Sunday, April 6, 2008

Expired Seems to have recovered

Back in February I looked at the early effects of Expired Domains' changes to the minimum bid and the auction end time. At that point the number of auctions seemed to be down on normal and names I would have expected to receive at least one bid were being passed in.
I've just had a look at bids on domains dropping April to date, and they have recovered a lot, but are still a bit down. For each completed auction (dropped or renewed) organised by day I get an average of 3.7 domains per day. To be fair I didn't always monitor around midnight so I've probably missed a few. I'm also not considering if they actually caught the drop, that's really another issue, but Expired seem to have raised their game, and using both of Net 24's registrars has helped.
As the system has now pretty much cleared out from long-range bids made under the old regime, the bids I have recorded are obviously higher than before, and of the 26 bids I've recorded, 2 were bids opened very early and were for $42.00, 9 were at the $59.95 starting mark and the other 15 were higher. If you assume that the ones going for $42.00 or more than $59.95 would have gone that high anyway, the unknowns are the 9 that went to $59.95 and the ones no-one bothered to bid on.
For what it's worth names like "" and "" probably wouldn't have attracted too many bids starting at the $24.50 level, so it looks like Expired have increased their potential profit (Assuming a cost per domain of $19.50: $18.50 registry fee + $1.00 overheads) from $45.00 to $364.00. To make $364.00 at $24.50 they would have needed to catch 73 domains, an unrealistically large number. In other words I think they are doing OK out of it and were pretty right in their decision.
It isn't all positive. Some domains I would have expect to receive a few bids were ignored on Expired and picked up by other drop catchers. For example "" received no bids on Expired and was picked up by BB-Online/Nominate.
After 2 months I see a fairly stable situation where I doubt Expired are feeling any need to change their methods and unless Expired change their rules again I doubt we're going to see major changes in the short-term.
Welcome to the new reality. Any pre-loved domain worth having is now worth an absolute minimum of $59.95 + GST.
The next test I see for them is two character names especially the upcoming auctions of and As Domainspace pointed out, in 2007 two character names were attracting $787.50 to $1890.00 each. Don't worry about ZZ, the whois implies that the domain won't be allowed to drop, EJ on the other hand may well run to conclusion.