GoDaddy Debacle

Posted on December 27, 2011 Under Life


Image via Soshable

I have mostly been watching the SOPA news from the sidelines the past few weeks– at least until the supporter list came out.

Not so surprisingly, GoDaddy was on there, and the internet went into an uproar. Next stop seemed like a complete domain name exodus. Grab your pitchfork.

Truthfully, I’ve wanted to bail since I watched the CEO slaughter and kill an elephant. Not long after that, there was another debacle. A billing error on my account caused me to loose a domain name (which I previously acquired for $1,000). It didn’t auto-renew, yet somehow everything else does (even when I try to turn off auto-renew).

And then, like a movie, of course they pulled their support of the bill, which is odd because they helped write it in the first place:

GoDaddy not only helped write #SOPA they are also exempt from it.

So they’re not for it, and they’re not against it. Perfect. I’m not one to get into the backstory much further. I had heard enough and I wanted to bail.

This was all a real bummer for me because I’ve done a lot of business with GoDaddy– so much so I have an inside guy there that helps me out with transfers and changes. But between slaughtering elephants, SOPA, and annoying Super Bowl commercials with boobed out models it seemed like it was time to take my business elsewhere.

It was actually a tweet from Ben Huh of icanhascheezburger that pushed me over the edge.  I love those damn cats, what can I say.

And that’s when the epic journey began.

I found this handy-dandy step by step guide to transfer domains out of GoDaddy.

NameCheap looked and felt like a fine place to land my domains. They had a pretty strong stance against SOPA and GoDaddy. I found a code (SOPASucks) that would give me a little bit of a break on the transfer costs. They didn’t accept .be domains, so I used for that.

I headed over to GoDaddy, unlocked all of my domains, batch downloaded the authorization codes and plopped them into the transfer spot.

I thought that was it, but then I started getting bizarre messages from GoDaddy, like:

Dear Josh Spear,The transfer of JOSHSPEAR.COM from Go Daddy to another registrar could not be completed for the following reason(s):

Express written objection to the transfer from the Transfer Contact. (e.g. – email, fax, paper document or other processes by which the Transfer Contact has expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in means).

The express written objection may be the result of a pending or recently completed Change of Registered Name Holder. This is an opt-in process during which the new Registered Name Holder agrees not to transfer for 60-days. This domain will be transferrable on 2/24/2012.

Perplexing. All of my other domain names came back with that response or something like that as well. I had read somewhere that if my WHOIS information wasn’t correct, I should update it. Turned out to be a terrible idea. I did update it, and changed the email– because the last time I registered a majority of those domains, the email was wrong. I also added a little more information to be sure I could be contacted if there was any problem.

It turns out had I not changed my WHOIS information I would not have received the email for the New Registration Agreement– an email they send to the WHOIS administrator and only the administrator.  And because I changed it, I did receive the email, but it was already too late.

I’m not a huge fan of leaving dozens of domain names ‘unlocked’ for long periods of time crossing my fingers all would work out.

I pinged NameCheap and chatted with a nice enough tech support person in their online chat for a few hours.

I made sure all my domain names had the privacy feature turned off. (I’ve since sent Domains By Proxy my companies EIN and a copy of my passport to get my login, because I didn’t remember my login, and the ‘forgot login’ box sends an email to a whois email that no longer exists. Vicious cycle.)

NameCheap refunded me and said try again. Oh, did I try again.

And then another alert came. My domain names were locked by GoDaddy for 60 days because of the Whois information change. Despite being told to make sure the info there was up to date!

I have zero pending transfers and I’ve now paid NameCheap, been refunded, and paid again.

As far as I can tell, the locking of domain names was part of the GoDaddy T&C’s I agreed to– not an ICANN rule. A call with a GoDaddy person confirms that. And even more peculiar is that apparently it was okay for me to change the contact email, but not anything else. And yes, I updated all the information. Whoops.

The saga continues.  They sure do make freedom of choice hard.