Owner transfers domain name to Google’s domain name registrar.
Google has landed a hot potato. [Update: and now it’s getting rid of it]
After GoDaddy told white supremacist site The Daily Stormer it needed to find a new domain name registrar, the owner transferred the domain name to Google’s domain name registrar.
It’s important to note that the process for transferring domain names is automated, so Google likely had no knowledge that the domain name was being transferred to its domain name registrar. (I’m reaching out to Google for comment.)
Google is merely the registrar for DailyStormer.com and is not involved with hosting the content that the domain name points to.
So now DailyStormer.com is Google’s problem, and the company is sure to take heat for it.
I don’t thing registers should police domain names. If dailystormer.com does something illegal there is the FBI, DOJ, State Attorney Gen. etc to enforce the law. If they do nothing illegal tough that you don’t like them.
The domain name itself seems rather commonplace combination of commonly used words, it is only by reading the site you have any idea what it is about. Should registers have investigation departments that review and approve (or disapprove) of all their sites?
Silviu Panoiu says
John Berryhill says
“Should registers have investigation departments that review and approve (or disapprove) of all their sites?”
“Should they” as a requirement of some kind? No. That would impose a costly burden.
“Can they” – sure. A basic right of any business in the US is to be able to refuse service to an undesirable customer, so long as that reason is itself not an unlawful one.
Does a barkeeper need to monitor all conversations in the establishment to make sure that everyone is being pleasant and having a good time? No. But can a barkeeper throw out the angry drunk who is spoiling for a fight? Sure.
Not everything needs to be a “requirement”, and there are always infinite shades of gray around what someone is going to deem “offensive”. But any business person can make the rare and unpleasant decision to terminate doing business with someone who is more trouble than they are worth.
Yes. It’s called Terms of Service. More contractual than legal/illegal, but binding enough to act on. The site name is now an influential brand and shouldn’t be reduced to a “combination of commonly used words” as though its content is benign and only a problem if it’s illegal. Slander and libel are legally defensible, so content is another issue because of freedom of speech, but registrars can certainly pull the plug out of the wall, contractually.
Brad Mugford says
If something is against the law that is one thing. Morality however is highly subjective.
If the domain is allowed to exist under Versign policy, then having a registrar arbitrarily cancel domains on their own whim is not acceptable in my view.
John Berryhill says
Any business has the right to refuse service to a customer they dislike for any reason or no reason, provided that it is not for a legally impermissible reason.
Let’s take what you are saying and apply it to operation of your bar. Can you refuse service to people who violate your dress code? Certainly, you can. Does the scope of your liquor license (Verisign policy) have anything to do with your dress code requirements? No.
Your liquor license says you can serve to anyone who is over 21 years old. You can certainly go further than that and require that persons be (a) over 21 years old and (b) wearing something other than blue jeans.
Everyone’s a libertarian until the rubber meets the road and a business owner makes a lawful decision with which they disagree.
This was sorted out early on in the “seven dirty words” case at Network Solutions years ago.
It would be one thing if we didn’t have registrars run as private businesses, and the US government was in control of who could register a domain name. Under that scenario then, yeah, there would certainly be a First Amendment issue, and the government would not be allowed to deny a domain name registration based on speech content. But what is frequently overlooked in the libertarian model is that you don’t get First Amendment protections when you are dealing with a private business.
At some point, being overly restrictive is a competitive issue. Surely someone can build a business model around this and have PariahDomains.com where “We don’t care what you say on your website, but we will charge you $XXX a year for your registration.”
But it is curious that when a business exercises its free market rights to conduct or not conduct business with whom they please for any lawful reason, we find out that there are those who only like free markets when the outcome is one they favor. One can engage in all the whataboutism and slippery slopes one likes, but this decision was certainly within the rights of a private business owner to make. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the decision is irrelevant to whether Godaddy or Google was within their rights to make that decision.
The relevant question “was it within their lawful rights as private business owners to decide they do not want this customer?” By “unacceptable” are you suggesting that it was not within their rights as private business owners to decide they did not want this customer?
Brad Mugford says
I will leave the legalities to you. However, just because something is within the legal rights does not mean someone has to find it acceptable.
You appear to have missed “not acceptable in my view”. That is clearly expressing an opinion.
My issue is with threatening to cancel the domain, more than the hosting.
The domain is registered with Verisign, and held by GoDaddy on behalf of the customer. If it is within a registrar’s rights to cancel a domain as they please, based on their own arbitrary polices and whims, that is still not acceptable to me.
John Berryhill says
“not acceptable in my view”’
I did see that. I just wasn’t sure of what it may have implied.
Needless to say, I frequently hear from folks who translate “something upsets me” to “there must be some kind of legal recourse.” Personally, I’m disgusted by people who pick their noses at traffic lights, since they apparently believe they are invisible through their car windows. Would I support a law or regulation of some kind against public nose gold mining? Probably not, but if I ran a rental car business, I’d be inclined to include it in the contract.
That’s why in another comment above, I wasn’t sure what “should” meant.
In any business, there are customers who are more trouble than they are worth – for whatever reason. I believe a so-called “church” ran into a similar problem with hosting and domain services a few years ago. They are the outfit who engage in unseemly behavior at military funerals, etc.. They were shown the door eventually, and I believe their current registrar is managed primarily by persons who are at least nominally Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Jains. Go figure.
GoDaddy took a hit a while ago over shooting an elephant. I would imagine as a business decision, nazis were a no-brainer.
as much as i dislike the content of these kinds of sites i think registrars should stay out of content policing and leave it hosts.
try saying that when the brand you manage suddenly develops an overnight, global association with a hate group.