Domain Auctions

Domain Roundtable Auction Preview


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! – $165,000 – $3,000 – $25,000 – $1,000 – $25,000
(All of my names, but don’t have a need to over-sell them)

Great Names – Reserves Way Too High! – $70,000 (Cool name, but not for $70k) – $149,000 – $200,000 (Unless David Blaine attends, no magician is paying $200k for this) – $75,000 (If the response to this on Ebay is an indication, it’s priced way too high) – $120,000 – (Good name, but I don’t see any artists shelling out big $$ for this one) – $179,000 – (Maybe the plural would be of interest to a book seller, but I can’t see the singular going for this price) – $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?! – (How can you have a TYPO in a live auction?) – (Since when was “fishes” an acceptable term) – (Names needing a definition as a note shouldn’t be included) – (Less than 50 results on all of Google for this term) – (Maybe would be ok…) – ( would be good –, not so much) – (Since when do people ski in Seattle?) – (What is this?) – (Isn’t selling a TM proof of bad faith?) – (This is a case where an extra letter kills all value) – (Is there another kind of orgasm with which I am unfamiliar?) – (Ummm… no) – (What’s special about 20%?) – (Unless I am missing something, this isn’t good) – (Hmmm seems like a typo of – not good) – (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)


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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