Moniker’s Live Auction Flops

November 17, 2007 · Print This Article

I spent the afternoon (I’m on the East Coast) watching the video feed of Moniker’s Live Auction at the Geo Domain conference. Unfortunately, the auction was a big flop. While there may be last minute adjustments, at the close of the video feed, the total value of the domains sold was $435,000. $200,000 of that came from just one sale – None of the most publicized domains, like sold.

The auctioneer, who did a great job under the obviously difficult circumstances, was practically begging people to bid at some points. It was clear that he was very uncomfortable with the whole situation. The auction was scheduled to last 5 hours and barely went over 2 hours.

It’s hard to say exactly why things failed. IMHO the reserves of a lot of the auctions seemed unreasonably high – I do think that the bids for many of the domains that did not sell went up to what they would at a regular Sedo or Afternic auction. Of course, if you were so inclined I guess you could spin this that the domain holders were so confident about the value and the future of their domains that they refused to let them go even for the generous amounts of money offered. The silent auction over the next few days will likely add some more insights into what is really happening.

The auction seemed sparsely attended. At least from the camera’s angle, the room appeared to be almost empty. Not a problem if people are bidding through the phone, but there did not seem to be too many telephone bidders. From what I could see, most of the major deep pockets in the domaining business were not at the auction.

The auction got off to a late start – it was over half an hour late. I’m not sure how common this is, but given that the auction was expected to last for 5 hours, this seemed not only unprofessional but also unreasonable. Of course, with the conference going on there may have been a good reason for the delay.

If you are interested, you can watch the video. You can also find a listing of the domains that were successfully sold.

I kept a record of many of the domains that were not sold. Here are my notes from the auction (some with comments). I’ve tried to be accurate, but I’m sure there are some errors and they are incomplete. I’ve also tried to group the domains in an order that makes some logical sense.

Country .com’s – pass $500,000 – pass $1,500,000 – pass $500,000 – pass $1,500,000 – pass $1,000,000 – pass $200,000 – pass $100,000
(Looks like a million bucks won’t even buy you a decent country these days…)

Country .net’s – sold $15,000 to paddle #194 (good deal!) – pass $20,000 – pass $4,500 (the difference that an s can make…) – pass $40,000

Country .org’s – sold $7,000 to paddle #194

Country .biz’s – sold $300 (if this doesn’t prove just how bad .biz is…)

Country .us’s – pass $11,000 (I guess it’s better than

Country .mobi’s – pass $24,000 (yes, I know it’s not a country, but it seemed to fit here best) – pass $2,500

State .com’s – pass $125,000 (seems like a generous offer to me)

State .net’s – pass $30,000 – pass $25,000

State .org’s – pass $30,000 – pass $1,500

State .info’s – pass $9,500 – pass $10,000

City .com’s – sold $200,000 (good for both buyer and seller) – pass $10,000 – pass $800,000 (reserve seems awfully high) – pass $25,000 – pass $200,000 (is this really worth more than – pass $1,000,000 (this is a really great place to go, but is this domain really worth more than a country .com?) – pass $500,000 – pass $10,000 – sold $15,000 to paddle #191 – pass $20,000 – sold $1,250 to paddle #198 (great deal!)
Sunnyvale – pass $85,000

City .net’s – pass $20,000 – pass $20,000 – pass $1,000 (does anyone still use this spelling?) – pass $1,500 – pass $45,000 – pass $20,000 – pass $17,500 – pass $22,500 – pass $65,000

City .org’s – pass $42,500 (reserve seems high for a .org) – sold $24,500 (telephone bidder #239) – pass $1,500

City .info’s – sold $5,000 – pass $4,000 – pass $22,500 – pass $850 – pass $2,200 – pass $4,000 – pass $10,000 – pass $15,000 – pass $3,000 – pass $1,500 – pass $20,000

City .biz’s – pass $9,000 (nice city name, but .biz really hurts it)

City .us’s – pass $3,000 – pass $7,000 – pass $25,000

City .mobi’s – pass $10,000 – pass $9,000 – pass $9,000

City ccTLD’s – pass $25,000

Geographic Areas – pass $125,000 – pass $2,000 – pass $300 – pass $50,000 – pass $125,000 – pass $50,000 – pass $125,000 – pass $50,000 – pass $50,000 – pass $50,000 – pass $5,000 – pass $5,000 – pass $3,400

IDN Domains (Ho Chi Minh in Vietnamese) – pass $6,000 (India in Hindi) – pass $3,000,000 (Peru in Spanish) – pass $200,000 (Japanese) – pass $15,000 (Chinese for Shandong) – pass $20,000

Miscellaneous – pass -no interest – pass $8,000 – pass $125,000 – pass $500,000 – pass $500 – pass – pass $15,000 – pass $4,000 (I’d think the name would be likely to change in the near future making this a somewhat risky investment). – pass $9,000 – pass $3,500 – pass $400 – sold $33,000 – sold $33,000 (auction obviously influenced by auction) – pass $80,000

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18 Responses to “Moniker’s Live Auction Flops”

  1. Carrillo Francois on November 18th, 2007 3:37 am

    They are idiots! I was not aware of that auction, and like me thousands domainers.
    The day they will start advertising SERIOUSLY their auctions they will do more sales.
    I contacted them a dozen times about advertising in our domaining advertising network (dozen thousands of unique visitors daily):,, … their auctions, but they prefer little savings and big crash!

  2. Robb on November 18th, 2007 4:31 am

    Are the figures beside ‘pass’ what the highest bid was, or where the bidding started?

  3. admin on November 18th, 2007 6:50 am

    @Robb – the figures beside “pass” are the highest bids. Sorry, I should have made that clear. When the bidding stops and the domain hasn’t met reserve, the auctioneer calls out “pass” and he moves on to the next domain.

  4. Rob Sequin on November 18th, 2007 8:43 am

    I have posted a question to Monte to ask if the starting bid price was just a starting price or whether it was the result of the highest left bid. The auctioneer said many times “I have $XXXX to open, who’ll give me $XXXX+?”

    No problem either way but a starting price is not a bid. I just think that should be cleared up.

    I will post when I have an answer.

  5. geoffgo on November 18th, 2007 9:08 am

    Yikes! I wasn’t aware of this auction. I am new to this niche, but it occurs to me (from everything Frank S. and Sarid, et al teach us) that is the equivalent of, except for a different audience. Short, most cogent, category-leader, natural type-in, etc. – passed at $125k!!!!!!!!

  6. admin on November 18th, 2007 9:55 am

    @ Rob – what I’ve posted here are the highest bids. The only domain listed that didn’t get any bids was, where I put in “no interest.” There were a few other minor domains in which there was no interest.

  7. admin on November 18th, 2007 9:56 am

    @ geoffgo – I agree is an excellent domain. I’m not sure that this auction was the best venue for that name.

  8. Shawn on November 18th, 2007 11:19 am

    I think there was some confusion in how the auction was marketed. I know a couple people who were there looking to buy good geo-keyword domains. When the final list came out and they were heavy on the geo-location, and I think that killed off the much of the interest.

  9. Monte on November 19th, 2007 11:04 am

    The Geo Domain Auction was not a flop, it was an introductory auction that was considered successful. This was a first time event that performed 2X better than our first time event at Affiliate Summit…which later became successful by adding $500K+ in the silent event that followed. The Geo Silent auction goes on through the 28th and will likely add many more sales.

    The Geo market is a new one where many of the attendees have spent their life savings on some of the most valuable names in the world. We knew this going in and still produced close to a half million dollars worth of sales…that is also more than the first 3 TRAFFIC auctions.

    There will be many more improvements coming for the niche auction market and we are still very bullish on the domain market as a whole and in these niche markets.

    The updated sales are located here:
    And the silent event runs through November 28th so there is plenty of time for more sales for this niche event.

  10. admin on November 19th, 2007 4:07 pm

    @Monte – thanks for adding your thoughts. I think that you’ve done some great work with this auction, but that a lot of the reserves were unrealistic. I do hope that the silent event goes well. I was also glad to see that after the auction already a few domains sold (e.g.

  11. Confused on November 20th, 2007 9:04 am

    “admin Says:
    November 18th, 2007 at 6:50 am @Robb – the figures beside “pass” are the highest bids. Sorry, I should have made that clear. When the bidding stops and the domain hasn’t met reserve, the auctioneer calls out “pass” and he moves on to the next domain.”

    Am I reading this correctly? Somebody bid $3,000,000 for (India in Hindi)?

  12. admin on November 21st, 2007 3:32 pm

    @Confused. That’s what it looked like on the video. Since then, several people have point blank asked Monte whether there was a $3,000,00 bid on that domain and he has not answered the question. It may just have been the auctioneer bidding on behalf of the seller.