If you are in SEO/SEM then you probably understand the historic value of a domain name from a marketing perspective. You are also probably increasingly understanding the market value of generic domains, and perhaps developed domains. But do you recognize just how fast this market is advancing?
Adam Strong over at DomainNameNews just published the Moniker silent auction results, covering the domains that were not sold or not brought to the bay at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Miami. Of course it includes the BigFamousOnes like cowboys.com for $360k, but SEO/SEM practitioners should take note of the tail of that list. One hundred and eighty nine (189) domains sold for less than $700. That’s less than the consulting fee for chasing and acquiring a domain on behalf of a client. The way Moniker runs things, many of those domains were prepared in advance for easy transfer at Moniker. One hundred and fourteen (114) of them went for less than $400. As I suggested in Paying for Privilege, the rights to a domain represent a unique privilege to publish under a brand on the Internet.
As I wrote some time ago in “Domain after market wipes out domain name consultants” (click the johnon.com listing), these auction lists and the availability “for sale” lists represent the new pool of domain names available to SEO/SEM consultants. Sure it sometimes still pays to hit the registrars with your creative brainstorming, but I rarely find that time productive anymore (who else remembers the “bug reaper dot com” commercial?).
Side note of Interest: When the Dallas Cowboys allegedly balked at actually paying their own $275k winning bid on cowboys.com after the live auction, my friend and search colleague Todd Mintz posted a note to marketing site Sphinn. I commented as follows:
This is history in the making. Not only is a test of the value of .com domains in the aftermarket, but it is a stage for all sorts of precedent in the business world where domains are concerned. If Dallas screwed up this will alter corporate behavior in the domain aftermarket.
Dallas dropped the ball at what would have been amortized as marketing expense at roughly $20k per year for 15 years, after which it would be free and probably a significant contributor to asset value. Yesterday it was $275k, today it sold for $360k, to domain investors.
Today “cowboys” is synonymous with the Dallas Cowboys. What will it mean tomorrow if it is developed online for a country western affinity theme or a Pixar animated series or a perhaps a gay affinity site? The Dallas Cowboys own “cowboys” as a brand and just missed their first shot at owning it online. I wonder how expensive that education is…
In the DomainNameNews discussion someone calling hirself “Innocent Bystander” challenged the domainers, suggesting there was no good rationalization for such a high price tag. Oops… that person was posting from an IP block owned by the Dallas Cowboys! My take is there was sincere marketing discussion over there, and they don’t get it so they made a decision to back out of their deal. We can all call it silly and dumb but we also can see the way that marketing unit is behaving… and perhaps learning as they go. Will heads roll? I especially like this follow-up comment from “MrSpartan”
“It is bad press for an organization who is based on winning and excellence to back publically back out of a winning auction bid because they did not understand the rules of the business they were conducting AND lose out to another bidder who bids more than they could have paid a day earlier. They look foolish and Stupid.”