Open Letter to Domainers, Sponsors, Buyers and Sellers of Domain Names

Morning Folks!!


There has been a lot if discussion on the blogs about our new auction rules and process and that is a good thing. I hope to paint a picture so folks know what we are doing and why we are doing it.


http://www.thedomains.com/2011/08/29/no-online-bidding-from-live-domain-auction-at-the-traffic-conference/


http://domainshane.com/brilliant-move-by-traffic-if-the-online-bidding-doesnt-work-drop-it/#comments


Howard and I have certain obligations when we organize an event like T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Our obligation are as follows when we talk about the show and the auction and when you look at it the way we MUST look at it you will understand WHY we do what we do.


Our FIRST concern and obligation is to the Attendees. We can't cater to folks NOT at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. at the expense of those that are at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. That is our foundation and nothing can supersede that. Nothing!


So when you start there and realize those folks in attendance are the ONLY ones we have to answer to, no auction or event can violate that.


Attendees are the ones who MUST be satisfied. PERIOD. That part is not debatable. And when you understand that part, the rest falls in place.


The SECOND group we are accountable to are the ones that have paid the fee to have a guaranteed placement in the auction. Having the crashes as we have seen them over the past year does not help them. The Internet slows the action because the bids are slow to post if at all. So we just go back to basics. I think they used the phone for the past 100 years. If your calculator battery goes out you still have to know how to do the math.


It’s not an issue with any of those folks. They understand what I am trying to accomplish. They are not close-minded. That is why they did what they did to begin with and I have no issue if any of those want to pull out. No issue whatsoever. But they have not and that means they “Get it” and now even more are being submitted!


It is pretty simple. We have phone lines and make sure those on the phone realize that they are there to bid or not bid. If they are not bidding, then that call is terminated. Most of the bidding won't even reach the guy on the phone because the action INSIDE the room will be fast paced. So the 10-second rule does not even come into play until the end of the process. At that point there are 2 or 3 bidders. There are NEVER 10. So of the 2 or 3 bidders at that point....shit or get off the pot. Bid or get off the phone. Why should 350 people in the room wait for one guy making up his mind on the phone?? THAT is ridiculous and THAT is exactly what has been happening as everyone WAITS for the Internet to bid or lock up or get a connection or whatever.


The THIRD group we have to satisfy is the seller. We do that by opening up the process like never before and this is the second time we have done it. It's a pretty simple pitch to them. We have the single best qualified audience in domaining and if your prices are domainer to domainer prices, you will do quite well. If you are looking to sell to the end user prices. Bring the end users to bid. Don’t know the difference between a domain priced for a domainer to buy and an end user price?? Well I sure do! And so does every domainer there.


The FOURTH group is the phone/internet bidder. We are doing them a service by allowing remote bidding. We have no obligation to them other than to take their bids and complete the transaction if they win. I have already stated that we are seriously considering identifying remote bidders so folks in the room know who they are bidding against. Especially if they are a domainer. I could see how a TRUE end user would want to be under the radar. So we are weighing the pros and cons. The folks in the room WANT to know who they are bidding against. So I revert to concern #1.


We are not begging for domains. We have ample inventory at this moment. But we want the BEST names and THAT my friends is what will drive all this. Want a prime .XXX domain?? There may be 7 figures in sales just off those domains.


Want an underpriced domain with a 7 figure future value? There is such a domain in the auction and I have slapped my hand not to buy it before the auction. But I know where the line is and I respect it. So it will go on the block and if you can figure it out. Then you are seeing the future.


Great domains at great prices. We can't control it all. We allowed those that believe in their domain to place them. This has NEVER happened before. But domainers are taking control of their own destiny. Nearly 2 dozen so far!!


We want to have a great auction, but we don't have to sell our souls to do it. We can set a standard and we can set the rules. When folks feel comfortable that they are not being 'Played' they bid with more confidence. So simple!


That is why we won’t insult our audience with starting bids wildly above their value. Each domain will start at $1, $1000, $5000, or $10,0000.


We won’t be starting it at $500,000 and looking for a sucker working down until somebody bids $25,000 and then works up to $40,000 on a domain with a $150,000 reserve that has a value of $50,000. It may be the “Way it is done” but that way really sucks and does not work for OUR audience in THIS industry.


So far the majority of ones not liking this are anonymous folks that are ghosts to us. That brings me to the last point. Since there is phone bidding…ANY and ALL phone bidders MUST pre-register and pre-qualify with a credit card at least 5 days before the show. They will not be allowed to sit on the phone for every auction. They can participate in up to 15 total auctions unless we personally know them and are qualified beyond reproach.


You can’t do the same thing and expect a different result. We have seen the same thing and we have seen the results. So we believe these changes will reinvigorate the process. The PROOF will be a 7 figure auction at a time that things are very bumpy.


So on record, for the record, before the record happens. Most of you get it and I appreciate that you have been so supportive as we try and update the process and produce a result we can all be proud of.


This is the first time that Howard and I are actually controlling the action and setting the rules. I have been in the audience for some 20 auctions and it is clear to me what needs to be done to make things happen and bring the excitement back INTO THE ROOM!!


We will have contracts on no more than 150 domains. We will have no silent auction before, after or during. We will be tying up ONLY those domains. We have no motive or reason to tie up 150,000 domains. Our ONLY job is to find the best domains from those domains submitted at the most reasonable prices. Bidding that will EXCEED the reserves because they were priced right to begin with. Because they were valuable and they were bargains. Because our audience is unparalleled when it comes to quality.


My ONLY obligation is the folks that are there. How do you argue with what is obvious? That means most of the 350 there will agree and the thousands not there will be split. Some with their own motives and agenda as we are a THREAT to them! But they should not look at it like that. We are just paving a new path that they themselves may likely follow.


As for sponsors. Our job is to get the right audience to the show and showcase their companies the best we can. Support them the best we can. Help them grow their business by putting them together with the heart of the industry.


I hope this helps folks understand. Those that don’t….all I can say is wait before you judge. In my world there is RESULTS and everything else. These changes will produce results! If that threatens you, so be it! But it isn’t meant to threaten anyone. It is simply to fix something stale, outdated and no longer working from the folks that brought it to you when it was working.


You can find the “Pay to Play” info here:


http://www.targetedtraffic.com/program/the.auction.php


We are only accepting domains now that are $50,000 or more. Like I said, we know our audience.


As accepted they will be posted here. Just scroll down to 4PM:


http://www.targetedtraffic.com/program/101811.php?day=18


I won't apologize if we fail. I will only apologize for not trying something new and different when something is already broken and no longer working. But you will be seeing a GREAT success! This is not a recipe for failure. This is a recipe for success and THAT success has some worrried and others thrilled. That's the reality.


T.R.A.F.F.I.C. MEANS B.U.S.I.N.E.S.S.


Rick Schwartz
CEO & Co-founder T.R.A.F.F.I.C.
http://www.TargetedTraffic.com


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5 thoughts on “Open Letter to Domainers, Sponsors, Buyers and Sellers of Domain Names

  1. Daniel Dryzek

    TRAFFIC auctions are heading in the right direction! The only thing I have never understood and still can’t get it: reserves. Can’t we just get rid of them and auction domains starting from the price that is a reserve in the same time? Clear and simple. Reserves just make it shady.

    Reply
  2. Rick Schwartz

    Daniel, Thanks.
    There are many reasons for reserves. One being”Confidence”. If you don’t have confidence in the market and at this point there is no reason to have confidence than reserves are the only way.
    If you just put a price on it then it is no longer an”Auction”. It is a”Sale” of goods.
    I have sold a few of my cars on ebay over the years. I would never list without a reserve. Few if any do except the ones that are overpriced to begin with. So that defeats the purpose.
    It is not a”Fire Sale” in which everything must go. This is not a desperation auction like a foreclosure auction would be. These are valuable assets that are just looking for a new home.
    Sellers would not list any valuable domains without a reserve. Just won’t happen at this point.
    Want to list your domains the way you suggest? I can and will do that.
    We can make a specific group of rules for a specific domain name or a specific buyer. We just need to know ahead of time so we can explain what the rules are for that specific”Lot” or domain or seller group. We can do what makes sense and brings legitimate buyers and sellers to the table.
    There are other reasons and I am sure folks will chime in. But the bottom line is the formula and while there may be reserves, some of those reserves are CHEAP and THAT is what makes an exciting auction. When you blow the doors off the reserve because VALUE steps in.
    We started the auction for entertainment purposes. It became a business. Some where along the line the business squeezed out the entertainment throughout the entire industry and that changed the dynamics.
    We approached this with a balance of entertainment and business. Balanced in the way the FORMULA was supposed to work. We don’t work by spreadsheet here. We are putting on a production and if we hit the right balance…and we will…..we will demonstrate just how effective these changes are.
    One Part Entertainment, One Part Business. Add 100-150 nice domains with 20-30 GREAT domains at GREAT prices sprinkled in and then bake with the most qualified audience of domain investors in the business and 2 hours later you have applause like the old days and a 7 figure result.
    Formula, follow through, result. And do it in front of everyone to see. I will personally be handpicking EVERY domain that is not a paid listing. No favors, no committees, no paybacks, no other view than the best domains we have been presented at the best prices.

    Reply
  3. Adam Strong

    I respect your decision to put your attendees needs before those not attending. As an attendee and past bidder, I found the online bidding a great way to stealth bid and I know of others who used it in this way as well. It will be missed. While there have been MANY problems with an online format (I have live blogged dozens of these auctions) many of the bids came from the online system and thus have maximized the sale prices, as an auction should do. Good luck Rick !

    Reply
  4. SRT

    This is like a breath of fresh air.
    I know Traffic was the first pro domain tradefair/conference but all the other cheap versions diluted the space somewhat
    A new up to date vision of what domainers want was needed. Thankyou
    when you coming to London? Traffic London would be amazing!
    cheers

    Reply

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