Posted on October 15, 2009
Just as the fall leaves come and go, the much-sought-after domain name of www.broadwayshows.com is up for auction, yet again. Its unclear just how many times this URL has been put up at auction, although records indicate that its at least been a couple of times in the last year-once at the TRAFFIC 2008 Domain Conference & Expo and now once again at TRAFFIC at New York on October 26th 2009. broadwayshows.com has a lot of promise, but with a reserve price of $800,000, its unclear who would want it at that price. Even at $800K, the domain comes with no brand established, no content, backlink anorexic and a pagerank of 2. What it does have going for it is a great set of keywords, two keywords in particular - "Broadway" and "Shows" that almost certainly guarantee a top slot in Google when some actual Broadway show content is finally posted. Lets examine who in the Broadway business community would be interested in buying the url and why it doesn't make financial sense to any of them - Analysis that the domain owner probably hasn't done. BROADWAY SHOW PRODUCER - The URL is too generic and the investment amount is too high - would be a great as a landing page for producers that have a Broadway show track record, but the financial backers for each show aren't going to support a development that is not specific to their show - this means that the producer themselves would have to stump up the cash - producers don't have that kind of investment cash, and if they do its for show investment where they can get immediate investment recoup. THEATRE OWNER - The URL is too generic for the theatre owners, but could work for Jujamcyn which owns a number of theaters - The investment amount is unrealistic though as they don't actually sell any tickets, which is where the assumed recoup is in this case. This would be a straight power play to establish a theatre owner on the web - But they really don't need the retail customer to know who they are unless they have an ego to stroke. BROADWAY SOCIAL NETWORKING WEBSITE - Great URL, but eats a massive amount of funding - social networking sites are usually about organic growth with a new brand, there is no brand here, just familiar terms which bring good traffic, but poor brand. OFFICIAL TICKET OUTLETS - Ticketmaster and Telecharge wouldn't look twice at this as their brand recognition is already strong and no new ticket companies can move into this space because of the ticket sales duopoly on Broadway. BROADWAY TICKET RESELLER - Sites like ticketsnow.com and others would love the traffic from this URL , but only at a 1/20th of the price - They don't have that kind of investment capital. The Broadway show business is not big and fast enough to recoup the investment. If the URL wasn't so "Broadway" focused, it might have wider appeal. DISCOUNT TICKET WEBSITES - Great traffic from this URL , but would they never have that kind of investment capital. The investment recoup would take 10+ years, in terms of internet growth and changes that may be an eternity. BROADWAY MARKETING & ADVERTISING COMPANY - They wouldn't know what to do with it and would probably mothball it (better to keep it out of someone else's hands than actually develop something useful) They might be able to raise the capital though, would suit someone like Serino Coyne, that is part of a bigger group with deep financial pockets. The cynic in me says that this auction is nothing more than a lazy way of promoting the URL without actually doing anything useful. It may increase the URL awareness, but domain speculation is so 2001. The current domain owners should be careful because if the eminent domain law ever gets passed they would lose the URL in one second flat - like the proverbial empty house right in the middle of the path of the road construction. For example, if the famous broadway.com (Which is a secondary market ticket broker) was just beginning today, it wouldn't have invested in an expensive URL and probably would have been called secondarymarketbroadwaytickets.com, thus losing its edge, fame and success. broadwayshows.com won't be sold to a Broadway.com after-market competitor because the initial investment far outstrips the potential recoup in their line of business, unless they can cross sell it to another part of the business, like concert ticket sales for instance - Problem is the URL says Broadway shows, not Miley Cyrus. So what's the true value of broadwayshows.com - Probably $100k if it gets sold to another domain speculator or $50k if its sold to an actual Broadway company that does something with it. So who will ultimately buy this white elephant ? My bet is that if its ever gets sold, its going to be another domain name speculator who, you guessed it, ends up trying to auction it at TRAFFIC 2010 Las Vegas as a white elephant with a suntan.