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Should You Bid on GoDaddy Auctions?

Harry Stewart Harry StewartWeb Hosting Expert
You’ve probably heard of GoDaddy by now.

After all, as the world’s biggest registrar they manage over 77 million domains. They’ve also run a few memorable marketing campaigns over the years.

Want to learn more about GoDaddy? Read our expert review
But is their domain auction any good? Should you sign up and start bidding on the domain of your dreams?

Let’s find out.

What is a GoDaddy Auction?

GoDaddy trades millions of domains through three channels:
  1. The registrar is the primary platform where webmasters can choose from a seemingly limitless array of options.
  2. The backorder service is for savvy drop-catchers looking to snap up profitable expired domains.
  3. GoDaddy Auctions is where webmasters go to buy and sell pre-owned domains.

Expiring Domains

GoDaddy will sometimes elect to auction off more valuable domain names just before they expire and return to the registry. These expired domain auctions run for ten days.

This gives potential buyers a chance to grab a domain before it goes back up on the market for normal registration.

Three Month Listings

Many domain owners opt to put their product up as an Offer/Counter Offer listing, which has a default period of 90 days. Within those three months, the hope is that a buyer would make an offer on your domain.

You can either accept the offer, reject it, or make a counteroffer.

Most sellers add “Buy it Now” with an elevated fixed price to tempt impatient customers.

Shorter Auctions

Another format is the seven-day auction, which is popular due to its considerably quicker turnaround.

Any 90-day listing can be converted into a seven-day public auction, provided you’ve already got an offer from an interested party. The buyer’s offer will be used as the opening bid for the public auction.

These start off with a $20 minimum. Any bids in the last few minutes extends the timer, which effectively discourages eBay-style last-minute sniping.

Like with eBay, you can also set a reserve price to make sure you’re not forced to let go of the domain at a severely discounted rate.

Closeout Stages

If no one bids for the entirety of the seven-day public auction, the domain moves onto a closeout stage. This works like a reverse auction in that the domain get listed for a “Buy it Now” price of $11 and drops by a dollar a day until someone grabs it.

If there is still no interest after a set period, the domain gets moved onto a second and rather degrading closeout stage known as the “bargain bin.”

4 Benefits of a GoDaddy Auction

#1. Buying Your Ideal Domain

Oftentimes, businesses may come up with the perfect domain name only to find out it’s been taken. It’s always worth checking out GoDaddy Auctions to see if it’s available there.

On a side note, GoDaddy also offers a brokerage service to help track down and negotiate the purchase of an occupied domain.

#2. A Trustworthy Registrar

Say what you will about GoDaddy as a web host, but there’s no denying it’s a staunch competitor in the domain trade. Its superstar status as the world’s largest registrar and continuous ICANN endorsement means GoDaddy is a name you can trust.

#3. Good Deals and Plenty of Variety

GoDaddy’s gargantuan size means there are stacks of different domains to choose from on the auction list. And unless you insist on a high-traffic keyword, the chances are you’ll be able to snag a bargain or two.

#4. A Great Tool for Resellers

Domain resellers love GoDaddy Auctions for the sheer variety of fantastic domains on offer every day. A skilled reseller who knows the ins and outs of the market could easily use the platform to resell dirt cheap domains for significant profit.

5 Downsides of a GoDaddy Auction

#1. There’s a Yearly Registration Fee

Nothing in life is free, and that applies to GoDaddy Auctions as well. Users who wish to bid must pay for membership first, although the fee is rather modest.

The exceptions are the closeout auctions which are available to the general public.

#2. The Closeout Auctions are Trash

There’s a reason nobody has bid on those domains.

Although there may well be a few profitable gems hidden within the Closeout and Bargain Bin, chances are the vast majority are not worth your time.

If you’re looking to earn cash by reselling domains, then give these a miss and dedicate your time to perusing the registrar or normal auctions instead.

#3. You Still Need to Register Your Domain

Find an awesome domain for a bargain basement price? You’ll still need to register it to use it, which will set you back another $10 per year or so.

#4. There’s a Redemption Period

Many of the domains on offer have actually expired, and automatically get moved to the auction house after 25 days.

However, ICANN rules stipulate that domains must be given an Auto-Renew Grace Period of zero to 45 days.

GoDaddy establishes a renewal period of 30 days. This implies that if you have successfully acquired a domain from GoDaddy through an auction, the previous registrant cannot swoop in during the grace period’s final moments to reclaim it by performing a renewal.

The caveat is that not all registrars have these relatively shorter renewal timelines, and there are many third-party registrars that post their domains on GoDaddy Auctions.

Therefore, there’s a chance for these registrar-owned domains to be renewed after the auction has ended – in which case you’ll lose the domain. You do get a full refund, but that serves as little comfort for some.

#5. It’s Hard to Know a Domain’s True Value

A domain is only worth what someone will pay for it.

The problem is that it’s difficult to figure out exactly what that figure is. GoDaddy provides an “Estimated Value” tool, but in reality, it’s widely inaccurate and tends to grossly overestimate.

In the end, it’s up to the bidder to use their expertise to determine a fair price.

What To Know Before Bidding on a GoDaddy Auction

The Filters

GoDaddy provides a number of filters to help users quickly find what they want.
  • “Most Active” shows the listings people are looking at and bidding on
  • “Ending Soon” shows the listings that are about to expire
  • “Fixed Price” only shows the Buy it Now listings
  • “Closeouts” / “Bargain Bin” only show the corresponding auction types
Similar results can be achieved by sorting via the columns. Click the eye icon to add a particularly promising domain to your watch list.

GoDaddy Charges Commissions

Commissions start at $15 and increase with larger sales, all of which are paid by the seller. However, buyers should factor in these fees if they plan to resell the domain on the same platform at a later date.

Purchases over $5000 also go through an Escrow service, so expect additional fees and delays.

It Takes Effort to Find the Hidden Gems

The majority are unlikely to turn a profit, especially if they don’t have any bids.

As a rule of thumb, focus on keyword-rich .com domains that profitable future businesses may actually want.

There Are Other Options

Can’t find what you want? Try eBay or Flippa instead.

A Few Tricks of the Trade

  • Don’t bid early. You’ll only drive the final price up
  • Use the GoDaddy RSS feed to keep track of your auctions
  • Set up a Proxy Bid Tool to snipe auctions while you sleep
  • Use a random number rather than a rounded one. For example, $101 could win the auction for just a dollar more
  • Don’t spam the refresh button. Otherwise, you’ll attract unwanted competition due to all those extra page views
  • If you’re a local business, add a geographical location to your domain. It’ll almost certainly be available and will add to your SEO
With a little industry knowledge and expertise, GoDaddy Auctions can be a great way to flip domains for profit. As for those looking for their own business domain, you just might see something you like for a reasonable price.

The best way to see how GoDaddy Auctions can work for you is to sign up and check it out for yourself.

Good luck!



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Tommy Buckets
Thank you for this article! I searched on a domain and it's currently in a GoDaddy auction. It was extremely helpful to get a sense of how these auctions work before bidding. I greatly appreciate the insight!
Website Planet Team
Hi Tommy, thank you for the comment. We're glad we could help!
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