By the time the final hammer went down in Austin, Texas, an auction in January 2020 grossed $1.8 million in sales.
The auction wasn’t for antiques, cars, or jewelry. It was for virtual real estate—a live domain name auction for domain names.
Right of the Dot, a domain brokerage, organized the auction at the NamesCon domain name conference.
History of Live Domain Name Auctions
The first in-person domain name auction probably took place at an early domain name meetup organized by Rick Schwartz, a domain investor also known as the “Domain King”.
They continued at Schwartz’s TRAFFIC domain name conferences that started in 2004.
In 2007, a domain name auction at TRAFFIC grossed over $10 million in sales.
That was the high-water mark for domain auction results, but auctions have continued since then at various events.
For the auction at Namescon last month, Right of the Dot brought in International Auctioneer Champion Wayne Wheat to lead the auction.
Wheat auctioned 136 domain names. Many of them had reserve prices so a total of 74 of the domains actually sold.
Bidders could participate by raising their paddle onsite in Austin. Those that couldn’t make it had the option to bid through a website.
The auction picked up steam about 10 lots in when Directions.com closed at $75,000. The first six-figure sale was Please.com, which sold for $141,000.
Add.com was the top sale of the auction. The crowd grew excited as bidding increased. An internet bidder paid $800,000 for the domain.
Offices.com was the second-highest at $260,000. It sold to someone in the room in Austin.
It took several hours to work through all of the auction lots, but both the organizers and the audience was impressed with the $1.8 million final tally.
Domain Name Auctions on Tap
Live, in-person domain name auctions usually take place just once or twice per year. But you don’t have to wait until next year if you want to get your feet wet in a domain name auction. Online domain name auctions take place every day on sites like Sedo and Flippa.
Want to raise your virtual paddle in an online domain auction? Here’s a handy guide.