Suggestions to Improve GoDaddy / Afternic Sale Process

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GoDaddy and Afternic operate the largest domain name sales network, partnering with more than 100 other domain name registrars and platforms to sell customer-owned domain names. A customer that lists a domain name for sale via Afternic will have their listings shown on the purchase pages at registrars like Namecheap, Google, Name.com, and many others when a prospective buyer searches for that domain name.

GoDaddy’s Fast Transfer network makes it relatively easy for domain investors to sell their domain names. When a buyer at Namecheap, for example, purchases a domain name listed for sale via GoDaddy/Afternic on the Fast Transfer network, the domain name will automatically transfer to the buyer without the seller having to take action. Once listed and approved, the seller doesn’t play much of a role in selling domain names via this channel.

The GoDaddy / Afternic network should and does make it easier for domain investors to sell domain names to people they may have never reached, but it is not without its issues. There are pain points that I deal with when selling via GoDaddy and Afternic, and I want to offer some suggestions to improve the process.

Action Required / Processing Listing – Don’t make it a responsibility of the customer to monitor these domain names and ask them to be resubmitted to ensure they are correctly listed. I shouldn’t have to email service @ Afternic to get pending listings approved. Listings in these status should automatically be re-processed and if they can’t, the customer should understand what the issue is (ie 60 day transfer lock). If a listing is rejected (TM reasons or expired), a reason should be given rather than being shown a customer support email. If GoDaddy can see the Whois differs from the account holder, the listing should be deleted automatically rather than showing up as “action required.”

Invalid Listings – I regularly try to add domain names to my account that are already listed by others on Afternic. For instance, when I buy a name on DropCatch and have to add it via Afternic rather than through my GoDaddy control panel, I regularly see error messages stating that the domain name is already listed and can’t be added. Make the process of reporting these listings easier and faster. I hate having to email my account rep to ask him to remove a listing for one of my names so I can add it to my account.

Can’t edit last few listings on My Domains page – This is a small issue, but it’s a known issue that is overlooked. When I am reviewing 500 names in the My Domains page (dcc.godaddy.com) to ensure they are listed for sale or resolving correctly, the last 4 names are shown without data. I can see the names, but I can’t see the renewal status, name servers, expiration date, nor can I see whether they are listed for sale or not. This is a small nuisance but I don’t see why this hasn’t been fixed already.

Pending Sales or On Hold – When a domain name is in Pending Sale status at Afternic or On Hold status at GoDaddy, it means the domain name may have been sold to a buyer and GoDaddy is verifying the payment. In the meantime, the domain name is frozen pending the verification. Sometimes this takes a few hours and sometimes it takes several days. I have an issue with this status for different reasons.

For one thing, the status is passive – there is no notification sent to the seller when a domain name enters this status. The only way to know a domain name is in this status is by logging in to Afternic or going to the Domain Manager at GoDaddy. This is problematic because a domain name may be sold via Afternic but still listed on Dan.com or Sedo where someone else could buy it. Since GoDaddy freezes names in this status, it would cause a seller to default at another platform if another buyer purchases the name elsewhere. Maybe this doesn’t happen regularly, but I wouldn’t want it to happen to me. GoDaddy should email customers when a name goes into pending sale or on hold and be clear about what this means so customers understand the sale may not happen but also understands the risk of leaving listings up elsewhere.

Another issue is that the time it takes for GoDaddy to verify payment can take too long. Waiting several days to have a sale verified feels ancient. At least one industry company is able to verify payments nearly instantly, so the largest registrar in the world should figure out a way to do it, too. It doesn’t make sense that a name is in the pending sale status for hours or days. That, to me, is not acceptable right now and that should be addressed.

Long Time to Get Paid – Once a domain name sale is verified by Afternic and GoDaddy, the seller is emailed a congratulatory email. With a Fast Transfer sale, the domain name is pulled from the account very quickly, and the email states “we will send you an email within 7-10 days regarding your payment.” If GoDaddy has already verified the payment and taken the domain name from the seller’s account, I don’t see why it takes 7-10 days just to get an email that says the payment will be sent 1-3 days later. If the funds are good and the name has been taken, the funds should be disbursed right away.

Buyer Needs to Accept Domain Name – On a recent deal, it took a bit of extra time to get paid and I inquired about why. Apparently, the buyer did not accept the domain name into his or her account. In my opinion, this should not delay my payment. GoDaddy collected the money and the domain name. I did my part and I should get paid. I should not have to wait for a third party, with whom I likely have never communicated, to accept a domain name before getting paid. Further, I shouldn’t have to press GoDaddy about this to get them to get their customer to take the name.

When I sell a domain name via GoDaddy, it can take 1-4 days (on average, I would say) to get the sale verified, 7-10 days to get a payment date, and 1-3 additional days to get paid. We’re looking at upwards of 2 weeks to be paid on many deals. . This is frustrating, particularly on very large deals where the money is needed for other things or on very small deals that are just annoying accounting issues that need to be tracked, recorded and ultimately reported to my accountant.

The breadth of GoDaddy’s sales network is next to none. It has the greatest reach and it helps me sell domain names. This is the reason I am okay paying the relatively high sales commission rate. At the same time, it seems like GoDaddy hasn’t updated the way transactions get done. While I am always happy to close a deal, I often find it frustrating when my names are sold via GoDaddy. There’s a new Afternic beta website, but I sure wish the back-end operations of the GoDaddy and Afternic sales network were brought up to date.

About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Email

18 COMMENTS

  1. Great suggestions. A couple of pre-sales process items I’d like to see:

    1. Improved load times of the ns3/ns4 and ns5/ns6 Afternic landers. On mobile they seem fine. Via desktop they are very slow. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve tested them on multiple computers at different locations and they are always around 3-4 times slower than their competitors. I’m guessing a large percentage of visitors bail before the page even loads on desktop. I know desktop traffic is much less than mobile although I’d suspect a large share of inquiries and purchases of premium domains could come via desktop.

    2. The option to use camel casing on the Afternic landers: vacationrentals vs. VacationRentals

    If the load times are knocked down to what they are on mobile and camel casing is implemented, that would immediately increase profitability for GoDaddy and domain investors.

  2. Nothing new….these are like 8 yrs old issues…never been addressed.

    Don’t be surprised that most of GD employees have their own domains and hosting on other registrars than at GD!!

  3. 1. When GD/Afternic has a TM issue with submitted name, no notification is sent. This needs to change because you believe the domain is listed after submission when in fact it is not.

    2. When you click the List button in the GD Domain Manager and include a BIN, it add the domain to Afternic but the Minimum Offer is knocked down automatically (like 20-30%). If I put BIN, it is BIN. If I want a Minimum, let me go change. So annoying.

    3. When a domain is sold, I get the several emails out of order from GoDaddy. Should be domain is sold first email, then buyer paid email, the transfer domain email. I get these in various order.

    4. I want to know if partners are marking up my listing prices on their sites.

    5. On dbs.goddaddy.com, I see Broker-related inquiries on my domains. No dates, no offer amounts, no reasons why negotiations failed. Please fix this.

  4. Agree with your suggestions Elliot.

    What I would also like to see at Afternic and other aftermarket venues is a circuit breaker which switches any BIN domains in your portfolio into make offer when the system detects a rapid increase in traffic/views of any domains of which you have opted in to the service..

    You would be able to set a traffic percentage strike level at which this happens, say when traffic increases 300% or above etc, and would be helpful whenever a term that becomes viral could see your domain being BIN’d before you are aware of its sudden popularity.

  5. When you submitted any domains for listing, they don’t check the ownership- I submitted test.com for testing and 2 days later got a sales lead/price request.

    Go try it…..I will submit embrace or domaininvesting.com

    ***********************************************************8
    pricerequest@afternic.com
    Attachments
    Oct 26, 2021, 1:54 PM (2 days ago)
    to me

    This message has been deleted. Restore message
    *******************************************
    ATTENTION xxxx

    ACTION NEEDED: Set a price for test.com

    *******************************************
    Dear

    You have received a sales lead on test.com through Afternic’s network.

  6. Is it legal for Godaddy/Afternic to receive payment for a domain sold via fast transfer and payment, transfer the domains to buyers, then hold payment disbursements to the persons or companies who/that owned the domains while GD conducts fraud due diligence of the buyers.

    What happens to your domains if GD determines the buyers are on fraud list, and they’re located outside the USA? Will GD still issue disbursement of funds or “too bad, you need to get legal help in Libya or China”

    If this may be skirt under the border of legal, it’s still a punch in the gut for domain sellers who may need those monies to pay bllls.

    You say it takes 7 days to receive payment for a domain that was sold and already transferred to the buyer on “Fast Transfer & Payment” (talk about a moniker that makes zero sense). No wonder domainers are exiting GD for DAN.

  7. No excuse for this:

    “Long Time to Get Paid – Once a domain name sale is verified by Afternic and GoDaddy, the seller is emailed a congratulatory email. With a Fast Transfer sale, the domain name is pulled from the account very quickly, and the email states “we will send you an email within 7-10 days regarding your payment.” If GoDaddy has already verified the payment and taken the domain name from the seller’s account, I don’t see why it takes 7-10 days just to get an email that says the payment will be sent 1-3 days later. If the funds are good and the name has been taken, the funds should be disbursed right away.”

    This needs to be resolved immediately.

  8. If I have a broker to sell an asset or list an asset on a marketplace (ebay, etsy, sothebys, heritage, christies, zillow) and said asset is sold to a buyer, the broker and/or marketplace gets its commission, yet the buyer doesn’t get paid for 7 days.

    Due diligence should be conducted on buyer(s) prior to transfer of the assets.

    This seems perilously close to violating consumer commerce laws, and bizarre that a publicly traded company would risk not only potential legal consequences, but also send a signal to domain sellers that you’re lowest on the totem pole/priority list.

    Godaddy has excellent customer support, but they are vulnerable to being attacked by domain marketplaces like DAN that are more customer-centric or an incumbent startup that makes fast payments to sellers its secret sauce. Maybe selling domains is low priority with GD, but if domain investors with massive portfolios migrate their domains to other marketplaces/registries, GD will experience churn – customer acquisition is costly. Customer churn is even costlier.

    Who runs the rodeo over at Afternic?

    I’ve got 750 plus domains listed on Afternic. Nice sales. But i want prompt payments, and I don’t like the possibility of having one of my sold and transferred domains resulting in zero payment and lost domains. I may go back to sedo – fast payments, but buyers from certain countries sometimes don’t pay, but at least you don’t lose a domain.

  9. Thank you Elliot. I agree with all of your points.

    The exceedingly slow payout on sales is very disconcerting and unfair.

    Another area which is terribly confusing and far from user friendly is their billing section. I have line items for basic auction listings related to domains which I have not owned for over 15 years! It even shows auto renew dates for these outdated auction listings. The billing section is so cluttered with these outdated basic auction listings, it’s hard to find anything relevant.

    Auctions Home Page Feature listings are even more troublesome. They default to auto renew and are almost impossible to find in a sea of irrelevant data on the billing page. There are no tabs or filters to view just these listings. In addition, when you receive an email from GoDaddy informing you that your Auctions Home Page Feature has been renewed, there is no mention of which domain name it was.

    I’ve has some very good experiences with GoDaddy too. There are some great people on their team. That being said, the website and UI could definitely use some help.

  10. Thank you Elliot for sharing.

    The incomprehensible late payment is a matter that worries everyone although Afternic is not to blame, Godaddy is the one who has the baton of the orchestra.

  11. So:

    “With a Fast Transfer sale, the domain name is pulled from the account very quickly, and the email states “we will send you an email within 7-10 days regarding your payment.”

    You mean GD has already transferred your domain name to a buyer while it conducts “fraud alert” due diligence on the buyer (who could be anywhere 🙁 )
    GD has deposited its commission.
    And the GD customer/domain seller must wait in limbo to receive payment for up to 7 days.

    Questions:
    Why would anyone opt into this “Fast (LOL) Transfer & Payment?”
    Does Godaddy despise all customers who are domain investors?
    How has GD avoided a class action suit for withholding funds after it brokered and transferred the assets to the buyers?
    Does GD keep these monies in escrow or deposit in its bank (this would be enronish)?
    Has anyone conferred with the AG office in Arizona to check if this holding monies after the transfer of assets violates consumer commerce laws in Arizona.

    Yikes, I had no idea.

  12. Many of our clients at our marketing company own large domain portfolios.

    I learned about this from a client who sold a domain via GoDaddy 3 weeks ago and needed the monies to pay an unexpected family emergency bill. She was finally able to receive a bank loan while waiting for the GoDaddy payment.

    This is sad. We love our clients/customers.

    Where should I advise clients to sell their domains? We’ve worked with Marksmen and Dave Evanson at Sedo when trying to acquire names. We will cross Godaddy off our list until it changes this absurd policy.

  13. All of the above and then more BS. My reason for pulling out of GD/AF sales platform after more than 2 decades !
    how much interest do they make on holding funds?

  14. Afternic is truly the worst domain sales website (the website itself) I’ve ever seen. It crashes often, generates Javascript errors, buttons may or may not work, browser may or may not work, the interface was (and still is) super cheesy with expanding/contracting login side (at top right) and sometimes CSS vaporizes and there’s no formatting or you get giant fonts showing up (GoDaddy.com does this every now and then). I’d fire the entire web development staff as I’ve never seen such a poor excuse of a website from a $12 BILLION dollar company. The new Beta, while an improvement, is pretty pathetic by today’s standards, too (but it seems to work a bit better). Not sure why they have such a bad development team – it’s not like they can’t afford to hire professionals!

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