Results of Twitter no-reserve domain experiment

March 25, 2009

ImageBackupSoftware.com sold yesterday for $145 in a no-reserve SnapNames auction primarily promoted on Twitter.   The winner of the domain contest was @Dluzional for his $280 guess and he will receive  a paypal payment of $14.50 (10% of the sales price).

[3/30/09 Update: I’m trying a different variation of the contest using Sedo this week.  Click here for details and to win 5% of sales price.]

Here’s my take on the results..

1. The name sold for a considerably lower price than expected with only 3 bidders involved.  This may have been due to the name itself.  This name has very good metrics and is well matched for a profitable mini site, may not have that eye-catching factor some buyers look for.  I didn’t formally appraise the name before the auction ,  but I was anticipating it would sell for a minimum of $500.

2. I was very pleased with the  exposure the listing received. I tweeted about the auction to my 900 followers and many domainers (@NameSugar, @Yofie, @DanSanchez @ebusinessnames)  were nice enough to re-tweet my posts to my their combined list of 1600+ followers.   As a result, I’m pretty sure most domainers who were on Twitter yesterday knew  about the auction.  My stats show that in the final hours more than 100 people clicked through to my blog and auction listing pages.

3. The auction process itself was pretty buggy. Snapnames was having intermittent problems in the morning and  many attempts to view the auction were failing. In the final minute of the auction, my control panel showed the auction closed at $25.  I announced this but  a friend tweeted back saying he was seeing 3 minutes left with a  $145 current bid.  After viewing  screenshots, we realized that we were seeing two different things.   Not very comforting for a live auction.  I hope this will improve as I am a big fan of Moniker.com and like their tight integration with SnapName’s market place.

What’s next?

I’m pleased with the experiment in general and plan on doing  it again next week.   I received some helpful comments about the contest and am considering changing it to make it a little more  domainer friendy.   I’m going to work with Snapnames to see if we can avoid some of the glitches that were encountered.    And I’m going to pay special attention to the next batch of names,  focusing on ones that have both great metrics and eye-appeal.

In the mean time,  you can usually find me on Twitter every day at @DomainTweeter – where I tweet about domaining and give away the available domain of the day.  Please feel free  to send me a Tweet or DM introuducing yourself.

Hoping to get some additional feedback…

I’m pretty new to blogging (this blog is about two weeks old), but wanted to try to use the comment section of this post to learn more about what you are looking for.  If you have a second was hoping you might be able to answer one or more of the following..

  • Were you aware of the domaining contest?
  • Can you think of any  specific ways to improve it?
  • What did you think of the domain that was listed?
  • What type of names are you interested in?
  • Any other comments or suggestions?

Thanks!


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Diener 03.25.09 at 5:12 am

Hey, I was the winner of the auction and without twitter I would have not heard of the auction. I thought the name would sell for more but it was really buggy, for me it stopped on less the 1 min left for like 10 min. I really like the idea, and I love the blog. I am @teendomainer on Twitter and I’ll be sure to RT the next auction. You might want to try a longer contest time not just 1 day.

Thanks

Brian

admin 03.25.09 at 7:55 am

Hi Brain. Thanks for posting and congratulations on the name. I was having a lot of problems with SnapNames as well. I didn’t write about it, but the name was originally listed incorrectly and was not able to go live as early as I had planned. I like SnapNames’ ability to schedule the specific days of an auction, but since reliability is a concern, I may run a few small test auctions this week before I use them for another good name.

Another choice would be to use Sedo by having someone push the name to their three day auction process. This would go well with your suggestion for a longer auction period.

Was wondering if anyone else had any experience with a good auction service that could do 1 day auctions and handle payment/escrow? I’d really rather not do it in house unless I have to.

Brian Diener 03.25.09 at 8:33 am

ebay 1 day never goes down

Dan Sanchez 03.25.09 at 8:34 am

Congratulations on the sale! Looks like Brian Teen Domainer and I will be working on a case study with the domain pretty soon so we can track the progress of development, as well as seeing the value of the domain grow over time which will help you use this first domain as an example of your exemplary ability to pick domains.

Looking forward to the next auction!

Dan

Kevin Jackson 03.25.09 at 8:52 am

I learnt about the contest and experiment from your blog. I agree with Brian’s comment. The auction was too short, and this impeded the chances of getting the word out or having more eyeballs reading the tweets in time to participate.

ImageBackupSoftware.com is an OK domain name, but not one that I would be excited about. It is a bit lengthy, and I am not sure if there are actually Image Backup Software, as any other back software would do well for images.

Nonetheless, am glad that the domain attracted bids and sold for more than $100. That should give you the motivation to proceed with the concept and to expand on the promotion as much as possible.

In terms of domains that you could auction, well simply put, domains with resale values and enough commercial appeal.

You should stress that these auctions are Zero-Reserve, as this sort of auction is geeting everyone excited these days.

admin 03.25.09 at 9:51 am

Dan, that’s great news. I’ve seen the great work you do and look forward to seeing what you and Brian can do with this name. Please keep me posted!

Brian: I usually try to stay away from eBay for major domain sales. Maybe it’s just me, but I think most domainers would rather deal with a sedo,snapnames,afternic or even a Godaddy tdnam auction instead eBay. It was also my impression that there is somewhat less seller protection on eBay. If your experience differs, I would be very interested to hear. I’ve used eBay for non-domain transactions and do appreciate the ease and stability of their system.

Kevin: thanks for your suggestions. I tend to agree that the short time frame may be inadvisable. My original concept was to keep it exciting – a 24 hour contest, rolling right into a 24 hour auction. I’m going to test a number of different factors and see how much timing/auction venue effects results. Was wondering what you thought of listing the name with Sedo and automatically pushing it to a 3 day auction upon first offer?

Thanks for the suggestions about possible domain types. I may choose a more well known product or service name next time. I think ImageHardwareSoftware.com has great metrics for a very specific niche audience actively searching for it. However the fact I had to explain it to many of my non-tech friends, makes me think it might not have been the ideal choice to lead in with.

Dluzional 03.26.09 at 4:01 am

Congrats on the somewhat success of the experiment, and I also sent you an email, regarding the winning bids…and thanks again,

You have to remember that Twitter is still relatively new for a lot of people, and the majority of the twits (wow you really can use that in a sentence and not be dissing anyone) are relatively young, and more interested in what britney’s wearing, and who’s doing who, and didja hear about. I’m getting in my car, I’m getting out of my car, I’m walking to get a coffee…etc.comments.

It could be a useful tool, but as with anything, the learning curve metric is there…
and as with anything, it’ll take a bit to catch on, as most domainers, hard core or not, still feel comfortable using their own tools, and research.

But the fact that this is yet another avenue to find a name, research that name, and find out where it is for auction, is nothing but good.

Keep it up, this may be the start of a category of sorts for twitter to enhance upon.
D

admin 03.26.09 at 8:15 am

Thanks Dluzional. It definitely is a timing issue and it looks like domainer usage is really ramping up. For example, in the last 2 weeks the number of domainers who have tagged themselves at wefollow.com has gone from 25 to 56. Also, please DM me your paypal info so I can send you the prize.

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