I saw this last night and wasn’t sure what to make of it, but after a night’s sleep, I re-read all the related articles and came to the conclusion that Digg is being Digg and blowing everything out of proportions due to biased, sensationalist reporting.
So in this incredibly one-sided and biased article [threadwatch.org], GoDaddy.com is being implicated with stealing someone’s domain and making money off of it for themselves. It, of course, reached Digg and the masses jumped on the anti-GoDaddy bandwagon without actually thinking through the processes of owning a domain name. Seriously, you’d think that all these self-proclaimed geeks would know how something like this could happen, and GoDaddy themselves say happened, so it makes sense when you’re not going “OMG OMG GODADDY STOLE NO MORE BUY FROM THEM LOL”.
In a slightly less biased article [domainnamewire.com], they actually cover how something like this could happen. See, when you register a domain name, you have to provide 100% accurate contact information. If any bit of it is inaccurate, on purpose or on accident, you need to correct it immediately because it’s technically illegal to do. Not only is it illegal to do, but it’s just common sense because this is the only thing GoDaddy has to contact you with!
GoDaddy responded to domainnamewire’s questions and some more things become clear. Apparently, the email address used to register the domain name was wrong, and GoDaddy used that to try to contact the registrar. Whether or not they knew it was inaccurate at the time is left to speculation. The biased article says they knew before, and the others say they knew, but not when. After eight weeks of no contact from the domain name owner, they cancelled the registration and turn it into a parked name… Technically, GoDaddy owns it, although it appears that someone had backordered the domain name before this all happened. So the general consensus is that someone tried emailing the domain name owner, got no response, backordered the name, and then told GoDaddy about invalid contact information. GoDaddy gets no response, GoDaddy cancels domain name (because it IS illegal to have outdated and inaccurate contact information on a domain name), and parks it. Whether or not they actually gave it to the other person was never really clarified.
Should GoDaddy have tried to communicate by something other than email? Maybe they should have at least tried to call. But then again, it’s the responsibility of the domain owner to keep their contact information updated and it’s clearly in all the license agreements to do that. GoDaddy may have been a little hasty, but one thing stands perfectly clear to those who are smart enough to get around all the sensationalist reporting:
Always, always, ALWAYS keep your domain name contact information updated and always, always, ALWAYS regularly check the email you registered it with. Seriously, it’s a domain name! I don’t understand how someone could neglect something as important as that. I wouldn’t say GoDaddy is trying to cheat anyone out of anything. It might have been prudent to contact the owner another way, but it’s just as much the fault of a lazy owner than it is GoDaddy’s.