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GoDaddy accused of stalling domain name transfers

Wikimedia Commons can't win for losing. Even as it loses thousands of customers to other domain name registrars, it was accused of stalling domain name transfers on Monday morning, by rival service NameCheap.

Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook and on Google+ has been the target of the anger of many customers after it came out with strong support of the Stop Internet Piracy Act, or SOPA, which many consider to be the first step to Internet censorship. Since then, the company has backed down, but too late: it's losing customers and desperately making attempts to keep them. NameCheap said:

“As many customers have recently complained of transfer issues, we suspect that this competitor is thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them. Specifically, GoDaddy appears to be returning incomplete WHOIS information to Namecheap, delaying the transfer process. This practice is against ICANN rules.“

With the incomplete WhoIs information, Namecheap said that it's only recourse was to manually process the requests, which it said was doing.

GoDaddy, on the other hand, responded to Namecheap's accusations, though only to TechCrunch. They sent the tech blog an email, that said:

"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.

-Rich Merdinger

Sr. Director of Product Development - Domains

Go Daddy"'s response, therefore, is that the "block" is / was standard operating procedure. In any case, it says it has removed the blockage and that things should be moving swiftly, but only if Namecheap it the registrar to which the domain name is being moved.

Despite all the bad press, it would seem that things are not all that dire for; according to The Verge, while lost 21,054 domains on Dec. 23, 2011, but had gained 20,034 domains in return on that same day.

Still, reddit has suggested that Dec. 29 should be a "move your domain away from GoDaddy day." We'll see if things really take shape on that day, which is Thursday.


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