Go Daddy Customer Complains About 2 Domains That Were Removed From His Account

A Go Daddy customer is complaining that he registered 2 .xyz domains in June and Go Daddy removed the 2 domains from his account in July and registered the domains under some other name.

I am not sure what happened because the 2 domains he mentions have different registration dates and one of the domains is not registered with Go Daddy.

complete.xyz: registered on July 2 2014 at onamae.com
april.xyz: registered on July 17 2014 at Go Daddy

I checked domaintools.com and I can’t find a whois record earlier than the dates above.

The pissedconsumer.com review is titled:
“GoDaddy’s flawed Trademark filter can cause you to lose your domains.”

Here is what the Go Daddy customer had to say:

Trademarks were designed to unique protect brand names, like Cheerios, Doritos, or Coca-Cola… so when GoDaddy decided to automate their domain registration system to prevent people from registering domains containing Trademarks.

The trouble is, their system can trigger false red flags for Trademarks of common words. For example, did you know somebody has a Trademark for “April”? I found out the hard way… I registered domains recently that had common words like April and Complete in them, then because of their filters, the domains were taken away two weeks after the confirmed order.

Let me be clear here, although there may be a US Trademark for the word April, NOBODY owns that word. It’s a month… and a woman’s name. The same is true for Complete, so don’t worry if you use it in a sentence.

The trouble is, I ordered the domains Complete.xyz and April.xyz and received confirmations on June 20th… only to have them removed from my account and sold to another GoDaddy customer in July.

That’s undefensible. I am perfectly okay with a Trademark filter that stops people from cyber-squatting unique brand names, but that filter needs to remove any Trademark of common words and phrases.

For this reason, if Andersen wanted to buy a domain with Windows in it, Microsoft would not care, because Microsoft has no intention to own the word Windows. Their Trademark is designed to stop other software companies from making a software product called Windows, not to prevent people from using Windows in any other way.

So far, they have taken 3 domains from me because of this flawed system. It’s not only flawed for red-flagging common word domains in the first place, but because there are several bugs in that system that prevent them from giving the domain owner an opportunity to sign acknowledgement agreements that would otherwise save the domain.

Because of this second flaw, I never even knew they intended to take my domains from my account.

To fix this problem they need to do four things.

1. Before taking a domain that somebody paid for, there needs to be a second filter for common words. Any common word such as “Dog”, “Cat”, “House”, “January”… APRIL… should automatically be cleared, because even if somebody has a Trademark, there is no reason to block somebody from owning such a domain. Period.

2. Regardless of the red flag, there should be HUMAN review, so somebody who sees the domain can decide if there is a potential problem.

3. Once the red flag has been reviewed and a clear Trademark issue is indicated, the domain should NOT be removed… but suspended at least 30 days until a CONFIRMED contact is made, by certified mail, phone or email. In the case of email, an unanswered email does not qualify, there must be a response.

4. Once a CONFIRMED notification is made, the owner should have 30 days to submit any documentation needed to keep it, before it is taken away.

The trouble is, I own nearly 700 domains… and I am still concerned they will continue to take my domains away without notice.

After losing the first two domains in this manner, I pressed them to review my list of about 700 domains, and let me know if there were any other domains flagged for Trademark issues, they said I was clear… then they took the third.

This time, I demanded they look at my list, and put IN WRITING, a single statement that every domain I owned as of that moment was safe, and was not subject to another Trademark grab. I told them this was so that I could hold them accountable if it happens again. They repeatedly refused to put it in writing.

If they had faith in their system, there would be no reason to refuse to put it in writing.

They refunded the price of each domain… about $12, but because all three domains were short, easy to remember domains, the damage to me as a domain investor were potentially in the tens of thousands.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

21 comments

  1. Complaining? He should be happy he has no XYZ domains 😀

  2. Right…lol, sounds like they did him a favor.
    Why is it with all these stupid new extensions, there is a problem.
    When i register a .com i never have a problem.
    I maybe the stupid one, but i’m still without one new gTLD.

  3. Take a number from the launch of .guru godaddy has been pulling names from accounts, and re-allocating them. He should be thrilled, who knows about the truth behind this story, more marketing ploys.

  4. This is why i stopped buying G’s from Godaddy.

  5. Godaddy removed a few of the best .xyz names from my account that I registered within minutes of general availability. As best as I can determine, they were late processing some of their pre-orders and took the domains from me to fulfill those orders. I’ll never use godaddy again on a general availability launch day. If I had used a different registrar I would still have those names.

  6. Bad customer service and high prices are the reason i am transferring my few gtlds away from godaddy. They have really gone down the drain lately. This guy does have a point, no matter what extension

  7. Why I’m not sure I don’t like the interface and the way they market so I have never bought anything from them. I do not feel comfortable while I visit them. May be I’m loosing some sales over there but its not pleasing me personally.

  8. I’m the guy who lost the 3 domains… yes, they actually took a third domain a week later. My complaints led to a call from the CEO’s office to finally take action.

    I spoke to the CEO’s liaison for over an hour and it was somewhat productive. I outlined at least 4 specific flaws that had to be fixed immediately or more domains would be lost.

    I was able to show them exactly what circumstances trigger the flaws, and specific failsafe steps they need to insure that domains are never taken by means of an automated system without confirmed notification, regardless of whether it was because of a potential system glitch or not.

    They said they confirmed the existence of the actual bug I described that triggers the glitch and were working on the fix. They also said my other 3 suggestions made sense, especially the concept that a domain can never be removed without confirmed notification (certified mail, phone calls, etc.). In the event that a domain is flagged, it should also be put in a suspended status for a period until such notification is confirmed and the owner has time to respond.

    I also argued that their filters should exclude “common words and phrases”, so that unlike a brand, words like “April” shouldn’t be triggered in the first place.

    The reason they never discovered the bug until I reported it was that they rarely had as many generic terms like “April” being registered, until the new TLDs arrived. Pretty much every word in the English dictionary were registered as .Com, .Net, etc over a decade ago.

    The first part of the bug only rears it’s head if you purchase more than 1 potential Trademark domain in the same shopping cart. Their process to acknowledge the Trademark had not provision to spot more than one per order, so the acknowledgement and notification step was skipped… leaving them open for removal about 3 weeks later.

    The reason you don’t see the original June 20 registration dates or a record of my original ownership was because of one of the bugs. They were in a state of limbo inside their reservation system, awaiting acknowledgement of the Trademark. Since no notification was sent, their hold status eventually expired and they went into general availability.

    To be clear, these were not pre-registrations. They were confirmed orders, long after .xyz was under general availability, but GoDaddy is obligated to confirm the buyer acknowledges the potential Trademark before their hold status expires.

    The funny thing, the day after the CEO’s office called, he called a second time, this time to warn me that after his people looked at the causes, they discovered 3 more domains that were just days away from being taken away for the same reason, but he managed to show me a hidden screen that lets me monitor missing acknowledgments like this to prevent further losses.

    He suggested that until they know for sure the system is fixed, I check it daily because the fixes may only prevent problems on new registrations.

    Daniel Negari, the CEO of .XYZ was instrumental in getting GoDaddy to work on a fix… he kept in contact with me through the whole thing. He didn’t have the authority to get my domains back, but he sent me a swell T-shirt.

    Lastly… I should mention that I’ve got about 700 domains… 99.9% of them are .com. I’m not a fan of all these new TLDs, but I’ve scooped up a bunch just in case they catch on. I realize .xyz sounds like the least attractive of the new TLDs, but it’s actually the most popular one right now with 20% of new TLD registrations.

    I like their angle, that it’s got a great shot of catching on simply because it means nothing. So, like Nintendo calling their game unit Wii, so they can use the same name in every language, .xyz has that potential in any language too.

    • A few things:
      1. Thanks for the update and thanks for finding the bug.
      2. The trademark notices only apply to new gLTDs.
      3. “I also argued that their filters should exclude “common words and phrases”, so that unlike a brand, words like “April” shouldn’t be triggered in the first place.” This is not going to happen because Go Daddy and all registrars are obligated by ICANN to serve these notices on any New gTLD domain that matches a mark in the Trademark Clearinghouse.
      4. Don’t believe all this .xyz hype. Most of the .xyz domains you see registered were given for free to Network Solutions customers that didn’t opt-out of them.
      5. Daniel Negari has become the joke of the the domain name industry.

      • I understand the requirement… I disagree with using an automated system to make the final decision. Because of their bug, there are specific cases where the buyer does not get the required ICANN notification.

        One of the troubles with automation is the potential for a bug, and this is a bad one. Here’s the scenario that can trigger this specific bug:

        If somebody orders a domain such as “Joe.xyz”, which actually is a violation of the Trademark “Joe”, they will be given a check box to acknowledge it. If you failed to check it, you can’t order it.

        However, if you ordered “Joe.xyz”, then in the same shopping cart, you ordered “Tom.xyz”, “Dick.xyx” and “Harry.xyx”, all of them are Trademarked… you will get exactly one checkbox, for whichever was first, “Joe.xyz”… if you check the box, the shopping cart continues… but the other 3 are in a hold status, awaiting the Acknowledgement check…. that never shows.

        The trouble is their automated system does not send ANY notification… until it’s voided about 3 weeks later.

        If you go to your account any time within the 3 weeks, you can go to a literally buried page, find the 3 domains, then check the required ICANN box, and they are taken back out of hold, and your domains are safe.

        If you don’t do it within the 3 weeks, the hold expires, the transaction is voided, and somebody else gets the domains.

        With or without the bug, it still stands to reason that before anyone loses a domain because of a Trademark, or any technical issue, a verified notification should be documented, and sufficient time to comply. This means certified mail, or a confirmed telephone communication.

        As for the common words, I understand they can’t eliminate the ICANN requirement entirely, but if their automated filters spot common words, they clearly need this verification before cancelling a domain. Had the Trademark filters picked up “Doritos.xyz” or something unique, I could be convinced that an automated filter wouldn’t be doing any harm by removing it without notice, but for those common words, they MUST give the owner a chance to check the ICANN box before it’s taken by automation..

        As for why this mainly applies to the new TLDs, most common words and Trademarked words are already registered using the old TLDs… so these triggers are going to see a lot of action as each new TLD opens.

        Lastly, I agree, .xyz, and most of the new TLDs are far from a guarantee to succeed. GoDaddy made a big point in their last conference to explain why they are investing in creating a new Registry because they feel the new TLDs have opened up the domain marketplace to a broader audience.

        I’m aware of Network Solutions opt-out .xyz domains that have skewed the registration statistics, and I literally laughed at .xyz when I first saw it was approved.

        I have about 700 domains, and most are .COMs, so I mainly picked up some as a hedge, in case Daniel manages to gain public acceptance. The only reason I think it may have any chance is because it means absolutely nothing, but it means nothing in every language, so it has the potential to catch on in multiple countries at the same time.

        If it doesn’t I’m out a few hundred dollars, but they sent me a swell XYZ T-shirt…. so I’ll still have that. 🙂

      • There is no decision involved. You get the trademark notice, you agree and the domain is registered and yours.

        What you suggest “certified mail, or a confirmed telephone communication.” is not really possible for thousands of domain names that are registered around the globe.

        Go Daddy had/has a bug and that will soon be fixed. ICANN and the Trademark Clearinghouse do give you 3 weeks to check the box. It is Go Daddy’s fault that it did not present that to you. Trademark Clearinghouse is sending these notices informing the registrants. If you want to register April.xyz you can see in what trademark classes you can’t use it. They can’t filter out the common words as you say. Even single letters such as “e” are registered trademarks. This is more of a trademark problem than a domain name problem. Most of the 30,000 marks in the Trademark Clearinghouse are common words.

      • To clarify…

        I know they can’t entirely eliminate the common words from their system. They are required by ICANN. But, if people are registering domains, and they fail to check the box, they MUST notify the owner at least once or twice in the 3 weeks. Even if you log in to your account, there is ZERO notifications or alerts telling you to follow up on any Clearinghouse issues. Zero.

        It’s not unusual for a registrar to send expiration notices to customers via email… but they aren’t sending ANYTHING to people who failed to check the box. As you know, in my case it was because of the bug that omits the Clearinghouse confirmation in cases where more than one domain in the shopping cart has a match.

        What I suggested to GoDaddy was that if they put an additional filter on common words and phrases, they would have a much shorter list of people to contact before voiding their purchases.

        For example, assuming you ordered “Cheerios”, and you were not given the Trademark Clearinghouse prompts… For the next 3 weeks, because of the bug, you would have no idea that you were violating the Trademark, and the transaction will eventually be voided… then the first notification you actually got, was that it was cancelled… would you be pissed? Only a bit, because odds are you would’ve lost it eventually.

        Next, assuming you ordered something generic like “ShoesBox”, which is Trademarked by a gazillion people… assuming the same scenario, would you be pissed? Odds are you’d be even more pissed because unlike the first case, where you clearly were violating a brand’s right to a very unique brand, this was a common word.

        So, I proposed to GoDaddy that in cases where they are using an automated system, they screen for the common words, and in those cases make sure they send notification, because these are likely to be easily defended by the owners and they should at least be aware of their obligation to click the Clearinghouse link.

        Above all, the main reason I’ve been so vocal about this issue is that they are voiding transactions with absolutely ZERO notification. Simply stated, if you buy a domain like April, you won’t know it’s Trademarked… you won’t know you needed to find their obscure page to go through the Trademark Clearinghouse… and you will lose it in about 3 weeks.

        Unless they improve this system, people need to be aware that they need to find that link… and check it the next day… and I’ve also discovered, to be completely safe, you need to check it daily, because I found 3 more domains were scheduled to be voided even after GoDaddy told me everything up to that date was cleared.

      • All registrars require that you check the box before you make any orders.
        What you suggest is not necessary as all registrants are supposed to get the notice.

        Go Daddy has messed up once again. Go Daddy is not a good registrar. You should find a new one and avoid the headaches.

      • Yes… they are required to prevent orders from going through if you don’t check the box.

        Their bug is what is at issue. It allows orders to go through without checking it, in cases where there are multiple domains that require clearance.

        My solution was that before they allow their automated system to void transactions, they simply contact the owners. It’s not a lot to ask.

        To me a Registrar should always make verified contact with a domain owner before they take away a domain… for any reason. There should be no exceptions. This would not be as many calls, emails or certified mails as you may think. The only people who would require notification are the ones that fall between the cracks for one reason or another.

        As I said, this is especially important when the only reason for voiding the transaction is a Trademark of a common word…. making that small list of contacts even smaller.

        On a positive note, a week after losing the first 3 domains, I did get a phone call from GoDaddy warning me about the other 3 that were about to be voided. That was all it took to get an already pissed customer to think they were potentially heard.

        I’ve been looking for other Registrars, I need to find one that’s relatively inexpensive, because with over 700 domains, paying an extra $3 or so per domain adds up.

        Who do you suggest? I am definitely shopping around for a more secure experience. This isn’t the first time GoDaddy has screwed something up.

      • You can find another post with all the comments here.

  9. the domain business is an insular, incestuous gob a goo and getting worse.

    the registrars are given cart blanch to steal from registrants and ICANN is complicit

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