I registered my first website back in 2005 and today, after years of trying, I finally prevailed in a multi-year battle with GoDaddy to shut that URL down.
In an effort to spare you my pain, and warn you of what I consider to be some shoddy business practices, I’ll give a brief explanation.
I registered my first domain for a small web business that I went into with a good friend. Being my first URL I believed their hype and paid for the optional Protected Registration.
Two years later, after much fun, it was obvious that we couldn’t run the project on a part time basis and we closed the company down. The URL, however, lived on and GoDaddy dutifully renewed it the following year, charging the renewal and the Protected Registration feeds to my personal credit card. Here’s where things get a little strange.
I tried to cancel future renewals through their web interface but was blocked because the Protected Registration. No problem, I thought, I’ll just cancel the Protected Registration.
When I tried to cancel the Protected Registration I was unable to do so because they required documentation from the company that was no longer available because the company was closed. Apparently I needed this to “prove that I had the right to cancel”, despite the fact that:
- I had login access to the administration page on the Protected Registration account
- It was MY credit card being charged
I suggested (reasonably I thought) that since I was the one paying I should also have the right to cancel. Not so, according to them.
I asked if there was any other way to cancel, since the company the Protected Registration was for no longer existed.
- They asked me to fill in a cancellation form, sign it and send it to them, which I did
- They then asked me to send them copies of my drivers licence and passport, which I (stupidly) did
- They then asked me to sign a legal contract so open ended and one-sided that I refused to do it
Each time I pointed out that, as the person paying, surely that gave me the right to cancel.
When I refused to sign over my first born child they told me there was nothing more they could do.
Time for plan B.
Clearly I was not getting anywhere with logic or common sense, so a new strategy was in order.
I opened my GoDaddy account and simply removed all of the credit cards on file.
By now I also had at least a dozen other domain names registered with them. All of those were transferred to a registrar that actually treats customers as though they want to keep them.
Then the waiting game started.
Periodically I would get calls from them warning me that I was about to lose my URL. “Good! Please do it right now!” They would invariably ask why I didn’t just cancel it, leading to an ear bleeding tirade that would make a sailor blush.
Finally, after two years of warnings, I received an email today telling me that the URL and the Protected Registration have been deleted from my account. Hooray!!!
Learn from my mistakes people. If you are offered Protected Registration, don’t do it. It sounds great, but most decent companies offer automatic renewal with email reminders anyway, so the benefits are practically zero.