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GoDaddy Has A Problem

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).



  1. To tell the truth, I don’t think they care.

    I know many a company that has a reputation management problem with bad reviews but they have the attitude that it’s the customers fault and they are doing the best they can. They quote things like we have only 1/10th of 1 percent of people that complain or something like that. It’s not just online, there are many offline companies that don’t seem to be able to see the forest through the trees.

    Monday, March 5, 2007 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  2. Linux Tweaks wrote:

    Thanks for your efforts compiling this info for all of us. Useful to domain registrants who already have registered or going to register at Godaddy [or anywhere].

    Monday, October 15, 2007 at 7:52 am | Permalink
  3. J wrote:

    Thanks for the shedding light on godaddy’s practices. I was very close to registering a domain with them until I happened upon a link to this page.

    Can you recommend a reputable registrar?

    Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 4:21 am | Permalink
  4. john andrews wrote:

    Sorry J, I’m not sure I can recommend anyone outright these days. Moniker seems the most sincere of all, especially with its approach to security. I’m afraid the market doesn’t exist for the level of services we actually need, because people just don’t know how to evaluate or even value registrar services. How many people are aware of al lthe domain theft taking place these days, and how many of those are willing to pay more for increased protection against it?

    Fabulous is great, but only provides that level of service to those with large numbers of domains, with a focus on domaining as a business.

    Hard to beat GoDaddy’s $6.99 specials even to this day. My Moniker account is showing $8.51 pricing today. But GoDaddy slaps an artificial 60 day hold on account changes, which can be a hassle for some, in addition to all of the above caveats. Moniker wants to call me before allowing unauthorized account changes, which is great.

    By my read the choices are enom, moniker, fabulous and godaddy, and for most projects I choose Moniker.

    Saturday, January 5, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Permalink
  5. Amie Stilo wrote:

    I too have had problems with godaddy and they still owe me money which they don’t want to talk about! But that is ok it wasn’t much and I moved on. Moniker is really a great register and never had a problem with them.

    Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 2:46 am | Permalink
  6. Richard Sonnenschein wrote:

    I paid GoDaddy to register a domain name that I had registered elsewhere, but was unable to find my way through the mechanics of the transfer process. I asked for help from their touted “Domain Conceirge” but was told it was up to my use of a pin number I’d been sent. I’d never received one, so i couldn’t do it.

    I aborted the transfer process, demanded a refund, but was told the refund is available only with online application that requires the same pin number. The pin number I’ve never had, because it was never sent to me.

    Needless to say, I’m not happy.

    Monday, February 11, 2008 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  7. I’m having issues with GODADDY customer servive for over a month now. We suspect that the reliability and stability of our server has been compromised. After informing the same to GODADDY 4 times over a month, there has been just one response stating us to install a ROOT-KIT checker on our server which in actuality is their responsibility. After which GODADDY has totally ignored this case. What a shame. CAN ANYONE PLEASE ASSIST US IN SWITCHIG OVER TO A BETTER PROVIDER.

    Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
  8. B Kerr wrote:

    Is GoDaddy having serious internal security problems?
    Today I received a renewal notice from GoDaddy for two domain names that belong to someone else that happens to have my same last name. I called in to GoDaddy to find out what happened and was told that the person used my email address for their administrative contact. Problem was GoDaddy’s own WhoIs did not have my email address anywhere. I pressed the supervisor (John) in domain support to get a correct answer on how this happened and his favorite word was Can’t. That about says it all on GoDaddy.

    Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  9. Amalaki Guy wrote:

    I guess I don’t see what the fuss is about. I have many domains about Amalaki or Zrii with GoDaddy and their service has blown away the 9 other firms I have used over the past 11 years. I even get phone calls out of the blue from GoDaddy every so often to see if they can help me. I have yet to find a company that is as pro-active or as easy to work with as Go Daddy.

    Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 5:22 am | Permalink
  10. John L wrote:

    Last year I bought a few domain names off of GoDaddy. Good price and no problems there. I later become aware of a lot of issues using GoDaddy and the way the company operates. I was not very comfortable with this and decided not to use the domains, let them expire and then close my account.

    Well you cannot close your account fully with GoDaddy as although they deactivate your account they keep all of your personal information. I have copied the relevant piece from their privacy poliicy which reads:-

    What Happens to my Personal Information if I Terminate my Go Daddy Account?

    When Your Go Daddy account is cancelled (either voluntarily or involuntarily) all of your personally identifiable information is placed in “deactivated” status on our relevant Go Daddy databases. However, you should know that deactivation of your account does not mean your personally identifiable information has been deleted from our database entirely. We will retain and use your personally identifiable information if necessary in order to resolve disputes or enforce our agreements.

    Now I am not sure about the legalities of this but I think in the UK once you close your account with anybody then your personal information has to be deleted. Obviously this doesn’t apply to GoDaddy and they refuse to discuss it. Yet another reason to avoid them I think. I certainly will.

    Saturday, September 27, 2008 at 2:00 am | Permalink
  11. Patty wrote:

    It worth the money, try this test:

    1. Register a domain name with GoDaddy… and turn on the VERY expensive “privacy switch”.

    2. Try to transfer your domain to another company.

    Good luck. It’s a huge nightmare. GoDaddy just does NOT want you to switch. There are all kinds of “oh, it’s too soon to switch”… or “we can’t let you switch now”… or “we need to publish your name and home address online for everyone to see” problems.

    Try it. You will be VERY surprised.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 6:44 am | Permalink
  12. john andrews wrote:

    @Patty – I am always able to transfer away, if the domain is able to be transferred. You do have to find the path through their upsells and such, but it is always there when I need to find it.

    That is more than I can say for, however. I have had cases where they publish erroneous information about how to transfer, and don’t reply with direct or meaningful answers when asked about it in the tech support system. Overall, I don’t like GoDaddy for many reasons, but in my experience 1and1 is far worse for seeming to block you from leaving their service.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  13. mp wrote:

    Godaddy is a very bad hoster, they don’t transfer domains but do take money of your card without asking, they do not give money back even when you paid to much or in case of a mistake.

    Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink