FamilyAlbum.com Vs. GoDaddy

Domain Name Wire broke the story about GoDaddy canceling the domain FamilyAlbum.com due to inaccurate WHOIS information on the registration.

As some background info – ICANN passed a regulation in March 2003 which required all the Registrars/Reseller to ensure that user WHOIS information was correct. This was largely in an effort to combat internet fraud, where the culprits too often hid behind bogus information on their registrations.

After the cancellation of the domain, GoDaddy then proceeded to sell it to a customer with a outstanding backorder. This seems to have been done without any suspension or downtime on the domain. In my opinion this procedure leaves the door wide open for a hijacker and represents a real danger for domains held with GoDaddy.

When the original owner tried to get it back GoDaddy at first agreed, as long as the they signed a waver for GoDaddy in any legal case (the new owner immediately threatened legal action).

Here’s an update from the (former) owner of FamilyAlbum.com. GoDaddy has offered to get the name back for him if he indemnifies GoDaddy from legal action by the new registrant.

They soon U-turned on this position, presumably when they realised any other move would leave them in the firing line, indemnity papers signed or not.

Thank you for your message. After further review with our Legal Department, it does not appear that we are able to assist you with this issue. Since the name was canceled following ICANN standards and the name is now registered to another party, you will need to contact the current registrant regarding the domain name.

This has been an interesting case for me to watch, especially in light of Domain News Wire obtaining statements from other registrars on the issue.

I thought I’d seek out Tucows opinion on this issue and spoke Paul Karkas, Compliance Officer for OpenSRS. I’m sure he doesn’t mind me reprinting his response to me here.

Hi Nick – for the past few *years* now Tucows has elected to simply suspend the domain name and *not* delete it.

There are a variety of reasons that factor in here.

We’re in the business of keeping names, not deleting them, and there can be many reasons why an end user does not or is unable to reply within the allotted fifteen day time frame given by ICANN. We want to ensure that the end user has every opportunity afforded to them to comply with the accreditation agreement.

Also, god forbid, that a name is erroneously deleted, there would be a redemption fee to pay – so, it also makes good sense/cents to not delete a name and possibly incur a charge from the registry – not to mention any time delays that may take place in processing a redemption.

Maybe the most obvious response as to why we do not delete a domain name is that there is nothing mandating that we do so;

http://www.icann.org/announcements/advisory-03apr03.htm

Subsection 3.7.7.2 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement does not require a registrar to cancel a registration in the event a customer fails to respond within 15 days. The accreditation agreement’s approach of requiring the registrar to retain the right to cancel if the customer fails to respond in 15 days, but not requiring the registrar to exercise that right is intended to give the registrar the flexibility to use good judgment to determine what action should be taken upon a customer’s failure to respond to an inquiry about a Whois inaccuracy.

With respect to the auction/parked pages program, a suspended domain names would follow the same course any other name would, and only be submitted to Auction *after* it had expired – expired meaning run out the course of it’s lease or reach day zero and end of term of registration.

I always value the advice from Paul and other Tucows staff members, in my book they are some of the most informed people around on ICANN and domain regulation issues (often taking their own time to join the boards and committees forming the rules in the first place).

So it looks like GoDaddy decided to cancel this domain from their own company policy and ‘good judgment’. They could have chosen to suspend the domain for the duration of the registration period, as Tucows does, but they decided to resell it immediately.

Nick Wilsdon is the Head of Content and Media at iProspect UK, part of the Densu Aegis Network. He manages online campaigns for the UK's leading telecom, finance and FMCG brands.

Comments

  1. Art says

    do yoi have the telephone numbers of those gentlemen with TUCOWS?

    Any exp with I-power a domain seller (phoenix?? utilizing Tucows

  2. Nick Wilsdon says

    Hi Art,

    No I’ve not heard of heard of that reseller. If you are having difficulty though I can get in touch with Tucows on your behalf, they are very supportive, especially if your current RSP (reseller service provider) has gone out of business.

    We’re Tucows resellers ourselves here at e3internet, so can even arrange a RSP transfer fairly easily. Email me with the details of the situation and the domain name(s) to: support@e3internet.com (mark it FAO Nick Wilsdon). I’ll try to help.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Update: Since posting this a number of people have emailed me to say I was judging the company too harshly. I think they are right. Having said that I still worry about the lack of response from GoDaddy. The CEO has a blog, where is their side of the story? They do seem to be talking to the original owner, maybe it will all be sorted out amicably. [...]

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