As many of you know, Aaron, Josh, Travis, and I put together our first auction. It was a test to see if we could manage all the submissions, the transfers, the marketing, and the payouts necessary to have a good auction. A lot of people are doing auctions already. My friend Drew Rosener of Media Options puts together great Namejet auctions every month. We felt we may be able to add a little to it by having the ability to market the domains on our website on a daily basis. The fees were the normal 15% so the sellers received the exact same commission as if they sold it themselves but got some extra marketing by going through us. At least that was the sales line. Here is my overall impression about how each stage went
Submissions: Travis made taking the submissions easy. He created a database that gathered the names and made it very easy to look at the names and their reserves in a real time manner. Simply clicking a button that says yes, no, or lets see if we can get them to lower reserve type of maybe. We received a lot. Hundreds. And as you expect, many were bad names, and most of the rest had just too high of a reserve. But there were some good names at realistic or no reserves. The goal of the auction is to sell the name. Regardless of how good the name is, we don’t get paid unless it sells. We weren’t looking to impress anyone with some amazing names. We just wanted names that would sell.
Setting Up The Auction: Kudos to Jonathan and Laurie at Namejet. They couldn’t have made it easier to set up. We had only one issue with a name that a person didn’t actually own but we caught it before the auction got too far along. I actually had them change the names to finish much quicker than they set them up because I didn’t think we needed the long period for people to find the names. We would help them find them
The Results: I don’t think the names sold for any higher than we thought and we had a fantastic sell through rate. Josh threw in a few extra names into the auction that were so so, but even many of those sold. I talked to a few of the people that sold through us and they all had great things to say and they all said they felt they received more bidders and a better price because of our marketing. Its exactly what we were trying to accomplish. Of course if there were any people that weren’t happy didn’t really let us know that they weren’t so the feedback was a bit one sided. I only bought one headline on Domaining.com. I had planned to buy more but the auctions were going so well I didn’t really think it was needed.
The Payouts: This was the part I was worried about. It’s quite a bit of money to pay out and I was worried that people would get upset about the wire and paypal fees. There really wasn’t much I could do about it and I paid Paypal from balance so it ended up not being any fees. The wire did cost. But $25 out of a $6000 plus payment isn’t killer. The wires went smoothly and I only messed up one paypal by sending it to one letter off (thankfully not claimed). I had everything paid within a few days of receiving the payouts from Namejet
Overall it went much smoother than expected. Travis really did most of the work by automating things and handling communications. That is where the real work of an auction occurs. That and picking through names. You make almost nothing on these auctions. Unless you have the big names like Media Options. Our auction netted a little over $55,000 and doing the payout and the time and effort it’s really not worth it. We would have made more charging $10 to list the name. But now that we’ve done it and have the process and infrastructure down I think we are going to do more of these. We will start taking submissions in the first week of January. Look for a submission banner at the top of the site.
Below are the final results