One of the most acid performance tests for domain name Registrars in Australia is how they handle a “Registrant Name Change” / “Change of Registrant”. For the uninitiated, this simply describes the process involved when you buy or sell a domain (to or from another party).
Our Australian namespace does have its own special “rules” in this regard. In the first instance, both buyer and seller (existing registrant and proposed new registrant) have to warrant to auDA that they are eligible to engage in the transaction. Registrars are permitted to automate this process.
This is the actual policy (bolding is mine).
4. TRANSFER PROCESS
4.1 To process the transfer of a domain name licence from the current registrant to a proposed new registrant, the registrar must:
a) receive a completed transfer form containing the text approved by auDA at Schedule A;
b) check that the proposed new registrant is an eligible entity; and
c) obtain confirmation of the request for transfer from the current registrant contact.
4.2 The registrar may use an automated process for handling registrant transfers, but they must be able to provide a copy of the transfer request and confirmation from the current registrant for inspection by auDA on demand.
Let me say from the outset that I have great respect for GoDaddy – and what they have achieved as the world’s largest domain name registrar with over 14 million customers. I’ve been a client for almost 10 years (though not for .au domains).
I also had the pleasure of meeting (in person) a couple of their senior management at NamesCon in Las Vegas in January this year. They are simply the most helpful guys you could ever hope to come in contact with. They have always been willing to try and assist whenever there has been any sort of issue.
GD have been offering .au domains since 2012, and they established a local presence in Sydney in July last year. However, whilst you may phone a local number for customer service, you still get routed through to their call centre in Arizona.
- I sold a high value 2L domain on the 1st September. Normally I would do a COR (Change of Registrant) through my preferred Registrar (Drop.com.au or TPPWholesale). They both have an automated electronic system. I suggest to my buyers that we do it this way because it is quick and efficient. They can then transfer the domain to their Registrar of choice for free.
- My buyer was overseas on business, and his Registrar of choice is GoDaddy. He asked me instead to give him the AuthInfo code (password) and he would handle it. He had already paid me for the domain, so I was happy to do whatever he wanted.
- As the Registrant, I then received an email from GD asking me to authorise. I did so, and forwarded my buyer the email from them. The domain then transferred across (takes 48 hours to get into the new account).
- A few days later I noticed that the whilst the registrant contact email had been changed to the buyer, the domain was still in my name. I suspected from the start that this was going to be the problem!
- Cutting a very long story short, I advised my buyer of the issue, and then commenced a torturous process for him to get the domain legally into his name. On the 9th September (one week later), GD advised the buyer of their requirements to transfer an .au domain. They sent an eForm to me on Saturday which I completed and sent back immediately. They did the same for the buyer who also completed it immediately.
- Today is Monday, and the domain is STILL NOT IN THE BUYER’S NAME. Can you imagine if his was an escrow transaction and I hadn’t received payment because of this? Ouch.
There are lots of overseas parties looking to legitimately invest in Aussie domain names. If you want to successfully operate in Australia GoDaddy, you need to fix this Change of Registrant problem.
I don’t write this to shame or embarrass you. As I said earlier, I’m both a fan and client. Knowing how innovative and responsive you are, I’m sure you’ll take this constructive criticism on board – and get it done quickly. After all, this is what you say on your website!
“We live by the same principles as any successful startup: hustle, adapt, listen. Repeat”.
Other international Registrars that operate in Australia (like Uniregistry) had this sorted out very quickly in the piece. If they can do it; you can do it!
Ned O’Meara – 12th September 2016