John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?  Competitive Web & SEO
February 9th, 2008 by john andrews

Affiliate Summit Moniker Domain Auction: Opportunity?

Since I registered to attend AffiliateSummit in Vegas and commented about the alignment of Affiliate Summit and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. in the same city at almost the same time, I have heard feedback from domainers, affiliates, and SEOs about both events and domain auctions in general. I wonder now, is the domain auction at Affiliate Summit a sleeper opportunity for domain acquisition? … or not?

In July of last year, Moniker held the first domain auction at Affiliate Summit. There were many domain auctions last summer, so the general crowd of domainers+entrepreneurs+search marketers enjoyed frequent access to domain buying via auction. The Affiliate Summit crowd was probably mostly affiliate system employees and affiliate marketers plus some search marketers, crossing over to the community of domainers. DomainNameNews covered the auction, and the auction was apparently a dud, and apparently for the expected reasons:

  • affiliates develop traffic and revenue first, and sites second if they bother at all
  • affiliates and search marketers desire domains which match their marketing strategy which is typically also their business strategy, as opposed to domains which match a category. Sure those overlap, but not as much as may be initially thought
  • affiliate marketers are used to bootstrapping online businesses, ramping them up as they show signs of promise. They don’t typically start with an up front investment, such as an investment in a domain name as an asset
  • a substantial portion of affiliate marketing is opportunity-driven. High-prices for domains (when compared to reg fee) do not automatically appear to represent opportunity to affiliate marketers

Moniker published the results of that Affiliate Summit Domain Auction here. I don’t know which domains listed were sold live at the Affiliate meeting vs. over the phone to domain investors or companies desiring specific domains listed for sale, but I can see the character of affiliate marketing reflected in the SOLD list.:

  • ($3,000)
  • LAWYERBLOG.COM($1,500)

These are typical affiliate and search marketing domains. Except for a few, they sold at reasonable prices (sub $4k).

As unregistered domains get harder to find, entrepreneurs are increasingly willing to value a domain at $1500 these days. Another $1,000 can be rationalized for a quick buy, as the costs of finding a suitable domain can easily exceed that when time and effort are considered. But, as noted, most affiliate marketers bootstrap their businesses and do not count time and effort at a straight cost rate. In fact, because a good deal of the affiliate business is opportunity driven as opposed to strategically driven, projects are commonly “back burnered” until the time is right (which may include “finding the perfect domain name” for the project). I am not surprised the auction didn’t produce more sales greater than $5k. But now, in February of 2008, I wonder if things will be different?

  • It is even harder now to “find” a suitable domain for a project at reg fee.
  • The affiliate marketplace seems more sophisticated today, since some of the uncertainties of the affiliate networks have been settled (good or bad).
  • More of the active affiliates have advanced their operations beyond the “place some links and wait for checks” mentality of the past.
  • More marketers realize the value of more borad involvement in a market niche, which may mean more contro lof the category which might be achieved with more category-influencing domains

In my own experience, a reasonable price for the right project domain is more now than it was last summer, perhaps twice as high, touching on the $3k mark. The effort costs are also higher now, so $5k is not as high a price as it probably seemed last summer. Again, the domains offered will have to match the profile of domains desired by affiliate marketers if they expect to sell, but then Moniker has Affiliate Summit experience now, so might that be a reasonable expectation?

I’m curious how this one will go. Given the last experience, will even more domains be no reserve this time? That would be an opportunity. Given the experience, will more suitable domains be presented this time? Given that affiliate marketers got to see domains sold for thousands at auction, will they be more likely to participate as sellers this time (which might mean more suitable domains on auction)?

I still have trouble with the whole domain auction thing, though. For example, to submit names for sale at the affiliate auction, you would have had to send them in as candidates for consideration back in December. For an opportunity driven industry like Affiliate Marketing, that doesn’t work so well. I know it takes time to manage the FOR SALE AT AUCTION list, but it would probably be cool (and productive) to have a way to insert domains up until the last minute as holders of domains attractive to the AffiliateSummit community decide “yeah, this is looking promising… I’m in“. With a long lead time to domain insertion, you’re basically only listing properties held by domainers, or properties no one has wanted despite several months of availability. It might also be great to market the domain insertion process to the affiliate marketing community much more and in advance, to get a better match of domains offered to domains wanted. Just an idea.

I will be speaking at SearchFest in Portland on March 10th, and decided to present “Search Marketing and YOUR Business Strategy” specifically because I think Internet entrepreneurs would benefit from increased emphasis on this aspect of online marketing: like SEO, the domain needs to support the business strategy first, not the market strategy, because the marketing strategy increasingly is the business strategy (and is evolving that way).

Note to Google: Hi Matt (third person plural intended). Just in case you were wondering, or even if you have already made up your mind about imparting intent to my outbound links here, they are not “paid links”. Even the ones where I created an href with my domain in it (e.g. are not “affiliate links” or “sponsored links”. There is no such linking structure for AffiliateSummit that I know of, and I haven’t signed on to get any commission anyway. I did that so they would see me in their logs (and yes, I tested first to see how they handled 404’s). Oh, and that SMX link? The one that looks like ? Same thing… they don’t manage their 404s over there, so I had to put my secret message to Danny into a query string to get it to work properly. See? You’re not always right :-) I know, I know… you don’t really care. But I do, so I’m just sayin, thazzall.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
February 8th, 2008 by john andrews

Selling Domains : Auctions Aren’t TheAnswer

In the domain industry, the auction is the place to get the best price for your domain. You read that just about everywhere. Auction, auction, auction. But the auction is not always the best answer. We need some more options.

Every week it seems I hear someone say they submitted X domains to “the auction” and none were accepted. So what then? The domain marketplaces are saturated with domains available for purchase. Frankly speaking, the user interfaces of the aftermarket marketplaces leave a lot to be desired. Even those marketplaces like to push the domains into an auction as soon as anyone expresses interest, making domain acquisition seem ever more elusive for the non-professional domainer (“this domain is available for a starting price of $1000“, but it has a secret reserve of $4500. Been there, done that).

I have learned that a “buy this domain” or “this domain may be available for purchase” link on the home page does work, for the same reasons direct traffic converts well: the clicker of that link has a qualified interest in the domain. The challenge is getting the domain home page (or even just the name) in front of the not-yet-qualified potential buyer. Sure some buyer’s want a specific domain that you have parked. But most just need a “good domain” for their web site project.

If domainers really want to see liquidity in the domain aftermarket, they need to lose some of the ego that is currently micro-managing the aftermarket domain sales. Have some guts and put those “not-really-generic” and “not-really-as-brandable-as-you-originally-thought” domains up for sale with no reserve. Set a price and sell, instead of set a price and fish for a higher price, reserving an option to bail at any time with no accountability. You’re not fooling anyone. People are simply not considering your domains to be available. Really. They understand you don’t really want to sell. They aren’t even looking anymore, because of the way you’ve proven the domains aren’t actually for sale.

My neighbor has a black ’66 Chevelle SS 396 4 speed. Is it for sale? Sure… offer him enough money and he’ll sell it. But he doesn’t drive it around with a FOR SALE sign on it, because he’s not willing to part with it for the current market value. Isn’t everyone’s car technically “for sale” at a high enough price? But if we all drove around with FOR SALE signs on our cars, wouldn’t that just about void any real market for car buying?

That’s what the current domain aftermarket looks like. I hate to be the one to break it to you domainers, but the domains aren’t selling because their not worth the asking price. If the aftermarket’s want to function for buyers who want domains (and I know plenty of buyers who want domains), they need to separate the domains available “for sale” from those available “if the price is right”. Someone should do this. We need more options.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine
February 4th, 2008 by john andrews

Thunderbird Email Accounts: Reorder email folders

If you use Thunderbird email client and have many email accounts/folders, you will someday wish you could re-arrange them in your accounts view pane. Thunderbird by default displays the accounts in the order in which they were added, and does not provide a control panel option for re-ordering them. But there is a solution and for me, it works perfectly.

Download the FolderPaneTools Firefox extension to your hard drive, and then load it via the Extensions tool in Thunderbird. Once restarted, Thunderbird will offer simple “move higher/move lower” options for all of the email accounts in your view pane. In just minutes I had relocated my most often used accounts to the top of the pain, and then re-arranged those so the shorter ones were higher than the more complex ones, leaving me with my priority accounts visible on-page when Thunderbird loads. Awesome.

★★ Click to Share!    Digg this     Create a Bookmark     Add to Newsvine

Competitive Webmaster

Wonder how to be more competitive at some aspect of the web? Submit your thoughts.

SEO Secret

Not Post Secret

Click HERE


John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John




comments policy



Recent Posts: ★ SEO Industry Growth, Widespread Failure, and SEO Industry Challenge ★ Do you want to WIN, or just “Be the Winner”? ★ 503: GONE ★ Cloud Storage ★ Identity Poetry for Marketers ★ PR is where the Money Is ★ Google is an Addict ★ When there are no Jobs ★ Google Stifles Innovation, starts Strangling Itself ★ Flying the SEO Helicopter ★ Penguin 2.0 Forewarning Propaganda? ★ Dedicated Class “C” IP addresses for SEO ★ New Domain Extensions (gTLDs) Could Change Everything ★ Kapost Review ★ Aaron Von Frankenstein ★ 2013 is The Year of the Proxy ★ Preparing for the Google Apocalypse ★ Rank #1 in Google for Your Name (for a fee) ★ Pseudo-Random Thoughts on Search ★ Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or a Blog ★ The BlueGlass Conference Opportunity ★ Google Execs Take a Break from Marissa Mayer, Lend Her to Yahoo! ★ Google SEO Guidelines ★ Reasons your Post-Penguin Link Building Sucks ★ Painful Example of Google’s Capricious Do Not Care Attitude 


☆ about

John Andrews is a mobile web professional and competitive search engine optimzer (SEO). He's been quietly earning top rank for websites since 1997. About John

☆ navigation

  • John Andrews and Competitive Webmastering
  • E-mail Contact Form
  • What does Creativity have to do with SEO?
  • How to Kill Someone Else’s AdSense Account: 10 Steps
  • Invitation to Twitter Followers
  • …unrelated: another good movie “Clean” with Maggie Cheung
  • …unrelated: My Hundred Dollar Mouse
  • Competitive Thinking
  • Free SEO for NYPHP PHP Talk Members
  • Smart People
  • Disclosure Statement
  • Google Sponsored SPAM
  • Blog Post ideas
  • X-Cart SEO: How to SEO the X Cart Shopping Cart
  • the nastiest bloke in seo
  • Seattle Domainers Conference
  • Import large file into MySQL : use SOURCE command
  • Vanetine’s Day Gift Ideas: Chocolate Fragrance!
  • SEM Rush Keyword Research
  • ☆ blogroll

  • Bellingham SEO
  • Domain Name Consultant
  • Hans Cave Diving in Mexico
  • Healthcare Search Marketing
  • John Andrews
  • John Andrews SEO
  • SEMPDX Interview
  • SEO Quiz
  • SEO Trophy Phrases
  • SMX Search Marketing Expo
  • T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East 2007
  • TOR
  • ☆ categories

    Competition (39)
    Competitive Intelligence (15)
    Competitive Webmastering (547)
    Webmasters to Watch (4)
    domainers (63)
    Oprah (1)
    photography (3)
    Privacy (16)
    Public Relations (187)
    SEO (398)
    Client vs. SEO (2)
    Link Building (3)
    Search Engines vs. SEO (1)
    SEO SECRETS (11)
    SEO vs. SEO (1)
    ThreadWatch Watching (5)
    Silliness (24)
    Social Media (7)
    society (31)
    Uncategorized (23)

    ☆ archives

  • November 2014
  • September 2014
  • December 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • November 2006
  • October 2006
  • September 2006
  • August 2006
  • July 2006