Things I Learned About Namecheap Auctions

9

A couple of weeks ago, Namecheap announced its Namecheap Market, a platform for buying and selling domain names. There are buy it now listings as well as domain name auctions on the platform. I bid on a few auctions, and I won my first auction over the weekend. As a result of winning the auction, I learned a few things that I want to share as an auction buyer.

Most importantly, not all auctions are expiry auctions. I was under the impression that auctions on Namecheap were for expired domain names that are registered at Namecheap. This assumption was wrong. It appears that domain registrants can send their Namecheap-registered domain names to auction on the platform. This adds a couple of elements to consider, including the seller’s control of the domain names and the expiration date of the domain names won in auction.

After winning an auction, I had a bit of difficulty seeing where and how to pay for the auction. My unpaid auction page was blank and there was nothing in my shopping cart. I decided to visit the domain name directly to see if that led me to the payment page, and it had a purchase link I could use. This brought me to the checkout screen, and I was able to pay for the auction. The total price was $49.

After I submitted my payment and the name was provisioned to my account, I noticed an “Alert” icon. I also noticed that I could not update nameservers or do anything with the domain name due to some sort of lock. I thought it might be related to the ICANN email verification, but that turned out to be incorrect. The alert was related to the fact that the domain name was going to expire soon. The expiry date showed as December 11, 2021 – less than two weeks from now.

Because I thought this was an expiry auction, I assumed the upcoming expiration date was an error and that an additional year would be added automatically. It turns out, I was wrong. This was a private seller auction and the domain name has two weeks remaining before it expires. Renewing the domain name would be my responsibility.

All things considered, this is not really a big deal. When I win a domain name in a GoDaddy expiry auction, I pay for an extra year of registration at the time of purchase. The difference here is that it was unexpected and I would have to check out twice to renew the domain name. I am glad I noticed the domain name was going to expire soon because it would have been easy to ignore expiry notice emails assuming they were just marketing emails.

I see both sides of this issue. It’s nice to be able to auction a domain name rather than renew it. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a nuisance to buy a domain name at auction and then have to keep an eye on the expiration date. I will chalk this up to user error since I should have been aware that there are expiry auctions and private auctions.

In order to save money on the renewal, I opted to transfer the domain name to GoDaddy, where I keep the bulk of my portfolio. Fortunately, there is no auction lock at Namecheap, so I was able to transfer the domain name immediately. I am not sure if this is also the case for expiry auctions.

I think there are still some kinks to work out on the Namecheap platform in the coming days/weeks. It’s a bit annoying to have to check off the “I agree to pay” box each time I bid or get an error message. I’ve already agreed to this in the T&C and checking off that box is not going to make me more likely to pay than if I did not have a box to check. Someone else pointed out an issue with receiving payments after selling domain names on Namecheap.

All in all, it’s nice to have a new domain industry auction platform. Knowing what I know about Namecheap, the platform is going to continue to improve.

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 closed eight figures in deals. 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

9 COMMENTS

  1. “It appears that domain registrants can send their Namecheap-registered domain names to auction on the platform”: I went to their support a few days ago to double check this as I wasn’t finding anywhere where you could do that, and they expressly told me you couldn’t as a NameCheap customer. Unless this just changed or they made a mistake, it seems you can’t.

    Now, it is possible they publish names from another source where people are indeed able to submit them. I don’t know where they come from, though. By researching a little, I guess you can find this by looking where you could also find the same domains on auction (if this theory is correct). Checking the whois would already give good hints, I suppose. Or is it in fact NameCheap registered domains like you say, but then, it would be reserved to some customers and not available to all!?

  2. Namecheap is one of the best examples in the world of the value of a good domain/name, because I literally hate them and have for a long time. Their software has always been the worst and most unpleasant of any well known registrar. For me they are relegated to “use only when you really have to” status, otherwise I avoid using them like the plague and will not advise others to. It’s sad really, because it doesn’t have to be that way. And something very unpleasant I mentioned literally years ago about the software has still not even been done. And, crazily enough, this current big update to their software, which has been in place for a number of years now, even made it all worse compared to the previous version. Instead of fixing it, they made it worse.

    I will grant them that their people do tend to be good, except when they are simply parroting their own party line and there is no willingness to make any changes, which I suppose you can’t blame them for unless they have the power to make such decisions themselves. But as I started here – it’s a marvel of the value of a good domain that despite all that they do so well and routinely appear in the list of registrars with the most of this or that. Clearly a name like “Namecheap” is so strong in people’s minds that they can still do pretty well – for themselves – but they are also almost certainly alienating many customers who choose to use other registrars.

    It’s disappointing because they could be a good overall option in the field, but are not. They are only one to dread having to use while normally avoiding them. I could name a bunch of others I would gladly use long before ever using them.

    • John, you also have to consider this is your opinion and not everybody may have the same. I do love them. as I like Epik (which you may perhaps not like). I can’t stand GoDaddy, for example (which you may like). So, there are options for everyone, according to who they are and their tastes. And that’s probably very good.

      • Yes, that is my opinion, and has been my opinion for years now.

        What on earth do people see in them, in Namecheap? My best guess is that the name itself is just so immediately appealing and enticing that it trumps a lot of flaws. Probably also attracts a lot of people who simply don’t know better or have much experience with other registrars, probably lots of relative newbies.

        You got that in reverse, by the way. I have been nothing less than as big a supporter of Epik in the blog comments (and elsewhere when i do that elsewhere) as anyone, and am definitely tied for the biggest supporters of Epik of all time. I won’t claim the #1 spot for that for myself, even if you could quantify and it were true, but will share it with other Epik supporters who also know and appreciate the truth about them. Epik is the best, #1, and has been for a long time now. Fortunately there is also a small basketful of others which are good too, but Epik holds the crown among any other royals in the court.

        So check this out – something as ridiculously simple as adding numbers and a number count to your domains in Namecheap. So ridiculously simple as to be exactly that – ridiculous. When you only have 5 or 10 domains there that is one thing, but when you start having 100 to 200 or more it becomes *beyond* annoying and absurd that they *still* won’t add something as basic, normal and simple – and user centered – as that. And I literally first addressed that very thing with yeeeeeears ago now. It should be sitting in blog comments still for anyone to see. But nope – still not there. So much time, effort and money that must’ve gone into making bad software worse, and yet they still couldn’t add something as normal as that. There is more I could mention now, but it would tend to cause them to know who I am, so I will not be doing that now. 😉 Just be sure there is more including something much worse that I could also mention.

        But like I said – despite that their people obviously have their marching orders and tend to simply give you the party line they apparently have to give you, nonetheless their people tend to be good *within that kind of unpleasant and unreceptive limitation* when you need support.

  3. John: By default, 25 domains are displayed per page, and the number of pages appears at the top of your domain list. Count how many names there are on the last page + (number of pages-1) multiplied by 25. Done. Helps you do a little mental math to not get early Alzheimer 😉 The anti-Alzheimer service is even 100% free.

    But sure, they could directly show a count. And probably should. I never even noticed that.

    • General, don’t be a jerk. That is unacceptable nonsense.

      Did you know this…

      Did you know – (wait for it) – that once upon a time in this country (the US), and presumably in much of the world, businesses actually cared about what customers wanted and considered important to them, rather than simply acting like tyrants and dictators without regard to what customers and clients actually want and what would benefit them?

      Did you know that? Think about it.

      As they say, there are “plenty of fish” in the sea (genius naming for that dating site, btw), so I and others like me will just go where one can expect better.

      And that’ll be a BIG “no” – never going to accumulate any numbers of domains like that at Namecheap by choice ever again, not unless there was some truly outlandish reason to do so despite everything, which I seriously doubt will ever come to pass.

      • Ok, John. This will (hopefully) be my last comment on this matter, especially as it will start to go besides the actual subject of the article.

        To me, your last comment tells more about you than it does about Namecheap. Here, it is about what YOU are making of things.

        At the very start, I wasn’t being a jerk or anything. This is actually how I did naturally count the number of domains I had in my account (true story!), without even really realizing there wasn’t directly a count anywhere. The rest was a joke (and I did end by saying there probably should be such a count).

        Same with what you’re making of Namecheap maybe being bad at implementing suggestions or doing some improvements. You’re making it kind of about you. My own feeling about them is that they always “cared” about me as a customer.

        Is this number really “important”? You may feel it is. I don’t. Making such a fuss and deriving things about “caring” and all the rest from this, seems quite over the top to me.

        Sure, go somewhere you find is better. This is free market at work. And that’s good. For example, I had recently a pretty bad experience with GoDaddy and felt they didn’t “care” at all, were BSing me, etc. So, I won’t work with them going forward. Also, maybe not the same aspects are important for all people.

        Cheers.

        • General, it’s clear we are not even in the same ballpark now, let alone on the same page. I’m only responding again for the greater good at this tiny outpost in cyberspace, otherwise I wouldn’t bother here anymore. The biggest domain investing luminaries who might see this exchange know that I’m the one who is right and viewing things properly, but I’m not someone for whom you can normally expect to see any of them posting here to say so. You are viewing this matter in a way that is actually strangely perverse, and a sad sign of the times. I was going to say a lot more, but don’t really have the time.

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