Why HA Domain Auction is Important

HA.com LogoI’ve been giving the Heritage Auctions domain auction more coverage than I’ve given other recent auctions, and there is a reason for it. My feeling is that if the HA auction is successful and sells 7 figures worth of inventory, we could see another major sales channel emerge.

Heritage Auctions is one of the largest auction houses in the world. It has become large because of its extensive reach around the world. Among the company’s clients are collectors and investors from all walks of life. Many of these people probably haven’t participated in a domain auction and may not even know what a domain name is. A surprisingly good result will probably get some attention from these people.

In addition to the exposure that a successful auction will give domain names to HA clients, I imagine that other large auction houses would have to give a hard look at domain names and IP assets for their own auctions. Auction houses such as Christies and Sotheby’s would most likely take notice if one of their direct competitors found a previously unexploited niche that was profitable. Should new venues like these emerge, even more mainstream investors would take notice.

I believe there is quite a bit riding on this auction, and I will be watching it closely. I don’t have any domain assets up for sale in the auction, and I haven’t been paid or compensated to post anything related to the auction. Should the auction prove to be successful and future auctions are planned, the results could be beneficial to domain investors.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Thanks for the input.

    I agree 100%. We are reaching thousands of affluent investors who haven’t considered domain names before. Education accompanies every package mailed and every conversation we have.

    We’ve explained:
    Why domains are solid investments.
    The top historical sales and why companies spent those amounts to secure a top domain.
    The advantages of premium domains for business use.
    Why domains are easier to purchase and manage than other traditional investments – and how they create passive revenues.

    I think even MORE basic education should be included going forward: what is parking? where do I park domains? how do I renew a domain name? who can build me a website? etc.

    In addition to these investors, we’ve reached out to a significant number of major end user companies. We included the same type of information in our contacts to them.

    Just know this — we’ve done A LOT of outreach.
    We are committed to making this category work, and if we can take domains to the mainstream investors and press, we will all greatly benefit.

    Thanks again for the post.


    • Aron has answered this already but things like this aren’t built in a day. It will take a bit of time for this type of sales venue to pan out. HA, if they stick with it for several years, will end up figuring out the marketing that works and the types of names that move in these types of auctions.

      Secondary sales are also important in auctions. So a domain that is sold at auction #1 that goes for a higher price at future auctions will go a long way as well.

      The only reason those big art auctions even exist is because they are legacy and people are already conditioned to believe the value is there in the product they are buying.

      Part of this might even possibly be the auction house becoming a market maker helping with that value.

  2. 100% yes.
    We are working on the second auction already.
    We are also working on other ways to put your premium domains in front of the right people, without the time constraints of an auction.

    So we’ll be working on bringing new investment opportunities (domains) to affluent buyers, no matter what happens on Thursday.


  3. Adam,

    If premium domains continue to be traded among 200 people, then little growth will occur.

    If we bring in 5000 affluent buyers, yet the same finite number of premium domain names exist, then demand (and values) increase.

    more buyers, more money, mainstream press coverage and more recognition as an alternate investment = good for domain owners and domain values.


    • Do yousee a new investor (if that’s who you are targeting) being more willing to bid higher than seasoned investors? The ubiquitous end-user buyers will most definitely outbid an “investor” but their buying ability and desire has always been a moving target.

    • Due to the “affluent” buyers HA is able to market to, the auction inventory should only include truly premium domain names. Domains in HA inventory should be absolutely world class, not the type an average domain investor could afford, but one that an average domain investor aspires to acquire. The HA “affluent” buyer can afford the good domain names, the truly premium exact match domains. Domains they can feel confident and proud to own. Ones they may not have a desperation to develop but one they may feel comfortable securing for many future uses. MutualFunds.com is a perfect example, and fits the bill.

      The problem will be when an “affluent” investor purchases a 3 word .com registered last year then realizes it is worthless. That “affluent” investor may not return to domain investing in the future.

      Going forward I wish Aron and HA the best.

  4. That is a lot of ‘IFS’ …

    While we all have a vested interest you do good I feel you are barking at the wrong tree, the large majority of domainers are desperate to semi-desperate to sell their domains (exceptions apply)…
    As far as advertisment try a combination of “New Media and TV the King of all medias” (and NOT old decaying Media nor Domainer’s blogs = the wrong crowd)
    The Street etc etc.

    Another one to watch is the Yahoo/sedo auction…

    I truly feel these Auctions fail to reach the ultimate buyer whether is an end-user or and accredited Investor, wishing for the best I think we are cruising for a ‘reality check’ …

    Robert Fernandez.

  5. >>”more buyers, more money, mainstream press coverage and more recognition as an alternate investment = good for domain owners and domain values” (Aron)

    When they say sayings like “Do the math,” that’s the math here, and that’s why some of us firmly believe this may benefit everyone and the entire industry in a way that may also be game changing to one degree or another, not merely those with the best of the best domains in the top “1%.”

    A certain FB friend of mine is a lawyer and has been for quite some time, in her late 40’s or early 50’s. Props from an SC Justice, yada yada. She’s a sharp cookie. Do you know what I caught her writing long ago one day in the middle of a discussion on FB that overall may have had nothing at all to do with any of this, but the topic somehow appeared only briefly? In reference to domains, she made a statement to the effect that she simply didn’t really understand what it means to own something like that, so she doesn’t even bother with it. And you know what else? Her first name in .com is still available right now, to this day. It’s a very uncommon first name, so definitely one that’s flown under the radar. How many of us would really like if we could get something like that for ourselves – we’d jump of course, because we know.

    And why did I just add that little tidbit from my own personal life and social sphere? To point out that despite how much we may be tempted to think the general public really now knows about the value of domains and such after all these years, it’s really far far less than you might think. Bottom line: virtually everyone you know who is not actually involved in this scene as people like we are pretty much don’t think about domains at all, period. Yes, at long last now you will find people not in the business who finally know a famous name like “Go Daddy,” but that’s almost the extent of it, even for many people you might meet working in IT no less. And this very type of reality of the matter is exactly what a development like the one under way with HA can be a game changer for in terms of a new frontier and momentum of public awareness, desire, demand.

    Thanks to Elliot, Aron, and the other supporters of this topic here. If I may, I’d also like to link to both Ron Jackson’s excellent coverage of this today over at DNJ (http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131118.htm) as well as the previous thread here on Elliot’s blog: (https://www.domaininvesting.com/heritage-auctions-domain-auction-ad-new-york-times-119/).

  6. Aron,

    Keep up the good work.

    Elliot, giving exposure to HA.com is step in the right direction.

    HA.com and other big auctioneer’s involvement with Domain names will give even more credibility to Domaining.

    Best of luck.

  7. A word on domain length as well:

    For every “rule,” whether they are really and truly rules or not – and in this case they are really not – there are always the “exceptions” that make the “rule.” In this case there are a great many exceptions. So for example, you would gladly take a comparatively longer four-word domain like:

    ForSaleByOwner.com, reported 2000 sale price $835,000

    …over a great many much shorter and fewer-word domains any day, morning, noon or night, including plenty of so-called “category killer” and one word .com’s no less.

    Another good example is HomeOwnersInsurance.com, reported 2010 sale price $570,000. And we could doubtless propose many many more like these, even a six-word domain no less consisting of one of the most famous and popular sayings of all time that once even had a reportedly genuine bid in the $5-10,000,000 range.

    So the bottom line is, there are all kinds of world class quality domains in all different “shapes and sizes.” There are plenty of world class three and four word domains or more out there along with the generally desired one and two worders, yes even ones that may have been registered barely a year ago as well.

  8. Don’t expect folks that read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to all of sudden become high paying domain investors, just because they are wealthy or collect fine art. LOL

    Also the new gTLD’s are about to change the entire domain game significantly.

    • How true. How true.

      The new gTLDs will in fact change the entire domain game significantly …

      … by making all .coms even more valuable.

      Every. Last. One.

    • Steve, I thought that too. I still think the first few years will be a clusterfuck and we’re safe and sound for a while yet. But . . . .

      The Tsunami is inbound. It is a monster. It is bigger and more potentially catastrophic to the values of our domain assets than any of the other waves of change that have rocked our industry since it’s inception.

      I was at Barnes & Noble tonight reading business magazines. I had a WTF moment. Actually several WTF moments. There were full pages ads. Good ads. Potent ads. Ads that will make people say what’s this.

      I was a doubter, a huge doubter. I’ve changed my thoughts 180 degress. It’s not this initial group of TLD’s. That isn’t the Tsunami. That is just the initial preview wave. In a few years, the cost factors and other scalability dynamics will change. Then it will be the mother of all Tsunami’s with unlimited word extensions made available. And that will be THE game changer.

      Trillions have been spent branding .com. .Com as the top dog isn’t going anywhere for now.

      But I think Trillions are also going to be spent on marketing and advertising and viralizing the new extensions too. In a way that will be even more massive than the .com blitz has been for years. And it’s going to have a major big big big impact on our playing field, by simply totally consuming and devouring the entire spectrum of media advertising and marketing space for web addresses.

      And then the big corporations will want to and will have to stand out in this massive domain name media madness and they will jump in and relagate their .com’s to the back door, and their new .google, .amazon, .facebook, .twitter, .instagram, .microsoft, .yahoo, .disney, .etc extension to the front door in their advertising and marketing campaigns. They’ll all do it. You watch, it’s the corporate pack mentality way of changing things. Old gets stale, new is fresh and captivating. That’s business. Things change. And change they will.

      Oh my oh my, here it comes….. LOL ๐Ÿ™






  9. >>”And theyโ€™re all .coms.” (Steve)

    Steve – while I certainly support .com as well, and clearly the top gTLD, just as what is now underway with HA may represent the beginning of a new step forward, especially in terms of sheer public recognition and awareness, so too there may finally be a great awakening among the general public here at home regarding yet another member of the fold that has flown largely under the radar until now:

    “Unique .US Marketing Effort from Neustar” – https://www.domaininvesting.com/unique-us-marketing-effort-neustar/

  10. The bids on the seven domains which already met reserve total some $45,000, which is five figures. Maybe this auction will be like others, the true story will come out much later on domains which sold for lower than their reserve, after negotiations, after the end of the auction . . .

    • Closer to 80k ($79,560) now if you take a closer look.
      I think MutualFunds.com received a bid close to it’s reserve so may sell on the day too. ๐Ÿ™‚


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