One of the most important things that an auction company needs to do is ensure that the bidders are qualified to bid and I had an experience with the Moniker/Snapnames auction that ended the middle of November that was a BIG FAIL.
A domain name of mine sold in that auction for upper four figures. After two weeks of not hearing from Moniker about the auction (i.e. did they receive payment or what is going on?) I contacted them. They replied stating that they were working with the buyer to secure payment and asked me to initiate transfer of my domain over to Moniker (my domain was at GoDaddy). I wrote back and told him the normal process is they should secure payment and then I will transfer the domain over because I didn’t want to transfer the domain to Moniker and then if something happens with the buyer and I need to go through the hassle of transferring back to GoDaddy.
I got an email back from Mike at Moniker asking me to give a call to discuss transferring the domain over. I spoke with him and was told there was a hangup with the buyer’s Moniker account but he was confident it would get fixed shortly and by transferring the domain over to Moniker it would expedite the process. Against my better judgement I transferred the domain because he set my mind at ease about the transaction and it’s likelihood for completion.
A week and a half goes by and I hear nothing so I contact Moniker again (December 10th). I’m told that they are struggling to secure payment as the buyer and to give a call in to discuss next steps. I call in and I’m told that the buyer is claiming that they no longer have funding. It’s mysterious how that happens. If I had to venture a theory I’d say they bought the domain with the intent of flipping it right away and the person they were going to flip it through fell through so now they are backing out of paying me. I asked Moniker to provide me with this person’s information but they won’t. I’m told that there was other interest in the domain name and they asked if they could take a week to shop it around to see if they could still pull a sale through for me. I’m definitely not happy at this point as my belief is that they should ensure the buyer is qualified before he places a upper four figure bid, but at this point there’s nothing I can do (short of taking that person to court which I’d imagine is a nightmare when the person is overseas) so I agree to this week of shopping it around.
About 9 days goes by and I don’t hear back from Moniker (recurring theme that I need to reach out to them as they never make first contact). I send an email. Another 8 days goes by and I still heard nothing so I send another email. I finally get a reply on January 3rd (which is 24 days after I agreed to let Moniker shop around my domain name for 1 week). He was out of the office on vacation. I get people take vacations, I don’t have a problem with that. But shouldn’t someone else have taken this over? I feel like I got left out hanging in the breeze. After all they had my domain name in THEIR account so I couldn’t even access my domain for 24 days if I wanted to. They didn’t find a buyer so they said they would push the domain into my Moniker account (which just happened today). And now I have to transfer it back to my GoDaddy account to complete the circle.
This has been a very frustrating experience, from the non-paying buyer, to transferring it to Moniker and now having to transfer it back to GoDaddy, to the lack of contact from Moniker where I always had to reach out first. Hopefully they will improve their process of pre-qualifying bidders and of being proactive and reaching out to the seller first instead of the seller always having to be the one to send the first contact.
In the spirit of full disclosure I had sold a second domain in the lower four figure range which the sale went through fine (though it did take over 3 weeks from auction end to receive that payment which seems on the high side to me, I mean how long does it take to process a credit card or to receive a bank wire?).