Pre-Auction Publicity for Moniker Live Auction

It’s great to wake up and see an article in my local newspaper about an upcoming domain auction. In this morning’s New York Post, there is a small article announcing that will be on the auction block at TRAFFIC East in May. From the article,

Israel is being sold off to the highest bidder.
Jean-Noel Frydman, 46, registered the domain name in 1994 and never imagined at the time it would be worth millions.
“Mainly, I didn’t want anyone to misuse it. That’s why I registered it,” he said, noting he retains final approval on the sale at the May 23 auction.”

Of interest is that Moniker may have given the owner authority to back out of a deal if he doesn’t approve of the new owner. On a strictly personal level, I am glad to see this as it would be terrible for to go into the hands of a terrorist or other extremist group. As a domain investor, I think this sets a pretty poor precedent, as a domain owner shouldn’t be able to cancel an auction because he doesn’t approve of the bidder.
If I was a betting person (which I am), I would wager that the domain name will not sell for $5m despite the hype. I think it’s a fantastic opportunity, but organizations who could afford to spend $5m probably can’t justify spending it on a domain name – yet. People will kick themselves for missing out on this opportunity in a few years though.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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. Jean-Noel Frydman, 46, registered the domain name in 1994 and never imagined at the time it would be worth millions. – Interesting post

  2. I’m w/you. From a strictly business point of view, tough to see any domain being sold on a “restricted buyer” basis.
    In this case, though, I believe it’s the right thing to do, since it’d be an unbeatable domain for Israel’s many enemies to own and use. And; while I also doubt it will go for 5+ million; it’s a great and noble decision by the seller to give up potentially a million dollars or more by limiting who can buy it.
    The thing is, anyone trying to acquire it for nefarious purposes will likely buy it using a shell company or other entity type to hid the true ownership anyway.
    So; unless the seller and/or Moniker’s come up with some type of long-term (forever?) written “permissible uses + resale restrictions for any future buyers” contract (which could prevent a sale from occurring anywhere near its true value, if at all), it could still end up in the wrong hands.
    Will be interesting to see if it sells, for how much, who buys it, and how it’s eventually used; now and in the future.

  3. @Steve
    I think that restricting the buyer may seem like a good idea, but it is both a bad idea from an industry transparency perspective, and next to impossible to enforce.
    – Richard

  4. Richard,
    Understand how you feel, but in this case the moral imperative far, far outweighs any perceived duty to maintain industry transparency.
    Try selling the need for transparency to the nation and people of Israel, who’s enemies would just as soon wipe the country off the face of the Earth.
    Use enforcement could actually be accomplished in at least one of two ways:
    #1. A long term (25-100+ years) lease (which the owners of granted to the owners of
    #2. A sale with very strong “repossession” rights; which would be difficult to enforce given the international nature of domain “ownership”; such as it is.

  5. @Steve
    No one will pay 5MM for the domain and then go agree to #1. This is a domain sale, not a lease they are offering.
    And #2 cannot be enforced, once the domain is moved to a registrar and hosting company outside the USA.
    – Richard

  6. Richard–The Greenspun family; who owns, paid over 12MM for a 100 yr lease of back in 2005.
    So big money for category killer geo’s like these–on a lease basis–are actually very viable.
    Since the seller apparently has the right to decline any particular sale/s; we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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