Adam Yamada-Hanff shared a link with me to a My First Million podcast featuring someone who has been active in the business of domain names but I had never heard about him or his business before. I embedded the podcast at the bottom of this article.
Sheel Mohnot runs a company called Innovative Auctions, and according to his reporting on the podcast, the company sold more than half a billion dollars worth of Internet real estate. You may be scratching your head a bit, as did I, but the company was responsible for many of the auctions involving the new gTLD domain name extensions. Many of the new gTLD contention sets participated in the ascending clock second price auctions managed by Sheel’s company. According to the podcast, the top couple of auctions went for over $100 million, although the extensions and amounts were not shared.
Here’s a description of the podcast found at the Listen Notes website:
“Our hero today – Sheel Mohnot (@pitdesi) created an online auction site (like Ebay, but instead of selling beanie babies, he auctions off internet real estate). He has hosted $100M+ worth of auctions, keeping a 4% cut for himself along the way. Hear how he found this wacky niche, got the auction platform off the ground – and how he went from living on $1/day in India to becoming a self-made millionaire.”
The first round of new gTLD applications and auctions has completed. I believe ICANN intends to have subsequent rounds of applications for new extensions, but I do not believe the schedule for applications and auctions has been set yet. I presume Innovative Auctions could be involved again.
The podcast was first aired in October of 2019. If you’re interested in domain names, particularly the new extensions, you should add this podcast to your list. As I was writing this, I also discovered that Andrew Allemann posted a podcast with Sheel in 2015.