For a full overview of how Handshake auctions work, check out How to get a domain. This article covers specific aspects of bidding.
To bid on a domain, you'll need:
A domain that's either currently in auction, or eligible for auction but has no bids yet.
Handshake auctions are Vickrey-style auctions. A Vickrey auction is a type of sealed-bid auction. Bidders submit their bids without knowing the bids of the other people in the auction. The highest bidder wins, but the price paid is the second-highest bid. Learn more
When you place a bid, you're publicly locking up an amount of HNS until the auction has ended and bids have been revealed.
Lockup = Bid + Blind
Because these are Vickrey auctions and the amount you lockup is publicly visible, an optional blind can be used to mask your actual bid. Regardless of whether your win or lose the auction, the blind will be returned to you.
For example, if you want to bid 10 HNS for a name you truly want, but are concerned about potential competitors, you could add a 20 HNS blind. This lockup of 30 HNS (10 HNS bid + 20 HNS blind) would be publicly visible. If you win, you still wouldn't pay more than your bid of 10 HNS. The other 20 HNS would be returned to you.
After you've bid, you can't update it. This means you should bid the maximum you're willing to pay for a domain. You can also see the masked bid/lockup of other bidders, but this doesn't tell you what their are actual bids are.
When bidding ends, the reveal period begins. During this time all bidders reveal their bids (Namebase manages this for you). After the reveal period ends:
If you've won, you'll pay the second highest price. All extra HNS (unused bid amount + blind) will be returned to you. The domain will appear in your Namebase account and you can start to manage it.
If you've lost, everything you locked up will be returned to you.
What's the miner fee I see when I try to bid?
Miners ensure the integrity of the Handshake network. Every transaction (like bidding) they validate involves a small fee paid to them in HNS. 100% of the fee is paid to the miners. Miners are independent parties who are not associated with Namebase.
Can I bid 0 HNS on a domain?
No. You'll need to bid some amount of HNS.
When will I receive my lockup back?
Win or lose, you'll receive the HNS owed to you 10 days after the auction has ended.
Can I follow an auction even if I haven't bid yet?
Yup! Just add it to your watchlist.