News, views and what I choose to dos




203 domains; four worth more than $1 million

Category : Domain names, Internet, Journalism ยท by Jan 29th, 2009

The big event at domaining conferences is the auction – almost like an online cattle show – where proud owners get to show off their biggest beasts and wait in silent anticipation for the huge pay-off.

I’m at DOMAINfest in Hollywood and it being Hollywood, there is some glitz and glamour to proceedings. The auctions people are dressed in tuxedos, swirling lights, a booming PA piping music and MCs, bars in the corners and excited chatter.

For an economy in the doldrums, the online auction market looks healthy (we shall see in a minute I suppose). There are 203 domains up for auction. No less than 18 of them are going for between $100,000 and $250,000; 4 for between $250,000 and $750,000; and no less than four domains with an “opening bid range” of over $1 million.

So what are those domains?

Well, the four big ones are screensavers.com, sleep.com, copiers.com and publishing.com. I’m not sure the screensavers domain is worth anywhere near that but I quite fancy sleep.com – but for one million?!

What is also striking is the fact that dotcom remains king. Of the 26 valued at more than $100,000, all but one are dotcoms – and that one exception is no less than four .net domains bundled into one (forclosures, forclosure, foreclosures and foreclosure.net).

The “premium” .me domains are mostly valued at between $5,000 and $10,000 – even good ones like contact.me. And, the President of Oversee.net Jeff Kupietzky has just told us it is the first time that .travel domains are up for auction (“now that the restrictions have been lifted”). But .travel has to work on its value – we have free.travel – surely a great name – for just $1 to $5,000. Maybe it’s just untested waters – we shall see in a minute.

Update:

The auction experience is a little intense – a bloke with a microphone the usual super-fast-paced auction rattle, but with three attendants pacing up and down at the front, pointing at bidders with a variety of signals, shouting out comments, prices and yelping indecipherable exclamations when they get a response.

One screen on the left lists the lots and expected range, a screen on the right gives a real-time bid list – where it is, what’s being asked for, where the bid is coming from – the ROOM or ONLINE etc. It’s an intense experience and it’s hard to concentrate sufficiently to write this post.

I’ve recorded one of the exchanges on my mobile phone so you can get a sense…

Listen to the DOMAINfest auction noises

Second update:
Well, the economy is clearly having an impact – almost all the domains are at the bottom of their ranges; some below; some are pulled out after no interest. Spotlights.com was listed as $100,000 to $250,000 but no one took it when reduced to $50,000.

Likewise the four foreclosure domains (.nets) referenced above. The auctioneer even broke off his patter and started talking about the value of foreclosures – billions of dollars in 2008, he explained (at breakneck speed – maybe people couldn’t catch the words as they zoomed past their ears). It made no difference – it was pulled off the table after no one bid on $100,000.

And just now one of the big boys – jet.com – set up for $500,000+. It was opened at $200,000 and no one bit. Which is a shame because I have no doubt it will be worth double that in just two years. All you need is the $200,000 to start with :-).

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