BNPL vs. payment plans for buying domain names

Graphic with black background and white letters that say "buy now pay later"

Over the weekend, Elliot Silver wrote about plans for domain payment plans at GoDaddy. GoDaddy recently began offering Klarna, a so-called Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service, as a payment option for some services. Paul Nicks, President of Domains at the company, said payment plans are coming to its aftermarket platform.

To date, payment plan options at domain name marketplaces have been non-recourse. If a buyer stops paying, they lose the domain name but don’t owe the rest of the payments. If GoDaddy were to accept a BNPL platform for domains (and it might not; it might just do payment plans like the other platforms), that would be a very interesting development.

BNPL platforms pay the merchant the total amount whether or not the buyer makes all of their payments or not. It’s a financing deal for which the BNPL providers take a cut above and beyond typical credit card fees.

It makes me wonder what the goal is of the typical domain buyer who pays over time:

  1. They want to buy the domain outright but don’t have all the funds, so they pay over time.
  2. They want to get an “option” on the domain, so they choose a payment plan to secure the domain but with the option to back out if they decide they don’t want it later.

Buyers in category #1 could benefit from BNPL. Buyers in category two would prefer the non-recourse payment plans offered by many marketplaces today.

It will also be interesting to see if GoDaddy adds BNPL to aftermarket auctions. Last year, Dynadot became the first expired domain platform to offer payment plans.

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