Considering GoDaddy Protected Registration? DON’T!

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.  

FinallyIn 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:

  1. I had login access to the administration page on the Protected Registration account
  2. 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.

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10 Comments

Filed under Online Security, Web Design

10 responses to “Considering GoDaddy Protected Registration? DON’T!

  1. It isn’t the “protected registration” that’s the problem, it’s godaddy.
    During the SOPA debacle (another one is brewing), GoDaddy supported SOPA, because they got to be the registrar that took charge of “violators”
    (from memory, not specific). They are sleazy and slimy regardless of whether or not one uses “protected registration” I switched to namecheap as many others on reddit had testified to their low cost and high integrity. I haven’t had any troubles with them but haven’t used them for any more than simply registration.

  2. Bob

    The troubles you had means that the protected registration did its job. Thats the whole point of protected registration. Sometimes the issue isnt the company. Its the customer.

    • I’ll accept that it’s “the customer” if you can explain why the person that:
      a. Is paying the bill using their personal credit card
      b. Is the person that registered the domain and took out this feature
      c. has demonstrated that they are who they say they are
      d. has admin access to the account and can can answer all of the security questions
      is not allowed to cancel the feature.

      I see that cable providers try similar tactics to keep clients paying long after they want to leave.
      http://time.com/2985964/comcast-cancel-ryan-block/

  3. John

    how do you tell if your domain has the protected registration status on it? I am currently trying to move a domain away and have unlocked it but am having issues with the new site trying to initiate a transfer. I can’t see in my account settings if it is in that state or not.

    Cheers!

    • It’s hard for me to say for sure since I have moved all of my domains to other registrars but, if I recall correctly, there are a list of domain ‘enhancements’ on the right hand side when looking at the domain management page. If they are still trying to sell it to you then you probably don’t have it 😉

  4. Yep, two years later and I’m still trying to cancel my protected registration and my domain names and my account. You can’t just cancel your account or the auto renewal option. You also can no longer delete your payment information. I’m at wits end!

    • Unfortunately you are not alone. I had someone else contact me just recently through another medium and they have been stuck in this nightmare for several years. I was not able to delete my payment either so I had to be clever about it.

      What I actually was to put a credit card on file that was about to expire and then it let me remove all of the others. Then I waited for it to expire and ignored their reminders to update it.

      Another option would be to put a card on file that you never use, remove all of the others, and then cancel that card. Be warned, some credit card companies (AMEX perhaps?) will automatically update certain providers after the card is cancelled and you are back to square one, so check the companies policy before you do that.

  5. Michael

    Glad you posted this, Barry. Protected Registration is a scam, pure and simple. While I didn’t have quite the trouble you did, I did have a nightmare trying to cancel a domain with Protected Registration. The first problem was that there was a bug in the software to fill out the form for cancelling it (the CAPTCHA screen didn’t verify I was a human, asking me instead to fill out another code, despite the fact that there was no box to fill out, only a checkbox to click on!). The second problem was that, after submitting the form and a copy of your personal ID, they give two options, either you have to provide company documentation (burdensome) or remove the company name from the registrant details. Thinking the latter would be easier I followed the instructions to the letter, but when I hit save I got an infinite spinner. I called customer service and they said they couldn’t help, I should instead email back the Protected Registration team. And guess what they told me when I emailed them, saying as much? They sent me a link to the same instructions I had already followed, and told me to call the same customer service number I had already spoken to!!

    To their credit, when I replied to their email saying all this, they went ahead and cancelled the Protected Registration without any further questions.

    • honestly your experience was so much better than mine. Is not given the option to remove the company name, nor would they cancel after I had proven who I was. Maybe a bit of negative feedback is helping them get thier act together

  6. I am going through this issue right now. It’s time for my domain to renew but the payment failed because I need to upate my payments. I did then noticed the protected registration and privacy, which I could not remove from the cart. I contacted someone who showed me where to go to remove it. I didn’t even know I had it and never went through the process of setting it up. So in order to remove it, I had to set it up. After I set it up, I had to wait 72 hours before I could remove it. I contacted support again and this time met with a rude unhelpful person who told me they would charge me anyway and I have to wait until next year to cancel. And of course when I tried to leave a negative review I kept getting errors. So I left my paypemts unupdated and was able to cancel the registraiton today. Let’s see if I still get charged.

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