Some reported sales at GoDaddy are bogus

I use GoDaddy to acquire domain names on their aftermarket, and recently posted about my experience regarding an auction.

Despite losing that auction to someone else, I wasn’t as frustrated as the winner must be currently.

The reason being, the domain’s registrant pulled the domain out of GoDaddy in the last “minute” of the redemption period, renewing it.

The domain auction’s winner was thus left with a digital drooling for this 23 year old domain, and the registrant received a free appraisal for it and kept the domain.

From what I’m being told, such reversals are quite common, and commentators in that previous post even mentioned particular registrants that do this as a “hobby.”

One problem that wasn’t mentioned, is that these domains are now being recorded as sold, some with a price tag of thousands of dollars, by domain industry blogs and other resources that track domain sales on a weekly basis.

I can identify two potential problems that arise from this inaccurate reporting of domain sales:

  • The domains are unsold, and now there is a public record of a supposed sale for whatever amount, small or large.
  • The industry’s total metrics are skewed, sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars in weekly sales.

By reporting lists of domain sales, one should always confirm a change of ownership before including GoDaddy auctions to the results, thanks to this existing issue.


  1. I’ve also noticed this problem. Someone needs to fix the glitch or explain why there is no fix! Thanks sharing!

  2. TD – It’s the blogs’ responsibility to double-check these sales, as they aren’t official GoDaddy reports.

  3. For me, it’s about 75% of the time that the registrant renews the domain after the auction is over.

    The bigger question is why does Godaddy auction domains, take your money, and lack the authority to transfer the domain name? Asked another way, why is Godaddy auctioning domains that Godaddy itself admits someone else still owns? If you ask Godaddy, they say it’s required by ICANN. But other auction venues don’t do this on expired domains.

    The other thing you have to watch with Godaddy is that they actually refund your money after the buyer redeems the domain name. I’m sure it was an oversight when I had to chase them down on multiple occasions for refunds that never appeared. And it’s just so unnecessary, if only they could their auctions in a more reputable manner (i.e. actually have the authority to auction and transfer a domain).

  4. Josh – To be fair to GoDaddy, other venues, such as NameJet, can claw back a domain up to 42 days after an auction has been won and paid for.

  5. Arco,
    I have experienced this more than once with GD. Not only do you not get the name in which you have researched, spent your time bidding on etc. but your money is tied up if you have paid for it. I was paying for my winning auctions right after they ended then a few days later I would receive an email from GD letting me know that they were returning my money. Of course it is at least 5 business days before you get your money back. I could go on and on with reasons why this is a TERRIBLE policy but it is the way they operate.

  6. This is an industry-wide issue, but it seems especially problematic at Go Daddy.

    I expect that sooner or later someone with deep pockets will take umbrage at this practice and sue Go Daddy for selling a product that doesn’t belong to Go Daddy and for which they have no permission to sell.

    As for TOS: almost no one reads it; it’s like signing wavers before surgery, which almost never stand up in court.

  7. Like any auction, you must give in to all conditions, so you are taking a risk, and attempting to purchase something at a wholesale value in most cases in order to get a high return on investment, that a conventional sale from a solid holder.

    So in such cases there are more issues, you need to have capital on hand to deal with such cases. I agree most blogs do not have the manpower or resources to re record the sale to see if it closed right, so this issue will continue to happen with false sales.

    People expect easy money, but like anything this business takes dedication, years of knowledge, and capital.

    Good luck to all

  8. Choo Jen-Sin says

    Registrars are earning lots of money from expired domain auctions. On top of that, the winning auction price does not include the domain renewal fee.

    How I wish registrants of such expired domain auctions will earn the auction price, minus commission. Any registrar like to shake the industry and offer this? I’m sure many domainers will be keen. =)

  9. I have always made a distinction Theo, when it is Sedo I publish sold, because that name is sold, for places like Go Daddy, Flippa and NameJet I put closed at, I think what a name closed at is still of interest to the everyday domain investor. You are right that if people take them all as sold then that skews things.

    Kevin Fink at Flippa will email reversals on Flippa, obviously no one doing that on Go Daddy.

    To the other issue I think I posted a comment on your post, Paul Nicks has repeated this is the way it is going to be done, up to day 45 and you can transfer out, and yes many have told me if I am going to get a free look (real world appraisal) I am going to take it.

  10. Raymond – The issue is GoDaddy-specific, and a sale that did not occur is never indicative of a true value for a domain. I will expand on this in another post.

    The problem is that by reporting such “non sales” even web sites like Namebio record them as valid, when they aren’t.

  11. Thanks for bringing up this important topic. I wrote a response on our blog here rather than posting a really long comment:

    It’s certainly an issue, but I don’t think using WHOIS history to verify the sales would work in most cases, I outlined the reasons in my article.

    It also isn’t very practical from a cost perspective given the volume of sales that would need to be verified on a monthly basis. Hopefully some day the venues will be more forthcoming, or more winners will tell us when the auctions are reversed.

  12. Thanks Michael, an interesting discussion overall, and I appreciate your input. Alas, GoDaddy’s “glitch” is leading to the poisoning of sales data. Every venue should release sales info, taking responsibility for the numbers. I understand certain sales aren’t included, e.g. Sedo won’t release those under NDA per the request of the seller or buyer that paid the extra point for privacy.

  13. The timing of your article adds fuel to a change I was getting ready to make for August, so thanks for the extra push.

  14. Raymond – Share the details, please 😀

    My posts are identifying issues, some of which lay dormant and some just below the surface of other issues.

    E.g., the way GoDaddy auctions work against the bidder, is the primary issue, and the bogus sales is the underlying issue.

    Some call this “bitching”. I call it, reporting the issue and offering a field for discussion and improvement.

  15. It definitely is not bitching on your part, I too have tried to bring about issues with Go Daddy Auctions as it has always been my favorite venue. There is a lot of info repeated over on the forums that’s not true, like someone paying $80 for every name and you explain no they can transfer out, and I point to what Paul Nicks said, it hasn’t changed and from talking with Paul for years about this, I don’t think Go Daddy thinks it should change.

  16. Expanded on the fallacy of sending expired domains to auction as a means of gauging value.

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