ICANN advisory would clarify the circumstances when a registrar can deny a domain name transfer request.
Many people who have tried to transfer a domain name from GoDaddy to another registrar have faced a hurdle. If they’ve changed their whois information within the past 60 days, GoDaddy will deny the transfer for “security reasons”. Only one other major registrar, Network Solutions, has been known to do this.
But the practice may come to an end thanks to an ICANN advisory. I actually mentioned this problem to Vint Cerf, Chair of ICANN’s Board of Directors, at a Domain Roundtable conference two years ago. He was surprised to hear about GoDaddy’s policy.
The new ICANN advisory, which is in its public comment period for the next 30 days, states:
1. Registrars are prohibited from denying a domain name transfer request based on non-payment of fees for pending or future registration periods during the Auto-Renew Grace Period
2. A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid basis for denying a transfer request.
The latter specifically targets user and other registrar’s frustration with GoDaddy. In practice, you can push a transfer out of GoDaddy if you take the time to complain to the Office of the President. But GoDaddy’s customer service reps frequently site “ICANN policy” for denying the transfers, which simply isn’t true.
Rather than write this in my own words, below is a post from a small registrar, Tiger Technologies LLC, about this practice (from ICANN’s public comment forum):
I applaud this action from ICANN. Over the last year, many legitimate registrants have been unable to transfer their domain names to us because GoDaddy (and more recently Network Solutions) denied transfers on this arbitrary basis.
GoDaddy claims that their policy is necessary for security reasons, but that claim is specious. As a smaller registrar that focuses on customer service, we pursued every one of these cases on behalf of our customers, and not one of the transfers was fraudulent.
In fact, GoDaddy eventually agreed to release most of these domain names to us after we complained. But we shouldn’t have to argue with GoDaddy to get a legitimate transfer completed: it’s cost us many uncompensated hours of our time, and we’ve seen transfers delayed for days or weeks even in cases where we’ve been able to help the registrant. In some cases, legitimate registrants gave up on the transfer and renewed with
GoDaddy against their will because we couldn’t resolve it before the domain name expired. This kind of nonsense is *exactly* what the transfer policy was designed to stop…
…In short, the additional transfer restrictions imposed by some registrars are not justified. The harm these restrictions do to legitimate registrants far outweighs the rare security benefits.
Robert Mathews, Tiger Technologies