Guest Post : The New Sweet Spot is The Old Sweet Spot

This post is a guest post by Mike Fiol of DomainConsultant and

Much discussion has been made about the recent Aftermarket auction and the so dubbed “new sweet spot” that allowed for a high percentage of sales.

With a good deal of confidence, I can say this epiphany bewildered more than a few domainers – some of which have been feeding the ‘sweet spot’ for years.

For if we look back and try and locate the origins of the ‘sweet spot’, we need look no further than the Gold Coast of Australia.

In late 2008, and Aftermarket put on an auction at TRAFFIC Down Under that is likely still champ in terms of sell-through-rate (STR) – a whopping 81% of the names in the catalog.

And the total offering was not fifty, it was 100 names with an average sale price of…$3,000. Names sold included,,, and – almost all in the ‘sweet spot.’

So part of the point is to say that the ‘sweet spot’ has been there for some time yet the other side says you still need a or to really make it profitable.

Because while hitting the sweet spot repeatedly produces high STR, auctioneers must also find a way to yield, minimum, at least $200,000 in sales to break-even.

Making a profit? Depends on expenses but usually somewhere between $250,000 to $300,000 in sales.

And that is the rub, for in some ways you need to focus on the big dollar sale or the sweet spot but not both given time and resources, market and objectives (high STR vs. high figure).

Thus we can magnify the risk involved: too many sweet spot sales and you don’t make enough yet go for the big dollar and miss – and you end up with nothing.

It’s a tricky dance, yes, but by no means is it a new one.


(c) 2011 (8)

Upcoming Domain Industry Events, Conferences & Auctions

Namejet’s 3 Letter .Net and .Org Domain Auction Floods Market

Namejet’s 3 Letter .Net and .Org Domain Auction Floods Market

Shane Cultra at DomainShane pointed out earlier that Namejet is hosting an auction of 3 letter .net domains, in fact more than 1000 of them at one time. The names were originally had a backorder deadline over the Thanksgiving holiday week but it appears someone wised up an move the closing date to get in on these auctions to today 11/29/10.

In addition to the .net domains Shane pointed out, there are nearly 1000 more 3 letter .org domains up for auction on the same day. Many of the domains being sold are not expiring domains though, rather they are a batch of names that appear to have come out of Marchex. whois historyThe whois of the majority of these domains currently shows privacy, but using DomainTools whois history we quickly found that the majority (if not all) of the list comes from the MDNH Inc portfolio, better known as the Marchex portfolio of domains.  If you have a subscription to the service you can see an example with the domain being owned by MDNH as recently as the first week of October 2010 and further back you can see the name was owned by Ultimate Search.

Marchex bought the Ultimate Search portfolio of domain names back in 2005 and has been listing many of these domains for sale over the years. Marchex representatives informed DNN that these domain names are not being sold by the company. Shedding 3 letter .net and .org domains that likely aren’t providing targeted traffic toward those goals would make sense. Namejet reps would not confirm that Marchex was selling the domains trough the platform.

Wether it was a wise move to flood the aftermarket and put them all up for sale at once can be debated. It definitely wasn’t smart timing to put them for sale during the holiday week when most people aren’t sitting at their computers. As Shane points out, it’s tedious and cumbersome to even bid on multiple names at Namejet. Having them selling all at once is going to be a nightmare for anyone wanting to track or bid on multiple domains. I tried to put backorders on the entire group in fact and was told I entered too many domains.  Not a good error to see when an auction is clearly selling in bulk.

Either way this large scale auction is sure to get some attention.  A small sampling of the names at auction are posted after the jump. Check Namejet advanced search to find the full list . Backorders on this massive list need to be in by today at 8pm PST.

(c) 2010 (2)

DomainConvergence 2011, May 12-13, Montreal, Canada

Domain Tool Review:

Domain Tool Review:

I just stumbled across a dropping domain name tool called that can accelerate the discovery and action on obtaining domain names that are soon dropping.  I liked it so much I really struggled with sharing it or not.

I decided to write about it and share about its existence, because I’d imagine that it probably costs money to keep the lights on and servers whirring there, so I hope that this article helps people who are looking for a comprehensive drop intelligence tool.

The interface is a bit busy, but in a good way, and it’s all good from there…  Dropday is well organized, with intuitively placed links and a minimum of jargon/acronyms.  It turns out that by doing this, one can immediately filter, find and action the specific domains and quickly get what they want.

The developer bypassed the lure of the shiny web 2.0 distractions and went right for pure functionality.  This site is to drop catching and expiring inventory as the BFG was in Doom.

The site is a mash-up of nearly every interesting attribute of information on the domain names, which saves the user from having to use a variety of systems to track their intelligence and make smart decisions about their purchases.

I have used other sites, and some have helpful elements beyond dropday, but I really was enthralled by how the information was organized and accessible.


The top navigation, to start with, has a few, simple elements, including one for ‘online support’, which is high-lighted in blue so it pops out and is easy to find.  VERY refreshing.

You’ll find as a user that you will intuitively spend the majority of your time in “All Expiring Domains”, so it is up and to the left, as most site heat maps would indicate is the wisest thing to do.

This is also the default page when one arrives to the site.  Another nod to intelligent User Interface in the development.


For the ADD crowd who wants to get right to what they need, the site comes with some pretty comprehensive  quick link / filtration in the first five columns of the display.  This ‘Quick Filters’ region of the page, has some top-line informational stats, and their titles link you right to those specific results in a single click.  It looks like the developer is both firmly clued into what people would look for, and how to organize and present it.

First column contains a quick link to all the names in the system, plus totals and quick links to the next four days’ worth of information.  As you’d expect, you click on the date and you get the domains just for that day. Second Column isolates the domains with Traffic stats on various sites, using a variety of metrics, and of course, links you to each of those results, pre-filtered.  You can immediately click to see only domains with Traffic, or specifically those with Google Page Rank, Links, or SERP, Yahoo Links or SERP, or Bing SERP.

The SERP filtration, that is the good stuff.

Column three are some basic directory listings, DMOZ, Google, Yahoo,those with Alexa ranking or appearance in and age, as well as a fairly well done measurement of inbound links, AND some quick-filtered typo and keyword domains. In column 4 you can filter right in on the list you want to, and show domains by source.  They include non-exclusive domains (raw drop) and also more predictable outcome inventory within the SnapNames Exclusive domains, NameJet Prerelease domains, and GoDaddy Exclusive and Closeout domains.

The ability to filter by TLD is very helpful as well.  Dropday has pre-filtered COM/NET/ORG/INFO and BIZ, as well as a good selection of other TLDs.

Column 5 is the dream filters.  Visits per Day, Google Page Rank, number of Letters, Age of domain, how much history data, and what type of key searches, broken out into logical and intuitive filtered groups, easily found and clearly labeled.

I love this part because before even hitting the search box, I can drill right to the good stuff that I am looking for.


Having the search term anchored to the start or end of the word as well as being contained within is a very good method. The Standard search packs some power and some impressive and much needed ability to search beyond just gTLD domains. ccTLD and gTLD entries are present and they are all accessible in the screen, along with the ability to search by assembling a schema ‘pattern’ for what you want. This comes in handy if you’re looking for a particular profile of name or pattern within a string.


OK, so you really want to roll up your sleeves?  To start with, this functionality may be seldom used because of all the many pre-configured search filters in the first five columns.  That said, fasten your seatbelts when you click on the link to switch into advanced search mode.

If those powerful preset filters didn’t have exactly what you wanted, you can configure down to the specifics by combining parameters and then save the search so you can easily recall it and run it another day.

You can search on everything but the favorite color of the previous registrant.  A very nice feature for domain entrepreneurs is the CPC $ search and the ability to seed out fake PR and Alexa info.  The searches have gotten a lot better about weeding out fluffed / bogus rank data.


The results of search appear quickly.

Continuing on in the tradition of smart user interface, the columns are all sortable by clicking on them, and clicking a second time reverses the order.  Standard stuff, but you’d be amazed how many other sites fail at that simple capability.

Having a great search and tools is one thing, but if the site is not operating intuitively and quickly, it can get frustrating. had solid, fast performance of the search and filtration.  No significant  delays in loading the result pages.

Overall positive experience.


The ability to export CSV or XML would be nice, but I typically want that in order to pull together data from many sources to do my analysis.  This site has a lot of that already applied.


Its all good.   Smart interface, packed with quick-click filters and it lets you access all the search capability.  This really resonated with my inner nerd.

Dropday is my current pick for tool to divine out the domains in the drop. Worth every penny.

Nice job!

Domain Marketplace moves…

The Domain Marketplace converged on New York this week for the Sedo User conference and T.R.A.F.F.I.C., with other events like the DomainJamNYC happening in the midst of it all.

Lots to report, though I am not there. completed the acquisition of Snapnames (which is like peanut butter and chocolate getting together), and Sedo announced their acquisition of GreatDomains from VeriSign.

Fabulous is gaining ground with their DDN, announcing that large regsitrar Tucows is coming aboard there. Tucows also completed a $3M(USD) premium portfolio sale, and announced their secondary market platform.

Moniker will be performing the worlds largest domain auction this week at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference.

DomainsBot is demonstrating new technology that categorizes or identifies the language of domains when submitted a list of names. has launched as a platform allowing consolidation and management of domains into a single registrar, but leasing one of the creds that are owned by momentous/pool., a consolidated domain management platform, was announced by Modern Gigabyte, and looks promising as a central platform.

Domain Roundtable 2006

The second year of the conference, which I had the priveledge and honor to be executive producer on, has gone famously!

We had some great highlights, such as both Paul Twomey and Vint Cerf of ICANN as keynote speakers, plus Matt Bentley of Sedo and Marc Ostrovsky of iReit.

There was so much amazing content, fantastic speakers, and a great experience for everyone who participated in the event.

Sponsors, Speakers, and Attendees all had a positive experience, and I am grateful that this was such a great show as a result of it all.

One never knows what interesting things will happen when you put together so many different interests together under the same roof for the purposes of eduction and networking, but if the different emails that I saw afterwards were any indication, this was an amazing success!

Thank you to all the staff at Name Intelligence for their hard work and efforts on making this a wonderful conference for all the attendees.

Webmaster Radio

I Guest host on Domain Masters tonight, 4pm Pacific, 7PM eastern, guest hosting for Monte Cahn while he is travelling. I was humbled that Monte chose me for this, as he is a kindred spirit who works very hard to develop awareness in the Domain Industry and grow the internet naming space. My guest was be Antony Van Couvering of Names@Work, a friend and mutual long time participant in the domain name industry. This should prove to be a great session, but it is my first webcast, so please pardon my ‘uh’ and ‘uhm’ count. 🙂