Patent is mostly about whois proxy email services.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted patent number 8,751,685 (pdf) to GoDaddy for “Domain name hijack protection”.
The patent, applied for in 2010, is actually a divisional patent of an application I wrote about in 2008. The earlier patent application hasn’t been granted yet.
The majority of the patent is about whois proxy services (e.g. DomainsByProxy) rather than domain theft prevent; It’s a divisional and continuation patent to a number of proxy related patents GoDaddy has filed.
As for “domain hijack protection”, the patent describes a way of blocking transfer requests sent by email. Although the language isn’t quite clear, it sounds like the patent is describing the old way of transferring a domain name: the losing registrar would send a confirmation email to the registrant and the registrant had to click a link in that email to accept the transfer.
The patent suggests that a whois proxy service could stop that transfer notice from ever reaching the domain owner, thus preventing an unwanted transfer.
Of course, clicking a link in an email to confirm a transfer is no longer required. It’s the opposite, in fact. Now an email is sent to the domain owner informing them of the transfer. The transfer will go through if they do nothing. Blocking a transfer email from reaching the domain owner would be a bad thing.
As of the end of March, GoDaddy had 127 issued patents and 176 pending, according to the S-1 statement if filed yesterday.