Domain names are a scarce commodity and TLD’s (Top Level Domains) like .com are highly sought after.
So, assume that you have a dying desire to purchase a domain and you go looking for it, you often find that there’s a squatter there. Sitting on the registration, doing nothing with it, but looking to exploit someone who wants to purchase it for a princely sum. It is cheap to squat on a domain, about $24 per year. But you may get lucky and someone may pay you thousands for the domain later!
GoDaddy operates a closed auction system where you can list a domain “for auction” but this is an auction like none I have seen before. Recently I tried to purchase a domain and I found this …
Ha! that’s good, I am willing to pay $350 or a little more for this domain, let me “Get this”! Here’s the essence of what I saw …
That’s cool, I have to just bid close to the time when the auction ends and the offer is $350 or more … Should be all set. No indication of a “reserve price” etc., etc., So I bid, I go to bed and I wake up in the morning and here is what I see.
Still the same $350 (though I offered more than that) and apparently there is 1 Bid but the auction now has about three more months to go!
So I called the support folks and here’s what I was told.
- The owner of the domain decides whether to sell or not.
- The owner chose not to accept my offer.
- The owner of the domain relisted the domain for a further 3 months.
And here’s the kicker …
- I’m still liable for the “bid” to purchase!
At any time the bidder could accept by bid and I suddenly owe them whatever it was that I bid on the domain!
In other words, the way auctions here work is that one party is able to make a material change to the “contract” after you agree to it and you are still bound by this contract? What a scam!
Here is clause 3 of the agreement that you enter into when you offer to purchase the domain. The version of the current agreement is at https://www.godaddy.com/agreements/showdoc.aspx?pageid=6027 and is dated October 18, 2013
“As a Buyer, you are obligated to complete the transaction if you purchase the domain name through a fixed price, Buy Now format, or if you are the highest bidder at the end of an auction and your bid meets or exceeds the minimum bid or reserve price.”
Ok, GoDaddy, I’m happy to complete my side of the transaction.
- I am the highest bidder at the end of the auction
- I bid the “minimum bid amount” as specified in the auction.
Are you willing to honor your side of this transaction as stipulated in section 3 and 4 of the Sedo agreement?
Section 3 (c)
c) Buyer and Seller shall be liable to each other only for damages that are based upon their failure to perform the necessary steps to complete this transaction, intentional wrongdoing or gross negligence and shall not be liable for claims seeking consequential or punitive damages.
“b) In the event that either party fails to perform all reasonable steps necessary to submit payment, complete the transfer of control of the Purchase Object, or otherwise fails to communicate with Sedo’s representatives in a timely manner, Sedo LLC or Sedo GmbH shall have the permission of the Parties to cancel or temporarily suspend attempts to transfer said Purchase Object and to demand the commission from the Party who has failed to complete all reasonable steps necessary to complete the transaction. “
After speaking with GoDaddy Support, I was given the offer to provide my feedback and I rated them 0/10. Interestingly enough I got an email that said
Thanks for your call. Tell us how we did!
TELL US HOW WE DID!
Dear GoDaddy Customer,
Thanks for contacting our Customer Support Department.
Customer service is a top priority at GoDaddy, and we hope our team provided you the first-class service we’re known for. We’d love it if you clicked the link below to tell us how we did during your recent experience.
Feel like sharing more? You can always tweet your kudos to @GoDaddy, or post them to Facebook at http://facebook.com/godaddy.
So, sure enough I took to twitter and the following amusing exchange ensued.
What a freaking SCAM!