I’ve been a member of DigitalPoint and NamePros forums for around 10 years. During that time, I’ve been involved in and also witnessed many domain name and website auctions there. And in these auctions, people sometimes do certain things that go against forum ettiquetts. There are some unwritten rules to forum ettiquettes like anything else, but it basically boils down to being considerate to others and doing business in an ethical manner.
For the most part, it’s the newbies that offend because they’re still learning how to behave. But eventually, most people learn and move on, but it still bothers me when I see people not following etiquettes.
Here’s a few basic etiquettes to follow:
1. Don’t bid on an auction if you don’t have money. Layaway isn’t an option. This bothers me the most. A person bids on your auction and wins. Then when you ask for the money, they don’t respond or they give you some personal reasons for why they can’t pay you yet. Let me blunt be here… I really don’t care about why you don’t have the money – it’s not my business. But when you bid on an auction, you’ve committed yourself not only to forum rules but also to unwritten ettiquettes. It’s just simple business ethics. When you bid and you can’t pay right away, you are, in my opinion, disrespecting the forum, the seller, and all other bidders. Not only that, an auction can take anywhere from a week up to a month to end, so as a seller you do want payment ASAP.
2. Don’t troll. If you have no interest in the domain, mind your own business and move on. I’ve witnessed plenty of auctions where a member will make negative comments about a domain or an auction. When this type of thing happens, it puts unnecessary doubt in the minds of other bidders. The slightest negativity can scare away potential buyers and thus ruin an auction, especially for a website auction. If you have a real interest in the domain and want to ask some questions, why not PM the seller and have a private discussion? Or, if you have legitimate reason to believe that the seller is a scammer and your purpose is to protect other members, then of course you should bring it to everyone’s attention. Otherwise, please keep your opinions to yourself because it does not belong in a domain sales thread.
3. Read the rules thoroughly. There are two sets of rules to follow as a bidder/buyer. One: The forum rules. Two: The seller’s rules. Most members get acquainted with forum rules early on. It’s the seller’s rules that most people overlook. Seller’s rules are typically not deal breakers, but reading them will ensure a smoother transaction at the end of the auction. For example, payment options and push/transfer policies can put speed bumps on the road if the buyer and seller don’t see eye to eye.
4. Keep your word at all times (before, during, and after the auction). It isn’t uncommon to make private deals after the auction or sale has been completed. The buyer or seller may inquire about any other domains that they may want to buy or sell off the record. Then, you come to some sort of agreement made verbally, via PM, or email. It’s late, so you say let’s discuss the next day. Two to three days pass and you don’t hear from the other party. So you write them and ask for status. Then you find out that the seller has sold the domain you wanted, or the buyer has backed out of the “agreement.” It sucks, but unfortunately, when a deal is made in private without any written contracts, there isn’t much you can do. You will have take the “loss” and move on. This goes beyond business ethics – it’s about being a man/woman of your words.
Can you think of any other etiquettes that people break in forum auctions?