Domain Spotlight:

Do You Think You Could Put Together A Better Domain Auction?

Some days I think I might be able to.  I’m certainly not saying it would be easy and realize I would most likely not be able to pull on off,  but I’ve been like many domainers over the last year and thought, too high reserves and too many domains from friends and family.

The purpose of a domain auction is simple, to make money, I get it.  The location has to be paid for, the auction platform, the drinks, a ton of costs.  You also have to know lots of people in the industry.  To meet those costs, today’s auctions are set up as “Home Run” auctions, auctions hoping that one or two of the big names will sell and pay for the event. You want names that draw attention, that cater to the top echelon of domainers.    Could an auction be successful with less larger names and a higher percentage of sales. If I were going to do an auction in my naive little world, this is how I would do it.

1. Show your potential buyers you have a certain standard of domains by keeping the junk out of your auction. I’d start by keeping the junk out of the live auction. It was pretty obvious that many of the Live auctions  were a liquidation of hosts or friend portfolios,  not premier listings.  It was like throwing a low mileage Chevy Chevette in a Classic Car Auction.  Sure it’s not a bad car but it doesn’t belong.  Too many “which one of these is not like the other” listings this year

2. Put domains in there for the Lower End Domainer. To the big guys, buying a domain in a live auction is no big deal.  To the rest, it’s exciting, an honor.   There are a ton of guys that would spend a few thousand on a domain but there are very few domains in these auctions in that price range that aren’t complete junk.  I know this is easier said than done,  but I am certain someone could build a portfolio of solid names in that price range.

3. Put in collectible domains. The auctions are so focused on generic keywords that they completely forget about CVCV.coms,  NNNN.coms, and other similar types.  They can go for thousands and are very popular.  Sedo sells them daily but what if they were in a premier auction?

4. We need more Internet bidders. The auctions need to be at night AND the we need a system that actually works. Proxibid does not.  It needs to be better.  If you could have an auction system with a fantastic interface and reliability you would open up a whole new world of sales.  I think a night time auction would attract more Internet bidders.  More bidders equals higher prices. It’s been proven that the present method,  selling domains in a room full of 65 millionaire domainers doesn’t always bring results.

5. Throw a couple income producing websites into the auction.  It’s where domaining is heading so why not sell a few complete business, domain name included.  If Flippa can move them I believe a high visibility auction could as well

6.  Add some excitement but doing a “Bido Style” selection of domain names. I would do this.  I would pick some of the better domains and put them straight in but I would also have a little fun and put 100 domains out there for other domainers to vote for their top 10 domains.  Those top 10 would be included in the live auction.  A “people’s choice” section of the auction.

Again, I’m not saying I have all the answers but I also don’t have any agenda.  I’m looking at this thing from a standpoint of selling more names and getting more people involved.  There are a lot of ways to make money in auctions and I feel there could be a different approach to a Big Live auction that would be more popular.    But then again,  Popular may not make money .


Domain Spotlight:

4 Replies to “Do You Think You Could Put Together A Better Domain Auction?”

  1. Great article Shane – thanks. We’re planning a live event in Australia next year that will include a live auction. Your pointers will be a great help for us in structuring our auction.

  2. Hey Shane,

    I wrote a similar series of posts on our blog about building a marketplace for buying and selling websites. It’s nice to see a parallel on the domain side.

  3. Good topic Shane,

    How about making the conferences exclusively conferences. Workshops, speakers and networking. The only sales that happen are between domainers in attendance. If there are brokers in attendance that can move domains to endusers, even better. End users aren’t likely to attend, so no need to have an auction with enduser prices when your audience is domainers.

    Keep the Bidos, GD, SN, Namejets for domainers to pick up bargains for resale.

    Let the SEDOs, Afternics, Latonas take their auctions to the endusers.
    If the national association of (Insert Industry Here) are having a conference, buy a booth and try to get listed as a guest speaker. Discuss the domain industry, importance of domains, and how income can be generated online.

    Before the event let domainers submit their names, or in the case of SEDO and Afternic, categorize them and perhaps price them if you are looking for a sale rather than an auction. Give the potential endusers a selection of BIN and auction domains. Make sure domains are priced realistically.

    After doing the presentation, while the attendees are still thinking about domain names, give them a brochure with the 100,200,400 or whatever number of names that fit their industry with simply instructions about the buying process. Heck, you can even do a demonstration for them to show how easy it is.

    Domainers know where to get bargains and premium auctions are usually not the place. Start bringing the domain sales to the endusers and everyone wins – the auction houses and the domainers.

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