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.