Zen and the Art of Domain Auction Science

Feb 07 2012

I decided to conduct a little experiment recently. My question: Is the final price of a domain at auction at all affected by the time of year it is auctioned off? My answer: Not sure.

To conduct my experiment I put 2 keyword rich domain names up for auction. The domains were two that I bought during the middle of last year and contained keywords that I felt would attract domainers looking for development domains towards the beginning of the year.

Domain #1. FreeDebtAdvice[dot]com (FDA) With the new year comes people looking to get out of debt, either as a new years resolution, or just because of all the debt they racked up over the recent holiday season.

Domain #2. HealthyLivingTips[dot]com (HLT) I felt like the beginning of the year was by far the best time to try and auction this domain name off. Healthy living, weight loss, etc. are always hot topics after the new year. I originally bought the domain with the intent to develop, but we all know how that goes.

I originally bought FDA for about $250, HLT for $500. Obviously the best thing to do would be to wait for end users on these names, but hey I wanted to try and free up a little capital to purchase some other names. Did I succeed? Technically yes, but not as much as I would have liked. The names were put up for auction and the results are below.

FDA had a final ending price of $750.  Tripled my money there, or a little less after auction and transfer fees. Good number of searches on this name (mostly from overseas) and good PPC #s. I feel like the price was fair and was right around what I expected to receive for it at auction.

HLT ended up going for $435. This really puzzled me. The domain was hot from the start and had over 100 bidders ‘in on the name’ at auction time. HealthyTips[dot]com recently sold on GD auctions for over $2k. I realize HLT was a longer name, but I felt like it was very comparable. I was expecting between $1200-$1500 for this name. I didn’t monitor it closely but I have a suspicion that the domain auction ended on a weekend afternoon which may have affected bidding. Nonetheless, a great buy for someone out there, and I just have to chalk it up to a small loss and move on.

While my experiment doesn’t really prove anything, I believe taking into account the time of year is something you may want to consider when trying to sell a name, whether it be at auction, on a forum, etc. What is your opinion on this? Do you believe the time of year may affect the sale price of a domain name? Perhaps my next experiment should be ‘how does the day your auction ends affect the final sales price?’.


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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Tony

    If you look at the stock market historically, April-October is the best time to buy while October-April is usually when the run-up occurs.

    I read somewhere that the domain index has mirrored the stock market only just a bit better performing. So it wouldn’t surprise me if domain prices followed the same seasonal effects.

  2. AndyO

    FDA was yours? Ahh, I was one of the final bidders on it! I capped out around the $730 mark, even though I told myself my limit was $700. I had a feeling it would go for $750, and was tempted to keep bidding, but I knew if I did, I would probably push myself past that…

    Congratulations to both the buyer and seller, it’s a great domain!

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