A NamePros post about NameJet caught my eye this morning because I have dealt with the same situation multiple times. In the NamePros post, the thread starter detailed a month-long, unsuccessful effort to get possession of a domain name he won at auction. Presumably, NameJet collected his payment already, so he is out his funds and the domain name.
I try my best to avoid “Public” domain name auctions at NameJet. The domain names in these auctions are privately owned by domain investors or others who wish to sell their domain names rather than expired domain names. NameJet started out as an auction platform for expiry auctions, but it opened up for private sellers several years ago.
There have been several times where I was the high bidder or the only bidder on a private-seller (Public) auction, and the seller did not fulfill the purchase. Maybe the seller decided not to sell a domain name because the price was too low. Maybe the seller forgot to unlock the domain name and send the auth code to NameJet for a transfer. It’s even possible the seller previously sold the domain name or let it expire, and it is owned by someone else.
Whatever may be causing the transfer delays to the winning bidder, it is very frustrating to deal with this. NameJet collects payment the same day the auction is won (unless payment requires a wire transfer), so the buyer doesn’t have their money nor does the buyer have the domain name. It is frustrating to have to continue emailing NameJet for updates and to have to continually keep track of the auction because I don’t think NameJet is super proactive about giving refunds without being prompted by the buyer.
I am sure that non-fulfilling sellers are also frustrating to NameJet. The company has to continually ping its sellers to fulfill their sales. Worse, though, is the loss of faith in the platform when sellers do not fulfill. Non-fulfilling sellers is one of a handful of reasons I try very hard not to bid on private seller auctions unless I really want a name or simply do not see it is a private seller before bidding.
One easy solution for NameJet would be to require auction-listed names to be registered at a Newfold Digital-controlled registrar before the start of the auction. Newfold owns NameJet and several domain registrars. Sellers could choose from Network Solutions, Endurance International registrars, or Register.com. NameJet could offer close to cost transfers so it is not burdensome for its sellers. Once the domain name is transferred to a Newfold registrar, the company could put an auction lock on the domain name so the seller can’t transfer it out. NameJet could then automatically provision domain names to winning bidders.
I am sure some sellers would not like this. They would have to pay $8+/each to transfer all of their auction names, which could be thousands of dollars. However, if their names are decent enough to list for sale, this small transfer cost should not be an impediment to them. Of course, this would be a deterrent to someone selling crappy names because nobody wants to pre-emptively spend $8+ to transfer a domain name that might not get any bids. To that I say “who cares?” Don’t let people list their garbage names.
My guess is there are probably just a handful of auction sellers who would protest, but there are many more domain investors who have had auctions go unfulfilled who are reticent to bid on these private seller auctions because of this issue.
I would be more inclined to bid on private-seller auctions if Newfold had control of the domain names before the auction and could guarantee fulfillment.