Recap: Domain Name Auction Firestorm
Thursday, July 3rd, 2008
Here’s a look back at the firestorm that hit domain auctions over the past two weeks.
It’s been a busy week at Domain Name Wire. And perhaps a busier week for GoDaddy. Here’s a run down of what took place and what it means for the industry.
It all started when a reader tipped me off to a thread at NamePros. The thread started out benign and was simply about the number of .us domain names going through auction at GoDaddy’s TDNAM and the high prices they were fetching. But then someone noticed that one of the winning bidders was Adam Dicker, who happens to head TDNAM. This ruffled a few feathers.
I got in touch with GoDaddy to see what they thought of Dicker’s bidding, and was surprised to find out the company didn’t have a policy forbidding this. This was the foundation for an article published last Friday. I connected with NameJet and Oversee.net (which owns SnapNames) to find out their policies on employee bidding, and followed up with an article about Sedo’s and Pool’s policies.
This got some juices running in the domain industry. The original article received nearly 100 comments. Michael Berkens blogged about another expired domain auction controversy.
But the issue was still confined to the domain industry for about a week. Then last weekend Slashdot covered the issue. It exploded from there as social news sites Fark, Digg, Reddit, Ycombinator News and others picked up on the story. On Monday I battled to keep the Domain Name Wire server up.
With public pressure mounting and an internal review complete, on Monday GoDaddy announced it had changed its policy. I think this was a smart move.
But the internet news outlets were just getting started. Here’s some other coverage:
Dicker Caught Dickering – CNET
GoDaddy VP Outbidding Their Customers – PC Magazine
GoDaddy Auction VP Gets Slashdot Treatment – WebProNews
From my perspective, this story was never about Dicker, but about the policies of domain name auction companies to avoid any conflicts of interest with their customers.
What’s next? This story isn’t over. Other domain registrars have controversial practices that are bubbling up to the surface.