Clean Up Your Marketplace Portfolios!

This morning, I received a transfer email from GoDaddy for a domain name I didn’t sell or transfer. I won this domain name at a NameJet auction in February. Although I am passively offering it for sale via my landing page, I am monetizing it via PPC and do not have it listed for sale on any of the domain name sale marketplaces.

After receiving the email, I did a bit of research to confirm that I still own the domain name. Essentially, I wanted to make sure I hadn’t resold it or that something else funky wasn’t going on with the domain name. Using DomainTools, I saw that there was a “for sale” notice with a BIN price. Clicking on the link to me to an Afternic page, although Afternic indicated that the  domain name was not for sale. I checked Sedo, and the domain name was listed there with the same BIN price as was indicated on the DomainTools page.

When I saw this, my hunch was that the domain name sold via Afternic. Because it wasn’t my sale listing and not approved within my account as an Afternic listing, GoDaddy couldn’t do a “fast transfer” from my eNom account and needed to request a transfer manually. I emailed Afternic’s Alan Shiflett, and he confirmed my hunch and told me  the domain name was sold via Afternic. Unfortunately for the buyer, the sale is not valid and is not going to happen at that price.

It is very important for domain owners to keep their marketplace listings accurate.  It could theoretically cause a legal issue if the buyer wishes to pursue legal action, but it can also cause ill will. Imagine you bought and paid for a domain name only to learn that the sale listing wasn’t (supposedly) valid and the deal wasn’t going to go through.

Sadly, this could also cause an optics problem for me and my company, not to mention Afternic and/or GoDaddy. A confused buyer could think that I was trying to inflate the price of the domain name after a sale. A  novice buyer may think I was simply unhappy about my sale price and decided to jack up the price. This isn’t true, but imagine how this would look to a buyer. Most sellers probably don’t care about this issue until it happens to them.

Keeping marketplace portfolios and listings accurate is important. It may be a bit of a nuisance to do, but it can prevent issues.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I’ve had this happen to me numerous times as a buyer at Sedo listings and GoDaddy auctions — I buy at the BIN price and several days later I get emails saying the orders have been cancelled. Just last week I bought a domain name at Flippa and only after the purchase did the seller realize he no longer owned the domain name and could not fulfill my order. Frustrating. :/

  2. I had something of this sort this happen to me as I was the buyer though at NameJet a few months ago. I was chasing a name for a while. Finally it listed on NJ, I won it. Paid for it. Then waiting, waiting, waiting. Finally contacted them and asked why I hadn’t seen the name in my account as of yet. They said, Oh sorry, our seller listed the name accidentally and we have to just refund you. This seller sells so much thru us it was an oversight on his part since he lists so many domains with us. Great. A true professional huh? …Talk about cleaning up your Marketplace portfolios! Very disturbing.

  3. Depending on your status with the marketplace, this may also lead to the closure of your account there. In some cases they will also invoice the commission they would have gotten if the sale had completed.

    • Outdated listings on scattered market places are simply a reality of doing business in the domain market. Yes, it’s a nuisance. In my view, it’s the responsibility of new owners and market places to clean up old listings left over from old owners. They – and not the old owners – have the proper incentive.

      Talk of banning sellers for leaving their listings alone is remarkably out of touch, it seems to me. Invoicing sellers for domains they once owned and haven’t de-listed? That’s preposterous. Any market place that attempts to enforce that policy ought to be publicly rebuked.

      Periodic purges of old listings are something I know Sedo does. Other venues might as well. It’s not always enough to prevent mishaps. But it helps. In a perfect world, market places would cross-check whois info with account info on the way toward checkout before the buyer pays. But this world is imperfect. Innocent mistakes will happen. Market places and new owners should be able to explain the domain industry to potential buyers – yes, even to thwarted angry customers. It’s part of our job.

  4. You would think that all the larger marketplaces would have history logs showing that the previous owner listed the domain for sale and purge/close old listings automatically when a domain changes ownership. Of course, that wouldn’t be so easy on multi-marketplace listings unless they all incorporated whois monitoring into their platform. Now that’s a neat idea, when whois records change, a listing is suspended until the seller that listed the domain can confim they either still own it and updated whois themself or it was sold, in which case the listing is closed/removed until the new owner relists.

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