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Payment Processing Issue at NameJet

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Late last week, I received an email from NameJet with the subject “NameJet ACTION REQUIRED: Unable to process domain order.” I’ve received these emails on rare occasions in the past, and typically the payment goes through the next day or before. In this instance, I won more than one auction, and I received several of these emails.

Since none of my payment information has changed, I spent some time on the phone with my bank yesterday. I was assured that no payments had been declined or rejected, and in fact, they did not see any payment attempts from NameJet.

NameJet Rolls Out Buy It Now Listings

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Last night, I received quite a few emails from NameJet. This is not uncommon when domain names I have backordered are about to hit the auction block. What was unique about these emails are that they advertised domain names that were available to purchase on NameJet without going through the auction process. Instead, NameJet is now offering domain names for purchase with a buy it now price.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the many emails I received with some details redacted:

AAF.com, Used by Alliance of American Football, is Pending Delete

The Alliance of American Football (AAF) was a professional football league that played part of a football season in 2019. According to Sports Illustrated, AAF filed for bankruptcy in 2019. The league used the valuable AAF.com domain name for its website while it was operational and for sometime after its bankruptcy. Whois records now show that AAF.com expired, and the domain name is now in pending delete status.

Here’s a screenshot of the current Whois record, courtesy of DomainTools:

Set Up Backorders on NameJet

About a year and a half ago, I sold a domain name that was quite replicable. I don’t want to give away details about the domain name I sold, but it was the type of domain name where I could change keywords and similar types of names would also hold value. I wanted to buy similar domain names, but they’re all owned already.

One issue I faced is that these domain names were valuable to end user buyers in the mid 4 to possibly low 5 figure range, but they don’t exactly hold a ton of liquid value. It wouldn’t make much sense for me to reach out to the registrants to try and buy them because I would need to spend in the low to mid 3 figures for them on the buy side, and not too many domain registrants are willing to sell in that range when emailed out of the blue.

Why is Shawnee.com Listed for Auction on NameJet?

I spend quite a bit of time on NameJet searching for upcoming domain name auctions and participating in auctions. Overall, I have a pretty decent experience using the platform, save for the occasional delayed delivery or non-delivery of domain names. There was also the time NameJet was auctioning a domain name I owned without my permission, but that was apparently an issue of human error.

Yesterday evening, I noticed that Shawnee.com is listed as an upcoming “Expiry” auction on NameJet. When I did a bit of pre-auction research, it seemed peculiar that this domain name would be listed for an upcoming auction, and I posted about it on Twitter:

NameJet Was Auctioning My Domain Name Without My Permission

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I want to share a bit of a weird story. Yesterday afternoon, I received an Auction Start email for a domain name I had backordered at NameJet. When I saw that I was the High Bidder, I was surprised because I am pretty sure I placed this backorder after seeing it had already received at least one other bid. I was expecting to be an underbidder, giving me additional time to decide whether to bid further. This happens, and bidders should always be prepared to be the high bidder.

When I visited the auction page, I saw that it was a “Direct Lister” auction, meaning that it was privately listed for auction and was not an expiry auction. I was curious to see who listed this domain name for sale, so I did a Whois search. Much to my surprise, my company is the registrant of the domain name, which was created at the end of September.

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