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Exposing the Many Reasons Not to Trust GoDaddy with Your Domain Names

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The best place to discuss your horror stories, alternative registrars, GoDaddy news, etc. is at our NoDaddy Forums (Forums.NoDaddy.Com). Remember to stay level-headed and professional in the forums! A reasoned argument is far more persuasive than an obscenity-laden tirade, even when GoDaddy really deserves the latter.

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Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 20:13:39 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 19:30:48 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 17:31:31 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 16:43:04 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 16:29:37 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 16:16:36 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 14:03:26 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 06:20:22 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 05:24:39 GMT
Re: Employee Class Action: Employees et al. v Godaddy et al.NewsMon, 27 Jun 2011 00:57:28 GMT


Introduction

Many people don't think much about choosing a registrar, and simply pick one they have heard of. This often leads them to GoDaddy, who may be the leader in money spent on marketing and advertising (on the Super Bowl and elsewhere). Unfortunately GoDaddy doesn't seem to focus much on stability, security, or customer service. Instead that have devised innovative ways to overcharge customers and thwart customer attempts to transfer to superior registrars.

This site was created by Gordon Lyon (AKA Fyodor) after GoDaddy intentionally shut down one of my most important sites (SecLists.Org) without even giving me a reason. When GoDaddy noticed their blunder and reporters started calling them on it, they resorted to libeling me. A wired reporter even caught them in a lie as their General Counsel Christine Jones contradicted herself in a single interview. Since this site isn't just about my story, I've moved the full details here.

I created this site to document instances of customer abuse at GoDaddy. The goal is for GoDaddy to either improve their policies and customer service, or suffer continued loss of market share to their customer-focused competition.

While I gave this site its bare skeleton, it has become a community effort. As noted in the acknowledgments section, the site logo, some HTML work, the forums, and legal help have all been donated by volunteers. Even this domain name itself was donated by someone with his own horror stories about GoDaddy!

GoDaddy Horror Stories, Issues, Problems and General Complaints

This section describes some of the most serious problems with the GoDaddy service (news reports and first-hand accounts):

GoDaddy suspends accounts without due cause. They often even levy an arbitrary "fines" and hold your domain name ransom until you pay it. GoDaddy stores your credit card number when you make a purchase, allowing them to levy "fines" without your consent (example1, example2, example3).

For example, when Nick Berlette exposed a serious security hole in the website of DynaDot.Com, they apparently responded by persuading GoDaddy to shut down his blog rather than fixing their pathetic security [agiorlando.com]. GoDaddy of course complied immediately, and sent him this shutdown notice. Note that GoDaddy used the ransom approach here, saying he had two options: Pay a "$199 non-refundable reactivation fee" and GD will put his web site back up, or "if you choose to transfer the berlettefx.com domain name to another registrar, we first require that you pay a $75 administration fee ... to cover the costs of responding to or "cleaning up" the situation caused by your web site.

The author of this web page had a similar experience.

GoDaddy loses customer domains. Tim Ziegler learned this the hard way. He founded the site FamilyAlbum.com. Someone filed a complaint that his whois data was invalid. GoDaddy responded by sending him an email asking him to confirm or correct his whois registration data. When he didn't respond in time, GoDaddy took the extraordinary step of deleting the domain name he had paid for and selling it to someone (possibly the same guy who filed the whois complaint) who had already placed a backorder on FamilyAlbum.Com. GoDaddy refused to return the domain name to its rightful owner. There is a good writeup at Domain Name Wire, along with a GoDaddy response where they disclaim responsibility. DomainNameWire also asked other registrars what they would have done. None of them had the GoDaddy policy of "send an email then delete the domain if no response comes in time". If you hold domains at GoDaddy, you better not go on any extended vacations, suffer hospitalization, or use a spam filter which might drop that critical email!

GoDaddy uses dirty tricks to block domain name transfers. If you make the mistake of becoming a GoDaddy customer, you may find it difficult to leave. ICANN is supposed to regulate registrars to ensure competition, but GoDaddy is constantly pushing the boundaries. For example, this section just discussed how GoDaddy may delete your domain if you don't keep your whois information up-to-date. But whenever you update the information, a checkbox pops up saying "For security purposes I authorize the rejection of all transfer requests for all selected domain names for a period of 60 days...". If you don't check that box, GoDaddy won't let you update your contact information. And if you do check the box, GoDaddy refuses to let you transfer the domain because they claim you "expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in means" to the transfer. There is a thread about this on NoDaddy forums. GoDaddy imposes the 60-day transfer embargo in other cases too, such as when you transfer a domain name between accounts. If they make you wait long enough, you may have to renew the domain name so it doesn't expire. Renewals cause another 60-day transfer embargo.

GoDaddy knows they are violating ICANN rules with the whois-change-embargo, and will back down if they believe you will file an ICANN complaint. Detailed instructions for what to say have been posted at the forums.

GoDaddy charges extra for a privacy service, then gives up your contact information to anyone who threatens to sue. In News.Com's Private domains not so private?, Alan Cordle pays extra for GoDaddy's privacy service on his poetry contest review site (Foetry.Com), then is outed by GoDaddy at the first sign of trouble.

Want to read more horror stories or post one of your own? Check out the NoDaddy forums!

NoDaddy Girls and Comic strips

Nothing hurts GoDaddy worse than biting satire! Plus, everyone needs a good laugh. We're hoping you'll submit your own creative work mocking GoDaddy. Here are some ideas: