The Domain King , Rick Schwartz has brought up a critical issue of Godaddy on twitter. The non-transparent nature of bidding on domain names that are going to soon expire on Godaddy ( or its partner sites) has been a raging question amongst the domaining community. The auctions where you don’t know who you are bidding against is always a questionable affair more so if it allows the domain name owner to get back his/her domain even after the auction ends is all the more dangerous.
How the expiring domain name auctions work?
If a domain name is registered with GoDaddy after May 2, 2005 and it expires, then GoDaddy automatically lists it for auction on GoDaddy Auctions 25 days later. Anyone can bid on any expiring domain name listed at GoDaddy Auctions.
But here comes the twist, the current registrant can reclaim the domain name from redemption up to 42 days after expiration. If the current registrant renews the domain name, GoDaddy cancels the auction and refund any bids.
What is the problem ?
The problem with this system is that first an foremost you don’t have the access to whom you are bidding against. This can be a benefit for some bidders as it enables to hide their interests in a domain from general public but can also create conflict of interests where the domain owner himself can bid on his domain just to check market sentiments. Furthermore, we are forced to believe in GoDaddy that they are handling the system with complete fairness (No party is given a backdoor entry of their Auctions database) which is a fair assumption considering the stature of GoDaddy . But as due to vested interests of parties involved the majority of small domainers would want to see a more transparent system.
But in the case Rick Schwartz, he faced the issues that some auctions of expiring domains claimed to have disappeared / closed before the actual end time. Here is the screenshot of auction which according to Rick ended few minutes prior to the end time and also the domain registrar changed from GoDaddy to Epik.com.
This must have been the case where the owner transferred the domain name from GoDaddy to Epik. In such cases, the policy to allow the transfer is good from the point of view of domain owner but tends to waste time and effort of the person who is bidding on the domain.
Update : Interestingly after the fight from Rick and many domainers citing this issue to GoDaddy , we finally hear some good changes from them.Starting December 5, Godaddy will now allow domain owners to renew/transfer their domains only upto 30 days after expiry date. This will make the domains non-transferable during the expiry auction period. This indeed is a big step forward for domaining community and shows that if you stand for the right , right things do happen.
Let me know your views about this decision from GoDaddy and if there is anything else that can be changed to improve transparency in domain industry.