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Let’s all beat up Go Daddy!

Kevin Murphy, December 27, 2011, 20:36:55 (UTC), Domain Registrars

I think it’s fair to say that Go Daddy is ending 2011 on a bum note.

A handful of competitors, notably Namecheap, are exploiting the recent outrage about the company’s support for the Stop Online Piracy Act (since recanted) to really stick the boot in.

NameCheap today called for December 29 to be marked as Move Your Domain Day and is currently sponsoring the hashtag #BoycottGoDaddy on Twitter.

It also said it will donate $1 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for every domain transferred to it that day using the coupon code SOPASUCKS.

Other registrars are joining in with somewhat less gusto.

Dotster, for example, is offering cheap transfers with the discount code NOFLIPFLOP, a reference to Go Daddy’s changed position on SOPA.

So what’s the net effect of all this on Go Daddy’s business? It’s difficult to tell with much accuracy at this point.

NameCheap claims to have seen 40,000 inbound transfers in the last week, most of them presumably coming from former Go Daddy customers.

That’s going to be a difficult claim to verify however, even when December’s official gTLD registry reports are published a few months from now.

Unlike most ICANN-accredited registrars, NameCheap does not register domains directly — it has fewer than 200 .com domains under management, according to the most recent registry report.

The company started off life as an eNom reseller and appears to have never gotten around to migrating its customers.

(I wonder how many people transferring their domains this week are aware that some of their fees are probably flowing into the coffers of Demand Media, another popular internet hate figure.)

Several media articles have sourced DomainTool’s DailyChanges service for numbers of transfers out of domaincontrol.com, Go Daddy’s default name server constellation.

But as Andrew Allemann and Elliot Silver have already noted, those numbers are not a reliable indication of how many domains are being transferred from Go Daddy to other registrars.

Here’s a graph showing the transfers in and out of domaincontrol.com since the start of the month.

graph

Transfers out briefly overtook transfers in this week, but by a negligible number.

The two big spikes you can see – both of which occur before the boycott began on December 22 – can be attributed to domainers (possibly a single domainer) moving thousands of domains from domaincontrol.com to internettraffic.com, a parking service, and back again.

Those movements had nothing to do with SOPA or the boycott, nor do they indicate that the domains were transferred away from Go Daddy. Name server changes != transfers.

Facts shouldn’t get in the way of a good story, however.

That’s probably why NameCheap seems to have got away with its insinuations about Go Daddy “blocking” transfers yesterday, which turned out to be highly questionable.

It transpires that transfers into NameCheap were failing not because of any nefarious activity by Go Daddy, but because NameCheap’s Whois queries were being automatically rate limited.

This was likely because NameCheap failed to white-list the IP addresses it uses for port 43 Whois look-ups either using ICANN’s RADAR tool or by notifying Go Daddy directly.

Registrar expert Jothan Frakes said as much on this blog yesterday, as did Michele Neylon of the unrelated registrar Blacknight on Twitter.

Go Daddy senior direct of product development Rich Merdinger suggested in a statement last night that NameCheap looked for the PR opportunity before picking up the phone:

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.

NameCheap has naturally disputed this interpretation of events, saying it had tried to get in touch with Go Daddy but received no response for 24 hours (Christmas Day, presumably).

Regardless of the he said/she said, the narrative in the media and on Twitter for the last couple of days has been pretty clear — Go Daddy: Bad, NameCheap: Good.

The SOPA story seems to have hit a nerve, and there are no shortage of pissed-off Go Daddy customers with horror stories to recount or just general criticisms of the company’s fairly brash image.

Warren Adelman picked a hell of a time to take over as CEO.

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Comments (11)

  1. Dan says:

    Hi,

    “NameCheap” is almost as bad as Godaddy in many respects.

    They first only came out with their ‘Anti-Sopa’ position 2 days after this thing with Godaddy started to catch fire.

    Godaddy had sent their letter of support for SOPA to the House…back in November.

    The SOPA & Protect IP Act debates have been going on for months before this.

    Where was “NameCheap” back then, when their position actually counted for something?

    Also, In their 1st “PR” on this… The CEO of NameCheap, had a quote about SOPA, that was almost ‘verbatim’ of what a Senator or Congress person said…weeks or a month or so before.

    So IMO,

    NameCheap, is and has been so blatantly disingenuous about this…they are just in it to try and suck domains from Godaddy.

    I would transfer my domains from both, if I had any with them.

    Best,

    ‘D’

  2. Louise says:

    Come home to Moniker, people, where you get treated with dignity, and the company is small enough that you can learn cust. svc. names, like Dave, Carla, and Glenda.

  3. Michael says:

    Hate to just plant a link, but I thought peopple reading this would be interested…

    I am with NameSilo. We are an ICANN-accredited registrar who has been in business for about 2 years. We released some big coupon discounts for domain transfers and have a had a great response, I’m sure in part due to people boycotting Godaddy. In case you are interested, check out our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/namesilo) where we’ve listed the coupon codes that can be used. these discounts are on top of our already very low every day prices, and all domains come with free WHOIS privacy, free parking, and no hidden charges of any kind. I hope you’ll take a look….

    …and, by the way, we have been posting our concerns and opposition to SOPA for nearly a month now :)

  4. Dan says:

    I don’t support sopa but no thanks, I’m fine at GoDaddy.

    If you guys boycott GoDaddy then you may as well stop watching CBS, ESPN and other networks. Stop using Visa and Mastercard and forget watching the NFL or MLB. The list goes on and on. It’s ridiculous to me that domainers only seem to be targeting GoDaddy and not the dozens of other entities that they use daily who support sopa.

  5. I will support GoDaddy and I will stay with them as they are the best in the field and are not afraid to publicly announce their position!
    Some other companies just like to blaim and then bite!
    Go on GoDaddy show them how big you can be!

  6. Dan says:

    Hi,

    @ Michael…a whole month, wow…right on top of things.

    What about the ‘Protect IP Act’ that surfaced last spring…and is coming right back up as soon as Congress comes back into session in mid Jan?

    What about “Operation In Our Sites”?

    They been seizing websites and domains in the U.S & outside the U.S. for over a year.

    Domain Registrars,domain parking company’s as well as most of domain industry in general…had/still been deftly silent on all these issues for months on end.

    ___

    @ Top Deal

    They can support ‘SOPA’, but when they send a letter to the house, basically agreeing with them to pass the bill first, and then find out what it all really means to everyone after it is law…is the ‘ridiculous’ part.

    Then, after such passionate letter in support of SOPA…they try to ‘flip flop’ , but they did not even do their ‘flip flop’ right, as they still support the bill, just not in its current form.

    Did you see the letter they sent to the House in Nov?

    http://www.thedomains.com/2011/11/15/here-is-godaddys-statement-in-support-of-the-stop-online-privacy-act-house-hearing-tomorrow/

    And if that is their position, then yea, they can stick with it and show the world just how big they are.

    peace!
    ‘D’

    • Michael says:

      @Dan

      We have written numerous letters and emails, and even placed multiple phone calls to our senators and representatives going back for over a year regarding our opposition to both SOPA and Protect IP. When I posted, “nearly a month”, I was simply referring to our opposition to these bills that we announced publicly to our customers. We find it more important to actually take action and contact our elected officials with repeated letters, emails and calls, as opposed to simply making statements about our opposition on the Internet when it is convenient for our business model. We have been directly effected by these issues with multiple customers who have had their domains seized with no due process. We advocate for our customers and attempt to act in ways that support their activities so long as they are not illegal as judged by a body of adequate jurisdiction. I am sorry you feel that we have been “deftly silent”, but I can assure you that our Congressmen would tell just the opposite story.

  7. Dan says:

    @ Michael

    That is great…;)

    You said a “nearly a month’, so I based my comments off that.

    Best,
    Dan

  8. Michael says:

    @Dan

    No worries – after re-reading my initial comment I can see where it was misleading :)

  9. Kevin Murphy says:

    There really isn’t any need to use @Dan, @Michael, etc. Clicking “Reply” before leaving a comment will nest it below the comment you’re replying to.

  10. dooshbag says:

    godaddy.com has introduced a new style for their reseller accounts and it is trash!!!! The new style is an untested reseller program!! Example: if you change the color of your home menu bar, and then you hover over the products menu bar and the drop list appears and you scroll through the list, the drop down menu bar background color will become the color of your home menu bar, which makes using the color black not a goodthing. Question: How can web developers, software developers even release a program of this size and not have it tested correctly? Seriously I think the developers for godaddy’s reseller accounts are retardedly slow and have no idea what they are doing!! The new style has at least 100 problems I have found myself and I bet there are many more.

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