GoDaddy Auctions is the only domain name auction platform I use on a regular basis that does not show the static bidder nickname for auction participants. In lieu of this, GoDaddy assigns bidders individual Bidder #s in each auction, such as Bidder 1, Bidder 2, Bidder 3…etc. When an auction closes at GoDaddy, bidders can see the static bidder identification numbers of participants.
I have always been under the assumption that the Bidder # is based on the order the person places their bid. For instance, if Bill bids first with a $100 proxy, he would be Bidder 1. If Jane is the second bidder and her bid is $75, she would be outbid by Bill, and she would be Bidder 2. The next person to place a bid would be Bidder 3. If Bill bids again and takes the lead, it would show Bidder 1 as the top bidder. I never put much thought into it, but that is what I have always assumed when looking at the bid order at GoDaddy Auctions.
When I was bidding on the Academic.com auction in July, I noticed something peculiar as the auction was closing. The main auction page had a different leading bidder # than when I opened up the auction bids from the GoDaddy Auctions homepage. It did not really matter all that much to me because I had been outbid, and I have 100% confidence the auction was won fairly.
After the auction concluded, I shared this on Twitter and alerted GoDaddy to what I noticed:
Some strangeness on this auction at @godaddyauctions. The main auction page had a different leading bidder than when I opened up the auction bids from the main Auctions page. Didn’t matter because someone else appears to have won. pic.twitter.com/ChtDsn7EJ4
— Elliot Silver (@DInvesting) July 1, 2021
More recently, I noticed something about about bidder numbers in a current auction. I placed a five figure bid in an auction. I became the high bidder at the time, and I was listed as Bidder 3. When I thought about it, I realized that there did not seem to be a way that I could be the third bidder in the bidding sequence. There were quite a few others that bid various amounts lower before I placed my bid.
With this in mind, I reached out again to GoDaddy to see if they could explain what happened in this auction so I can understand how their bidder numbers work. Apparently, this is not a simple case of me misunderstanding how bidder numbers work. Here’s what I was told by a GoDaddy representative today:
“We looked into it and there have been some inconsistencies in the bidder assignment numbers during the live auction. It has been like that for a while. The actual bid amounts, the bidders, etc are all correct. The auction does show the bidders in the order you would expect with their correct corresponding bidder IDs after the auction ends. This is not impacting the bidding or bid history we show. We are working on a fix for it and will be in touch.”
Based on what GoDaddy is saying and my own observations, I do not believe this impacts auction integrity. It also hasn’t really impacted my bidding strategy much either.
You may be asking why it matters at all, and I will share what I shared with others.
From a bidding psychology perspective, it matters to me in a small way given the lack of bidder nicknames. Someone who is Bidder 1 that continually places bids for 8 days in an auction may be less apt to relent unless I place a really strong bid. Someone who only places a single bid at the end of an auction may not care much about the auction and be casually placing a bid as they are checking out the closing auctions. On the other hand, someone could be biding their time and want the name just as badly as someone else but waits until the end.
Someone who spends more time than me and analyzes and privately bidding patterns could match bidding patterns with the static bidder identification numbers at the conclusion of the auctions. This inconsistency would likely impact someone who does that.
In my opinion, it’s time for GoDaddy to start showing bidder nicknames on auctions just like other domain auction platforms. I highly doubt there is a desire for this to happen though. At the very least, GoDaddy needs to resolve the issue and be clear about how the Bidder number system works.