NameSilo

GD Auctions API Bot Behaviour

Located in Domain Expiration and Domain Drop Catching started by Brandworthy, Apr 10, 2018.

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  1. Brandworthy

    Brandworthy Established Member

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    Some information about one particular GD Auctions API Bot and how their automated bidding works. I try not to watch live auctions. Too easy to get caught up in the ebb and flow (and end up overbidding). But I sat and bid some auctions to better understand the programmed behaviour of the bot. All the bidding activity is designed to minimise the cost and maximise the probability of winning. Here are some of the traits it displayed:

    1. Initial bid is a backorder. Contrary to what some may think after Godaddy raised backorder pricing some time back, Backorders are marginally cheaper than $5 closeouts when buyers purchase in bulk. The cheapest closeout is $13.47, but when you buy backorders by the hundreds Godaddy will offer you a price around $0.20 cheaper than this. Possibly cheaper if you buy thousands of backorders (which I suspect teh ownerof this bot likely does).

    2. Right after the backorder is created a second bid is placed at the next bid amount (i.e. $5 higher). This behaviour is replicated once the bot becomes the high bidder also (see later). I suspect this second bid is to retain the high bidder position if a second bidder comes in with a new non-proxy minimum bid. So Bidder 1 (the bot) places backorder at $10. Immediately after Bidder 1 also places a bid at $15. If a new Bidder 2 places the minimum bid at $15, Bidder 1 is still the high bidder at $15.

    3. Approximately 20 seconds before the auction is set to end the bot checks the current bid. Becasue GD's web interface only shows hours and minutes it's not possible to see if this timing is set or varies. If the bot is still the high bidder I suspect they do not check again (very difficult to check via web). If they are NOT the highest bidder they will place a single bid $5 higher than the current high bid. The API response will tell them if their recent bid is the high bid or not. If not, they will immediately place a new bid $5 higher, and continue doing so until they are the high bidder (or their bid budget is reached, more on this later). In the web interface you can clearly see this behaviour when there are a very high number of bids made in less than a minute, which would be impossible to achieve manually.

    4. If the bot's bid becomes the high bidder a secondary bid $5 USD higher is immediately added, similar to (2) above, subject to the bots bid budget. This is done to minimise the price at which bot finally becomes the winning bidder (no need to bid $5 more if a single higher bid is made).

    5. At no time will the bot make a proxy bid. This suggests that the bot has been programmed to take as much time as possible. This strategy may be designed to wear out human bidders, and in fairness, a part of me admires the tactics used here. But as a human bidder, I imagine most people will despise this behaviour.

    6. The bot does have a bid budget, but I don't have enough data to posit how this might be set. Right now I suspect it might be set at 8-12% of an appraised value.

    Based on what I've seen this bot is optimised in multiple ways to acquire domains for the lowest possible price. From using backorders to setting secondary bids at minimum next bid level, and not placing proxy-bids to adding new challenging bids at the latest possible point in time, the bot is designed to minimise costs, maximise duration, and win as many auctions within budget as possible. Placing a secondary bid $5 above the bots current winning bid is very clever IMO, as this negates at least some cases where you would have to bid an additional $5 to finally win the auction.

    Hope the above might be useful to some GD auctions users who come up against this opponent!
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Active Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Also: if a human placed the first bid ($12), most frequently within the last 5 minutes or so, the bot is notified of this event within approx. 4 minutes, and it will then join the auction in many if not all cases. So, the bot does not necessary maintain "closed" list of domains he wants, but is programmed to extend their wishlist based on our interests. It is was shown in related threads that, even though expiring domains with 1 bid are not included into "most popular" webpage search results, they are reported to api bots.

    P.S. The above behavior may be of another bot (or bots), not the one @Brandworthy wrote about
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  3. Michael M

    Michael M Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    A bot can easily perform an advanced search and look at all items with bids. This will alert them of domains that humans are interested in that the bot may not identified initially, but it can decide is valuable later by a gauge of auction interest.
     
  4. Michael M

    Michael M Top Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I believe there are several entities running bidding bots at GD auctions, but I have seen this one you are speaking about. I believe this is the most active and sophisticated bot running currently at this venue.
     
  5. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Active Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Someday somebody may develop an anti-bot, that will:

    - detect domains overvalued by Godaddys appraisal system

    - place an initial bid on these domains, without any real intention to win, just to be outbid by the bot in question

    - add +5 bids in a last minute, two or three times - to help human "watchers" of the most active auctions feed on website, as they will notice and join

    - stop at this point, as those human watchers will bid up the bot in question up to its limits (or win the domain themselves in some cases, which should be then considered as a side effect of anti-bot technology)

    Yes a fantasy of course, but not impossible... Will be interesting to watch bot wars in this case :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  6. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Member VIP

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    Bidding at godaddy is just a waste of time these days to be honest, I got better things to do, than let bots sit there and bid $5 for 2 hours straight.
     
  7. UXela

    UXela Account Closed

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    1. If you know the exact algorithm it is fun to watch this bot win crap domains for its max budget;
    2. This is NOT HD's bot (at least not the one I played with);
    3. This bot does NOT use the API (at least not directly);
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2018
  8. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Active Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    how did you find this?
     
  9. Brandworthy

    Brandworthy Established Member

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    I'm pretty sure the behaviour I observed is not possible to achieve via the web interface. It's simply not possible for any client to make the number of kids I saw in a single second via the web frontend, so I suspect your experience must be with another application making bids. There also no way to "indirectly" use the API.
     
  10. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Member VIP

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    The same thing is going on with aicontrol.com right now...over $3k now... with min $50 bids by whatever bot or terminator, I don’t know.
     
  11. UXela

    UXela Account Closed

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    You can make use of the API through a third party.
    There is (at least) one way to do what this bot is doing without API access.

    I don't have experience with other applications making bids. I have coding and networking experience.
    Anyway - you don't have to believe me nor take my word for it.
     
  12. Brandworthy

    Brandworthy Established Member

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    I have API access, and I've been told that's against their TOS. If you know of third parties offering this I suggest you reach out to GD and tell them about it.
    I'd like to hear what that is, please? You can indeed post a bid without API access, but in order to appraise if that bid is the highest bid, you would need to request the auction page. There is no way that the page can be requested, served and parsed multiple times in a single second without a multi-threaded set-up, and even then I do not think there'd be any way to submit 10+ bids within a second using any other method than their API.

    I have used automated tools which submitted bids via the web interface, but no such tool could possibly submit 10+ bids and verify the response in a single second. I'm honestly interested if you know of some alternative, so please share.
     
  13. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Active Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Unfortunately there is no evidence that the TOS are the same for all :(
     
  14. UXela

    UXela Account Closed

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    Sure - the second GD becomes an ethical company and the playing field becomes leveled on GD auctions I'll start sharing info with them free of charge. I'll also teach their incompetent coders how to code and remove the plethora of security glitches, etc.

    In the meanwhile I'll stick to the opinion that:
    • GD's business practices regarding auctions are unethical => they don't deserve to be helped FoC;
    • GD is an auctioneer but does not follow auctioneer laws => they don't deserve to be helped FoC.
    Also, in the meanwhile I will continue to use GD auctions the best I can while following the rules even if I strongly believe that the same rules don't apply to all auction participants.

    You can competitively bid on GD auctions without API access and do that without breaking ANY of their rules. It just takes a lot of time writing some code.
    You don't even need to access results from their API through a third party. That just adds latency and basically wastes your time.

    You don't need to time things to the 0.01 second. You are looking at it the wrong way.
    The sync is the key, not the timing. Think of it as priority vs. time.
     
  15. Kate

    Kate Domainosaurus Rex VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Even without API access it's still possible to achieve the same result with some programming.
    You can do a lot scripting your own headless browser. The tasks are fairly simple:
    • keep track of domains of interest and current bids
    • (re)loading pages
    • parsing HTML contents
    • submitting POST requests (= the bids)
    • the thing that needs a bit of work is the timing
    Dragging the auctions is a form of attrition. Automation provides an advantage and an edge over your competitors. But you still need a budget.

    I wouldn't fixate on the API too much. I'm sure that if you are big spender GD can work out something for you. If they don't, be creative. There is no need to be sitting in front of your desk for repetitive tasks.
     
  16. Brandworthy

    Brandworthy Established Member

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    You said you have Dev and networking experience. You understand that to make a big via their web interface means making a request, and determining if that but it's successful requires review of the response. So please tell me how anything can do that multiple times in a single second. It's physically impossible via the website interface. You might get 1 or 2 bids in a second this way, but not almost 10.
     
  17. UXela

    UXela Account Closed

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    @Kate more or less explained it
    10 actions / second really not a problem but again - you are looking at it all wrong.
    Don't look at it as a blind race. Look at it as completing multiple puzzles while the one closest to completion has the lowest "ring" (in CPU talk).
     
  18. Brandworthy

    Brandworthy Established Member

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    Anyone can blindly fire 10 requests in a second. That's not the problem. The problem is that any subsequent request after the first should only fire if the outcome of the previous bid results in a non-winning position. You cant just fire 10 requests asynchronously. You have to wait for each response to determine whether to bid again. That's physically not possible, or at least exceptionally non-trivial without the API, to achieve 10 times within 1-2 seconds.
     
  19. UXela

    UXela Account Closed

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    Let's agree to disagree :)
     
  20. golan

    golan Leo.Domains Gold Account VIP

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    Easy. How do you think all blackhat parsers, scrapers, snipers, posters, etc. work without api? There are some tools, special browsers, etc. Just go to any hacker forum and read and you'll be surprised.
     
  21. tonyk2000

    tonyk2000 Active Member VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    OK, so it can be automated without API access. GD may or may not like such an automation, but, in any case, they may change something in the pages code from time to time and this may affect non-api bots.

    I recently reviewed whoises for domains auctioned within last weeks and noticed that one of the bots (Panama-based whois, not private) pays low/middle 3 figures for what he overbids others on, and then lists what he got on Afternic for ~10x of he paid (BIN listings). This by itself means that he should expect to sell > 10% of the portfolio to remain profitable. And, since the domains are mostly "average" and in a healthy wholesale market would be worth about ~$14.99 "old pheenix" backorder fee each, and with little or no bidding (just an illustration, of course pheenix currently has higher fees and does not catch anything) - I am unsure how this bot can be profitable in a long run, or in a short run (also after 20% afternic fee)...

    As for GoDaddy bugs and glitches - according to careers.godaddy.com website they are hiring, and they need a lot of system engineers, programmers, etc. Maybe, someday they will fix the things. Yes, they do have serious loopholes. Yes, they do have bugs. Reporting these things now makes no sense - they would fix nothing. My latest report of 2017, which I sent through premium service account manager, was never processed. As for loopholes, lets hope that they are not abused (and not used) by those who are aware... as it would be unethical at least.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  22. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Member VIP

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  23. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Member VIP

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    Funny how one thing uncovers another:

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/faheem-chapnames-level2-scam.944946/
     
  24. Brandworthy

    Brandworthy Established Member

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    If you understand how HTTP works, and especially so for web pages, you'll know that it's almost impossible to POST a request, receive a response, and parse the output 10 times sequentially in a single second. Doesn't matter if you're a BH or WH.
    You have to wonder about domain-related companies who choose to hide their identity behind WHOIS privacy...
     
  25. MapleDots

    MapleDots Domain Properties 2010 - 2018 VIP

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    It is getting more difficult to win domains across all platforms that is for sure.

    I see only a few solutions....

    - Bid only on domains you really want and have a potential end user for.

    - Bid your highest amount and hope the aftermarket companies deem that too expensive.

    Personally I am being quite picky in what I bid on and I look at REGULAR auctions to see what the owner is asking but I then contact through whois and make an offer direct reminding the lister that there are no fees when dealing direct. I landed two this week after reminding the owner of the domains there was a 20% fee. We were only about 10% apart in our negotiations when I reminded him that at auction he has to pay 20% so if he takes my deal he is 10% ahead. That goes with any private auction, you can right away offer 20% less to make up for the auction fees. Why give that away when it can be retained by the buyer/seller. In the last two weeks I have retained $3,600 that would ordinarily have gone to the auction house.

    Of course that cannot be done on expiring auctions but I have pretty well determined unless you bid crazy amounts you cannot win against the bods.

    Save your time and energy and be selective in what you are looking for. Determine if the potential domain suits your portfolio and don't be shy to send an offer to the owner. If the owner has privacy activated remember you can still contact them through the privacy email. Be direct, tell them who you are and negotiate from there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018

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