GoDaddy brokerage offers make little business sense

When someone looks up a domain through GoDaddy for availability and it’s taken, they are presented with an option to make an offer to the domain’s owner.

GoDaddy emails the owner and indicates that one of their customers wants that particular domain name.

The email does not disclose what the offer is, and requires clicking through a link or responding to the email, in order to find out the dollar amount.

Such an approach does not make sense, as GoDaddy becomes a middle man keeping a large chunk of the proceeds, from a sale that requires very little activity.

Edit: According to GoDaddy, in such a transaction, the seller keeps 100% of the amount, as the buyer pays the brokerage fees.

In fact, for domains that flat out advertise they are for sale, such as those parked at Domain Name Sales, the person who places the inquiry all they have to do is visit the URL to initiate contact.

While there are cases that a decent offer might come through the GoDaddy system, the downside is that the seller is not in control of the parameters of the inquiry; there is no info on the buyer whatsoever.

This can lead to substantial loss of potential profit, not to mention a lengthy transaction that depends on the middle man in this case.

So far, inquiries that I have received through the GoDaddy “brokerage” system were essentially lowballing offers not worthy of a response. As a matter of fact, it’s best not to respond at all, forcing the party interested in the domain to engage into communication on your terms.



  1. I guess we have a different perspective. I have domains buy it now
    at several places but godaddy/afternic (gd owns afternic) produces
    more sales than the others. Payment is fast and afternic is helpful and professional.
    Godaddy is the largest registrar it is said.

  2. Brian Cowan says

    Some buyer’s value anonymity and feel secure transacting with a company they’ve done business with before. Buyer’s pay a retainer for the service and currently a 10% commission on the final sales price. The retainer fee limits tire-kicking as the interested buyer already has skin in the game. If you feel having the service approach you is a waste of your time, I would appreciate a chance to talk with you and let’s figure out a way to make it beneficial for all parties.

  3. Wayne – I believe in exclusive partnerships, as far as domain listings are concerned. This is the reason I left Sedo after they forced all domains to be cross-listed on GoDaddy.

    The incident I speak of is related to offers that initiate with an attempt to register existing domains, not from actual listings in GoDaddy controlled venues.

  4. Brian – I don’t think anonymity is the reason the offers arrive through GoDaddy; more likely a lack of understanding of how domains are owned and sold.

    While I use GoDaddy’s TDNAM – and Afternic – to acquire domains, all my sales go either through DNS or privately.

  5. You say “most likely 30%,” do you know the actual cut GoDaddy takes? A lot of whether it would be profitable would be dependent on that, I would think…

  6. Paul – I believe that’s the commission withheld from the seller’s proceeds, but Brian can correct me.

    The issue here isn’t just the commission, but the fact that this sales approach has several weak points that I’ve hopefully outlined above.

    Again, this is my personal take on the subject.

  7. I get these emails all the time but wonder if clicking on the link to see an offer can open you up to a potential UDRP. The following sentence is what concerns me most:

    “However, before we can get started with any negotiations, we need to know if you are interested in selling” Below is the full email template: Curious to get feed back from fellow domainers or legal eagles

    Dear Registration Admin,

    A GoDaddy customer has an immediate interest in purchasing the domain! You are being contacted because your email address is listed as the registrant/administrative contact for

    On behalf of our client, we are prepared to make an offer for

    Don’t like that offer? We are happy to present your asking price to our client!

    However, before we can get started with any negotiations, we need to know if you are interested in selling At no point during this process will you be required to accept our client’s offer or sell your domain name.

    Please click here or reply to this email to let us know the status of and whether you are interested in selling it at this time.

    Should you decide to entertain an offer, you will be presented with the offer amount along with further information on how to continue the GoDaddy® Domain Buy Service process. The GoDaddy Domain Buy Service provides a safe and secure method for interested parties to purchase currently owned domain names. You can learn more about the Domain Buy Service at GoDaddy.

    Thank you in advance for your response. Please reply to this email or contact the Domain Buy Service team at (480) 366-3303.

    GoDaddy Domain Buy Service

  8. Brian Cowan says

    @Paul and Acro: I appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings. The Domain Buy Service, which is the service in question, currently charges a 10% commission to the buyer in addition to the agreed sales price. Example: A seller agrees to sell at $2000, the buyer pays GoDaddy, $2200 (plus domain transfer if needed), the Seller delivers the domain, the seller is paid $2000.

    @Domainer – In over five years of being associated with the Domain Buy Service product, I am unaware of an instance in which a Domain Buy Service offer was used in a UDRP, but I can understand the concern. The Domain Buy Service team just wants to get a deal done, if an interested seller is uncomfortable with the wording of an opening offer email, the seller can call the Domain Buy Service or GoDaddy’s general support which can get them over to the Domain Buy Service, they can also reply to the email directly or email me at

  9. Brian – Thanks for providing the numbers. When was it that this commission rate was set to 10% ?

  10. Brian Cowan says

    Acro- Auction listing and Premium listing commissions have changed through the years but Domain Buy Service has maintained a 10% (buyer paid) commission rate for at least the years five years and I believe through the life of the service.

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