NameCheap & GoDaddy trade punches over domain inventory rules

NameCheap and GoDaddy are throwing virtual punches today, April 1st, over ongoing friction about domain inventory sales. No, it’s not a joke.

Richard Kirkendall, CEO of NameCheap, began the exchange :

Godaddy likes to do “tests” that censor out certain registrars because they have more sales. Their optimization involves trying to get the most sales to Godaddy themselves.

He followed up with:

I wouldn’t be surprised if they retaliate again by not renewing our contract to offer your domains via our search because I posted this.

Meanwhile, Paul Nicks, President of Domains at GoDaddy, entered the exchange to present his company’s angle:

Namecheap repeatedly did not honor the buy-now prices our customers put in to Afternic. After ignoring our requests for a conversation around price changes, they only responded once we took action by removing NameFind (and ONLY NameFind) inventory from their feed.

Additionally, their exhibited behavior via GD Auctions expiry actively hurt domain investors and enriched themselves. Again, after repeated attempts to get them to discontinue, we were unable to stop the behavior leading to GD Auctions no longer selling Namecheap inventory.

We’re actively negotiating with Namecheap to make sure they keep the integrity of the Afternic DLS to the level we know our customers expect. This all seems to be a way to pre-emptively setup GoDaddy as the heel if they don’t get what they want out of negotiations.

What the heck happened, between the world’s top 2 domain registrars, one might wonder. GoDaddy has more than 80 million domains and NameCheap just passed the 15 million domain mark.

GoDaddy vs. NameCheap – Photo by Johann Walter Bantz on Unsplash

It was a little known secret: NameCheap would list its inventory from GoDaddy 3% lower, taking a small commission hit but thus claiming a bigger chunk in domain sales.

While the domain seller would receive exactly what they’ve listed the domain for minus commission, the listing price on NameCheap.com was always 3% less than on other venues, such as GoDaddy. Domain buyers benefited from a price drop of 3% so why would they go to GoDaddy.com when they could get it cheaper via NameCheap?

Apparently, GoDaddy got mighty pissed about that and asked NameCheap to end this practice. When NameCheap either declined or did not respond in favor of such an adjustment, GoDaddy pulled off its NameFind inventory from appearing on NameCheap feeds.

Considering how that inventory consists of approximately 1 million aged, premium domains that belonged in the past to domain investors and were acquired by GoDaddy, the eventual loss for NameCheap can be substantial.

NameCheap wants to be allowed to continue offering this type of discount, particularly since other registrars such as Name.com price up the GoDaddy inventory.

To follow the exchange click here.

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