GoDaddy – You Have A Problem!

GoDaddyOne 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).


4.1 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.

GoDaddy Overview

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.

The Problem

  • I sold a high value 2L domain on the 1st September. Normally I would do a COR (Change of Registrant) through my preferred Registrar ( 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.

The Opportunity

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

15 thoughts on “GoDaddy – You Have A Problem!

  • September 12, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Don’t you just love buyers that have to control the transfer. 🙂

    You know and explained the best route, yet they still insist.

    • September 12, 2016 at 11:17 am


      In this instance, buyer is a hell of a nice guy (and not one of “those”). He suggested doing it that way, and given he has previously bought heaps of names on the Aussie expired auctions, I was happy to do it his way.

      As I said though, one part of me suspected that a GD change of registrant was not going to be easy, so I was interested to see how it played out. I didn’t end up being surprised.

      Buyer has since purchased another 3L domain from me, and I took control of the transfer through TPPWholesale. Whole thing was done and dusted in 2 hours! That was an eye-opener for him.

      • September 12, 2016 at 11:28 am

        To be fair on Registrars the speed brakes are put on when Registries have restrictive policies (that deviate from the norm).  It can be automated, but still needs to be created and put in place.

        • September 12, 2016 at 1:43 pm

          @Garth – Uniregistry got this sorted when they launched in Australia. It’s fundamental – when in Rome …

          • September 12, 2016 at 1:53 pm

            Clean sheet with them and they are proactive.  GoDaddy staff are great but the platform and company moves slowly, if at all.  Nominet listened to the large Registrars and now allows change of registrant within approved platforms.  So is AUDA listening to the market?  Is the eligibility rule still worth it in a dynamic, open and fast moving world?

  • September 12, 2016 at 11:33 am


    The problem you describe is the norm with GoDaddy and I know of least one case where a client who paid mid $xxxx price for a domain name, then had it deleted because the Change of Registrant was not processed

    Their staff are not trained to process Change of Registrant and they instruct clients to change ADMIN contacts then transfer the domain to their account

    There are others currently pending

    • September 12, 2016 at 11:42 am


      It is a systemic problem, and that’s why I raised it. Hopefully, GD will take it on board and fix it!

  • September 12, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Go daddy do make things hard but with the amount of domain thefts lately alot with them as the register they now go overboard with the transfers process approving then double codes etc its not a simple process anymore

  • September 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I had the same problem and I too was curious how Godaddy was going to do the transfer. Here we are 4 months later and the registrant details are still mine and the contact email address is the new owner and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    • September 12, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      @Peter – 4 months is a long time! What does the new “owner” think? What does GD say?

      • September 12, 2016 at 5:47 pm

        I’ve given up trying to chase them up Ned.

  • September 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Hello to my Domainer friends.

    Thanks for the great write up Ned. As always, fair, factual and unbiased.

    As the person on the other side of this transaction I can back Ned 100% on what a convoluted and time consuming process this has been.


    You are right mate, I did take control and was very wrong to do so. I transfer my more valuable .au names to my GD account, simply because of the 2 step verification they have, and to consolidate those names in one place (as I also have and host and all other Hail.cctld’s there). The difference this time, obvious to me now, was that unlike the NetFleet won domains I transfer to GD this domain did not already have me as the registrant… Something I didn’t think for a second would be an issue.

    In fairness to me, I was literally packing up my hotel room in Brussels at the time Ned wrote about the LL domain. I then had to drive to Frankfurt to and drop some equipment off, then up to Leipzig to pick up my fiancé to take her to Berlin to get on a flight to Crete! All sounds very jet-setty but reality was a was dreading the whole journey and I simply took the path of, what appeared to be at the time, least resistance and asked for the Auth code.

    @Peter, 4 months is crazy, but I can already see this happening in this situation too!

    @Shane, you are right, GoDaddy do make it hard.

    and finally! @Ned, thanks for showing me the light with the LLL transaction. What a difference that was and I am very appreciative for that, and very sorry for this drama on the LL.

    • September 12, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      FYI – Uniregistry has 2FA (Google Authenticator).

  • September 12, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Ned, another top article mate. I used Godaddy once for a transfer and I had such dramas. Cost me about $30 US dollars which is about $40 local.

  • September 13, 2016 at 2:45 am

    COR Change of Registrant should be FREE. Many countries domain name extensions offer this.

    The remaining period of the registration is simply transferred using a name change update.

    auDA, Icaan and Ausregistry have been ripping of the Australian domain name consumer for too long.


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