GoDaddy Responds to Deletion Over Invalid Email Address

GoDaddy’s Director of Domain Services explains its actions in the case of

Yesterday I reported about how GoDaddy deleted the domain registration for a domain due to invalid Whois information. This invalid information was limited to the e-mail address used; the phone number and mailing address was correct. Today, GoDaddy Director of Domain Services Camille Ede responded to a number of my questions concerning the actions it took.

1) What is your procedure for handling invalid whois complaints?

“Our standard procedure is to send an email message to the current Whois contacts as well as the customer email address.”

2) Why was this domain removed from the original owner?

“We cancelled the domain name registration on this domain name because the customer did not respond to our email request to update the information. In fact, we did not hear from the customer for more than eight weeks after our initial contact attempt. Per ICANN regulations, we are required to collect valid information. Per our Registration Agreement, we will cancel the name for invalid Whois if the information is not updated within the appropriate amount of time.”

3) Did Go Daddy earn income from this changing of hands?

“The person who registered the name after it was cancelled paid the standard costs associated with this type of transaction to register the domain name – if and when the name was canceled.”

I sent a follow up question to GoDaddy to clarify the last answer. I’m curious what “this type of transaction” refers to. Was it a backorder? Can someone order a backorder, challenge the Whois, and then get the domain if the e-mail address is indeed invalid?

I’ve talked to a number of other registrars over the past 24 hours to ask what they would do in a similar situation. I’m still compiling the responses, but all said they wouldn’t cancel the domain registration. In fact, one registrar even went to court to not have to cancel a registration with invalid Whois information.

It would seem to me that a registrar would at least extend the courtesy of a phone call or postcard. Or rather than deleting the domain at least put it in suspension status until the owner contacted the registrar. In this case the domain owner logged into his account. A warning or suspension message could have popped up.

Many of you have commented about this on the previous post. I invite you to comment here on GoDaddy’s response. I’ll post more information about other registrars’ responses in the next couple days.

UPDATE 2/28/07: Here’s an update from the (former) owner of GoDaddy has offered to get the name back for him if he indemnifies GoDaddy from legal action by the new registrant.

UPDATE #2 2/28/07: I just heard from GoDaddy that the cost the new owner paid for the domain was $18.99. This is the price of a backorder, not a regular registration. Perhaps this is how it worked: Person tries e-mailing domain owner with Whois information and e-mail bounces. Person backorders domain and then sends complaint to GoDaddy. GoDaddy tries to contact only via e-mail, which bounces. Domain is cancelled and given to person with backorder.

TrafficClub Loses DomainSponsor, Google

Domain parking optimization service cuts relationship with two large parking companies.

TrafficClub, the domain name parking service I use for most of my domains, has dropped support for DomainSponsor and Google Adsense for Domains. That means that all of my domains are now being routed to Skenzo. This removes the main benefit of TrafficClub, which is having your domains auto-optimized across a number of different platforms. However, TrafficClub is providing access to Skenzo; a network with I would otherwise not have enough traffic to qualify for. In the days since this change, a number of my low traffic domains are performing better due to Skenzo but some of my high performing domains are doing poorly.

TrafficClub blames the change due to partners’ rules:

Due to changes occurring within the monetization industry, several Pay Per Click partners are changing their rules and guidelines and therefore are no longer a fit for our network. We continue to work closely with our highest performing partners, and have temporarily redirected your account(s) through one feed. As you know, we’re committed to making sure your revenue remains high throughout this transition process. As a result of this shift, you may even see an increase in revenue.

We are currently developing alternate solutions and will update you as new partners and products become available. Moniker will continue to work to bring you targeted advertising, increased value and the best monetization options available.

About the same time TrafficClub made this announcement I received several messages from DomainSponsor offering to establish a direct relationship. I’m not sure if this is related, but the timing and the fact that the e-mails were sent to the Whois address for some of my top peforming domains is probably not coincidence.

DomainSponsor recently changed its affiliate program. The program used to pay a percentage of earnings for the life of the account; now it pays a standard amount for 6 months and then a lower rate after that. TrafficClub used to advertise that its fee for putting domains on DomainSponsor was only the ‘standard affiliate payment’. Perhaps this change by DomainSponsor prompted the move by TrafficClub. I have been unable to verify any of this with Moniker/DomainSystems, the company that runs TrafficClub (they are busy preparing for next week’s domain auction).

GoDaddy Deletes Domain Name for Inaccurate Email Address

Owner of finds his domain was re-registered by another GoDaddy customer.

The (previous) owner of was surprised to find that he no longer owned the domain, which had not expired. He contacted GoDaddy to task what happened and received the following response:

Dear Tim,

On 12/19/2006 we received a third party complaint of invalid domain contact information in the Whois database for this domain. Whenever we receive a complaint, we are required by ICANN regulations to initiate an investigation as to whether the contact data displaying in the Whois database is valid data or not. If we find that there is invalid or missing data, we contact both the registrant and the account holder and inform them to update the information.

The contact information for the domain which displayed in the Whois database was indeed invalid. On 12/19/2006 we sent a notice to you at the admin/tech contact email address and the account email address informing you of invalid data in breach of the domain registration agreement and advising you to update the information or risk cancellation of the domain. The contact information was not updated within the specified period of time and we canceled the domain. The domain has subsequently been purchased by another party. You will need to contact them for any further inquiries regarding the domain.

If you find any invalid contact information for this domain, please respond to this email with evidence of the specific contact information you have found to be invalid on the Whois record for the domain name. Examples would be a bounced email or returned postal mail. If you have a bounced email, please attach or forward with your reply or in the case of returned postal mail, scan the returned letter and attach to your email reply or please send it to:

Attn: Domain Services
14455 N Hayden Rd
Suite 219
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Thank you,
Domain Services


I was surprised that GoDaddy took this action without contacting the customer by phone or postal mail. To be clear, it is an ICANN requirement that Whois data be accurate. I am constantly frustrated by inaccurate Whois information and certainly think this goal is admirable. Few registrars do anything about it and often let people register domains with bogus phone numbers such as 555-555-1234 or email addresses such as

It is fair for a domain registration to be revoked for incorrect information, but what should the registrar do to verify the Whois information? Is sending an email enough? People frequently change email addresses and updating Whois is probably not high on their priority list (at least for non-savvy domain owners). If the phone number of postal address are correct, should the registrar still delete the registration?

Domain names are valuable. I think it’s reasonable to expect that the registrar will try to contact the domain owner by phone or postal mail at a minimum, assuming the contact information isn’t clearly bogus. The message from GoDaddy to the customer seems to indicate that they only tried e-mailing him.

Another concern is who now owns the domain. Whois shows GoDaddy’s Whois protection service. But did a third party actually buy this domain, or does GoDaddy actually own it now? It’s impossible to prove, but it appears that GoDaddy might be holding the domain. The domain currently resolves to a GoDaddy parking page. If someone else registered the domain they would likely move it to a parking service that generated revenue for the registrant, not GoDaddy. (Of course, it’s possible that the new owner simply hasn’t changed the DNS yet).

Either way, this should be a warning to all GoDaddy customers. Personally, I would expect my registrar to do more than contact me via e-mail about an issue as important as this. Over the next week I’m going to contact various registrars to ask them what they would do in this same case (similar to what CNET did over the fiasco). Look for their responses soon.

UPDATE 2/28/07 – GoDaddy Responds

Governor Eliot Spitzer Goes After EliotSpitzer.Com

Former Attorney General, known for going after Wall Street, is now making a challenge for his name.

Wall Street learned not to mess with Eliot Spitzer when he was attorney general (he is know governor of New York). An entrepreneur in New Jersey is about to learn about the wrath of Spitzer.

Rogers Cadenhead, who recently won a UDRP decision for his domain name, dug up dirt about this case.

The respondent is Eric Keller, a New Jersey online candy retailer who registered them in 2001. Cadenhead researched the history of the domain (and a variant also involved in the dispute) on and discovered that Keller previously forwarded it to his online candy store. It now leads to a parked page that does not generate revenue for Keller (but does generate revenue for domain registrar GoDaddy). The parked page shows ads for attorneys, criminal background checks, and “Attorney General”.

It turns out Keller has a shady past and was indicted by the Department of Justice on 10 counts of mail fraud.

Keller’s history aside, this is a case whereby what is done with the domain is much more important than the domain itself. Since Spitzer is a politician, Keller could have registered and used the domain if it was for a critical (or supportive) site about Spitzer. However, Keller clearly used this domain to redirect traffic to his unrelated commercial enterprise.

My guess is Keller never responds to the UDRP. He faces up to 200 years in jail for his mail fraud counts and has more important things to worry about.

GoDaddy Launches Discount Club

Domain Registrar GoDaddy launches discount membership club.

The world’s largest domain name registrar, GoDaddy, has launched a membership club called Discount Domain Club that offers reduced pricing. The club costs $89.95 per year and provides a number of discounted services. The fee might make sense for you if you are a GoDaddy customer who owns many domain names, or someone trying to consolidate domains that would prefer the security of GoDaddy compared to, say, RegisterFly.

The discounts include:

-Cheap domain registration. .Com domains are only $6.74, .net and .org $7.24 including ICANN fee. Discounts apply to other extensions as well. The .com price is about $.25 less than Moniker’s best pricing on .coms, but is more expensive on the other extensions. It baffles me that .net pricing is more than .com since .com has a higher wholesale price. When wholesale .com and .net prices increase later this year you might see these discounted prices go up as well.

-80% payout level in GoDaddy’s CashParking program.

-Free membership to TDNAM and discounts on listing fees.

-Discounted domain buying service. (If you are a sophisticated domain investor with a lot of domains I doubt you would actually use GoDaddy’s domain buying service.)

If you own a lot of .com domains that are already at GoDaddy, then this discount offer might make sense for you.