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GoDaddy Allows Transfers After Whois Changes

GoDaddy complies with ICANN advisory for transferring domain names.

Last September I wrote that GoDaddy might have to end its controversial practice of denying transfers-out when a domain owner changes whois information in the preceding 60 days.

A few weeks ago ICANN finalized the advisory that I wrote about, and it seems to target GoDaddy specifically. The advisory basically says that registrars can’t deny transfer requests due to changes in whois information, as this would violate ICANN rules that require registrants to keep their data up-to-date. Furthermore, it specifically says registrars can’t make users “opt-in” to the lock when they change whois information (something that GoDaddy did).

I contacted GoDaddy earlier this month to see if it was complying with the advisory. Tim Ruiz, Go Daddy’s Vice President of Corporate Development & Policy, said in a statement “Go Daddy always has and will continue to comply with ICANN rules and regulations.”

Fair enough, but I decided to test it by changing my whois information for FileVirtualization.com and then transferring it to Moniker the next day. I’m happy to report that the transfer was successful.

Network Solutions is the only other major registrar I know that put 60 day locks on domains. The company has not responded to repeated requests for comment about this issue.

It’s worth noting that ICANN’s advisory lacks teeth. The only thing ICANN can do to stop a registrar from a practice like this is to take away its accreditation. This is a “nucleur option” and rarely practiced until it’s too late — and wouldn’t be used against the world’s biggest registrar unless the situation was dire. ICANN needs the power to levy fines against registrars who fail to comply.

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  1. Andrew says

    @ Rob – I’m with you. This has always bothered me and was one of the reasons I don’t do as much business with GoDaddy. If only they had done this in good faith before being mandated to do so.

  2. Andrew says

    @ Graham – haven’t test it but I’m sure it does.

    Also, last time I checked there is still a 60 day hold if you transfer a domain to another person’s account at Godaddy ( you can’t transfer for 60 days after receiving the domain in your account).

  3. Chris Nielsen says

    Godaddy could be so very good, yet they seem clueless about all the things that they do to turn people off. The hard selling of extras and add-ons, the extra services of questionable quality like there hosting. I guess it works with people that are easy to sell to but it just makes me feel like they don’t respect me.

    This is great news about the removing of the lock from changing Whois information, but I hope it also extends to when a domain is pushed to your account from a seller (account change). Most people are selling domains during the last month of registration and then you are stuck renewing it with them for a year before you can transfer it out. Rather than trying to lock people in they should be trying to figure out why people want to leave them. Duh?

    I think their customer service is really good for the most part, but that and the sales the have are about all that holds any interest for me. I have over 200 domains with them, purchases from others and $0.99 .infos on sale. All will be transfered out the first chance I get except for some .ws domains since at the moment you can’t transfer them.

  4. Andrew says

    @ Chris – maybe I’m giving too much credit here, but they must run some analytics and a/b split testing on their design to figure out what converts and what doesn’t. When I show up to their home page I see just a confused set of products and numbers. Maybe the general population falls right into the funnel, orders a bunch of add-ons like calendaring and hosting, and makes a bunch of money for them.

    Here’s a little hint if you don’t like all of the clutter…just go to GoDaddy.mobi.

  5. Jacktastic says

    Speaking of GoDaddy, controversy, and something they call Webmaster Appreciation Day…

    So much for Webmaster Appreciation Day. GoDaddy actually declared today, April 29th, the first annual Webmaster’s Appreciation Day – ahead of their “unscheduled network outtage.” GoDaddy was down, down, down today. So much for appreciation! Their whole network, DNS, Microsoft SQL Server farms, and everything else went DOWN for hours. But wait, it’s not over… Many, many businesses and individuals (Webmasters?) hosting their websites with GoDaddy were seriously out of luck – they too were off-line and unavailable. Pings timed out, n-maps failed, and FTP sessions failed authentications. Zillions of websites were simply unavailable… to take orders, serve support & information, and everything else we have come to take for granted – especially the Webmasters!

    The real question is: What will GoDaddy do for their customers now? Will they credit them money or services? Will they even publicly apologize?

    This is a huge opportunity for the world’s largest ICANN registrant and web hosting company to step up and make a difference. GoDaddy could choose to capitalize on this the right way. They could take advantage of the spotlight (they do like the spotlight re: SuperBowl Ads) and show what it means to appreciate a webmaster! Bob Parson’s is something of a legendary maverick, with his retired Marine Corp swagger. The next news cycle will tell. Comments and input in the blogspace will tell. Or… GoDaddy will simply say, “What outtage?”

  6. Andrew says

    @Jacktastic – Yikes! I hadn’t heard about that. But certainly ironic that it happens on “webmasters day”.

  7. Francois says

    Yesterday I tested to transfer a name from my GoDaddy account and the result is the same, NOTHING CHANGED, look the mail received today:

    ============================

    Dear Francois,

    The transfer of FOFY.COM from GoDaddy.com, Inc. 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 5/18/2008.

    If you believe that this domain name does not fit the situation described above, go to http://www.godaddy.com/gdshop/support.asp?prog_id=GoDaddy&isc=gdbb35 for assistance.

    Regards,
    Domain Services
    GoDaddy.com, Inc.

    ============================

  8. Andrew says

    @ Francois – has the name been in your account for greater than 60 days? If it’s considered a “new registration” then they can prevent transfer for 60 days. It’s changes to whois information that they can’t block for.

  9. Alex says

    Well, I just tried changing the whois information for one of my domains, and I got the

    “For security purposes I authorize the rejection of all transfer requests for all selected domain names for a period of 60 days from the date of this Registrant Name Change. I have read the Domain Name Change Registrant Agreement and agree to its terms for all selected domain names.”

    checkbox. I called GoDaddy and spoke to one of the supervisors – Gabe – who confirmed that the 60-day lockdown is still GoDaddy’s official policy.

    So now what, file a complaint with ICANN?

  10. Alex says

    Strange… I just tried again (after my sessiosn timed out while I was writing my last post), and I didn’t get the 60-day lockdown checkbox.

    Guess we’ll see if the transfer goes through.

  11. Cory L says

    They definately are not letting you do a transfer if you change the whois. if you try to update it you get
    For security purposes I authorize the rejection of all transfer requests for all selected domain names for a period of 60 days from the date of this Registrant Name Change. I have read the Domain Name Change Registrant Agreement and agree to its terms for all selected domain names.
    You must agree to the Domain Name Change Registrant Agreement.

    When you dont check the box nothing happens. Maybe if you email them they let you but from the interface they do not.

  12. Andrew says

    @ Cory L – I’ve noticed that lately. Have you tried to change other parts of the whois data (not the name)?

  13. Scott says

    GoDaddy is back to blocking transfers, if you update the WHOIS contact info. Our domain transfers were denied, with the excuse from GoDaddy “…may be the result of a pending or recently completed Change of Registered Name Holder.”

    This flies in the face of ICANN’s Advisory, which states “A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid basis for denying a transfer request.”

    This is insane.

  14. FED UP says

    They are still blocking transfers following changes in WHO IS information. I wanted to transfer 800 domains to a new LLC I formed and was told the entire portfolio would be locked down for 60 days if I changed the WHO IS information to reflect ownership of the domains by the new LLC.

  15. Mondy says

    I transfered some domains from 1 and 1 to GoDaddy on Friday and the went down.

    If I do an nslookup I get a message non-existent doamin.

    1 and 1 told me they remove the ns information of tranfered domains and that my domains will be down until the transfer is complete in 5-7 days.

    Isn’t this illegal and outrageous?
    I have 50 or more domains with them and i am going to move them all but this downtime is going to cost me bigtime.

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