Standard Tactics and 60-day lock discussed on Radio Go Daddy.
I just concluded my interview with Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons on his internet radio show. It is available for on demand listening RadioGoDaddy.com.
Perhaps the biggest news that came out of the interview is that GoDaddy is effectively shutting down Standard Tactics. Parsons said it had about 33,000 domains in the subsidiary and 8,000 that made most of the money. This is lower than I privately estimated based on the company having 500 or so .us domains alone (that weren’t covered by domain privacy). Regardless, it’s good to hear that Go Daddy is closing this down. Parsons said all of the names are being added to TDNAM with a $10 starting bid.
We also discussed the 60 day transfer lock that Go Daddy places on domains when you change your whois information. Go Daddy General Counsel Christine Jones said this is in place to stop domain theft. While domain theft is certainly a big problem, domains are usually hijacked by compromised e-mail addresses, not whois registrant name changes. Go Daddy will have to change this practice soon because ICANN’s board recently approved a ban on this practice that had been working its way through committee.
One area that I hope Go Daddy reconsiders is trademarked domain names that are sold on TDNAM. Many of these are expired domains. I don’t know how unreasonable it is to have someone monitoring them for obvious trademarks. You won’t eliminate 100%, but surely someone who sees NHLCenterIce.com, Comcastg.net, and Sirius1.info would realize these are trademarks. (All of these domains were in expired domain auctions as of last Friday.) Unfortunately, a technology that Go Daddy filed a patent for last year that would resolve this problem is just an idea at this point, not a working product.
What a dirty dog…
He was hating on all the tasters while he himself was a taster…
@ WQ – it was essentially domain tasting. It was just limited to domains at GoDaddy rather than domains at large.
Good work. “Research”. uh-huh. right. I would have liked to have known what research they were doing exactly . . . I mean what exactly were they researching? and what conclusions did they reach? Seems that they really wouldn’t need to research ppc . They’ve been doing parking long enough to know what their customers domains make, what 404 error landing pages they monetize make, etc etc. Research is what you say when you are caught red handed. “No honey I wasn’t surfing porn. I was just researching some adult domain names”. . . .”No. your honor. I wasn’t really trying to sell that Senate seat. I was doing research to see if anyone would pay. I wasn’t really going to go through with it”
Also, what happens to expired domains after they go through tdnam and no bids are received. Does GD just dump the domains back in to the avail pool ? That one was left hanging.
Steve Morales says
Great work Andrew.
Bob Parsons and his crew continue to take constructive criticism and improve their organization. They are the only registrar to date to listen their biggest customers (Domainers) and put smart business practices with ethics ahead of their pride.
I have no doubt the next step will be to develop a method to prevent Trademark Names from being listed for sale on TDNAM.
I only hope that the other registrars learn from this and follow the lead that GoDaddy.com, the biggest domain registrar in the world, has taken in order to please their customers.
More importantly, continuing to stay proactive in removing unethical business practices to promote the domain industry.
Thanks Bob Parsons for listening and taking action. Thanks Andrew for caring and making this an issue.
Standard Tactics, R.I.P says
Great job Andrew. Bob made a bad move and you held the mirror up for him. GoDaddy gets a silver star sticker next to their name now.
I for one am nominating you as domaining investigative journalist of the year. You’re a real asset to this industry.
Keep holdin’em accountable.
One more thing. . .The understatement of the year was when he said “that’s nothing to sneeze at” in reference to the $40k a month that he said those 8000 domains are making. . .$40k a month doing NOTHING and no customer support or overhead. Who wouldn’t want to run that kind of business ? In the scheme of things a year of that is only enough to pay for 1/4 of a Godaddy Christmas party.
Chef Patrick - DNKitchen.com says
I listened in on the show, great job. DNW is hands down the best place to get domain news!
Great work on the “Standard Tactics” probe.
Another GoDaddy subsidiary “GoDaddy Software” operates in a similar fashion.
Is this also being closed or is it business as usual?
@ Adam – still some questions to be answered, for sure. My thinking is that domains that aren’t bought at auction will be expired and opened up for anyone to register freely.
@ Desmond – I believe “Go Daddy Software, Inc” is the former name of Go Daddy
Ms Domainer says
Great job, Andrew.
The only reason GoDaddy shut down this outfit subsidiary is because they got caught with their pants down.
Had you not done your good investigative work and reporting, it would have been business as usual.
Andrew, you represent everything that is right about this business.
M. Menius says
This is one of the best blogs. I visit everyday. Andrew’s research is excellent, and much appreciated.
GoDaddy are the most visible and successful registrar. Consequently, they’ll be scrutinzed, and should be.
Much of the blame can be hung on ICANN. Years and years of publicized concerns regarding registrar behavior with little substantive discussion from ICANN, and practically no action. ICANN need to begin focusing on what is and is not appropriate business practice for the registrars that they accredit. In the absence of clear guidelines, the domain industry will not police itself.
I give GoDaddy credit for responding to public concerns and criticisms. They get involved in domain issues, they make a clear public statement, and as shown here today they are willing to reverse course when others won’t/don’t. That’s likely a result of being called out, but the point is that GoDaddy didn’t get indignant and defensive. They chose to be responsive. And in so doing, set a standard highger than almost every other registrar.
Highest Paid GoDaddy Rep says
Go Daddy did right. Bob acknowledged the situation and provided feedback on how it will be rectified. Funny thing, I never heard an apology. It was definitely “You caught us.”
I know that Bob was not truthful about the amount of money Standard Tactics earns. One thing that was not mentioned is the domains that Standard Tactics sells back to the original owners at a cost far more than the backorder it cost to purchase the expired domain.
Moreover, if a company has 500+ .us domains, you know that represents 1% of their .com portfolio.
Go Daddy’s software application for cash parked TM keywords does exist and is used every day, all day long. Every single cash parked domain with pre-defined keywords is run thru a system that looks for TMs. A human manually checks for verification and the domain is either accepted or denied for cash parking. (I used to tell my customers to not set keywords.) Sounds like the perfect fix for TDNAM’s TM problem.
Kudos to Andrew, but shame on Go Daddy for having to wait for someone to call them out on some pretty basic stuff.
The company is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Go Daddy Software, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of The Go Daddy Group, Inc.
Andrew – Way to harness the power of the written word. So when you wrote the article, did you figure that this would be the effect it would have?
Fantastic Job Andrew.
You are truly an asset to the industry.
I am glad to hear they are shutting their ‘research’ company down. We still need clarity on what happens to names not sold on their aftermarket site though. Bob certainly realized your role in the industry, and brought his ship back on track. Don’t stop!
@ JP – no, I didn’t. Even after they lowered the TDNAM pricing a couple days ago, I figured that would be GoDaddy’s only official action.
A lot of unethical things happen around Go Daddy’s aftermarket department.
Andrew, keep searching and you will find more discrepancies and oddities. Adam Dicker and his henchman Rod Browning are ruthless and always looking to increase their personal bonuses.
Rob Sequin says
Good job on all levels.
I thought the legal counsel answers were stupid. Locking down a domain for 60 days to prevent hijacking is ridiculous. She said they had something like 3300 domain hijackings?
They have what, 12,000,000 domains under management? So, they punish all the other domain holders because of a relatively few hijackings.
How about a 15 day hold.
Overall, I liked the entire interview but her answers about the lock down were faked if you ask me.
No other registrar does it so why them? Anyway, they are on record that people, and ICANN are not happy about it so I expect it to change.
Great Job Andrew!
I wonder how long this would have continued for if you never caught GD out!
I dont think this would have ever stopped!
They are stopping the operation now for a PR purpose and lets hope they have learned from there mistakes and dont do anything else like this again.
Paul...aka Has2hands says
Congratulations and thanks for your investigation of GoDaddy and getting results….probably more than you or anyone envisioned!
Also, congrats to GoDaddy for recognizing a problem, whether PR motivated or not, and acting accordingly.
Hopefully, they are doing an internal investigation of other potential embarrassing practices so you will not call them out again! This will benefit themselves and domainers in general and we should all be thankful.
Keep up the great work.
Chris @ Accurate Name says
Well done Andrew, I am very impressed with this article. Although the practice of ciphening off premium names may have been a ‘standard tactic’ once upon a time amongst registrars, we need transparency and equality in this industry to try and shake some of the public’s perceptions. I am very Glad Bob has seen the error of his ways and grateful you have taken the time to turn the screws.
This really is tremendous news- I might even go back to tdnam now!
NHLCenterIce.com, Comcastg.net, and Sirius1.info are similar to some trademarks, but also have legitimate uses. People here don’t seem to understand trademark law.
For instance “Sirius” or “Sirius1” might be a well known trademark in the US (I don’t know). What I do know is that “Sirius” is also the name of a star. It would be perfectly legitimate to have a website about Sirius the star there.
Comcast is an American communications company (or something like that), but they have not trademarked their name for every conceivable product. For instance I’m pretty sure comcastg.net could legitimately be used by a theatre casting company.
NHLCenterIce.com could presumably legitimately be used to market ice cream.
It is the use of the name, not just what the name is that counts. So in that case, why shouldn’t godaddy sell these names?
@ Martin – you are correct about comcastg.net and sirius1.info. That’s why before listing those names I looked at the web sites. Comcastg.net had ads for Comcast, satellite, etc, and Sirius1.info for radio. So those infringed.
As for NHLCenterIce.com, same thing, but I think it’s a stretch to say there’s any legitimate use. If I went out and started a company called CocaCola that had nothing to do with any of their products and “fields of use”, I guarantee you they would shut me down.
Big props for DNW on techcrunch today.
Let me give you a warning. If you use Go Daddy executive accounts department, it is in their best interests to let your domains expire. Why, you may ask.
If it is a good domain name, then they will tell the other executive account reps about it so when it gets to the auction those reps can have their customers bid on it.
Why would someone do that? Well, the executive account reps are compensated when their accounts bid and win TDNAM domains. Rod Browning is compensated when TDNAM brings in big numbers. And Adam Not-Honest Dicker gets compensated when TDNAM does well.
For example, an expired domain recently was at TDNAM for a large amount of money and an executive account customer was about to finalize the sale. It was common knowledge the the original owner would not be happy that this name was almost gone, gone, gone.
Fortunately, the original registrant, who still had a day left in the redemption period, called his executive account rep and was able to pay an $80 redemption fee and retrieve the domain. Read that sentence again . . . the customer called the executive account rep. Why didn’t Marcus, Rod, and any of the other reps contact this guy. It was heady gossip for a day or two — everyone knew what was happening.
“I am not a babysitter” is a common phrase around that department. I guess if it’s in your best interest to allow domains to “accidentally” expire, then I can understand why you may not care if you piss off your customer and forget to renew his domains OR decide not to call him at crucial times.
So, you see if a valuable domain goes to auction, everyone wins far more than the $7.49 renewal fee. TDNAM, the first rep gets kudos, the new rep get compensated, and the new owner gets a great name.
Can you say insider information and MORE shady practices?
Go Daddy’s aftermarket department is full of self-serving thieves.
If you all want more dirt as a question from an employee or former employee of Godaddy
they have more secrets about Bob and his other companies like his Ducati BMW motorcycle dealership in Scottsdale
Two Faced GoDaddy says
“Why would someone do that? Well, the executive account reps are compensated when their accounts bid and win TDNAM domains. Rod Browning is compensated when TDNAM brings in big numbers. And Adam Not-Honest Dicker gets compensated when TDNAM does well.”
Sounds like a huge conflict of interest issue!
Steve M says
Great job again, Andrew.
Thanks for shining a bright light into another dark corner of the domain world.
More Lies says
JF and Two Faced Go Daddy-
You should not comment on things that you know nothing about. Your assumptions are far from the truth.
While you may be upset for whatever reasons, your assumptions are grossly inaccurate and slanderous at best.
The folks at Go Daddy go out of their way to help customers, suggesting anything less than that is outrageous.
Cut the strings and move on. You’ll feel better!
Personal Responsibility says
JF – Don’t you think that the REGISTRANT of the high value domain should be watching his portfolio too? To blame his account manager and Go Daddy is absurd. I know I get MANY renewal notices from GD and also renewal lists from my account representative. If the domain is not renewed, that is the responsibility of the current owner, not Go Daddy or any of its representatives.
Personal Responsibility needs to make a comeback in this country. If I had a high value domain expire I would have no one to blame but MYSELF, not my account manager.
The Account Managers at Go Daddy are of the highest quality in the industry. They bend over backwards for their customers. To throw them under the bus is just plain stupid. No other registrar has as quality of representatives ASSISTING them with their portfolios. If you don’t have an account manager at Go Daddy you are missing the boat!
I have personally heard Rod Browning Say “we are not babysitters”. Rod Browning is a laughing stock at the company. He’s Adam’s Deputy Dog (or should I say Deputy Dick?)
He has been caught lying AND stealing multiple times. Why is he there? Well, he’s friends with President Warren Adelman, that’s why.
Yup, Rod Browning and Executive Accounts…they are a real class act. This tool has been suspended at least three times for “improper conduct” yet, they bring him back…
Standard Tactics has been around for years. They even had a fake business address in SanteFe NM.
Customers would routinely “lose” high-traffic domains that would “mysteriously” end up in the Standard Tactics, LLC account. Then GoDaddy blocked entry for all but a few employees (ie: Dicker and Browning) from even accessing this account list.
Of course, Rod Browing and Adam Dicker are now owners of many of these doms. They obviously knew the “internal” stats (ie: Real Value) on any domain they are interested in. This fish stinks.
Andrew Allemann says
@ DC – how could Dicker and Browning now be owners of some of these domains? They aren’t allowed to buy domains through TDNAM.
@Andrew: Funny…These two guys and their Executive Account cronies are the reason why employees are banned from bidding on expired domains. They had inside info. They used inside info. They cheated legit customers.
GD released a press release about the whole thing a few months ago.