Domain Spotlight:

The Inside Story Behind the Closing of the Godaddy Affiliate Program

As many of you know one of the main sources of income from this blog are the affiliate programs.  Godaddy is a major part of that income. Godaddy sent emails out today announcing the closure of their affiliate program and information on where to go to continue its use.  Initially I was a partner in the Godaddy program through Commission Junction (now just CJ) but I was having customer service issues so I figured I would move over to the home, the Godaddy Affiliate Program.

I am going to start out by saying that Greg Hollingsworth, the program manager for Godaddy, is perhaps the best customer service person I have worked with in the industry (right up there with Matt Overman Big Mike Sugarman of Namejet) .  Always a little slow getting back because he was so busy, but he always got back to me.  He consistently answered my questions and gave me credit for sales I believed I was owed.  Often on my word or the email of the purchaser.  And boy did I have questions.

The affiliate program at Godaddy was flawed from the beginning.  The interface provide basically no data except what you made the previous day.  You had no idea which ads worked, what sales you made.  It was just a number.  Only people at Godaddy could see what was going on.  Not the customer.  CJ was superior in every way.  You can see which ads led to a sale, what that sale was, and how much you received.  I stayed because GD was going to improve the interface….and Greg.

But then some MAJOR flaws reared their head.  I have some great readers and friends that are kind enough to say thank you for listing name by emailing me their invoices of purchases they made through my lists.  (And usually they’ll send me the flips as well to brag) .  When I see a purchase that was pretty large and no commission in that time period, I would email Greg and asked why I didn’t get a commission.  Usually the person didn’t go through the link properly or sometimes “something happened”.

Turns out, if a name sold for more than $5000 it had to go to  If it went to the link to that commission got dropped when it was turned over to Escrow.  Meaning that any names that sold for over $5000 I never got credit aka money.  I know of a $10K name and another that I never got paid.  Essentially the dream sales that I hoped to get were actually the most worthless of the group.  I was getting shafted.

Another major flaw in the system is the coupon code rule in the Terms of Service.  If a person buys a name though my links, regardless of what they spent, and uses a coupon code when paying for the name and the one year renewal that comes with it, I don’t get the commission.  And yes this does happen,  a lot.  Somebody buys a name for $800, saves $4 with a code and I don’t get my $80.  They don’t take it out of my commission, they take it all.  Greg was also trying to get this amended, or at least for me 🙂

Finally, when the 3rd party sales were introduced to the Godaddy platform it meant the commissions had to be changed.  The expired domains were pure profit for Godaddy so paying 10% was easy for them but understandably Godaddy can’t pay out 10% when they don’t make much more than that on the 3rd party auctions.  But I could never get an answer of what I was making or if I was making anything at all.  Greg was going to work on it.

But then three weeks ago I was working out more issues with Greg and he let me know that our dance was about to end. Godaddy was going to drop the internal program and turn it over to the 3rd parties.  To keep it quiet, but that I should merge back to CJ and he would make sure I got taken care of over there and that he would make sure that Godaddy supported CJ with anything they needed.  And that CJ’s previous lack of customer service would be better (and he was very right).  In MY WORDS:Godaddy knows that CJ’s back end and reporting is much better.  They know that there was no reason to have them competing against each other and that they might as well turn it over to CJ and let them create the best affiliate program. Solving all these issues I mentioned above using CJ’s back end and Godaddy’s tracking.

Everyone will be happy at CJ and Godaddy can concentrate on the things they do better and perhaps put a little more time into Afternic which needs a little updating and an affiliate program as well.

Domain Spotlight:

6 Replies to “The Inside Story Behind the Closing of the Godaddy Affiliate Program”

  1. Won’t you still have these three issues with CJ as well? The promo code one makes no sense, it is really ripping the affiliates off because anyone who uses GoDaddy with any regularity knows about the promo codes and goes searching for them.

    Also, the commission for auctions is 10% (in your $800 sale and $80 commission example)? I didn’t know it was that high, I thought only hosting commissions were good and everything else was peanuts.

    1. Anti,

      I imagine I will have these issues but I’m counting on Greg to work with me (everyone) on getting them resolved. The program is good to me and I am grateful but I want to make sure that both sides know exactly what the payments are.

  2. Thanks for the heads up Shane …

    This was an affiliate scheme I was looking to do on my new blog 🙂

  3. I have had a bad experience using Commission Junction in the past. I won’t use them never again. I am glad to know that even if Godaddy is closing their affiliate program they have ShareASale as an alternative to CJ.

  4. You said it had information on where to continue its use. Who’s going to be administering the program now? Is it going in-house? Do you have a link to it?

    Afternic’s affiliate program is at

Comments are closed.