Domain Spotlight:

Why Sedo Temporarily Closed My Account Because I Had Names At Auction

I had an unusual thing happen to me this week.  I received a letter from Sedo saying that my account had been terminated and all monies kept due to unnatural traffic to my domains.  Needless to say I was upset but I was pretty sure I knew why.

Or at least I think I know why.  It’s not a secret I sell my domains through auctions. Goddaddy, NameJet, and Sedo.  When those auctions get close to the end date , the programs like Dropday, Protrada, Freshdrop, and various private scripts have links to the site and their bots a scraping and searching. I would also imagine quite a few people go to the site from those tools as well.  I had noticed, especially when I have names on Namejet , that my site will suddenly get 300 or 400 uniques that day and many will click ads.  Why anyone would click ads is beyond me but the correlation from name coming close to an end date and a huge surge in traffic have been going hand in hand.  Do I control it?  Absolutely not.  Am I doing anything but list that name at auction?  No.  But Sedo and it’s advertisers didn’t like it.  And they closed my account.  Not just the parking but the entire account.  As I went back to see if there were any other links that I could have possibly done unnaturally and I did find one.  I had linked a landing page from this site but took it down and parked the domain.  I had forgotten (I promise) that there was a hard link from DomainShane to the new parked page.  But that was it.  Out of the 100’s of domains that was the only unnatural link from me in my entire account.  I obviously didn’t feel this was right so I contacted Sedo.

I am fortunate enough to have recently met Heather DelCapini.  Heather is Sedo’s Marketing Team Manager.  She didn’t work in the area that could help me but I knew she could guide me and fortunately put me in touch with Tom Fell of the Security and Compliance division.  He was nice enough to look it over.  He did what I hoped they would do. Flagged the domains that were an issue (ie cut them off),  and reinstated my account.  They handled the problem quickly and professionally.  My account was back up in days.

In reality, I didn’t do anything wrong.  I knew my domains would get mad spikes of traffic but since I had no hand in the traffic, I thought I was fine.  I enjoyed seeing all the extra money.  Some as much as $30 per domain per day.  I actually thought I was on to something. Domains that didn’t sell were still making good money just being up for auction.  Evidently this is not legit traffic.  I have no idea what it is and why it clicks on links,  but I can tell you that if you have the same thing going on, watch yourself.  It doesn’t matter if you did anything wrong it could hurt you.  I will now make sure that if I put a domain up for auction and it has Adsense I will take the adsense down. I will make sure it doesn’t go to a parked page.  There are just too many computers scraping data and following links.  I would hate to lose some of my most important sources of revenue over click fraud (adsense not parking). Especially click fraud that I didn’t even participate in.  And again, thank you Sedo, especially Heather and Tom, for handling that is rare in today’s online business world.  Sometimes this blog pays off by helping me build relationships and this week it certainly helped.

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14 Replies to “Why Sedo Temporarily Closed My Account Because I Had Names At Auction”

  1. You’re saying, you have domains parked at Sedo that were on auction at other domain auction houses?

    Thought terms specify Sedo gets your domain exclusively?

    Or, you’re saying, the auction domains were pointing to the Sedo parked page of the Sedo listing?

  2. I had this happen once when I purchase a drop domain that had an influx of overseas traffic for whatever reason, instead of looking at my long standing account of many years, they just closed account. I sent an email, and 2 days later they opened the account again, and disabled the single domain. This was about 3 years ago, I mean at least review an account before doing this nonsense.

  3. Shane,

    Glad it worked out for you, but the moral of the story seems… “be careful parking your domains because bots will crawl it and you might get your account terminated”

    Sure, bots crawl pages, bots crawl links, but it’s Sedo’s JOB to figure out which visitors are bots and not allow them through, or not generate Google ads for them.

    This is the most basic per-requisite to running a parking company. You have absolutely no control over who crawls domains that are on the Sedo DNS so why should you get in trouble if they are crawled/clicked? Of course, it’s easier to just close the account of the domainer, keep their money, and not anything to actually fix the problem.

    Like Ron said, it’s careless nonsense treating customers like that.

  4. Thanks Shane – that’s interesting stuff! Just shutting down your account without contacting you first to find out the problem seems a drastic way to treat a customer – like something the darkside “G” would do.

    Am curious – how do you submit your domains to Namejet auctions?? I don’t see a submission link anywhere on their site – is it just through personal contact?
    Jim S

    1. Jim,

      Namejet hasn’t taken any new clients lately that I’m aware of. They will work with larger portfolios to move names. You’ve probably seen names from Ms. Jello and even Marchex over the last year. I’m only in because I have some dirt on the manager that I will release if he doesn’t let me sell a few names.

  5. Same thing happened to me and Sedo wouldn’t budge. I did get them to pay me for the parking revenues they owed me. They never did explain to me the whole “bad” traffic issue even after multiple requests. I moved my 500+ domains to Afternic and have had equal success there. Sedo’s loss. They won’t be around much longer. I think I will eventually make my own parking page. What ever happened to your experiment Shane?

  6. Haha! Thanks.
    On a positive note, Sedo is making some improvements to their sales templates. They added a “sales” template that has half the page focused on “this domain is for sale” and half the page with ppc links. I hope they make more sales templates. Some domains I’m more interested in selling to visitors than getting the pennies per click.
    Jim S

  7. Let’s face it, sucks for domain parking.

    They place links all over your parked site to their sales platform, but they NEVER share any of that income with the parked domain owners.

    They only pay a decent rate to keep you selling at Sedo, so that you’ll show your traffic numbers, but selling on Sedo is not ideal because you can never see your buyer and adjust prices accordingly.

    They won’t let you just show the ads you want on the parked site.

    The interface is absurdly confusing with feature creep killing the joy of editing.

    They now do chargebacks at the end of the month, from what I was told.

    Lastly, it looks like they’ll close your account down for something as benign as a domain auction.

    I’m getting pretty sick of all the new rules around this industry. It’s time we get paid better for our traffic if they want to whack us with the willow branch every time a bot comes through, or move elsewhere.

    It’s just a matter of time before some well-financed company pulls a surprise attack on Google and starts paying for our traffic without all the bitchyness of Google and parking companies.

    That said, Sedo is still a good thing for the market, and genuinely nice people there. I just think there are better options for real domain pros as a main focus. I would never ignore their platform for sales, but never rely or concentrate on it either.

  8. I lost my Godaddy CashParking account because Google told Godaddy to close it because there was “unnatural” traffic. No questions asked, Godaddy closes my account and keeps the money in the account not paid to me yet.

    Google is the problem here. Google says jump – Godaddy and presumably Sedo asks how high… This is BS. Google can kiss my butt because after they closed my account I took all 1500+ names and began an extensive analysis of all of the traffic and came to realize what you posted is true and also there are dozens upon dozens of “Amazon bots” that do nothing but click on and follow links – something Google will never admit to not being able to handle. The easiest thing to do: cancel the accounts in question and correct the amazon bot problem later on so it doesnt happen again. Then 6 months later a new crop of bots arises and the same garbage happens again.

    I went over to Sedo with my 1500 names and recently they stopped allowing forwarded traffic. I switched from DNS forwarded traffic like I had a Godaddy to my own forwarding with massive filtering code written over 7 months time. 98% of my traffic was real and true traffic. Everything else was banned and never allowed to get to the parked pages.

    What do you think happens? Google stops allowing forwarded traffic. They are nothing but a bunch of jackasses starting with the CEO and working their way down. I cant stand Google and I am waiting, just waiting for the Dept of Justice to start pressing their thumbs on them.

    People think that Apple and Microsoft and IBM and AT&T were bad? Ha. Google is all of them 10x worse over!

  9. @Spike: You couldnt pay me to log into Afternic’s system ever again. Their system is the most crappiest code I’ve ever seen in my life. Bugs galore and non-existent / non-responsive customer service. All they care about is selling their BuyDomains portfolio of names.

  10. Isn’t it the job of the Parking companies to clean up the bot clicking traffic?
    One of them was doing it a while back.

  11. Yes, I agree Mike. Afternic takes weeks to add domains to your account. Customer Service is poor at best. But methinks Afternic is lesser of two evils in this case.

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