The Unfair Advantage, A Domainers Life

Most domain name investors are living on hopes and dreams. They want to buy low, sell high, just like everybody else. Every day they put in countless hours of research, considering the risks of specific domains and investing the little money they do have to fulfill this dream of making it big.

I’m that guy too!

I love domains. I get the butterflies in my stomach when I see “a good one” at auction. I get excited trying to win it and feel the pain of wasted time and dreams slip away when bidder 3 or First or whatever bidding alias or lack there of, shows up besides mine.

How did I lose? Was it just because of money? Is the auction system broke? Is somebody playing outside the “rules” followed by majority?

Likely all of the above is the reality!

My minimal budget is peanuts to companies like HugeDomains, DomainMarket, BuyDomains and the countless other companies and individuals in the domain investing market. It’s not their fault, nor mine, it’s just the way it goes.

What I don’t like is an unfair advantage over any other bidder on any auction system. Yes, finances will often be the largest barrier but when “other” factors come into play… it’s simply not fair.

API Bidding

Is it ok that you are manually bidding against somebody using an API with computer metrics bidding against you? Maybe you didn’t even think of API bidders? It happens both at NameJet and GoDaddy, maybe more services. The two largest domain name auction services, it happens at. NameJet & GoDaddy. These API bidders can bid on 10, 20, 30 or 100’s of domains at a time, when you are left focusing on one or two at best, manually.. refreshing the page with frantic eyes.

The API bot bidding tool doesn’t flinch, nor have to “keep refreshing the page” to see if new bids are placed or you are outbid, that’s automatically done for it and more! You may “miss an auction” because life happened, when the API bidding bots life, is beating you.

Is API bidding fair? Is API bidding providing a “level playing field” for all?

I reached out to Paul Nicks of GoDaddy with a few questions and his thoughts in regards to API bidding. Here are my questions and his response:

Paul, as VP of GoDaddy’s Aftermarket Division, do you consider API bidding as providing a level playing field for all bidders on GoDaddy Auctions?

Yes, both API and manual bid customers have the same information and capabilities. However, the API is provided to customers to allow them the ability to scale their operations by providing the inventory and opportunity to bid on several hundred domains at a time (and which requires use of sophisticated software to keep track).

For manual bidders, we do provide the option of Proxy Bidding, which, if the bidder were to enter a maximum bid amount, would also automate the process in our bid system (up to the maximum).

Can you provide any stats related to how many entities are using API bidding on GoDaddy Auctions and GoDaddy Closeouts, compared to manual bidding.

We are unable to provide specifics, but we do have more manual bidders than API bidders.

How is a GoDaddy Auctions customer able to obtain API access to bid on auctions? Are there any fees, limits or development costs in using the API?

API access can be requested by emailing our support team at [email protected]. There is no fee to use the API, just the time and resources it takes to get set up on the bidder’s side. If someone is interested in the developer guide, they can contact the support team.

Within expiring auctions, there is a “comment” space and at times makes mention of “Automatic Bid Placed”. If a $12, first bid is placed and has a comment of “automatic bid placed”, does this indicate a API bid? (I would assume, in general, Automatic Bid Placed is related to a “proxy bid” but I wouldn’t expect GoDaddy to reveal this “strategy” on a first bid.)

When someone places a product bid above $12 on a domain name and they are the first bidder, the note for “Automatic Bid Placed” will appear.

I have also seen “Bid placed by Back Order process-Bulk” which is the results of a $10, 1 bid situation. I have also seen “auctionMerge”? Is there something that explains these “comments” and the reason behind each of them?

Thanks for highlighting.  Though we do not currently have a page like this set up explaining the different comments, our team is working on getting something put together.

What does GoDaddy do with expired domain name auctions that the winning bidder defaults on? Does it go to the second highest bidder? I’m sure there are situations when there was only 1 bidder or the second highest bidder doesn’t want it, then what?

We do not keep any GoDaddy expiring domains. All domains that expire from GoDaddy or GoDaddy resellers go through the exact same Auction process regardless of the quality of the domain.

If the 1st bidder fails to pay we erase their entire bid history and offer the domain to the 2nd highest bidder at the price they would have paid if the 1st bidder never existed. If the 2nd highest bidder doesn’t want the domain then we treat it as if it never got any bids and let it drop.

Example process:

  • Bidder 1: $12
  • Bidder 2: $20
  • Bidder 3: $30
  • Bidder 1: $50
  • Bidder 3: $100
  • Bidder 1: $150

If Bidder 1 doesn’t pay, then we offer it to Bidder 3 for $30 instead of $100 since we determined that all of Bidder 1’s bids were fraudulent.

-End Of Q&A with Paul –

I personally think that API bidding on domain name auction platforms does not provide a level playing field for all, which the auction services should be striving for. I do not consider proxy bidding and API bidding on the same playing field. Closeout snipping is also heavily at an advantage of an API bidder, who can send several calls to “buy” per second, when a manual bidder can not do that.

I also asked NameJet GM Jonathan Tenenbaum questions in regards to NameJet’s API bidding, but I have not heard back from him after asking 3 times.

The house always wins!

I’m not exactly sure how I feel about service providers that have interest in both sides. Aka, are you the auction house or are you the domain investor? GoDaddy provides it’s auction service, but they are also domain investors (NameFind). They can buy domains, let them expire and still turn a profit in the expired auction. We can’t do that. They also have direct data that a customer doesn’t get to see. It is not known that GoDaddy or GoDaddy employees purchase any domains on GoDaddy Auctions and I do not suspect them to do that. It may happen on some scale but it’s not likely big. It certainly could be happening since whois is really “who do you want to be”. GoDaddy “could be” Paul Smith of Plano, Texas with the gmail address of [email protected] . Nobody would really know. Whois privacy greatly aids in the unknown. No bidding alias on GoDaddy auctions doesn’t help with this matter, nor the way the current whois system works.

NameJet… well, NameJet is owned now by Tucows (eNom prior but Tucows recently purchased them) and has been part owned by for awhile. actually owns another domain auction house too, SnapNames.

Both companies ( & Tucows) have been known to warehouse domains. Nothing new or against any rules put forth by ICANN. Warehousing is something I’m very strongly against, because it creates an unfair advantage for the registrar, not allowing other parties the chance to acquire the expired domain in a public auction at no reserve. Only directly from them at the price they set. Both and Tucows are domain investors and hold large domain name portfolios.

PendingDelete Auctions

What happens to PendingDelete auctions when the bidder doesn’t pay or a charge back occurs after the auction? I’d hope the auction would be rerun after the non-payment and the “the house” doesn’t just get to keep the domain for basically free (reg fee). Are fake bidder accounts created just to initiate a non-paying bidder? I don’t know but there is always the potential. Even if all things are legit and the high bidder just can not or does not complete the transaction, should the auction service just be able to keep the domain? I don’t think so.

Let’s consider these domain names, auctions and whois movements that hold some questions with them as to what is going on. The following is research used with current whois data, whois history and a few other sources for reference:

MXGB(.)com expired and was grabbed by a controlled registrar on the drop and auctioned on NameJet April 5, 2017. The domain is won for $1,250 by bidder: tmsues1 ( bidding winners tracked) auction bidder

Whois records after the auction completed then show THOMAS SUES, [email protected] (assumed paid for since it transfers to them?) after the auction but then switches in whois records to New Ventures Services Corp (according to whois) and listed with a buy now for $1,077 on Sedo currently (less than it “sold” for on NameJet)? Odd. whois record is another domain that was won by the tmsues1 bidder on NameJet on January 30, 2017 for $1,015 (source), so that one needs to be watched yet but currently displays Thomas Sues in whois records. Did Thomas “pay” for this one?, won on NameJet by bidder “Markins” on November 21, 2016 for $404 (source) with whois showing Mark Kartasasmita and email of [email protected] in whois after the auction… then switching  in whois on April 3, 2017 to New Ventures Services Corp, which remains now. Domain is listed with a BIN on Afternic for $777. Whois updating to New Ventures Services Corp on 4/3/2017, similar to several domains below!

I reached out to Jonathon, GM at NameJet to see what happened with and specifically.

I followed up with SnapNames/ aftermarket on this as the auctions you initially referenced were not won by NameJet customers.  Since the SnapNames/NameJet integration allows both of our customers to participate in the same Pending Delete auctions, SnapNames bidders are given NameJet bidder aliases to track their bids in real time.  For example, MXGB.COM was won by “sn–tmsues1”, which is a SnapNames customer, not a NameJet customer.  But either way, I checked with them, all of those auctions you ID’d in your original email involved a default or chargeback, which is why the domains did not end up with the winning bidder.

I have asked why these domains were not re-auctioned or offered to the second highest bidder but I did not get a response to that question.

It is important to note, New Ventures Services Corp, is a subsidiary of, which is part owner of NameJet and sole owner of Snapnames. I make it very clear here that New Ventures Services Corp is a subsidiary of Group, Inc. I mention this because has stated many times that they are not associated with New Ventures Services Corp!

I reached out to Group Inc. with specific regards to the two above mentioned domain names with the following question:

Why were and not reauctioned on NameJet and were taken into ownership directly by the auction house providers ownership, while currently being offered for sale by New Ventures Services Corp?

After a couple weeks, I received a response from to my question: does not comment on individual accounts, but we can assure you that companies (including NameJet and SnapNames) do not bid against our customers in any auction on our platform.

I thought I was pretty clear with my question, with my main focus on the reason why the domains were not reauctioned and ownership went to New Ventures Services Corp? I didn’t feel my question was answered and I did not receive a reply to my follow up question, as to why. If they can’t comment on individual accounts, that’s understandable but the domains moved to an account owned by the company? My question wasn’t about bidding on domains on its platform, it was why they took ownership of the domains after the auction.

More Data

Let’s look at some more suspicious activity based on whois records for some more pending delete domain names. I included the following domain names to in my question, if they could provide the reasons for the movements, with most appearing to be auctioned and then New Ventures Services Corp appearing in whois afterwards according to whois records. The above quoted statement was the only one I received from Web: The domain was grabbed on the drop (11/13/2016), whois showed a ANDRE HAGEN BJERKE [email protected] (11/29/2016) after the auction, then whois switches to New Ventures Services Corp (4/3/2017), then sold on Sedo 4/22/2017?  I didn’t see this one as being sold to a bidder on NameJet but this does show a high bid of $150 so it would appear this domain was auctioned on SnapNames?

So this makes me question, what’s happening at SnapNames? similar situation as SXRS above, with same whois movements (not sold yet), now showing New Ventures Services Corp in whois. The whois update showing New V happened the very same day (4/3/2017) as SXRS and If and were non-paying bidders or a charge back, why 5 months later that whois changes to New V? Did they buy these domains from the non-paying bidder? Not likely IMO. Why so many changes on 4/3/2017 by domains from different owners, that were auctioned on platforms owned by (drop/shows NewV in whois), (drop/shows NewV currently in whois, showed “SnapNames, LLC in whois prior and Andre Hagen Bjerke after drop 11/18/2016)?, for an example, which dropped and was grabbed on the drop on 11/12/2016. Currently owned by New Ventures Services according to whois records. This domain also revealed ANDRE HAGEN BJERKE [email protected] in whois records after the auction, then switching to a Holding Account,, Inc. in March 2017 and then New Venture Services Corp. whois updated 4/3/2017. to note (popular date). whois record April 3, 2017 is also connected to [email protected] (NameJet bidder) but currently doesn’t show New V in whois but was grabbed on the drop Nov 15, 2016. Note: Non-paying bidder via NameJet/Snapnames bidder: Markins. dropped July 30, 2016, grabbed and auctioned on SnapNames for $2,000. Whois switches to Yael Shahar [email protected] then switches to New Ventures Services Corp on April 3, 2017 then sells on Sedo to the current owner for much less than the $2,000 on April 26, 2017? Now listed with a buy now of $2,222. drops and shows, Inc. in whois and then switches to New Ventures Services Inc. (to note, New Ventures Services Corp. appear in whois records for hundreds of thousands of domain name directly (2016, 2017), every day but do not show, Inc. in whois records for most)

All of the following pendingdelete dropped domains at one point connect back to New V after dropping, some have been sold already, some flip flop back and forth. The question is, where these domains backordered and bid on by others or did New V use it’s registrars to grab them on the drop and no other parties had them backordered? I don’t know. :,,,,, for an example expires, grabbed on the drop by, Inc. then switches to New V in whois then Illinois Rural Telecommunications Company under privacy in whois and then back to New V in whois but didn’t expire? Now it’s expired again and on name servers!. expires, grabbed on the drop by SnapNames, then displays New V about 1.5 months after auction. Appears to be an intentional expiration then (whois moves to privacy right around expiration date in June 2016) comes out of privacy in July 2016 with New V as owners again. 5/17/2017 domain changes to China Capital Investment Limited, same as and appears to sell.

For clarification purposes, you can see that the above mentioned domain names mostly fit a pattern. 4 letter domains. The reason for this is simply due to my research. Viewing hundreds of thousands of domain names whois records isn’t realistic for me, when it’s required for research purposes to also view historical whois records on each domain name to detect things that look out of place. So I put a focus on “newly registered / recently dropped” domains that were registered in 2016/2017 that were likely “drops”.

If you (as a bidder) were in any of the above mentioned expired domain auctions, potentially at SnapNames, then maybe your bidding history could explain or show some proof that some of the above were bid on by others?

Based on the whois data and the patterns of the above examples, it’s clear that non-paying bidder situations occur and it would appear by this data, IMO, that some domains are going into ownership of New Ventures Services Corp and not the winning auction bidders.

According to, New Ventures Services Corp, using the registrant email address of “[email protected]” is listed as the registrant of 116,884 newly registered domain names in 2016. So far in 2017, they are near 2016 numbers already, with 110,133 newly registered domains for 2017. It would be a great task to look at “word” related domains similar to what I did with 4 letter domains. I do have a few examples though of those type of domains and similar whois activity as noted above.

Newly Registered Domains By New Ventures Services Corp 2016/2017

My biggest concern would be, is the auction provider creating “fake” accounts and “winning” pendingdelete auctions? If the domain is bid up high enough, let it go. If not, “we keep it” and sell it later for a set price. has stated that they do not bid against their customers.  What didn’t say, was anything about keeping domains that are not paid for or completed for whatever reason.

In my opinion, if I were involved in the bidding of a domain auction and didn’t get a chance to either participate in a reauction or have first crack if I was the second highest bidder when a non-paying bidder situation occurred, I would feel cheated. Not fair.

Clearly New Ventures Services Corp is a big player in the drop, with hundreds of thousands of domains registered over the past two years. Publicly, the email address “[email protected]” is associated with over 486,000 domain names according to How many of those 200,000+ may have had backorders by others, were potential non-paying bidder situations, regular registrations, I’m not sure.

On August 10, 2017 for an example, [email protected] grabbed 28 domain names on the drop, mainly with SnapNames and or NameJet/eNom registrars.

On August 09, 2017 it was 21 domains grabbed on the drop.

On August 08, 2017 it was 57 domains grabbed on the drop.

In order to obtain 100,000 “new domains” in a year (newly registered, grabbed on the drop), that requires about 273 domain names per day.

These example domains are not meant to point any fingers. I know non-paying bidder situations and charge backs happen. Whois doesn’t always tell the whole story or paint the full picture and the reason I asked. I checked both SnapNames and NameJet terms of services and nothing is mentioned of “what happens to a pending delete domain name if the high bidder doesn’t pay or a charge back occurs”. Maybe that needs to be addressed?

New Ventures Services Corp can buy domain names, grab them on the drop and sell them. There is nothing against that but it’s also nice to have some clarity, directly from a public company when things look a little “out of place” based on whois records. If a domain is “sold” on your auction platform and soon after is taken into ownership by a subsidiary of YOUR company…. it creates questions IMO. If your presented an opportunity to clarify the situation, but avoid the chance to do so, why? unless this answers that question and I’m missing it: does not comment on individual accounts, but we can assure you that companies (including NameJet and SnapNames) do not bid against our customers in any auction on our platform.


Domain investing is a tough business! Many times, as an investor, I feel my hands are tied and there isn’t a “fair” way to obtain ownership of a domain name. Processes in place to acquire a domain from an expired domain perspective is dicey and challenging.  Between “partner” registrars and auction services, one never really knows what’s going to happen. Some domains are simply not auctioned and whois remains private. Who actually owns the domain and how they took ownership is often questionable. When domains “sell” at auction, did it really “sell”? Bidding in an auction, the game is tough going, because you are bidding against machines.

Life isn’t fair and others will almost always have advantages over you. This is very true in a domainers life!

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36 thoughts on “The Unfair Advantage, A Domainers Life

  1. This is no difference than Speed Trading

    “High-frequency trading (HFT) is a type of algorithmic trading characterized by high speeds, high turnover rates, and high order-to-trade ratios that leverages high-frequency financial data and electronic trading tools”4

    Welcome to the world of unfairness where money talks!!

  2. Thank you for this excellent post. Really appreciate the time you have taken to research and write it.

  3. first what a tremendous piece of writing, second an this is from the perspective of a tiny tiny investor, if you bid on a domain at godaddy auctions, huge domains will gazump you, best to wait and see if it will come up in your account for $11 and then buy it.
    this could be easily remedied by godaddy not revealing bids to any party who isn’t watching or bidding on a particular domain.

    1. @christopher brennan,
      I tried the whole “wait” game and the second it would go to $11 closeout, I’d get the domain in my cart and before I could click the checkout button, “domain no longer available”. After several times, I knew something was up. A pattern set in place after watching hundreds of auctions and it was clear that something faster than humans were winning these auctions.

      1. Did you check WHOIS for these hundreds of names where you were “outsniped”? Which large companies managed to buy the names faster than you?

        I mainly buy domains in this way, daily, (with a decent success rate after lots of practice), and I record and follow up on WHOIS for every single domain I didn’t successfully grab at $11. Large corporate buyers make up less than 5% of the user who beat me to grab the domain at $11. The other 95% is an assortment of what looks like individual investors, many just holding a small portfolio, and most of them are unlikely to have api access judging from their portfolio profile. There is absolutely nothing in my own research into this that tells me that large buyers have any advantage when it comes to buying names at $11. What it requires is endurance (non-stop mind-numbing refreshing until the name appears at $11) and lighting fast hand eye coordination once the name appears. This is the only area of domaining today where I see small time domainers dominating the big buyers. It’s the only domain purchasing opportunity today where skill and effort is more important than the size of your budget. Based on my extensive experience of buying names in this way,I think most likely you got outsniped by some incredibly fast humans/individual investors, who grabbed the names manually. I’d be incredibly surprised if you found that say 35% of the names you got outsniped for are now showing hugedomains in whois.

        Now when I look at who outbid me in auctions at $12+, its the huge portfolio holders with automated api bidding more often than not. However, I seldom see these entities when somebody bought a name as an $11 closeout faster than me, which tells me that they don’t have a significant advantage when it comes to buying those names. Moreover, BuyDomains frequently place a $12 bid on domains (opening bid) 5 minutes before the end time. If they had the capability of grabbing these names at $11, faster than regular domainers, it makes no sense for them to place a $12 bid, which at GoDaddy almost inevitably set off a bidding war. The names you can buy for $11 go for $XXX most of the time if bidding gets started.

  4. I pay what I think a name is worth. Don’t care how it got there really, just that it isn’t stolen. Good writeup!!

    1. @mkk,
      I agree and I said the same thing when I heard of the shill bidding at NameJet was highlighted (not that shill bidding is right, it’s just part of a broken system and the main reason I no longer bid in auctions). If you are paying what you think a domain is worth, it doesn’t matter. How do you go about telling if a domain isn’t or is stolen? That’s clearly another big problem around domain names. So many clouded (dead) assets floating around that ARE stolen and whois isn’t the way to tell if one is or isn’t.

  5. The domain aftermarket is clearly flawed, the companies behind it are ok because they are profiting from it.

    The suckers with endless money, are working in offshore grey zones, and who knows who is funding their buying power.

    There is no reason to play in this aftermarket the prices are more than most end users are willing to pay, you are just paying high prices to pay renewals on domains that have a slim chance of paying any return.

    The risk to return ratio is to high.

    Mike M can talk about his off off sales, but his millions in carrying costs of dead inventory shows why he is still grinding away, and hires anyone from ex door to door vaccum salespeople to send emails out etc.. it is just a grind to break even, or be up until you pay your renewals.

    Only the house is winning.

  6. Awesome post Jamie! I can imagine how much work went into researching it and I understand the motivation behind doing so. I was similarly motivated back when I was digging in the muck trying to get KhanAcademy their com (etc). Later on, I completely focused my energy into GoDaddy who promised not to warehouse and who (at least last time I checked) prohibited their employees from domaining! But that is also why I was so disheartened to see GoDaddy begin buying portfolios for resale. So begins the slippery slope into the muck with everybody else! I wasn’t aware of the API bidding at GoDaddy, but now that I am, it makes a lot of my own experience easier to understand. Here’s a question… Do API users get access to how much domains sold for that they didn’t bid on? I’m still so pissed about GoDaddy removing auction closing prices from the domains I’m watching in MY account!

    1. @JohnH,
      Thanks! I have been working on it for a few months, from time to time.
      I think with the API, it is likely to be able to see what a domain ends for, using some coding/process. aka, last bid, no more bids = the closing price. I would expect that is in some fashion how NameBio grabs sales data from GoDaddy Auctions for an example.

      1. Well then there’s at least one place where the playing field isn’t level. GoDaddy should return that information to us. Definitely unfair to share that information with API users and not the rest of us. And if there’s a GoDaddy rep reading this and I’m missing something about understanding the motivation behind removing closing prices from our Watching list, please share that with me, because as it stands, my sense was that the intention was simply to pressure users to make more bids. IMO GoDaddy can assure it’s place in the domain space moving forward by striving to differentiate itself for its transparency, honesty, security and fairness.

      2. We have API access, but we don’t use it to track GoDaddy auctions and I don’t believe it will give you the closing price after the auction is over. You’re right on the process though, keep recording bids until the auction disappears and the last bid was the close price, unless it disappeared before the scheduled end time which indicates it was renewed/transferred and we don’t save the record.

        I disagree that API bidding is unfair, although I’m obviously a proponent of automation. Anyway, you don’t need an API to have a bot placing bids. We don’t have API access at NameJet but we still have bots placing back orders for us. Pretty much anything a human can do online a bot can do, API or not. So even if GoDaddy removed the API you’d still be playing against bots, it would just cost more to create and thus give an even bigger advantage to well-funded players.

        If they want to go to the effort of creating bots more power to them, nothing is stopping smaller players from doing the same. If you want to operate at a high level pay a coder a few grand to make you a bot, if you want to save money and give up your time then bid manually. Or learn to code and make your own, the skills required to make a few API calls would only take a few days to learn at the most. Or just use proxy bids, the only real advantage to using a bot is being able to drag out the bids but most of the ones I’ve seen don’t even do that, so it’s really just a proxy bid that the auction house can’t see the amount of.

        It would only be unfair if they gave API access to big spenders but denied it to others, which they don’t. Otherwise I don’t see a problem.

          1. I am neither big time nor well-funded, and I’ve probably spent a total of $xxx at GoDaddy auctions in my life. I just wanted everyone to understand that the API isn’t what puts you at a disadvantage, it is actually an equalizer. What puts you at a disadvantage is that people sit around complaining about getting out-played instead of catching up. Literally nothing is stopping you from doing the same thing.

            Read my other comment one more time. Getting rid of the API will not stop companies like HugeDomains from placing automated bids. The API only makes it easier to do it, but it isn’t necessary. So if you get rid of the API only the little guys get hurt because it becomes more expensive to develop an automated bidding system. You’re basically shooting yourself in the foot by calling for the API to be shut down because it will hurt you and not your competitors… just wanted to give you all a heads up.

            Jamie complains about API bidding being unfair, and a couple comments below this he says he is developing his own automated bidding system that is almost finished. Let that sink in for a moment.

            I would wager that most of the vocal opponents of API bidding only bid on a few auctions a day and aren’t actually at a disadvantage (since the bot’s primary advantage is scale), and the rest went out and emailed GoDaddy to request API access after complaining that it exists.

            I don’t have a horse in this race because I don’t place automated bids at GoDaddy, and if I wanted to I wouldn’t need an API to do it. Just wanted to point out that what you’re calling for won’t actually change anything and will just put you at an even further disadvantage.

          2. Unless they were to ban bots as well, making people click the “are you are robot” thing before placing a bid or something similar but of course it will never happen because the more bots and api users making the average person sitting at their computer, who doesn’t even know what api is scramble, bidding higher and higher thinking they are bidding against another person instead of a machine means more money for godaddy or namejet or whoever. i mistook you for michael castello so that is why i said bigtime well funded people.

          3. An understandable mistake, most people think I am him or Michael Berkens or Michael Cyger. I accidentally mistook you for the rap mogul 🙂

            Do you really think that if they somehow blocked bots, that the big dogs would just close up shop and stop dominating the auctions? No… they’ll just dedicate a staff member or two to bid on those hundreds of auctions a day, and you’ll still get owned and they’ll have slightly slimmer margins.

            But now look at your situation… instead of having to develop a simple API-enabled bot to keep up with the competition, instead of having to develop a more complex box that doesn’t use an API, you now have to hire staff members of your own to keep up.

            Do you not understand that the more you try to stifle innovation the more you put YOURSELF at the disadvantage?! It really couldn’t be more clear…

            At each level of restrictions you are suggesting it gets more expensive to compete… which isn’t going to stop RICH people, it will stop POOR people. Get it??

            And having to do a CAPTCHA for every bid would be a terrible user experience.

          4. @Michael,
            To be clear, I am building an API bidding tool to use for closeout auctions only. The reason I’m doing this is because I am constantly getting snipped by people using an API and feel this is the only way I can compete to grab some $11 closeout domains. If the snipping wouldn’t be taking place and I didn’t feel I was at an unfair disadvantage, then I wouldn’t be building the tool. I have won 2 closeout domains in a year+ and I do not bid on domains in regular auctions.

  7. Godaddy doesn’t care what they think, because these bots are bidding, and keep bidding, and creating higher prices to be paid, this is what they want. HugeNames does alot more business with Godaddy than you think.

  8. I am so glad we domainers have this blog. We could never read such an in-dept article from other established domain blogs, since some of these companies are the sponsors to their blogs. And they rarely write critical things about their sponsors. We have no chance of competing against machines!

  9. Very well put together article. Thank you for sharing. Was in some online auctions in 2010-11 that seemed fairly legit. 2013-15 they didn’t seem legit. Results of live in-person auctions (even w/computer bidding) have always seemed legit in US imo.

  10. “No chance” against machines ? Go get the API. Hire a coder. Teach yourself to code it. Whatever.

    These “competitors” all took the same risks you have before you. At some point they wanted the same thing you want (to win more auctions, make more money, etc). So, they invested their money and time in to coming up with their solution to get what they want. They have no unfair advantage . They have taken a risk and have been rewarded. That’s what gets you somewhere further down the road to your desires.

    There are plenty of paths to success in this business. It might sound harsh but “Scale up or shut up”.

    1. Ha ha meaning you, anytime you email for a price… auto delete, i love how domainers auction houses thousands, but lowball bidders, just bid these guys up eveeyone, make their boys pay

    2. if everyone uses api then what is the point of anyone using it? it only works well if the majority are not. personally i think for it to be fair, all bidders must be bidding in the same fashion. no api, no bots just people at computers.

  11. Jamie,
    API is a problem but IMHO it’s not the big issue here, SHILL BIDDING is, besides being a WIRE FRAUD.
    NameJet, Snapnames and DropCatch auctions are systematically rigged, the house fabricates fake bidders, even fake entities with name, adresses, etc to pump up prices.
    There is also widespread collusion between “the house” and some “big players” of the domain industry to keep this shady, dirty business going … that’s why the silence of many, including many domain bloggers, who have conflicts of interest …
    I’ve analyzed many patterns, many auctions, backorder timing, many participating entities, and facts are pretty evident.
    When you say “My biggest concern would be, is the auction provider creating “fake” accounts and “winning” pendingdelete auctions? If the domain is bid up high enough, let it go. If not, “we keep it” and sell it later for a set price.” you are absolutely right, that’s how it works.
    That works also for pre-release auctions, there are some fabricated “bidders” (I know many of them …) who play this pump-and-dump game at the expense of all other participants.
    As in the financial industry, which is my background, self-regulation doesn’t work, because there is collusion between the involved parties, widespread cover-up and complicity (it’s like a “domain mafia”), they can easily destroy proof in their systems and they have all interests to keep profiting from this dirty game.
    That is called WIRE FRAUD, and in due time all proof will be delivered to authorities.
    The “scandal” of some people bidding on their own domains (a post started on Namepros) was just the tip of the iceberg, the real BIG shill bidding and auction manipulation scandal has still to come to light … that will be JAIL TIME and HEAVY FINES for all scammers.

  12. BTW, New Ventures Services Corp is basically one of NameJet/’s trash bins and “vehicles”, many of the names are domains unsold at NJ auctions and other various domains which follow “weird” routes, they end there, to [email protected]
    New Ventures Services, Corp is a subsidiary of, incorporated in the BVI, as you can see in 2016 Annual Report, on page 97, Exhibit 21.1.
    If said they are not associated with it, they are lying. Period. 🙂

  13. Hope this year is going good for everyone and thanks for the detailed post and cool replies.

    By observing this post, I have a few queries as listed below. Well, I am no typical domain investor and I am buy domains for projects.

    So, I was/am very interested in a pending deleted domain but was out bidden. But later I kind of fell in love and thought of buying it with higher prices. I thought of contacting the new owner, but there is no whois details for that domain. Same thing happened with a pre-release domain. I have back ordered the domains. But no sign of coming to auctions even after a year and got renewed. The whois info is not found(only registered date and registrar) in that deleted/registered domain and the pre-release domain is having protected registration. Meanwhile the deleted/registered domain points to a parking page and pre-release domain is inaccessible. So no idea who is owning and who to contact for making an offer.

    Does anyone know what happens in such cases ? How to try to get the domains ?


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