In 2017, GoDaddy changed its domain name expiry process. As far as I understood, this change was going to pretty much eliminate the ability for a domain registrant to renew a domain name once it went to auction for domain names registered at GoDaddy. I know this doesn’t apply for domain names registered at auction partner registrars like Enom, but I thought GoDaddy-registered names that went to auction could no longer be renewed post-auction.
It was always frustrating to participate in an auction, submit payment, and then receive the cancelation and refund email. It’s a frustrating experience and a waste of time.
Earlier today on Twitter, I was mentioned in a tweet by the winning bidder of ChicagoPizza.com. Apparently, this person won the auction for ChicagoPizza.com and the auction was cancelled. The winning bid for the domain name was $9,400, as archived by NameBio.
GoDaddy’s Joe Styler responded to the tweet thread:
The original owner did renew it. While rare after 30 days it is still possible in edge cases for the owner to reclaim the domain. The auctions terms you check every time you place a bid state the original owner can renew the domain and it’s not final until 45 days post expiration
— Joe Styler (@jjstyler) March 19, 2021
I followed up by asking about “edge cases” to understand under what conditions an auction can be canceled. The GoDaddy Auctions Twitter account responded to give some examples of edge cases:
certainly not exhaustive list but very rare cases such as, legal issues, TM issues, technical or human errors, death, etc. We cannot comment on this particular domain due to privacy concerns beyond the original owner renewed the domain in line with the auction’s legal terms
— GoDaddy Auctions (@godaddyauctions) March 19, 2021
Joe Styler mentioned the Terms and Conditions, and I found the T&C I believe he was referencing – the GoDaddy Auctions Membership Agreement. Here’s the relevant section from this agreement:
“From time to time, GoDaddy may list domain names which have entered into an expiration period for their original registration (“Expired Domain Names”). Expired Domain Names will be clearly marked on the site. These Expired Domain Names may be listed on the Site on the date of their expiration, however, no sale will be final until forty-five (45) days after the date of expiration. During the redemption period, as described in the Domain Name Registration Agreement, the original registrant has the right to reclaim the Expired Domain Name. By bidding on the Expired Domain Name, Buyer acknowledges and agrees that if Buyer has the winning bid, the transfer of the Expired Domain Name will not be completed until after the expiration period is complete. Buyer further acknowledges and agrees GoDaddy shall not be obligated to offer a third-party escrow service to facilitate transactions involving Expired Domain Names. If the Expired Domain Name is reclaimed by the original registrant, GoDaddy will refund the full purchase price. Buyer acknowledges Expired Domain Names must be renewed upon purchase. A one (1) year renewal or transfer fee will be added to the purchase price for each Expired Domain Name purchased. The successful bid amount plus the one (1) year renewal or transfer fee (from the end of the domain name’s previous registration period), plus ICANN fee, if applicable, is due within forty-eight (48) hours of auction close or the form of payment you used to purchase your Go Daddy Auctions membership, or any valid payment method associated with the account, will be charged on the third day following the auction close. If the winning bidder does not complete their purchase, you may be offered the Expired Domain Name for purchase. You must complete the purchase of the Expired Domain Name within twenty-four (24) hours of notification of the Expired Domain Name being offered to you. If you elect to purchase the Expired Domain Name, you acknowledge the Expired Domain Name must be renewed upon purchase. A one (1) year renewal fee will be added to the purchase price for each Expired Domain Name purchased. Your bid amount plus the one (1) year renewal or transfer fee (from the end of the domain name’s previous registration period), plus ICANN fee, if applicable, is due within twenty-four (24) hours of the notification of option to purchase the Expired Domain Name and if payment is not received within twenty-four (24) hours, GoDaddy may offer the Expired Domain Name to others for purchase. If the Expired Domain Name is reclaimed by the original registrant, GoDaddy will refund the full purchase price.”
While GoDaddy is within its right to cancel the auctions given the terms and conditions, I think domain investors who bid on GoDaddy Auctions should be aware of this.