GoDaddy Faces PR Nightmare Over Domain Suspension
Friday, January 26th, 2007
GoDaddy abrubtly suspends registration.
GoDaddy chief Bob Parsons is a big supporter of free speech. He’s also a big supporter of privacy as a way to do this by promoting domain whois privacy services.
That’s why the internet world was shocked today to learn that GoDaddy suspended a domain name, seclists.org, based on the content on that site. MySpace contacted GoDaddy to suspend the registration because the site had information about MySpace users including their usernames and passwords. GoDaddy complied.
See Seclists.org’s explanation of what happened here.
To make matters worse, GoDaddy general counsel Christine Jones responded by saying GoDaddy’s terms of service say the company “reserves the right to terminate your access to the services at any time, without notice, for any reason whatsoever”, according to the CNET article.
That attitude should make people think twice about registering domains with the company. I suspect that, although its in the terms and conditions, it’s not GoDaddy’s policy to terminate access to services for any reason.
What is a registrar’s role in enforcing the law? This is a topic of much debate. In July eNom came under pressure because one of its resellers registered a domain on behalf of a terrorist organization. Last year an organization tried to get a court order to force ICANN to suspend the registration of Spamhaus, an anti-spam site. Domain registars are also coming under fire to track registrations of typo domains that might be used for phishing attacks.
Generally speaking, a domain registrar supplies the domain but the content is hosted with the webhost. A webhost should be responsible for complying with requests to remove copyrighted content and remove sites that violate the law. In this case, MySpace probably contact GoDaddy because it’s a large company. Webhosts are often small and difficult to contact.
You can rest assured that Bob Parsons will blog about this issue. He has some explaining to do.