How GoDaddy.com Expired Domain Name Auctions Work
When you’re looking for the right domain name for your website, there are several options available if you can’t find a good, unregistered name. One of these options is to buy an expired domain name. There are lots of ways to buy expiring domain names, and recently I got the chance to participate in a GoDaddy.com auction for an expired domain name I wanted. It took me awhile to figure out all the details, so in this article I’ll share what I learned about how GoDaddy.com Expired Domain Name Auctions work from my experience.
What Is a GoDaddy.com Expired Domain Auction?
To begin, let me explain what a GoDaddy.com expired domain name auction is. When a domain name registered through GoDaddy.com expires it is automatically listed for auction, on GoDaddy.com Auctions, 25 days after the expiration date. The end date of the auction is set for 11 days in the future (below we’ll see how this end time can be extended). Once the auction is started, anyone with a GoDaddy.com auction account, which costs $4.99 for a year, is able to bid on the domain name.
How the Expired Domain Auction Works
If you find an expired domain name you want listed on a GoDaddy.com auction, you can click on the name to see the time left and end date. The end date can be anywhere from a few minutes left to the full 11 days left. If you want to place a bid on the name, and you have a GoDaddy auction account, you can enter the amount you’re willing to pay for the name. Bidding starts at $12 and goes up in $5 increments. If there are no bids for a domain and you enter $100 as your max bid, you will be listed as the high bidder for the name at a price of $12. If another person decides to also bid on the name, GoDaddy will automatically raise your bid by the next $5 increment to outbid the other person all the way up to your maximum bid if necessary.
Personally, I prefer to wait until the auction is almost over before I’ll place my first bid on the domain name I want. This will help prevent drawing extra attention to the auction, which could bring in other bidders who wouldn’t see the auction otherwise. This will also give you more control of increasing your bid if necessary since you’ll most likely be watching the auction yourself after placing your last minute bid.
One aspect that makes GoDaddy Expired Domain Auctions unique is the way the end time gets expanded. In most internet auctions, people wait to the last minute to place there bid and you can be outbid at the last second if your max bid isn’t high enough. To prevent this, GoDaddy added a feature where if any bids are placed in the last two minutes of an auction the end time will also be extended by two minutes. This extension kicks in every time a last minute bid is placed, so the auction end time will keep increasing as long as two or more people are bidding on a name.
You Won the Expired Domain Auction! What Now?
You won the auction! Time to celebrate, right? Not so fast, this is where things start to get a bit confusing. I mentioned above that the expired name auction starts 25 days after a name expires and lasts for 11 days. However, the original owner of a domain name at GoDaddy has a full 42 days from the expiration date to renew it.
These numbers don’t add up. When you look at the terms of service, or the email for your winning bid, you’ll see that the original owner still has some time left to re-new the name. If they decide to renew it they’ll be forced to pay an $80 fee on top of registration costs as a penalty for letting it expire, but the biggest problem is for you since the auction results will be cancelled. If this happens you will receive a refund for any payments you made on the name, but you won’t have the domain you thought you won. This is a major bummer. I know from personal experience. The lesson I learned is don’t get too excited about winning an auction until your domain name is past the 42 day window. You can check how much longer you need to helplessly wait by viewing the auctions you’ve “won” and looking for the “ready on” date of the name. This is the last day that the original owner could possibly renew the domain name on. Once the “ready on” date passes, GoDaddy.com will then make the actual transfer of the domain name to your account. To complete the transfer of the domain name, you’ll need to pay the winning bid PLUS the cost of renewing the domain (the renewal cost is normally $11.99 per year, but they are currently having a domain sale for only $7.49 year if you use this link). Now you officially own the name and can celebrate all you want!
Conclusion on Expired Domain Auctions at GoDaddy
Buying an expired domain name through GoDaddy.com auctions can be a little frustrating to say the least. The auction can last a long time if you’re bidding back and fourth with other people and the end time keeps getting extended. It’s even possible to win an expired domain auction at GoDaddy only to have the original owner swoop in and still renew their name before the full 42 day expiration period ends. However, if you have patience, know how the process works, and have a bit of luck, you might find yourself with a killer domain name (with some added domain age) for a low price.
In the future I’ll be writing another post with the actual results of the expired domain auction I participated in. This particular auction was extended for hours, and it didn’t end as easy as I hoped…
Update (12/22): A good question was just asked by Steven in the comments section about the cost of the domain name after you win. In order to buy the domain name you win from a Godaddy Auction you’ll have to pay the amount of your winning big PLUS the domain name renewal fees. Domains normally cost $11.99 per year at Godaddy, although there is currently a domain name sale for only $7.49 year. Just use that link and you’ll see the discounted price when you buy your domain. Hopefully this clears things up in terms of cost!
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Hi, my name is Dana and here at All Webmaster I teach people how to build websites. I've been creating websites professionally for over 12 years and this is where I'll share the things I've learned so you can build your own website and get people to visit it. [More about...]