There’s been a large amount of speculation and gossip about DomainLore seller`s fee on a certain domainer forum.
I would have been fine with that (and let those ‘skint domainers’ moan), if it not morphed into an outright libel and attacks fueled by just a few particular persons (ironically, proactive DomainLore members).
So I am going to address those recent fee changes in a more detail.
1. The first recent change is an introduction of 5% seller fee on Premium/Spotlight domain sales.
The fee applies to all premium domain names qualified to Spotlight section after successful sale completion. About 70% of domains go through ‘Hidden Gems’ section and remain free to sell, even when they receive a bid and move to the Spotlight.
There was an auto-approval process, which allowed all trusted sellers to have their auction submissions accepted without moderation to ‘Hidden Gems’ section. If a member thought that the domain name is premium and should qualify to the Spotlight - they were requested to prepend such submission with ‘!’ symbol and then it would go into the review queue and be qualified either as Premium or still, as a Gem.
It didn’t take long for members to figure out that they can cheat the seller`s fee by posting super-premium domains to ‘Hidden Gems’, anticipating them to be immediately propelled to the front Spotlight page (literally seconds after posting links to those auctions in public forums).
A first example of that was the auction for Holiday.co.uk.
This ended to be a highest-grossing sale in DL’s history. I received many e-mails with raised eye-brows (or an outright bewilderment) asking me why the domain was approved as a ‘Hidden Gem’.
I guess those asking were not aware that most ‘Hidden Gems’ submissions are automatically accepted without any review.
Before the introduction of seller fees, nobody would want to post anything remotely premium to ‘Hidden Gems’. It was always otherwise, as people would submit all kind of crap and request it to be classified as premiums.
Posting holiday.co.uk as a 2nd rate domain was a very cheeky move. In fact, the seller has initially (and expectedly) submitted the auction for Spotlight qualification. You’d expect that. However, minutes after, he cancelled the submission and made the auction immediately live as a ‘Hidden Gem’. After announcing an invitation to bid, the domain was selling as a Spotlight in a matter of minutes.
(At this point I should say that the seller has agreed and paid the selling fee, after we’ve agreed it was not a blatant abuse, but a way to ‘speed-up the start of the auction’. Kudos to the seller as greed did not take over his objectivity and professionalism)
Holiday.co.uk did not even finish, but the other sellers have already took this idea as their role-model.
Even those same who were surprised by the actions and condemning the first person’s trickery. I fired an e-mail being not less astonished of this - now a well-defined path of avoiding platform expenses - to hear back that this was also a seizing of a time-sensitive opportunity for auctions scheduling and not an attempt to circumvent the rules. Once called into question, the person has agreed he will be happy to pay seller`s fee on all those auctions deemed Spotlight (and already running as such). It was another apparent case where domains clearly fit the base definition and would match the pattern/properties of the previous Spotlight classifications.
Now we arrive to the second change:
2. The second change is a small print added to ‘Hidden Gems’ classification.
As it became clear that the cheating would thrive if this is not addressed, as a quick-fix I’ve added the following (now slightly re-written to be more precise) clause:
*Submissions by some trusted-sellers, who enjoy default automatic acceptance for 'Hidden Gems' without undergoing manual approvals could be considered premium for the purposes of 5% selling fee if such submissions as gems are used as a way-round of Spotlight selling fees and the domains would have been unquestionably classified for Spotlight in the first place. (This is not expected to apply generally, but to prevent most obvious and blatant abuse)
I trust this post rectifies that I am not conspiring a plan to charge everyone arbitrary for their ‘Hidden Gems’ auto-approved submissions as soon as they sell for high amounts and receive a lot of bids. If I wanted to increase revenues by removing fee-free sales - I would have done just that. This post factum judgement is reserved for apparent (not just to myself, but if asked, to a general public) cases of an obvious fee avoidance.
And since I am well-aware this small print might still not be perfect, I had actually disabled auto-approvals a while ago to prevent any possible disputes.
Some trusted sellers will continue to benefit from this option at a later stage, but thanks to this experience, it’ll likely be based on invitation only inclusion.
Now an entertaining part. Prepare your popcorn.
I will give two responses to some of those speculators.
Dale Hubbard boldly hints on me being unable to recognise premium domains due to being a non-native English speaker.
Hello, Dale? Does MENSA IQ membership have an expiration date? As science proves folks become dumber with age. Time to take another test?
Having sold thousands of domain names personally and having witnessed tens of thousands of sales here on DL, I am sure I have some experience to make a balanced decision on whether the domain deserves to be classified as a premium or not.
There is hardly anything in those domains which my non-English nativeness would prevent me to grasp.
The experience of evaluating commercial potential of a given domain name does not entirely lie in the understanding of it’s meaning, which is the easiest part.
Moreover, being a
bi-lingual trilingual (which most Englishmen struggle to be) actually helps a lot.
Many are offended that their domains are not immediately classified for Spotlight, but the main strength of DomainLore is being very selective to which domains end up on the front page. (Not even the undeserving of my own!). There is enough other auction/catalog domain sale sites which are filled with impassable clusters of unwanted crap.
The main criteria to approve domain to the Spotlight is whether it will sell or not. And not just for £50, as then it is fine as a Gem.
Of course, I do not pretend or boast of being able to guesstimate with 0% error rate if domain will attract at least several bidders. But I am doing this well-enough, as “non-sold” Spotlight auctions are a pretty rare occurrence. And can bet that a native English speaker wouldn’t do it any better.
Apparently, Dale was simply unaware that most of the domains classified as ‘Hidden Gems’ were not due to my ‘review’, but a simple automatic classification which many sellers defaulted to.
Alas, even after pointing this simple fact to Dale, he refused to acknowledge his gaffe - “I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.” Well, you disagree when you have at least some arguments. I can’t see any of yours and you won’t be able to present a good example to back your assertion.
People want to be relevant or look knowledgable by making baseless statements. Or by joining dubious smartass societies ;-)
I have to mention some bizarre Luser “Ben Ravetta” aka Inteldigital aka Katch, whom I haven’t had a “privilege” to know personally (except a few customer support e-mail exchanges), but who for some unknown reason believes he is able to attack me in public, speculating how one should be suing DomainLore, discussing personal affairs, posting outright libel and nailing DL’s proverbial coffins, while at the same time continuing to enjoy selling his domains on DomainLore, with several running auctions (and keeps making new submissions) - all at the time of posting:
Above is one of those postings, for which Ben now indeed can be sued.
Ben Ravetta’s “true story” is that he has never been charged for “Hidden Gems” auctions or were subject to unexpected charges.
Ben has ever received two invoices for the sales of two domains - emeralds.uk and evergreen.uk - both of which were accepted as Spotlight right from the start (one of them was RoR domain with pre-bids). In both cases - before he started the auctions - he has agreed to an explicit and upfront pop-up fee confirmation notice.
Making false statements and then calling it as his idea of “unfair business practice”?
But Ben didn’t even manage to pay those 2 tiny invoices in time:
Your account was suspended due to non-payment.
There were numerous e-mails requesting your attention to the unpaid invoices, but all of them seemed to be ignored.
Why is our account now locked?
Intel Digital Administration & Purchasing
Then after finally settling the outstanding amount, he became hysterical out of the blue:
Since I deposited £55 to pay the two outstanding invoices, you have taken another £55 today out of my bank account (not sure how). If I don't receive this money back in my account within 24 hours I am taking you to small claims court. I haven't given you any authority to charge my card, certainly not for any amount close to £55. I have paid the invoices due, you can see I deposited £55 it's your issue to sort out how much is owed to me from successful auction refunds and it looks as if you have taken it from the money I added. <b>Secondly, what you have done is fraud and I will be contacting my bank and charging back every single transaction I have made on your website unless you refund me IN FULL.
And then it appears:
Denys, Apologies, it was a terrible morning. All sorts of shit was happening. No excuse, but I apologise anyway. I’ve done some digging and found out it was PayPal who fucked up (obviously). Accept my apologies. Best, Ben On 19 Aug 2019, 12:46 +0100, Denys - DomainLore <firstname.lastname@example.org>, wrote: > Ben, > > Are you crazy? Nobody can take money from your bank account. > Possible this has to do with Paypal, if you allowed them to do direct debits. > So you need to investigate and contact their support. > > Your hostile behaviour is noted.
Then weeks later this person contacts me hoping to enroll as a DomainCatch client.
Then he asks for doing him a favour of changing his trading nickname (this is generally not allowed by the rules) and gets it done with no fuss.
It amazes me what powers such bellicose attitude in these people. Envy? Greed? Or are they plainly stupid?
Seems like a typical example of a little pest, a person-parasite. Benefiting from something, but behind the scenes (not even behind!) doing his best to harm and attack.
So, yes, now Ban is going to explore greener pastures and “much better alternatives” for his domain sales, as DL membership is not given for granted, in exchange of abuse and mud-slinging.
DomainLore has operated for 10 years free of any meaningful charges. Listing fees for unsold domains were always just a filter, a barrier of entrance.
After a lot of work and growing this auction platform to become #1 .uk auctions resource (and this is not a hype - there are sellers who use DL to do quick arbitrage, getting higher bang for their buck purchased elsewhere). 10 years went without any financial feedback - the time has come to start charging modest fees (compared to 10-15-20% fees charged by others) and hopefully reinvest that income into further development.
Fortunately, there are sane people who have congratulated me with introducing these charges. It’s nice to witness that not everyone expects to consume something in the course of their business, while contributing nothing. Not everyone is a parasite.
Smart people understand that good products can not remain free forever. (Leaving those cases where you become a product).
I trust that everyone trading on DL is enjoying their sales and respects the value this platform provides and the business it brings.
Good luck with your auctions and stay tuned for new cool features coming soon!
To respond to this:
Let’s have a look at Dale’s auctions in the last 6 years (that is all public knowledge, by the way, to those “i-am-allowed-to-only-post-my-own-selfies-online” advocats):
Approved as ‘Hidden Gems’:
backlink.co.uk (yes, certainly premium if plural, but not quite there yet) brandablenames.co.uk coverfast.co.uk (yea, I get it, get your insurance cover fast.. there are many such brandable domains which are exactly gems) dbase.co.uk dropped.co.uk DroppingDomains.co.uk emm.org.uk GreenTips.co.uk instances.co.uk phone.org.uk (.org.uk's are *never* accepted as premiums, with just a handful of exceptions (think donate.org.uk). Approved this one as a gem and given seller a free bonus bold text boost to acknowledge the domain deserves to be highlighted) privileges.co.uk (premium if singular, otherwise too broad and little commercial/utilisation sense) publican.co.uk publicans.co.uk raspberrypie.co.uk (a go at Raspberry Pi trademark) redgrapefruit.co.uk teddyboy.co.uk tenniskit.co.uk touches.co.uk virtuallondonoffices.co.uk webstyles.co.uk
Found suitable for the ‘Spotlight’:
bzc.co.uk dce.co.uk DNS.co.uk dqs.co.uk heh.co.uk JTT.co.uk liberation.co.uk psy.co.uk Subscriptions.co.uk
I’m striving to embrace which domains classified as ‘Gems’ Dale Hubbard thinks I have demoted due to being a non-native English speaker? ‘Teddy boy’? ‘Red Grape Fruit’?
How many of those ‘demoted’ to “Hidden Gems” premiums the market has proved should have deserved more? Only 5 domains out of 20 received any bids.
dropped.co.uk sold for £180 - someone saw a good brandable opportunity. backlink.co.uk only fetched £102. phone.org.uk went for £60. I would be ashamed to approve it for premium and see such a result. touches.co.uk received just £50 and privileges.co.uk (which must have been a most promising domain in Dale’s mind? As he never hides he is a privileged gentleman) got £90.
None of those domains were standing out upon submission to be classified otherwise and the results have only validated they are indeed ‘Hidden Gems’. That is exactly what ‘Hidden Gems’ are for - this category in no way equals to crap domains, it is simply those domains which aren’t immediately stand out as premiums and would warrant loads of bids and high demand.
And then here is what I also mentioned in my e-mail to Dale when I sincerely thought questioning his biased judgement could result in a better understanding (before reaching an obvious conclusion now):
... ... I don't mind if you publish my response to the forum, as I am not a member, but receive referrals when the gossip goes off the scale. Denys PS: Ask Acorn admin about his ego and why he was banned from DL.
”..alludes to a staff member here in a pejorative manner”?
Especially considering this was a response to “The [DL] owner is an egomaniac which you will find out if you ever have reason to question ‘anything’” of Acorn admin’s statement.
Dale, keep bullshitting with the straight face.