An auction is one of the most popular ways to get the best domains. As a seller, it's a great way to sell your domain fast and for the most part, is a seamless process if you're working with the right registrar. While you can get a great return in a short amount of time, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to domain auctions. Fees, transfers, and reserve prices are just a few of the topics we're going to dive into.

What Is an Auction?

Domain auctions work much like any other auction. A registrar will allow sellers to choose a time at which point buyers can make an offer to acquire the domain the seller has. For example, let's say you would like to place an offer on The auction will have a designated time that takes place over several days or hours depending on when you bid. Other buyers will also place bids and the domain goes to the highest offer before time runs out, awarding them that new domain. 

It's important to note that all registrars have a set auction time. We advise that you take advantage of registrars that have longer time periods so you can reach everyone you possibly can while your domain is up for auction. 

Why Hold an Auction?

Auctions are a great way to sell your domain fast. Once an auction is done you have additional income instantly! They are a great option when you are wanting to sell a domain before having to pay renewal fees, think more about upkeep, and more. 

Auction Fees

Most registrars have a commission fee associated with any auction sale. Several will take upwards of 20% commission that can be paid by the buyer or the seller. Some registrars also charge a membership fee in addition to the 20% commission fee that is associated with auctions. Commission fees are taken out of the sale whereas membership fees are paid by credit card, your bank, or PayPal. 

The first step for determining whether to sell your domain on a registrar’s auction is seeing whether the buyer or seller is responsible for the commission fee. Lower commission fees are more user-friendly to the seller. If you are a seller, Sav is a great fit for you with a low commission fee of 4%, ranking substantially below the industry standard. 

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How Can I Check on My Auction?

To check on your domain name auctions you will go to a “My Products” or “My Domains” page depending on the registrar. You’ll then click a prompt to manage, which should direct you to a page that should show your auctioned listings or have an option like buy/sell and then will allow you to see your auctioned listings. From there you should be able to select the domain name and view options such as last bid, end time, and status. Additionally, you should be able to view expired auctions if you need to reflect on your past sales.

If you aren’t able to view your domain status online it means that you may need to download a .csv file to view your status. For example, on Sav’s site, all you need to do is log in, navigate to the marketplace, go to auctions, and select download current auctions. This will allow you to view the status of your auctions in a downloadable file on your computer. 

How Long Does It Take for the Domain To Transfer?

The transfer process for domains varies from registrar to registrar. Some will transfer the domain automatically for you. For example, if you sell a domain on Sav, all you have to worry about is cashing out. However, the process can have a few more steps at other registrars. 

If the domain you sold is being transferred to an account with the same registrar it should transfer almost instantly. In rare cases, it may take a few hours or even a day. Changes in your account or technical errors may require the system to re-do the transfer, but this rarely happens.

On the other hand, if the domain you sold is transferred to someone who does not have the same registrar as you do, it can take up to 14 days. This is largely dependent on how long the exchange of the authorization code takes. An authorization code is a transfer code created by registrars to identify domain holders. 


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How Do I Transfer My Domain to a Buyer Once It’s Sold?

In most cases, you will receive an email with instructions on what you need to do to transfer your domain. The process will heavily depend on if the buyer’s account is registered with your registrar. If they have the same registrar as you it’s as simple as downgrading the domain to no protection, initiating the transfer to the buyer, and then the domain is moved automatically. If the buyer has an account with another registrar you may need to update your IPS tag before starting this process.

Can I Cancel a Completed Auction?

Registrars don’t allow you to cancel a completed auction. So be absolutely sure you want to sell the domain when pushing through an auction. To that point, rejecting a bid is also not an option. For example, if you list and it sells for $3 through auction, you have to give it to the buyer. 

That being said, if you feel that your domain should be sold for a certain price consider a buy now option or reserve price.

Reserve prices allow a seller to set a specific minimum amount to be paid for an auction. You may list for auction at a reserve price of $1,000. That means that any buyer has to pay a minimum of $1,000 for the domain.

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How Do I Get Paid From My Auction?

Some registrars will send you an email with payment instructions. Most will prompt you to set up a payee account in your settings so your funds can be deposited into your bank or Paypal account. It’s important to pick a registrar that keeps your financial information safe. For example, Sav requires that you fill out a four-part form before cashing out. You simply need to provide contact information, recipient account information, and tax details from your country. Once the form is filled out it’s as simple as logging in, going to the marketplace, and clicking cash out!

If you’re having trouble cashing out you most likely didn’t set up your financial account information correctly or missed details when you filled out your tax information. Make sure everything is correct before cashing out to save yourself the hassle!

What’s a Backorder Auction?

When someone participates in a backorder auction they are trying to get an expired domain. The first individual to place a backorder gets the starting bid when a backorder auction starts. When looking at backorder options on registrar sites they will look a little different than a regular auction posting. For example, on Sav’s site, they are listed as “Pending Delete Domains”.


It’s important to note that ICANN is vigilant on whether users are auctioning properly. Auction for the right reasons, to grow your domain real estate and not to acquire premium domains maliciously. If you acquire with bad intent to profit from a trademark, that would be an example of acquiring a domain maliciously.

For more information on cybersquatting and how to avoid it, go here.

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How Do I Auction My Domain on Sav?

Sav allows you to sell TLDs you own, whether your domain is registered at Sav or not. All auctions start with a price of $1 USD plus transfer fees (if not registered at Sav). Each auction lasts 10 days and is a no reserve auction. A no reserve auction means the item will be sold at the end of the auction regardless of price. The domain is given to the highest bidder. 

To auction your domain:

  1. Login to Sav
  2. Go to the Marketplace page
  3. Enter the domain you would like to auction off. If you would like to auction off multiple domains, enter in one domain per line.
  4. Click Export Auctions under the Download Current Auctions header.

For instructions on how to auction your domain from the domain settings page click here.

For answers to more FAQ’s on auctions go to our Help Center

Happy auctioning!

Ana Hobson

Ana Hobson

Ana Hobson is a marketing coordinator at Sav.