GoDaddy, better than anyone, realizes that the margins in domain sales are slim and getting slimmer. Economics teaches us that in a perfectly competitive market, there is no profit in the long run. Domain registration is rapidly approaching that level of efficiency. How can GoDaddy leverage its substantial market position, both as a leading destination for prospective buyers and “owner” of a substantial portfolio of registrations, registrant data and associated relationships — all of which are, however, completely vulnerable to the devastating encroachment of the Internet’s efficiencies?
Well, how about going crooked, and adding a markup? Here’s the scoop on how GoDaddy is now claiming to help prospects evaluate the name value of obviously trademark infringing registrations, from the “The Domains” blog (via Randazza):
We have discussed on numerous occasions, TDNAM (Godaddy) is allowing the sale of trademarked domains on its site.
However today they have gone further.
They have hit a new low.
Not only are they allowing the auction of cnnnews.tv though the TDNAM platform but they have actually issued a “Certified Domain Appraisal” for the domain.
They can no longer claim ignorance or simply state that they can’t be expected to review each domain submitted for auction to see if there is a trademark violation.
Here the domain was basically thrown in their face when an appraisal was ordered.
Godaddy gave the domain owner a range of what they determined the domain was worth, in their certified opinion, as the world’s largest registrar.
What should they have done?
The right thing.
Just what you or I would have done if someone came to us with the domain, tell them square and true, hey buddy this domain violates a federally registered trademark, its worthless and we are not going to help you sell it or have any involvement in it and here’s your $15 back.
Instead Godaddy took the $15 for the certified appraisal, the domain owner with Godaddy’s blessing and opinion that the domain has value, put it up for sale on TDNAM where is now has 2 bids with over 2 days to go.
Anarchy has always been a subtext of the Internet, but this really does take chutzpa, daddy. We can’t wait for this shoe to drop.