I’ll never forget my first big domain auction. I had been buying domains for years. I had read their blogs, seen their pictures, and now I was sitting one row away from all of them. Together sat Rich Schwartz, Howard Neu, and Michael Berkens all laughing and having a good time at the TRAFFIC auction in Vegas. I could see it in Rick’s eyes that he loved just being part of the action. The money, the fast pace, being surrounded by others in the industry. It was his time to do a little showing off, showing what he does. But can he do that at his own auction?
Schwartz has a lot to lose and gain. He has never called out Rick Latona but everyone knows when he says better, he’s talking about all other conferences but especially the previous TRAFFIC shows. The motto of this conference seems to be “we can do better and we will” which in my mind he already has. But Rick loves to participate and in this case, I think he may have to sit it out. I think it could be a huge conflict of interest if the owner/organizer of an auction is actually bidding. How would you feel if you paid more for a domain because the auction holder bids against you? There have been unproven accusations of shill bidding in past auctions and I think TRAFFIC is doing a great job of being open and hones,t but it would all go down the drain if the organizers participate in the auction. While it may be in good faith, just the mere appearance of driving up a price would taint the outcome. Some may say he can just have a few friends bid on names for them. I don’t think TRAFFIC needs to do this and from everything I’ve read or heard, they think the quality will do it’s own bidding. As far as friends buying names for the organizers. It will be pretty easy to tell because many people have already put a DomainTools watch on all the names and you’ll know soon enough who won the name.
Rick may have already been asked this same question and I missed the response or will most likely respond in a public way. Either way I’m curious if the industry felt it would be a conflict of interest if anyone involved in the management of the auction participated in the bidding. Regardless I’m hoping it will be a successful auction because our industry needs a few success story. I do hope that the XXX names aren’t the highlight though. Nothing wrong with that but it would be nice to headlines other than the new adult name sales.
Photo courtest of RickLatona.com