By Gary Nugent

It’s domain renewal time for me around this time of year and I see that GoDaddy have changed their website and user interface…again. This time, logging in, instead of getting to www.godaddy.com, I got redirected to ie.godaddy.com (I’m in Ireland). So now GoDaddy are implementing regional variations of their site.

Why would that be?

GoDaddy High Domain PricesThe most obvious answer is that they want to charge different prices in different territories.

Turns out that my assumption is correct. In more ways than one.

The only reason I use GoDaddy is for registering cheap domains. And then renewing those domains a year later with a discount coupon.

GoDaddy are also the only registrar that charge you an ICANN fee on top of the domain registration cost. I don’t know if other registrars don’t actually implement this charge or if it’s already factored into the domain cost (I assume it is).

I don’t use GoDaddy’s webhosting as their hosting packages are not competitive. And their customer support leaves a lot to be desired.

You may have noticed that domain registration prices have been creeping up over the last year or two. As are renewal prices. However, it’s at GoDaddy that the highest price increments have been seen.

GoDaddy Domain Prices

It’s hard to nail down the actual cost of a new domain name as GoDaddy offer heavily discounted prices but other registrars charge $9.99 for a new .com domain, so that’s a good average to use. Standard .com domain renewals at GoDaddy now cost $14.99 (plus the ICANN fee) which puts their prices 50%+ above those of other registrars. Seems a bit excessive.

Most people renewing domains at GoDaddy know to look online for GoDaddy discount coupons. These could typically save you 25% to 35% off renewal fees and so a .com could be renewed at one time for $7.49 (when new .coms at GoDaddy cost $9.99), then $7.95, $8.49 and $8.95 (as the cost of new .coms rose).

Charging Non-USA Customers More

After the introduction of the regional GoDaddy sites, I noticed that some of the coupons would not work from Ireland. So GoDaddy are now selective in what coupons they accept when they’re used from outside the USA. I haven’t seen any mention of this anywhere else on the web.

The upshot is that the coupons that do work don’t give as big a discount as the USA-centric ones. So that’s one way GoDaddy charge non-USA customers more.

Another is the actual cost of domains and renewals.

Today, I needed to renew two domains. GoDaddy switched me to ie.godaddy.com (it won’t let me access the USA site directly as should be my choice).

Prices were shown in Euro though there is an option to switch currency on the Checkout page.

The renewal price per domain was €8.91 each. A saving of 25% was automatically applied by GoDaddy (full renewal price would have been €11.99). An additional €0.13 in ICANN fees is also charged per domain.

I switched currency to dollars. The renewal price changed to $12.24 (with an 18% saving) and $0.18 in ICANN fees.

For completeness sake, I then switched to GBP(£) and the price changed to £7.26 (with a 25% saving) and £0.11 in ICANN fees.

This table shows the full and discounted renewal .com prices:

Dollars Euro Pound
Full Price $14.99 €11.99 £9.99
Discounted Price $12.24 €8.91 £7.26
Discount % 18% 25% 27%

Now, converting the Euro and GBP prices to dollars at today’s exchange rates (€:$ – 1.37117; £:$ – 1.67773) gives these prices:

Dollars Euro Pound
Full Price $14.99 $16.44 $16.76
Discounted Price $12.24 $12.22 $12.18
Discount % 18% 25% 27%

Now you can see why the apparent Discount percentage varies across regions. The discounts take the renewal fees to roughly the same price (within a few cents). It also shows that the full price of domain renewals is set higher for non-USA regions so as to make the discounts look better.

So if everyone’s paying the same discounted fee, why am I complaining?

Domain Name ExtensionsBecause the discount coupons that are available online will not work (at least from Ireland) so you cannot get a bigger saving on fees as those in the USA can (the coupons work there).

So is that discrimination (non-USA customers end up paying higher renewal fees as a result) or a legitimate business practice that lets GoDaddy earn more outside the USA per sale?

Dynadot is another domain registrar that I use a lot. They charge a flat $9.99 for new .coms and $9.99 for renewals. Quite a bit cheaper than GoDaddy’s already 25% discounted price. In fact, Dynadot are almost another 20% cheaper than GoDaddy’s “discounted” price.

.org domains are more expensive at GoDaddy than anywhere else – that’s to buy new and to renew. Dynadot charge $10.99 for new and renewed domains. Without coupons, a .org costs $17.99 at GoDaddy and a renewal $13.39.

.net domains don’t fare much better. They cost $16.99 new and have no renewal discount. Dynadot charge a flat $9.99 for new and renewed .net domains.

I use Dynadot here as a comparison registrar, not to promote them (there’s no affiliate link for them on this page).

Namecheap is another well-known competitor to GoDaddy. I see they’re also now detecting where customers are connecting from and displaying prices in local currency, though they don’t appear to be redirecting to a regional subdomain.

A .com on NameCheap costs $10.69, a .org is $11.48 and a .net is $11.98. Renewal prices will be similar. All still cheaper than GoDaddy (unless you use GoDaddy’s coupons when registering domains).

Conclusion

What I conclude from this is that:

  1. GoDaddy are getting greedy. Their base domain prices are higher than everyone else’s and even with their automatically applied price discounts on renewals, those renewal prices are still higher than other domain registrars charge as standard.
  2. They’re effectively using a Bait & Switch tactic to hook you with cheap new domains whileh charging over the odds on renewals.
  3. While people based in the USA can use GoDaddy coupons to get somewhat more heavily discounted renewal prices, those outside the USA can not (going on my experience, but if you know better, please let me know). Which means they pay more than their USA counterparts. And they pay more than other domain registrars charge too.
  4. Coupons for buying heavily discounted new domains do still work outside of the USA. GoDaddy’s model seems to be “get them in at a cheap price and hit them up for high renewal prices over the ensuing years”.

At this stage, buying a cheap (e.g. a $2.95 domain from GoDaddy) is a false economy for any domain you think you will hold onto for more than a year.

If you’re in the USA, the discount coupons mean you can renew .com domains for a dollar or two less than at other registrars.

For .net and .org domains, wherever you live, you’re better registering those at a different domain registrar whose prices are significantly cheaper.

If you’re outside the USA, and you still want to use GoDaddy, I’d recommend registering cheap .com domains there, and then, when renewal time approaches, transfer them to another registrar whose renewal prices are (again significantly) cheaper.

Leaving domains long term at GoDaddy will just end up costing you money.

If enough customers follow this course of action, then maybe GoDaddy will re-evaluate their pricing model and make it more favorable for customers.

GoDaddy Retires Domain Renewal Coupons

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Filed under: Domain Flipping