DotMobi Auction Prices Success or Hogwash?

Make Money Online - DotMobi Auction Prices Success or Hogwash?

The dotMobi auction organized by Sedo, which finished a few days ago, was the first of its kind. 100 premium .mobi names were put up for auction, as previously reported

The ‘premium names’ on offer were a small selection of the 5,500 generic words used for domain names which were set aside by dotMobi before the launch of the domain extension in September 2006, to be allocated via publicized auctions and Request for Proposals (RFP) processes.

Dozens of names were sold at the online auction, for a total price of over $850,000.

The idea behind reserving 5,500 premium names, according to dotMobi, was that they should be allocated “in an equitable manner other than the traditional first-come first-served basis” and to :

1. Create a more level playing field in the allocation of these names
2. increase the likelihood that these domain names will more promptly provide the mobile community with new features and services
3. preserve the stability and security of registry operations

This strikes me as being a load of hogwash.

What is more egalitarian than ‘first come first served’ where a domain name costs between $10 and $30 ? Most people can afford $30, but not many can afford $30,000, so where is the level playing field?

It seems to me that the real idea behind reserving 5,500 ‘premium names’ was to make money for the people behind the scheme. There may be nothing wrong with that, it is after all the basis of capitalism, but let’s at least call things by their real name and not try to kid people that this was all done for their benefit.

If these names hadn’t been removed from the normal registration process then a webhosting company would have had the chance of picking up for around $30, instead of which someone ended up paying $100K !

Up until now most domain names were bought initially by ‘domainers’ who chose to take the risk of investing in the potential of a name before anyone else thought there was any potential in it, with the intention of auctioning it off at a later stage to the highest bidder.

The only thing that dotMobi have done is prevent domainers getting there hands on the domain names (and also create a bit of excitement and hype by restricting access to names which normally would have been freely available to everyone). There is a clause in the auction that states that the domains must be developed, but they could have put the same clause in their terms and conditions without the need for an auction.

The highest selling names at the auction were ($101,000), ($51,501), ($47,000) and ($42,005).

So what has happened is that dotMobi have sold 100 premium names for a combined total of $850,000 whereas if they had sold them on that terrible traditional ‘first come first served’ basis, also known as the open market, they would have made about $3,000 ! So someone made an extra $847,000, paid for by people in the insurance industry, the webhosting industry, the banking industry etc… A nice wheeze !

It is, however, good to see (if you are interested in domain names that is) that the .mobi extension is now making inroads into the Internet, with companies like paying $42,005 for the name. Joe Singleton, Director of I.T. at stated that the long-term value of the mobile Internet is self-evident and that the .mobi domain will help them make their products and insurance comparisons more accessible. Was he not annoyed that he had to pay $42K for a name he migh thave got for $30 ? Apparently not.

David Ryder, dotMobi’s Chief Marketing Officer said "With more than 1.6 billion mobile users around the world …. brands are quickly realising that the audience for mobile content is enormous."

There will be a second auction on 31st October, with a third on 28th November.
Tim Schumacher, the Sedo CEO is very enthusiastic about the upcoming auctions "the results of this auction went beyond our expectations. We are now even more excited about our upcoming .mobi auction on 31 October when names like,,,, and will be available."

Quite apart from anything else it is a useful exercise to have a look through the lists to see what qualifies as a ‘premium name’ – for example ‘bottlenosedolphins’ is apparently a premium name, who would've though it (!), along with both ‘carpaltunnel’ and ‘carpeltunnel’ ! dotMobi cashing in on typos, what I wonder is the justification for that ?


  1. dotMobi has said from the outset that it is using money from these auctions for building and delivering tools to the web developer community. The funds have allowed dotMobi to build an extensive developer forum at, free tools like and, plus upcoming tools like our device database.

    Unlike any other domain, .mobi has enforceable technical requirements (XHTML Mobile Profile, no frames, no www); those are to ensure that sites work on the widest number of phones globally. Building the tools to track those requirements against live sites so that consumers can be assured a .mobi site will work on mobiles phones is another way the money is being used.

    If dotMobi were aiming to make money for the sake of making money, I suspect that there are dozens of strategies that would make it easier than an auction process.

    Re: "level playing field," auctions have not been our only distribution method. We've made some of the premium names available via an RFP process, which we're likely to do again as well as exploring other ways to ensure names reach appropriate content providers.

    As far as the premium name list itself, it was generated to a strong degree by highly searched terms across multiple domains over extended periods. What may seem like oddball choices reflect what end users are trying to find on the internet.

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for the comment and clearing things up, perhaps I was a bit harsh with my comments. But I still don't see why the typo 'carpeltunnel' is included in the premium names. If you are going to count typos as premium names then surely are plenty of others that should be included.


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