Every morning, I receive several emails that list expiry-stream domain names coming up for auction that day. I receive a mix of emails from auction platforms and third-party services. The emails send me domain names that meet certain criteria I have set to help me find domain names I might otherwise miss.
Off the top of my head, at least two of these daily emails have automated appraisals in them. These appraisals are one of the factors I look at when buying domain names. I don’t take the number too seriously, but if an appraisal is higher than I might have expected to see, it grabs my attention and makes me do a bit of searching to see what signals are causing it to have more value.
I regularly participate in auctions, and I don’t typically let an automated appraisal influence my buying decisions. Last year, though, I saw a domain name with a relatively high appraisal in pending delete status. The name was generic enough that I wasn’t concerned about trademark issues, and I ended up winning it for $59 at DropCatch.com as the only bidder. I don’t remember what I initially priced it at when I first listed it at Afternic, but I do recall thinking to myself, “why did I even buy this domain name.”
To make a short story long, I ended up selling this domain name recently via Afternic/GoDaddy. When I received the fast transfer email, I was pretty surprised to see that this particular domain name was sold.
When people criticize automated appraisal platforms and services, I tend to agree. I don’t think they are great, especially when end user prospective buyers cite them in a negotiation or set their expectations based on the valuation they see. I regularly use the automated appraisals as a gauge of value, and I have sold plenty of domain names that I bought where I used the appraised value as one indicator. In this particular case, the automated appraisal was almost certainly the only reason I even noticed the domain name in the first place. Had it not been for the automated appraisal, the domain name may have been deleted.