There’s been a push on the Domaining.com website by Boxcar.com to get their auction platform off the ground. I’ve been loosely following the auctions on Boxcar and my initial take is that the platform is struggling to gain some footing. What do I mean by this? I quickly added up the number of domains on Boxcar that are in a running auction and there are 548 domains in auction. Of the 548 names in auction, only 9 names have a bid on them (and two of those names have a bid of $1, which I really shouldn’t count as a bid). 9 out of 548 = 1.6%. If you are running an auction platform and only 1.6% of the listed names have a bid then you may want to start analyzing what you are doing because to me it doesn’t appear to be working.

Here’s my take: Boxcar has some good domain names listed on its platform but they let people put whatever Reserve Price they want to. When I see unrealistic reserve prices it turns me off. Once I see that Boxcar allows unrealistic reserves it puts me in the mindset that I don’t even want to bother spending my time searching through the listings because it will be a waste of my time. If you want to get bidders on your site and get them bidding then you can’t allow reserve prices to be set for end user sales prices.

Some examples: Slideshow.com listed with a reserve of $1.1MM. Sexparti.com $2,250. Homeland.com $90,000. Mydv.com $7,500. LandDownUnder.com $5,000. These domains are not going to get any bids on them – point blank. Domains with these reserves are not going to be successful in an auction format. (and to be clear, a lot of the auctions say “No Reserve” but the starting price is $5,000 or $10,000, etc… so I consider that a Reserve auction) They should be put on one webpage and sit there until an end user finds them (which may take months, years, or never at those prices) because those prices aren’t going to work in the auction platform that Boxcar is implementing. I would wager that the majority of people visiting Boxcar’s site are not end users but rather resellers. And resellers want to bid, but you need to allow them some breathing room.

In Summation – If Boxcar wants to run an auction platform then I advise them to screen the reserve prices before letting anyone create an auction. Allow reserves that you know will generate bids. Right now you are not running an auction site, but rather a listing site through an auction format. And it seems ackward. If you keep running your business with only 1.6% of the domains getting bids you are eventually going to turn off the majority of people who would be potential bidders. If you want to allow end-user type of reserve prices then drop the auction platform and just become a listing site, because at those prices there are exactly Zero people waiting until there’s 30 seconds left in an auction to try to snipe a domain.

8 comments on “My Review & Advice for Boxcar’s Auction Platform

  • Thank you, we very much appreciate the feedback.

    But it sounds like your main issue is with the prices – Boxcar is just a platform, we do not set the prices nor can force anyone else to adjust.

    But like all auctions, markets, platforms, etc – some are overpriced, some are not and that is largely subjective anyway. Could we convince you to lower your prices, if you’re paying for a listing?

    Overpriced is an issue everywhere, not just Boxcar.

    And one of the keys of being a successful domainer is digging out the ones that are not.

    Thanks again…

  • @Mike

    I understand that Boxcar is just a platform. But you need sellers to drive revenue for Boxcar. But if the sellers see that there are no bidders then they might not list on Boxcar. If the bidders see overpriced reserve prices on most auctions they might bother searching Boxcar anymore. It is a ripple effect. It is not easy to find the balance between buyer and seller on a platform such as yours, but I think by allowing inflated reserves it is going to hurt the business model in the end. Just my two cents.

  • There are pros and cons to any system or auction platform. While some of the prices at Boxcar may be excessively high, remember it’s the domain owner who is setting the price, so if they choose to price it out of reasonable reach, than that is their fault and not the auction platforms fault.

    I much prefer that type of system to something like bargain domains or similar platforms where I am forced to put their Valuation on my domain, that is why I won’t sell through those type platforms. I want to put my price on it, not someone else’s estimate of what it is worth. If I choose to price it out of the ballpark than it’s on me.

    Bido, seems like a happy medium between the two, but I find the whole Bido approach too convoluted and tiresome to list. I am also incredibly impatient and I don’t feel like waiting while someone takes a poll and votes on my domains approval.

    I am not sure what or where the answer lies, it’s a tough nut to crack.

  • @ Dean

    Yes, I understand the seller sets the price. Realizing that, my main point is everyone thinks the domains they own are 10x more valuable then they really are. Naturally, without any oversight, most people are going to list their domains at prices well too high.

    I’ve written about this before, it is my Great Domains vs Snapnames auction comparison all over again. Why will Great Domains sell most of their auction inventory and Snapnames struggles to sell 5% of their inventory? Because Great Domains forces sellers to use realistic reserve prices and Snapnames does not.

    I’m not knocking Boxcar or what they are trying to do, I’d like to see them succeed, but in order to do so I think they need to think about having some oversight as to the reserve prices they allow to make their platform a happy destination for buyers 🙂

  • This is a great discussion, thanks TLD! I wrote about it on our blog. My point would be that the eyeballs are there andwhen something well priced pops up they come out of the woodwork as they did a couple weeks ago. So if this article had been written then, it might be different.

    Still, I am going to think hard about this, see if a happy medium is possible. Cheers and thanks again, we enjoy a good shove! ;o)

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