June 08, 2011

Social.com Auction Postponed Due to "Technical Issues"

A little over two weeks ago, I told you the Social.com domain was going up for bid to any company looking to obtain the premium URL. The auction was set to take place today, along with other premium domains, including Fares.com, SUV.com and Data.com, but has been postponed, due to technical issues with the domain sellers themselves. So while many are curious if Social.com will go for less than seven figures, or if its high $5 million reserve will be hit, that answer will have to wait until another day - tentatively scheduled for next Wednesday, June 15th.

In the meantime, the Data.com URL actually did sell, ahead of the auction, to Salesforce.com, for more than the $1.5 million reserve set at the auction house. Scott Carter, owner of Social.com, said the deal closed Friday, and that "domains are sold prior to the start of a live auction if the buyer is willing to pay a premium over the reserve."

As Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch noted in his coverage of the Social.com sale last week, Scott put the domain up for sale in 1997 for $50,000, but for two years, nobody bid and he pulled it off the table. By late 2004, Scott again was asking around to the value of the domain, with domain watchers quoting high five figures to low six figures.

In that September 2004 thread, Scott wrote, "I appreciate all the replies. The range was anywhere from $x,xxx to $xx,xxx. I must admit that I had expected it would be valued closer to the 7 figure range but of course I'm a little biased. I'm going to hold onto the name for now..."

Following 2004, we saw the social media and social networking explosion, so much of the world assumes Scott will get much more than the estimates from seven years ago, even if reactions to today's canceled auction brought out skeptics, claiming today's "technical issues" were a cover for buyers not meeting the high reserves. The world loves a conspiracy.

"I'm still waiting for details on why their systems went down today," Scott wrote me in an e-mail this afternoon, adding, "Not a great day."

With Data.com selling above its reserve, it shows there is interest at the 7-figure level for premium names. We're going to have to wait another week to see if Social.com is one of those companies, or if it ends up going for a lower amount.