GoDaddy accused of interfering with domain transfers

By Lee Kaelin on December 27, 2011, 2:00 PM

GoDaddy, the domain management and web hosting company suffered a rather bleak Christmas weekend after it became public news that the company was supporting SOPA. The company lost more than 37,000 domains in just a couple of days and that number has gone up further since then.

It all started when Republican congressman Lamar Smith released a full list of those supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last week. While media firms such as Time Warner, CBS, NBC and the like are no surprise, GoDaddy's addition to the list was, and consequently a huge public backlash ensued.

If that wasn't bad enough, GoDaddy is now being accused of attempting to deliberately delay the transfer process of domains being moved from its service. Namecheap, who saw an opportunity in clearly stating they were anti-SOPA whilst offering discounts to those wanting to move their domains, has reported that GoDaddy is returning incomplete WhoIs information to them during the transfer process.They also made it clear they would manually transfer domains if they had to, in light of GoDaddy's actions.

As many customers have recently complained of transfer issues, we suspect that this competitor is thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them. Specifically, GoDaddy appears to be returning incomplete WHOIS information to Namecheap, delaying the transfer process. This practice is against ICANN rules. We at Namecheap believe that this action speaks volumes about the impact that informed customers are having on GoDaddy’s business. It’s a shame that GoDaddy feels they have to block their (former) customers from voting with their dollars. We can only guess that at GoDaddy, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Rich Merdinger, Sr. Director of Product Development at GoDaddy responded to the blog post by saying the delay was a normal procedure designed to protect its clients from fraudulent activity.

Namecheap posted their accusations in a blog, but to the best our of knowledge, has yet to contact GoDaddy directly, which would be common practice for situations like this. Normally, the fellow registrar would make a request for us to remove the normal rate limiting block which is a standard practice used by GoDaddy, and many other registrars, to rate limit Whois queries to combat WhoIs abuse.

Because some registrars (and other data gathering, analyzing and reporting entities) have legitimate need for heavy port 43 access, we routinely grant requests for expanded access per an SOP we’ve had in place for many years. Should we make contact with Namecheap, and learn they need similar access, we would treat that request similarly.

As a side note, we have seen some nefarious activity this weekend which came from non-registrar sources. But, that is not unusual for a holiday weekend, nor would it cause legitimate requests to be rejected. Nevertheless, we have now proactively removed the rate limit for Namecheap, as a courtesy, but it is important to point out, there still may be back-end IP addresses affiliated with Namecheap of which we are unaware. For complete resolution, we should be talking to each other — an effort we are initiating since they have not done so themselves.

Namecheap responded with another statement saying they had tried to reach out and resolve the issue.

I understand that a number of publications have received a note from GoDaddy’s PR team saying that “to the best of [their] knowledge,” we hadn’t reached out. This is quite untrue as our upstream technicians had made attempts to reach out directly.

That said, it was known for almost a full 24 hours that we were blocked from having the transfers go through. In efforts to be fully transparent about the delays which were greatly upsetting to our customers, we posted this after reaching out to GoDaddy as we had no response.

We updated this post long before any publication came out with GoDaddy’s PR response to say that GoDaddy did confirm that they unblocked us. We wouldn’t have known that if there was no communication.

I can now confidently say that we’ve been able to process thousands of transfers since we were unblocked and should be up to speed by later tonight. We truly appreciate everyone’s patience and apologize for the delays that impacted our customers.

Meanwhile, domain registrar Hover contacted Neowin to say it hasn't experienced any issues with domain transfers, pointing at the possibility of eNom experiencing technical issues as a potential cause of the problems.

This would be a serious violation of [GoDaddy's] ICANN accreditation if it were the case. Namecheap is an eNom reseller and it may be possible that eNom is experiencing more general issues. I wonder if this is a more localized issue than Namecheaps might be aware of. We've seen a wild and consistent increase in transfer-in activity in the last week and its not showing any signs of slowing up. I'd be surprised if GoDaddy was taking punitive action, and of course, it almost goes without saying that not a day goes by when something in this business doesn't surprise me.

Despite at first suggesting their position would make no impact on its client portfolio, GoDaddy has since retracted its support of SOPA after bearing witness to a huge client exodus. Big household names such as Wikipedia confirming they are to move all their domains away from GoDaddy is not going to help the embattled firm rebuild its now tattered reputation as more people vote with their wallets and follow suit.




User Comments: 12

Got something to say? Post a comment
Clrabbit said:

I never liked godaddy so I have nothing to pull away from them, otherwise I would join in.

I just hope people don't get overly wrapped up in hating godaddy and forget to pass some of that boycotting action over to the other names on that list.

I see many a music label that needs some good boycotting and not just for their stance on SOPA.

Leeky Leeky said:

I have a couple of dot com domains with them, and I must admit I've been meaning to move them to LCN where I have all my other domains for a while now.

They don't make it easy though, I've transferred from other domain managers before and its been painless, but its like GoDaddy wants you to jump through a million hoops first. There email support is next to useless as well -- they're quite happy blaming everyone else than doing anything constructive. Least that is my experience of them in the dealings I have had with them.

Guest said:

of course they will interfere. Companies will stop at nothing to make money !!

Guest said:

Started the process of pulling my domains this morning

petert said:

@clrabbit is right. Let's face it - people boycott the godaddy because they can easy switch to the existing alternatives. How about the others that support the SOPA? Would you stop buying movies and music from them? Would you refuse to take your girlfriend to a nice movie just because its producer is supporting the SOPA? Would you refuse to take a treatment just because the medicine is produced by a SOPA suporting company? Here on the list I see also Elsevier - if you are from an university you would know that it is quite hard to boycott Elsevier without loosing access to an important scientifical database.

I think it is safe to assume that godaddy will be the only company that would suffer because of their support for SOPA. The rest of the companies suporting SOPA either they don't matter or they are too hard to boycott due to the fact that most of us cannot live without music or a good movie from time to time.

Guest said:

Actually we use GoDaddy; we have used them for years and have not had any real problems with them and I don't see us moving just because of the SOPA issue. The main reason we have used GoDaddy has been price related though their prices are not quite as good as they once were. Overall it's a decent service. Yes, they made a mistake with the way they handled the SOPA issue but that doesn't really change their service. BTW - I'm against SOPA however it has not passed yet and I don't need to make knee jerk reactions to every single news item, especially when I may not have all the facts yet.

Guest said:

shill shill shill

princeton princeton said:

Guest said:

Actually we use GoDaddy; we have used them for years and have not had any real problems with them and I don't see us moving just because of the SOPA issue. The main reason we have used GoDaddy has been price related though their prices are not quite as good as they once were. Overall it's a decent service. Yes, they made a mistake with the way they handled the SOPA issue but that doesn't really change their service. BTW - I'm against SOPA however it has not passed yet and I don't need to make knee jerk reactions to every single news item, especially when I may not have all the facts yet.

You're against SOPA but you're supporting companies that support SOPA. Then you try and pass off this nonsensical stance by saying that we "may not have all the facts yet". Oh yah sure thing man. Maybe GoDaddy was on the supporter list by accident or something, we just don't know the whole story. Keep telling yourself that.

Guest said:

I just transferred my domain away and it was fast and painless. At least that if not my experience with them...

Guest said:

good riddance

Guest said:

So what? Are you an *****? He was satisfied with the company and even though he didn't like SOPA its not such a big deal for him to go through the hassle to switch companies, besides I have namecheap, and its decent but I doubt its any better than godaddy. If i had goddaddy I wouldn't change either.

While this can cause problems and open up excuses for some people to intrude and try to get more control, most people that are against this are just cheap asses that are scared they won't be able to download games, movies and music and not face any consequences anymore, they only thing they know about sopa is that it wil try to stop pirating.

Guest said:

You might consider reading the following article...

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/toms-hardware-sopa-Stop-Onl
ne-Piracy-Act-PROTECT-IP-Senate,14393.html

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