Disclosing the number of watchers could change how people use GoDaddy Auctions.
Alvin Brown recently discovered data that GoDaddy is sharing for its closeout expiring domain name auctions.
It’s valuable data including the domain age, links to search results, etc. But one thing is troubling:
Showing how many people are watching a domain name could fundamentally change how GoDaddy Auctions works if it is extended to all domain name auctions. It will make it less convenient for users.
One of the things I like about GoDaddy Auctions is how I can add a domain to my watch list without tipping others off to my interest in the domain name. Once a week I filter the inventory and “watch” it so that it gets added to the GoDaddy Investor app. I can then bid on the go from my mobile phone when auctions come to a conclusion.
Compare this to how auction services that require a backorder work. Placing a backorder draws attention to domain names, so people wait until the last minute to place backorders. It’s inefficient unless you use an API or bot to place backorders.
If GoDaddy were to start sharing watch data on all expired domains, I would no longer be able to load up all of the domains for the week ahead of time. You can’t bid on domains in the app unless you’ve watched them or already bid through the web interface. So I’d need to be in front of my computer when auctions come to a close, and I’d need to have a list handy with closing times. This would significantly reduce my bidding activity.
Given that anyone can bid on an expiring auction at any time (compared to other services that require a backorder), the watch data isn’t necessary as a bid will trigger “notice” of interest in the domain.
I understand why watcher data makes sense for closeout domains since they are reverse auctions, but they would be bad news for regular auctions.