The Domain Roundtable Auction has ended, with the highest sales going to Invention.com, Rebate.com, AZ.com, Event.com, eTV.com and Army.org. Some could argue that a majority of the names in the auction were average (or below), reserve prices were set too high, or the auction took too long, but I believe this auction was a watershed moment in domain sales history. It wasn’t so much the names or prices of the sales (and non-sales) that were historic, but rather the auction platform itself.
To my knowledge, this was the first domain auction where there was a live Internet-based bidding tool along with a live video and audio feed. Users at home, numbering in the low thousands, were able to follow along with the auction and bid in real time. This stretched the reach of the auction from the few hundred in attendance to millions of potential bidders. The turnout wasn’t in the millions, but it was a good start.
I have always believed that live domain auctions should be simulcast over the Internet. After all, domain names are valuable Internet properties. Jay Westerdahl and his team at Domaintools deserve a huge amount of credit for being the pioneers in this endeavor. I suspect that other auction companies are going to have to follow suit or risk falling behind in the domain auction business.
With the high cost of domain conference attendance coupled with the expense of travel, attending live auctions can be a hardship on many domain investors. There are also many people who view domain investment as one small aspect of their investment portfolio, and others who buy domain names simply as a hobby. These passive domain investors aren’t likely to attend a domain conference, which was almost required in order to participate in past auctions (or pay a refundable fee to bid). When bidders don’t have to leave their offices or their couches, the domain auction process becomes more widely available to all, and it should bring strong results… and it was FREE to bid!
I will let others evaluate the auction for the names that were listed, the sales prices achieved, the length of time it took to get through 450 names, and everything else associated with the various aspects of the auction. For me, the highlight was the technical advances that were debuted today, and I certainly hope that this is the beginning of a new era in domain sales.