Will Heritage Auctions Domain Auction Hit 7 Figures?

It’s been quite some time since the last live domain auction hit the million dollar market. The inaugural Heritage Auctions domain auction is tonight, and there are already two six figure auctions that have hit their reserve prices and will sell whether incremental bids are placed. There are 62 domain name lots up for auction.

Including the buyer’s premium, Animation.com currently stands at $109,250 and XZ.com has a high bid of $138,000. In order to hit 7 figures, either MutualFunds.com will have to sell or a few of the other six figure names will need to meet reserve.

Regardless of the outcome, I think HA and Aron Meystedt have done an exceptional job of outreach. There has been quite a bit of mainstream auction coverage, and I understand there are going to be at least two reporters from mainstream publications in attendance tonight.

If you’re going to be be in New York City, you can attend the auction in person. If not, you can create a client ID and click the disable bidding button to watch the live auction. You can also watch Larry Fischer’s Twitter feed where he will be broadcasting the auction results as they happen. The auction begins at 7pm eastern tonight.

Do you think the auction will hit 7 figures? Vote in the poll tonight and then follow along.

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. “Regardless of the outcome, I think HA and Aron Meystedt have done an exceptional job of outreach.”

    Give me money and I can do same, publish multiple ads, use different sales channels to let public know that auction is coming. Nothing what anyone of us cannot do. What so terrific has been done what you cannot, Elliot?

    Auction is not over yet, but so far I am very disappointed…

    • For starters, Aron hasn’t paid me to write articles, but it’s a compelling auction, so I have written several. In addition, he’s had a bunch of (free) coverage in various media outlets like the Wall St. Journal.

      Perhaps there’s not much stopping most of us from doing what he has done, but most people haven’t and won’t do what he did, which is bring a domain auction to a top 3 (worldwide) auction house. Most of us sit on the sidelines and complain about what others are doing or aren’t doing rather than taking the bull by the horns.

      “Auction is not over yet, but so far I am very disappointed…”

      Do you have names in the auction? If so, what name(s)? If not, how has this disappointed you?

    • I am sure there are many people (e.g. Dave Evanson) who have more and better connections and with such budget they would bring more/better results.

    • Yeah, but assuming Dave Evanson would cover all those channels that Aron Meystedt did, plus bringing even more bidders… Anyway, let’s wait for results and then will be right time to evaluate.

  2. I do like how when you place a bid, it adds the 15% buyers premium to the bid amount, it also does help you realize this is going to get quite costly quickly. I would like to see some sort of bid history or a bid activity profile of some sort.

  3. Aron has done an outstanding job of bringing domain sales to many. Mike, not sure what is up your A– but unless you can do as good of a job that Aron has done why don’t you look in the mirror and send your negative energy to yourself?

  4. Most of the domains are crap and take focus away from the truly great names. It seems there are multiple crappy domain names owned by the same gentleman in the HA auction. Clearly, favoritism is at play and HA should be concerned. There should be more scrutiny and a very proactive approach to getting truly premium domains on the HA list. I am not impressed by the judgement of someone who has the foresight to purchase the first domain ever and then sell crappy domains to the rest.

  5. Give the man some credit, it’s not as easy to rally high end names on an unproven domain selling platform, the only historical sales he had to pitch are whatever other assets this company had sold in the past. With any luck this auction will validate HA as an earner and make way for you and I to submit domains in the future.

  6. HA sees some potential as we know at the right price 2/3 Letter Number .com names, have buyers all day long, take 15% from the buyer, and the seller each, and you got a pretty good business.

    If they were to do 1 million in sales, they would gross $300K in commissions alone, being a business already in the auction business, great variety to the line up, and with better inventory, comes better profits. It really depends who the buyers are, right now it looks to be domainers, or people already aware of the industry…Outside investment is what is needed, new interests, new money…

  7. Ironically, and despite being happy about this development and discussing it here on Elliot’s blog lately, I only actually looked at the auction for the first time late yesterday. As far as I’m concerned they’ve done an excellent job and the presentation was excellent, so I side with those who like and support what Aron and HA have done 100%. I especially like the pop up feature showing the domain. The whole presentation has an extremely well and intelligently conceived feel and connotation with respect to the market and subject matter in my opinion, so I am confident that regardless of how this first auction turns out, the ship has launched and is not turning back. In the interest of all candor and honesty, however, I did also agree about some of the domains being surprisingly lower than what I expected in terms of quality, but hey, so what. It only made me feel better about more of my many domains, and I’m confident I have a bunch that are much better than some of what was showing there despite that I may only have a relatively small number overall that might actually raise eyebrows a bit. 🙂 But hats off to Aron and HA and what they have done, and Elliot’s comments here are spot on. Hey folks – I’ll tell you right now and I’m not the least bit embarrassed to admit it – there’s no way on earth I’m equipped to do anything of the sort as what they have done here, so we all know talk is cheap, super cheap. I’ve just been among the few who have advocated for this kind of thing, and now it’s finally happening, so cheers to those who are equipped to do it and are doing it. 🙂

  8. “and I understand there are going to be at least two reporters from mainstream publications in attendance tonight.”

    It’s going to be very interesting what they have to say about this auction.

    • My bet is that they write a short article about how MutualFunds.com didn’t sell, if they write anything at all. To me, it’s still a big deal that Heritage Auctions now has a domain name / IP division, but without a huge sale number, I doubt there’s a big story.

  9. Elliot, now, when auction is over, you probably will agree with me, that it was a disappointment. Honestly, is this what you expected? I did much more… Anyway, it was nice experience and thanks to Aron an HA for it.

    • As far as I am concerned, I still think it is awesome that one of the 3 largest auction houses in the world now has a domain name / IP sales division. I think it’s great that someone like Aron is building another domain sales outlet that has the potential to be big, and I applaud him for his effort. There’s a lot of talk on various forums and websites by people who claim they could do better, but it’s mostly talk. Aron actually did something, and I like seeing people make an effort to help give domain name assets more exposure. I support what he is doing, and I will support anyone who makes an honest effort to help domain investors sell assets.

      If I had a domain name in the auction that didn’t sell, I would probably be personally disappointed about that, but I didn’t submit any inventory for this auction.

      I would love to hear what Aron has learned from this experience, and I hope he is able to build on the result in the future. Perhaps he will share his insight in a future blog post.

      As an aside, the sales volume tonight was higher than DomainFest 2012: http://www.domainnamenews.com/domain-auction/live-domainfest-global-2012-auction-results/10070 but lower than WebFest 2013: http://www.domainnamenews.com/domain-auction/webfest-global-domain-auction-results/22368

  10. Ditto on the suggestion about allowing bidding to start below the reserve.

    One thing I’d like to see is a nice quick summary page of the terms and obligations for those of us who don’t feel like wading through a big small print terms statement right away like I found there yesterday, especially for sellers. Sure, we’ll read it all later, but initially just give me the beef in little bite size chunks for now. 🙂 I didn’t really go through it all, so right now I’m not 100% clear on how all this works. So for instance, let me get this straight – it’s both buyer premium and seller premium? Exactly how much maximum or set? I assume one can sometimes negotiate a reduction, especially the higher the value? 🙂 What about this “seller’s commission” I saw mentioned in search – is that on top of the seller’s premium, or merely synonymous? What about this business of “consignment”? Did I see mention that if the item does not sell at auction, HA may sell it later in a private sale at their own discretion? Etc., etc. So I’m thinking just the “Cliff Notes” version for now so one can consider what the options/obligations really are, then one can read the whole novel cover to cover after one has decided it’s really best to proceed.

  11. This is just a start, and an excellent start as far as I’m concerned. I am very confident and optimistic about this new beginning, so as far as I’m concerned there should not be any disappointment at all, period. Isn’t this the most normal pattern of life – one day it’s baby steps, one day you see your friend pick up drum sticks for the first time, and you know the rest (especially if you’ve got tickets to see that friend play at Madison Square Garden not so many years later)…

  12. Am I reading this right where it’s showing the Sold To so many times as the buyer being HA.com?

    If that is correct, then Heritage Auctions was the biggest buyer there?

    I don’t get why they didn’t have an auctioneer who had some basic knowledge of the domain industry. That lady was stumbling quite a bit trying to read the promo pitches. The promo pitches should have been written more descriptive with traffic numbers, and revenue numbers, and other info to establish more financial sounding asset value, instead of the usual domainer style stuff about how many google searches there which we all know is ridiculous. Just sayin …

    For the amount of advertising, marketing and press, and the enormous base of collectors heritage has in it’s client base already, there wasn’t any heavy volume of bidders on any of the listings.

    And being in the heart of the financial capital of the world you’d think there’d have been some good amount of action on MutualFunds.com.

    Oh vey . . .

  13. I didn’t watch it at all, but yes you do need some polish and punch with a presenter for this. I disagree 100% about the necessity of those stats, however, or any hint as if that is some “rule” – that’s pure domainer think/speak right out of (uh hum) appraisal forum days (been there, done that, haven’t we all), not end user thinking. Sometimes the domain’s intrinsic, historical, cultural, symbolic, potential etc. value can have absolutely nothing at all to do with any of that in the purely immediate present. Each case is different. Sometimes it may be a good idea to broadcast those numbers if they’re already good, but sometimes they might not yet exist or barely exist at all for all intents and purposes, while the domain can still be worth millions. Honestly – did anyone read about the sale of privatejet.com, and if there is any truth to it does anyone honestly believe it already had any impressive “numbers” behind it to begin with, or ForSaleByOwner.com, just to name a few. I also disagree about the searches being “ridiculous” – far from it. In this case, though, from what I read being quoted elsewhere about the present earnings of mutualfunds.com, I would actually tend to agree it may have been a good idea to add some more of that data in this case. $1 million seems like a steal frankly, so I regard this lack of movement now as abnormal, and likely the result of a variety of psychological factors in the market which made this simply not the most opportune time. I would be very surprised it that particular domain does not go for seven figures not very long from now.

    • Wall Street investors buy numbers, sheeple investors buy hype.

      The purpose of the auction was to get to a new audience of sophisticated Wall Street investors and corporate buyers. I watched the entire auction. I didn’t see any high volume of bidders on any of the listings. I’m a fan of all who endeavor to accomplish this goal to open and widen new marketplaces, so don’t take the critique in the wrong light. We’ve seen how hard it is to penetrate this audience, as many of us have strived the same thing, most with modest or no success, so it just means back to the drawing board and keep reworking things and innovate some more marketing ideas.

      The auction house is there to make commissions. They have to factor in the cost of advertising, marketing, production, legal, staff costs, etc. That all adds up fast. The most important thing at this stage is to get at least enough traction for them to make significant profits so it becomes a viable selling sector for them. Like Rick always preaches “everything is about SALES in business” and he is 110% correct. That’s where it all starts. You have to make sales.

      Aron did a good job. Got good media exposure and advertising exposure. But at the end of the day you have to score success with how many sales were done and for how much money. Otherwise you’re just drinking kool aid.

  14. I was very skeptical but considering being a first in many ways these are “excellent results” …
    Congratulations, I am sure there will be more to come, hopefully it gets more targeted media coverage.

    Huge step for the Premium domain market.

    P.S: Stick to premium domains in the true sense of the word, don’t mix and match.

    • Ya don’t say. Well as far as first efforts go, not only was it a good one, but consider quoting this from the article now: “Meystedt remains optimistic […] five minutes later dashed off a second email saying that another $100,000-worth of domain names had been sold since last night’s auction.” Not too shabby. 🙂

  15. Oops, I just accidentally clicked dislike for Elliot’s comment November 21st, 2013 at 8:08 pm and can’t undo it; was meant for Todd’s above. So the real count for Elliot’s should only be 1 now.

  16. Shallow knowledge. One eyed man in the valley of the blind.

    To someone who knows absolutely nothing about a topic, the person who knows a tiny little bit can present themselves as an expert and get away with it. To legitimate cognoscenti, they recognize a hack when they see one.

    The problem with the 24 hour news cycle is the enormous pressure it puts on reporters to create content, content, content. That’s why ‘news’ today is worthless, infused with personal opinion and biases. That same reporter talking today about domain names will be covering the sale of race horses on Tuesday, Mutual Funds on Wednesday and driveway pavement on Thursday.

    Any one of us could write a seemingly insightful article on the apple growing industry even though probably none of us know anything about it. That’s the proprietary skill of a ‘reporter’ these days. Learn how to do internet research, attain the shallowest of knowledge on a particular topic, present an abstract conclusion based on that shallow knowledge in an article and at worst, you have a 50/50 chance of being correct.

    That article is a sterling example of shallow knowledge reporting.

  17. As far as the “Wall Street investor” is concerned, perhaps what a friend of mine told me long ago applies now and needs to be overcome in terms of the psychology of the matter. We went to college together, one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. Aside from being one of the top scorers in the state on the CPA exam right after graduation, he had no intention of practicing and went straight to Harvard Law, having not even been mainly an accounting major. Before long he became one of the senior directors of one of the most famous Wall Street investment banking companies at a fairly early age, and now he is one of the chief executives of one of the most famous and successful Wall Street hedge funds. Interestingly enough, it was from him that I even first heard the phrase “risk averse” for the first time I’m aware of many years ago, and that phrase appears in the first sentence of the Forbes article linked to here. He could definitely be described as “risk averse” despite doing well.

    Some time not long after I first got into “domaining” over ten years ago I had a conversation with this friend of mine about it. At that time I believe he was working as a lawyer in an NYC firm with a really hoity toity sounding name. He was very down on the whole thing. This was very long before virtually anyone was even thinking about the current explosion of new gTLD’s. In fact, I’m not even sure if both .biz and .info had even been released yet. So what was his biggest objection to the value of domains and domaining back then? The biggest objection he expressed was that it was “infinitely expandable,” i.e., that they could just keep making an infinite number of TLD’s – the very thing we are seeing finally happening now. So if he was thinking that way, it would not surprise me at all if many of the so called “Wall Street investors” are thinking along similar lines now, among other things, and that type of thinking could perhaps have had something to do with why there was no movement at all with mutualfunds.com this time, especially since $1 million seems like such a plain steal no less.

    • Steve – it’s about addressing what they might be thinking and perceiving now, especially given the timing of the release of an avalanche of new tld’s, and why they would have passed over a steal of a deal like $1 million for a domain like mutualfunds.com – not about anything we in the industry might already know or understand. In my Wall Street success story friend’s mind, “.com gold” meant nothing and the risk was the “infinitely expandable” range of possible new tld’s making domains essentially worthless by abundant dilution. It doesn’t matter what we already know about this kind of thinking unless we actually educate them and disabuse them of this kind of thinking, if indeed that’s the kind of thing they are really thinking now. Just as Ron Jackson wrote in his latest DNJ article:

      “HA promoted the auction heavily and they knew going in that they have wage a long term educational campaign to spread awareness of the intrinsic value in great domains.” (http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131122.htm)

  18. Yeah, the more I think about it, and that conversation with that friend of mine so long ago now, and with the current unfortunate timing, the more I wonder if it may look to the Wall Street types like “we” are actually just trying to engage in a sell off, a dumping, because maybe we ourselves are thinking the same thing about the “infinitely expandable” explosion of tld’s. You know what they say about image and perception…

  19. More of Ron Jackson’s excellent coverage, as usual, lol. He definitely mentions the Forbes article, and I recommend taking particular note of the paragraphs that begin with:

    “[…] they knew going in that they have wage a long term educational campaign to spread awareness of the intrinsic value in great domains.”


    “Remember that the mainstream press thought the party was over with the .com bust in 2000, but a few billion dollars worth of domains have been sold since then and many millions worth are still being sold every week.”

    Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” 🙂

    Here’s the link: http://www.dnjournal.com/archive/lowdown/2013/dailyposts/20131122.htm

  20. Lol, thanks for that link, Kevin. Btw, Elliot has put up four posts on this since November 9, and I seem to have attracted a very determined little “dislike” stalker more or less all the way now. The bottom line is that it looks like about as clean and kosher as a typical forum “appraisal” thread if you catch my drift. 😉 So the bottom line is don’t be swayed by that and if you honestly like my post then help the cause here with a “like” click of your own. And no mistake about it, this is a cause and a contest of ideas for what is best for all of us, as some are clearly opposed to this type of long awaited development in the industry for their own selfish reasons. If you want to see the origin of my new little “friend,” just review the reader comments in Elliot’s very first post from November 9 here: https://www.domaininvesting.com/heritage-auctions-domain-auction-ad-new-york-times-119/#comment-179733

    Cheers. 🙂

    • Yeh, I was shocked not only to see Forbes up for sale, but they’re only expecting to get offers in the $200 Million range?? I was thinking that’s all for one of the most prestigous publishing brands in the world?? Sure that’s still a big chunk of change, but it’s peanuts in the world that Forbes deals in.

      Shows how tough it is out there in the economy even for the biggest of brands, and everyone is competing for ad dollars with digital media which is really doing a number on traditional publishers bottom lines. But that’s business. Things change and change they do. Out with the old and in with the new. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Escrow.com Announces 2023 Master of Domains

During the NamesCon conference today, Escrow.com announced its Master of Domains winners. The annual award celebrates "the highest grossing domain name brokers for deals...

How to Buy a Domain Name That is Owned by Someone

For a domain investor, buying a domain name is second nature. Investors hand register domain names, purchase domain names via expiry and private auctions,...

My 2023 Domain Industry PMC Jersey

For a number of years, I have created a domain industry Pan-Mass Challenge jersey to raise funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Many domain industry...

Chat.com Profitably Resold for 8 Figures

In March of this year, I reported on the sale of Chat.com. The domain name was acquired by HubSpot Co-Founder Dharmesh Shah for more...

First Look at my 2023 Domain Industry PMC Jersey

This August, I will be riding in my 10th Pan-Mass Challenge ride to raise funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I will be riding...