Here Is What I Would Do If I Was Running Godaddy Private Auctions

Mar 14 2015

Every business fears the Big Competitor.  The competition with the big pockets to do thing right. To do things you wish you could do.  They can scale things you can’t and take losses in order to steal your customers away.  Godaddy should be that company.  But they aren’t.  They have become so big and busy that they have lost their aggressiveness. I truly believe they are satisfied with the big boy role and no longer have the killer attitude that Bob Parsons built the company on. They have no problem letting smaller companies take their customers away.  Their marketing is no longer creative.  Is it because they are going public and they need to become more corporate?  Who knows, but it sure seems like it.

I had meetings with Godaddy at Namescon and I don’t mind sharing a little of what I told Paul Nicks.  I said a few simple things.  Listen.  Listen to what people are saying. Both good and bad.  Filter out the people that complain about everything (you’ll figure out who they are quickly) and listen.  They are the people buying your domains on your platform.  Without them you don’t exist.  There are so many great ideas being discussed.  Some are constructive criticism but the info is still valuable.   An example. I told Godaddy that all links from their emails regarding being outbid or anything to do with individual auctions don’t work. That was a year ago and nobody has done anything to this point.  Yes, tens if not hundreds of thousands of emails that could have someone bidding again at an auction, make the phone user work to find the domain. My second word of advice, someone from your company has to be verbally active.  The only time you EVER hear from someone at Godaddy is when there is a problem.  I told Paul to chime in the comments. Reach out to people that promote, buy and are a big part of the platform.  For no reason.  People love seeing the people in charge participating in the community.  Not just putting out fires. I feel the company overall is not listening or communicating with the people that use their platform.  And it showed with their new commission structure



I think I summed up my feelings in a short simple comment at Namepros “Godaddy has the scale to make it the cheapest, easiest, and fastest way to auction names and instead you blew it and made it more complicated and raised the prices. Congratulations to Flippa and Namejet. They just added customers and didn’t have to do a thing”  It’s true, they have more money and more infrastructure than anyone in the space. Joe Styler Godaddy Aftermarket specialist had an answer. 

 It is more complex than a straight commission. We considered that before changing but thought saving sellers more money on higher dollar transactions was worth the confusion over a straight 20%. images

One, that’s not the majority of your users. Two, only in domains do people think 20% is low.  A real estate agent works 30X harder than Godaddy and they get 5%.  They simply provided a platform and the personnel to guarantee the transaction.  No reaching out to potential buyers, working the phones, sending out emails.  They don’t have to do anything once the platform is built.  They are not brokers, brokers deserve the higher commissions.  Here’s what I would do if I were running the show 

It’s simple

1. 10% across the board if you have your domains registered at Godaddy

2. 15% if you do not

Add in a Listing Fee

3. If your domain is registered at Godaddy and at No Reserve = Free Listing

4.  If your domain is registered at Godaddy and has a reserve = $8 Listing Fee

5.  If your domain is not registered at Godaddy and has no reserve = $10 Listing Fee

6.  If your domain is not registered at Godaddy and has a reserve = $15 Listing Fee

7. Drop private listing affiliate percentage to 4% on Private listings. 


Here’s my reasoning for each point

1. Godaddy is a registrar.  That is the primary goal.  I understand the real money made is in the add ons, but the core business is the registrar.  Their present consists of cheap transfer cost.  Use cheap auctions as another.  It also takes out one of the biggest problems and costs.  Making sure the domain gets to the new owner.   The marketing angle.  The biggest auction site at the cheapest price

2.  If you don’t want to bring the name over that’s fine. But it will cost you more money because it’s going to be a little more work.

3.   If Godaddy can guarantee they are going to make money (no reserve) and that the name is an easy push to the new account,  then take the easy money.  The work is minimal and the pay is guaranteed.  Regardless of how little or much it is.  The work to income ratio is great.

4.  If you want to put a reserve that would be fine.  We are not guaranteed to make anything so we’re going to have to charge you a small fee to use our service.  If you bring the name over or have it already at Godaddy then you are already a customer, we appreciate that, so you get a discount.

5. With no reserve GD is at least guaranteed it will sell. We still have to work to get the name transferred so there is going to have to be a cost.  If the move the name over before the auction then it’s free.  Big incentive to get the name over and do the work themselves.  But GD is going to make money

6. These are the types of names that are the most work.  They often don’t sell and they are bulk listed.  Junking up the auctions.  If it costs $15 to list then they will be more serious and more accurate with their listings.  Don’t like the cost?  Move your name over

7.  I realize its not good for me but Godaddy has to make a profit and the affiliate money and commission can’t be the same.  Keep expired the same because the margins are essentially 100% there.

Complicated?  Not really.  Sure it’s not 20% but here’s the difference.  At the present structure NOBODY is going to use their platform.  Anybody with any intelligence is going to move to Flippa and Namejet.   The have effectively relegated their auctions to expiring domains.  Most people would assume that their was analysis of private domain listings and their sales and what rate would maximize profit at current levels.  “It is going to help the higher priced domain sellers”  Great.  That’s a handful.  Meanwhile the biggest part of the private auctions are getting reamed.  What they should of analyzed was what price would maximize profit if they could grow the private listings.  Every startup in the world is trying to gain users and maximizing profits later and Godaddy is doing the exact opposite.

Let me end this rambling with a few add ons.  I truly like Godaddy.  Their commission program is one of the main reasons Domain Shane exists.  I WANT them to succeed.  If only for me financially.  They have great domains coming through and they give me the opportunity to make money based on my effort with essentially no ceiling.   Other registrars have reached out but we haven’t had much success with their programs.  Uniregistry doesn’t even acknowledge us and have pretty much advertised on every major blog in the industry but ours. And yes that bothers me, not because we aren’t getting paid, but because as someone that feels like I’ve made somewhat of a name for myself in this industry, Uniregistry is essentially telling us we haven’t.  I will not forget that.  At least Godaddy will take our meetings.  Aaron can’t even get an email returned from the big U.  But on the positive, I truly love Namejet and Flippa.  The managers and marketing people are incredible communicators, fantastic people.  They ask opinion, they ask “what can make us better”  And I know they’re not asking because I’m a genius. They’re asking because I am part of the user base and am willing to share ideas that I feel would help them. Everyone wins.   Having Godaddy mess up helps those two so I should be happy but I’m still a businessman, and no business man likes to see opportunity that isn’t being taken advantage of.  It’s in our nature to look and try and improve a business, even if it’s not ours.

PS. is for sale right now on Godaddy.   Offer $500 or more and you might get it

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. Travis

    Same thing happend with sedo back in 2011 or so, they have never fully recovered, internet users are not very forgiving, I do not think namejet is an outlet for end user type sales, neither is flippa, as people need a quick, trusted, and effective checkout.

    Uniregistry I think will be rolling out a new launch of products to bring their DNS suite together, and this will probably be the end solution.

    1. Post author


      I would be guessing as well. As I mentioned, unfortunately I have no relationship with Uniregistry. But I do email them functions I think users would like and get thank you emails from Frank.

  2. Jen

    Very cogent article, and I would hope that Go Daddy honchos would read what you have to say and ponder your great suggestions.

    I shared this on my FB timeline, something I rarely do.

    Nice job, Shane.

  3. Garfield

    The difference between Sedo and Godaddy is distribution. Sedo is falling behind because of their lack of distribution channels.
    Parking drying up kills sedo too. Sedo is also not a household name.
    Uniregistry is not either. . . might as well be Unitard. . .

    Godaddy = household name = trust
    Afternic has the distribution
    Distribution+trust = big egos = we do what we want and don’t care about the customer.

  4. Travis

    Garfield, I know what you are saying, sometimes I had smaller sales from foreign buyers who felt escrow was overkill, so we setup an auction on godaddy, and 10% later, they were checkout, with an auto transfer, and it was done.

    This step is no longer valid, as I was willing to eat 10%, but not 20%.

    When you mention uniregistry, you fail to see their DNS outlet, which has 90% of the best parked names available online parked, and directed to their landers. The fact uniregistry, and DNS are connected they can use each platform to have buyers checkout using their processing services.

    If the site is clean, professional, has contact information, I do not mind using my credit card, and others won’t also. Most of my buyers have never used escrow, but they go thru with it because they want the name. Do not discount the targeted power of having domains landing at their checkout, this is what made sedo so great. Then those quality accounts when over to DNS for better payouts, and they took their portfolios with them.

  5. Travis

    Another huge pet peeve at godaddy is the so called $250 auction, do you have any idea how many people call, email saying your domain is listed for auction at $250, I will offer you $200 today. This is such bad advertising, the buyers are waiting on these 90 day auctions, then they just roller over, and start another 90 days, they get pissed off.

    So many deals could be closed as these people are waiting on 90 days to expire, and place a last minute $250 bid.

  6. George

    I don’t understand why you’re surprised, Shane.
    That’s the way big business do it. Once they get the “power”, don’t give a who about you.
    If you’re lucky enough, you’re treated as a customer… Clients anyone..?

  7. David Gruttadaurio

    Interesting post… too bad GD won’t listen. Good point: Only in the domain industry is a 20% commission considered low and reasonable… Never thought about it that way. Now I’m upset. Shared on Facebook as well.

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