Domainers will see some immediate benefits and should keep a close eye on changes at the combined GoDaddy/Afternic.
Last week GoDaddy announced that it acquired domain name aftermarket Afternic.
My in-depth article about the acquisition covered some of what this means for domainers, but I think it makes sense to go into a bit more detail.
Benefits for people who currently list on Afternic
If you list your domains for sale on Afternic and opt-in to the premium distribution level, your domain names show up on over 100 partner sites. This includes GoDaddy, but the existing GoDaddy implementation does not include Fast Transfer. Also, when GoDaddy a customer sees the domain for sale they have to click through to GoDaddy Auctions to buy the domain name.
Once fully integrated, GoDaddy customers will be able to buy domains on the Afternic network just like they purchase a hand-registered domain name, thanks in part to Fast Transfer.
Afternic Chief Revenue Officer Bob Mountain told Domain Name Wire that, post-integration, he expects “a good double digit increase” of sales velocity for Afternic-listed domains at GoDaddy compared to the old implementation.
Another domain registrar option.
In order to participate in Afternic’s premium, fast-transfer network, you must keep your domain names at a participating registrar. Before this deal GoDaddy was not an option. Now it will be, meaning you can keep your domains at GoDaddy and still get distribution across the network.
With GoDaddy’s muscle (and money) behind Afternic, in addition to GoDaddy’s acquisition of domain parking service SmartName, you can expect new features in the future. I expect a single domainer dashboard, with relevant parking and sales information all on one screen. Regardless of where you keep your domains, if the registrar is part of the Afternic partner network you can expect to be able to list domains for sale from your registrar account rather than Afternic. The company will also work on expanding to more ccTLDs and languages.
Benefits for people who currently use GoDaddy Premium Listings
GoDaddy Premium Listings are currently only listed for sale at GoDaddy-owned registrars. Once rolled into Afternic, these listings will get significantly more exposure at over 100 partner sites, including 18 of the top 20 domain name registrars.
This is a biggie. For now, Afternic doesn’t plan to change its commissions. GoDaddy Premium Listings charges 30% and Afternic only 20%. So if you’ve been using GoDaddy Premium Listings, your commission will be cut by a third. There are no guarantees on future commission rates, but GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving told Domain Name Wire that it’s not the company’s intention to change the rates.
Keep your domains anywhere.
One of the biggest frustrations of not having GoDaddy part of the Afternic fast-transfer network was having to keep domains at different registrars to take advantage of either Afternic or GoDaddy Premium Listings. If you wanted to sell domains on GoDaddy you had to keep the domains at GoDaddy. If you wanted to list them on Afternic Premium you had to keep them at a participating registrar.
With GoDaddy part of the network, you’ll be able to keep your domains at GoDaddy or the other registrars in the Afternic network and get distribution on all partner sites.
I’ll be honest, much of the reason I moved domains to GoDaddy over the past couple years was to take advantage of Premium Listings. That said, I won’t transfer them out as a result of this deal. I’ve grown to appreciate GoDaddy’s two-factor authentication, and now think it’s a must have for any registrar. Also, GoDaddy is simplifying its checkout process, so registering domains there won’t be as much of a pain.
The bottom line is that it’s great to not worry as much about where domains are registered in order to tap into the distribution network.
Less competition for listings.
Before last week there were basically three big domain marketplaces: GoDaddy, Afternic, and Sedo. Now there are two.
Yes, I realize some competitors are doing well building domain sales platforms, e.g. DomainNameSales.com. But when it comes to distribution and buyers finding your domains through means other than your parked domains, there really isn’t any competition.
Now we have just GoDaddy/Afternic and Sedo. Competition forces innovation and price controls. Although I think it’s in the best interests of all players to continue to innovate, my bigger worry is on the price side. Even though GoDaddy doesn’t plan to change Afternic’s commissions, the truth is no one will be able to match its distribution. It could probably get away with higher commissions.
More competition for sales.
Will the acquisition lead to more domain names listed for sale? That’s one of the goals behind the deal.
Once domain registrars make it easier for customers to list their domains, we should see a lot more domains listed for sale in the domain registration path. Right now GoDaddy Premium Listings has about 1 million and Afternic has around 3 million priced domains in its Premium network. So that’s 4 million priced domains that customers can purchase with fast-transfer. What happens if this number jumps to 10 or 20 million?
It’s an intriguing question. On the one hand, when a customer comes up with a domain name they like and see that it’s for sale, they’ll likely buy that domain unless they opt to hand register something else because they only want to spend $10. But if they check a few domains they want at GoDaddy and many of them are for sale at various prices, they might opt for the less expensive of the bunch. That means your domain might be passed over.
In general, I like to think that a more robust aftermarket will lead to all boats rising. People will become more aware of the aftermarket and not scratch names off their list if they’re merely registered (but may be for sale).
Only time will tell if that’s correct.