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GoDaddy is closing an expired domain “loophole”

Last second backorders will no longer circumvent closeout process.

Auctions for expired domain names at GoDaddy can get competitive. With no backorders required, domain names can go from $0 to hundreds of dollars even when no bids are placed until the last few minutes.

This is complicated by the closeout process. If you bid on a domain in the live auction it will likely be bid up to over $100. If you can snag it when it goes into closeouts then it’s only $12 plus the renewal fee.

Unfortunately, there are lots of people with API access and computing power who treat the closeout like a drop. They start sending calls to buy the domain as soon as the regular auction closes.

But there has been a loophole that has helped people like me. If you place a backorder the second an auction closes, you can win the domain for the cost of a backorder before it gets placed in closeouts.

For the past year or so, I will closely watch auctions and be ready to bid if someone jumps in at the last minute. If the auction ends with no bids, I’ll place a backorder at the second the auction ends.

Historically, this has helped me scoop up a lot of domain names. About 95% of the domains that make it through the auction with no bids. But it’s gotten tougher this year.

Starting in January I noticed a lot of people placing backorders with a few minutes left in the auction. I’m not sure why they were doing this because it triggers a $10 bid and then everyone can pile in.

Then a few weeks ago I noticed that many of the domains I was backordering at the last second were getting scooped up by other people. My success rate went from 95% to about 25%. My guess is that they automated the process for backordering to get the timing just right.

While the backorder loophole was nice while it lasted, GoDaddy is about to eliminate it.

Joe Styler explained this change in a post on NamePros this week.

So now the options are either bid regularly and fight with everyone else, or program a system to snipe domains the minute they hit closeouts.

Well, it was fun while it lasted. At least now I won’t log into GoDaddy to place a backorder, only to be frustrated when someone places a last minute bid.

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Author: Andrew Allemann

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