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12|08|2007 04:18 am EDT

.Mobi Auction Troubles for Sedo

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Domain Auction

The successful auction of six high profile .mobi domains – Games.mobi, Movies.mobi, Sports.mobi, Music.mobi, Photos.mobi and Videos.mobi – raked in over $1 million dollars this week. Unfortunately, the auctions were also marred by two controversies.

According to DomainNameWire.com, the six .mobi domains were purchased by a single buyer who intends on holding them for resale.

The original .mobi auction at Sedo required buyers to create a web site at the domains within 6 months. I’m not sure if later auctions required this. Regardless, this is unwelcome news for .mobi fans — they would have preferred to hear that end users snapped up these domains at astronomical prices.

The buyer, Alvaro Albarracin states on his personal blog: “I am not planning on developing these names, I am planning on selling these sometime in the near future.”

The spirit of the .mobi aftermarket sales seems to be that the domains were being auctioned to be developed by “end users” and this purchase seems to break with that notion. The .mobi auction terms state :

– Domain to be registered by auction winner within 10 days of receiving authorization code
– Site to initially consist of a dotMobi-compliant parking page
– Best efforts to create, launch and operate a live web site with relevant content within six months. (For example, acupuncture.mobi should not display a site for car sales.)
– Fully compliant site with an http://ready.mobi score of at least 4/5.

The registry also explains the purpose for this method of allocating premium domains on the FAQ page:

Q: What is the objective of the premium name list?

A: To create a more leveled playing field in the allocation of these names, increase the likelihood that these domain names would more promptly provide the mobile community with new features and services, optimize the user experience and preserve the stability and security of registry operations.

Having a buyer whose stated goal is simply to flip these domains would suggest that this goal was not being met. In fact, it is likely that the majority of the premium domains sold by the registry were in fact purchased for “investment” or resale potential and the playing field certainly doesn’t seem leveled when prices exceed six-figure sums. It would seem that this particular buyer would have the resources to put together a site to meet minimal requirements, yet his admission that he has no intentions to do so is not within the spirit of these auction which the .mobi registry states is “to help ensure that content providers and brands have access to desired names.”  Nonetheless, it seems as though Sedo has bigger things to worry about these days as they continue to draw criticism for their handling of the auctions.

Following a frustrating auction process, Constantine Giorgio Roussos posted a complaint on the NamePros.com message boards stating that he thought he was the winner of Music.mobi in yesterday’s auction on Sedo.

After Roussos final bid of $66,000, the auction ended and he received an automated confirmation email from Sedo stating that he had won. The invoice was also joined by a personal email from a Sedo employee. Roussos, using “musicdotmobi� as his moniker, stated:

They proclaimed me winner, [sent] me 2 emails, sent me an invoice. I considered the bid finished and was ready to go and play guitar and record this new song I was working on in the studio. By chance, I get an email by whom? BOTH the .mobi MTLD who started INVITING people via a bulk message hyping them up that the servers have crashed and that there is huge demand for the .mobi auction. Then Sedo followed. So 2 bulk messages sent to the world inviting them to attend a NEW auction. Not only that, they extended the auction to 2.5 hrs NOT 5 minutes.�

The extended bidding apparently drew attention from a number of bidders that were not active in the original auction, causing the domain to sell for $616,000, nearly 10x the price at which Roussos claims he won the domain name.

Roussos plans on filing a lawsuit against Sedo for improper procedure and emotional distress. Read Roussos entire original post here.

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11 Comments

marko

December 8, 2007 @ 5:10 am EDT

i do not understand this situation with musicdotmobi. on sedo.

where are all the intermediate bids ,names do not jump almost 10 fold, all seems very very strange.

ps — i have over 200 . mobis.

[…] dando una repercusión que hasta ahora jamás habia tenido también sale en Conceptualist.com o DomainNameNews. Hasta ahora Alvaro Albarracin había sido noticia por otros temas tal y como Domisfera comenta. […]

[…] dando una repercusión que hasta ahora jamás habia tenido también sale en Conceptualist.com o DomainNameNews. Hasta ahora Alvaro Albarracin había sido noticia por otros temas tal y como Domisfera […]

[…] dando una repercusión que hasta ahora jamás habia tenido también sale en Conceptualist.com o DomainNameNews. Hasta ahora Alvaro Albarracin había sido noticia por otros temas tal y como Domisfera comenta. […]

Dot mobi Guy

December 9, 2007 @ 4:40 am EDT

Sedo should honor the first invoice of 66,000
this does look very fishy to me?

Andrew

December 9, 2007 @ 11:32 am EDT

Great article and thanks for digging up the orginal auction terms.

Sammy Ashouri

December 9, 2007 @ 5:29 pm EDT

This is one sure mess. Nice research! I’m curious as hell to see how this unfolds.

Mike O'Connor

December 10, 2007 @ 10:18 pm EDT

My contribution to this story is my feeble attempt to bid on bar.mobi (I’ve got bar.com, and think that bar.mobi would be pretty neat — what better place to look for the next bar than from your cell phone??).

So I go to bid. Can’t get in. Try again, get in, but get a PHP file delivered through the web site that crashes my computer. By the time I get in again, the auction’s over.

Bar.mobi went for under $2500. Somebody got a really good deal, and at least *some* money (mine) got left on the table.

Looks like “dog’s breakfast” to me. Not worth suing over, but makes me darn skeptical about using Sedo for anything important (like selling bar.com some day).

[…] reported earlier, there were controversies during Sedo’s latest .mobi auction. Apparently those have now led […]

mark

December 19, 2007 @ 8:41 pm EDT

I need lawyer to handle my case…

sedo and mltd cheat on us bigtimes

[…] good coverage all over the domainersphere at Sahar’s Blog, DN Journal, Andrew’s Blog, Domain Name News, and Elliot’s […]

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