GoDaddy's Customer Service Suffers Wardrobe Malfunction

Godaddy really tipped the dildo cart over on this one.

The owner of FamilyAlbum.com had an invalid email address in their domain name info registered with GoDaddy. A third party complained to GoDaddy. The company sent an email to the invalid email address informing the owner that he needed to update his email address. Under the bylaws of ICANN, which oversees and administers domain names, all WHOIS info must be accurate.

Unsurprisingly, the owner never got it. 8 weeks later, GoDaddy yanked FamilyAlbum.com and sold it to someone else who backordered the domain.

After getting exposed, GoDaddy said they’re going to try to get the domain back for the original owner.

Whether or not the backorderer is the same person as the third-party complainant will make the difference between technical snafu and outright scandal.

GoDaddy needs to revise its policy. It makes no sense for GoDaddy to use contact information it know is incorrect to communicate with a customer to tell them they need to correct their contact information. — BEN POPKEN

GoDaddy Deletes Domain Name for Inaccurate Email Address[Domain Name Wire]
GoDaddy Responds to Deletion Over Invalid Email Address [Domain Name Wire] (Thanks to Abe!)

Comments

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  1. Mr_Human says:

    You think this is bad? You should report on the meltdown going on at Registerfly.com. They’ve registered 2 million names, but are overcharging customers while failing to renew, and don’t respond to support tickets. Read about it at Registerflies.com — a disgruntled community site with lots of news about what’s going on.

  2. medalian1 says:

    Godaddy is a really shitty company. This is the 2nd time I’ve heard of the evil things they do.

  3. Tallanvor says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard so many bad things about GoDaddy it’s not even funny. I finally gave up and decided to renew with NetSol. –Especially now that they’re through the Verisign years. They may be more expensive than the other registrars, but they’re easily the most stable.

    Mr_Human: Registerfly is messed up beyond anything else in the registrar world right now, for sure, I agree. Unfortunately from what I can tell instead of helping Enom is helping to make things worse, and ICANN is just sort of waiting to see just how long they should wait.

  4. NickW says:

    >After getting exposed, GoDaddy said they’re going to try to get the domain back for the original owner.

    Looks like they have U-turned on this one now.

    http://domainnamewire.com/2007/03/02/an-update-on-godaddy-

    “Thank you for your message. After further review with our Legal Department, it does not appear that we are able to assist you with this issue. Since the name was cancelled following ICANN standards and the name is now registered to another party, you will need to contact the current registrant regarding the domain name.”

  5. MattyMatt says:

    “It makes no sense for GoDaddy to use contact information it know is incorrect”

    What could GoDaddy do differently? They didn’t knows that the contact info was incorrect — that’s what they were trying to verify. And then how else could they have contacted the registrant? It’s possible that GoDaddy didn’t have any other contact info for the FamilyAlbum folks. (Some people don’t provide much contact info when registering a domain, since spammers and telemarketers can harvest it.)

    Of course, it’s also possible that GoDaddy did have other means of contacting the FamilyAlbum folks, in which case, yeah, they should have a procedure to call or snail-mail their customers. But there’s no way to find out if that’s the case unless you’re some kind of consumer reporting organization that has fact-checking abilities.

  6. surgesilk says:

    This is standard. If you register with bad information, then the registration itself is invalid. It doesn’t happen often, but anyone who notices bad info can register a complaint. If the registrant does not modify the info, then URL registration can be revoked.
    If you don’t want your info out there, use a proxy service. I do.

  7. What does the picture have to do with the post?

  8. Kornkob says:

    @AngrySicilian: Welcome to Consumerist. Most of the posts have images with a tenious relationship to the content.

    It’s a screen cap of a Godaddy ad.

  9. pestie says:

    If anyone cares, I register my domains through Domainmonger.com. They’re not the cheapest company out there ($17 per year), but they don’t suck like GoDaddy, Register.com, or Network Solutions (don’t even get me started on them). Their services are simple and reliable. I’ve never had a problem with them, and their customer service responds pretty much instantly on the rare occasions I ask for help with something that can’t be done through the web interface, like changing a domain’s ownership.

  10. @Kornkob: Gotcha. I didn’t realize godaddy had a campaign like that… I didn’t think Consumerist would try to get me to read an article based on that..

  11. guroth says:

    Way misleading title, has nothing to do with the article other than referencing a really old commercial for the company the article is about.
    I hope these kind of misleading headlines do not become more common.

  12. matt1978 says:

    guroth – lighten up

  13. Mr_Human says:

    Tallanver: You are correct: ICANN only got interested in the scandal at RF after RF failed to pay its fees. ICANN’s left nearly a million customers — including me–in the lurch. I’m stunned that the FBI hasn’t gotten involved at this stage: the fraud at RF is monumental.

  14. Michael Bauser says:

    @MattyMatt: GoDaddy did have other contact information for the registrant: The domain listing had an address and a phone number. GoDaddy could have informed the registrant of the bad e-mail address with a one-minute phone call, or even a postcard.

    They didn’t, though, because they’re a cheapskate company that doesn’t want to spend that much money taking care of customers. GoDaddy is one of those companies that will never put any extra effort into helping a customer. If the tech support boiler room can’t fix something on the computer, it ain’t getting fixed.

    Trust me, I know: I used to work in that tech support department.

  15. zentec says:

    GoDaddy blew it; this isn’t a simple case of a domain expiring and the registrant not remembering to renew, GoDaddy had a willing buyer and took the first opportunity to cancel the registration and hook up the new buyer with the domain name.

    Tons of domains have bad email addresses, yet the only thing ever done is when someone is standing in line to buy the domain after the redemption period.

    This is another company to avoid.

  16. Tallanvor says:

    @Mr_Human: Sorry to hear you got caught up in that. The RegisterFly scandal is probably worthy of a post of it’s own here. –It looks like there was one about them in June of last year, but that was about a problem that was nothing compared to what’s happening now.

  17. pronell says:

    I’ll put in a plug for gandi.net here. They’re based in France, and I had to call my credit card company to tell them to expect a charge from overseas.

    I didn’t want to do this, even after my best friend suggested I use them. I went to another tech forum (on a telnet bbs), explained the situation, and asked for suggestions for another company to use.

    I got three responses. All said go with Gandi.

    This was just a month or so ago, so I haven’t had to deal with customer service, let alone renewal.

    Good site, good price, good service. No complaints so far.

  18. Antediluvian says:

    @MattyMatt: I’m with you on this one.

    I like GoDaddy and have never had a problem with them. I also like Joker.com and haven’t had a problem with THEM, either, but GoDaddy is slightly cheaper and easier to manage (better interface), and uses English as a primary language: my German is rusty (my German language skills, not mein rostiger Deuschter).

    I first went w/ GoDaddy not because they were the cheapest (I think Tucows was a bit less) but because they were explicit in stating that your domain was your property, not theirs. NetworkSolutions had the exact opposite attitude, and I didn’t want to get caught up in the crap of trying to get my own domain away from NetworkSolutions.

    I had a problem w/ GoDaddy about a year ago, and I called up their customer support at about 4:30AM Eastern Time (I couldn’t sleep), and they had a guy in Arizona who answered the phone and worked with me on the problem.

    However, the problem wasn’t technical in nature, it was a licensing issue: they were requiring that registrants agreed to a license for a product that I didn’t use, didn’t plan to use, and didn’t WANT to use, but they still wanted me to agree to its license. We went round and round on this one (he was first-line 2am tech support — he’s not going to change their license for me and I didn’t care for this registration because it was on behalf of someone else), but I told him I’d be moving my domains away if this situation was happening when they were due to be renewed.

    They changed the license some time not long after that.

  19. clarity says:

    In the last few years I have seen several cases of small at home businesses with the same issue – godaddy had another buyer and finds some technicality to yank the domain without making any sort of real effort to keep the domain with the original customer.

    The frequency this happens – and suspiciously with domains that pop up immediately under a new owner – has kept me far away from godaddy.