GoDaddy’s paid domain privacy service has some practical implications for domain owners and the expired domain market.
Earlier this year, GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) made its basic Whois privacy protection service free. By default, GoDaddy now shows a registrant’s organization name, country, and state/province in public Whois.
The change was good for customers but cost GoDaddy lots of revenue. The company doesn’t disclose how many domains used the paid Whois service called Domains By Proxy. But it could have been about 18 million domains, which would generate $180 million in high margin revenue every year.
So the company added two new levels of paid domain protection and privacy. It upgraded domains that used the paid service to Full Domain & Privacy Protection unless customers opted out.
Compared to the free level, this level redacts the organization name and location from Whois, protects against unwanted transfers, and protects against accidental expiration.
The new service has some practical implications.
Earlier this year, I helped a friend register some domains for his business, and we added Whois privacy. These domains were upgraded to Full Domain & Privacy Protection. I had to remove the paid service in order to transfer the domains to his account recently.
The second implication is that we might see fewer expired domains hit GoDaddy Auctions over the next year. Full Domain & Privacy Protection automatically extends registrations by a year if the renewal fails due to an outdated or invalid payment method. This does not kick in if the registrant doesn’t turn on autorenew. However, we should see fewer expirations at GoDaddy, at least in the short term.