Thursday , August 11 2022

Review FOA List Before Approval

When a domain name is listed for sale at Afternic and it is not registered at GoDaddy, the registrant needs to approve a Standardized Form of Authorization (FOA). This approval is necessary for a domain name to be listed and eligible for the Fast Transfer network.

These approvals are very important to review carefully. Once this link is clicked and approved, if a domain name is sold via Afternic, it will be immediately pulled from the registrant’s account. Even if you did not sell a domain name in your Afternic account, if you click the approval link, the domain name will be sold and will transfer.

When I list domain names for sale at Afternic, the Network Solutions email has an important notice (including the “thes” typo):

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: By clicking this link you are hereby giving authority for thes domains to be listed, sold and transacted on the afternic DLS network. This is equivalent to a standard transfer FOA (Form of Authority).

This morning, I received one of these emails to approve a listing on Afternic. I checked to ensure it wasn’t any sort of phishing attempt and then clicked through to the link. When I clicked the “View Domains” button, I was a bit surprised by the domain name that was listed. It was a domain name I won on NameJet on June 24th, and it was just provisioned to my Network Solutions account on June 29th. I did not recall listing it for sale on Afternic yet.

I logged in to my Afternic account to see if it is listed there, and it was not listed in my account. This confirmed that I did not list the domain name for sale but someone else did. A quick Afternic search showed that this domain name was listed with a $288 BIN price. I immediately emailed my Afternic account rep and asked him to delete the listing.

I believe this was an oversight and a former registrant listed it without realizing the domain name had been sold or expired. Someone else might have thought a third party listed it hoping I would approve the listing so it could be bought cheaply. While this is far-fetched because it is a cheap inventory-quality domain name I bought for $80, the possibility that someone could do this does exist.

It would be very easy for someone to become a bit numb to these emails and mindlessly click them and approve listings. This is particularly so for someone with a large portfolio who receives these emails every day. The upshot is that domain investors need to review their Standardized Form of Authorization (FOA) before clicking the approval button. You could be approving the sale of your domain name to someone else’s benefit.

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