The Internet Escort’s Handbook

Safe, Sane, Successful Escort Work is Possible!

GoDaddy.com and Domains

GoDaddy.com is in trouble again. It did not properly protect the owner of a domain and the domain was swiped. There are a lot more tangents to this story and you can read them at the links I’ve posted for you at the end of this article. The focus here is how it could affect escorts and their Web sites.

According to what I’ve read, it seems that the person who wanted the domain attempted to contact the owner through the e-mail address listed on their WhoIs information (i.e., their domain registration). When that e-mail bounced they backordered the domain, then alerted GoDaddy to the problem. (GoDaddy was the domain registrar on record.) GoDaddy attempted to contact the owner of the domain by e-mail. In a nutshell – GoDaddy’s e-mail went unanswered so they took back the domain and allowed the other party to purchase it.

Although you’re supposed to register a working telephone number, valid e-mail address and a mailing address when you purchase a domain, GoDaddy used only one method to try and contact the domain owner: their e-mail (even though that e-mail was no longer working).

Lesson 1

Always use a valid e-mail address. One that you check at least once a week. If you change e-mail addresses, make sure to change the information on your domain and Web hosting service(s).

Lesson 2

The people who build spam sites or who might have a personal grudge against you could use this method of domain inquiry and backordering to cause problems for you. While GoDaddy’s response to the situation seems to have been out of line for most domain registrars, there’s no guarantee that yours will behave any better. Make sure your registration information is updated and correct. (Correct just means they can reach you – it doesn’t have to mean your home address and real name.)

The Outcome

GoDaddy has attempted to make nice and give the domain back to the original owner (with some legal strings attached). The case is pending so I don’t know the final outcome. I do know the domain has been out of the original owner’s control for over a week and they’re probably losing business and stature because of it. The domain is now a parked page and probably will be until this whole mess gets sorted out. This is not good news for you if you’re relying on your Web site for income.

Where Else Can You Do?

You don’t have to move away from GoDaddy unless this story no longer makes you feel safe. Keep your contact information updated. Make sure your domain is locked; although that is no protection in a case like this, it does offer protection in other instances. And update your payment information.

My credit card is expiring before my domains’ renewal dates. My GoDaddy control panel showed a message threatening to take back my domains if I didn’t enter a new credit card number. Instead, I clicked on the “no payment method” option. This should prevent me from losing my domains when my credit card expires.

Other Domain Registrars

There are tons of domain registrars out there. I’ve used GoDaddy.com, NetworkSolutions.com, Webmasters.com and APlus.net without any problems. But that doesn’t mean you won’t.

I tried researching other registrars but I could not find one that didn’t have a negative review. The best bet is to do your own research and make your own decision. Ask friends and Web masters for recommendations. Read the fine print, including Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy. Make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting. And keep your contact info up-to-date.

The Articles

the Digg story

Includes questions answered by GoDaddy

Includes a discussion of ICANN registration rules

Short, but where I first heard about the problem

Update

Though GoDaddy.com has not been publicly named, some Web host allowed a hacker to steal a domain. The victim made the mistake of announcing he was going on vacation. The hacker moved fast (and had somehow had acces to his e-mail account). There went the domain.

Five tips to keep your domain under your control

Originally published 3/5/07, but due to technical issues is dated several months later.