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Competitor: GoDaddy is thwarting domain transfers

In the face of an avalanche of bad publicity, domain registrar GoDaddy is being accused by a competitor of dragging its feet on allowing customers to leave its service.

In a post on its blog, fellow domain registrar Namecheap reports that customers trying to transfer their domains away from GoDaddy are being delayed. The post accuses GoDaddy of "returning incomplete WHOIS information" as a part of the transfer process, a practice which is against the rules of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the process manager for the domain-name system.

"We suspect that this competitor is thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them," writes Namecheap Community Manager Tamar Weinberg in the blog post. "We at Namecheap believe that this action speaks volumes about the impact that informed customers are having on GoDaddy's business."

Ross Rader, general manager of Hover, another domain-registration company, said he couldn't confirm Namecheap's accusations. "I have no information other than what each has published and transfers are flowing freely over here," he tweeted.

GoDaddy has been a magnet for controversy. Most recently, it received withering criticism for supporting the Stop Online Piracy Act, then backtracked and pulled its support. The company's sexually suggestive commercials haven't helped, nor has the widely reported recreational elephant hunting of its CEO. The company has also been accused before of delaying Whois updates in violation of ICANN policies.

As a result, there's been a campaign online to encourage users to take their business elsewhere. Macworld even posted a guide to transferring your domain-name service earlier this month.

Update: Go Daddy has responded to us and says it's not doing anything wrong, that this is just a misunderstanding, and that nobody at Namecheap has contacted them about this matter. Here's a statement from Go Daddy Senior Director of Product Development, Domains:

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.

Because some registrars (and other data gathering, analyzing and reporting entities) have legitimate need for heavy port 43 access, we routinely grant requests for expanded access per an SOP we've had in place for many years. Should we make contact with Namecheap, and learn they need similar access, we would treat that request similarly.

As a side note, we have seen some nefarious activity this weekend which came from non-registrar sources. But, that is not unusual for a holiday weekend, nor would it cause legitimate requests to be rejected. Nevertheless, we have now proactively removed the rate limit for Namecheap, as a courtesy, but it is important to point out, there still may be back-end IP addresses affiliated with Namecheap of which we are unaware. For complete resolution, we should be talking to each other--an effort we are initiating since they have not done so themselves.

In an update posted to Namecheap's blog, the company says "GoDaddy has confirmed they have finally unblocked our queries. The transfer queue is being cleared and all transfers should go smoothly from here on. Many thanks to our customers and supporters for bringing this issue the attention it deserved!"

Hat tip: Ryan Block and Glenn Fleishman.


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