Domain Sales

Private Auction Service

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I have an idea for a private auction service that can combine the efforts of a well-respected company like Moniker with the service of an exclusive domain broker such as Kevin or Alan. My idea is that a company creates a private auction for a single domain name on behalf of a client. The company would reach out to potential end users who would be most interested in purchasing the domain name. For example, if Candy.com was on the block, the company would reach out to Mars, Inc., Hershey’s, or Cadbury.

Similar to Scott Boras’, infamous blue satin binder he creates for every player he represents, the company would put together a formal presentation highlighting the attributes of the domain name and why it is of significant value. This presentation would be mailed to the C-Suite and Marketing Department of interested companies, and it would be followed-up with a call. The more highly the domain name is touted, the greater the interest.

Bidding on the domain name would be similar to the posting system in place for Major Leage Baseball teams to bid on Japanese baseball players. After a specified period of time, the executives would be required to submit a sealed bid for the domain name. On a set date, the auction company would provide the domain owner with the anonymous bids and allow him to review the bids. After 48 hours, the domain owner would decide whether to accept the highest bid or not.

Although there is more risk for the auction company than a standard auction, personally reaching out to end users is a much more lucrative audience than a domain investor conference. This service is also different than a broker’s service as the broker may not have the contacts in his rolodex, and this would be much more formal.

Educating & Selling to End Users

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The goal of the Domain Distribution Network created and managed by Fabulous is to encourage end-users to purchase higher value domain names than they ordinarily would have considered. When a potential domain buyer searches for an unregistered domain name (at Godaddy for example), a list of Premium Domains appears, giving the searcher an opportunity to buy a better domain name than what they intended to find with their search. According to the DDN site:

There are approximately 6 million domains available for resale in the general market. Initially the DDN feed will offer over 500,000 of the highest quality domains available for resale. The average resale price of these domains is over 100 times the price of a new registration, and registrars typically average over $150 net revenue per domain sale.

Although this is a great opportunity to upsell an interested and presumably educated buyer, I think much more can be done to inform and educate end users about, and encourage end users to purchase generic domain names.

I think it would be in the best interest of the domain investment community and a company like Fabulous, BuyDomains.com, or an otherwise motivated company to sponsor workshops or seminars focused on teaching end users about domain names at industry specific tradeshows. I frequently see advertising agencies and consultants sponsoring lunch seminars at tradeshows to show how their particular company can help maximize advertising dollars. I believe if a company like Fabulous sent Dan Warner to teach a group of entrepreneurial business people how a generic domain name can help their business, it would be beneficial to the company and to the domain business at large. Let’s take the New York International Gift Fair as an example. If there was a Domain Distribution Network sponsored luncheon showing the advantages of owning a name like CheapPresents.com over SallysBirthdayPresents.com, the end users would “get it.”. Heck, this luncheon/seminar could be followed with a sale of targeted, well-priced domain names that could offset the cost of sponsorship and attendance. I bet there would be a residual impact as well when attendees return home after the conference to see what other names they can find using the DDN.

Small business owners are accustomed to dealing face-to-face with account representatives from the companies with whom they do business. Much of their business is done with a handshake in person at a tradeshow – especially when opening a new account with a supplier. For the most part, this is impossible to do on the Internet. To many small businesses, learning how to successfully operate with the help of the Internet is a daunting challenge. Why not meet with these business owners in person, make them feel comfortable and win their business? All of this can be accomplished by attending industry specific tradeshows.

A second idea I have to sell domain names to small business end users is to advertise industry specific domain names in industry specific publications. Kevin of BigTicketDomains.com did this on a broader scale in the Wall Street Journal. While this was a good idea and a nice starting point, I believe more success could be had if we target specific publications. If a group of domain owners with names in a specific industry got together and paid for a quarter page listing in that industry’s trade publication, I believe the results could be much different. I have been compiling a list of publications in various industries. I would be willing to share this with any interested parties – just drop me a line.

Ultimately, the more domain names that are developed into brands and websites, the better for the entire domain investment business. A few months ago, I noticed a Hermes store was opening on Wall Street across from the New York Stock Exchange. A few weeks later, I noticed a Tiffany’s was opening down the block, and two weeks ago I saw a Thomas Pink shop was opening very close as well. These were all preceded by the development of upscale condominiums in the Financial District. The point is that the more small businesses that develop generic domain names, the more others will want to emulate them and do the same. This will certainly increase the value of our premium generic domain names.

Small business owners are much more likely to develop domain names if they understand more about how a domain name works. I believe if we educate them, they will be much more inclined to buy our names. The platform has been created – now we must reach out and let the end users know where and why they need to be looking.

Silent Auction Thoughts

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After viewing the Moniker silent auction results, I found quite a few surprises:

In my opinion, there were a few good deals to be had. I believe the following domain purchase was an absolute steal for the price at which it sold:
Illustrate.com

I was surprised nobody picked up the following names, as I thought the reserve prices were more than fair:
Finances.com – $500,000
Whiskey.com – $470,600
Handhelds.com – $58,830

Another surprise to me was how much stock in numerics seems to have dropped. There were many NNN.com numeric names that seemed to have reasonable reserves ($5,890) but didn’t sell – 634.com , 547.com, 481.com, 643.com, 493.com, 342.com, 441.com…etc. There were also a few NN.com names that had higher reserves but didn’t sell. It isn’t very often that pure numeric .com names come onto the market, and I was surprised a speculator didn’t grab them.

I was also somewhat surprised that more .mobi names didn’t sell. I am not a big believer in this extension, but after reading how vigorously this extension has been defended by its supporters, I am surprised there wasn’t more action on them. Quite a few people have been posting that they made xxx% profit so far and still have quite a few .mobi names in their portfolios. If these people felt strongly about the extension, I would have thought they would be willing to reinvest and buy some of the names. One would think that reinvesting in a few of these names could have led to a round of “aftershocks” that followed when Rick Schwartz paid $200,000 for Flowers.mobi.

I believe many of these names will move now that the auctions have ended. Domain investors know the owners are interested in selling, owners know the domain investors at TRAFFIC thought their prices were too high, and I bet some compromises will be made to close some deals once.

Honesty in Negotiations

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In my opinion, honesty is one of the most important qualities in negotiating a domain sale. Since a majority of the domain investment business is done online, the important handshake and face to face encounter is eliminated. If a potential buyer or seller catches you being dishonest, you can kiss your deal goodbye. You may be the most sincere and kindest person in

Doing Good Things

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While leaving the restroom at TRAFFIC on Thursday, a gentleman held the door opened for me, and I introduced myself on the way back to one of the panels. I learned that he was from Baltimore, and after a brief conversation I found out that he bought and sold Jewish-related and Hebrew domain names among other business pursuits. When he asked if I had any of these names, I responded that I owned one that I hadn’t done anything with and was willing to sell it.

Rewind a few months…
When I originally purchased the name, I told a close friend of mine that I would give all of the proceeds to his non-profit Jewish organization. My friend is the Rabbi who runs the Mitzvah Tank organization in Manhattan, and he has one of the biggest hearts out of anyone I know. I’ve seen him give money out of his pocket to help people in need and he is always willing to lend an ear and give advice.

Back to the conference…
My new acquaintance asked me what my asking price was for the name. When I told him the story about the sale going entirely to tzedakah, he made a very generous offer for the name. I accepted the offer, and my company will match his offer to double the contribution. It certainly wasn’t my highest financial value transaction, but it was definitely the highest value transaction I’ve had, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I made a new friend in the process.

Shameless Plug

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Top Notch Domains, LLC Domain Names for Sale:

CommunityCenter.com – Make offer
FlightDiscounts.com – Make Offer

Email: DomainNames@Gmail.com to make offers.

Other Name for Sale (Not Owned by Top Notch Domains, LLC:)

FreeGifts.net

Email: DomainNames@gmail.com to make offers.

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