I’ve been calling for it for over a year. Somebody needed to put a larger group of domains that would sell between $2000 and $30,000 into a main auction. The key word being sell. The previous auctions either left them out completely, only selling six digit names, or they put the reserve way above an actual selling price. AfterMarket tested the waters with a larger percentage of names in this range, and the result was a greater number of domains selling than past auctions.
For every Frank Schilling and Michael Berkens there are 50 of people like me. People that don’t have the money to spend $30,000 on a name more than once or at all. While I realize that an auction’s success is determined by the profits to the auction house, there is also something to be said about selling domains. Domains that are in that “sweet spot” in which a much larger number of people can participate can bring interest to an event. Aftermarket.com put together an auction last week with names in this price range and in terms of moving names, it was the most successful auction in a long time with roughly 50% of the names selling.
Again, I realize the auction has to be paid for. The auction house gets a certain percentage of the final price and it takes some big name sales to pay the bills. This makes the sale of a few higher priced domains important to the financial health of an auction. What has been missed this past year is the action. The final prices of an auction can be greatly determined by the number of participants. The main auction draws the most people, but the last few big auctions I’ve been to have had an average of 20 active bidders for all the names. The other 200 people sat there, watched and talked. Sure they all had paddles, but realistically there was a slim to no chance of bidding on any names. Names in the $2-30K range draw more participants and more participants compete against each other, driving up final prices. Names like cuffs.com, seated.com, and dropped.com were all at reasonable reserves and drew action. These same names would have been priced at double these levels and drawn a pass at previous auctions.
Kudos to Aftermarket and the people that put the auction together. Hopefully others will learn from this and start including more names that are solid, reasonably priced in this range into their main auctions. Perhaps even having a vote on which names are added to the main auction. Forty names that are the “People’s Choice” from a larger list of names that will be added to the big names. Big names draw the publicity and pay the bills, average names draw the crowd. I think both are important for a successful auction.