I am unable to express my anger, frustration and rage of the events of the last three days with respect to my company's domain name. So, in the interest of documenting it, here's the email I sent to a lawyer trying to find someone, nearly anyone at this point, to take my case.
I've spent the last couple days calling lawyers and referrals from lawyers and more referals from lawyers. GoDaddy, complicit in the error of my domain name being transferred away, as both ignored the issue, disavowed there is a problem with their system (there is: if I select "autorenew" and can't autoremew because no payment has been applied to the account, don't tell me the domain will autorenew: it's a simple as that).
I, at this moment, completely and utterly despise GoDaddy and will be transferring my domains away from them as soon as I find a registrar with DNS hosting and a decent interface. At this point, I don't care much about the cost.
Hmmmm.... maybe the anger is starting to show through.
Hi, Mr. Greenstein,
We talked briefly last night about my domain name dispute case. Thank you for taking my call so late in the day.
In January, I had transferred ownership of my company's domain name codingclan.com from my business partner's account at the registrar GoDaddy, to my account at GoDaddy. When doing so, I verified I had auto-renew on for the domain, so that the domain would automatically renew at the end of March when it came due. I have all of my domains on auto-renew so that I don't have to worry about renewing them. Given that I also have a valid credit card on file with GoDaddy, I assumed the domain would automatically renew.
I found out on Tuesday that not only had the domain not renewed, as GoDaddy's systems indicated it would when I logged in to look at my domains, but, when it expired, it was purchased by another company who had placed it on back order.
I am unable to find out the new company's name, as they have registered it under GoDaddy's Domain By Proxy service. When I called GoDaddy and the Domain by Proxy company, both refuse to give me information. Similarly, when I emailed the tech contact's email address listed in the domain's new whois information, I receive no answer.
The new owners of the codingclan.com domain name scraped my site before they transferred the domain to their servers. They have my company information, and company logo on their new site. They are receiving email into my old accounts, essentially impersonating me and my company.
I would like my domain name back.
I would like to begin a domain dispute. Their actions of impersonating me by displaying my site and company information without any indication they are not me, constitutes fraud.
I would like GoDaddy to fix the problem with their setup by which internal transfers of domains cannot be listed as 'auto-renew' unless they can actually autorenew. GoDaddy's current system does not apply the default payment method in an account to internally transferred domains, which is the loophole my domain fell into.
GoDaddy's system also does not display expiring domains which do not have a default payment method assigned to them. To find default payments requires numerous steps, buried in the site, which a technician on a 45 minute phone call had to show me where the listing, and I've been using their services for over five years.
Is this a case you are willing to take? If not, can you refer me to someone who can.
Updated July 26th, 2009: Here is what happened to my domain name:
I transferred my company's domain name from my business partner's GoDaddy account to my GoDaddy account with an internal transfer in January, as my business partner had left the company. When I made this transfer, I made sure the domain name had automatic renewal on. My credit card on file does not expire until next year, so I figured I was all set.
After receiving an email that the domain was about to expire, I logged in to my GoDaddy and verified the domain was on automatic renewal. It was, so I logged back out and didn't worry about it. Recent calls to GoDaddy support confirm that I logged in and viewed my domain page, and would have seen the domain was set to automatically renew.
On May 5th, I was informed by a colleague that email to my business email account was bouncing. Turns out, my domain was NOT renewed, and here's why:
GoDaddy has a bug in their system where INTERNALLY TRANSFERRED DOMAINS DO NOT HAVE SAVED PAYMENT TYPES (CREDIT CARD ON FILE) AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED TO THEM
Despite the fact the GoDaddy website TOLD ME MY DOMAIN WOULD AUTOMATICALLY RENEW, it did not.
When I didn't manually renew the domain name (why would I? it was set to automatically renew), GODADDY SOLD IT AT AUCTION for over $500. This is $500 of profit for GoDaddy ON THE BUG IN THEIR SYSTEM.
It turns out, the person who bought the domain at the auction, scraped my site before transferring the domain. My company's logo, phone number and (this is critical) company email address are currently on the website of the domain name I lost. The new registrant is committing a copyright violation, a trademark violation and fraud by impersonating my company. This scraping happens to be the only chance I'll get my company's domain name back, because of the fraud committed. My case is currently pending in the domain arbitration process that everyone agrees to when they register a domain.
Ideally, I'd like for the defendant to join me in a case to force GoDaddy to fix their system. I'd support a case where GoDaddy pays for my court costs, the defendant's court costs and his auction monies.
In the meantime, I'm looking for a new registrar. Given that I have over a hundred domain names (many as gifts to friends), my leaving will be a noticeable chunk of change. I expect GoDaddy to give me a call when I leave, the same way they annoyingly call to thank me for my business when I now manually renew all of my domains to prevent this error from happening again.
Did I say GoDaddy sucks? Sorry, I meant, GoDaddy FUCKING sucks.