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GoDaddy’s aftermarket platform Afternic caused concerns for domain sellers today with a discussion about pricing discrepancies.
In response to a tweet from competitor Efty about charging more for Afternic listings than for direct sales through landing pages, the company tweeted:
Afternic Reseller partners spend significant money and resources to get eyes on premium domains. Pricing discrepancies create confusion and an overall negative experience for buyers. 🧵1/3
As a result, it sacrifices the value and integrity of the Afternic Partner Network if prices are lower on the For Sale Landers. You cannot actively market your domains at a lower price on your domain landers.🧵2/3
This is not a new policy, we have always enforced this when a reseller partner has pointed it out to us. We received feedback from sellers that they would have preferred to have it specifically mentioned in terms so they know it applies to everyone and not just them.🧵3/3
This likely comes as a surprise to most sellers. In light of Afternic’s recent price increase for sales of domains not parked on GoDaddy-affiliated landers, some people are raising their prices to reflect the change.
Afternic’s Membership Agreement does indeed state:
Additionally, the Buy Now Price specified for any listing on Afternic must be equal to the price listed on any for sale lander used by Seller.
The problem (well, one of them) is Afternic’s justification that “Pricing discrepancies create confusion and an overall negative experience for buyers.” But Afternic allows its partners to charge a higher price for domains and pocket the difference. It wouldn’t allow partners to do this if it’s concerned about pricing discrepancies.
The Membership Agreement states:
You understand that certain reseller distribution partners may, upon approval by the Company and at Company’s sole discretion, add a markup to the sale price of your domain name and that the reseller distribution partner may keep this markup in its entirety, and that you will receive no payment for the portion of the sales price that is marked up.
GoDaddy previously got in a tiff with distribution partner Namecheap, which was discounting domains below their asking price.
GoDaddy’s decision to offer a 40% commission discount for domains parked with its services can be seen as either highly competitive or anti-competitive. If it enforces a restriction on domain owners selling their domains for different prices based on where it sells, I’d say that falls squarely in the anti-competitive category.
Categories: Domain Sales
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Michael says

So Squadhelp and BrandBucket will not be able to have their sellers add 10% or more to their listings at Afternic. This could be a serious problem for them.
Andrew Allemann says

That would seem to be correct. Although Squadhelp lowered this amount.
Mike says

EXACTLY Why I no longer use any of the Platforms. To be honest ,I view them as overrated and OVERPRICED . If someone REALLY wants to Buy “A” domain then they will seek it out and can buy using Escrow.com .Decade ago I used to sell many and people would pay me $20K by wire transfer and then I would transfer domain. Nowadays no one trust anyone, so Escrow.com is used.
If people only think “yeh that sounds ok name, I might as well get that” , then they are NOT going to be buyers I want or need. *GOOD*BYE Afternic Goodbye GoDaddy ,Goodbye SEDO.
PageHowe.com says

i think the next question is what happens if an afternic price is “lower” than the lander price, say at dan, is Godaddy platfomr swapping to afternic and selling for the lower afternic amount to the seller, and keeping the difference?
Punch says

GoDaddy is suspect due to its size & appetite in buying-out competitors. Do they go beyond a simple anti-competitive nature into anti-competitive criminality? I’ve recently had domains listed at Afternic that GoDaddy fails to list — but they welcome a broker’s fee of $69. They describe to potential buyers this broker will try to negotiate the lowest possible price “(Don’t worry, your identity remains confidential) … you’ll pay the negotiated sale price plus a 20% commission.” So I’m suspicious when an Afternic / GoDaddy agent contacts me with “We wanted to reach out to you as a courtesy regarding your listing” … with an offer below BIN. Are these agent brokers representing my seller interests, or a buyer’s interest, or maximizing GoDaddy revenues?
Freddie says

It is indeed noteworthy when the words “anti-competitive” appear in an article on this website. Very rare to see that and it is very bold to write it. You should keep looking at this company’s practices in every aspect of its business and keep asking that question. By owning the largest aftermarket platforms, being the largest registrar, and running major registries, the decisions of this one participant impact everyone in it and the future of the industry. To make a living in the domain industry, almost every individual and company must work with Godaddy, and must be okay with doing so on Godaddy’s terms. To not do so is not really an option, and we all know it.
Freddie says

Afternic even dings you with an itty-bitty payment processing fee for each payout they make.
Brad Mugford says

LOL. Yeah, it is kind of absurd that GoDaddy can’t just cover this $0.90 fee.
Brad
Freddie says

Regarding the line between shrewd, if cutthroat, business practices and anti-competitive behavior, GD could have raised Dan commissions from 9% to 15% and standardized there, while maintaining non-GD lander sales at 20%. That would have been understandable and been accepted. But what is sticking in people’s craw is that GD seems to have overstepped by raising non-GD commissions to the punitive 25% level. Punitive to domain sellers, yes. But mostly punitive to all the other GD competitors out there, such as aftermarkets, parking providers, brand marketplaces. That is the difference between strategic and potentially anti-competitive behavior.
John Berryhill says

Using their market power to force suppliers to fix prices on competitive platforms… hmmm… I’m sure I’ve heard of that somewhere.
Punch says

I agree with “Freddie” and recognize this discussion is bold questioning the fearsome market power of GoDaddy companies. (Sorry I muddied the “anti-competitive” thread questioning if Afternic sometimes takes commissions at both ends). Dan.com, while independent, promised: “Our registrar services will be cost price, we will never lock your domains (unless it’s newly registered per ICANN rules), we will never increase our registration or renewal prices and domains managed at our registrar will be transferred close to instantly to buyers making the process extremely efficient and fast.” Now part of GoDaddy, what happened to such Dan.com competitive promises? (see Jan 29, 2021; print it while you can) https://www.namepros.com/threads/dan-com-domain-marketplace-official-thread.1148567/page-108
joesaba2014 says

Godaddy wanted to have it all, he has a lot of money to invest and he is doing very well, as you know, more than 20 million clients pay a little for the first year for facilities, then some renew and others do not, advertising on social media is overwhelming, this means that more new clients are coming $25.
Godaddy with Afternic, Uniregistry, Dan and the resellers that he has around the world has incredible power, no one has wanted to stop what was coming.
He has also had a good eye for the new additions Michael Cyger, James Iles, and those who will come for the better.
Freddie says

Paul, Joe, your Premium Services reps, genial guys at Afternic. They are “friends” with everyone. So nobody will speak out against the company exercising its market power. Now even good guys Cyger and James Iles are on board. The company knows how to maintain a great front while it tightens the screws on its customers.
Plus, no one resists when the GD writes them the check. Schilling, Reza. GD buy them out, removes the competition, integrates them and then erases the competitor’s brand. Then the industry has less independent participants and less competition. Even Berkens sold his portfolio to them.
And the ICA, which is supposed to speak up for domain registrants’ rights? Paul Nicks is a board member and GD is a big contributor. Will the ICA speak up about GD when the 800 pound gorilla is right there at the table with them?
GD: the domain industry’s best frenemy.
joesaba2014 says

@Freedie I can understand your last sentence about GD, but be realistic where there is strong power, nobody will say anything, they are interested, there are many millions to distribute, this happens all over the world every year, read the news, most of them are predictions of recison, weather, climate change, and Chatgpt……. Good Weekend.
domainer111 says

I have no problem with Godaddy looking for consistent pricing. No problem whatsoever. However, if you’re promoting this as a brand value, you better make damn sure you are being consistent yourself:-
1. We have resellers already allowed to mark up prices.
2. We have a different commission structure now for domainers. If you don’t use Godaddy landers, it’s a 67% commission markup. So no wonder people are pricing differently on their landers.
Nick says

I took my my screencapture of that twitter statement, I suggest everyone else does too, because if they ever try to enforce that, you will get a very large payout if you take them to court for price-fixing
Jim says

ah, but GoDaddy just recently put that provision into place. It was not there at the last capture in Internet Archive just in December…
https://web.archive.org/web/20221206040455/https://www.afternic.com/legal/agreements/membership-agreement
Shame shame GoDaddy for lying. “This is not a new policy, we have always enforced this when a reseller partner has pointed it out to us”
Jim says

Correction. I just re-read the quote and they did not lie. They did say “We received feedback from sellers that they would have preferred to have it specifically mentioned in terms so they know it applies to everyone and not just them.” Which begs the question … what sellers are asking GoDaddy to put this into their terms? That is absurd. Only GoDaddy wants this in their terms.
GPT Lovers says

Its might be caused by a lot of complaining from buyers when they contact GD brokers and see different price at various marketplace , especially at sales landers.
Buyers isn’t stupid …
Afternic, in other hand , has right to protect their business to assure all parties comply with their policy.
Yong says

Hello, members
I need some advices of wrong regulations of price tag of registrar fault.
Recently I registered some domain names, paid all price on the tag and suddenly registrar cancel my domain names of them!
They said that there is wrong price tag!
Is it normal or not? Is this breaching of contract right?
Please, give me your advice how to handle it?
I got evidences all!
Thanks
Best
Punch says

So Afternic attempts price-fixing, which is perhaps anti-competitive & illegal. Can domainers do anything more than bleat and whinge? I see different domain product offerings. Afternic’s product has w/ fast transfer, neither requiring nor allowing owner intervention. Dan’s product requires me to fulfill assorted transfer activities, and also may split my compensation by leasing. It seems wholly unreasonable they can force me to price these two different products equally.
Further, in Afternic’s terms, sellers must agree: “(d) the registration has not been pledged to any third party, has not been mortgaged, is not the subject of any security interest granted to any third party, has not been licensed and has not otherwise been the subject of any express permissions to use or to link.” I’m left wondering if they demand exclusivity, or are we are free agents?
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