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Domain Name Auction Houses – The Major Players

Domain name auction houses have been an important, if little known, feature of the internet since its inception. The role of domain name auction houses is, as the name suggests to provide domain names (these are the bits in the middle of a web address; to buyers. They are an important part of the internet economy because literally anyone who wants to have a website online needs to have a domain name.

Domain name auction houses usually charge a listing fee for sellers. Sometimes this is recouped as part of the auction house’s cut of the sale, and other times it is charged upfront or regardless of a sale being made. Below is a brief guide to some of the major players in the domain name auctioning market. These are the names that you can trust.


On average, Afternic has 3 million domain name auctions active, this makes it one of the largest in terms of both user base and profitability. In addition to its huge database of domain names from sellers around the world, Afternic also allows members to pre-order domains that are soon coming up towards their expiration dates. The company also operates their own in-house domain name appraisal service that offers fair valuations of domain names to help guide sellers in setting the parameters of their auction. The company’s in house DNEscrow service puts customer satisfaction and usability above all other considerations. It also offers the kind of beefed up security you would expect from a major auction house, which deters scammers and ensures that both buyers and sellers are protected from any attempts at fraud.

Afternic does require a membership to buy but these cost only $1 a year and are more than worth it as they strongly deter scammers from deploying bots to create fictional accounts and artificially driving up prices. If you are looking to sell, you will need a premium membership for $19.95, but again this cost is perfectly fair when one considers the services it entitles one to.


Bido is another popular option and, while it is not quite as big as Afternic, it still boasts millions of accounts. The premise of Bido, however, is very different to other auction houses, it revolves around what the company calls “the power of one”, that is; one auction per day, for one domain name at one o’clock starting at one dollar, with no reserve price.

This gimmick has proven to be very successful in driving up traffic and, because there’s no way of knowing beforehand what the domain name up for auction will be, sellers of domain names, including other auction houses, often stop-by on the off chance that they will find a bargain. During the hours leading up to the auction, the increased traffic generated by that single auction leads to a surge in bids on many of the other auctions on the site. It is free to sign up for an account and one can start buying and selling instantly.

Domain Tools is another company that is doing big business in the domain name auctioning market. The site boasts an extensive database of domain names and the company takes great strides to ensure that their databases identify opportunities as far in advance as possible. The company is also an offshoot of a web hosting company and is able to combine data it gathers as part of its usual operating in order to improve the user experience and the performance of the underlying algorithms upon which the site’s UI us built.

The site offers a set of rules that differ slightly from other auction houses, but these don’t impinge upon the site’s usability. The company has been active in this industry for over 15 years, and is definitely a brand that you can trust.


GoDaddy is all about making things quick, easy, and efficient. Auctions on the site stay active for only a day. The site does, however, offer mostly high-value domains and as such is one of the places where real fortunes can be made, particularly selling domain names bought at a lower price.

Buyers have a couple of auction options to choose from as well. First of all, there are auctions for domains that current owners are selling. You can often find some great domains here that have a lot of SEO benefits attached to them. Secondly, GoDaddy also lists expired domains at auction. Expired domains are domains that have been left to run out by the owners. GoDaddy also has a buy it now option for expired domains that didn’t sell at auction.

The site offers all the usual security features you would expect, and can also host the domains that you buy through their site if required. GoDaddy also has a mobile app so you can keep track of auctions on the go.


Sedo claims to be the number one domain auction site on the internet. They have over two million customers based in over 150 countries around the globe. They also regularly have a number of premium domains up for auction, some of which sell for tens of thousands of dollars. The Sedo website is easy to use, and payment for domains can be made in many different ways, with PayPal being the most common. They also have staff who can negotiate with domain owners on your behalf if required.

In addition to hosting domain auctions, of which there are around 18 million listed at any one time, Sedo also offers a personalised service to all webmasters. They can help with domain parking, brokerage, marketing domains, and value appraisals. The site is a one stop shop for anyone interested in buying or selling domains online.

Buying a domain name is easy these days and auction houses represent one of the best places to look for those who are seeking a bargain. The five described in this article are definitely sites that you should check out.

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