 – (Good name, but I don’t see any artists shelling out big $$ for this one)
Autobiography.com – $179,000 – (Maybe the plural would be of interest to a book seller, but I can’t see the singular going for this price)
LoveStories.com – $100,000 (No side or top advertisers on Google for quoted phrase, Ovt with extension of only 149, and a $100k sales tag? Pass.)

Head Scratchers at Any Price?!
Rejuvinate.com/Rejuvinates.com – (How can you have a TYPO in a live auction?)
AquariumFishes.com – (Since when was “fishes” an acceptable term)
Concho.com – (Names needing a definition as a note shouldn’t be included)
GamesFlix.com – (Less than 50 results on all of Google for this term)
ComplaintsDept.com – (Maybe ComplaintsDepartment.com would be ok…)
CareerAdvise.com – (CareerAdvice.com would be good – CareerAdvise.com, not so much)
SkiSeattle.com – (Since when do people ski in Seattle?)
PizzaHats.com – (What is this?)
HummerRentals.com – (Isn’t selling a TM proof of bad faith?)
DomainsName.com – (This is a case where an extra letter kills all value)
SexualOrgasm.com – (Is there another kind of orgasm with which I am unfamiliar?)
BibleDude.com – (Ummm… no)
20Percent.com – (What’s special about 20%?)
ChinaDaddy.com – (Unless I am missing something, this isn’t good)
SevenSmiles.com – (Hmmm seems like a typo of SevenMile.com – not good)
FullClock.com – (What’s a full clock?)

I don’t see as many huge names as I have seen at TRAFFIC, but most of those seem to end without a sale. There are many decent names at reasonable prices, so I expect to see a good amount of names sell. Making it through 450 names in a live auction is very optimistic though.

While I wish Jay the best success with this auction, I am somewhat concerned that he will not be able to fulfill all sales. Without an agreement signed by the sellers, there is little that will force them to sell should the prices be less than they want, or should they sell elsewhere. I hope this issue is addressed between the time the list is finalized and the day of the auction.

My Experience with SnapNames Seller Program (beta)

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Up until about a month ago, I was never an active SnapNames user. At most, I may have been involved in five auctions over the course of three years, but I heard (and observed) some great sales that occurred on their platform. When I was made aware of a new beta test allowing ordinary people (like me) to auction names on SN, I was immediately intrigued. I wondered whether they would have more success selling my names than I had listing them in various forums and emailing my contacts. I decided to list a small group of decent names, and I didn’t set a reserve. I also listed one “premium” name, and I set a small reserve of $500. If it sold for the reserve price, I would take a loss, but domain investing is a gamble, so I rolled the dice.

To my surprise, a great number of my names sold! In fact, I had listed a group of them on another forum for $25/each to clear out some inventory less than two months before. My premium name sold for over $4,500 and had a bidding battle at the end. All in all, I have done two rounds of testing at SN, and here are the stats:

1) My sales rate on the domain names I submitted was 63%. Of the 30 names I submitted, 19 of them sold.

2) Of the 19 that sold, 63% of those sold for more than the $60 dollar reserve price.

In my opinion, at the present time, the only downsides to this program are the high rate of commission, currently 20%, and also the length of time it takes to disperse funds, sometimes up to a month. As I understand it, there aren’t any discounts on high value names, but a representative from SN may comment and confirm this or hopefully correct my error! All in all, the higher commission fee is worth it for the amount of names that were sold.

From what I heard, the manual process of reporting the auctions is going to become an automated process at the end of this month, which will allow me to view the names that are in auction and the number of bids. This is much easier than emailing the folks at SN – although to their credit, they always responded to me in a timely manner with the details I needed.

I just authorized a group of 60 names to be auctioned, and I will give an update once the auctions have finished. Based on the first two rounds of testing, I think they have a winning program!

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