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The Almighty Buck The Internet

GoDaddy VP Caught Bidding Against Customers 222

An anonymous reader writes "A GoDaddy Vice President has been caught bidding against customers in their own domain name auctions. The employee Adam Dicker isn't just any GoDaddy employee; he's head of the GoDaddy subsidiary that controls the auctions. Dicker won some of the domains he bid for, and pushed up the bid price on auctions he didn't win. The conflict of interest is unethical, but could this practice also be illegal? Said a representative for a competitor, 'Even if controlled, that practice has bad news written all over it.' This comes hot on the heels of news that despite earlier promises to ICANN to end their 60-Day ban on transfers, GoDaddy quietly circumvented it by forcing customers to agree to the ban anyway. ICANN doesn't appear to be investigating or asking follow-up questions about this. What can be done to force ICANN to police the registrars for which it is responsible?"
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GoDaddy VP Caught Bidding Against Customers

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  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @07:51AM (#23989303)

    Pay a Congressman.



  • Get the word out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monoman ( 8745 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @07:59AM (#23989329) Homepage

    At a minimum, get the word out so everyone knows about it. Also, vote with your dollars by taking your business elsewhere.

    • Re:Get the word out (Score:5, Informative)

      by loraksus ( 171574 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @09:00AM (#23989593) Homepage

      Problem is... all the domain auction sites are full of scumbags.
      Virtually all of the "buy a lapsed domain" sites use a "give us a number, we won't tell you if you've beat the other bidder - or even if there is another bidder, but we will let you increase your bid if you want" bidding method. Oh... and you have to pay to for the privilege of bidding.
      Fucking scumbags, pure and simple.

      BTW... If you're considering Godaddy's "expiring domain" service, don't - because you might as well just take a $20 bill and burn it in a sacrifice to the domain gods.

      Godaddy tells you that if you don't get the domain you want, you can try another. Of course, they virtually never win anything (as the big domain auction houses get most domains, something that GoDaddy is well aware of) and when you try to register another domain, "it doesn't qualify" or you will be told you have to try and find another domain (which, of course, you also won't get) and so on and so on. I'd be surprised if godaddy has even caught a single expiring domain (from another registrar) in their entire history.

      Domain registrars are all scum.

      • by Monoman ( 8745 )

        I agree and my original post is still relevant. What are the alternatives?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by SMS_Design ( 879582 )
          For registrars, the only good one I've dealt with has been DomainSite.com. Really nice people, good prices, and a solid control panel. For the expiring domain thing, I have no clue.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Achra ( 846023 )
        Actually, I had been waiting on an expiring domain (a fairly popular last name) for a while - and began it with a godaddy "backorder" $17.. Later, I read about how they were pretty worthless at this - and put orders in with snapnames and some of the other top-tier providers of this kind of service.... This morning, I had the domain - and guess who had managed to snag it first? Godaddy.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      The now corporate and corrupt (but, I repeat myself) ICANN doing nothing is just a big a problem. And you can't choose another Internet governing board.

      • by Evets ( 629327 )

        All it would take in this instance is the availability and choice of another registration system.

        I'm surprised nobody has taken that idea to a point of popularity yet. I know there have been at least two attempts that flopped.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:00AM (#23989339)

    I would ditch my 200+ domains at GoDaddy in a heartbeat.

    The company is rife with unethical business practices.

    I have experienced this same thing where GoDaddy bid against me in an auction.

    They will also purposely not update your contact information / credit information for certain domains where they can grab them and sell them off at a profit. Which has also happened to me.

    For whatever reason, there doesn't seem to be an equal price competitor to GoDaddy. That's a shame as there are many people who want to leave.

    • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:09AM (#23989379) Homepage Journal

      In other words, you would take a stand on principle, but not if it costs you a bit more money. Heh.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Ninjy ( 828167 )
        Well, unfortunately, this "money" you speak of is not of infinite supply. Some people might make decisions on principle, but most people either can't be bothered or simply can't afford to. Life usually isn't that convenient, and companies know it.
    • by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:24AM (#23989437) Homepage
      The company I buy my domains from is only $12/year for a .com, just $2 more than GoDaddy (even less difference if you register for a longer period of time). I consider $2/year difference to be a pretty inconsequential amount of money, especially considering that it also keeps me from worrying about getting fucked over by my registrar.
    • 1&1 has better prices.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Isn't it possible that the only reason they have these 'low' prices is because they are ripping off customers by bidding against them?

      So you save with one hand, and pay for it with the other.

      Dubious savings.

    • You sir are the perfect candidate to own a micro domain registrar.

      I got mine about four years ago. I was frustrated with both NetSol ($$$$), GoDaddy (liked to play cat and mouse games with their customers) and the many hosts that included free domain names with terrible strings attached. A reseller web hosting account was $15/month (after four years they just raised it to $20), and a registrar account with an Indian domain wholesaler was free.

      On day one I was able to sell domains for under $10 and still make money in every transaction. My then boss immediately stopped using NeSol, so as each of his 20+ domains needed a renewal, he transferred them to me. My friends took notice, so every single one moved his domains with me.

      As I kept selling domains, the registrar moved me up in their sales tier, every time shaving a few cents off the wholesale price for each domain. I did not get greedy, every time I got a cut, I shaved my prices a little bit.

      I call it my micro registrar company because we are talking just a few hundred domains scattered across 30 or so customers. But they love me because whenever something goes wrong, all they have to do is either IM, email me or even call me, and they get much better support than what they would get from NetSol or GoDaddy. In the rare case that I actually need the help of the wholesalers, their turnaround is pretty decent, and they are extremely polite and professional.

      I am not saying that everything is perfect, or that it is a piece of cake, but it does not take a lot of work to make it happen. At least two of my friends liked it enough that they made their own micro registrars too, and as far as I know they are happy with it.

      As for what the GoDaddy asshat did, it is at the very least a breach of trust. If one of my customers asks me to check a few domains for her and she tells me she wants to think about it, I am not going to buy them for myself and then ask her for more money, that's just wrong.

      • missed the point (Score:3, Insightful)

        by samjam ( 256347 )

        And if you [ go under a bus / get blown up / fall out with your customer / get overwhelmed ] all your customers will bitterly wish that they had gone with godaddy.

        I had a friend do what you did and he totally frazzed out under the stress, his "micro" business went under.

        One of my associates, his customer, had to go to the hosting company and pay them so he could get his servers out; but before that it was a mad drive across country to find the guy who had just dropped off the map.


    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Perhaps the answer is that the only way godaddy can afford to price domains so low is by implementing a basket of shady policies that make them money on the side.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by db32 ( 862117 )

      There are a few. I switched to Monicker. Nodaddy.com has some suggestions for places to switch to.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      The company is rife with unethical business practices.

      Yes, but they have sweaty, scantily clad babes in their commercials!

    • by MidnightBrewer ( 97195 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @11:50AM (#23990911)

      I was personally burned by GoDaddy when I did a search on a name, waited to purchase it, and then came back a week later to find out that GoDaddy itself had purchased it (using a "private" WHOIS registration). Thing of it is, the name only means something if you happen to be a speaker of Japanese. I hardly think that somebody working for GoDaddy in the southwestern United States would appreciate the significance. Of course, the name still remains unused, except to generate ad revenue by showing the GoDaddy "parked domain" page.

    • for the love of god, have you been living in a cave ?

      a great majority of hosting industry uses enom.com . its probably the biggest registrar out there. the only problem is acquiring a reseller account, because they dont sell like godaddy. but, you can acquire an account either directly through them by depositing a huge chunk of cash, or from their levle 2 resellers.
    • Of course not because they know if they undercut the rest then people won't leave GoDaddy and they can make up the money by cheating on their auctioned domains. So you've done exactly what they wanted.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SethJohnson ( 112166 )
      Dreamhost is $9.95 per domain renewal [dreamhost.com] per year. They also offer unlimited domain hosting with even their bottom tier accounts.

      Following the link above or in my sig doesn't give me any commission if you sign up, and I'll tell you that they seem to be an honest company trying to provide amazing service. I'll admit they sometimes have service problems, but they are always quick to get things back online.

  • by canUbeleiveIT ( 787307 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:01AM (#23989341)
    What an appropriate last name!
  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:03AM (#23989345)

    Wow, if Charles Dickens were writing today, he'd be all over that name.

    Adam Dicker, quicker with the clicker than the clients he dicks o'er
    Mr. Pinchloaf, known as a tight-ass most horribly, whose pucker snaps shut audibly
    Nadia Rotchacokoff, who gives her love freely and her diseases venerally
    Steve Ballmer, a rabid wombat would be much calmer, screaming, hurling chairs against the wallmer
    President Bush and Vice President Dick, with names like that, someone's getting fucked right quick

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aussie_a ( 778472 )

      I doubt Charles Dickens would comment on anyones last name.

      • by rhizome ( 115711 )

        I doubt Charles Dickens would comment on anyones last name.

        Yes, how dare he besmirch the stylistic tropes of Mr. Dickens in the name of humor.

        The mere thought gives me the vapors.

        Thank you for doing your part to make the world right again, citizen.

      • Charles Dickens? Is he the guy who created "Dickens' cider"?

  • ICANN? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:05AM (#23989367)

    More like ICANN'T!

    Why is anyone surprised at unethical behaviour by GoDaddy?

  • Employees (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:07AM (#23989373)

    It is common practice at GoDaddy to bid on domains and resell them. So much so that the unwritten word was to open an account under a family members name in order to make it harder to trace back to yourself.

  • Market Mess (Score:4, Insightful)

    by transami ( 202700 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:23AM (#23989433) Homepage

    The whole domain name market has gotten out of control. Most unused domain names are now being used as nothing more than garbage linklists to generate ad revenue, while they sit at auction sites for $1,000 or more. It amazes me to think these garbage sites can generate more revenue than it costs to register the name. And then to sit on these names waiting for thousand dollar payoffs is outrageous. If ICANN intends domain names to be like real-estate then they need to provide permanent ownership. Otherwise they need to raise their own registration fees to prevent this kind of domain abuse. I for one tire of Google searches that return a list of b.s. sites.

    • Re:Market Mess (Score:5, Insightful)

      by niceone ( 992278 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @12:42PM (#23991339) Journal
      I for one tire of Google searches that return a list of b.s. sites.

      It's kind of interesting that the only reason that most of these sites have value is because they show up in google searches. If google fixed its algorithms then the problem would go away. Unfortunately the ads on these sites are most likely google ads... google is making money so they have no incentive to change anything.
  • And just think... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:34AM (#23989473)
    GoDaddy once had my credit card information. I am so happy I left them behind and found another domain name service.

    With this recent disclosure, I can no longer trust them. In my opinion, unethical is not a strong enough word to describe the act being reported.

  • Superbowl (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @09:00AM (#23989597)

    They've got to pay for those Superbowl adverts somehow. :)

  • Not Surprising (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Amamdouh ( 1130747 )
    I used GoDaddy to register two domains and the whole process was spread on too many steps because at each step they bombard the buyer with advertisements for extra paid services in a very persistent way. This approach along with the site design look so chabby that it's not surprising the least that they would engage in such practice. Whether it's legal/ethical or not is a different story after all an auction is a process designed to reach a fair price that the buyer agrees to pay. It does not make a lot
  • by moxley ( 895517 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @09:08AM (#23989645)

    I have about a hundred domains with GoDaddy.

    This is the last straw - the company is entirely unethical and I wish to no longer support them, or take chances that their unethical bullshit will one day burn me.

    The reason I originally chose GoDaddy (which was quite a while ago when they were smaller) was because they had good prices and seemed reputable enough. If anyone has any auggestions on where the best place to move my domains to would be I woluld love to hear it.

    I would like to avoid Network Solutions and their ilk, between their pricing, alphabet agency ties (and other things) it does not appeal to me - I would also like to avoid small fly-by-night "register your domain for 69 cents" places that may disappear or be purchased by other companies. Basically I am hoping to find a reputable, ethical registrar.....Any suggestions?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We use joker.com based in switzerland.

    • by Skater ( 41976 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @09:44AM (#23989857) Homepage Journal

      I've been using pairnic.com for all of mine. No jerking around, multiple warnings in advance of expiration, and I think I paid $50 for 5 years last time I renewed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I use Joker.com and have done for many years - and have not had problems with them as a registrar (though see below...). They have replied to my (very) occasional emails in a timely and rational manner.

      They are $12 for a .com, but if you have a lot of domains you can set yourself up as a reseller and pay around $7.20.

      They did get DDOSd a few years ago, which WAS a problem for a day or two but I guess they have better redundancy sorted out now. They don't mess you around with trying to add on loads of extras

    • by mattsim ( 819368 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @11:21AM (#23990611)
      I've owned a web hosting business for a decade (hobby) and worked in the hosting industry for 13 years. I manage hundreds of domains on my personal name servers and at the turn of the century, I managed 500,000 zones on my employers DNS servers. I still work in the hosting industry and I also maintain a side business that consults with both large and small ISPs and web hosts. I regularly work with registrars and consult for clients of registrars. In all of my experience, I've only run across two registrars I'd highly recommend. I use eNom and couldn't be more pleased. Many of my clients use eNom as does my current employer and I've never heard an ill word against them. The other registrar I'd recommend is Tucows/OpenSRS. My clients who use them are rabid fans, something you just won't ever hear from a GoDaddy client.
    • by kchrist ( 938224 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @11:25AM (#23990665) Homepage

      I've had good experiences with both PairNIC [pairnic.com] and Gandi [gandi.com]. I wrote up some information [inmostlight.org] about them, and compared them to a couple other registrars (including Netsol), but the upshot is that after doing a good deal of research I was unable to find any significant complaints about either one of them. They're both a little more expensive than the low-end registrars like Godaddy, but by nearly all accounts the extra cost is well worth it.

      My domains are all at Gandi currently.

    • get an enom reseller account for $9.95 or something. if youre lucky, you can get one for $8.95
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      My suggestions is:
      http://www.buycheapdomains.com/ [buycheapdomains.com]
      It costs $8.95/year and they've been around for years. They are enom resellers so whatever happens, you will still be able to access your domains through enom.
      Or if you have the money, become an enom reseller (there's a $1000 setup fee for an $8.95/year account).

  • NoDaddy (Score:5, Informative)

    by sega01 ( 937364 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @09:35AM (#23989809) Homepage
    http://nodaddy.com/ [nodaddy.com] has plenty of GoDaddy horror stories, along with recommendations and experiences for alternative companies. I say that we should all boycott GoDaddy.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Transferred my last seven domains away from that awful place. I can't stand their attitude and customer-unfriendly literal interpretations of ICANN's rules.

    The last straw was when they were going to cancel my domains because my phone number was invalid. "Update immediately or we will seize your domains!" an ominous email reported.

    Well, my area code changed and well -- there you have it!

    Rather than let them "seize" my domains, I moved them over to another registrar. They are much smaller (only maybe half a m

  • GoDaddy keeps all the spoils to themselves Which means that his bidding was driving up the auction house's income. It's illegal as hell in any state I can think of.
  • Selling Domains (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lachlan Hunt ( 1021263 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @11:54AM (#23990943) Homepage

    I can't believe GoDaddy is still in business. I can't remember ever reading anything good about them and every time I do see some article, it's always about their unethical business practices.

    However, I think the core of the problem is that something ICANN needs to sort out by forbidding the resale or auction of domain names. They should only be allowed to be leased from accredited registrars at a fair price, with clear restrictions on artificially inflating the price. IMHO, the auDA has got this right for all .au domains.

  • they're $15 for com/net/org domains and offer custom dns and mail hop/relay services at varying prices. dns changes propagate quickly, and their servers are stable and reliable...

    at the end of the day, you get what you pay for, so why would anyone be surprised that the street whore of registrars would actually try and fuck over their clientele?

    • I've been using changeip.com for dynamic DNS and have had no problems with it. Domain name registration is $15 (or $13 if you have more than one) and adding Dynamic DNS is $6.

  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @12:42PM (#23991337)
    What can be done to force ICANN to police the registrars for which it is responsible?

    What can be done to police ICANN?
  • by rs79 ( 71822 )

    I've taken a lot of shit over the years for suggesting Netsol is still the only safe place to
    have domains.

    Congratulations, you caught one. Now what about the others? It's been a decade, after all.

    I may not like Netsols rules but at least they stick to them, Even 12 years ago it was in the company rulebook said anybody doing this would be terminated instantly. And sued.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by canuck57 ( 662392 )

      I've taken a lot of shit over the years for suggesting Netsol is still the only safe place to
      have domains.

      And you will catch a turd from me.

      NetSol, also known as Verisign back when domain wild cards were an issue. While they have since sold off NetSol, I have no way of knowing who took the idiots that thought of answering up all queries to *.com etc. The DNS issue was circa 2003.

      When they tried that stunt, I went to BuyDomains and transferred my domains away from Verisign and NetSol. Since I was responsible for about 250 domains at the time, that cost them. I also wrote a letter to Verisign and NetSol. I

  • by karl.auerbach ( 157250 ) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @01:18PM (#23991657) Homepage

    If domain names were covered by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) there might be imputed into the contract an obligation on the part of GoDaddy to engage in good faith behaviour. But it is unclear whether domain name rental falls under the UCC, and the UCC is not all that U(niform) across the states.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler