Are Flat Rate Auctions Coming to T.R.A.F.F.I.C.?

Morning Folks!!


When objectively looking at the auctions and the process I would like to articulate a difference on approach and why that is going to be a big game changer. You will read below about our “Guaranteed Placement Program” and how you the domainer can have more control in helping to market your domain name. It's a collective effort and I think we have a new road map that will reach a much larger audience and get the most lucrative bids. We will give everyone a REASON to change the current stale dynamics.


With the business Monte was in, his job was to beat the competition and grab as many contracts on domains as possible. That was his job and he did it brilliantly. Rick Latona had a challenge by having so many auctions so close together and not being able to invest the time needed to comb thru 100,000 domains and be as effective as if he were focused on one auction. It's a tough task so hats off to both Monte and Rick and their teams.


Our job and goals are different. I already discussed in my last post how a successful auction is part of the formula of TRAFFIC. Without the auction there would never have been a New York show in 2007.


So we have no interest in tying up domains. That’s not our job, not our goal and not our business. Our job is to showcase great domains at great prices. Whether it be 20 domains or 200 domains. It will be based on quality and the chances it will sell to the audience we have.


Now we don’t want to pick through thousands of domains. That is not our business. We don’t want to be the auction. What we want to do is work with each auction house and the registry’s to facilitate and showcase the best domains at the time of the auction. We already have commitments from the 3 largest houses and the others are welcome. There is no barrier other than a great domain at a market price.


Howard and I are discussing a lot of new things when it comes to the TRAFFIC domain auction. One change we are thinking of is a “Guaranteed Placement Program”. With this innovation you will pay a flat listing fee ($500-$2500) that guarantees your domain will appear in the live auction. In addition, we will reduce the commission of the domain name should it sell from 15% to a predetermined percentage. Bottom line, we all have skin in the game and as a serious seller you save money when the domain sells.


Now I don’t want to set myself up as the guy that rejects your domain. If you believe your domain is worthy of the auction, and you want to show us we are wrong…..well here is a chance to bypass the process and jump to the front of the line.


This is not for low end domains. But this does allow a domainer to take control of his destiny. It allows the domainer to market his domain name and start to do it when he chooses. It allows us to use the domain as a “Headliner”. It demonstrates that the seller is serious. It allows a domainer to use our High Profile auction to market and attract END USERS. It also minimizes our risk. It could lead the way to an auction that is entirely flat fee with no commissions at all. That would reduce the cost of selling your domain dramatically.


So we are doing things different because the process is stale and off course. This is going to be a breath of fresh air and will open up the auction process by taking barriers down. By getting the serious sellers with the best domains to rise to the surface. Allows both the domainer and TRAFFIC to promote to folks inside and out of the industry to cast a wider net.


This will be the most open auction ever. Each auction house has the same leverage. They can submit up to 50 domain names each. All we want is the best available domains. The earlier the better. So we are working on the auction FIRST and not LAST.


This isn’t the past where the names had to be hastily assembled. Our auction for October is in swing right now! We also realize it won’t be easy to have folks tie up their domains early. So this is a balancing act. But when folks see what we are trying to accomplish, I think they will realize that to sell their domain at auction and get the best price then you have to build momentum by having bidders come just for your domain name.


If you want to sell your domain at the highest price you need to promote and create desire among interested parties. 3 weeks does not cut it. NOW is the time to think about courting buyers and have them vie for your prize this October. It takes months to create an effective 'Buzz'.


We also have decided there will be no “Silent Auction” following the live auction. There are a host of other changes that will streamline things and restore credibility to the live auctions. Like I said there will be no fake bids. PERIOD! If the domain has exhausted the bids we will move on. We will not FOOL YOU to have you bid higher. The domain name will have to do the work.


The main thing is that we are looking at it with a fresh set of eyes. I have one small advantage. I have always been in the audience of the auctions and never on stage. I hear the moaning and groaning. The laughter when CRAP goes on auction. It’s no fun. Sometimes it is me moaning the loudest. I FEEL YOUR PAIN! So we are at to change that dynamic. And we are starting the process now.
Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz




38 thoughts on “Are Flat Rate Auctions Coming to T.R.A.F.F.I.C.?

  1. Jeff Schneider

    Hello Rick,
    LESS PAIN MORE GAIN , BRAVO!!
    Finally a formula that was collectively inspired by fellower DOMAINERS and NOT REGISTRARS !!
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    Reply
  2. Rich

    Hi Rick,
    I think the overall approach to fees is well thought out. However, the biggest risk is still retained by the seller, i.e. will there be end-users there to provide a true competitive auction that will bring maximum value to the seller, or will there just be speculators there that will seek the cheapest deal that they can get. For a distressed seller it doesn’t matter, but as Mike said in the previous threads, there may not be any owner of premium domains that is in a distressed situation.

    Reply
  3. Rick Schwartz

    Rich
    The key is assembling interested parties at one place at one time and then just get the hell out of the way. The rest will take care of itself. Each domainer has to market their domain because they are paying for that slot in a very high profile arena with a qualified audience. This is the road map to get the”End user” that everyone talks about but is invisible.
    If done right, the professional domainers will be outbid and become the spectator. This is the right moment on time to pull this off and the Ritz Carlton is the right place to do it.
    Domainers can make a nice presentation. Create interest. Create a buzz. And everyone on this ship wins. Everyone. That’s my vision and I know I can’t do it alone. It is a mission we all need to be involved in if we want to accelerate the end game.

    Reply
  4. Morgan

    Great idea Rick! I like the fact that you and Howard are always thinking outside of the box and finding ways to do things differently!

    Reply
  5. John

    I think it’s a great idea. Here’s the gist (repeated differently):
    1> Those that think they have a great name that deserves to be in the auction need to believe in their name. 500-2500 shows belief, it forces a careful consideration of what to submit. If you don’t believe in the name enough to invest ,than we don’t believe in it either.
    2> TRAFFIC does not have the ability to promote every single solitary name effectively to all the possible endusers. The person who submits the name have a vested interest and will work like partners as oppose to putting it all on the TRAFFIC. TRAFFIC provides the venue, the coverage and the excitement for the right bidders YOU bring.
    3> There is absolutely no excuse come October. You have all that time to promote to hundreds, yes hundreds of endusers. It only takes two to drive a bidding war. Would you rather have 10 names in the auction with little or no bids or two to three endusers bidding on your one name like crazy.
    4> This is where the rubber meets the road. If your name doesn’t sell. Whose fault is it? Yours- poor quality name, no enduser contacts, no PR coverage, etc.
    Be a partner with TRAFFIC – don’t whine and moan. It won’t work, unless you do.

    Reply
  6. jp

    Frankly I think it’s a very interestig idea. Allow the auction to regulate itself via monetary punishment for the unrealistic. I hope the $500-$2500 fee means that depending on how high you set your reserve your fee will be higher but still within this range ($2500 as a max). at only $500 we will still have too many domains with $1M reserves that probably won’t sell. At $2,500 the $1M domains will be much higher quality.
    I’ve got a totally different line of thought that would shake things up. Why not give domainers an industry ID card and u can only bid if you are a domainer. That right there should cause whatever is listed to be priced in a manner so that 80% of the crowed would not only be capable, but even willing to bid. Otherwise we get thesame old thing where there are 200 domains priced for end users but maybe only 3 end users in the room. Heck even if there are 50 end users in the room that’s still pretty bad realistically because each end user is realistically there for just 1 domain.
    Ever go to an auto dealers auction? Don’t see too many end users there because they are not allowed. The auction is designed to sell asmany cars as possible for as much money as possible. The cars are submitted by dealerships as cars they couldn’t sell of their lots, so let someone else try, and then the junky ones are repos, insurance cars, and retired rentals. The last three can’t really be equated to something in ourworld but none of these cars are priced at retail and most all will sell.

    Reply
  7. John

    Here’s some other reasons I think it will work:
    Have you seen endusers move? They move slow, real slow. Sometimes their process and red-tape prevents them from moving quickly. Sometimes it takes months for me to close a sale with those people.
    Creating the buzz now and promoting earlier allows the deep pocketed endusers time to get their ducks in a row to come bid on your name.
    The cake does not rise without ALL the ingredients. I remember the times I’ve submitted names with hard stipulations of it being in the live auction (Moniker). I’ve laid out the promotional plans in place but then I’d yank the names back out when it would get accepted for silent but not live. There was no way I’d spend my ass promoting at a disadvantage. Now ALL the ingredients are there.
    Names tend to not grow on you quickly enough in 3 weeks. With the large lead time in place, your name will grow on the buyers over time. The desire, the rationalization, the anticipation and the figuring out the means to acquire your name will be there in October.
    Remember, there are only so much space in a live auction. Plan for it accordingly…
    I like it.

    Reply
  8. Gazzip

    I think it sounds like a great idea Rick, even better if some of the money was used to include some sort of marketing pitch beforehand in some high profile business magazines.
    How about an article by someone like Ron Jackson combined with a taster list of what domains will be in the auction?
    ..or some of the top domains that own all the primo City, Country domains could put up a free banner on their homepage to point to an online article by Ron perhaps,
    The more eyeballs on the game the better it is for everyone in the long run, even if you don’t have domains in.
    Most endusers don’t have much clue about domains ATM
    Good luck

    Reply
  9. Gazzip

    Imagine if most these people put up a banner, wow, global coverage
    palmsprings.com/associatedcities.html

    Reply
  10. C Sivertsen

    The average selling price for a domain, on sedo/afternic/buydomains, is the low end of $x,xxx and the marketplace demonstrates that sweet spot every week with the sales reports that are published on all the industry blogs. If you want a lively auction in 2011 you need to respect that fact and design your auction’s inventory accordingly.
    Respectfully I don’t think the auction’s commission structure or 60-day ties ups are what have been depressing auction results. Plummeting PPC payouts (i.e. funding) and many domainers realizing that they need to be doing more with their current portfolios instead of trying to expand them via high priced acquisitions, mean this scenario isn’t going to revert back to the halcyon days of 2007 anytime soon no matter what the gimic.

    Reply
  11. rob sequin

    Great concept.
    You will have a motivated and qualified audience so the”marketplace” will put a fair value on the domain at auction.
    If you charge a fee for placement, you are selling the service of auctioning the domain and that will require a unique contract. Something to consider, where in the auction number does the domain get placed? Will you be handling escrow?
    Still, you may have to turn people away and not sure how that will work legally either.
    What if someone wants to pay the money but the domain sucks or the reserve is too high? Will you be able to turn people away?
    Just some thoughts.

    Reply
  12. Victor H. Pitts

    Rick and Howard – I like the idea. I see this being a consideration for brokers too. An auction is is the best way to determine the highest bidder when a domain has multiple buyers competing. Brokers in this situation might consider the benefit from taking names to auction for a flat fee, because they would be confident in selling the domains. They might have their buyers register in advance, rather than leave things to chance. You might consider selling spots in the auction in blocks for the bigger brokerage firms to compete for.

    Reply
  13. Rick Schwartz

    Victor….that’s exactly right. When folks start looking at all the advantages and all the auction houses see new ways to make BIG sales, everyone is going to embrace this idea because it takes our collective energy moving in one direction.
    An auction house that has a client or two interested in their domain name can force their hand to finally make a decision because now it is up for grabs.
    There are so many benefits that the only loser is the status quo.

    Reply
  14. Rick Schwartz

    Rob,
    You bring up valid points but most will take care of themselves.
    For example nobody is going to spend $2500 to try and sell an $8 domain. If they will, then we will all get a great laugh and I have a special 200 spots reserved just for them. ;-)

    Reply
  15. Rick Schwartz

    “The average selling price for a domain, on sedo/afternic/buydomains, is the low end of $x,xxx and the marketplace demonstrates that sweet spot every week with the sales reports that are published on all the industry blogs. If you want a lively auction in 2011 you need to respect that fact and design your auction’s inventory accordingly.”
    Chris, we are running a premium auction with premium sellers selling premium domains and we will attract premium buyers. The result is a premium price. If you do an auction 24/7 then I agree with your assessment. However, when you run ONE auction a YEAR, then it is completely different ballgame.

    Reply
  16. David, Weald Domains, UK

    Hi Rick,
    I see lots of focus across the industry on selling individual domains, but not so much about selling clusters or portfolios of related domains where the overall value of the bundle may be greater than the sum of the parts (especially if it forms a complete set for a given topic).
    What are your thoughts about auctioning bundles of related domains at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. rather than just individual ones ?
    Also what are your thoughts about .co.uk domain names as a niche for the UK market as opposed to .com ?
    Do you see a place for bundles, and/or for .co.uk, at T.R.A.F.F.I.C., or is it just positioned for the big standalone .com domain names ?
    Best wishes and thanks for your blog and your thought leadership in the industry,
    David

    Reply
  17. Anunt

    Each domain name for sale should have a link to atleast 3 months of traffic and income stats.
    I understand that most people and especially end users are not buying the domain name based on traffic and income stats alone.
    In this premium auction, I would like to see and buy dot com money making domain names that have a consistent income and traffic month after month, year after year.
    WHERE CAN I FIND DOMAIN NAMES LIKE THIS TO BUY???
    They definately are not in domain auctions…all i see in domain auctions are the left overs and over priced bullshit domains that people do not want.
    Make the sellers pay atleast $1000 to list their domain name in the auction…$500 is too cheap…we will end up with bullshit domains again.
    This is what i recommend:
    Sellers should pay $1000 to list a no reserve domain name starting bid $1
    Sellers should pay $2000 to list a $50k reserve price domain name.
    Sellers should pay $5000 to list a $100k+ reserve price domain name.
    And then you can use these fees that you collect to promote the auction!
    Good Luck…hope you get some good domain names for sale…i am looking forward to buying some premium domains from this auction…please, no bullshit domains…please!
    Good Luck!!!

    Reply
  18. Adam

    +1 to C Sivertsen . Clearly stated and dead on. Slant the inventory toward what’s selling .
    Rick, you mention”In addition, we will reduce the commission of the domain name should it sell from 15% to a predetermined percentage.”
    What’s the commission going to be then ?

    Reply
  19. Jack

    I have tons of great names that I could and would put up for auction, but:
    1) I don’t NEED the money.
    2) There is no way on this planet I will EVER pay anywhere near 15% commission. Not to Sedo, Not at Domainfest, and not to you.
    Please don’t tell me the seller is paying the commission and it doesn’t matter because we all know when bidding, that fee is included in the mind of the bidder with every bid.
    You were able to get 15% years ago before Google and Yahoo were stealing all of our PPC money, hell, even I didn’t care…but those days are long gone.
    So how would you get my good names to auction off at a price that would just about guarantee a sale?
    Charge a 3%-4% commission in exchange for a low/reasonable reserve or no reserve at all. Isn’t 3% of something better than 15% of nothing?
    When selling a house I can usually get the broker down to this rate total for both sides, and they pay for print advertising, make brochures, and drive tire kickers around, sometimes for months and they may never make a sale.
    Do you really think selling a domain warrants 4X this commission?
    I don’t.

    Reply
  20. Rick Schwartz

    This is a new formula that replaces an old stale formula as we move into the next phase of what we all do. This would not have worked 5 years ago. But it will work in the future because the dynamics are changing.
    We don’t need hundreds of domains in an auction to break 7 figures. We just need desirable domains with bidders. The domainer can no longer be passive if he expects the highest return. He has to do his job and contact as many qualified folks as possible and start the process. You have a mission. It is defined with a date and time and you have an opportunity to hit big.
    It’s a different formula looking for a different audience. With all the the calls for end users, THIS is the road map to get them there. One end user at a time. We have enough time to create a”Need” and it will take a lot of people pulling in the same direction to achieve that. It will work because it is simple. It will work because we can have 20 domains and have the most exciting auction the industry has ever seen. Mark my words. We won’t waste your time or insult the audience with low end garbage.
    Let me just post and repeat what John said. But just remember this is just the first part of something that will be beneficial to all. It is a threat to nobody as it is a win-win formula that like everything else will just be copied because folks will see that it works:
    1> Those that think they have a great name that deserves to be in the auction need to believe in their name. $500-$2500 shows belief, it forces a careful consideration of what to submit. If you don’t believe in the name enough to invest, than we don’t believe in it either.
    2> TRAFFIC does not have the ability to promote every single solitary name effectively to all the possible endusers. The person who submits the name have a vested interest and will work like partners as oppose to putting it all on the TRAFFIC. TRAFFIC provides the venue, the coverage and the excitement for the right bidders YOU bring.
    3> There is absolutely no excuse come October. You have all that time to promote to hundreds, yes hundreds of endusers. It only takes two to drive a bidding war. Would you rather have 10 names in the auction with little or no bids or two to three endusers bidding on your one name like crazy.
    4> This is where the rubber meets the road. If your name doesn’t sell. Whose fault is it? Yours- poor quality name, no enduser contacts, no PR coverage, etc.
    Be a partner with TRAFFIC – don’t whine and moan. It won’t work, unless you do.

    Reply
  21. Rick Schwartz

    Jack,
    With the Guaranteed Listing Program the new commission schedule will be announced with a sliding scale. It will be a fraction of what it is today. I agree with a friend of mine that sent me an email the other day and said that you can’t expect to get $150,000 commission on a $1M domain name. I agree with that. Now there is a choice. Reduce the risk on the front end and we can reduce the commish on the back end. Different formula. Different vision. Different result.
    And if you don’t need the money, then what difference does it make? I’ll tell you. When you see a few big name guys making a few big name sales, it will change what we all do forever. I don’t need 200. I need 3 REAL auctions. Let the industry see what a real end user auction is about.

    Reply
  22. Rick Schwartz

    And the next time folks reading this get in a situation where you need a really good answer and you need it fast or you have a whale on the line, just say”The domain will be up for auction on Tuesday October 18th at 4PM at The Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale” :-)

    Reply
  23. bill m

    I think you are going down a rabit hole… while some may pay to get their domains into the auction… if fly against everything that runs the planet… You are going in the wrong direction and are going to kill your business… you have the power to allow or disallow crap into your auctions … use your power do do this and make your followers happy… lip service from a few people will not keep you in the game

    Reply
  24. LS Morgan

    Very interesting experiment.
    You’re empowering domain owners to employ traffic as a personalized marketing device; a very valuable service.
    I hope it works. If it does, I have a few domains with consistent interest from multiple end users that may not make the alpha cut, but I would certainly spend a little money to put them on the auction block at a venue like TRAFFIC and get those end users fighting over it. Naturally, the onus is on me to facilitate that happening. TRAFFIC provides the venue, you bring your own market.
    I think you may have hit on something here, and I’ll tell you something else that is fantastic. Your eliminating the smarmy, bullshit aspects of the bidding process. Definitely wish you the very best of luck with this and send good vibes your way. Hopefully, this could be the start of a much better system.

    Reply
  25. Alex

    Great announcement Rick.
    Sound like we are gonna have super domain bowl ;) I am sure it will attract high end user to the auction.
    Good luck

    Reply
  26. The Web Domains

    There should be an option that, the organizer has the right to reject the application if the domain is not of quality even if he pays $2500 for the guaranteed place?

    Reply
  27. Domainer

    Francois, please bring some of the domains listed at cax.com and bargaindomains.com to the live auction TRAFFIC. What’s the highest appraised domain at cax.com at the moment? versailles.com?
    When is TRAFFIC auction exactly? October 2011? Too long to wait. But it states OCtober 2010 though (at latonas.com)

    Reply
  28. Jeff Schneider

    Hello Rick,
    Top of the day !
    We all are looking forward to the coming changes at the Traffic venue. You once stated that you were seriously considering inviting Truly Domainer friendly participants. Although this seems impossible to figure out, the guys with the BLACk HATS, you sure could get close. We highly recommend this from our standpoint.
    We as DOMAINERS have a current to swim into for reasons that old timers may understand and Newbies do not have a clue about. The first settlers DOMAINERS have taken more than a few arrows in the evolution of our Industry. Hopefully you and Howard can make this a DOMAINER CENTRIC venue and we are rooting for this to happen.
    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    Reply
  29. Rick Schwartz

    Jeff,
    I think the article that came out today illustrates exactly what I have been saying.
    From the article setting up the quote that follows:
    These days, Oversee uses live auctions less as a real selling tool and more for marketing: to publicize what’s for sale and establish prices. The people who buy at auctions are often looking for bargain prices on domains – where they sell advertising without developing any content.
    “We see auctions as public marketing opportunities,” said Jeff Kupietzky, chief executive of Oversee. “It fits our strategy to expose our inventory to the right buyers to later facilitate transactions.”
    http://www.labusinessjournal.com/news/2011/feb/21/whats-name/
    Just to be clear…..The TRAFFIC strategy has nothing in common with the above statement. Our actions are for RESULTS not an infomercial!
    Like I have stated in the first and second blog posts about auctions, our focus is different and I am glad it is finally out in the open and on the table. TRAFFIC is the place you go to when you are serious about selling your domain name.

    Reply
  30. Joao

    Hi,
    Is there an email you could give me please?
    I have a question that i would like to ask you. Or you can just use the email i’ve inserted to comment here.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  31. Landon White

    Do It! then Franchise …
    Put the oversee.net model type,
    and all the other cunts on welfare!

    Reply
  32. Get Web Traffic

    I notice that not just beginners but even experienced website owners can get new tips and techniques for getting web traffic. There is just so much going on these days with Google changes, Twitter and Facebook updates it hard to keep up.
    I have to say this is a cool site, I wanted to say that the content here is very good. I’m surprised it’s free. Thanks I will be back.

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