Having Trouble with the Bots and Auto-bidding on Godaddy Auctions

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Read time about 5-10 minutes, not a quickie.

Frustrated with big players using bots and data to win all the good auctions, walk with me as I go through what you may be feeling, and some steps you can take to be a better domain name investor.

First off, No one said it would be easy. So buck up, stay in the game. There are still very few businesses with the potential of domaining.

Sure, we’d love to be the only bidder at an auction, and have the platform offer great inventory, and have a low minimum bid, and be able to snipe the auction at the last minute.

Godaddy Auctions is a great place to buy names and I’ve been doing it since the start. Now it was awesome when most domain investors thought Godaddy was too retail (all the good names were at snap-jet-pool).   And when many huge portfolio holders only bought drops, the pickings were still pretty good. But I always assume that a good thing doesn’t last in a capitalist society – and larger investors are going to play to their strengths and enter this market, and Godaddy is going to leverage their resources (like the valuation tool) to make it easier to spot great names.

In the big picture, we are taking advantage of someone else already. They didn’t renew their name, or waited too long and we can get it.  It’s an expired name auction, so we aren’t competing with all the drop catching services; like with drops, and we inherit the registration date. Plus, we get the name at godaddy, the most popular registrar

So in a perfect world we get to buy a name for the $12 minimum bid. Or we even get greedy, and try to wait down to $5 extra to get the name.

And before the appraisal tool, the only way for passive watchers to find the best names was to look for bids. We don’t want to help them, so we don’t want to show our bids, so we wait til the end, and bid.  But now, we bid at 5 min 10 seconds….and then BOOM other bids come in, and run the name up. Or a $10 Backorder appears at the last minute. We swear someone has hacked our computer and/or is only buying because we found it for them.

So, in my mind no one wanted the name til I bid, and only when I bid did the other bids come in.

Is that true? Yes, many investors look at most active,and are spurred with interest because the name is strong, and they see bid is the ending soon most active. Test it yourself, wait til the last second to bid, you may find others bid at 5 minutes and 1 second. Why did they wait? Why didn’t they show their hand 1-10 days before? i Say – Why would they!! you didn’t. In other cases, theres no bid, they will wait and hope it goes to closeout.  Just like I would.

Ahh the closeouts, you wait a couple of seconds, and the system updates and you get the name on a buy it now.

But now, the name never goes to closeout, someone else got it faster, it never showed up. Foul!!

So you say to yourself I can’t bid because I’ll be outbid, and I can’t wait because someone else is faster. And you convince yourself the game is rigged, and it gets you on tilt, and you may be reaching for lessor names – or even worse you add a third bit of mental gymnastics, and second guess your buys that don’t have other bidders.

So I have been involved with godaddy auctions since they started, I too loved the days when no one else bid at godaddy, they thought all the good names were at Namejet and Snapnames.

..but not anymore, everyone is there. And now, there is more inventory as Godaddy picked up the Enom and Name.com and other registrars expired inventory.

Premium Domain Investors – Get Used to it!

So get used to it, there is more competition. but here are some thoughts to help you through the angst.

Reset Expired Domain Bidding Expectations

1)  Godaddy has a minimum bid of $12, thats a heck of a lot below the $69 or $79 at namejet or snapnames – so its no surprise that even though we want a $12 win, the same quality name that would take a $69 bid at namejet starts at $12 at godaddy. So really the distance between $12 and $69 is just making up the min bid. Sure it feels like the name is going past where you might drop out, 7-10 bids. But your used to a $69 going to $99 and $150 etc… and you drop out. So yes you have competition, but it should be easier to bid again… these are lower bids and your still below namejet money. Will you leave, pout… go home. NO stay.. Thees first few bids are just 12 going to 30 going to 60; before it becomes like a regular backorder.

Again, it makes it looks like there is more competitive bidding, if say 50 names would get multiple bids at namejet, then maybe 300 should get $12 bids at godaddy, but the best ones should go right to $69 just to match the namejet type price.

So yes its a $12 start but I think about it as up to $69 it just makeup to a normal namejet bid. So get used to overbidding at godaddy, sure you may shy away with any competitive auctions at Namejet, but be ready to swing away up to $69 at Godaddy auctions.

Yes It Will take Time.

So get innovative, get some help. I use schedule gmail sends to myself, calendar updates on my desktop, alarms on my mobile phone and even reach out to non-working family to bid for me if i have meetings to make sure i don’t miss the 3-4 names each day i really like.

If you normally place 3-7 backorders at Namejet, and rarely have to overbid, the low godaddy means you should get used to overbidding more. Don’t think your bidding more because you making up the 12 to 69 gap. If you walk away, your just helping me, I get more names at $20-50.

Pre-Appraise Expired Domains Well Before Auction End

2)  Quality matters. With the large amount of good names worth the $12 minimum, you see lots of prospects and you picture getting them all at $12. So it looks like a rich day. The you run into bidders and your lost. Dont be. You better already be thinking going into a day what is truly a $50 name, a $100 name, a $500 name. And be mentally prepared to assess what you think each name should get, don’t wait to make the decision in the heat of 5-10 auctions.

Bid More

3) You need to bid more often If you lay down and get frustrated, you just allow the larger and scale buyers to get better names at low prices, and that fuels them to have more money to outbid you on the better names. You need to mess with their numbers and ONLY IF YOU REALLY LIKE THE NAME, bid up to what you think you can pay and still make your numbers and metrics. Don’t overpay.

If I knew that just 1-3 overbids would remove 90% of my competition for a name, especially if it was a $69 type name I had to start at $12 for, I would do it.  So if your thinking, oh I don’t want to bid $17 or $25 because it will not win, your being too emotional. You say why bid if I’m not going to feel really good at getting a steal. Still, don’t get too competitive and think your costing this winner a bunch of money because you’ll just get stuck spending too much money on names you may not really want…

And you will bidding on names you wont win, you My see this as wasted effort. The make money e-books never talked about this part of domaining. So you may stop – but you need to bid more, and assume you wont get all names.  Think of it as wins, losses and no decisions.  And with no-decisions you didn’t lose any money and you didn’t overpay and you’ve retained those funds for a name you really want, and doesn’t have as much competition. But i remind myself i had to stay in the game a little bit and probe, and see if i can get a good name for above the $12, but maybe not my max max.

Also don’t let the second thoughts after an auction kill you. At the end of the day you look back and say I should have bid more on that name I really liked. You had to have to make that decision early. Don’t let the opportunity or dream that you could get it for $12 capture your greed – then when you get competition, you knee-jerk all the way to “oh I cant get the big win and great name for $12, so ill run away”.. Stay in the game. Learn more about what level some of the competition is bidding to, especially if its one of your top names for the day.

You’ll want to own fewer better names, and higher bidding will concentrate your effort on what is truly a good domain name for you.

4)  I know its rough, but at Godaddy Auctions your are going to have to watch more names that you wont win, to see if other buyers miss any. You can easily say I wont bid on the top 20 names, with high appraised values, but you may need to watch and see if something slips. If this is too had, keep an eye out for places and market segments where the bots don’t play. (see below)

5)  And its not always that the bots and huge buyers. It could be me or another full time domainer. We all want the best name with no competition, for the cheapest price, but in a capitalist society, and especially when you cant expect the auction houses to do anything except get the most money, expect competition.. and take the surprise $12 wins as a bonus. Feel good about domaining again.

6) Find places where the competition doesn’t exist. I have 3-5 places I go where there isn’t as much competition. Now I cant say for sure I should buy everything there, but its nice to to have some places to buy where I have a chance, IF THE NAME IS WORTH IT

7) Art of war – if they are small, be big, if they are big – be small, if they have to buy 100 names, focus on one that’s great. Find the areas the appraisal systems aren’t correct on, ADAPT…. and learn,  and you can only learn by bidding, and engaging.

8) Get Real. If you get outbid, get outbid, someone wanted it more or had more money, accept it. Now if challenged I don’t want to believe anyone can outspend me, BUT THEY CAN, and if they have their systems down where they make it work, I’ve got to get better at what I am doing, my own systems.  Are you doing anything different than you were a year ago?

9) Relax. If you don’t have time to do all this, you may have to consider get specialized on the names you buy, don’t try to buy every great name in every great category. If your trying to buy Brandables, GEOS, short numerics, trends, keywords, dictionary words, new tlds and .ai and .io – on every marketplace.. all day – with overbidders, can you do it? Step back if its too much. Find the areas where you have truly sold names.

So in closing, to use a movie analogy from Top Gun, we all think we are Maverick. Emotional plungers getting psyched up for the bidding battles. But larger companies aren’t like that. Assume your up against Iceman, the perfect, efficient, never make a mistake bidder. They are prudent and unemotional. Playing out every advantage. It only benefits them when you get emotional and run away from good names, and only buy lessor quality.

Don’t make decisions in the moment, decide before the day starts where you would bid. Decide what you favorite names you don’t want to regret not getting truly are.

Its impossible to dream you wont have competition on good names, if your feeling your sanity going, switch to a realistic approach, and let the times when you get a closeout, or have no bidders..  be happy times, so you’ll enjoy domaining a bit more

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