Domain name aftermarket trust and transparency update

Problem identified, action taken

As a leader in the domain name aftermarket industry, it’s imperative for GoDaddy to run a transparent and clear platform for our customers.

With that in mind, we have some news to share with you. We identified an employee who engaged in activities in violation of our policies and counter to how we’ve conducted business in the domains industry for over 20 years.

On March 11, a GoDaddy customer contacted us with serious allegations against multiple employees. These allegations alluded to employees potentially participating in auctions, shill bidding (coordinating bids to drive prices higher), and providing insider information to clients.

We immediately started an investigation into the claims.

What we found

We started investigating the activities of three employees. We were quickly able to rule out the involvement of one employee. As we investigated and interviewed the other two employees, it became clear that only one party violated our employee Code of Conduct. After a thorough review of the circumstances, we terminated the employment of this employee.

This employee created an account not associated with his legal name, and participated in auctions and expiry auctions as a bidder, which is a conflict of interest and a direct violation of our policy.  To be clear, our investigation uncovered NO evidence that this employee used any confidential customer information for personal gain, or that he conducted shill-bidding on auctions.

While we believe the employee did not have malicious motivations, GoDaddy does not tolerate such violations of our Code of Conduct. Indeed, many provisions of our Code of Conduct are there specifically to protect our platform. We are very clear that no employee may participate in any auction that involves bidding against our customers. Employees are able to purchase buy now and closeout domains.

So what’s next?

We’re taking action and thinking about this in a few different ways:

Employees 

Following this incident, we are training all employees involved in the auctions process about our conflict of interest policy as well using this recent unfortunate situation as an example of what conduct is prohibited.

Customers 

We want to ensure no customers were harmed, and so we are reviewing every auction in which the employee participated.

We are also reviewing platform changes to make things even more transparent.

In closing, we are doing everything we can to provide you with the best and most trusted platform that you’ve come to expect from GoDaddy. While this event is unexpected and unfortunate, we’re going to learn and grow from it. Please reach out to me at Paul@godaddy.com should you have any questions.

Image by: JJ Ying on Unsplash

Paul Nicks
Paul’s background is in computer science, which led to his first job with GoDaddy in 2007 as an engineering manager on the Aftermarket team. After meeting several colorful industry characters at a conference later that year, he was hooked on domain investment and has spent his career searching for ways to grow the domain aftermarket industry. In his free time, Paul likes to go camping and hiking/snowshoeing with his wife and two boys. He’s also an avid football fan and decent basketball player.