I was in the London Domain Auction show last weekend together with the CEO of DotAsia Organisation Ltd., Edmon and Leona, Director of Registrar & Community Relations. Actually I did not know it was an Domain Auction before I entered the room and also I have never been into the Domain business, but eventually I found it was quite interesting.
Edmon said that the show was not really good, but for a layman like me, I would not complain on anything. The auction is organized by Sedo, the leading marketplace for buying and selling domain names and websites. The featured domains in the auction list included Fly.co.uk (sold at £87.5K), Employment.co.uk (sold at £17K), Prisoners.co.uk (sold at £750), Mobile.co.uk (unsold), Phones.co.uk (unsold), Mum.co.uk (unsold) and some doggy ones such as Sex.co.uk (with start bidding price £500K and unsold) and Iraq.com (£500K to start, unsold).
Most of the attendees are so-called Domainers. The most interesting bit I found is that they came from different countries but seemed to know each other quite well. Edmon also told me that some guys there were traveling around the world for the domain business, which sounds really cool!
Edmon introduced me to some guys who I believe are the VIPs in the domain business. I also had some conversation with several of them. They are very nice guys, but I have to say the conversation became a bit strange when they started asking me about what I’m doing with the widgetization which is a part of Internet business but obviously is not something the domainers need care about, at least for now.
The Internet business is full of innovation, semantic web, openId, ajax, microformat etc, but when it comes to the domain business, I am sorry, I dont really get it. I understand you can make a fortune from a simple domain, but how can the domainers do something creative? Buying and Selling domains are interesting business, but is it a bit boring?
Is the domain business too web1.0 style? Well, I am sure if you can get thousands of hits if you start you online business under the domain, e.g. fly.com, but how many successful web2.0 companies you have seen were desperately bidding for an ideal domain and expecting a high volume of traffic can be driven automatically by an expensive domain? Google, Flickr, YouTube, Netvibes, Linkedin, Last.fm, Twitter, Joost, Pownce, Jaiku… The domain would better be creative; the startup usually dont get the extra money to buy one and you will also never know which ones could be the favorite domains in web2.0.
So will you bid for a domain for your web2.0? For me, most likely, I will not.