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07|09|2007 11:03 pm EDT

Like Pulling Teeth, First Affiliate Summit Live Domain Auction

by Adam Strong in Categories: Affiliate Programs, Editorial, Events

* A quick disclaimer. I had several domains in this auction and apparently sold 1. I was not at the event but listened live on

tooth pullingIt’s not easy bringing a new product to an untested audience, and that wasn’t more true than tonight during the Moniker Live Domain Auction held at the Affiliate Summit in Florida. Sitting at home and listening to the events unfold on , it was painfully obvious that Monte Cahn and auctioneer Joel Langbaum had their work cut out for them more than ever. Bids were very slow to come by and even domains with no reserve had to have bids pried out of the audience members. Langbaum, an amateur comedian, made quips such as “anybody breathing out there?”, “Am I keeping anybody awake?” and “it’s like pulling teeth”.

As a domain investor who has attended all of the previous Moniker auctions at TRAFFIC and was listening live, this audience seemed unethused and extremely apprehensive. Starting bids were hard to come by and even domains listed as no reserve had to have coaxing to get any bid action. Even names that seemed to appeal directly to the audience members, affiliates and affiliate program managers, were uninteresting. “There’s no credit card affiliates here?” a surprised Cahn said as was moved off of the auction block with no bids. Even the premier domain received no interest. Granted it had a high reserve, but this one would likely have at least received bids at TRAFFIC.

Near the end of the auction, when names were announced by Langbaum, you could hear a few audience members asking for reserve prices. Several names were sold off of the reserve with one bid meeting the reserve. This will be a disappointment to many sellers as they expect the reserve to stimulate action and not to be the price they end up having to accept. In past TRAFFIC auctions, many sellers dropped their reserves in a gamble to stimulate bidding. This could have been a big mistake, as this auction didn’t seem to have any heated bidding. (Thankfully I ignored advice from a veteran auction seller and kept my reserves where I would be happy selling and managed to sell 1).

Why was there no action?

I saw a few problems right from the start. I’m not sure how many attended Affiliate Summit or how many were at the start of the auction, but the auction didn’t seem to be promoted very well to the audience. I think the organizers are partly to blame for this. I barely saw any talk at any forums or blogs about this. In fact besides this site, I think the Affiliate Summit and Affiliate Tips site were the only “bloggers” who mentioned anything about the auction. Abestweb had maybe 1 or 2 posts. For a first time event, it seems like it was an after-thought to the organizers of the Summit.

Another bad move was scheduling. It seems that the auction was scheduled after a cocktail party. Bad idea. No one wants to sit in on an auction for 2 hours+ after having a few drinks with their friends. At 6:30 most people want to go eat dinner or continue the party elsewhere. From what I heard, there were only around 35 people left in the room as the auction winded down to the last 25 or so domains. With some better planning next time, maybe we’d see some better results.

All said and done, the numbers came in decent considering the lack of activity at the event, thanks partially to one $400k sale ( Correction. This was reported wrong on Monikers site last night. It was $40k ) I think many deals were had at this event because of the lack of bidders/bidding. If you were a domain investor in attendance or bidding via the phone, you could have had a few domains at bargain basement prices. Of the 194 domains entered only 39 sold and many of these came from heavily coaxed bids. The total sale amount rang in $641,000. Sorry the numbers were off because of a typo. Correct total appears to be $251,000 From what I heard prior to the event, the goal was to reach $1.5m . Hopefully, the silent auction gets better results and more activity than the live auction did. There’s plenty of good “affiliate” domains in the list. You can download it from here

* BONUS FIND: Some pics from the event here and here from Stephanie Agresta’s Flickr account. Time stamp shows between 6:51 and 6:54 so pretty much these show the room right near the beginning of the auction.




July 9, 2007 @ 11:41 pm EDT

Hi Adam,

IMHO…the domain industry is headed a bit off track. We have started to “put the cart before the horse”.

Instead of holding auctions now…The industry as a whole needs to create interest by holding domain name conferences that are put together by Sedo,DS,Moniker,Godaddy,Enom…and whoever else wants to help out…TOGETHER.

This is for the good of the industry as a whole.

With a collaboration of these companies…they could hold domain name conferences for every marketing executive,SEO expert, advertising companies, marketing firms,fortune 1000 companies webmasters,people in companies legal dept and anyone else that has influence over what “end users” do and were they spend their money.

Such a collaboration by our industry giants, would cut the cost of the events down and should have the smallest entry fee possible… $30 would be good.

These conferences would be to “educate” everyone ONLY (non domainers)… on all aspects of domain names…with no auctions.

We need a “smart end user” if we want future domain auctions to be great. If the industry does this for the next 1-2 years…it will be “standing room” only at every domain auction.

What we do not need right now is more domain conferences/auctions put on by “domainers” for “domainers”.


Adam Strong

July 9, 2007 @ 11:54 pm EDT

Dan. I think you have some good points, BUT what is there to “educate” people about domains? What haven’t they been able to figure out from the media and from the successes of others over the last +10 years? Additionally, the companies you mentioned all want to create a profit today. They all are competing for the same piece of that pie. They have employees to pay and mouths to feed. They make hay while the sun is shining. They’ll make that hay by plowing the field where the harvest is plentiful…. at domainer-oriented shows. I think an example of the planting of seeds and growing things slowly through education can be seen in what Fabulous is working on with the DDN but that’s a whole different market-set. It’s not the big million dollar domains like the live auctions feature.


July 10, 2007 @ 12:28 am EDT

Hi Adam,

I am not saying, they need to stop the domain conferences and auctions they are currently having and that are successful. And they continue on with their business as usual. None of the companies I mentioned have any problem feeding their employees…and just by holding a few other conferences a year is not going to effect them in a negative way.

“”I think you have some good points, BUT what is there to “educate” people about domains? What haven’t they been able to figure out from the media and from the successes of others over the last +10 years?””

You would be surprised at what they know. For example you still have millions of dollars in venture capital going to start ups with domains like “zollow” and “ning” and other really bad names.

What seems obvious to you and me, is not and has not been obvious to most people. I saw an ad for a SEO company today on CNBC and they wanted everyone to go to a domain like:…are you kidding me…a SEO company?

There are a lot companies out there who bought generic domain’s during the Internet bubble of 1999…that don’t have any idea they still own them…or at least they don’t act like they know…because they are not even using them as a “re-direct” to their company website.

Trust me…”ignorance is bliss” for a most of the potential domain “end-users” out there.

“”They all are competing for the same piece of that pie.””

I think its more like they are competing in the same space…and each owns different parts of the “pie” which includes you and I and every other domain name owner.

Doing what I suggest, does not in anyway effect their “piece” of the pie at all negatively…and can only have a positive effect on the domain name industry as a whole.

I say they should have this collaboration…because it helps all of them individually and as a whole.

5 guys could get together and do the whole thing themselves, if all these companies would sponsor them.



July 10, 2007 @ 12:35 am EDT

After listening to the auction on today I felt compelled to write a piece on the Affiliate Summit auction. Prior to posting what I had intended to write on the subject I visited Frank Schilling’s blog. To my surprise Frank had a completely different point of view on the event than I mine. I reflected on each comment in earnest and pondered his position. It is “true” that it was a great day to be a buyer but I still had some lingering concerns.

I then decided to see what Adam had written on the subject. After reading Adam’s comments I felt there was no need for my posting on the subject. He nailed it! I too was concerned right away when the auction wasn’t starting on time due to the “cocktail party”. When the first domain ( went on the auction block I hoped for Monte and the domain sellers that my instinct was wrong. When the high bid was only $700 (at an affiliate convention) I knew it was going to get ugly.

There where many telling comments made by Monte and Langbaum in addition to the quotes Adam has provided. Here are a few:

“…cruisin’ now.” –Monte
Upon the $1500 sale of to Frank Shilling.

“One in a row.” –Langbaum
When sold for $5500 and broke a 21 domain dry spell.

“I can’t believe this.” –Langbaum
After failed to receive any bids.

“Meow” –Langbaum
As everyone passed on

“We need ten of those.” -Monte
While trying to lighten the mood during the attempted sale of

“And three for me” –Langbaum
In response to Monte’s pina colada comment, while trying to a get a drink (or three) to quench a well earn thirst.

Sailing into uncharted territory in business is risky. I applaud Moniker in there successes AND their learning experiences. It takes great deal of vision and confidence to do what they have done in this new world of domain name investing. However, I am grateful that none of my domains were in this auction. My condolences go out to those brave domaineers that set low or no reserve prices hoping for a monumental sale. Keep on dreaming big… paradise could be right over the horizon.


July 10, 2007 @ 1:08 am EDT


I guess it all comes down to this.

Would it be better to sell a domain name like at auction 3 months for $3M with 3 bidders bidding on the domain. Or would it be better to sell the same domain 18 months from now for $12M with 20+ bidders bidding on the same domain?

Domain “investors” are not the only one’s we need at these auctions. And in order to change the landscape and attendence at domain auctions, The “big players” in our Industry, need to step up to the plate and cultivate interest outside the domain space.

This can be done now…to speed up the domain name resell market and get it were it needs to be in 1 or 2 years…as opposed to doing nothing and letting it take 5-6 years.



July 10, 2007 @ 1:26 am EDT

actually not bad for a first time event for affiliate summit crew…scheduled at dinner time, and piggybacked to a huge cocktail party/happy hour.

not my cup of tea in terms of timing and promotion…but still manged to sell 22% of the list. Already positioned them for much better scheduling and promotion for January.

will get better and bigger. first TRAFFIC was $45K.

I will be the first to admit, I expected much more out of what is supposed to be a much more sophisticated group….but it is what it is.

Adam Strong

July 10, 2007 @ 10:06 am EDT

DNMan. Thanks for the added quips. There were so many I couldn’t keep track.

Monte. As always you did your best.

Dan. Your examples of domains on tv are used for tracking purposes. For example, I sold to one such company and now I see on tv they use things like on certain channels or at certain times. If you look they’ve registered hundreds of variations. The ning and zillow example: The VCs invest in business plans and if the execution doesn’t require a great domain than so be it. There are companies investing in ideas built around solid domains. Netshops and csnstores for example. Thanks for all the comments. I think your intent and ieals with the education thing are great, but from my experience I also feel the “you can’t lead a horse to water” works in this case.


July 10, 2007 @ 10:36 am EDT

Hi Adam,

I understand the domains are like that for tracking puposes…but its just the wrong way to do it in my opinion.

As far as “leading a horse to water”…horse’s won’t find the bucket of water, unless you let them know were its at. If they know were its’a at and you keep in the same place…no need to lead them to it. I should know, I worked at the horse racetrack here in So. California for 14 years…LOL


[…] events and by some of his commentary during the auction this event seemed reminiscent of the recent Affiliate Summit Domain Auction , although that auction pulled in a paltry $256,000 from 40 domains sold in the live auction and […]

reverse auction

January 21, 2008 @ 9:24 pm EDT

To me not a paltry sum at all for a first go round, sort of cannibalistic but revenue warrants it.

[…] 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 […]

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