Auction rules for Buyers and Sellers

DomainLore Auctions

Welcome to the #1 .uk domain name auction platform.

DomainLore is the one and only auction site in the UK with the largest number of daily active users (buyers + sellers) and the highest number of domain auctions held on a regular basis.

Advertise your domain for sale through the auction to receive the widest possible exposure on the secondary .uk market, immediately attracting attention of the hundreds of domain name investors, marketers, advertisers, SEO professionals and ultimately - end users.

Platform concept: Free to buy, often free to sell

Less popular auction sites still seem to be getting away with charging sellers 15%-20% of the final sale price to merely let them sell their inventory in a public auction. Such fees are exorbitant and unwarranted.

DomainLore presents a new concept in domain name trading. The platform is completely free for the buyers and the sellers are able to run auctions on our platform by being subject to one of the two modest fee types:

- Premium domains approved for Spotlight section are subject to 5% selling fee (with no fees for sales below £100);

- Domains approved as 'Hidden Gems' can be sold for free. First, a small listing fee is charged, which is usually a £5. If your domain name receives a bid (after which it moves to Spotlight) and subsequently sells - we credit your listing fee back! And there is nothing else to pay, no sales fee. We encourage quality of the listings and this allows sellers with a good inventory to enjoy free listings and fee-free sales.

**Private and direct sales via this platform are subject to the same fee as Spotlight domains.

How it works in 1-2-3:

1. If your domain is approved for Spotlight, you make no payments upfront (unless you are setting a higher starting or a reserve price). For such auctions and for all 'Hidden Gems' domains we will hold a listing fee of 10% of the starting (or reserve*, whichever is greater) price as a reserved deposit on your account. Since minimum starting price is £50, the minimum listing fee is £5. (*there is no reserve fee for "hidden reserve" option, which is available to trusted sellers of the platform, conditions apply.)

2. If your domain name sells, every part of the listing fee is released back to your balance, so it can be re-used for starting new auctions or requested to be refunded to your original method of payment (minus 3% payment processors fees which they now keep for refunds). If your domain was approved for Spotlight you will receive an after-sales invoice for the sale fee calculated from the final selling amount.

3. The listing fee will be charged if your domain name does not sell or is not transferred to the buyer in the allowed time frame of 21 days (after which the transfer is deemed unsuccessful).

Read more about unsold domain fees

The auctions consist of two sections: “Spotlight Auctions” and “Hidden Gems”

Spotlight is a premium section with this eligibility criteria:
- generic, single dictionary words, popular keyword phrases with commercial appeal and 2-3 letter domain names.
- any domain which received advanced bids.
- any domain which received an opening bid from another customer.

"Hidden Gems" section eligibility criteria:
- meaningful, keyword-rich domain names.
- brandable domain names, acronyms.
- expired traffic domain names.

Kindly note that we do not accept famous people`s names, brand typos, most misspellings and obvious TM domains.

DomainLore is an eBay-like open marketplace where buyers and sellers deal with each other directly. We attempt to have a minimal interference in member's dealings.

Listing Domains for Auction

Once you list a domain name, you are accepting to be entering into a legally-binding contract with the highest bidder. You are obliged to sell your domain name at the highest bid price, with the Reserve Price auctions as the only exception. Also, you cannot sell that item to anybody else until the auction you started has ended. If the highest bid does not meet your reserve - you are under no obligation to sell. In all other cases, you are obliged to sell the domain name to highest bidder and transfer it within 7 days after the payment is received.
Once an auction has started, sellers can not change the starting bid, or reserve price amounts. Other auction properties can neither be changed.

Bidding on Domains

You must be a registered user to bid on domains. By bidding, you are stating that you are ready and willing to purchase that domain name for your bid amount, plus pay domain ownership transfer charges to Nominet (which is historically being paid by a buyer) and Escrow fees if you believe you must use that service. If you are outbid, or your bid does not meet the seller's reserve price, you are under no obligation to buy. But in all other cases, you are entering a contract with the seller to buy the domain name and to deliver payment within the time period specified. If you can't pay, on time, don't bid! All your bids are final and non-retractable. You are entering into a legally-binding agreement to purchase the domain name for the monetary amount equal to your bid amount should you become a winning bidder.

VAT and auction payment fees

All domain prices listed on DomainLore auctions are gross (i.e. - VAT inclusive). This helps making bidding fair for everyone (whether VAT registered or not) and results in more transparent what you see is what you pay prices. The final bid price is the price the buyer pays irrespective of whether the sale includes VAT or not. If the seller is VAT registered and the buyer pays VAT, the bid price is considered gross and the bid price must include VAT, not be added to it. If the seller is not VAT registered or the buyer is not required to pay VAT, the buyer pays the full bid price and the sale contains no VAT.
If you are a VAT registered seller please ensure that your desired auction starting price takes VAT inclusion into the account.

When sending payments to sellers, buyers do not pay bank or Paypal fees. Paypal recipient (seller) fees should not be requested from the buyer.
When sending payments to sellers who do not accept payments via bank transfer and/or Paypal and only offer 'EU/international wire' payment option, it is a responsibility of the buyer to cover wire transfer fees, so the seller receives the exact amount the domain name was sold for.

Reserve Price auctions

Sellers may choose to set a Reserve Price that is above the minimum starting bid. Bidders can see if an auction has a reserve price, and whether it has been met or not. (This is indicated above the bids display table). The actual amount of the reserve price is not shown to bidders, until it has been met or surpassed. The seller is not obliged to sell if the reserve was not met, nor is the high bidder obligated to purchase. If the high bid meets the reserve price, then both parties are obliged to carry out the transaction.

Hidden Reserve Price auctions

This option is available to "Trusted Sellers". Hidden Reserve Price is different from Reserve Price auctions in that it is not known until the very end of the auction, if the reserve price was met by the highest bidder. To ensure that neither the seller nor the auction platform can adjust the reserve price after it was set at the start of the auction, "Hidden Reserve" price is protected by a cryptographic hash, which is published on the auction page from the beginning of the auction. When auction ends, a secret string which contains initially-set reserve price is revelaed, so that it can be matched back to the displayed hash. Read more on this innovative auction option in this blog post.

There is no "reserve price" fee of 10% for "Hidden Reserve" auctions if reserve price is not higher than £500 for standard domains and £3000 for domains accepted as 'Premium'.


Normally, an auction closes at the scheduled time as displayed within the listing. However, if there are successful bids entered within the last 10 minutes of the closing time, then the auction will go into overtime. The auction is extended until there are no further bids for a continuous period of 10 minutes. This is similar to an auctioneer continuing to take bids until there is no further interest. For example, if a new bid comes in with 4 minutes left in the auction, then there will be 6 minutes of overtime, unless more bids come in. It is possible for auction to be extended continuously, but the longest overtime normally wouldn't be more than 20-30 minutes.

Overtime helps dissuade "snipers" or last second bidders. For example, you may have spent considerable time achieving your high bid status at an auction. Without overtime, someone could time their bid entry to within a few seconds of the closing, leaving you without enough time to notice the bid and enter one in response. This is a common practice at online auctions, and unfair because you would not know that this person is waiting to pounce on you. At a live physical auction, at least you can see your competition, and the auctioneer will continue with the auction to give you a chance to respond. This is precisely why DomainLore employs an overtime system at our auctions. We have found that 10 minutes is enough time to receive an outbid email from our system, log in to our site, and place a bid.

So what's the best strategy? If you have the time and enjoy hanging out at online auctions, then wait until the last few minutes of an auction to bid. Your competition will have 10 minutes to respond, but maybe they are not available. On the other hand, if you do not have the time to attend the closing of an auction, then use the Proxy Bidding method. Together, these two features save you considerable time online, while still protecting your chances of winning auctions.

What to do after the Auction

The DomainLore system will send notifications to both the highest bidder and the seller after the end of a successful auction. Both the buyer and seller are expected to contact each other via email, within 3 days after the end of the auction. (Email addresses can be found in the notifications e-mailed to each party at the end of the auction or looked up via 'My account - My auctions' section). After email contact, you might wish to exchange phone numbers to speed up communications. If repeated emails go unanswered by either party, after 14 days of the auction end a deadline warning is sent to both parties and contact phone number will be revealed under "My account -> My auctions" section of the website. Please use this number to reach the other party if online communication is not working.

Once contact has begun, the payment arrangements, domain transfer arrangements, and expected dates should be settled upon. The goal is to complete the transaction within 7 days of auction closing. This may vary a little, depending on payment type, how long to wait to clear, when Escrow is used, etc. Basically, the specific dates should be worked out between the buyer and seller, and each party should follow through with their part of the schedule. You might need to exchange several emails or phone contacts, updating the other party with every step. However, if after 14 days the transaction is not successfully closed and the domain name is not transferred, our system will issue a final reminder to the buyer and to the seller. The purchase will be deemed failed and is marked as not completed if there is no further action after 7 days of the final reminder (Note: This does not relieve from legally binding contractual obligations between the seller and the buyer). The system is not able to determine at whose fault the sale has failed, but it presumes a buyer's fault. This will negatively affect buyer's competence score, however seller might also incur a small penalty. For sellers this will not affect their overall competence level in a significant way. The situation for the buyer is different as it could be a 'one strike and out' rule. We will not tolerate non-paying / non-responding buyers on DomainLore.

DomainLore Membership / Competence Level / Trusted Seller

DomainLore Membership is limited to one account per person, business or a household. Your membership will be terminated if you register more than one account.

Every verified member starts with CL = 2. The competence level increases with every successful purchase by 1 point and decreases by 2 points for buyer in a failed transaction and by 1 point for seller. When the CL reaches zero, the member can not place any more bids, unless competence can be increased. If CL falls below zero, the member becomes permanently banned from using DomainLore Auctions.
New members who have not yet received a good competence level may have some restrictions imposed on their bidding activities until they prove to be trusted members.

Seller with CL >= 20 and with 15 or more completed sales becomes a 'Trusted Seller'. This adds a 'trusted' badge to his auction pages. Trusted sellers do not receive CL penalty for failed sales of their domain names.

£1,000 Guarantee When Buying from Trusted Sellers

DomainLore offers a guarantee that you will not lose money when dealing directly with a Trusted Seller.

DomainLore shall reimburse you for any loss up to £1,000 if you entered into a genuine direct transaction with the Trusted Seller and never received purchased domain name (or your money back).

As confident in our "Trusted sellers" as we are, we'd only recommend using Escrow services for higher amounts (such as £4,000 and over). We shall revisit these guidelines upon a single occurence of anyone losing money when trading on DomainLore.

Fees for unsold domain names and final sale fees

Seller is charged a listing fee of 10% of the starting or reserve price (whichever is greater) in case the auction finishes without bids OR the domain doesn't sell(*see note below). There is no listing fee when the domain name is approved for the 'Spotlight' section listing and starting price is £50 (minimal starting price) and there is no reserve price. There is a 5% final sale fee on premium domains approved for 'Spotlight' payable after successful sale for sales amounting £100 and above.
Sellers are requested to top up their account so there is enough funds available for the listing fee deposit. Top ups are currently processed via Paypal and funds can be paid from Paypal balance, Visa/MasterCard/etc.. credit cards or a bank transfer.
If the domain name is sold, the listing fee is automatically released back to the account balance. Seller can request any unused topped up amounts to be refunded or keep it and use for seller`s next auctions. PayPal transaction top-ups can be refunded for up to 90 days after the original transaction date. This is Paypal's restriction to process refunds.

Please note that the domain is considered sold only after the ownership (registrant) transfer. (It is not enough to push domain within certain registrar). Listing fee will be charged if the domain registrant hasn't changed within 21 days of the auction end and/or transaction was deemed unsuccessful. Please also note that members caught bidding on their own domain names will be banned immediatelly and without warning, with all their paid fees forfeited and their names and criminal activity exposed to the public.

Resolving disputes

DomainLore members are expected to conduct business with the honor system in mind. All members in good standing have shown their integrity by registering, and following through with any commitments they have made. But we are all human, and mistakes and miscommunication can lead to disputes. If you find yourself in a situation where you and another member are at a disagreement, contact us. While we cannot promise a satisfactory resolution, we will try to contact both parties and help mediate the situation. Any illegal activities, violation of a contract, or outright statements of falsehood should be reported to us immediately. The DomainLore staff will cooperate with any law enforcement agencies if needed, and will at the least terminate the offender's membership.
With our long experience in the industry, we have found that most UK domainers are honest, and trustworthy people. We are extremely confident that members of the DomainLore Auctions will behave in an honest manner, and be able to resolve any minor differences by themselves.

Account / Membership Termination

DomainLore membership can be terminated for any breach of the DomainLore Rules and/or based on the DomainLore sole decision for any reason and without further explanation. In a case of termination, member loses the ability to request refunds of any unused or released fees and will have any funds remaining on the account balance forfeited.

Terms of Use

By using this website (“Site”), registering for a DomainLore Account (“Account”) or using any other DomainLore Services, you ("you, your, or yourself") are agreeing to accept and comply with the terms and conditions of use stated above ("Terms of Use" or "Auction/Platform Rules"). You should read the entire Terms of Use carefully before using this Site or any of the DomainLore Services.

As used in this Terms of Use, “DomainLore" refers to the company DomainLore LLC registered with the State of Delaware under state number 5972382 and with registered office at 16192 Coastal Highway, Lewes, Delaware 19958, USA, its owners, directors, investors, employees. Depending upon the context, "DomainLore" may also refer to the services, products, website, content or other materials (collectively "DomainLore Services") provided by DomainLore.

You can use DomainLore nameservers (, free of charge to route traffic from your domain name to the auction page helping attract potential bidders. If you keep using DomainLore nameservers for 20 days after the auction end (or 20 days after domain name purchase if you are a Buyer), traffic from your domain name might be redirected to a holding or parking page where keyword-related or unrelated ads may be served. You agree that DomainLore will not be liable for any claims for damages and liability, warnings, injunctive relief of third parties, and other claims as well as any related costs and expenses caused by member`s use of DomainLore nameservers after the auction end.


Revision 1.17, 6-Jun-2024