Domain Spotlight:

WebFest Auction Proves The Value of Internet Bids

Regardless of whether or not you thought the Webfest Live Domain Auction was successful, there is one thing I am 100% certain.  Adding Internet bidding adds incredible value to the auction. Almost every domain in the auction received some kind of action from the Internet. And that was despite there were hardly any names under $10,000 for sale.  There were mostly big boy names and honestly I didn’t expect many to sell because of their high price.  But the action came. Action that not only purchased domains, but drove up the prices of names that were bought by in person bidders. No it wasn’t a big total and many names didn’t sell, but there were still more bids than I expected.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars came from online.  Whether they were truly at a remote location or even sitting in the room, the Internet bids allowed people who couldn’t make the auction to participate or in person bidders to hide their identity.  Both of which provide value.  One of the two letter dot coms sold for over $200K and the money came from an online bidders.  Another two letter dot com that didn’t sell got a $240,000 bid from online.  The $30,000 commission of the that did sell would not have been made without the platform.  It doesn’t take much intelligence to figure out if it’s worth opening the auction to anyone.

I think the problem in our industry is the fact that it seems that only Moniker/Snap has the platform to pull off a live online added auction.  There doesn’t seem to be another platform that can stay up and perform for the entire three hours.   You can forget all the bullshit about problems with the Internet bandwidth.  This is 2012, I’m almost getting enough speeds on my iPhone with LTE speeds to run the auction.  The problem is there are not enough people that would use a live bidding platform so nobody has the financial incentive to build a stable live backend.  So if you don’t like the prices or have some dislike of Snapnames, then you aren’t going to be able to have a live online auction.  And that leaves you to having the same type of auction as the 1600’s.

To sell domains to only people in the room is archaic.  Should I make people drive to my house to pick up the domain too?  “For sale, domains, must be present to win, pickup Only” We sell domains.  This is a worldwide business.  Not everyone can make it to the auction.  Why would we not want their money? Phone in?  Why not telegraph.

Domains that are the placemarks of the Internet.  It was refreshing to see an auction use the Internet to bring in more people, more action.  I know results are all that matter but the Internet brought results.  It saved the auction.  I’m hoping the next live auction I go too in May will do the same.


Domain Spotlight:

37 Replies to “WebFest Auction Proves The Value of Internet Bids”

  1. I used to go to auctions, then go to my room and bid, acting bored at the auction room, like nothing good is here….

  2. Moniker needs to focus on it’s clients, and pick up the phone, and get their support system online, they are failing their clients in the past week, big problems brewing over there, when nobody answers calls, or emails.

  3. Sorry, no online bidding at TRAFFIC.
    Why should a room full of live bidders have to wait for a handful of bidders online and get bored? I was bored watching it when it was OBVIOUS on many lots that nobody was going to bid. Nobody in the room wanted t bid so they wasted many minutes waiting for the ghost to bid.

    We have phone bidding. It works as well and maybe better. I can make a case for it being better.

    Phones eliminates the delay and boredom on every single lot waiting for an Internet bid that may or may not materialize. The phone is instant. No delays.

    Look at it from that angle.

    Plus, there was one internet bidder that lost because his bid did not hit in time when the connection went down. Isn’t that worth mentioning??

    Point is those folks would have bid regardless of online, or the phone. $200k is not an “Impulse buy”. It was well thought out and the phone is no obstacle when you have need, want and desire in play.

    No REAL buyer ever complains about the method. Just bloggers looking for something to blog about. lol

    Matter of fact, most like our phone bidding much better and they have said so. Plus the attendees in the room feel more confident that the bidder they bid against is real and is there so to speak.

    1. Rick,

      I’ll be at the TRAFFIC auction hoping it goes well. Despite what you think I would like ALL auctions to do well. I want as many people to participate as possible and if you think you are, then great. Again, I’ll be there to cheer it on. Make fun of my blogging just to blog but the difference is I ‘ll go out and look you in the eye and same the same thing and don’t hide behind the keyboard. See you in a few months

  4. Sorry Rick, can’t agree with you. I am with Shane here. And I can confirm from the perspective of live domain auction organizer – there has to be online bidding. It is internet age and you just can’t avoid it.

  5. “I can confirm from the perspective of live domain auction organizer”

    Daniel, isn’t that what I am? But who cares about my perspective or what is good for me? That is not my viewpoint. How about what is good for attendees? Domainers?

    Those attending deserve the edge and consideration rather than to be waiting for some non attending non paying bidder. That seems nuts to me. It does not seem unreasonable to have them phone bid. We are not talking hundreds. Not even dozens, I watched the online bidders. There were ony a few. Maybe 12-18. So this is a non issue for the reasons I have explained.

    Sorry, phone bidding does not interfere with legitimate bidding and there is no abuse.

    Wonder if Halvarez was one of the online bidders? Do you know who #28710 is? Or 28723?

  6. Shane,
    All I can say is phone bidding does not discourage a single legitimate bidder. I have articulated my reasoning for 2 years and I have displayed evidence right here in this thread of why.

    So how about the domainer that was bidding, got shut out when the system went down and lost the auction? Bet he wishes he was on the phone.

    And I’ll tell you everything I said here eye to eye in May. I don’t change because the wind direction changes. I change when there is new info to logiacally consider. When I logically consider all aspects and abuses and shill bidders, I keep coming back to the same conclusion.

    Then when I add in the FACT that there was a glitch and an online bidder lost out on a name, I don’t just ignore it. I just add that info in and in this case just reinforces phone bidding.

    Folks can particiapte or not. If domainers don’t want to sell under those conditions that is fine. They know in advance. If bidders don’t have a phone or they only do online bidding, I guess they can go to 1000 other places.

    My focus is attendees. I don’t like when I go physically into a store and I am at the cash register with money in my hand and the MORON clerk decides the IDIOT on the phone that just called trumps me who is there at the register paying. Then makes me wait while he goes to do this or that for someone not even there. That is when I walk out.

  7. I personally find it counterintuitive to have an auction that is selling internet assets, that does not offer internet bidding.

    As a seller I would appreciate the largest pool of potential buyers possible.


  8. Thank you for your comments Rick!

    So, as an auction organizer I have two main goals that I always want to achieve:

    1. Get the best domains to auction and with low starting price (NO reserve is mandatory).

    2. Get as many legitimate bidders as possible.

    And from my experience to achieve (1) I need to guarantee that there will be bidders, a lot of them and with cash. Otherwise I would not get good domains with low starting prices and no reserve (which is very important to me and bidders), which is my goal number (2). Online bidding helps a lot. And phone bidding will not do the job.

    Of course there are some issues that have to be addressed like internet connectivity, auction platform (fast, reliable and secure), elimination of scammers etc. And these are things that have to be taken care by the auction organizer. But this is doable.

    And I don’t know if attendees are the ones that you should focus most regarding auction. What about domain sellers that are not attendees? I guess they would like auction to be online as well. And what about all those people that don’t want to or just are not able to participate in the event in person

    And phone bidding is not the answer – really. People are used to internet, to ebay and so on. No way I am gonna go back 20-30 years and use phone. I want to use my laptop, because that’s more convenient for me.

    And last but not lease: Shane, Brad or me – we do not write our opinions to make you angry or to feel better by criticizing you. We really want to help. This is the voice of domain auction bidders and domain conference’s attendees. It is up to you if you want to hear our arguments or not 🙂

  9. I spoke to the seller of after his auction failed to hit the minimum $5k, but someone in the room made a deal to buy after or something. He was disappointed with the lack of online bidding, I had a client who would have paid more for the domain, and would have been willing to bid online. I contacted him after the auction, in case the other bidder didn’t follow through.

    I don’t think people mind waiting a few mins, if it means thousands of more dollars for their domains, or for that matter their domains at least selling…

  10. It is laughable to say that anyone who wants a name will equally pick up the phone as bid online. There are a dozen different reasons someone would prefer to bid online than on the phone – especially in the mid-low price range.

    And the “but online isn’t perfect…someone lost a bid” argument is ridiculous. Yeah, online isn’t perfect. Either is cell service. And more importantly, either is an auction format that is designed to keep people in a room happy ahead of reaching the largest possible pool of buyers.

  11. As someone who lives on the other side of the world to most of you (Australia) – I’m far more likely to bid online than to make an international call.

    There really is no legitimate excuse for not having online bidding as an option for domain auctions.

    It opens up the auction to a larger audience, potentially brings in more money, it’s easier for international bidders, it allows people to be anonymous should they so desire… and so on.

    To be selling a digital address and not allow online bidding seems totally ridiculous to me.

    If auction organisers can’t get a working online platform – they should leverage off one that does such as SnapNames.

    Rick, I respect your achievements and what you’ve done to drive the industry, but stubbornly arguing against what your market wants seems counter-productive to me.

    Maybe it’s time to look at how you can make online work rather than pushing phone-ins as the solution.

  12. I would love to participate if Internet Bidding is offered at Traffic. Phone lines are pathetic here and broadband dongle tagged to laptop is far more reliable than the phone line.

    Hope reason prevails and they try net bidding for a change in addition to phone to assess the results this year.

  13. When TRAFFIC was allowing online biding I spent large amount of money buying names. This stopped. All potential buyers cannot be personally present nor want to be. It’s crazy these days to put technology as as excuse. I appreciate a lot Rick but here I think he is not taking the best decision.

  14. Francois, how many domains did you buy at this auction? 😉

    Sorry, but there are 10,000 other autions 24/7 to do and everyone knows we do it different. So easy solution. If you have domains and don’t like how we do it, don’t submit.

    If you are a buyer and you don’t like the phone, can’t or won’t do text, then TRAFFIC is not the auction for you.

    If everyone hates it, nobody will particiapte. Simple.

    Meanwhile we have dozens of phone bidders and THEY did not complain except for one moron looking for a penpal and thought Kim was rude when he said he was done bidding and she hung up the phone just like I instructed her to do.

  15. Did Rick Schwartz just call Shane a moron?

    I think we can all see who the outdated moron really is.

  16. “Did Rick Schwartz just call Shane a moron?”

    No, I called somebody that complained to Shane a moron for her not staying on the phone with him longer after he said he was no longer bidding. She has a jib to do and once it was done there was no reason for anything further. Next call.

  17. Rick,

    You are right, I did not bid in any in this auction, but a little because there was no appealing domains for me and a lot because I am actually short.

    Now I want to outline that most of the live auctions I won in the past (were TRAFFIC auctions) and for domain names I did not even planned to buy before the auction started. Is it compulsive buying, or the magical of online live auctions? I do not know.

    The only thing I am sure is you lost selling opportunities not offering a way to bid online.

    These live TRAFFIC auctions were so exciting!!!


  18. Francois, Come to TRAFFIC. Be my guest. You really need to be there. Then I bet you will see why we do what we do.

    How many years? Come on. It’s time!

  19. I am with you Rick. When I am at the check register waiting in line trying to pay and there are registers without cashiers pissed me off more. Come to think of it..when I am at the bank trying to deposit and they make me wait in line to give them money pisses me off the most.

    If poor uncle have money, I’d have my own bank too. What other business do you know of that people give you money and you don’t have to give them anything in return? 🙂

  20. Daniel, I never seen a video of such quality on a live auction than your. Years after I still remember the huge impact. This will stay as a reference for me.

    Shane, you do the good thing shaking a little, this is the only way things may improve. I think as soon an indepedent player will be able to provide a live auction service as stable and performant as we may see the live auctions back at TRAFFIC, at least I hope.

    Owen, you made me smile and this video still much more.

    Rick thanks so much for the invitation, one day I will have to move from behind the curtain… and TRAFFIC will be for sure one of my priorities.

  21. Francois, you would sell enough ads to come to shows for the next 10 years! I think it is to your benefit. I won’t even consider an Internet auction until YOU come! 🙂

    1. Francois ,

      You can room with Rick and I at TRAFFIC 🙂 we have only have two double beds so you have to make a choice between Schwartz and I . I hear Rick snores

  22. This is an excellent article and all in the industry should be reading this. I have said this for years that the industry needs to follow the lead of the securities industry. There needs to be trading platforms for names that are far more robust than what is out there now. The auction sites or conferences need to have people put money in their accounts for any bids higher than a certain number. That way the bids will be more real and the trades stick after they are executed like in the stock market. You cannot be allowed to back out of executed purchases. It’s not allowed in the securities industry and it should not be allowed in this industry. Having funds in accounts prior to auctions will satisfy concerns and in my opinion elevate domain name prices BigTime as more players get into the industry such as Trading Firms, Traders, etc.
    Great Post Shane

  23. See, John is on the right path here.
    All the fanfare today and tell me what fanfare there will be if 1 or 2 of those sales don’t complete?

    So I would support this because this guarantees there is no Halvarez or other shenanigans going on. This is what transparency is about. Bidding with confidence that somebody like that is not there jacking you out of time or money.

  24. ok Francois,
    I will provide a ticket and a FREE staff room for the first 2 nights because I think after the first 2 nights you will be THRILLED to pay.

    I ain’t paying for your plane fare, but maybe we can set up a fund. lol

    I’ll pledge $100 and I think when we get half way you have to match the other half!

    Francois! Francois! Francois!!

  25. should setup a conference bidding division where people who plan on bidding on names at any Industry conference can deposit their money ahead of time. Since the list of names are released ahead of the event(s) people usually know what names they will be bidding on and more than likely have a budget for names going into the event.
    Rick – Perhaps you can get them to beta test this going into Traffic?
    I’m in Chicago and with lots of trading desks in the city we should maybe meet here this summer and have a conference on making all this happen. The industry collectively will then be able to pitch it to Wall Street and End Users more easily if there is a structured and transparent process in place. Most people don’t even know how to buy a domain name in the secondary market and get it to transfer into their account. I setup a simple GoDaddy InstantPage with a list of some of my names as well a Tab titled “How It Works” that I direct people to when they inquire on a name I own.

  26. Sorry but I see both sides – I fully get and agree with the pro-onliners but Rick obviously wants attendees to be number one priority and everything is set up to ensure they get the best experience – you can’t argue with that, that’s his call. Nice debate.

  27. Domaining has passed Rick Schwartz by. He’s just living on his past success at this point. He’s still trying to defend his joke of an auction, not listening to domainers and people who want to buy domains. Shock, listening to your customers. If you can’t offer up online bidding, you’re just a low end auction at this point. What happened to being competitive? Now he’s just settling, not even trying anymore.

    1. Jonathon ,

      I don’t agree but I appreciate you sharing your opinion. Even you were right what’s wrong with going something so well it supports you for life?

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