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Strategy of Getting Domains on GoDaddy Auctions

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GoDaddy is by far the biggest domain registrar ever. It holds close to 60 Million registered domains, which is, according to different sources, 15% to 30% of all domains in the world.

Serious domainers, however, often tend to avoid GoDaddy by any cost. High prices, annoying and abusive upsales, terrible interface, horrible stories about ignorant support, and all kinds of other stuff… For me, after the pricing, the most important negative factor is dreadful user interface. You can not pretty much perform any bulk operation with your domains. Both SEO and domainer forums are full of stories why GoDaddy is evil. I only use them for grabbing domains from auctions, but then all domains which I don’t sell quickly, I transfer out as fast as I can.

But GoDaddy don’t give a damn about domainers and their complaints, – they aim at the end users. They spend zillions for ads and PR, so whenever any average Joe suddenly gets an idea to register a domain – GoDaddy is the first what comes to his mind. Being not savvy, Joe has no idea about the cheating pricing, about non functioning interface, about he doesn’t ever need any of those blings they try to upsell him… He gets his domain there, he is happy, they are happy, everybody is happy.

Nevertheless, avoiding GoDaddy completely would be stupid. Why? Just because they hold so many registrations. Every single day about 50K abandoned domains go to GoDaddy inhouse auction. And apart from their own domains, they also auction drops by few other registrars, like NameCheap and others. 50K is a half from all domains dropping daily from all other places, known as daily drop list! Thus, thousands of domainers and SEO’ers are hunting GoDaddy drops and trying to catch the best of them.

Finding auctions on their site is not so easy, with their crooked menu you need to click a few times in non obvious places to get there. My advice – always go to the Auctions by the direct link, just bookmark it: . And yes, first you need to purchase the auction membership for $5 per year. …OK, no comments.

When you open this link, you see lots of different things – auctions, closeouts… What all those mean? Apart of drop domains, there are also private auctions, i.e. everyone can list their domains for auctions there. If you click Advanced Search, you will see all the different types.

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

What we need are Expiring Auctions and Closeout Domains. You can find SEO domains in other types of auctions as well, but for now we don’t care about them.

So, how GoDaddy auction process works?

This screenshot was taken from one of the previous versions of GoDaddy support page (source: Namepros):

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

Every day GoDaddy release a bunch of domains, about 50K more or less as I said, that have not been renewed and are close to the end of the redemption state. Every domain is released with starting price $12 and the auction closing date 11 days ahead.

These 11 days the domain is sitting there and everyone can bid. Bids are with $5 step.

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

Bids made in the last 5 minutes of an auction, prolong it for 5 more minutes.

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

What happens if an auction ends without bids? Then the domain enters the next “physical form” which is called Closeout. Just after the auction end, the domain disappears in a brief limbo.

Here you can see, only seconds to the auction end, no bids:

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

When time ran off, the domain disappears from search:

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

Few minutes after that, the domain appears again, now with price $11.

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

You see Buy Now link? Here at Closeouts everyone can buy this domain. First come first served.

How long does this limbo last? Well, generally a few minutes. Usually, 1-2 minutes. Sometimes it might be 5-10 minutes. Maybe it depends on the servers load or something like this. A few months ago, it was reported that domains would re-appear in Closeout only after few hours.

In $11 phase, the domain stays for 24hrs. Then it re-appears again, with $10 price for another 24hrs. Then – $9, and this way every day minus $1, down to $5. $5 is the minimal price, and after that the domain disappears from the Auctions for good.

Just for example:

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

Here we can see that the closeout price is $8. So we can say with certainty that this domain status was changed from Auction to Closeout three days ago, and in three more days, if no one buys it, it will return back to the registry.

Now you know all the mechanism, and here we come to our main topic –

What is the winning strategy for GoDaddy Auctions?

First and foremost, as we see, there are two phases – Auction and Closeout. Obviously, Closeout is the surest way for you to get a domain. But domain gets there only if nobody bids for it during Auction. So the general rule: if you think the domain is not so competitive and others would unlikely want it, you have a chance to get it on Closeout. Otherwise, be ready for an Auction war.

Of course, when you spot a worthy domain, it’s much better to keep this knowledge for yourself, not to bid until the very end, in order not to let others pay attention to this domain. Thousands of people are vulturing in the auctions, not being able to spot great domains themselves they are hunting on domains that others show their interest to. So once you place an early bid, you most probably lost the game. Look for example at this screenshot, I have only one word for these 12 bidders placed 34 bids six days to the auction end – STUPIDITY.

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

Let’s now consider some possible scenarios of the domain life in an auction:

Scenario 1 : The domain gets bid/s well before the auction end. In this case you have to enter the bid war. It’s wise to do it only in the last moments, so that your competitors and watchers won’t discover your interest earlier.

The next scenarios are when the domain doesn’t get bid/s well before the auction end. In this case you need to monitor the auction in its last minutes.

Scenario 2 : The domain gets bid/s in the auction’s last minutes. In order to spot the bids timely, you need to search the name repeatedly. Don’t worry to miss the bids though – remember, the last 5 mins bid extends the auction for 5 minutes.

Scenario 3 : The domain doesn’t get bids at all. In this case, the auction ends, the domain disappear from search results, and here you need constantly repeat the search, to catch the moment it re-appears as closeout.

Now, here is a guessing game. You can’t know whether others also want this domain or not. Here we also have two scenarios: there are your competitors waiting for this domain to hit Closeout; or there are not.

Imagine there they are. Then it’s a manual sniping game. Who ever spots the domain reappearing in Closeout first and hits the Buy first – wins.

But if they are not? Is it safe to wait for 6 more days to grab the domain for only $5? Well, not so much. If you are sure the domain has any value only for you and nobody else would ever want it – then yes, you can wait. Otherwise, it’s better to grab it sooner, because new eyes can come as well, and actually even more eyes than in the Auction stage, since more and more people investigate the Auction lists every day, and some only investigate Closeouts, for example Scrapebox has a feature of Closeouts scraping, – so, basically, I would not recommend waiting with grabbing Closeout till the end.

Few Pro Tips:

 ♦ Keep in mind that the bid price is no way the final domain price. Once you win a domain, you pay the final bid plus a yearly renewal, which is usually just outrageous there at GoDaddy, with their shameless and complicated pricing, – sometimes twice as higher as the market price, like $15 for .com and $22 for .org… Yes. Well, you can always find 20-25% discount coupons, although the coupons affect only renewal price, not the bid, but anyway it’s already something. Also they have a Domain Discount Club, for $120 a year you get almost normal pricing, and if you register let’s say 20 domains a year – it’s already worth.

 ♦ Now, you got your domain to your cart? Great! But don’t forget to use a promo code. Sometimes GoDaddy already place some code to your cart, but not always. If the code is not there, you can easily find one. Usually they send you codes in the end of their emails, or you can always Google out tons of them.

 ♦ Eventually you have grabbed your domain? Congratulations! You will get it onto your account with delay though, from few days to two weeks. Pro-tip: you can know the date the domain will hit your account, it’s under Bidding List > Won menu:

GoDaddy Auction Strategy

 ♦ The previous owner can still renew the domain until the very end of the Closeout stage.

OK, it seems I covered it all… Have questions? Ask them below.

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