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Is the domain auction platform "market" so saturated that a new one can't succeed?

Labeled as question in General Domain Discussion, started by WhoaDomain.com, Jul 13, 2020

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  1. WhoaDomain.com

    WhoaDomain.com WhoaDomain.com Gold Account

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    Hello,
    I've toyed with starting my own domain auction platform for years. But with the competition all around I hesitate because the "market" seems to be overly saturated with domain auction platforms.

    With all the domain auction platform options, do we really need another one?

    Case in point. Whatever happened to Ramped.com?

    Why do I want to start one?

    Well for one thing I'd like to eliminate the commissions paid to domain auction platforms when I list with them.
    And two I feel I can do a better one.

    I've been told that it's a lost cause and that no one would join yadda yadda yadda because Godaddy and Namejet and Sedo and even Dropcatch has cornered the market.

    Is this really true? I liken this situation to the mousetrap. People are always coming up with better mousestraps so why not domain auction platforms?

    I feel many people complain about their experience with many of the big domain auction platforms. Yet these auction platforms I feel don't really change their ways just because of a few complaints because you keep seeing the same complaints over and over again in between days and months or years of no issues.

    The issues can often involve the loss of big money.
    So they are not exactly tiny issues to be ignored.
     
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  2. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Any new market place has the chicken and egg problem. It is always going to be hard to attract sellers without buyers, and will be hard to attract buyers without quality inventory.

    Brad
     
  3. Dave

    Dave Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    It will fail for sure if you do what all the others have been doing for years. You need to offer something innovative to even have a chance of it being successful.

    Here is what you'd need to have even a slither of a chance imo:

    - Fully transparent auction bidders with real names and real verification
    - Verify every account via ID verification (using something like idnow.io)
    - Absolute zero tolerance to shill bidding
    - No listing fee or commission
    - Manual approval for every submission (incase of trademarks etc)
    - Reasonable auction lengths (no more than 5-7 days)

    The right way to charge would be by buying auction credits that cost say $5 each and are non refundable. Then sellers can use auction credits to list an auction, which get reimbursed after an auction has finished. This will reduce the number of listings any seller can have at one time, but also means that theoretically one seller could pay just $5 to list all their domains for the future. If they want more than one auction at any time they can buy more auction credits.

    You could also offer additional per auction benefits that cost more auction credits, say a featured listing or setting a reserve price. So everyone can buy as many auction credits as they need, which all get put back into their account after an auction has finished.

    IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  4. WhoaDomain.com

    WhoaDomain.com WhoaDomain.com Gold Account

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    Great ideas.

    I'll break down each thing you said and give me thoughts on it.

    1."You need to offer something innovative to even have a chance of it being successful."

    I have one "innovation" just wait and see.

    2. "Fully transparent auction bidders with real names and real verification"

    I think most would like and not like this idea. People who feel the need to be anonymous want to be like that because for whatever reason they don't want people to know they bought the domain. Or do you mean the auction platform does all the verification and keeps all the data and simply puts a "verified" stamp next to that bidder or seller?

    3."Verify every account via ID verification (using something like idnow.io)"

    I'll look into that. Thanks.,

    4. " Absolute zero tolerance to shill bidding"

    This goes without saying. I have something extra for this.

    5. "No listing fee or commission."

    This one I'm sorry to say is nuts. How would the site make money? lol

    I could do a flat rate to auction a domain. No commission.
    Or just Commission and no listing fee.

    This is not new.

    6. "Manual approval for every submission (incase of trademarks etc)"

    This one will be hard for a "one man" operation in the beginning.

    7. "Reasonable auction lengths (no more than 5-7 days)"

    I believe in options so I think giving people the option to list a domain for 5-7 days like Godaddy or Sedo is good but I feel because certain sites like Dropcatch and Namejet allow for listings as long as 14 days to 30 days really shows in their consistent domain sales.

    8. " The right way to charge would be by buying auction credits that cost say $5 each and are non refundable."

    This idea sounds more like a Penny Auction set up.


    Thanks for your input. Much appreciated.
     
  5. Dave

    Dave Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks for your response.

    The auction credit idea is in no way a penny auctions at all. Not sure where you're getting that from. Look, Flippa is almost dead regarding domains from ridiculous listing fees and Sedo auctions are nowhere near where they once were because of ridiculous commissions and listing fees.

    If you're going to charge a listing fee or commission then at least be reasonable. DAN has become so successful because of their 5-9% commission.

    Thanks
     
  6. WhoaDomain.com

    WhoaDomain.com WhoaDomain.com Gold Account

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    agreed and way ahead of you.

    But believe me. I'm taking it "next level".

    I'm trying new "gimmicks" that are of "value" to domainers.

    I believe in giving people OPTIONS. REAL OPTIONS no BS.

    I also feel that many of these platforms are too big for their britches. They know they are the sh*t so even if your complaint has merit they are not obligated to "fix" the problem that caused your complaint.

    They in fact will tell you that YOU are the issue or that they have been doing this for years successfully with no complaint except now with you.

    lol pretty convenient.

    There really is just a handful of things domainers really care about or complain about when it comes to domain platform.

    Like fees and commission and shill bidding and getting stiffed.

    but there are other things not associated with auction platforms that are domainer "problems".

    As they say when you want to invent something that will be popular and a success. You need to identify and problem and then provide a solution to that problem.

    many of these platforms have tunnel vision and are "one trick ponies".

    I believe an auction platform can do so much more than what's out there.

    There's always room for improvement. SquadHelp.com has proven that. And even that website is lacking certain things but yet it is still a success. which is a good indicator of a good shot at success for anyone else.

    I'll give it thee old "college try" lol
     
  7. BRANDERX.COM

    BRANDERX.COM Top Contributor VIP

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    An auction platform that allows physical attendance with the auction running on bigger screens & requires real identities preferably government issued, would be interesting. It'll need offices in all continents though.

    The market is saturated, & its all pretty much the same, the platform is making the most money, & domainers are collecting expensive inventory they'll never sell.

    imo
     
  8. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Exactly Dave and if people refuse to give GoDaddy their full info and verification they certainly are not giving it to a one person shop. If I don't trust GoDaddy I sure and hell don't trust you.

    And there would be no expiry inventory, people have made it abundantly clear they really don't want to bid on public auctions and when they do they hardly bid as much.

    If you want to bid on public auctions @NamePros makes the most sense, no commission, Trader ratings, social proof, etc...
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  9. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    @WhoaDomain.com and i have had this convo numerous times!

    It desperatly needs competition;

    This is why i tecommend folks try @DaaZ Who for their part; are organizing a cool
    “Liquid domain auction” Why not? “Well known auction platforms either hard to use monopoly or outdated; Sedo (got sales, but bard use tho)

    @DaaZ one of the few to auction list seamless without need for photo selfie and verify bs.

    @DropCatch Support has their issues with bias preference placed on expired over private; due tp ridiculous reserves, amongs other thing; Verification through selfie! is also pain.

    @NameJet bad support;
    at least DropCatch offers good support;
    despite, shall we say.. concerns use them sell

    @FlippaDomains I am shocked they have NP.
    They continue to be worst auction platform imo
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  10. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I guess I am lost at how verification is b.s.? I mean I am all for people wanting an anonymous platform etc.. But then no one can complain about getting scammed, buying stolen domains, non payment.

    I don't see the need for another public auction format, people care about expiry names, that's not my opinion, that's proved day in and day out just by watching transactions at all the auction sites that matter.

    Namepros is perfect for public auctions, for trader rating, social proof, bad behavior can be reported and have mods rule on any bad behavior.
     
  11. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    You shouldnt need send photo ID to sell;

    harder entry, not to mention disrespectful.

    Wish they waived this for people of integrity.

    Worst part, how many time DC has nonpayer?
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  12. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    you’re all for cumbersome rules to list & sell

    Huh? Email your Photo ID? Really?

    Not even Godaddy, requires this BS. Godaddy!
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  13. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    And when did you sign up?

    had easier; Nowadays, most harder list auction

    Ease-of-use is important. so cumbersome 2 list
    Especially Sedo, frustrating; cuz they get sales

    Some have easier verification process and not stuck in 1997 (a la Sedo) but suck since they annoying to use “pay” Add Reserve? Money. Auction Access? Money. Exposure. money.

    Samer
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  14. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I don't like the selfie verification either but I have been watching this for 15 years, people want everything to run smoothly but when it can be anonymous there are going to be problems.

    See it can't be super legit, like in the world of say a Sotheby's and then no one knows what's going on. There have to be ways to protect people.

    The platforms in this industry have a lot of flaws because if you buy a stolen name, they are not refunding you at Sedo or GoDaddy.

    GoDaddy should do more for their own good, because they are getting non paid bidders and the name expires and DropCatch benefits. https://www.thedomains.com/2020/07/13/dropcatch-continues-to-profit-from-godaddy-non-paying-bidders/
     
  15. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I remember sending ID to namejet years ago for verification. Either it's a real business or it's not. I moved and the bank I have an account with was across the street from me, when I moved I did not go into the branch for awhile, one day I went in I did not have my id on me left in jacket. But I say to the teller I have been here for years the manager knows me, teller was like sorry no i.d. you are not withdrawing this cash. The bank is running a real business with real rules.

    Sedo is making things more of a hassle Samer because of the issue I brought up here, when I asked them what happens if I buy a 3L.com for $15,000 and then it get's taken because it was stolen?

    Sorry please know we are really sorry, but we ain't giving you your money back. We can't, again did we mention we are sorry?

    I blasted them and said well ok here are a bunch of listings I know are not legit so you might want to remove them, which they did. They then started making verification to prove ownership harder.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  16. April004

    April004 Established Member

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    there should indeed be commission on sale, but no listing fee. I've always dropped those marketplaces which charged listing-fee. The free ones were better!

    but the most important thing for a new domain marketplace to be successful is selling domains at a 'right' price rather than exaggerated price which comes either out of "automated system/domain appraisal" or biased manual review.
     
  17. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    I think there could be room for new auction platforms, in fact there probably is. However, as mentioned above it has to not just be another platform but rather an innovative and better platform.

    I like a lot the detailed suggestions given above by @Dave.

    I think the success of Park.io might show that the opportunity lies in auctions that specialize in a narrower subset of available names, rather than everything under the sun all mixed together.

    I agree that fixed time and not too many days make sense, along with no option to relist right away names that have not sold. Actually coordinated fixed time, so that lots of auctions all close near same time each week, would build interest and excitement, kind of like the NamesCon auction.

    Thanks for thread, @WhoaDomain.com .

    Bob
     
  18. X7 Ryan

    X7 Ryan Owner, X7 Media

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    I like the idea. If you can keep your commission right at what Dan and Epik use (9%) that would be perfect IMO. Also i agree that no listing fees is a must in my book. To encourage people to use it i think it'll help if you have some names of your own you wouldn't mind selling cheap to seed the platform.
     
  19. WhoaDomain.com

    WhoaDomain.com WhoaDomain.com Gold Account

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    I don't under how something so basic as refunding people money they paid for a stolen domain could be so difficult to facilitate.

    Are you talking about a domain that was paid for and then transferred to the buyer's account and then the new owner finds out it was a stolen domain and now has to return it?

    or are you talking about a domain that was paid for but not yet transferred over and it is found out it was stolen?

    Either one the auction platform still needs to refund the buyer. like what the hell ? seriously?

    That's just criminal and it should be. I mean when a bank helps a money launderer launder money. It can say "We didn't know." but in thee end they are still on the hook for the activity.

    Is there a way to easily check last owner prior to the current one? or confirm with the current registrar or even the last registrar prior to the current one? to see if indeed this domain was stolen prior to allowing it to be listed?

    There has to be a way to figure out if a domain is stolen before allowing it to be listed on the platform.


    EDIT: wait. I just realized something. If a transaction is completed that means the potential thief did get paid already and have the money. So I guess refunding the buyer will be an issue as hypothetically the seller is a thief and has the money and will not want to give back the money for the stolen domain they just sold.

    So I take back what I said.

    In this case, I guess Verification of sellers and buyers IS NECESSARY. at least so that if the domain is stolen that the seller can be found and the money can be recovered.

    Either that or all payments will need to have like a 1 month or even 2 month hold until it is confirmed the domain is not stolen.

    but what seller would be willing to wait 1 to 2 months before they can get their money? lol
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  20. X7 Ryan

    X7 Ryan Owner, X7 Media

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    Not saying it's right but I can understand if the seller was already paid out why should the marketplace bear the loss? But certainly if the seller wasn't paid out, or if they have the means to reverse the payout then they should refund the buyer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  21. WhoaDomain.com

    WhoaDomain.com WhoaDomain.com Gold Account

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    It's really a problem. I see that now. The marketplace runs the ultimate risk of "holding the bag" in a situation where the domain is stolen.

    Ultimately the best thing a platform can do is do like military grade ID verification on both sides because I can't even see how an auction platform can confirm one way or another if a domain is actually stolen or not.

    If a domain is stolen "right" by smart thieves they would have pushed the domain to their accounts internally at the same registrar where the domain was at and then transfer it out.

    If you check hosterstats this activity will only show as typical normal activity. nothing fishy. Exactly what thieves want. and then they try to sell at auction.

    The only way to find out a domain is stolen is when the old owner complains and posts on sites like Namepros or the registrar.
     
  22. easywebdomains.net

    easywebdomains.net Established Member

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    Further Ideas on "Free to List, Free to Sell", borrowing from other auctions outside of Domaining:-

    1. It's always free to list once. That allows the timid to join in risk-free. Then one free relist, followed by a minimal fee to relist after that. It defaults to relist continually.

    2. Then the sales commission is Tiered depending on the final sale price. Perhaps $0-$99 FREE, $100$-$349 0.5% $350-$999 1%, $1000-$2999 2%, $3000-$9999 3%, $10,000-$99,999 3.5%, $100,000+ 4%. Then you are still eye-catchingly cheaper than the cheaper sites mentioned earlier in the thread, and you just walk the prices up as the site becomes more well known, year on year. Stopping at rates that are still considered cheap.

    3. Promoted listings go at the top per category, ** but the seller only pays if the Domain sells **. Another risk-free proposition, which will gather pace as natural competition increases. Think 5-7% in an established market place.

    4. Sell advertising space on each page / home page / selected pages.

    5. Allow FREE Membership, but paying members don't see ads, and perhaps a discount or bonus positioning on the promoted listings.

    6. Flash sale events. Commission is reduced for a certain weekend.

    7. Buy it now option on a listing for a small fee.

    8. Timed events (this was mentioned earlier), but added with a live video feed and an auctioneer conducting the event (a la NamesCon) it would be something special to watch even if not joining in. With set Bid increments e.g. $1-9 $1, $10-50 $5, $50-$200 $10, $200-$700 $20, $700-$1000 $50, $1000-$3000 $100, etc this speeds things along.

    - - - - - -

    Of course all this presumes you have very deep pockets to start with, as getting an initial stock in play is going to require connections, seed money and as mentioned earlier in this thread, perhaps the willingness to sacrifice some of your own, or a group of investors own portfolios.

    I'm new on this site, and to Domaining so sorry If I've stated the obvious. It's just I enjoy the whole auction process, both buying and selling, so just thought I'd drop some ideas in. I'm looking forward to the next NamesCon, even if it's an online only event due to the virus.
     
  23. lock

    lock DomainUsed.com VIP

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    It could still be possible with right niche. Eg Huntingmoon was adult but adult is a dying industry if it was revived with right sponsors and industry picked up sites like it would have use. The industry itself killed the competition it once worked well with it with AVS etc. Brand markets have done well along with brokers with keywords and own marketplaces. It still needs to be a niche to get some sort of action specialize in something. Generic name might help eg domainauction dot com
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  24. Josytal

    Josytal Top Contributor VIP

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    There is always room for improvement and innovation. Once you have the right team, nothing is impossible.

    Before anything, you must address
    - organizational
    - technical
    - financial
    issues.
    In short, you need a sound business plan.

    Your project will burn cash at least for 1 year before you can ever think of breaking even. And what share and segment of the market are you planning to capture? Any stats?
    Your market entry/exit strategy?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
  25. WhoaDomain.com

    WhoaDomain.com WhoaDomain.com Gold Account

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    What I'm wrapping my brain around is why there is this stigma with a majority of domainers especially the big timers to never buy from fellow domainers?

    In that kind of environment how would a new domain platform thrive?

    Plus these platforms seem to push this mentality by making it very easy to simply filter out private seller auctions or to simply filter for just expired domain auctions.

    I'm all for speed and efficiency but it just hurts the little guy just trying to sell his domain on these sites. If this is the case why would any domainer bother listing their domains on any auction that does not give them a fair shot.

    Answer? Because they have no other option.


    Imagine a button that anyone can press that removed you from Earth? Poof. You are gone.
    And they even promote it as a "convenience". Lol


    Yea let's go with that company with that button designed to get rid of me so I can't make any money.

    I swear. That label "Expired" sure is a powerful tool as far as marketing isn't it? The industry has conditioned the domainer to believe that the only real value proposition is an expired domain. Nobody wants to deal with private seller auctions unless it's a 3L,4L or 3N or 3N or dictionary word.

    That's not an open market. That's a monopoly where registrars run auction houses and push their inventory of expired domains and get free traffic from the poor saps who hope they can sell on their platforms. There has to be a better way.
     

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