GoDaddy Auctions, NameJet, and DropCatch.com are domain name expiry auction platforms that primarily cater to domain investors. These platforms are all open to the public, but I would imagine the vast majority of participants are investors seeking to buy domain names at wholesale prices.
When a domain name expires, most domain registrars place an expiry notice on the top of the landing page to inform visitors of the expired status. The notices typically contain a link to the auction for the domain name should it not be renewed by the registrant in time. These notices can be helpful to companies who may wish to purchase a domain name at auction once it goes through the expiry cycle.
Josh Schoen recently noticed an end user company bought a domain name via GoDaddy Auctions. Via Twitter, Josh mentioned that a company called McHale Performance bought McHale.com at auction for $10,000 (confirmed via NameBio) in early April:
An end-user was the winner of the https://t.co/Cu32jcAcwq expired auction at GoDaddy earlier this month. McHale Performance won the auction for $10k. It’s an upgrade from McHale(.)org and McHalePerformance(.)com. IMO, they got a huge steal! #domains #domainnames
— Joshua Schoen (@jstenn13) April 20, 2018
Prior to winning the auction, the company had been using McHale.org and McHalePerformance.com. Both of these are fine domain names and probably served the company well, but obviously McHale.com is the perfect match for the company. Paying $10,000 for a domain name like this may seem like a lot of money, but McHale is a relatively common last name, and there were plenty of other individuals and companies who would benefit from owning the domain name.
Prior to its expiry, it looks like the McHale.com domain name had been used to share information about the McHale surname. The domain name appears to have been owned by someone with the McHale last name prior to its expiration, according to the DomainTools Whois History Tool.
It seems like domain investors make up the majority of bidders on expiry auctions, but sometimes there are end users that bid to win. Buying McHale.com for $10,000 seems like a smart move for this company. It is a good thing someone at the company was paying attention to the McHale.com domain name before it went to auction.