GoDaddy domain name auctions: a disservice to the domain name industry

GoDaddy is doing a disservice to the domain name industry. They are a domain name auction house auctioning domains that may or MAY NOT be delivered to the winning bidder that has already paid. Any other industry and they would be the laughing stock of the industry. They are still in the domain name expired auction business simply because of their exclusive inventory.

GoDaddy is auctioning names that can still be renewed by their owner, that can be transferred out to some other registrar, or even while they are pending transfer.

Something so simple that can be fixed over night yet not being fixed: reduce the auction time from 10 days to 3, move the auction start 4 days ahead, give the domain owner 3 days less to renew. Simple as that. Just like Namejet and Snapnames are doing.

Over the years I have been buying from GoDaddy auctions. Sometimes I am more active sometimes I am not.

This year I have had 7 domain name auctions that I won and paid that were then refunded. I have won and paid 38 auctions this year. So 18,42% of the auctions I won and paid were then cancelled. That is not the small percentage that GoDaddy claims about this problem.

Keep in mind that I always pay between day 2 and 3 after the auction to avoid as many refunds I can. Winning bidders have 3 days after the auction to pay.

As it is winning bidders have 3 days to pay while the domain name owners have 7 days after the auction ends to renew their domain names.

I have avoided a few refunds from this method this year too. I don’t count that in the above numbers. And of course I also don’t count domain name auctions that started at GoDaddy Auctions but never finished because the domains were renewed before the 10 day auction ended.

I have heard every excuse in the book for not fixing this. And it is all bullshit. Namejet and Snapnames auction thousands of domains every month from tens of different registrars and they don’t have this GoDaddy problem.

Of course I have also heard many times that GoDaddy is fixing this issue very soon. In January 2014, during my first Namescon, I was told that this was going to be fixed by summer at the latest. I guess they meant summer 2024.

The truth is that GoDaddy moves very very slowly. Nothing is fixed. When something is eventually fixed it is so small and it was so easy to fix 3 years ago that is it really frustrating to even hear about this great “fix”. They had this problem in GoDaddy auctions where if you searched for something in the search box and hit enter nothing would happen. It took them months to fix this since I noticed. It may have been there for more than a year. And we are talking about 1 line of code and 5 minutes of work.

Rick Schwartz is really angry about an auction he was bidding and it vanished before auction ended. I guess he just realized but the problem exists since forever. And GoDaddy doesn’t seem to really care. #GoDaddydoesntcare

And this is not as simple as GoDaddy wasting our valuable time. They are costing us money too. My last $665 failed and refunded purchase costed me about $18 in currency exchange rate fees.

And the problems keep coming. There is no almost way for a company to make a large purchase in GoDaddy auctions unless they can use a credit card. GoDaddy has no flexibility with payments. Once the 3 days are up you lose your right to the domain name. If you can’t get approval from the relevant department in your company or if the auction happens to end on a Friday then you are out of luck. You can send a 5 or 6 figure wire transfer and if it arrives an hour late then you have lost the domain name and your funds have been converted to useless GoDaddy credit.

Should I continue with the auction nickname problem? Front running? Some other major problem I don’t care to mention here and a loophole that has been there for years? GoDaddy’s checkout is also a mess and automatic auction billing is simply a disaster.

GoDaddy domain name auctions are a disservice to the domain name industry. The level of trust for GoDaddy auctions is very low and that affects everybody.

Year after year since 2012 I have been writing about Godaddy auctions and GoDaddy has made no changes:

October 24, 2012: “Your Auction Has Ended”: Will GoDaddy give me back my time and money?

December 29, 2014: 13 Ways To Make Go Daddy Auctions Better

November 2, 2016: What the F*CK is wrong with GoDaddy?

February 4, 2017: Selling domain names on GoDaddy is NOT easy!

May 3, 2017: GoDaddy allows jokester to appraise/auction his domain name year after year and then renew!

July 12, 2017: Proof that people use GoDaddy expired domain auctions as an appraisal and bait tool


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.


  1. What if Godaddy just turns into Huge Names, and keeps all the domains for a massive online warehouse store?

    We have just become accustomed to it, and it is the cost of doing business per say, godaddy doesn’t know if John Smith is going to renew his domain, or not, but at least godaddy registrants, the honest ones at least have that option.

    Most domainers are not going to pay the redemption fee of $80 to renew the domain, they will transfer out, and once they do, likely they won’t transfer back, so cycle them out of the system slowly.

    Front runners should be hung, they are the real disservice to the industry, but most are in India, and other unknown places and know you can’t take nothing from someone who has nothing attitude.

    There are so many names out there for sale, after years of going thru it, just kind of used to it now.

  2. The vast majority of my portfolio is @ GoDaddy and I am happy with their customer support. With that said their auctions have issues. They have had the same issues for many years. Lots of talk about fixing stuff, but not much action.

    I have entirely quit bidding on GD auctions. First of all many of the prices just defy logic.
    Every marginal domain going for $500. You never know if the bidding is legit. In the past there has been gaming the system between multiple bidders running up prices, then the top bidder(s) not paying to get the domain far cheaper.

    Even if you win the domain the odds of getting it are low between people just letting it expire to get a free real world appraisal, and the constant auction circumvention attempts after the auction.

    There are also many other issues, some of which were mentioned above.

    People have suggested many reasonable ways to fix these issues over the year, though they still persist.
    I would like to see a serious effort going forward to resolve this. First acknowledge the problems and then actually fix them.


  3. I strongly believe this is a result of domain snippers using whois information to reach out to the original owners of the name and offering 50% of what the current auction price is. Think about it…the domainer has instant equity the minute they snag it from an unsuspecting owner who will gladly take $500 for a name they were going to let go anyways. It leaves those playing by the rules out in the cold and upset with Godaddy. The renewal redemption times need to change and or the $80+ extended renewal fee needs to be raised to take away the incentives for the original owner.

    GD knows this is happening and they have been trying to prevent these snippers by changing the whois info as soon as they can on high $$$ names but there are other whois products like Whoisoligy that don’t update as fast. I’ve even heard of GD them telling the original owner that it might be worth selling and suggesting they get an appraisal.

    Just my $.02

  4. GD have good customer service
    But their auction system sucks

    Just don’t use them in the auction
    Money talks
    DuDh nobody forcing you to bid at GD
    Money talks

  5. Like Brad, most of my portofolio of 1,200 domains are with GoDaddy. Simply put, I value speaking to my premier agent if and when an issue pops up. I can pick up the phone and get him or any other agent 24/7. That said, I have been completely frustrated with GD auctions, as much as Konstantinos.

    I haven’t quantified it, but over the years I would estimate that I have lost out on a few dozen domain auctions due to refunds. Selling some of those “lost” domains undoubtedly would have netted thousands in profits. I, too, have been after them to remedy the problem. “We’re working on it,” is the usual answer. For freaking two years!

    There’s another abuse that’s going on also that they won’t correct Konstantinos. Not sure if it’s news or not, but there are people putting in backorders with less than 5 minutes left in auctions with no bidders. The system awards them the domain which never comes out into closeout area. You have no chance to throw in your bid — that’s not the way it was supposed to work. I got the same runaround with complaining about this. My GD rep says “We know about it and are working on a fix.” TOTAL BS!

    Thank you for bringing this issue back into the light. I would love to see someone from GD adress these issues here now.

    • I think this is how the backorders work. If a domain doesn’t get bids then it is awarded to the backorder.

    • That is how backorders work. You can do the same thing if you want, put a backorder on the name. Once you do though it places a live bid on the name. So if you do it too early you tip people off, if you do it too late someone else beats you and gets their backorder in first. If you don’t want to bid on the name at $12 then you can try that if you want. There isn’t anything wrong with it or anything we are doing to “fix” it. You’re trying to get that name for $11 bucks at the closeout auction and you are not the only one trying it. So it comes down to kind of the whole principal of an auction, if you want to win the name you either pay more than the person who is also interested in the domain i.e. bid on it for $12, or you try and beat them to bid first on the closeout and backorders are just another mechanism to do that. So either you pay more than the other party or are faster at getting the Buy Now done that is how auctions are designed to work.

  6. Things are being changed as we speak….The website needs to be changed to…Dilly Dilly my friends.

  7. I just received this email from GoDaddy:

    Good morning,

    We are making a change to our domain name expiry process and wanted to give you enough notice to make decisions on your portfolio. GoDaddy is changing the domain renewal timeline from 42 to 30 days for most domains. Based on our research, less than 1% of our customers renew after 30 days.

    Starting Dec 4, the following changes will happen to expired domain names:
    • After Day 5 of expiration, DNS, email, hosting, redirecting and any other DNS-dependent services will be interrupted and stop working.
    • After Day 30 of expiration, domain names are no longer able to be renewed or transferred away.

    We wanted to give a heads -up so you have enough notice to make decisions on your portfolio. As always please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

    **** ****
    Go Daddy LLC
    Premier Services

    I think we need Rick to talk about their other issues/bugs as well to get their attention.

  8. What I don’t understand is this…you mentioned Winning bidders have 3 days after the auction to pay. Or you lose the domain.

    Why is it then when I have a non paying winner of one of my sales listings. either a buy it now or auction, I am told I must wait 15 days at least before I can cancel and relist. But they also state they normally allow up to 30 for payment.

    Very frustrating to have to wait this long. And quite a discrepancy from expiring domain payment expectation.

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