GoDaddy Auctions Wins Can Still be Cancelled

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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:

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:

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.

13 COMMENTS

  1. In the past many times if my expiring GoDaddy domain got bid on GoDaddy auctions, domain gets deleted from my account and there is no option to renew it further. ( Exactly after 30 days )
    I think the owner reached out to GoDaddy via private message or setting and they restored the domain name. GoDaddy gives up on illegal pressure very easily.

  2. “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.”
    Elliot, you’re being far too kind.
    For years, I’ve never cared less about GoDaddy because we’ve never registered our names with them. We’ve always considered some of their early policies to be somewhat Draconian and we’ve kept our distance. However, the Brent Oxley debacle caused me to take a closer look at these guys.
    Last week, a very well-known author (who shall remain nameless) asked for my advice about renewing his domain name because he believed his registry was engaging in what he felt were questionable business practices. I asked him the name of the registry and he told me, “GoDaddy.”
    I asked him to send me what they were emailing him. The emails were composed of the type of verbiage that would scare your average non-professional domain owner. A lot of it bothered me and made me question why any professional domainer would keep their names with GoDaddy. Here’s one part of they wrote him. I’ll just leave this right here so you and your readers can make up your own minds:
    .COM Domain Renewal
    $17.99 / 1 Year
    If you do not renew your domain(s) during the 12-day Renewal Grace Period, you will incur a fee of $80.00 in addition to the domain renewal fee.

    • As an active auction buyer, it sucks losing out on domain names that are renewed at the last minute. It’s a waste of time and money.

      Look at another perspective though, which I have done and come to accept.

      Let’s say a friend of yours owned a domain name, and your friend died unexpectedly (heaven forbid, but let’s just use this as an illustrative example). Let’s also assume his wife and kids did not really know about the domain name or they knew about it but did not know to renew it or how to renew it.

      Wise domain investor Joe sees the domain name expiring and tries to contact the registrant to try and buy it before the auction. Obviously someone who passed away doesn’t answer email, and when the email contact doesn’t work, Joe does further due diligence and ends up contacting the wife or someone related who contacts the wife or kids.

      Given the nature of when a domain name would appear in auction, by the time Joe contacts someone connected with the domain name owner, it would be very, very close to the deadline or potentially shortly after the renewal deadline. If your friend’s wife calls GoDaddy and tells them her husband’s valuable domain name expired and she wants to renew it because he died, would you:

      A) Want GoDaddy to allow her to renew his long-held domain name despite the fact that it is beyond the stated renewal deadline but within their T&C to renew and cancel the auction?

      or

      B) Want GoDaddy to tell her it’s too late to renew the domain name, so if she wants it she needs to bid on it in the auction where GoDaddy will get all the proceeds?

      In my opinion, and knowing you for as long as I have known you, I think you would be very vocal about GoDaddy not allowing your dead friend’s wife to renew a domain name while it is in auction.

      I have no idea what happened with this specific auction, but it appears that GoDaddy lost out on $9,400 in auction revenue to allow someone to pay less than $100 to renew it.

  3. There would be no problem with auctions domains (Com) expired at 81 days after expiration, you can auction domains (Com) without the right of renewal by the old owner.

  4. I agree with Elliot, most will charge a fee to renew after the period has lapsed.

    May I add as far as I am aware there is no rule per say in time given once in grace period and each registrar is still free to do whatever it is they want (sometimes even violating their own made up TOS), the wild west is alive and well in this industry decades later.

    I have seen names in grace periods get auctioned and NOT returned and I have seen them get auctioned and returned. Determining factor is who is asking and or who is losing.

    Money/Power/Talks, I am speaking of no specific rar and in fact have seen this done mostly at one of the oldest 😉

    This is not a new situation but rather quite an old one that continues.

  5. I had thought about this many a times before and today is happened with ChicagoPizza.com.

    Well, this could be the owner of expired domains might be building the hype about the domain and checking the value of domain or the owner does make agreement with godaddy that they would share 50:50 sales amount if owner doesn’t renew it.

    I have also seen on Godaddy auction that stupid domains fetch more than $6000 bids. Is that shill bid or godaddy team does it.

    Whenever I place bids on godaddy auction it feels fake and not truth worthy.

    So, the point is there should be no reversal of domain if it goes into auction. Its the duty of owner to share their digital assets details with their family as I did it too and in case owner dies, the family member should know its value, where to sell and how to renew it. Its that simple!

  6. I just had a domain I “thought” I had acquired through the GoDaddy auction system cancelled for no reason listed. The domain in question is buyboats.com. Shouldn’t there be more transparency regarding these sales and that the auctioneer can cancel these transactions? I had already paid for the domain and the payment was refunded Sunday. This just doesn’t seem like proper business etiquette!

  7. I’ve had names at GoDaddy for close to 15 years, I participate in the auctions everyday, DDC and have roughly 200 or so domains. I also list names at Afternic. I consider myself a long time, buying customer – a recurring income generator for the company because I also tell people I know to use GD.

    I hate to lose at anything. I know how to win. I know how to lose. I played all sports including college golf and still believe in etiquette and rules and fairness and knowing how to be gracious under loss and pressure. I spent a lifetime in the beer business – a small, local family business – and fought for survival against competitive pressures, consolidation and the clandestine activities that plague the industry.

    But, when I play by the rules and win and then I don’t win and I’m told that I lost with a door slammed shut in my face and that’s just the way it is? And, when I lose I’m not shown courtesy and decency and respect? Well I was a little emotional. I think I deserve to be a little emotional here. I also think I deserve better than the responses I’ve received. Crickets anyone?

    I do want to thank Elliot, Jamie and Rick for reaching out and being a little bit vocal about this deal. I understand if I lost the name due to it being an appropriate “Edge Case.” However, I see this deal as a name that left the port, it’s actually never been docked, and as long as it continues to be at sea – I’m cool – but if this name somehow docks and starts unloading it’s wonderful cargo – well then we have a problem.

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