Daily Poll: Is It Okay to Pull an Auction That Has No Bids?

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OnlineDomain.com is one of my daily reads. Konstantinos is not afraid to share his opinions about domain industry topics, and I respect that about him, even if I don’t always agree with his opinions.

Yesterday, K wrote about the cancelation of one of the .NYC auctions due to its sale. If I understand correctly, it looks like the .NYC registry (an advertiser here for full disclosure) pulled the BroadwayTickets.NYC auction on Sedo because it privately sold the domain name for $25,000. When the auction was pulled, there were no bidders.

Update: I did not understand what transpired. I was informed by Neustar that the “domain name never went into auction” and therefore it was not pulled from auction. The company sold the domain name prior to the auction’s start, and they announced the sale on their ownit.nyc blog.

From what I gather, it looks like Konstantinos is calling into question the decision to pull a domain name from an auction because there may have been bidders waiting to place a bid at the final moments. This decision may have been unfair to prospective bidders.

In this particular situation, I don’t think Neustar or Sedo did anything wrong. They sold a domain name for a substantial price. This would likely help other .NYC domain holders. The domain name also ended up in the hands of a great end user buyer, and that could also be helpful to them. From what I can see and understand, Sedo did not have to cancel any bids so nobody was harmed beyond someone who may have wanted to bid on the name.

Had there been bidders (and the high bid met the reserve price), I would feel differently because someone had placed a binding bid and was bound to pay at the close of the auction since they were the leading bidder and it met the reserve price. Had there been bidders and the high bid did not hit the reserve price, I think it is a 50/50 situation. There is no binding sale agreement in place and the high bidder at the time wouldn’t be able to buy the name unless their bid increased to hit the reserve. Neither of these situations happened here though, so I think it is more cut and dry.

Domain name ethics is an interesting topic, and I am curious if readers think it is okay to pull/remove an auction if it has no bids in order to sell it privately. Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts.


8 COMMENTS

  1. Trying pulling put of a Great Domains auction or the Namescon auction or a Christies/Sothebys/HeritageAuctions auction and see what happens.

    Even if we leave ethics outside of this, people sign an agreement that seems to not apply to Neustar.

    I have participated in many auctions outside the Domaining industry and have never seen this.

    Shame.

    • I understand what you’re saying, but their contract with Sedo is probably different than a domain investor’s contract with the Great Domains auctions. Domain investors may have less leverage with one off auctions than the registry would have.

    • The question is why do they have a different contract?
      And do you like it that they can pretty much do whatever they like?

      Does a celebrity has a different contract when auctioning at HA? No, because HA respects its buyers.

      Neustar and Sedo have no respect.

    • I don’t agree with you. Someone with more clout might be able to get a different contract with better negotiated terms. Every company and auction platform is different though. Some may offer more flexibility than others.

      For regular Joes like you and me, a company may not be willing to go back and forth with their legal team to negotiate a contract. For a registry or major seller, they may be willing to be more flexible with their terms.

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