NameJet made a step towards more transparency in the last day or so when it introduced a new field on auctions called “Domain Type.” From what I can see, there appear to be three options: Expiry, Direct Lister, and Pending Delete. These fields are visible when an auction is in pre-release status as well as when an auction is live.
I think this is helpful and makes auctions more transparent. Before NameJet added this field, bidders would only know if an auction was via direct lister if the auction was public, if it had a reserve price, or by performing a Whois search and possibly using the Whois history tool at DomainTools. This will make it more clear from the outset.
I have been bidding much less on private auctions over the last year or so. When I listed domain names for sale on NameJet, I did my best to email prospective buyers to notify them about an auction. I presume other sellers likely do the same thing. If that is the case and I win the auction, I may be paying more than prospective end user buyers or the prospects may have already decided they aren’t interested in the domain name. Of course, timing is everything, but with all else being equal, I would rather have a name that has not been marketed.
Here are two examples of the field – one with an expiry stream auction and one with a direct lister auction: