Running a domain name auction can be a smart way to generate revenue, increase domain numbers and create visibility for your brand. However, this process is not one you are likely to be familiar with unless you are already in the business, or you have done extensive research on the same.
Some domains can be quite valuable depending on keywords they contain, the kind of Top-Level Domain (TLD) they use, and other factors.
An Auction may be particularly successful due to the flexible nature of the pricing structure. At an auction, buyers can place bids on domains with minimum prices.
Insights on how to run a successful domain name Auction:
For you to run a domain auction, make sure you have enough names that are deemed to be more premium than other names for instance names of Brands, people, places etc. fall in this pool. The first step is to form a committee that will be in charge of the Auction Process and appoint a Project lead.
Rules and Regulations for Auction / Legal Procedures
For everything involving 2 or more parties, there must be legal aspects that guide each party. Work together with the legal team to come up with Auction Rules and Regulations that will be used before, during and after the auction.
Develop a Project plan
This will help the Committee, Management and Service Providers to follow and complete tasks as per the dates indicated. Having a Project plan helps to keep track of the auction activities and ensures they are completed within the given timelines.
Domain name Segmentation
Different domains have different market values depending on their availability. Some domains are similar to short form names of people, places or well-known brands, number and alphabet domains tend to more attractive than longer domains. Therefore, domain segmentation will help you determine the value of your domain thus placing them in different categories.
For instance, you can categorize the domains into Platinum, Gold, Silver and Buy Now options. Domain Value isn’t only done based on how short or long the name appears, but can be determined using online search platforms, that will give an indication of the market price and help determine the domain value. Remember, some domains might be short but don’t attract much value while longer domain names may be more valuable based on the market.
Procure / Source Service Provider / Benchmark
Do research from Registries that have done domain auctions before, engage them and seek information on how to best run the auction. After doing your research, look for Service providers, interview a number of them before you settle on one who fits your budget and your needs.
After all the logistics involving name sampling, demos and evaluation is done, prepare proposals for approval from management, Board of Directors etc. When approvals have been given, set the date for the auction then start working towards the Launch.
Social Media Marketing and Promotions
Popularize the auction through all channels available, ranging from partner mailing lists, official emails and letters to targeted brands, contacting other Registries, Registrars, the entire public etc. Use twitter, Facebook, etc. to reach to your masses. Develop creatives, use social media influencers if possible. This can be done as early as 3 months before the Auction so that interested parties can have time to source for funds and be ready for the Auction.
Onboarding the Service Provider
This is the entity that will provide the platform to be used during the Auction. Onboarding includes doing demos to the Management / Committee until all parties are conversant and satisfied with the platform.
Signing of Agreement
An Agreement between the Registry and the Service provider is then signed, after both parties agree on terms and conditions ranging from the Commission Structure, support and technical aspects.
Branding the Auction Platform
Always brand the Auction to have your Registry Corporate colours. This helps in terms of credibility, increasing brand visibility and creating awareness.
Publishing of Premium Names on Auction Platform.
Name publication can start as early as 1 month before the auction, to allow targeted Registrants pick and sample their preferred names before the Auction starts.
Dummy Auction Process
This is done internally between the Registry and the Service provider to determine any hitches that may arise and also to allow the Auction Committee familiarize with the auction process.
After successfully doing the dummy auction, the Auction Committee together with the service provider develops a plan to support clients during the auction process. The rules and regulations of the auction should be published on the auction platform.
Launch of the Auction
On the date of the launch, communication is shared with the public informing them that the auction is open. This is done through all social media channels, mailing lists and whatever communication channels are available to you.
Monitoring the Auction Process
Done by the Auction Committee and the service provider to address any concerns that may arise.
Closing of the Auction
This is done after the set time has elapsed. The platform automatically locks out any bids after the time has elapsed and no bid can come through after that.
Review of Auction Entries and Communication on Successful bids / Unsuccessful bids
Sampling of names as submitted, the highest bids etc. is done at this point. Successful bidders receive information indicating the period within which they should pay for their names or lose their domains. Unsuccessful bidders are contacted when the highest bidder fails to pay.
In case there is a dispute arising from trademarks or copyright matters, the Alternate Dispute Resolution Process (ADRP) comes in and if the matter can’t be handled internally, then it is escalated to the legal team.
At this stage a report is generated that covers the challenges, successes, revenue generated, names sold / unsold etc.