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Interview with Jarred Cohen of Bido

October 29, 2010bido, Domain Sales, Domaining, Domainnamewire, jarred cohenComments Off on Interview with Jarred Cohen of Bido

New ownership, but a similar formula for Bido.

BidoSocial domain auction site Bido is back and under new ownership. There’s a familiar face at the helm, with Jarred Cohen returning as Chief Operating Officer. He’s a busy guy right now, but I was able to steal a few minutes of his time via email for an update:

DNW: Who bought Bido?

Cohen: The Bido software, website, and some other related assets were purchased by LLC, a Switzerland company.

DNW: What is your involvement with Bido going forward?

Cohen: I continue just like in my former role as COO. I’ve taken a position as COO of the new company and I’ll be visible and accessible to our members on the front end as well as busy behind the scenes overseeing the development and business teams. I may be reached at jarred (at)

DNW: What has happened to the platform (what’s been going on behind the scenes) since Bido shut down?

Cohen: It’s as you could imagine, a sale of such magnitude takes some time from start to finish. There are many steps along the way; there was a lot of paperwork, asset transfers, as well as setting up the Bido software and moving into a new server environment. In order to do all those things, we had to take a step back, keep our heads down, stay busy, and focus on the goal. Moving forward, we are glad to be back and once again open Bido up for the buyers and sellers in the domain community to utilize.

DNW: How will Bido be the same/different? Given what’s happened in the past, what will be different this time around in order to make it a profitable/sustainable venture?

Cohen: We’ll put focus on the most needed things and, with the support of the community, move to new heights. The core aspects of Bido remain for the most part the same. We will be optimizing things, simplifying some things, and making some changes with the formats, such as auction durations, and overall making it easier for people to buy and sell. What has happened in the past is behind us and we’re just looking ahead at the opportunity that awaits to get back into business and help a lot of people buy and sell. One of the changes you’ll notice right away is that we’re doing some experimentation and instead of running 1 hour auctions as we did in the past, the auctions will run for a longer duration of time. At first, you’ll see auctions that last 4 days and we’ll evaluate the feedback and results after some time. We’re also going to be starting and ending the auctions between the hours of 3pm to 4pm Eastern at first, and observing from there. The voting system (Vote For Profits) and the other core innovations that had always set us apart remain nearly the same. I would advise anyone reading to visit our site and take us up on a tour of the system to learn how it works.

Thank you Andrew for the opportunity for our voice to be heard on DomainNameWire, and we’re glad to be back.

© 2010.

Get Certified Parking Stats at DNW Certified Stats.

Related posts:

  1. Smart Changes Coming to Bido
  2. Crashes Again
  3. Bido Starting to Get Results

Lessons from Bido

May 6, 2010bido, Domain Sales, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Lessons from Bido

A look back at two years of Bido.

Now that I’ve head a couple days to mentally process the closing of Bido, it has given me time to reflect on what went wrong.

To be clear, I commend both Sahar and Jarred for creating Bido. They put their heart and money into it, and should be proud of the innovation they brought to the marketplace. I also think we’ll see the platform live on in some incarnation as they are currently liquidating the assets.

So here are my main reason the site “failed”: feature bloat and too many changes.

Let me take you back to June 2008. Bido launched and offered a simple premise: 1 auction a day starting at $1 with no reserve. Technically there was some sort of reserve because Bido guaranteed a certain price to the seller and was able to place a bid. Just a few weeks later Bido dropped this “guarantee” price.

Bido was really simple, but there was a problem: selling one domain a day doesn’t make for a very good business model. As I wrote in July 2008:

One question I have is how it will make significant money for its founders. Let’s say Bido sells 365 domains a year at $5,000 each (and these aren’t “house listings”). At a 10% commission (I believe they are starting at 8%), that comes out to only $182,500. That’s not enough to justify the cost of developing, marketing, and running the service. Bido either needs to offer more that one domain a day, increase the average selling price to mid-five figures, or treat Bido as a loss leader to promote other services.

After having some technical problems, Bido then went offline between August 2008 and February 2009.

When it relaunched it had some successful auctions but ran into another problem: poor inventory. It bottomed out with a domain that sold for $2, which really brought that business model problem back into the spotlight. These low sales prices scared away sellers who didn’t want to list domains for $1 and take the risk that they wouldn’t sell for a good price. So Bido introduced reserve pricing.

Since the one-auction-a-day didn’t make for a plausible business model, the company decided to allow more than one domain a day.

A multiple-auction-per-day format made sense and would have worked. That’s when the feature bloat started. It seemed like every week the company was adding multiple new features. Too many to keep up with as a typical user. Many features didn’t seem to be thought through, as they would be introduced and then changed shortly thereafter.

It got to the point that a platform that was once brilliant in its simplicity suddenly looked like this:

New users were scared by the complexity. Submitting a domain had too many options. It was confusing and the quality of inventory suffered. Bido became the place to dump your reg fee domains. And selling domains for under $100 takes as much time as selling one for $10,000 for the platform. It was a money-losing proposition.

But Bido should be commended for pushing the envelop. In an industry where marketplaces take a while to innovate, I think we’ll see some of Bido’s features pop-up on other platforms over the years. (And perhaps on the “new” Here are some:

1. Economic incentives in the auction submission process – a big problems for domain auctioneers is that they receive tens of thousands of submissions and most of them are junk. Bido sought to fix this problem by providing economic incentives to sellers to submit the right domains at the right prices.

2. Social interaction – right now there’s little you can do to interact with other buyers and sellers at most domain marketplaces. Bido enabled chat and commenting on domains, which resulted in a group of domainers making Bido a focal point of their day.

3. Wisdom of the Crowds – Bido creating a “bid for profits” system where you voted for domains you thought would sell. This was a great way to tap the wisdom of crowds to select the right domains for auction.

4. Social media – More than any other domain seller, I think Bido used social media and blogs effectively.

Again, my hat’s off to Bido. Some drive-by detractors have flamed the company; but these commenters have probably never tried to create a company from scratch. And good luck to the Bido buyer — please keep the spirit of the site alive.

© 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Bido Reinstates Reserve Pricing (with a Catch)
  2. New Domain Name Auction Platform Bido Launches
  3. Bido Drops “Guarantees” In Domain Auctions

Domain Auction Site Bido Closing Down

May 4, 2010bido, Domain Sales, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Domain Auction Site Bido Closing Down

Domain name auction site Bido is closing down.

Domain name auction site Bido is closing. The company announced the move on twitter moments ago:

Bido is ceasing operation as of May 5, 2010. All transactions and accounts will be gracefully finalized and closed.

I confirmed the closure with the company. Although representatives would not speak specifically to why they are shutting down the platform, the company must have been losing substantial money. It had been self-funded for years and current sales commissions could not have been covering expenses.

Just this past January the company announced it was packing up to move to Silicon Valley to get closer to the action. It also hired a number or employees.

Bido launched in early 2008 with DN Journal editor Ron Jackson teaming up with Sahar Sarid. The site started with one auction a day starting at just $1 with no reserve. Jackson resigned from the company in March 2008. Bido later expanded but hit growing pains. It went offline in late 2008 for several months as the company tried to improve its overall technology.

The company pushed the bounds of innovation in domain name marketplaces, adding a number of features to create a sort of “social” marketplace and even paying out a portion of proceeds to people who picked domain names to be sent to auction. But the challenges of creating a domain name marketplace may have been too great.

© 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Unleashed…sort of.
  2. New Domain Name Auction Platform Bido Launches
  3. Ron Jackson Resigns from

The Challenges of Creating a Marketplace

April 30,, bido, Domaining, Domainnamewire, root orange, UncategorizedComments Off on The Challenges of Creating a Marketplace

Creating a marketplace is tough, but the rewards are high.

One of the challenges new companies offering domain name services face is that of creating a market. It’s the age old question of the chicken and the egg. Which comes first, the supply or the demand? To get sellers you need buyers and vice versa.

This isn’t limited to domain marketplaces in terms of buying and selling domain names.

Starting a parking company. Consider the typical domain name parking company. First you need to get a contract with Google or Yahoo for an ad feed. To do this, you need to monetize a substantial inventory of domain names just to get a meeting. And the more domains, the better your payout from Google or Yahoo. But how can you get more people to park their domains with you when you are getting a lower cut from the ad provider, making it hard to compete with larger parking companies?

A typical solution for parking companies is for them to own their own substantial portfolio. A number of domain parking companies have sprung up thanks to the parking company’s own domain portfolios. One option for newer parking companies: offer a higher percentage of your cut to the domainer. Even if Google is paying you less because of your volume, you can come close to matching the revenue paid out by bigger companies. As you get more domains you can decrease your payout percentage without lowering the domainer’s take.

New Monetization. Another example of a company that is facing the market challenge is Root Orange. The company leases category killer domain names on a city-by-city basis. If you’re the owner of one of these domains you could, in theory, make more money in the long run on Root Orange than with traditional PPC or using the domain for only one “site”.

But what happens the first day your domain goes live on Root Orange? It’s not like 50 cities will be leased in the first month.

Root Orange tries to “pre-sell” certain domains before bringing them onto its platform, but this is also challenging. It’s hard to get business owners to lease the domains before they’re even on the system.

Another solution is to allow domain owners to continue to park the domain and earn PPC revenue for any city that isn’t sold yet.

Aftermarkets. Of course, the prototypical marketplace in the domain industry is a place to buy and sell domain names. Asking domainers to spend time uploading inventory is fruitless if you can’t guarantee buyers on the other end.

There are several solutions to this. Consider Bido, which started with one auction a day. By offering only one auction, it was able to ease the supply side of the equation while focusing on building the demand side. Once it attracted buyers, it was able to open up the supply side.

Another tact is to focus on a smaller niche. is proving successful by focusing on the Chinese domain market.

Although the challenges of creating any marketplace are plentiful, the results of executing it are powerful and profitable. Once an effective marketplace is operating, the owner can sit in the middle while the economic forces of the market do the work.

© 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. Moniker Adds Name Media, DDN Domains to Marketplace
  2. Moniker to launch domain marketplace
  3. NameDrive NDX Marketplace Tops 100,000 Domain Names

Survey: Innovation Coming to Domain Sales

February 25, 2010bido, Domain Sales, Domaining, Domainnamewire, GoDaddy, NameMedia, rick latona, sedoComments Off on Survey: Innovation Coming to Domain Sales

Companies provide innovative twists on domain selling.

Which company is most innovative when it comes to selling domain names in the aftermarket?

The results show a handful of newer companies are innovating in the selling process — and attracting attention from domainers.

The top response in this year’s Domain Name Wire survey (by a long shot) this year was Sedo. After that are three companies, two of which are smaller upstarts: Rick Latona and Bido.

Rick Latona is perhaps most known for his daily domain sales newsletter, the first “major” sales newsletter in the industry. He also runs an auction arm,, that is the exclusive live auctioneer at TRAFFIC conferences. Latona has a licensing agreement to run TRAFFIC conferences, and just held the first one under the new licensing agreement last month in Las Vegas.

Bido is also making waves with innovative auction techniques. It is bringing crowdsourcing to picking the best domain names for auction — and rewarding its customers when they pick domains that sell. It is also adding social aspects to auctions.

GoDaddy makes the list as well, thanks in part to a number of new initiatives to help domain owners sell domains to retail customers. It allows domainers to sell their domain names when someone searches for the exact domain they are selling, and also provides data on the popularity of domain names registered at GoDaddy. The company has a new VP of Aftermarket, Chris Kennedy, who will take a fresh look at the platform this year.

Rounding out the list is NameMedia, which sells domains through BuyDomains, Afternic, and syndication deals with top registrars.

Here are the top 5 results:

1. Sedo/GreatDomains 26%
2. Rick Latona 16%
3. Bido 15%
3. GoDaddy 15%
5. NameMedia 13%

© 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

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  1. Survey Focus: Which Domain Sales Company is Best?
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Bido Moves to Silicon Valley, But Domain HQs Remain Elsewhere

January 17, 2010bido, Domaining, Domainnamewire, UncategorizedComments Off on Bido Moves to Silicon Valley, But Domain HQs Remain Elsewhere

L.A., Seattle, and Florida lead list of major U.S. domain company hubs.

My wife works for a company based in San Francisco, so I often tag along when she heads out there. A year ago I tried to set up meetings with Bay area domain name companies, but then I hit a roadblock: there really aren’t any. I met with the founder of NamePros, got stonewalled by Google (big surprise), and didn’t bother with VeriSign’s Mountain View office.

We’re talking about the center of the tech world, yet few domain companies are there. So it was great to find out today that Bido is moving out to the Bay Area, and I certainly understand why. (On the other hand, welcome to the world of expensive employees, high taxes, high cost of living, and high regulation!)

So where are the U.S. hotbeds for domain name companies? I generally think of Los Angeles, Seattle, and southern Florida.

Los Angeles: L.A. is home to perhaps the most big domain name companies, including Demand Media, Thought Convergence,, Yahoo’s domain parking group, and Domain Development Corp. Oh, and a little institution called Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is also in the area.

Seattle: In Seattle you’ll find pioneers such as eNom and DomainTools (both owned by L.A.-based companies now), as well as DevHub, Marchex, and a number of Rob Monster’s ventures. You’re also a short drive to Snapnames, Dotster, and across the border to some of the world’s biggest domainers in Vancouver.

South Florida: The big players here are Moniker, one of’s offices, and Bido. But it’s also on the map because some big individual domainers call the area home.

As for my home town of Austin? It’s mostly developers and web shops. The domainers here don’t think of themselves as domainers, but instead web developers/entrepreneurs. That may change, soon. A notable domain company is taking a look at moving here.

© 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

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  3. DNW Giving Away 100 Bido Credits Today

Bido Changes Up Its Game (Again)

December 16, 2009bido, Domain Sales, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Bido Changes Up Its Game (Again)

Bido added a number of new features today.

BidoCredit domain name auction site Bido with constantly tweaking (or overhauling) its site in response to feedback.

Today the company announced a number of new changes:

1. Name your starting price. No more $28 minimum/maximum. A lower minimum will likely result in more votes.

2. Vote for profits. If an auction you vote for goes to auction and sells, you get a cut of Bido’s commission. The goal is to incentivize you to participate in voting. You only have a certain number of votes you can use.

3. BuyItNow pricing. It costs one Bido credit to set a buy it now price.

4. Negotiations. Negotiate on prices instead of going to an auction.

I like these ideas, especially naming your starting price. I also like voter profit sharing. My only worry — that I’ve voiced before — is that Bido is getting to complicated. Its initial success was due to its simplicity.

© 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

  1. DNW Giving Away 100 Bido Credits Today
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  3. Bido Guarantee Program: It Makes Sense Now

Bido Releases Transaction Manager

September 17, 2009bido, Domain Sales, Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Bido Releases Transaction Manager

Bido releases system to manage domain purchases and sales.

Bido Transaction Manager
Bido’s new transaction manager

When you sell one domain name a day, managing the payment and transfer process can be done manually. When you start selling dozens of domains a day, it gets more complicated.

Bido has released a new buyer and seller transaction system to make its dozens of daily transactions easier. It includes both buyer and seller overviews and the ability to drill down to manage individual transactions. This self-serve tool is essential when you’re dealing with many sub-$100 sales each day.

I haven’t come across many domains that interested me on Bido lately, until yesterday. Two auctions — and — caught my attention. I ended up bidding on, although I let someone else have it at $48. attracted lots of attention, and sold for $324 with 19 bids. I’m not going to opine on the value of Bido in terms of creating liquidity. But I will say, if you have domains you’re looking to sell for as little as $28, it’s worth taking a look at Bido.

© 2009.

Review and rate domain name parking companies at Parking Judge.

Related posts:

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  2. Sells Dickinson for $12,000
  3. New Domain Name Auction Platform Bido Launches