GoDaddy may be attempting to thwart transfer attempts [Update]

When Lamar Smith, Republican congressman from Texas, released the list of supporters for the Stop Online Piracy Act last week, he set off a firestorm of protest from activists on the Internet.

While the list is mostly media conglomerates and publishing companies like Time Warner, CBS, NBC, ABC, News Corporation, Sony, and Disney, it did include one technology company who is now facing a massive backlash and boycott, GoDaddy. There is even a tool to poll your favorite websites to see if they are registered with GoDaddy. Even though GoDaddy has since stated that they have reversed their position on SOPA, it has not stopped the bleeding and domain owners by the thousands have continued to migrate the registration of their domains to other registrars.

One of the providers who jumped in early and has taken advantage of the controversy is Namecheap.

Namecheap made a name for itself when it publicly stated its complete opposition to SOPA and offered discounts to those who wanted to transfer their domains to Namecheap. But Namecheap now says GoDaddy is making it harder for domain owners to move. In a blog post, Namecheap explains that there may be delays in the transfer process because GoDaddy is now returning incomplete WHOIS information to Namecheap, a process in violation of ICANN rules.

As many customers have recently complained of transfer issues, we suspect that this competitor is thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them. Specifically, GoDaddy appears to be returning incomplete WHOIS information to Namecheap, delaying the transfer process. This practice is against ICANN rules.

We at Namecheap believe that this action speaks volumes about the impact that informed customers are having on GoDaddy’s business. It’s a shame that GoDaddy feels they have to block their (former) customers from voting with their dollars. We can only guess that at GoDaddy, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Thankfully, Namecheap has committed to manually processing transfer attempts that have failed.

Don’t worry – each and every transfer request will be processed manually by our team. Every request will go through. We won’t rest until everyone who wants to join the Namecheap family can do so!

 

Update: Ross Rader, General Manager of the registrar Hover, reached out to Neowin to let us know that they've not seen any issues with processing GoDaddy transfers:

This would be a serious violation of [GoDaddy's] ICANN accreditation if it were the case. Namecheap is an eNom reseller and it may be possible that eNom is experiencing more general issues. I wonder if this is a more localized issue than Namecheaps might be aware of. We've seen a wild and consistent increase in transfer-in activity in the last week and its not showing any signs of slowing up. I'd be surprised if GoDaddy was taking punitive action, and of course, it almost goes without saying that not a day goes by when something in this business doesn't surprise me.

GoDaddy has responded with email statement to TechCrunch, saying that Namecheap was not specifically blocked but that due to heavy amounts of WHOIS requests it was automatically rate blocked, a limit they have sinced removed.

Namecheap posted their accusations in a blog, but to the best our of knowledge, has yet to contact Go Daddy directly, which would be common practice for situations like this. Normally, the fellow registrar would make a request for us to remove the normal rate limiting block which is a standard practice used by Go Daddy, and many other registrars, to rate limit Whois queries to combat WhoIs abuse. ... Nevertheless, we have now proactively removed the rate limit for Namecheap, as a courtesy, but it is important to point out, there still may be back-end IP addresses affiliated with Namecheap of which we are unaware. For complete resolution, we should be talking to each other — an effort we are initiating since they have not done so themselves.

Namecheap has also responded to GoDaddy's statement that there was no contact between the two companies, saying:

This is quite untrue as our upstream technicians had made attempts to reach out directly.

That said, it was known for almost a full 24 hours that we were blocked from having the transfers go through. In efforts to be fully transparent about the delays which were greatly upsetting to our customers, we posted this after reaching out to GoDaddy as we had no response.

Namecheap also confirmed that now that the rate limiting is gone, they have been able to successfully process transfer requests.

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42 Comments

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My partners and I are looking to transfer 632 domains to Namecheap within the next 48 hours. The support of SOPA is unacceptable to our firm, we will not support any company that backs the destruction of the internet! The SOPA bill destroys anything and everything we know on the internet! In fact Neowin and all of you're news sites would be affected by this!

The problem now is coordinating this many domain transfers! Good bye GoDaddy it's been a nice run; minus your shady business practices and horrible billing mess up's...

Started the transfer last night to namecheap. My domain may be nothing. I keep it for nostalgia, but I'd rather not support a company like GoDaddy anymore. $7 later, I have another year + free whois blocking.

Anyone had any issues with getting refunded amounts of un-used 'time' with GoDaddy? I had paid for hosting in advance, and this isn't even the end of the first year. Hoping I don't have to go through a mess of fighting them for refunds when I transfer.

I'm done with them as well next month. Although the price was much cheaper that hostmonster, I just can't stand the slimy ownership and business practices overall.

Vanity was the only reason for the tart parade in the commercials, this little stunt is very telling and I hope it crushes them.

I've got 2 years left on a domain name registered with Godaddy...but after this, I'm cutting my losses and moving to namecheap...screw you guys.

SirEvan said,
I've got 2 years left on a domain name registered with Godaddy...but after this, I'm cutting my losses and moving to namecheap...screw you guys.

why wait? Do it now and you'll extend your registration a year and help send the message.

Frazell Thomas said,

why wait? Do it now and you'll extend your registration a year and help send the message.

oh wow didn't know that. Moved!

Frazell Thomas said,

why wait? Do it now and you'll extend your registration a year and help send the message.

oh wow didn't know that. Moved!

With these kind of actions, they'll hurt themselves more and more.

A few days ago I moved one domain from GoDaddy to Namecheap, amid the SOPA thing...

Today, after this news, I decided to move all my other 16 domains from GoDaddy...

GoF*ckYourself, GoDaddy.

Although I don't do web hosting with namecheap, I've had my domain name with them since 2001 and have always been extremely happy with their service. I had always suspected GoDaddy was likely to resort to shady practices when they sell their services based off advertising with attractive women to get their subscribers rather than the merits of their service. Namecheap never needed those kind of gimicks to gain or keep their customers, just provide great service.

Actually it would appear I got an e-mail about 15 minutes ago asking me to accept the transfer at GoDaddy. This was after the rumblings about them holding domains hostage began. You can put two and two together.

I started the transfer of 4 domains from GoDaddy to Namecheap a couple days ago. I just received 4 emails today (the 26th) saying that the transfers had just started today (which isn't true) and that I could approve them or wait until the 30th for it to auto approve.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), the only member of Congress present at the hearing with any tech experience

What. The. Hell.

Nihilus said,

What. The. Hell.

I know, right? Same thing in the 1990s when Microsoft was under hearings for including Internet Explorer in Windows, as they thought it was anti-competitive. One Congress member asked Bill Gates if it was true that Microsoft included IE in every version of Windows, and if they would stand to make an extra profit from competitors. Bill Gates responded by telling them "Internet Explorer is free, and so are other browsers."


A bunch of old morons trying to run something which they are ignorant to almost always results in the worst kind of legislation.

Nihilus said,

What. The. Hell.

I don't own any domains but make them bleed, neowinians, make the bleed.

It's amazing how little depth congressmen have when it comes to technology despite it's importance in just about everything these days. Leave the tech stuff to the FCC.

Been having this issue myself when transferring my GoDaddy domains to Namecheap. Transferring domains from other providers resulted in no problems whatsoever.

When transferring into Namecheap from GoDaddy, domains get stuck in a "Transfer in Process - Acquiring Current Whois for Transfer Verification". Namecheap support had this to say when I logged a support ticket earlier today:

"The latest status of your domain transfer is: Transfer in Process - Acquiring Current Whois for Transfer Verification This happened because the current registrar was blocking our IP addresses for whois queries, and we have to manually insert whois details into the form. "

Not cool GoDaddy, NOT cool.

I transferred from GoDaddy to name.com on Friday without a hitch. Took about two hours to finalize. Though it was only two domains.

That's really low if true.

I wonder if it could come back around and haunt them too. I mean, violating ICANN regulations as a domain registrar could be pretty bad for them as is, but add to that deliberate blocking of transfers could be seen as anti-competitive.

Majesticmerc said,
That's really low if true.

I wonder if it could come back around and haunt them too. I mean, violating ICANN regulations as a domain registrar could be pretty bad for them as is, but add to that deliberate blocking of transfers could be seen as anti-competitive.

Yes. Just like providing invalid information yourself can get your domain revoked GoDaddy's refusal to provide complete WHOIS information may get their agreement revoked.

P.S. - I recently had gotten a domain blackholed by the registrar because the information provided wasn't accurate and didn't lead to the registered owner at all. The action on the domain wasn't intentional. I did need the information for a legal matter however.

crispkreme said,
Another despicable move by GoDaddy!

It's like they realized they dug there hole and now they're like "ah well lets just keep digging!"