There has been quite a bit of commenting about the live auction that wrapped up today at T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
Many thought the names were bad and should have never been in the auction in the first place. Others felt that lack of online bidding really hurt the auction and some believe that the auction harmed the overall industry with some commenting that it makes domainers look amateurish or a joke.
I think you have to applaud effort and the people at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. put in the effort. The problem lies in the overall scheme of things.
First off end users are not going to a domain conference just to bid on a domain. I have pointed out domains at auction to clients I consult, and friends who work at companies where there should be interest. Some thought I was joking and others just felt it was not worth their time.
So the auctions become about domainer to domainer pricing, I don't think Rick was wrong in going that route. The whole idea was that it would be domains priced at wholesale level so that the domainer buying could make a profit down the road reselling it.
This was like the DNF or Namepros marketplace on steroids and live. That's ok but there is not enough people there to make the waves you want at an auction. For the most part its the same people at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. each event. Sure there are some new people but there are a lot of the same faces.
These people already buy names at NameJet and Snapnames almost everyday. If the name is not an absolute steal , why bother. They have been around a long time, they know that if the name is one of the reg fee to $100 names that does not sell in the live auction that the name will be for sale on DNF or Namepros or maybe Go Daddy Auctions.
The other names that were good names in the auction went against the theme. They were good but they were not the steal that domainers in the audience want.
No online bidding hurts too, people want to bid online and yes it requires a secure and authentic system to make sure there is not shill bidding. The time and effort needs to be put into that.
There is not a shortage of the type of names that were in the live auction. You can find names of equal or better quality on NameJet and Go Daddy Auctions everyday. If people can bid online there, why would they go out of their way for a live auction ?
I will be honest I shut the auction off as the audio was horrible and someone in my place was going to throw the laptop out the window if I did not shut it off. There needs to be better audio and video imo or why bother ?
The live auction format for many does not work, they will not put their good names up for sale at these events. You have many top domainers that you would think would jump to get their names into auction and they do not. Why not ? But I would love to hear an Elliot Silver, Frank Schilling, Adam Strong give their valuable insight. These guys know domain sales and are not selling at the premier live event.
I think you need to start every auction at $100, or the reserve price.
No fake bids, lower bids, nothing $100 do I hear $200 and so on, no more bids, going,going,gone.
Online bidding where the bidders verify their identity by paying to bid, the fee can be used against the purchase of a domain.
Quality video and audio so those watching can actually enjoy the auction.
Crowd Sourcing to pick the names from an available pool. Have people submit and stop with a reasonable number then give a month for people to vote on the names they think should be in. The people who are motivated and participate will benefit and those who choose not to participate cannot complain as it was a fair playing field.
Another stretch could be a $100 price guarantee, the event organizer could say we only picked names we were sure would get bids over $100, any name that doesn't we will give you $100 for. That would be ballsy but it would show you believe in your picking of the names.
Still some people did alright and good for them, and thank you Rick and Howard for putting in the effort, every swing is not a HomeRun but you still have to look for your pitch and try.