Why the new policy is in place and what it means for you.
Last Friday I wrote about how Go Daddy had put into place a way to remove the dreaded 60 day transfer lock activated when you make a change to the registrant name on a domain name at the registrar.
Over the weekend I looked at comments on that post and re-read ICANN’s new inter-registrar transfer policy. Here’s what the policy has to say about this sort of transfer lock (3.6):
Express objection to the transfer by the authorized Transfer Contact. Objection could take the form of specific request (either by paper or electronic means) by the authorized Transfer Contact to deny a particular transfer request, or a general objection to all transfer requests received by the Registrar, either temporarily or indefinitely. In all cases, the objection must be provided with the express and informed consent of the authorized Transfer Contact on an opt-in basis and upon request by the authorized Transfer Contact, the Registrar must remove the lock or provide a reasonably accessible method for the authorized Transfer Contact to remove the lock within five (5) calendar days
This paragraph seems to be inserted in large part due to Go Daddy’s controversial lock. When you change the registrant/organization name, Go Daddy makes you opt-in to an “express objection to the transfer”. The new rules require registrars to provide a way to remove this lock within 5 days. That’s what Go Daddy’s new policy, which allows you to send an email to request to unblock the transfer, does. This paragraph essentially validates Go Daddy’s process but also requires a way to remove the block.
For its part, Go Daddy Director of Policy Planning James Bladel said this of the reasons for the change:
Feedback from our customers and others in the industry, along with new ICANN policy, prompted us to take a fresh look at the practice. We came up with a number of options, but in the end, the “Review & Remove” option was the best approach to guard against hijacking while providing flexibility to our customers.
But there’s a catch to the transfer removal. Officially, if Go Daddy removes the transfer block, it will revert the registrant/organization name on the domain back to the previous one. This might help get the domain name back in the event of a theft. But it also creates a problem if you’re trying to transfer the domain after a legitimate sale.
Here’s an example based on Elliot Silver’s comment on my previous article:
Andrew sells Elliot ElliotsLuckyDay.com for $1,000. I push the domain to his account within Go Daddy. Then, Elliot flips the domain to Frank Schilling for $50,000 a couple weeks later. Frank wants the domain transferred to his own registrar. Elliot can request that Go Daddy remove the transfer block in order to transfer it, but then my name would show up as the owner of the domain again.
Practically speaking the domain could still be transferred as the administrative contact and email address is still Elliot’s. But it could create headaches showing me as the owner when Elliot is transferring the domain.
I brought up a similar scenario to Go Daddy. Here’s what Bladel had to say:
There are many scenarios that are going to require a closer look. For this reason, requests sent to the Review60 (at) GoDaddy.com email address will be reviewed by a team that has the ability to remove the lock if there are no indications of domain name hijacking.
In other words, it seems that the company will work with you in these cases. Practically speaking, I think Go Daddy has been approving such transfers for a while depending on the circumstances. But now there’s a formal channel for doing it.
If anyone has trouble removing the transfer block in this same scenario in the future, let me know.