Have you seen the new TV show on A&E called Storage Wars? It’s a show that follows several people who are active bidders on storage units that have not been paid for by their owners and are auctioned to the highest bidder.
When a storage unit defaults after a certain non-payment period, a small auction is held outside the unit. A small but active group of people have 5 minutes to look into the unit without touching anything or opening any boxes. They need to evaluate the unit based on what they see and decide how much to bid. Units must be paid for in cash at the conclusion of the day’s auctions.
Sound like something with which you’re familiar?
This is almost like the expiring domain industry (almost). People get lists of expiring domain names, which they analyze using a number of tools. They also have the ability to look within their own portfolio and past experience to guess what traffic and revenue might be like. The almost part is because unlike storage units, parking companies and maybe registrars are able to see what the traffic is like, while the contents inside the storage units should be unknown by all until they are unlocked and opened.
There’s another strong comparison between the people who bid on storage units that is similar to domain investors, and equally annoying to me. At the end of the show, they go over their finds from the auctions that were covered. They meet with experts to discuss the “value” of what they bought.
I always find it amusing when people talk about their $5,000 domain names that they bought for $500, when they should know very well getting $5,000 could take years or a considerable effort – if that ever happens. Similarly, the storage unit buyers talk about how their XYZ is worth $X,XXX, although it’s very likely it will sit in their consignment shop for a number of years. People have the tendency to value their property much more than reality should dictate.
All in all, Storage Wars is a very neat show, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some domain investors (ahem, Rick Latona) get in that business, too 🙂
It actually looks pretty fun… until you realize that you’re bidding on other people’s crap and then actually have to do something with it if you win. I think I will stick to domain names.