Domain Auctions

.Mobi Shines in Sedo Auction

14

Mouths dropped throughout the domain industry after the completion of Sedo’s most recent auction for .mobi domain names.   The auction grossed over $1.5 million in sales, which could be a record for this extension.   The sale of Music.mobi for $616,000 easily eclipsed the previous public sale record of Flowers.mobi for $200,000. In fact, Games.mobi also doubled the previous record, selling for$401,500.

The amount of money paid for these names is significant, and it shows there are people who feel strongly about the future success of the extension.   I eagerly await to see who the buyer is and what is done with each of these high caliber names.   Should consumer friendly sites be developed on these names, it would be significant in that others may follow suit, further boosting the relevance of .mobi.

Industry giants such as Bank of America (bofa.mobi), ESPN (espn.mobi), AAA (aaa.mobi) and others have built mobile-friendly website on the .mobi extension.

The adult industry has always had a major impact on the advancement of various technologies such as VCRs, DVD players, Web development, and probably even more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.   I wonder what the impact would be if they began using .mobi domain names for handheld porn.   Sure, it probably wouldn’t be openly welcomed by many, but when has it been?   That could really advance the .mobi extension, as consumers become aware of it.

Courtesy of the Mobility.mobi forum and verified by Andew’s post on Domain Name Wire, below are some of the key sales from the Sedo Auction:

Music.mobi $616,000
Games.mobi $401,500
Sports.mobi $101,000
Movies.mobi $82,000
Game.mobi $61,000
Juegos.mobi $61,000
Videos.mobi $51,000
Photos.mobi $51,000
Sport.mobi $51,000
Job.mobi $43,600
SportsBetting.mobi $41,000
Radio.mobi $34,500
Fashion.mobi $32,000
Horoscope.mobi $30,000
Wine.mobi $30,000
Play.mobi $28,150
Video.mobi $25,555
Jokes.mobi $24,100
Flower.mobi $21,500
Dictionary.mobi $21,500
Musica.mobi $20,600
Movie.mobi $20,500

Godaddy: Tell Us How to Improve Signature Auctions

3

Godaddy Logo Godaddy is asking its customers to provide feedback on how the company can improve its Signature Auctions, after the first round saw pretty poor results. This request is one of the smartest moves I’ve seen from one of the big domain companies. Most companies would probably have tried to put a positive spin on the results, which may have made them look foolish. Because of their humble appeal, I will give some advice that I believe could improve their next Signature Auction.

1.) Better Names at Reasonable Reserves

Godaddy should do what it takes to ensure there are good quality domain names on auction with low/reasonable reserve prices. They should seek out domain owners and cut deals with them to guarantee certain prices will be achieved (lower commissions, sales price guarantees, bid on behalf of Godaddy’s internal portfolio…etc). The better the quality names at reasonable reserves, the more likely it is for buyers to show up and bid. Conversely, the more wealthy buyers that are present, the more likely it is for domain sellers to list their names at reasonable reserve prices.

Sellers are reluctant to put their names on auction at a lower reserve because if there aren’t enough buyers, they’ve created an artificial price ceiling for their domain names. Hypothetically, a $500,000 name with a reserve price of just $100,000 might not sell if an interested buyer doesn’t show up. If that’s the case, the domain owner has created a price ceiling that isn’t realistic because it probably would have sold for $500,000 in a different venue.

2.) More Publicity

In the days leading up to the auction, there didn’t seem to be any publicity for the auction. It was almost like Godaddy wanted to have a soft opening, but when they chose that route, bidders didn’t show up (or if they did, they didn’t bid). Godaddy needs to publicize their next auction as much as possible. I suggest the following:

  • Purchase impressions in all the domain forums and domain blogs
  • Buy related Adwords
  • Email entire database of current customers
  • Ask Bob to blog about the auction to generate buzz
  • Issue press releases touting the high profile domain names
  • Give coupon credits to VIP customers

3.) VIP Invitations

There are quite a few people who are known for bidding aggressively at other live domain auctions. Senior Godaddy executives should go through their rolodexes and do what they need to make sure these bidders show up. Godaddy might even want to ask them what types of names they are looking to purchase, and they should make sure at least some of these types of names are on auction.

4.) Manage the Escrow Process

Instead of handing off the sale to Escrow.com to complete an auction (or any of TDNAM’s sales for that matter), Godaddy should handle the transaction on their own. This is an important part of the process, and it will ensure that payment is made quickly, and the domain name is transferred promptly and correctly. Why should they leave anything to chance?   All other major auction houses offer in-house escrow services, and I don’t see why Godaddy still doesn’t.

————-

The better the auction results are, the more likely it will be that people will want their names listed in future auctions. The better the names in auction, the more likely it will be that buyers show up and bid. The second round will be much more successful than the inaugural attempt because Godaddy was smart enough to ask for advice from the domain community.

Godaddy Signature Auction Results

1

It doesn’t look so great for Godaddy’s first Signature Auction. According the the listing, only 2 of the 31 listed names sold. As I said in a post a couple of weeks ago, there really weren’t very many names on the list that were that appealing, and the few that were good, had high reserves.

As I said a few days ago, I didn’t see much hype surrounding the auction, although it did receive a fair amount of press. It looks like Godaddy should huddle up, figure out where things went wrong, and make adjustments for the next time. With the addition of domain industry veteran Adam Dicker, Godaddy is still in a good position.

Godaddy has a strong brand and large following, and once they get the right mix of premium names, fair reserves with their good technology, they could have a competitive product.

Suggestions for a Successful Domain Auction

1

The success of domain auctions has spawned the introduction of new domain auctions across the industry, causing some confusion. These new auctions leave me with a bunch of questions:

– Who is having an auction?
– When is the auction?
– Is the auction live or silent?
– How do  I sign up to bid?
– How do  I submit names?
– How do  I bid?
– ….etc

I am downright confused! Clearly domain auctions are an exciting way to sell domain names. Since I am not in a position to build, operate and execute a successful domain auction, I would like to share a few suggestions for the companies who are running these domain auctions:

– Live, real-time auctions are better than “silent” daily/weekly auctions. They are more exciting, and people know what they win instantly so they can budget accordingly.
– An easy to understand and operate online interface is essential to give bidders at home an opportunity to bid.
– Provide as much infomation as possible about each name. Traffic stats, revenue stats, rankings…etc all help in a domain evaluation.
– Create niche auctions in certain industries. Publicize the auction to domain investors, people in that industry, AND also to the advertising agencies that represent some of these companies.
– Million dollar names aren’t essential for a domain auction, although they will bring publicity. Remember that most people are looking to buy .com names.
– Keep the auction short and sweet. Anything over 50 domain names can cause fatigue for bidders. A company wouldn’t have to auction 300+ names if they hold a monthly auction.
– Make it easy for people to sign up and bid – similar to Ebay’s system.
– Make the submission process quick and simple. Cap each person’s submissions to 10 names. If a domain investor can’t pick the 10 best names they want auctioned, you shouldn’t have to dedicate the man hours to do it for them.
– Transparency is essential. People need to know they are bidding against a “real person.”
– Phone bidding availability is important for people who don’t have access to the Internet at the time.
– Don’t try to lock domain owners into long exclusive agreements. I think 30 days is more than enough time for everything.
– Don’t pressure people to lower their reserve price. If the price isn’t low enough, don’t put it in your auction as it will irritate the owner should it sell for the reserve.

Godaddy Live Auction Preview

0

Godaddy Signature Auctions released the list for their auction taking place between November 6-8. There are a few very good names on the list (Bob.com, Grapes.com, Media.mobi, and ForeignTravel.com are my favorites), but I was surprised by the lack of showcase names that other live auction events featured. Although the majority of them didn’t sell (WallStreet.com, Hell.com, Taxes.com… etc), they certainly brought attention to the auction.

I agree with what Frank has to say about the auction in regards to the limited number of .com names and two-word phrases in the list.   I don’t know if Godaddy’s auction has reserve prices, but if they do, it might be difficult to reach on a name like Bob.com, unless company CEO Bob Parsons decides to bid.   I do like the fact that the auction has a limited number of names, as it seems there is quite a bit of auction fatigue mid-way through the 250+ domain name auctions.

Aside from Godaddy’s press release, I have not seen much  publicity or hype surrounding the auction. I am knee-deep in domain activities (from the blogs to the forums and boards), and unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be generating a tremendous amount of excitement in the domain community.

As far as I am concerned, the only way to have a successful domain auction is if there are lots of bidders. Most domain auction bidders are domain investors, and they need to be excited about it to show up and bid. Godaddy should email their customers, place banner advertisements on the forums and generally get the word out. There is potential for this auction, but now is the time to get people excited about it.

Signature Auction Names
1x.com
Apartments.mobi
BargainBuy.com
BeautyCounter.com
BestPhone.com
BestService.com
Bob.com
Campaign2008.com
CollegeFootball.mobi
Dentists.mobi
DietAids.com
Earl.com
Even.com
ForeignTravel.com
Grapes.com
HDTVShop.com
Homes.mobi
HowToInvest.com
Maillist.com
Media.mobi
MobileSecurity.com
Moving.mobi
RoadWork.com
Smoked.com
SportUtility.com
TopBeaches.com
TravelUpdate.com
VirtualServer.com
WhyHybrid.com
YB.com

Domain Investors “Cowboy Up”

2

After the TRAFFIC auction ended and the dust settled, Cowboys.com was again for sale in the silent auction. A large group of domain investors from Rick Schwartz’s private Targeted Traffic Forum formed a group and made the winning bid for Cowboys.com. The background story can be found by clicking here.

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