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08|16|2007 11:05 pm EDT

Domain Roundtable, Auction Technology = Auction Success

by Adam Strong in Categories: Editorial, Events

When the first ever Domain Roundtable auction began, I had just wrapped up a 4 hour flight to St Louis on my way back home from Seattle. With an hour drive still ahead of me, I called a few friends to see how things were going “on the floor”. Fifteen minutes into my drive, they started texting me the results of the high profile domains that sold early on in the event, so I was being kept up to speed live., the package, etc.  I was pretty impressed by the results coming in.  By the time I arrived back home to watch online, the auction was well under way. I decided not to stick around for various reasons, but I’m glad that’s how it worked out in the end. If I had stayed on the auction floor, I would not have been able to witness the online side of the event like an estimated 1200 viewers were doing.

The online component MADE this auction.  The video feed showed the auctioneer most of the event but panned out to give overhead shots of the auction participants as they raised their paddles.  There were sporadic blips in audio and video feeds throughout the event and even one full meltdown during which the auction was postponed for 10-15 minutes. All in all though, the event was very well choreographed. I bid on several domains and the bidding and audio/video was synched as if I was actually doing so at the event. The online bidder might actually have had a leg up on the live bidder, as the video feed often focused on the live bidder, while the online bidder could only be seen by live bidders as a fairly anonymous screen name.  I even was able to pull a fast one and bid as Jay_W getting a chuckle from the crowd when Jay Westerdal announced that it wasn’t actually him bidding.  I’m sure this won’t happen again. :)

Information from my various sources who roughed it out from “the floor”, stated roughly 100 people started out with only a handful of them bidders and near the end the numbers had dwindled down to around 40 people. There’s no way to tell how many of the online viewers were actually bidding since the video feed was being displayed on the whois results pages within  The stats on the video feed displayed when I began viewing showed roughly 1200 viewers at the peak and dwindled down to around 900 at various times.  Without the online component of the auction, I believe the final results would have been similar to the Moniker Affiliate Summit and Internext events, there’d be a lot less names sold and a lot less bidding.
I have one final comment on the auction. The event was way too long. I heard the comment before the auction and I have heard it many times after the event. Thankfully there was an online version and those at the event could go back to their rooms for a break and those of us at home could do other things while the names we weren’t interested in were being auctioned. However, even sitting in the comfort of my own home and watching online, the auction was tortuously long. I couldn’t begin to imagine sitting through a live event for that long. Thanks again to the internet version, I was able to juggle a few tasks here at home and still bid on names, but I ate up most of a day doing so.

– Adam Strong




August 17, 2007 @ 3:32 am EDT

I agree, the online part was great; hats off to the organizers. Let us hope the mix of real and virtual auction becomes an industry standard.


August 17, 2007 @ 9:48 am EDT

I was very impressed with the online component to the auction. I flew across country from Seattle to Washington, DC the morning of the auction, came home, turned on the computer and was amazed that I had a view in almost real time of the auction proceedings.

It seemed like most of the action was being driven by the online bidders. Th auctioneer seemed a little uncomfortable with the mix of live and online bidding. He was trying to manage the action from the live bidders but the activity was happening out of his sight online.

While it was entertaining to watch a feed from the live auction, I wonder how big the benefits are of having a live auctioneer and people physically in the same room while most of the bidding activity is happening online. As we can see from the SnapNames auctions Auction Fever is just as likely to strike online as in a crowded room filled with live bidders. Would the results have been much different if the auction had been held entirely online?

August 17, 2007 @ 11:41 pm EDT

online component was Great and I think should be a industry standard!

Good work Jay!
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August 19, 2007 @ 8:36 pm EDT

I think it was a big learning experience for Jay and the rest of us.
With the comments and data in hand, I think we will see a better overall auction next time..

Still, it was an industry first and my hat is off to Jay for that..

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