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The Problems with Bido

Well, Sahar, you asked for it :) - over on the Conceptualist.com. Before I start though, I really do appreciate Bido, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the people behind it and I am thankful that they are so willing to listen to criticism to create a better product. Okay, here it goes:
  • Copyrights - or rather, the lack of concern there of by all parties. It degrades the experience when I see Bido pushing clear trademark violations - often times many per day! There should be a report abuse button or something in the voting because there are some really obvious issues (and some obvious typos too), that should be visible to anyone who would unknowingly bid on the name.

  • Garbage in/Garbage out - there needs to be tighter limits on how many names you can submit and the number of domains at auction per day. The broader they expand these, the worse the quality gets, the hard it is to stand out and the lower the average sales price is going to be. The only person that benefits are buyers, and with so many auctions and so few buyers, you end up getting buyers fatigue.

  • Not enough rewards in place for comments and votes - there are lots of ideas here, and you want to promote helpful comments and accurate votes so maybe base it on the final sales price of the name as a sort of weighted scale (if you vote for a name that doesn't sell at all for example, you get no reward from that vote). There are lots of possible rewards too, from increased weight on your votes if you are a good voter or acceleration credits, to more subtle benefits such as a more fairly ordered list of "experts" based on the quality feedback received for comments.

  • The transition from one domain a day has been rough - yes, there are benefits to going to multiple auctions but you've lost of lot of followers in the process. Things that still suffer include: lack of chat (too spread out and having to switch rooms constantly wasn't fun), lack of comments (it's hard to find comments for one thing as there are so many auctions), lack of quality and lack of focus.

  • I want more flexibility on reserve prices without having such stringent penalties in place. I'm the one who suffers if it doesn't sell. That's penalty enough I think. A fixed price for sending a domain to auction with a reserve or higher percentage charge for sales completed with a reserve are fine solutions, but the sliding scale thing is scary and I won't do it until it's less severe.

  • Affiliates - there's absolutely no benefit to me to promote your auctions, and therefore I'll promote other marketplaces where I have the potential to earn a reward for helping you market your domains.

  • Direct link to vote for submitted domains. I should be able to say "hey, this is a cool domain, vote on it", even if it's not my own domain. Right now that process is really difficult to do and so people resort to more backdoor means to get votes. Of course, if you limit the number of submissions, this wouldn't be as big of a deal, but it's so easy to get lost in the mix. Have you I mentioned you should limit submissions A LOT!?

  • Prioritized/featured domains for the day: Either include a voting mechanism, a paid for service or hand pick them but we need a way to promote the domains that are likely to do well but that get lost in the shuffle. The promotion should be significant, not just a star beside the name, but serious "these are the names of the day" kind of deal right there at the top of the front page.

  • There have been significant improvements to the communication and transfer of domains in the new peer to peer style, but it's crazy waiting weeks to get payment AFTER you've already pushed the name just because the buyer hasn't clicked that they've accepted it. I don't know if that means that peer to peer will never work, but it's really quite frustrating right now.

That's it. I hope this list helps. I focused on the negative because that's what you were looking for but I do like the platform and I do want to see it succeed. It just has a ways to go!


  1. I like Bido. I like the concept and I like the prices (as a buyer). However as a seller it's not really working for me (admittedly a lot of my names are not that good, my bad).

    Where I think they can improve is by spending less time marketing to domainers (blogs, forum posting etc) and try to bring some different users to their auctions. For example perhaps an ad in the National Chamber of Commerce newsletter or some advertising in the PR and marketing trade magazines. The target should be to get the word out to small business owners that there are these amazing deals taking place here! This should bring more buyers.

    Also, contact the writers on nerdy/techie shows like the Big Bang Theory and suggest an episode where one of the guys gets a million dollar offfer for a domain name.

    I see Bido evolving into a place where for a low and fixed fee a seller can start an auction, and bring his own endusers, not having to rely on the skinflint domainers (like myself) to make their profit.

    How about for $8 you get a no reserve auction, for $15 you get a $250 reserve, and for $25 you get a $500+ reserve.

    Affiliates and banners need to pay out to the promoters, that's a given.


  2. Agreed... the payment portion is the worst part. Payments being made 60 days after transfer? If I paid my bills like that, many people would not sell to me.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Be sure to check out the follow up responses to my posts at the conceptualist. Namely that there is a way now for sellers to "force" the release of payments ... I've not had a chance to use the new feature but I can understand the desire to tread lightly in that regard so that there are no victims on either side of the transaction.

    I think we will see some changes to the reserve structure. I think it's forcing out higher quality names as it is right now and I think they realize that. I've got faith that they'll keep working on it until they get it right. But in terms of advertising, they put the burden on the seller to market their auction... fair or unfair, that's the way they approach it.

  4. Great ideas! I wrote a similar article myself, but I think the one we most agree on is the rewards for votes. I tend to vote for 10-20 domains on a daily basis, but I take the time to vote for domains that I think would sell. In the past week or two, Bido has been aggresive about banning "voter circles" and I think that is a great step in the right direction to remove the crappy .info and .us "dumps".

    I am not an Bido expert, but I do vote, I do buy and I do sell. Recognition/weight for these, I feel, should be considered. Be it free credits, voter weight or just stars beside my username. I take the time to blog/tweet/buy/sell/vote for make Bido a better place and I am happy to do that, but a rewards program would make it more appealing and perhaps attract more to the system.