Countdown To TRAFFIC 2012: 3 Reasons Why This Year’s Auction Will Revitalize Live Domain Auctions


If you’ve been to Domain Conferences over the last few years then you’ve probably seen a major decline in the success of live auctions. From online bidding nightmares to a massive amount of domains going unsold auctions have been a pretty weak venue for getting good liquidity for your domains. I have not been bullish on any auctions until I saw what Rick was doing with this year’s TRAFFIC auction and I think there may be a winning formula in the making here.

Below are three reasons why I think this year’s auction will bring Domain Auctions back into the spotlight.

  1. Realistic Pricing – this has been the #1 reason why I think so many live auctions have failed. You get a room full of domain investors and then try to sell names at astronomically high end-user prices. Sure, a big company that really wants a domain and contacts you directly for it might pay six or seven figures for a name but an investor that wants to flip a name is not going to pay end-user prices, period. This year I’m seeing more “No Reserve” auctions than I’ve seen before and Rick has really worked it to get good inventory and Domainer prices, not end-user prices, and that’s why this is the #1 reason why I think the auction will be a success.
  2. Curated Inventory – when a conference throws an auction just to make money they care a lot less about curation and are much more concerned with getting as many names as possible so they can make as much money as possible. Lots of junk gets in the mix which makes it excruciatingly boring to sit in the room and wait until a good name finally comes up for bidding. This year the focus is on quality and if there’s anyone who I would want filtering the list Rick would be at the top of my list.
  3. No Online Bidding – to some I know it sounds crazy that an auction for Internet property would not utilize online bidding. Here’s the thing though, online bidding has yet to work properly in a live setting and I’m a big believer in doing it right or not at all. Phone bidding is easy and at the end of the day a live auction really is about being there in person. There are tons of auctions that you can participate in online, this is a unique opportunity where a bunch of domain investors are actually in the same place. Nothing is more annoying than sitting in a live auction and watching an entire lot start-over because of some glitch with the auction software.

Of course this is just my opinion and this blog is about more than just me, feel free to chime in and share your opinion. Comment and let your voice be heard!

P.S. I am not being paid to write this post, TRAFFIC is not a sponsor of my blog nor do I get any kind of discount on the event. I paid full price for my ticket and Rick, Howard, and the rest of the crew have no idea I’m writing this post.

(Photo Credit)

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • steve October 2, 2012, 4:58 pm

    Cuz phone bidders have to give and prove their identity.
    And you can get the phone number to check and verify.
    Almost impossible to shill bid with.

  • Morgan October 2, 2012, 5:07 pm

    @Steve – excellent point!

  • Craig Landy October 2, 2012, 6:49 pm

    Morgan thanks for the post about the TRAFFIC auction. I totally agree that realistic pricing is critical for a Domainer venue. ‘No Reserves’ on high-end domains will revitalize this auction format.

    and…I can back this up personally… When Rick said he would include (reg. 1997) only if we agreed to No Reserve, my colleague, Kristin and I discussed previous decent offers we turned down, the risk of it selling lower, blah, blah. We emphatically trust Rick, Howard and the TRAFFIC venue so we signed the contract, and then said something like ‘Yikes what have we done. This will be interesting!.’

    I think when the venue hosts, the buyers and the sellers all put something on the line — that makes for an interesting auction.

    • Morgan October 3, 2012, 11:20 am

      I think you make the right move @Craig – looking forward to seeing how your name does in the auction, I like it!

  • gtldforum October 3, 2012, 11:01 am

    Morgan, Like your blog! Great points on the TRAFFIC auction here. I’ve heard about this auction and was happy to have been included in Lot106. I’ve noticed people complaining about no online bidding, but picking up a phone seems way more exciting in this type of a setting and how difficult is that really?

  • gtldforum October 3, 2012, 11:51 am

    Phone bidding does close this Friday October 5’th prior to the auction on the 8’th. There is a form to fill out at the website. Since you can’t wait till the last minute I thought it was important people realize that.

  • Len October 3, 2012, 12:37 pm

    I think this years auction will surpass the last couple of years in sales.
    I have lot #146 and one thing I have been doing is to contact potential end users and informing them about my domain and about the auction, I recommend others do the same. Also let them know that the last day for phone bidding is Friday Oct 5th.
    I have sent out over 100 email notifications and hopefully it will bring more eyeballs to the auction.
    Good luck to all.

  • Stu Holly October 3, 2012, 1:47 pm

    Nice post, I have lot .172, 173 & 185. Looking forward to the auction and good luck to all.




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