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analysis Searching for Equality At GoDaddy

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Bob Hawkes

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NameTalent.com
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Recently it was announced that Afternic will have a fresh new look including updated search functionality (yay!). I wrote on the NamePros Blog last summer about how marketplace search in general could be improved.

In the announcement @James Iles, the GoDaddy domain investment community manager, indicates that
We embarked on this website redesign with the aim of providing sellers with more readily available information, resources and tools to empower their sales efforts. Buyers, meanwhile, are quickly connected with GoDaddy’s search capabilities.

I therefore, for this article in NameTalent, took a look at how good GoDaddy search right now is at finding aftermarket domain names. @Nikul Sanghvi pointed out on X a few days ago that aftermarket listings seem to have been removed, or reduced, in GoDaddy search.

Read the article for full details but:
  • GoDaddy search currently promotes certain extensions, like .sucks, as recommended near top of list, even when inappropriate to the search term.
  • GoDaddy also promotes as recommended alternatives misspelled names available to hand register.
  • In most cases, Afternic listed names will not appear at all, or only a few will appear, usually well down the list. Update: I have subsequently got a couple to appear first. Some report that search from US performs better with Afternic listings appearing in GD, so different regions may have different versions.
  • I tried out the new AI Search capability that GoDaddy now has on the search page. In the cases I tried it did not propose a single Afternic aftermarket name.
  • Even when I tried to lead it in the most direct prompt possible to a listed name, the prompt saying I liked a certain name and preferred a .com, it did not show anywhere in the results.
  • Sometimes, even when I specified in the prompt I wanted a .com, it showed only or mainly names not in .com.
If Afternic search evolves to the current GoDaddy search we are in trouble. It is almost impossible for anyone to find our domain names. Hopefully this is just some short-term trial, but it is disconcerting.

Please read the full NameTalent article: I Went Searching For Equality at GoDaddy.

Thank you, and look forward to your comments below.

Bob

PS Update: My search experiments were all from Canada. The version may be different in different markets. Also, since the article published, I was able to get an Afternic name to appear at the top of the GD search list. I have still been unsuccessful in getting any Afternic name to appear in the AI Search however, no matter how direct the prompt. It did in my last effort give me .com when I asked for .com, though, but all hand registration.

PPS In further testing specifying in AI prompt only .com it did sometimes follow that directive and only showed .com. It did not, however, show any aftermarket domain names in the AI search at GD for me (some do show in the non-AI search at GD, depending on term).
 
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I emailed my rep after seeing the tweet and I am waiting for a response to see if this is a bug.

My search experiment from Canada using my domains: Shows my .ca domain at the top. Rest of the results don't show any other Afternic premium domain.

If I switch my country to US, then my .com domain will show up at the top.
 
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My search experiment from Canada using my domains: Shows my .ca domain at the top. Rest of the results don't show any other Afternic premium domain.
Thanks for information. Others seem to be reporting that the US searches are showing Afternic names, but not some other markets. That may mean it was fixed and the fix is not yet in the servers in other regions.

I still have not heard from anyone who successfully got an aftermarket name to appear in the GD AI search results though.

-Bob
 
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Hi @Bob Hawkes,
Firstly, thank you for your article and continued contributions to the domain industry.

Afternic’s distribution network provides 85 million searches per month on the premium (fast transfer) network and 30 million on the standard network. Our premium network also covers 8 of the top 10 registrars, including GoDaddy. This represents incredible exposure for Afternic-listed domains where buyers show up.

At GoDaddy, we have a culture of testing and experimentation that means we’re constantly learning through our platform. This extends to search results. What you’re seeing at GoDaddy is one of our regular search experiments. Sometimes our experiments are global while some are geo-specific. You will continue to see experimentation across GoDaddy.
 
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Hi @Bob Hawkes,
Firstly, thank you for your article and continued contributions to the domain industry.

Afternic’s distribution network provides 85 million searches per month on the premium (fast transfer) network and 30 million on the standard network. Our premium network also covers 8 of the top 10 registrars, including GoDaddy. This represents incredible exposure for Afternic-listed domains where buyers show up.

At GoDaddy, we have a culture of testing and experimentation that means we’re constantly learning through our platform. This extends to search results. What you’re seeing at GoDaddy is one of our regular search experiments. Sometimes our experiments are global while some are geo-specific. You will continue to see experimentation across GoDaddy.
How should we interpret this claim, now that it appears that Afternic deviates from this without announcing it in advance?

Screenshot_20240204_145638_Chrome.jpg
 
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What you’re seeing at GoDaddy is one of our regular search experiments. Sometimes our experiments are global while some are geo-specific. You will continue to see experimentation across GoDaddy.

In short; "We don't care what you all think about us and we'll do whatever we want!"
 
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Thanks for the reply @GoDaddy. I understand about occasional market testing,
including GoDaddy. This represents incredible exposure for Afternic-listed domains where buyers show up.
But right now it seems that the largest registrar (GoDaddy) in the Afternic FT network is not providing that promised exposure as for my region at least (and I know from information from some other domainers many other regions) it is nearly impossible to find Afternic listed domain names on the by far largest registrar in your network, and the registrar that most differentiates it from Sedo MLS.

Can you provide any idea on how long this experiment will last?

What you’re seeing at GoDaddy is one of our regular search experiments.
Does the experiment apply to both the regular GoDaddy search (which I found will occasionally show Afternic aftermarket listings, just usually not prominently displayed) and the new AI search at GoDaddy, which over now over dozens and dozens of prompt attempts, I have never been able to get any Afternic listings to show in the AI search, no matter the prompts I try.

I hope the intention to move Afternic search to GoDaddy search will be rethought. Once you move them together, there are competing interests between a registrar and an aftermarket domain marketplace. That is illustrated by my points on the prominence of pushing promoted and inappropriate (for search term) hand registrations over quality aftermarket offerings. There is simply too much mixed messaging.

Thanks again for your answer, even though it leaves me with more questions.

-Bob
 
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Hi @Bob Hawkes,
Firstly, thank you for your article and continued contributions to the domain industry.

Afternic’s distribution network provides 85 million searches per month on the premium (fast transfer) network and 30 million on the standard network. Our premium network also covers 8 of the top 10 registrars, including GoDaddy. This represents incredible exposure for Afternic-listed domains where buyers show up.

At GoDaddy, we have a culture of testing and experimentation that means we’re constantly learning through our platform. This extends to search results. What you’re seeing at GoDaddy is one of our regular search experiments. Sometimes our experiments are global while some are geo-specific. You will continue to see experimentation across GoDaddy.

Then end this experiment ASAP because it is hurting our sales.

I was suspecting something is wrong with Afternic recently because of sudden decline in sales (for me), then I found this thread.

How disappointing 🤦‍♂️
 
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Hi @Bob Hawkes,
Firstly, thank you for your article and continued contributions to the domain industry.

Afternic’s distribution network provides 85 million searches per month on the premium (fast transfer) network and 30 million on the standard network. Our premium network also covers 8 of the top 10 registrars, including GoDaddy. This represents incredible exposure for Afternic-listed domains where buyers show up.

At GoDaddy, we have a culture of testing and experimentation that means we’re constantly learning through our platform. This extends to search results. What you’re seeing at GoDaddy is one of our regular search experiments. Sometimes our experiments are global while some are geo-specific. You will continue to see experimentation across GoDaddy.
You can't even answer a simple question. Just talking about 85 million searches .You use data provided by sellers to populate and sell extension not searched by end users .

Who searches for dot bucks before .Com or .net ?You bought uniregistry and still can't simply innovate with their technology. Then you bought Dan and gradually started destroying it .If more people are complaining about your services my question is ,who is making these bad decisions?

If you don't know anything about how to integrate Ai ,why not leave things the way they are if it's not broken.

Godaddy needs a total overhaul.If I search for a name to buy ,I expect to see an exact Match of what I simply typed in .I dont need your suggestions. If it's taken or not available, then let me decide on my own to search for something else and not dot crap .It's been like these for years .

Why use sellers data to populate and suggest another cheap and crappy alternatives ?
 
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I see second time, my domain is listed on Dan at 2.2K make offer minimum 1K, I go to Afternic and search my domain, I see buy now is proper but Make offer is same as BIN price, now I wonder why this mismatch?

edit: Searching the same domain at Godaddy, it shows alternates in other extensions, but not my com domain.
 
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I see buy now is proper but Make offer is same as BIN price, now I wonder why this mismatch?
My understanding is they always do that - i.e. the integration does not carry over your minimum offer setting from Dan to Afternic, just the BIN. That is one reason that, so far at least, I have kept my Dan and Afternic listings separate (even though they are not recommending it of late). Also, if it is a Dan integration Afternic listing I believe it does not get Afternic FT coverage (could be wrong on that).

Thanks for update re showing. I tried 25 more today at GD search. 14 did not show up anywhere in the 45 GD listed names, while 11 did show up (most of the time first in list). All names were FT enabled .com, so it seems random why they pick up some and not others.

Above was with the normal GD search. I also tried again their AI Enhanced search and no matter what prompts I could not get it to ever find a single one Afternic listing.

-Bob
 
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search experiments
GoDaddy has a lot of departments / products. Would it be correct to guess that there is a sort of competition between those departments, such as new gtlds department wants to be featured on the homepage [to have more sales, receive bonuses etc], at the same time lets say hosting or ssl also wants to be featured on the homepage, so is Aftermarket, so are other departments etc? The problem is that GD homepage and search results are naturally limited. So, can we guess that Aftermarket department simply lost in the meantime... ?
 
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GoDaddy has a lot of departments / products. Would it be correct to guess that there is a sort of competition between those departments, such as new gtlds department wants to be featured on the homepage [to have more sales, receive bonuses etc], at the same time lets say hosting or ssl also wants to be featured on the homepage, so is Aftermarket, so are other departments etc?
I have no inside knowledge, but your point makes complete logical sense to me.

All registrars make money from many streams, and in a huge organization, those departments probably need to lobby for favoured treatment in web visibility.

The concern I have is that if Afternic search becomes GoDaddy search, it seems the priorities will disadvantage aftermarket domain sellers, at least unless GD search changes dramatically from what it is currently in trial with.

Thanks for your comment.

Bob
 
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In my view, the recent tests appear to be a strategic move, trying to enhance returns for activist shareholder Starboard Value. The NameFind auction and the efforts to boost the number of domains under management (DUM) seem to align with this objective. It’s unfortunate, however, that the remarkable innovation once seen at DAN.com no longer seems to be a part of GoDaddy’s approach. Ideally, the DAN.com platform could have served as a solid foundation for further development. It’s regrettable that instead of leveraging this potential, the decision was made to persist with modifications to the legacy Afternic platform.
 
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I see this as a phase where GoDaddy tries to really hammer in the importance of their registration path. Next they will ”introduce” (with fanfares) search that also properly displays Afternic inventory. By then (they think) we will appreciate the value of that functionality so much that they’ll raise their commission to 20-25 percent when an aftermarket domain is purchased via GoDaddy, perhaps 35% when nameservers are not pointing to their empire.
 
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The biggest problem is how Afternic allows third parties to add domains on Afternic even when their registrants removed them, unwilling to continue having a relationship with GoDaddy. How is this going to be resolved?
 
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Afternic responded on X that they were gradually rolling out elements of the new Afternic this week, and that it should be complete by the end of next week.

I think that is why some people are seeing a new Afternic, and others are not, and those who are seeing new, get taken into the old.

I hope to have more details to share in a follow up article, perhaps by the end of this week.

-Bob
 
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Godaddy makes a strategic mistake by trying to sit on two chairs.
They had already eliminated one domain market Unegistry, the same thing had to be done with DAN. It's a mess and chaos right now. When I buy domains in bulk, I have to not only confirm ownership of the Afternic, but also have to write to the DAN team so that they do the same.
I live in Russia. Russians are allowed to go to the Godaddy market, but it is forbidden to go to the Afternic market (only by VPN). This was before the events in Ukraine! When I asked why this was happening, I was told that they did not knw and would give me personal access to the Afternic. But I am a patriot and I refused, I want access to be available to all residents of my country. If Godaddy wants to become a monopolist, then I ask them to stop this silly circus. Please develop one platform, but do it efficiently. The new interface of the Afternic is just a horror, especially for those with poor eyesight. Return the previous version! Or kill the Afternic and Dan forever and develop the Godaddy marketplace. Good one is better bad three.
 
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At GoDaddy, we have a culture of testing and experimentation that means we’re constantly learning through our platform. This extends to search results. What you’re seeing at GoDaddy is one of our regular search experiments. Sometimes our experiments are global while some are geo-specific. You will continue to see experimentation across GoDaddy.

No Equality At GoDaddy​

Godaddy's team!
Thank you for your experiments! But I kindly ask you to unlock my account, I was always afraid to have an account on your site, but it so happened that I purchased one domain registered on Godaddy. And now, a month later, I get a message that my account has been locked. Is this how you meet new users? I ask you here in front of all witnesses to unlock my account on your site. Otherwise, I will consider that you have discriminated against me and my country.

PS I got message 'You don't need to do anything. However, if you feel this was done in error, please call us 24/7 at +7 (495) 745-33-67 .

But this number is wrong. When you restore my account, I will delete this message. I sincerely hope thatis a bad dream, an error has occurred and your team will fix it.
 
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@Edukar

Never ever share account details anywhere publicly.
 
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This account detail was made only for Godaddy

It doesn't matter what it made for.

It's your personal account, you have precious information in it and you have to keep it private.
 
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