Following up on GoDaddy’s pledge to make its auctions more transparent, I was just notified that GoDaddy will be introducing unique bidder IDs for all bidders on GoDaddy Auctions. The plan is to implement this change following the close of auctions tomorrow, April 11th.
Each bidder will be given a unique bidder identification number, which will be different and unrelated to the customer account number to prevent social engineering. Bidder identification numbers will be automatically assigned sequentially, and they can not be changed by a bidder. The only way for a bidder to get a new or different bidder ID is to create or use another GoDaddy Auctions account.
During the course of an auction, the individual bidders will continue be masked as they are now (“Bidder 1,” “Bidder 2,”…etc). At the conclusion of the auction, participants in the auction will be able to see the unique bidder ID number for all participants in the auction. This will allow third parties to track who was bidding on their auctions. I was told GoDaddy will not be showing bidder IDs during an auction to prevent bidder harassment. This could help prevent a situation like this. and it could also prevent an auction being “run up” because someone well-known is the lead bidder.
The bidder ID numbers will be sequential, meaning someone with a lower ID number has been a GoDaddy Auctions bidder for a longer time than someone with a higher number. This could be helpful for people who are concerned someone just signed up to bid up an auction, although someone could have signed up specifically to bid on a particular auction. I think this would be more helpful to people concerned about shill bidding on private auctions rather than expiry auctions.
I would prefer to see bidder IDs during an auction, but it does not sound like this is under consideration. I do think this is a good step for GoDaddy to take to help increase transparency.
One additional step towards transparency that I would like to see GoDaddy take is to report its public domain name auction sales data. I think this data will be a boost to the aftermarket, ensure that reported data is accurate, and provide more comparable sales information for buyers and sellers. GoDaddy Auctions is a public venue where anybody can participate, and I think this would be a boost to the aftermarket.
Should I hear that the implementation of bidder IDs get delayed, I will provide an update.