GoDaddy has an increasingly serious reputation management problem. It’s been building for years. It seems that each year there are more frequent and more serious complaints about GoDaddy as a registrar, and these days it is reaching epic proportions. Web HOSTING was always the big problem before, but I suppose because of that we have all learned to manage it better. Registrars however have a much more legal-like role in webmastering. It really doesn’t matter how a good a webmaster you are, if your registrar screws you there’s very little you can do.
The big question is how, if at all, GoDaddy will change its practices to address the public disappointment in them as a registrar. Tick tock, GoDaddy.
This is a good place to address some competitive webmastering aspects of GoDaddy as registrar. Just thoughts, really, because I don’t have time to write an article on the topic, but a few things to consider on the issue:
- GoDaddy sends notices at 60 days before domain expiration, 30 days, etc. but they also have a policy that *any* change in your domain contacts (including privacy settings) starts a 60 day no-transfer period. So if you wait for the alert that you are 60 days from expiration, you’ve missed your chance to transfer away from GoDaddy before renewing the domain with GoDaddy.
- There really is no reason to wait until your registration is up for renewal. If you have concerns, you should do the work of transferring away now. The receiving registrar extends the registration, so you don’t lose anything except the new registrar’s transfer fee.
- Beware of privacy issues if you use DomainsByProxy and are transferring away from GoDaddy. There is an unknown gray area during transfer, when you can’t know for sure who sees what registrant information. Does priacy get released first? Does WHOIS get that released data, before the new privacy system takes place at the new registrar? We know that at least Google has high-speed API access to the WHOIS registry, and we know Google has been building an archive history of domain registration data for several years, as a competitive intelligence tactic for dealing with competitive webmasters. Since your new registrar may require (as per ICANN policies) verification of ownership of domains being transferred, this can look like a problem at first. (Hint: handle it between humans on the phone… it’s business and it transcends email. Remember, we’re being competitive here… different, if you will).
- Keep in mind how Google will see registration changes. Google will see and likely log a change in registrant as one clue of a potential change in owner/manager. Expect this to possibly impact link valuation. Google likes to value incoming links based on age and other trust factors. So if you have a big link building campaign underway, would it be better to transfer first? Transfer in the middle? Transfer after it’s done?
- What about simultaneous web host changes? Would changing your IP after you change registrars make it look like a web site sale? Would that cause additional scrutiny from Google for on-theme content henceforth, or otherwise impact TrustRank? Take the Google perspective and do some reading and take action. Don’t get caught in analysis paralysis, but have a plan so you can guide Google to understanding.
- Remember that when you are transferring away from GoDaddy, GoDaddy is not your friend. But your new registrar *is* your friend, right up until they get those domains away from GoDaddy. They will want to help you get the domains into their system. Think of it like asking a salesman to help sell you on why the competitor’s product is the wrong choice. It’s their job to help you, nd to help you expeditiously. So ask your questions of the new registrar, not GoDaddy, until you know exactly what you want and then of course ask GoDaddy for whatever help you need. Let me be perfectly clear: call your new registrar and ask them what you need to do to transfer all of your valuable domains to their system, away from GoDaddy.
- If you have your own nameservers, they are a signal of ownership for Google (so if they don’t change, a registrar change looks less like an ownership change). If you use your registrar’s DNS, it will be changing. If you use your web host DNS, will it, too change? And if it does, does that make it look more like a change of ownership than a change of registrar?
- Consider being direct with Google by updating your Google accounts associated with a changing domain. For example, if you want it to look like a change of ownership, be sure to change the Google AdSense/analytics/whatever at the same time. For the opposite effect, don’t do nothing, but rather go into your Google acount, *after the change* and re-affirm your ownership by making some adustments. A new owner would not normally go into the old owner’s Google account and make improvements, especially if it is a named site with more than one domain listed. If it was a good trusted site, show Google reason to continue to trust the site (e.g. it’s still yours).