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GoDaddy’s reason for dumping Uniregistry doesn’t make a lot of sense

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2017, 13:23:08 (UTC), Domain Registrars

GoDaddy, as you may have read, has again decided to dump Uniregistry’s portfolio of TLDs, following wholesale price increases.

But its explanation for the move — trying to provide its customers with a “great product experience” — doesn’t seem to tally with the way it has gone about implementing the change.

The company confirmed this week that it will no longer offer new registrations in Uniregistry’s stable of new gTLDs, but will continue to support existing customers.

The registrar’s EVP of domains, Mike McLaughlin, reportedly explained the move like this:

GoDaddy strives to provide its customers with great product experiences wherever possible. After careful consideration, we decided to stop offering new Uniregistry domain names for sale because their pricing changes caused frustration and uncertainty with our customers.

But the way GoDaddy has gone about this looks like it is set to provide anything other than a great product experience.

For starters, existing registrants of Uniregistry names will find their registrations migrated over to the wholesale registrar Hexonet, for which GoDaddy will act as reseller.

They’ll still be able to manage their names via their GoDaddy control panels, but technically GoDaddy will no longer be the registrar.

This could well add friction to the customer support process, as well as meaning Hexonet will now show up in Whois as the sponsoring registrar.

Accompanying this move is the unexplained removal of Whois privacy services for all affected domains. Registrants will get a refund for their privacy service and will have the opportunity to switch registrars to one that will support privacy.

For those that remain, suddenly their personally identifiable information will become publicly available. This could lead to an increase in complaints and support calls as registrants realize what has happened.

In terms of price, existing registrants will presumably still be affected by Uniregistry’s increases to the same extent as they were previously. Again, their customer experience has not changed.

Overall, the explanation doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense to me. I put the above points to GoDaddy and VP of domains Rich Merdinger responded, via a company spokesperson:

After we made the decision to stop supporting Uniregistry domain names, we worked to provide the best possible experience we could to our customers. We wanted them to have a transparent experience. They will log in to the same GoDaddy account and service the domain names the same way they always have. Because of the transfer of the name to a different registrar, privacy had to be removed. While this impacts a small subset of these customers, we have done everything to make this transition as smooth as possible.

It’s true that GoDaddy isn’t a big seller of Uniregistry names. It’s one of Uniregistry’s smaller channel partners and the number of Uniregistry names it’s sold — measured in the thousands — is a drop in the ocean of the over 55 million gTLD names it currently has under management.

The two companies are also competitors, it probably should be noted.

But while Uniregistry’s registrar seems to be have been well-received by customers, and its domain volume has grown rapidly in the last three years, it still only had about 1.5 million domains under management at the last count; hardly an existential threat to the Scottsdale behemoth.

It should also be noted that GoDaddy is not the only registrar to distance itself from Uniregistry.

NameCheap also recently discontinued support for the TLDs that are experiencing the biggest price increases. Tucows announced a similar move in May.

GoDaddy had already said it would drop Uniregistry once before, but changed its mind, before changing it back again.

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Comments (9)

  1. Andrew says:

    I think there’s another issue with whois privacy. My understanding is that there are additional rules for registrars that want to add privacy to Uniregistry names, so many don’t do it (including Hexonet). So even if they were able to transfer the names with a proxy on, the other registrar might not support it.

  2. THCNames says:

    GD made the good move. Not worth a developers time to work out coding for domains nobody wants.

  3. Francois says:

    @thcnames

  4. Francois says:

    Without want to be rude what you say is “stupid” because we are talking there about the management of new gtlds that people want because they registered.

  5. Thaddeus says:

    The extra information that uniregistry requires for names behind a privacy shield is a violation of the privacy itself. They want information about parents, siblings and home addresses as well as an alternate email address. Where’s the privacy in that?

    Drop those requirements, behave more like .COM and maybe you won’t lose so many registrars. These domains have so few purchases, it’s not worth the effort to build out a special set of code to handle them.

  6. Frank Carson says:

    I think some common sense is needed here. GoDaddy cannot very well come out and say: we don’t trust Frank, we don’t trust Uniregistry, we don’t like their flippant views on price gouging, market manipulations, quantity padding as an illustration of market penetration, or the general tone of their brand identity progression through numerous bad decisions and inaccurate market bias. GoDaddy helped make Uniregistry through their co-participation in efforts that gave them market validity. Uniregistry in turn has shown that through desperation and market turbulence, they are prepared and have the propensity to make decisions that harm themselves, new GTLD adoption rates, and public trust in sustainability. Be thankful the headline and releases were not based on concern for personal ethics harming their market.

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