I was following the Gradient.com auction on GoDaddy Auctions for the last few days, and the domain name sold for $125,001 yesterday. Because Gradient.com was an expired domain name, the domain registrant has several days to renew the domain name before the winning bidder will be able to close on the domain name and take possession of it.
I reached out to GoDaddy Aftermarket VP Paul Nicks about the auction, and he told me “this is the highest priced expired domain on our platform.” If the sale closes, it would rank as the 34th largest public domain name sale of the year in the DNJournal year to date sale report. On NameBio, you can see a list of the largest domain name sales via GoDaddy Auctions and GoDaddy’s domain buy service.
For many years, Gradient.com has been owned by a company called Gradient Resources. It is unclear why the company let the domain name expire. Because this name had significant bidding action for well over a week, I presume representatives from the company have been contacted by many domain investors who tried to privately acquire the domain name. These calls and emails will likely continue until the domain name is renewed or it changes hands. With all of the phone calls and emails, many registrants become alerted to the potential loss of a domain name and renew before the domain name is awarded to the highest bidder.
There are many companies that use Gradient in their branding, so I can see why the domain name would be desired. From my perspective, this seems like an end user price rather than an investor price. If the sale completes, we will know whether this was an investor acquisition or if an end user buyer saw that the domain name expired and made the purchase.
As mentioned at the outset, the domain registrant still has some time to renew the domain name before the auction winner can take possession of it. Unfortunately, GoDaddy does not report finalized domain auction results or sales, so people will need to monitor the Whois record of the domain name to see if the sale closes.
Hopefully GoDaddy will make an exception and provide a final update if / when the sale closes since this is the largest GoDaddy Auctions sale.