GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain registrar, has filed almost 50 patent applications in recent years.
Yesterday I wrote about GoDaddy receiving a patent that covers many aspects of domain whois privacy. After digging a little further I discovered that the company must have recently hired a patent attorney — GoDaddy has almost 50 patent applications pending.
Like any company on a patent binge, some of the applications have merit and some don’t.
One interesting application will allow a registrar to communicate with a registrant electronically but without the use of e-mail. Application 20060031330 would allow GoDaddy to ping customer’s computers with alerts. This addresses the problem with registrants not receiving renewal notices due to spam filters and e-mail address changes. Software to do this already exists, but GoDaddy is applying it to the domain industry. I came up with another solution while writing this paragraph and it only costs $.39. It’s called snail mail.
Application 20050289084 would allow domain registrants with domain privacy to receive a secure socket layer certificate. I don’t know about you, but if a company won’t make its whois information public I certainly don’t want to buy anything from their e-commerce store.
Application 20050216288 streamlines the process of registering a domain name and trademarking the domain. GoDaddy offers a product like this.
Application 20050021588 seeks to patent a “turnkey” registrar reseller program. I admit that GoDaddy has a good reseller system, but this patent application might be a stretch. The application abstract reads:
“A reseller program may be used to increase the number of Customer desired domain names that are registered by a Registrar. There are two main embodiments of this reseller program. In the first embodiment, Resellers guide Customers to a Registrar web site through the use of advertisements, links in various web sites and/or links from search engines. The Registrar web site communicates directly with the Customer and registers the Customer desired domain names and compensates the Reseller for guiding the Customer to the Registrar web site. In the second embodiment, Resellers have their own reseller web sites that communicate directly with the Customers and communicate the desired domain names to the Registrar web site so the Registrar web site can register the Customer desired domain names. In this embodiment, the Customer may compensate the Reseller and the Reseller may compensate the Registrar for the services rendered.”
If I’m reading application 20040199620 correctly, GoDaddy wants to patent the domain transfer process. The first claim of that application reads:
“A system for transferring sponsorship of a domain name previously registered to a registrant from a First Registrar to a Second Registrar, comprising: A) a web site operated by a Second Registrar having fields for receiving a domain name, domain name transfer request and Customer information from a Customer; B) an internal database for storing the domain name, the Customer information and an associated status flag indicating the Customer wants to transfer sponsorship of the domain name from a First Registrar to the Second Registrar; C) a Verify WHOIS Service for verifying the Customer is the registrant of the domain name; D) an Agent Service for sending a transfer request to an authoritative Registry; and E) a Transfer Service for receiving a response from the Registry and updating the associated status flag for the domain name in the internal database to reflect the response from the Registry. ”
Application 20040199520 might cause concern as well. It’s titled “Method for checking the availability of a domain name.” GoDaddy is trying to patent certain aspects of domain registration to make it easier.
Although some of these applications may seem rediculous, GoDaddy has certainly been an innovative registrar that pushes the envelope. It’s reasonable for the company to be rewarded for its efforts…so long as it doesn’t cross the line.