How GoDaddy.com Expired Domain Name Auctions Work

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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.

godaddy expired auction won domain ready on date

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!

About the Author: Dana Duncan

Hi, my name is Dana, and I've been building websites for over 12 years. It's a topic I'm passionate about and enjoy teaching. Here at All Webmaster.com I teach people how to create and run websites, and show businesses how to build or improve their web presence.

21 Comments + Add Comment

  • Thanks for this explanations. V. useful. I understand that after winning the auction and waiting for the “ready” status I do not have to make any action? I won the domain that was registred via GoDaddy.

    • Hi MS, as long as you’ve already paid for the name you won, there is nothing else you need to do while waiting for the “ready” status. Just make sure you have paid for the name you won. If for some reason you don’t actually get it (like the original owner renews), Godaddy will refund your money. Good luck with your Godaddy Auction!

  • Thanks for sharing, now everything is clear.

  • I’m wondering what tends to happen once a domain auction ends and there are no bidders? The auction site isn’t godaddy but instead namejet.

    The domain I’m looking to acquire doesn’t have any relevant info in the listing other than their starting bid ($59). At what point will that be free for registration at another registrar or will NameJet hold on to it indefinitely?

    • Hi,

      If a domain gets no bidders then it will eventually be released by Namejet and become available for anyone to register at any domain registrar. At Namejet, I believe the timing is up to 75 days in the expiring, or “pre-release”, state. Next there will be 5 days in the “pending delete” phase, after which the name will become available to the general public again. There’s a helpful image of this full domain expiration lifecycle on Namejet here: http://www.namejet.com/pages/services/aftermarket.aspx. Hope this helps!

  • Fortunately, I have won 2 domains, and ready on date is 12/19/2011, does it mean I will get ownership on 12/19/2011 ?

    thanks for your blog, pretty informative.

    • Hey Sam, thanks for stopping by and congratulations on winning the two auctions! Yes, you’re right on about the “ready on” date. As soon as this date passes you’ll officially own the domain names. You may want to keep the names to yourself until that date just to be safe. Unless the owner decides to renew for some reason (which rarely happens I believe), you’ll be good to go after the 19th. Good luck with the new names! Also, if there are any questions you have while setting up your new sites feel free to shoot me an email or leave me another comment. I’m always looking for feedback on the site and new topics my audience is interested in learning about…

      • Hi Dana, thank you for your reply!

        I have finally got the both domains, and transferred to my account even before 19th Dec lol
        Now, I am a bit worried SEO, my .net domain has been doing pretty well on Google, floats from #1 to #4, but this new domain even does not show on google, not sure whether its blacklisted, but as far I could remember, I was keeping eye on these domains for last more than one year, and it was parked by Godaddy. I guess google has dropped the domain due to no valuable information. My site is small less than 10 pages wordpress site, I am confused whether I do all 301 redirect at once, google suggests to do one by one. Bit anxious whether my site will disappear forever from google if I use new domain.

        • Congratulations on getting the domains Sam! 301 redirects will also transfer the pagerank from your old site to the new one. Sometimes Google takes a few days to pick up on everything, but using 301 redirects has always worked well for me. Your new domain is probably not ranking yet because you haven’t added content to it and it doesn’t have enough link juice. Once you transfer the content of your site over and add the 301 redirects you should start seeing your new domain name ranked instead of the old one. Just to be safe, you can check to see if your domain is blacklisted by going to Google and searching “site:yourdomain.com”. Google will return any results from their index for the domain you type in. If you see you domain show up in the search results you’ll know its indexed and not blacklisted. Good luck with the new site!

          • Hey Dana, just to confirm however my new domain was not appearing even using
            “site:domainname” on Google, but
            google crawled my site within 15 hours after making it live. As soon I got ownership of the domain I made it protected by password. And did all pages 301 redirect as well as informed Google that address changed via webmaster. It worked!


  • Hello!
    This article helped me a lot but I was wondering what happens after I win it and it’s ready. This will be by first domain I am after so I’m really new. Is the money to win the action the money for the first year of registration? If so how much will it be a year after that? Is it a set price for .com domains?

    • Hi Steven, glad to hear the article helped! To answer your question, once you win and the name is ready you’ll have to pay the amount of your winning bid PLUS the domain name renewal fee. Normally .com domain names cost about $12 a year to renew. If you want to save a couple bucks you can use my affiliate link for Godaddy and you’ll be able to get a discount price of $7.49 on your .com domain name -> https://www.allwebmaster.com/go/godaddy-domain-sale. You can decide to renew your domain name for just 1 year or for as many as 10 (the discount rate will be good for as many years as you choose). Also, just as an FYI there will be a slight increase in domain name fees starting in 2012. The organization in charge of all domain names is raising their costs so registrars like Godaddy are also increasing their prices slightly.

  • Hi,
    This is so helpful. I saw my question sort of addressed above, but mine is a tad different. What if the domain I’m interested in has no bids, and is registered at GoDaddy? Will it still become available as a released domain name, or will it be perpetually up for bid? Thanks for any help.

    • Hi Chris, that’s a good question. If there are no bids received on the name after the auction ends the domain name will eventually be released. However, I’ve found from personal experience that if its a domain you really like the best choice is to wait until the last minutes of the auction and place the minimum bid. You’ll get your domain much faster if you win the auction, and the small extra cost will give you piece of mind. Best of luck with getting your domain!

  • Did Godaddy just make it a requirement to pay for 2 years on expired auction domain names? I can’t get rid of the 1 Year Renewal from my shopping cart.

    • Hi Tom,

      I haven’t heard of any changes to require a minimum of two years. The last domain I purchased from an Godaddy auction I was able to register for only 1 year. The Godaddy.com interface isn’t always user friendly, so you may want to try a few different ways to change it to just 1 year. If that doesn’t work then I suggest opening a ticket with Godaddy support and they should be able to tell you exactly what to do. Also, congrats on finding a domain at auction!

  • Honestly, i marvelled at your vital information, not all sold ebooks could be this researched and honest.

    I really want to go into domain parking investment with about 50 dollars but have problem of being able to analyze a domain before buying as to avoid failure.

    Do help me. How can i be successful in creating or selecting a domain name with ranking.

    Thanks dearly in anticipation of your kind gesture

    • Hi Christopher,

      It’s good to hear that you benefited from the article. When you’re buying expired domain names, you’ll want to check for some things such as domain age (how long ago it was registered), existing pagerank, and how many backlinks point to it. There are many tools available to do this easily. I’d recommend starting by looking at the domain name history through Majestic SEO (http://www.majesticseo.com/). You can use their basic service free and it will give you a good picture of how many backlinks a domain has. If you plan on doing this professionally, then consider investing in a service like Domainface (https://domainface.com/) that was built for this purpose. That will quickly give you all the relevant data you need on an expiring domain. It takes some practice too, so just keep trying new research methods and you’ll get the hang of it quickly.

  • Hi, I have a question. Do I have to pay for the domain right after I won the auction or when the “ready on” date passes? If both options are possible, which one do you reccomend me to do? I want to know just in case.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Mark, I would highly recommend paying once you win the auction. It’s much easier to remember to pay right then, and if I’ve gone through the whole auction process I want to make sure I get the domain name. That’s my suggestion. Good luck with your new domain name from the Godaddy auction!

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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...]

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