Michael Curving (Flippa Member “VitalV”) is a relatively new domain seller on Flippa. I spoke with him about his exciting sale of 888.io not too long ago, and the tactics he used to increase awareness and excite bidders until the very end…
Are you willing to disclose where & how you acquired 888.io ?
I hand registered 888.io in February of 2011 after running a bulk availability check for ‘888’ on Name.com and seeing that it was the only single TLD still available for registration. It had actually been owned before, but the previous registrant must have let it expire and no one else had picked it up yet, so I nabbed it.
What influenced you to sell the domain, and why did you choose Flippa?
The timing seemed right. I’ve kept my eyes open and observed some nice 4-figure sales of the .io TLD take place at Flippa within the past several months, and felt like there has been a bit of an uptick in the peripheral buzz surrounding .io as well, so it seemed like the right time to try to try to unlock the domain’s value.
Your auction sold via BIN (Buy It Now). Tell us about your decision process in using this tactic.
Just at the time I was considering when and how to list 888.io for sale, it came to my attention that another domain auction venue had just opened pre-bidding on a featured auction of numeric domains in the .Asia TLD, including 888.asia. So I decided to coordinate my auction to end just after the .Asia auction so that I could both leverage any existing hype around that auction to my advantage, as well as using it as a real time gauge for market value.
When the auction for 888.asia closed at $3,888, there were about 6 hours left on the 888.io auction at Flippa. Bidding was up to $1,750 and had already hit reserve. It was strange because when I woke up earlier that morning in anticipating of the auction ending that evening, the question as to whether I should set a BIN was already on my mind, and the number that stuck in my head at that time was $3,888.
In Chinese culture 888 has a special significance as the luckiest of all numbers signifying great profit and luck, so I was keen to play on that meaning with my pricing strategy by setting the reserve to trigger at $888, and in thinking about the BIN I had it in mind to also end the number with 888 as well. When I saw the closing price on 888.asia as the same number I had come up with earlier that morning, it just seemed to corroborate what I had already been thinking.
I oscillated a bit before pulling the trigger on setting that BIN price, but felt I was going into ‘paralysis by analysis’ mode, and ultimately decided that $3,888 was a great price, in line with the .asia auction as a fair market value, and still more than double where the current bid price was.
Once I set the BIN however, it was accepted almost instantaneously (literally under a minute’s time)! That made my stomach sink a bit, as I thought for sure I’d left some money on the table.
Hindsight is 20/20 or course. There’s no way of telling how the bidding would have developed had I not set the BIN. I’ve seen other auctions where the sellers set a BIN that seems like a complete outlier – one that’s seemingly on the very end of the bell curve from where the current value and/or bidding lie. My thoughts on this are, sometimes it may work, but in most auctions I’ve followed like this, the bidding simply continues and no one strikes at a BIN that is too far out of range.
The risk with setting an ‘attractive’ BIN is that you might put a cap on bidding that would have otherwise gone higher had you not. Alternatively, it may be the case that setting such a BIN can inspire fear in some buyers that “if I don’t snap it up at this price, someone else surely will”, which may trigger them emotionally to hit the BIN even if it is outside the range they had already planned to bid.
I’m still quite happy with the closing price and don’t have any regrets about it. The buyer was great to work with and the transaction went smoothly. On to the next sale!