My thoughts on the GoDaddy NameFind auction

I liked GoDaddy’s auction, but I also have some suggestions for improving it.

Auctioneer next to an easel with ".com" next to it and four people in the audience raising their paddles.

GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) ran auctions of some of its NameFind inventory on GoDaddy Auctions for the past couple of weeks.

I think it was wise for GoDaddy to run this auction for a couple of reasons.

First, we know from experience that end-of-year auctions to domain investors can be successful. Many domain investors take money off the table at the end of the year to lower their taxes, depending on how their business is structured and where they are located. Thought Convergence held a highly successful auction at the end of 2021 and I think the end-of-year timing was instrumental to the success.

Second, this auction should help GoDaddy pad its aftermarket results for Q4. I suspect that’s why it ran this auction.

Here are some things I like about how GoDaddy ran the auction:

  • No reserves – GoDaddy set different minimum bid prices for each domain rather than setting reserves. This is 10x better than bidding on a domain only to find out the reserve is more than you’re willing to pay. This also prevented bidders from driving up prices below reserves for fun (yes, people do this). It would have been even better if GoDaddy started every domain at the standard minimum bid price, but I understand why it didn’t.
  • Clean title – I won one of the three letter .com domains in the auction. The three three-letter domains I saw all sold near the floor price for these domains, but I think they have an added value compared to other short domains you can buy: clean title. These domains were all part of old portfolios and had a clean ownership history dating back at least 10 years. Compare that to many short domains that have bounced around between multiple owners…and might have been stolen.
  • Changing inventory – GoDaddy posted new inventory daily rather than all at once. This allowed the company to select inventory based on what types of domains were selling in the auction.

Here are some things I’d like GoDaddy to do differently if it runs another NameFind auction:

  • Announce it earlier – I’d like to keep more dry powder available for an auction like this. The auction was announced very late, and I had already made some large domain purchases heading into December.
  • Run the auction earlier – I bid on eight domains in the auction and won two of them (dql .com and swizzle .com). I would have bid more on some of the domains I lost, but I was traveling and spending time with extended family last week. This made it difficult to bid. An ideal time would be to start the week after Thanksgiving and run the auction for a couple of weeks.
  • Provide previous pricing information – All domains NameFind sold were available for purchase before the auction, and I suspect nearly all of them had “buy now” prices. I also imagine all of the domains sold for less than the buy-now prices. It would have been helpful to me to see what these prices were when bidding. If NameFind priced some of them super high, I would have felt confident bidding more in the auction because I’d know part of the reason the domain hadn’t sold yet was the price.

Overall, I was happy to pick up a couple of nice domains to finish 2024.

Post link: My thoughts on the GoDaddy NameFind auction

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