Paul Nicks, VP and GM of the Aftermarket at GoDaddy, published an article on the GoDaddy Blog this evening that is concerning to me as a GoDaddy customer, especially because I am an active bidder on GoDaddy Auctions. Paul tweeted a link to the article via his Twitter account a short while ago:
For my domains followers, I wanted to update you on a serious situation we had brought to our attention. https://t.co/jis04Q7kwa
— Paul Nicks (@PaulENicks) March 29, 2019
You should read the article in its entirety, but here is an excerpt that discusses what GoDaddy found after an investigation resulting from “serious allegations” made by a GoDaddy customer:
“We started investigating the activities of three employees. We were quickly able to rule out the involvement of one employee. As we investigated and interviewed the other two employees, it became clear that only one party violated our employee Code of Conduct. After a thorough review of the circumstances, we terminated the employment of this employee.
This employee created an account not associated with his legal name, and participated in auctions and expiry auctions as a bidder, which is a conflict of interest and a direct violation of our policy. To be clear, our investigation uncovered NO evidence that this employee used any confidential customer information for personal gain, or that he conducted shill-bidding on auctions.
While we believe the employee did not have malicious motivations, GoDaddy does not tolerate such violations of our Code of Conduct. Indeed, many provisions of our Code of Conduct are there specifically to protect our platform. We are very clear that no employee may participate in any auction that involves bidding against our customers. Employees are able to purchase buy now and closeout domains.”
Paul outlined some of the actions GoDaddy plans to take in light of this news. He wrote that GoDaddy will be “reviewing platform changes to make things even more transparent.” For starters, I think it is about time GoDaddy add bidder nicknames for auction participants. I am not sure if having bidder nicknames would have done anything with respect to this situation, but this kind of transparency is helpful.
This is not the first time a GoDaddy employee was reportedly bidding on auctions against customers. Wired published an article in 2008 with allegations about employee bidding. From what I understand, it does not appear that it was against the rules for employee bidding back then, but employees are no longer permitted to bid on auctions against customers.
As a longtime GoDaddy customer (they also advertise here, and I host this website there, FYI), I think it is important to note that GoDaddy is a very large publicly traded company with lots of honest employees who go above and beyond to serve their customers. The news is disappointing and upsetting, but so far, it seems to be isolated.
This is a developing story…