Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pool.com And The URL Auction Phenomenon

OK, OK, we all know that the great URLs were taken long ago in a lot of categories. And you're probably aware that a half dozen or more super speculators buys huge numbers of domains in hopes of arbitraging the difference between the $20 GoDaddy fee and the $22,000 someone might be willing to pay. And by the way, these speculators also have a monetization strategy going while they lie in wait for your desperation. Many many speculative URLs feature a cluster of AdSense ads, in hopes of the odd click while they wait.

I have worked with a number of clients that have tried to buy a domain from the current owner. The prices demanded are usually patently absurd. So I was interested in learning about Pool.com, the domain auction site that offers eBay style competitions for good URLs.

The prices are naturally insane for three letter or very short, very intuitive names, but for less short or less intuitive monikers, the auction prices can actually be pretty reasonable. Here is a screen of current auction prices for what they consider "sales, marketing, and advertising" names.

Another service they offer is "backorder domaining", the idea being that as domains expire they can help you obtain them. The watch the expiries and hook you up if they come up without a renewal.

They can also help you negotiate for a specific domain.

Naturally, a system like this is really geared for domains owned by speculators. The individual that has a handful of domains for future plans or pipedreams is probably not trawling the site very often.

But the thing is, many many of the good domain names are owned by speculators. After all, they are going to speculate on names that have a reasonable likelihood of getting purchased so they can grab that arbitrage $.

So there it is, a rational place to find a domain name before you blow $20thou on IMme.com or whatnot.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to write.

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