The first day of the .CM auctions on Namejet closed yesterday, and the auction cleared $500,000. I was not surprised by this number, but I am surprised about how many people seem to be bidding on .CM domain names. My company did not bid on a single .cm domain auction, despite the perceived need to protect a few of my brands.
There is one overarching reason why I did not bid on the auctions. For the past couple of years, Kevin Ham’s company Reinvent Technology has controlled the traffic for .CM domain names via wildcarding after striking a deal with the Cameroonian government. While the domain names were unregistered for the most part, they forwarded to parking pages where visitors could click to other sites, earning money for the company.
With one entity controlling many of the domain names that are now up for auction, it wouldn’t make sense for me to bid on them, as the deck would be stacked against me. If a particular domain name generates revenue from significant traffic, I would imagine Kevin’s company could bid on it up to its value based on a revenue multiple. It wouldn’t really make sense to bid more than the person who has all of the analytics and would presumably be able to monetize it better than almost anyone.
The argument could be made that the traffic is more valuable for lead gen than PPC. However, I am sure Reinvent did what they could to monetize it as best as possible. Additionally, around 20% of the traffic to my brands with the most type in traffic (my blog not included) comes from type-ins. If just a tiny amount of the traffic was lost due to typing in .CM, it’s probably a very small number, and not even worth the annual renewal fee.
They have some of the smartest people working at the company, and I wouldn’t want to bid against them when they know much more than me. It’s sort of like playing poker when your opponent caught a glimpse of your cards.