Live Blogging the Traffic Auction

May 23, 2008

I’ll be live blogging the Traffic Auction for the first few hours (at 5 pm EST I have to pick up my son from school).

It will be interesting to see how the auction goes given all the concerns with the bad economy. If it goes badly, expect people to say that timing was bad, long weekend, late in the day, low attendance at Traffic, etc. But it will do the market a lot of good if this auction is successful – so I really hope that it is.

It looks like a couple domains have been scratched from the auction: was one of them and the other.

At the start of the auction, there are 40 viewers and 45 bidders online. Starting about 8 minutes late – pretty good. Monte makes a welcoming speech and goes over the rules. Brent Corwin won the draw (congrats!). Room looks about half empty. Prizes will be given out at the end of every hour. Drinks and desert in the back.

Most of the .com’s are up front, then .mobi’s, then .org and ended with .net’s. Auctioneer will be bidding on behalf of sellers – unfortunate :-(.

Without further ado, here are the results so far:

10. – pass at 75K.
20. – pass at 900K – not sure if this is a real bid or on behalf of seller.
30. – sold $225K – internet bid.
40. – comes with – sold $300K
50. – sold $350K.
60. – sold $50K.
70. – pass $250K.
80. MARINA.COM – pass $150K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller
90. & – pass $250K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller
100. – sold $275K.
110. – pass $225k.
120. – pass $70K.
130. – heavy bidding on this one from the internet – sold $70K – internet bidder #14026.
140. – pass $2MM – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
150. – pass $85K.
160. – pass $450K.
170. – sold $225K – internet buyer #13904.
180. – heavy bidding on this one – $33,500 – bidders were all in the room.
190. – sold $122K.
200. – heavy bidding on this one -sold $92.5K to internet bidder #14026.

It’s now 2:30 p.m. – 89 viewers, 67 bidder. The auction continues:

210. – sold $17K to internet bidder #14005.
220. – pass $125K.
230. – pass $22.5K.
240. – pass $85K.
250. – pass $125K.
260. – sold $35K to internet bidder #13977.
270. – Monte says: “anyone with an ankle raise their paddle” – pass $25K.
280. – Monte says: “let’s hit the jackpot” – pass $2.5MM -not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
290. – pass 65K
300. – pass $425K
310. – pass $15K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
320. – pass $50K.
330. – some telephone bidders – heavy bidding – Monte whacks the auctioneer and calls out “ow!” – sold $120K to bidder in room – lots of cheering.
340. – pass $40K.
350. CLOSINGS.COM – sold $25K to internet bidder #13993. Monte calls out that we’ve reached $1MM in sales.
360. HOTPOTATO.COM – developed site. Pass at $17.5K.
370. – Monte says: “everyone wants this and we’ll be giving out some of this” – pass $10K.
380. – pass $25K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
390. – developed website + developed website – includes and a forum – pass $3.5MM – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
400. – pass $60K.
410. – Monte makes a lame maybe joke – heavy bidding – sold $40K to internet bidder #14015.
420. – crown jewel of the auction – pass $5MM – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
430. – pass $1.25MM
440. – very heavy bidding – sold $80K to internet bidder #13993.
450. – sold $30K to internet bidder #14036.
460. – pass $250K – not sure why – reserve was $100K – $250K – perhaps this was a bid on behalf of seller.
470. – sold $170K – to internet bidder #14005.
480. – pass $45K.
490. – pass $25K
500. – pass – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller
510. – pass $150K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller
520. – pass – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller
530. SUPERSTARS.COM – pass $25K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller

It’s now 3:00 p.m.. There’s a draw going on. Jeff Beasley wins. We’re at 106 viewers and 70 bidders online.

540. – pass $70K.
550. – pass $45K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
560. – sold $55K to internet bidder #13903.
570. – pass $4K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
580. & -pass $150K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
590. – pass $400K – reserve was $100K to $250K – must be bid on behalf of seller.
600. – sold $3,500 to paddle #215.
610. – pass $200K – not sure if this is a real bid or bid on behalf of seller.
620. – pass $30K.
630. & – pass $30K.
640. – pass $20K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller.
650. – active website – sold $55K to internet bidder #14026.
660. – pass $40K.
670. – includes .ca, .org., .biz, .net, .info, etc. -includes active website – pass $200K -looked like a bid on behalf of seller
680. – pass $45K.
690. – pass $45K.
700. – scratched.
710. – heavy bidding on this one, but in small increments – sold $49K to internet bidder 14026.
720. – pass $45K.
730. – very heavy bidding on this one – sold for $8,250 to internet bidder 14182.
740. – auctioneer says: “someone asked why I hold my wife’s hand all the time – if I let go she goes shopping” – pass $25K – looks like bid on behalf of seller.
750. – heavy bidding on this one – sold $12K to paddle 254
760. – pass $50K.
770. – sold $17.5K to internet bidder 14037. Energy level in the auction room seems really high.
780. – pass $25K – looks like bid on behalf of seller.
790. – sold $25K to internet bidder 13895.
800. – pass $15K – looks like bid on behalf of seller.
810. – pass $20K – looks like bid on behalf of seller.
820. – pass $20K – looks like bid on behalf of seller.
830. – heavy bidding on this one – sold $18K to paddle 216.

It’s now 3:30 p.m. – 115 viewers and 70 bidders.

840. – sold $12.5K to internet bidder 13980.
850. – sold $12.5K to internet bidder 14083.
860. – pass $30K – looked like bid on behalf of seller
870. – pass $10K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller
880. – Monte says: “this is how we take most of the payments for this auction – pass $12.5K.
890. – sold for $37.5 to paddle 217.
900. – pass $15K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller.
910. – sold $30K to paddle 239
920. – sold $2.5K to paddle 249
930. – pass $8K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller.
940. – pass $4K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller.
950. – Monte says: “Who’s longer?” – pass $45K.
960. – Monte says: “If you have floor tiles you should go to a carpet store” – pass – looked like a bid on behalf of seller
970. – Monte says: “Very popular in the domainer community” – sold $25K to internet bidder 14033.
980. ENDORSEMENT.COM – heavy bidding on this one – sold $16.5K to internet bidder 14083.
990. – pass $20K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller
1000. – sold $12.5K to internet bidder 14026.
1010. – auctioneer chirps like a bird – pass $10K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller.
1020. – sold $20K to internet bidder #14083.
1030. – heavy bidding on this one – sold $8.5K to internet bidder 13977.
1040. – sold $3.5K to internet bidder 14114.
1050. – pass $4K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller.
1060. – pass $5K – looked like a bid on behalf of seller
1070. – Monte says “we’re live streaming right now” – pass $12.5K – Monte says “unbelievable”.
1080. – Auctioneer says “show ’em how its done” – pass $12.5K
1090. – pass $10K – looks like bid on behalf of seller – Monte says “wasn’t as hot as we thought it would be”
1100. – sold $3K to internet bidder 13916.
1110. – pass $17.5K
1120. – sold $9K to paddle #235

It’s now 4:00 p.m.. Monte says: “They’re going to be swapping out the food soon, in case you’re interested in the chocolate. Right hand corner of the room.
1130. – very heavy bidding on this one – sold $19K to internet bidder 14083 – wild clapping in the auction room.
1140. – heavy bidding on this one – sold $5.5K to paddle 223
1150. – heavy bidding on this one – sold $9.5K to internet bidder 13925.
1160. – auctioneer said “Monte said if I don’t sell any more, I’d better buy this name – I don’t know what he means by that” – pass $20K – looks like bid on behalf of seller.
1170. – Monte said “anyone influential in this room?” – sold $12K to internet bidder 13981.
1180. – *extremely* heavy bidding on this one – lots of cheering – probably the most competitive auction so far – the crowds are going wild – sold $42.5K to paddle 274

There’s a new draw – nice GPS

1190. – Monte says: “Gene Simmons and his wife just had this” – sold $10K to paddle 215.
1200. – Monte calls out “Beer!” – pass $7K
1210. – auctioneer says to Monte “so you’re moving, are you?” – sold $17K to internet bidder 14026.
1220. – pass $6K.
1230. – sold $5K to paddle 286.
1240. – sold $3K to paddle 218.
1250. – sold $3K to paddle 217.
1260. – Monte says “get off the pot” – Auctioneer says “no crap” – pass $20K – looks like bid on behalf of seller.
1270. – pass $25K – looks like a bid on behalf of seller
1280. – Monte says “goes with floor tiles” – sold $9.5K to internet bidder 13977.

Dot Mobi Starts – 4:25 pm. Comes with usual terms of dot mobi premiums – ie must be developed in 6 months.

1290. – sold $9.5K to internet bidder 13886. Cheers from audience.
1300. – Monte takes a cell phone call. He says “I’m in the middle of an auction right now – I’ll call you back” – sold $9.5K
1310. – sold $6K to internet bidder 13983.
1320. – heavy bidding on this one – sold for $18K to internet bidder 13981.
1330. – heavy bidding on this one – crowd seems a bit more energetic than before – lots of cheering – sold for $10K to paddle 216.
1340. – heavy bidding on this one – again crowd is cheering – auctioneer says “it’s like 5 Euros” – sold – $10.5K
1350. – Monte says – “you can’t let this one go if you’ve got” – sold $5K to paddle 425.
1360. – heavy bidding – sold $17.5 to paddle 221.
1370. – sold for $10K to internet bidder 13894.

OK, I’ve got to go now…

13 Reasons Why A Domain Has No or Low Value

May 20, 2008

A lot of things can impair the value of a domain. Here are 13 of the most common reasons that I’ve seen for domains to have no value or a low value:

1. Weak Term in a Weak Extension. For domains that are not .com or strong .ccTLDs, the keywords in the domain need to be much stronger to compensate for the weaker extension. A weak term in, for instance, a .info domain, isn’t going to have much value.

[Read more]

Dealing with Email Enquiries for Your Domains

May 14, 2008

The best way to sell a domain is having an end user approach you for it. But what’s the best way to deal with such an enquiry? Recently, there was a good discussion about this at DomainState which is well worth reading.

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DomainBits – The Interview By Domain Magnate

April 30, 2008

I recently did an interview with Michael of Domain Magnate. You can read it here.

Thanks a lot! And make sure to add Domain Magnate to your feed reader.

IDNs Prevent Death

April 22, 2008

I’ve said before that IDNs are going to do well simply because even if people know English fluently as a second language, they prefer to use their native tongue when using the internet. Now an extreme example of the importance of IDNs has just surfaced – because IDNs weren’t available, two people died and three people are in jail.

The story reads like something from the twilight zone. A couple in Turkey split up and the wife had moved back in with her family. The couple were text messaging each other. The wife’s cell phone didn’t have IDN capabilities – and could not read or write the closed i or “?”. So, the letter i showed in place of the closed i.

As the article states:

The use of “i” resulted in an SMS with a completely twisted meaning: instead of writing the word “s?k?s?nca” it looked like he wrote “sikisince.” Ramazan wanted to write “You change the topic every time you run out of arguments” (sounds familiar enough) but what Emine read was, “You change the topic every time they are fucking you” (sounds familiar too.)

Wife then shows father the message, father accuses husband of treating wife as a prostitute, husband show’s up at father’s house to apologize, is greeted by the father and several family members wielding knives, husband is stabbed and seriously injured (later kills himself), husband takes knife that stabbed him and uses it to stab his wife, dad and two family members are now in jail.

Not only do IDNs save lives, IDNs are what people want and need. Buy ’em while they’re still affordable.

Sedo Auctions Phishing Domains

April 22, 2008

I do recommend investing in IDNs – but only when appropriate. Appropriate means good commercial and similar terms in languages that use more than just English’s 26 letters of the alphabet. However, domains that are simply English words, replacing a vowel such as an “i” with an “” are worthless. Their only possible value is for phishing.

Yesterday while browsing Sedo, the auction of caught my attention. I wanted to place a bid, but because the bidding was so low for what is such a great domain, I hesitated. If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

Upon further investigation, I found out that the domain on auction was actually What’s the difference? Look closely – it’s an “” rather than an “i” in office. I wonder if the winning bidder noticed that and whether the transaction will actually close. There is absolutely nothing on the auction to alert a person that this is an IDN – Sedo should surely have also written something like: in punycode, this is

Come on Sedo – how hard is it to alert people to deceptive practices like this? You are supposed to be providing a much safer and more sophisticated domain platform than places like eBay.

Free Domaining Resources at DotSauce

April 16, 2008

One of my favorite domaining blogs is DotSauce, written by Mark Fulton. One of the things that makes his website special is the premium content section. In this section, he offers additional tools, bookmarks, coupon codes and articles. Normally, he charges a mere $10 per month for this – a real bargain. Now, for a limited time only, you can get free access to the premium content. Well worth signing up and taking a look around at what he offers.

Estibot Adds A New Tool

April 14, 2008

My favorite set of domaining tools is at Estibot. The main tool available is a domain appraisal tool. This tool provides an automatic appraisal of a domain name based on a wide variety of data, including keyword frequency in Google, keyword frequency in urls and titles in Google, backlinks, pagerank, alexa rank, number of ppc ads for the keywords, maximum bids on ppc ads for the keywords, and Overture and Wordtracker data. The tool is also integrated somewhat with NameBio and pulls up similar sales to the domain you are getting appraised.

What’s useful about the tool is not so much the final number that is produced (in fact, you’d be very foolish to rely on this), but the fact that it provides you with pretty much all the publicly available pieces of data that you can get about a domain. That way, you can quickly and easily analyze a domain and come to your own conclusion about the data.

There is also a bulk appraisal tool that allows you to appraise up to 100 domains at a time. I find this very helpful for going through long lists of domains that are available (for instance, a list of domains that are dropping or in pre-release) and whittling it down to ones that have value and are worth investigating further.

Estibot has now just released a new tool known as the “long term search tool.” What this tool essentially does is provide up to 10,000 related search terms for a term that you input. This is not only handy for keyword research for SEO, but you can also drill down that list quickly and find out what keywords terms have been registered and what ones are still available. Essentially, it provides a quick and easy way of finding available domain names. I’ve long been waiting for such a tool, as it works well with my previously discussed profiting from new domain registrations post. It both speeds up the process and allows a deeper look into long tail search terms.

There are a wide variety of other tools available as well. Another personal favorite is the instant Overture tool that allows you to find the Overture of keywords quickly rather than relying on the actual slow and often out of service Overture tool.

Anyone who has dealt with these sorts of tools before knows that they are very resource intensive. Although most of the tools are available for free, I recommend getting a membership (available for only $19.95 per month) both to get access to the full suite of tools that Estibot offers, and also to support the continuing development efforts of Esa, the site owner.

Funniest Forum Thread of the Year

April 14, 2008

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to drink. You can see this principle in action at an ongoing thread at Domainstate. A chap going by the handle “Ace Brawler” is looking for an appraisal of the term He’s told very politely that it’s worthless and why. Instead of learning from this, he decides to prove he’s worthy of the name “Ace Brawler.” Read the ensuing hilarity here. I do hope that the moderators at DomainState don’t edit this thread so that in the future, people can learn from this.

On a more serious note, if you ever wonder why no one bothers to give an appraisal in a forum, it’s often because they have been burned by this sort of “Ace Brawling” many times before and are tired of it. Kudos to anyone who has the patience to take the time to provide a domain appraisal and give reasons to back it up.

Don’t Drink The “Develop Your Domains” Kool-Aid

April 12, 2008

The biggest theme in the domainersphere in the last few days has been about development of domains. Many people are saying that this is the way forward for domainers and the best way to profit from domains. Elliot talks about his ideal portfolio. If you look at the direction he is heading in, he is basically reducing the number of domains he holds in order to concentrate on developing a few successful websites. Lord Brar talks about how he makes money from domains – essentially he develops them before reselling. Over and over we hear about how “pure” domaining is dying, and domainers need to hop on the development bandwagon.

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ICANN Story Misreported

April 9, 2008

Recently, I called attention to a news article in Gulf News that claimed Paul Twomey, president and CEO of ICANN, made some very negative statements about domaining.

I have since been contacted by Jason Keenan, who works at ICANN media relations. His statement is as follows:

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Network Solutions Makes Another Evil Move

April 8, 2008

Not content with the profits it makes from front running, Network Solutions has decided to scam people in another way: it is now hijacking unassigned sub-domains.

A subdomain is basically a domain built on a domain – so, for instance, some sites might add a blog at An unassigned subdomain is a subdomain that hasn’t been set up and there will be an infinite number of them – e.g.,, etc. What Network Solutions is doing is presenting a parking page any time someone goes to a nonexistent subdomain of a website hosted with them.

If these pages ended up getting indexed in Google or any of the other major search engines, it could cause some serious trouble for the website owners. Even if they don’t get indexed – how would you like your host to be adding pages to your website, without letting you know?

Network Solutions Sucks – avoid them like the plague!

ICANN Says: Domaining is Bad

April 7, 2008

Paul Twomey is the president and CEO of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the big kahunas who run the domain system. So, their view of domaining is obviously somewhat important.

Now we hear from Mr Twomey that domaining is bad. In fact, it’s not only bad, it’s as bad as cybersquatting and typosquatting.

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Indian Domaining – A Great Investment Opportunity

April 3, 2008

INForumI’m proud to announce that I’ve recently acquired the leading domain forum for Indian domains – INForum.

INForum is the place on the internet to discuss Indian domains, their future and their development. You can get your Indian domains appraised, and there is also a marketplace where you can buy and sell your Indian domains. You can also discuss anything related to India’s technology revolution or the internet in India. The forum also has a blog, on which I’ll post news relating to these topics.

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Fucked Up – The Theft of and

March 7, 2008

A domainer is cheated of over $120,000. The FBI and the police are involved. And so is an allegedly 16 year old boy in Ontario, Canada.

You work hard for what you have earned in life. You spend all day crouched over your computer doing research and negotiating deals. But some people aren’t willing to put in this work and want quick shortcuts – and will do this at the expense of your life savings.

[Read more]

Domain Bits – In the Spotlight at Domainer Developer

March 7, 2008

Domainer Developer recently did a profile of this blog and me. You can read it here.

Thanks a lot! And make sure to add Domainer Developer to your feed reader.

.com versus .net

December 12, 2007

Ray has done an interesting post on whether a business on a limited budget should get a category killer .net domain name or a more modest .com. While he states that it’s in the individual business’ choice, he does lean heavily towards the .com.

Some of the factors Ray recommends considering are:

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Not Another DotMobi Post!

December 8, 2007

The week has been saturated with posts about the goings on in the dotmobi world. No need for me to repeat this, you can find good coverage all over the domainersphere at Sahar’s Blog, DN Journal, Andrew’s Blog, Domain Name News, and Elliot’s Blog.

The first piece of in depth analysis I’ve seen about all of these events comes from Michael, and is well worth reading closely. He believes that these events are somewhat of a turning point for .mobi. He believes that the top 100 or so .mobi domains will do well. As well, if the major phone companies and telecoms begin advertising .mobi extensions in the mass media, then the extension as a whole will do well.

[Read more] – Just Say No

December 8, 2007

After the buyout of all domains, the latest hype in the domain world is domains (domains with four letters dot net). Buy them up now at reg fee, it is said, and once they’re all bought up, there’s nowhere the values can go but up! They’re going fast – get in on the action today!

If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn you may be interested in. investments are simply going to flop. There is just no enduser demand for domains as weak as The term QXZY is too weak a term even as a dot com; in the .net it is going nowhere.

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Coase Theorem & Domains

November 27, 2007

Yesterday, Dominik provided a basic economic analysis of the supply and demand of domain names. Then today Steve Levitt of Freakonomics made a post about the Coase Theorem and Domain Names. I’m very interested in economics, so I’m going to offer some economic analysis of domain names. If economics bores you, well, consider reading some of my other posts, which are a lot more practical.

[Read more]

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