Why So Quiet?

I’m still here. Still have a few hundred what I feel are awesome names for sale. Others I’m getting closer to being able to develop myself. I sell a handful a year. Some of the names on this blog have sold. I keep hoping one will turn into a Unicorn. But a few things have happened that have caused me to pull energy out of domaining.

I have absolutely no interest in the new gtlds. None.
It seems to me the market has gotten a lot tighter over the last year. It’s harder and harder to pick up a decent dot com using my previous methods. The wholesale prices I’m seeing being paid for crap domains makes me feel like a handful of players with deep pockets and clever bots are intent in owning the entire domain space (though Chinese domain investors are certainly adding to the froth).
But what led me to cut back drastically on my domaining is that Godaddy quit displaying closing prices on domains in my Watching List!  It started in March. A Godaddy Twitter response said it was due to the ‘quiet period’ around the IPO. Then the IPO ended.

If I spend an hour combing through thousands of domains to find a handful that are interesting, shouldn’t the platform reward me by allowing me to confirm my hunches? Or conversely, If Godaddy doesn’t value my time on their platform enough to even share price data on the domains I decide to watch, what does it say about their attitude towards me, their loyal customer?

I would guess that a new manager took over the auctions at Godaddy after the IPO and decided that too many domains were slipping through their fingers for $12. And so decided to pressure users to make bids in order to see results. That’s what it felt like and that’s low!
And then they bought Afternic! Plunging head first into the domain resale business. Yuck!
How long do you think it will be before they start warehousing drops and putting premium pricing on those?

Godaddy was the last bastion of the fair shake for the little guy when it came to domains. But the lure of  just a little more profit seems to have dragged them into the slime with all the rest.

“So I Did What Anybody Would Do” – Domaining IS Mainstream!

Why would you advertise your company during the Super Bowl if your target audience wasn’t average Americans? GoDaddy’s phenomenal growth over the last few years is evidence enough- domaining is mainstream! While the average person might throw their arms up in frustration at not finding an available name they like, they certainly won’t hesitate to register a name, phrase, portmanteau or new business idea they come up with either.

This was brought home to me recently while listening to a Long Now Foundation podcast. Listen to best-selling author and neuroscientist David Eagleman tell us about Possibilian.com. Notice the audience reaction when the subject of domain names is introduced.

(Click arrow to play audio) David Eagleman

Transferring Names To GoDaddy – 30 Day Gotcha

Update 090709: FIXED! Just noticed that a domain transfer I purchased didn’t actually initiate. I didn’t receive the usual request for the Transaction ID and Security Code that GoDaddy uses to begin the transfer procedure. Checking the status of my transfer I see a new bit of information there,

The transfer cannot be processed because the registry will not allow the domain to be transferred at this time. Most registries do not allow a domain to be transferred for a 60 day period after registration or prior transfer. This will be reprocessed automatically when the domain is eligible for transfer.

Excellent! It would appear that GoDaddy has come up with an elegant solution, simply do not initiate the transfer process until the domain is eligible. Thank You GoDaddy!

Update 073009: Got me again! Almost. I got the generic ‘update your ICANN info’ email from a registrar where a domain I’d won in auction was registered. Thing is, I thought I’d transferred the domain to GoDaddy months ago. (Helps to keep copies of my receipts… ) Yes I’d purchased a domain transfer back in January. I had one email notifying me that the transfer had failed.  But that’s it. No doubt I let it sit because, GoDaddy used to re-try the transfers later on. Anyway, I got on the phone and a very helpful support guy found the transaction, refunded my money and re-instated the transfer. He thought the refund SHOULD have been automatic. I’ve since re-confirmed with a supervisor that FAILED TRANSFER ORDER REFUNDS NEED TO BE  PROCESSED MANUALLY.

Just a heads up on what in my opinion is an annoying bug in the GoDaddy domain transfer process. Your domain transfer (this is a product you purchase from GoDaddy for $6.99) will expire after 30 days unless the transfer completes. You will be informed via email that the transfer didn’t go through. But you will not (as of 062609) be informed that GoDaddy has dropped your domain transfer and that it is no longer in your account. You will not get an email notifying you that your transfer has been dropped. YOU WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY GET A REFUND. So for example, if you win a deleting name through SnapNames (or whoever), and wish to transfer the name to GoDaddy, DO NOT INITIATE THE TRANSFER BEFORE 30 DAYS HAS PASSED. Because the domain cannot transfer for 60 days (ICANN rule) you run the risk of throwing away your money, or, as in my case, an hour on the phone at your expense to GoDaddy support getting your refund (I was told to call, too complicated for email).
I was told by a supervisor that expiration of a transfer after 30 days is stated in the Domain Name Transfer agreement you have the option of reading at Checkout. And so it is.

2. Failed or Rejected Transfer Requests
Go Daddy may elect to accept or reject Your domain name transfer application for any reason at its sole discretion. Rejections may include, but are not limited to:

  • The current Registrar rejected the transfer;
  • The original registration took place less than sixty (60) days prior to the transfer request;
  • The domain name has been placed in a locked status by either the Registry or by the losing registrar;
  • The domain was transferred to Go Daddy less than sixty (60) days prior to the transfer request;
  • The domain name expired but was not renewed;
  • The domain name expired and was renewed during the forty-five (45) day grace period and the forty-five (45) day grace period has not yet passed;
  • The Domain Name Registrant was changed less than sixty (60) days prior to the transfer request;
  • Any pending bankruptcy of the current domain name holder;
  • Any dispute over the identity of the domain name holder;
  • Any situation described in the Dispute Policy; or
  • Transfer orders over thirty (30) days old.

I was also told by the supervisor that refunds are at the descretion of GoDaddy but that they almost always do.

I guess the reason this is so frustrating is because I remember when GoDaddy would attempt to make the transfer UNTIL THE TRANSFER COMPLETED, i.e I could initiate the transfer after acquiring a domain and after entering the authorization codes, forget about it. Eventually, some 60+ days later, I would get an email confirming the transfer. Anyhow, that is no longer the situation.

Not just to whine. By and large GoDaddy works for me. In this situation though I would recommend:

1. Make mention of the transfer having to complete within 30 days at the point of purchase – not buried away in the legal agreement
2. The email that states a failure to transfer just prior to the passing of 30 days should offer a method to either re-initiate the transfer, or obtain a refund.

But why is it that in 2009, we, YOUR CUSTOMERS, are STILL perceived to be annoying, have-to-deal-with-them, sources of aggravation. The experience I had with GoDaddy, or rather, the feedback I had to provide as a result of my experience, IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR COMPANY THRIVE!. Customer service is the new black. This is what it looks like….

SouthBySouthWest 031409 Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh keynote audio (right click to downlaod) click triangle to listen.

.

I Did A Lot Of Reading

This will be a lightly posted blog where from time to time I’ll attempt to document one of my domain experiments. “Fail Fast!”. they say. Well I’m three years into an OCD relationship with domains and domaining and the only reason I may even yet be breaking even is because of what got me started in all this- a completely random Black Swan of a domain sale. I owned my name.com and a handful of ‘idea’ domains I had eventual plans for. Plans that would require a lot of development I couldn’t do myself. About 6 years ago I got an email with a $200 offer for one of my idea domains. What? A totally obscure name- a quote from Spinal Tap- You want to buy it?!! The idea was worth more to me than $200 so I passed. I heard from him a couple more times and about three years ago he came up with a mid 4 figure offer and I said sure. Since then I’ve been learning as much as I can about domains. I have a motley collection of around 300 names that are probably mostly extremely average. I’ve recently decided that the only way to really know their worth is to start trying to sell some.

Perhaps in the telling of some stories I’ll help a few people just starting out. Perhaps I’ll attract a mentor or at least some sage advice. Or maybe in the writing thereof, it will become apparent to me that I have no business trying to be a domainer- that I’m just not cut out for it.

Are you also in the newbie phase of your domaining career? I invite guest posts from anyone with a story to tell. If you see a post that inspires a comment, please consider writing a post instead. I promise minimal (but some) editorial oversight.