Richard Dynas started a thread on Namepros about his dissatisfaction with Afternic’s Fast Transfer.
Other posters pointed out that fast transfer does not = fast payment. While I always knew that, I think many forget that platforms take the risk of fraud and have to spend the time to make sure funds are good as best they can.
Joe Styler just posted and gave the history of Fast Transfer and addressed Richard’s concerns.
Fast Transfer means Fast Transfer not Fast Payment. Although it is typically faster payment with that then the slow transfer.
I can give you the complete history here for everyone since I was closely involved with the project about 5 years ago where we came up with that name. The problem we encountered was that there is no standard industry term for these types of sales. Many people (us included then) used the term premium to denote a fast transfer domain. But Premium means a lot of things depending on who you are and who is selling it. Many other companies adopted that term to be used for domains but that made it even more complex. So it could be a Premium Listing with GoDaddy, not related to anything Afternic, or a Premium domain from the registry reserve inventory, or a Premium name meaning a higher tier new GTLD or a myriad of other uses.
This was leading to a lot of confusion for customers and for our front line support and confused buyers. Hi I bought or I sold this Premium domain and I want to know the status, what should I expect. Well… not sure there’s a dozen or so types of premium domains which one are you talking about?
To keep it brief I will now move on to the Fast Transfer vs. Slow Transfer terms use. A Slow Transfer denotes what people typically think of as a transfer, unlocking the domain, corresponding with the new owner, giving them the auth code, etc.
Using Fast Transfer as a term vs. Premium is more helpful because it’s less easy to use in multiple ways, e.g. a registry reserve name or higher priced tier premium name is not going to transfer to you so Fast Transfer doesn’t work for that. What Fast transfer means on the Afternic side is that you opt in with your registrar in advance so that when the domain sells it moves automatically without any further action on your end, (in most cases). It specifically means it is part of the Afternic Premium Network vs the Standard Network, https://www.afternic.com/sell-domains. The big benefit of having a name as Fast Transfer is that it is in the Afternic Premium Network which is an expanded network of over 100 reseller sites (registrars, etc) vs 32 sites on the Standard Network. More eyeballs = more sales.
Also end user buyers have less to do on Fast Transfer, the name comes into their account with in most cases no additional work compared to a new registration which is what they are most familiar with, the name just shows up in their account.
The less friction we have in the process the higher the sell through rate for your domains. These are the big advantages of Fast Transfer and why we chose to call it Fast Transfer vs. Premium or making up a new term. We never mention anything about payment.
We are looking at ways to speed up payment, but we need to balance that with the needs of partners, fraud concerns, and also with keeping less friction in the process. The more friction the less sales commence. So we could use a third party to help mitigate fraud or help with the processes of the partner site the domain is sold on, but that introduces more friction which causes more sales to stall or not take place.
The end result is a mix, some sales are paid faster, some slower, and some never complete as people drop off at various points of friction, the more hoops to jump through the more chance someone will give up. We haven’t gotten 100% there but we have consistently over the years reduced the friction and added more partners to help improve the sell through rate for our customer’s domains.
We do pay faster on GoDaddy Auction sales, many times the day after the domain moves to the buyer. We could technically do this on Afternic, but I personally have pushed back on it until we continue to refine the auctions process and get a very good balance on customer experience, speed to payment, and fraud mitigation.
We are getting there and we have been making progress towards paying faster on Afternic. There are also some accounting and regulatory things we need to work within the constraints of when making payment changes.
We do not want to hold the money any longer than we have to, but there are many things that come into play. Some partners take longer to clear the funds for fraud than others, sometimes the fast transfer breaks, and sometimes we are concerned with fraud. It is relatively easy to get a domain back when there is fraud, but it is not as easy to get your money back once it is paid out.
So we pay you for a sale and three days later find out the guy who bought it hacked an account somewhere be it email or whatever logged into an third party account and bought your domain using a credit card on file and then the real card holder calls his bank and they reverse the charge.
We are out that money. It is a big benefit to using a marketplace like us, in that we take on the risk for the sales, but it also comes at a cost in some added time for payment.
We also continue to work on speeding up payments across the board. For example when I started in auctions a decade ago it was a 20 day payout window on any sale. That continues to improve over time to in many cases the next day now. Afternic was the same, we have redone the back end way transactions work in an effort to pay faster, we also just hired another person in that department that deals specifically with payment transactions to help make sure we are able to handle any manual things faster as they come up.
Sorry for the long explanation but it seemed that many people were confused. Which is kind of why we decided to use new terms vs Premium to differentiate what exactly we mean when we say Fast Transfer.