GoDaddy Stole My Domain!

GoDaddy Stole My Domain!Does this sound like a familiar situation for you?

You:

  1. Went to GoDaddy (or name another popular domain name registrar),
  2. Searched for a domain name,
  3. Saw that it was available for registration,
  4. Decided to take a few days to think about it,
  5. Decided you wanted to register the domain name and
  6. Went back to GoDaddy only to find that it was already registered.

Then, of course, you think: GoDaddy stole my domain name!

How could it not be GoDaddy?

GoDaddy saw that you did the domain name availability search, the domain name is obviously brilliant, so they registered it and who knows what they plan to do with it.

But did GoDaddy really steal your domain name?

I received the following email from a reader recently:

Hi Michael,

I searched at GoDaddy a domain name and it was available, but I didn’t register it. A few days later I decided to build a website using that domain and found that GoDaddy registered it 2 days after my search and parked it in a phony web site saying “buy this domain”.

newly-registered-domain-parking-page

It’s heart breaking but a good lesson learned.

Why isn’t this illegal for GoDaddy to offer a domain search and then buy the ones people don’t register, like you write at http://www.domainsherpa.com/prevent-domain-name-front-running/?

Shouldn’t they have a warning, “if you don’t register the domain we may register and sell the domain name you type into our search”? It’s almost like they’re stealing my intellectual rights.

Obviously I’m new to all this but this is really questionable business practices.

Thanks for this article,
John

So, did GoDaddy really steal this domain name?

The answer is no. Let me tell you why.

You can determine who owns a domain name by doing a “whois lookup”, which is basically a phone book for domain names. (There are hundreds of sites that allow whois lookups, these are just two.)

If you visit https://whois.domaintools.com/ or https://who.godaddy.com/ and type in the domain name, you can see who owns a domain name.

For instance, if you look up “domainsherpa.com” here is what you see:

whois-domainsherpa

While difficult to read because it’s all one big block of text, you can see:

  • The registrant is Michael Cyger (me)
  • The email address and phone number are listed
  • Even though GoDaddy is listed as the registrar, they are not the registrant

More than 80,000 .com domain names are registered on a daily basis. Those are brand-new, hand registrations at registrars like GoDaddy around the world. In one day.

In the “SLDs Added to / Dropped from Zone” graph, you can view the .com domain names registered (green) and allowed to expire (red) for the past few days.

Is it possible that another person thought of the same, great domain name to register as you?

You bet it is.

Especially if the domain name is a generic or really cool brandable sounding domain name.

The lesson learned (well, two lessons):

1. GoDaddy is in the business of registering domain names, not front-running domain names that you’re searching for, and

2. There are more than 7 billion people in the world and the likelihood that someone else thinks of the domain name you want increases with time. Don’t wait, register the domain name when you think of it. The worst case scenario is that you don’t renew it a year later and let it expire…and you’re out $10-15 for the one year registration. (You can even register a domain name for $1.)

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14 Responses to “GoDaddy Stole My Domain!”

  1. ethan klein says:

    Yes NEVER search for a name in godaddy if you are not planning to buy it right away, godaddy has sold my domain lookup data too many times, i was gonna register vz4(dot)com and got snatched 2 days later (paypal funds where clearing) and to this day (7 years later ) its still sitting in some squatters parking site
    (even random long names like lucasandfamilyengineers got squated lol)

    do your lookup on ICANN’s site

    1. Hi Ethan,

      Thanks for reading the article and taking a moment to post a comment. Thanks also for the information you shared.

      I did a bit of research and found some interesting facts that I’d like to get your feedback on.

      You said you were going to register VZ4.com 7 years ago. That would put it around 2010. But VZ4.com has been registered continuously since 2004. You can see the “created on” date at https://whois.domaintools.com/vz4.com and it’s specified as 2004-01-24.

      Perhaps you thought VZ4.com was available for registration but it was actually in auction. That happens a lot because if you search and it’s in auction, I believe GoDaddy will give you some indication.

      Check out this video that could potentially explain what happened:

       

       
      Regarding lucasandfamilyengineers.com, that domain is available for registration. According to the WHOIS history tool I have access to, it has never been registered. I suggest you go and grab it as soon as possible if you are interested in it.

      I hope my explanations are helpful to you. If you feel like my explanations still don’t cover your issue, please post more data and I’ll be happy to look into it further.

      Best regards,
      Michael

  2. Crystal says:

    WARNING DO NOT USE GO DADDY EVER. THEY DO STEAL YOUR DOMAINS I HAVE TRIED IT LOADS OF TIMES WITH DIFFERENT NAMES GOING FROM ONE DOMAIN SITE BACK TO GO DADDY, ITS AVAILABLE ON ON A DIFFERENT SITE THEN I TO GO TO GO DADDY, TYPE THE NAME IN (THIS ISNT PURCHASING IT JUST TYPING)THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN ITS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE OTHER SITE AND NOW YOU CAN BUY IT OFF GO DADDY FOR £18.000 NO JOKE IVE BEEN TRYING IT FOR DAYS AND IT DOES THE SAME THING EVERYTIME, YOU GIVE THEM A GOOD NAME AND THEY MAKE YOU PAY, I THINK GO DADDY OWNS THE TOP 10 DOMAIN COMPANIES SO WHEN YOU ARE GOING FROM ONE DOMAIN SITE TO ANOTHER THEIR PROBABLY ALL GO DADDY, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED DO NOT TYPE YOUR NAME IN ANY DOMAIN SITES WITHOUT CHECKING THEM OUT ESPECIALLY GO DADDY EVEN TRY A FEW FAKE NAMES FIRST TO TEST IT

    1. Hi Crystal,

      Per our email exchange, I believe the confusion is how you’re determining if a domain name is available.

      If you type a domain name into your browser’s address bar and it doesn’t resolve, that DOES NOT mean that it is available. A domain name can be registered and not have an active website. Or it may only be using the domain name for email, or file transfer, or a development site in a third-level domain name.

      In order to determine if a domain name is available, you need to do a whois lookup: http://www.domainsherpa.com/how-to-determine-who-owns-a-domain-name/

      There are many, many whois services you can use for free to see if a domain name is registered. Here are two:
      https://whois.icann.org/en
      https://whois.domaintools.com/

      If the record comes back as “No domains found.” then it is available for registration at any registrar you choose (GoDaddy, Uniregistry, Name.com, 101domain.com, etc.)

      Here’s what an available domain name response from whois.icann.org looks like:

      Here’s what a registered domain name response from whois.icann.org looks like:

      Hope this helps.

      Best regards,
      Michael

  3. Abu Raiahan says:

    Same thing happened with me and it didn’t took a day with in one hour godady took the site. I feel like to file a law suit against them. Can you tell where to file it.

    1. Hi Abu,

      I emailed you personally to ask for details on your issue, but you didn’t reply nor provide any factual information.

      I do not think that GoDaddy steals domain names and was willing to invest my personal time to investigate your accusations. If you change your mind, please reply to my email or use the contact us form at the top of the page.

      Best regards,
      Michael

  4. Walsh says:

    Godaddy is so dishonest about this I searched for two domain names, and they were available. Two hours later, they’ve both been registered. That’s a terrible business practice

    1. Hi Walsh,

      What are the two domain names?

      I’ll research them for you and post my findings to get to the truth.

      Best,
      Michael

  5. Mine was stolen too. I registered zenitrak.com with godaddy past 2 days and now it is not available in my panel after having used it for 2 days. Other registrars list it as available but godaddy list it as not available to me. Waiting for other more two days to see whether it will be available for sale to break my bank

    1. Hi Brian,

      I believe you are mistaken. The domain you reference is available for registration: https://whois.domaintools.com/zenitrak.com

      I suggest you go register it as quickly as possible.

      It could have been that you didn’t not click the final “purchase” button, or similar, when you thought you previously purchased it. In any case, do not wait or someone else will register it.

      Best regards,
      Michael

  6. David says:

    I had a great name datamates.com, was registered with go daddy, let it lapse went to buy it from Go daddy again, and wow, its available but at £12,000.

    Looked up who is and the registrant, is Go Daddy,

    Lesson learnt. So yes they should not be trusted.

    The best method is to simply type the name you want into a browser, and if it comes up sorry domain name cant be found, go and buy it straight away.

    1. Hi David,

      You are not reading the whois record correctly: https://whois.domaintools.com/datamates.com

      While the registrar is GoDaddy, the registrant is a person in Korea:
      Registrant Name: cha baekjin
      Registrant Organization:
      Registrant Street: 1605-503 hanjinhaemoro , 548, Jeonggwan-ro, Jeonggwan-myeon, Gijang-gun,
      Busan, South-Korea
      Registrant City: busan
      Registrant State/Province: southkorea
      Registrant Postal Code: 619-740
      Registrant Country: KR
      Registrant Phone: +82.1063726322

      (You can read the definitions of registrar and registrant at http://www.domainsherpa.com/domain-name-dictionary/#R)

      Just like with land, or your home, or your possessions, you can ask anything you want when selling a domain name. Whether it’s realistic or whether anyone will pay that amount remains to be seen. Wait long enough, perhaps the registrant will let it expire like you did. Or, you can contact them and negotiate the purchase price, just like people normally do with land, or a home or possessions.

      Sorry you let your domain name expire and then decided you wanted it. It’s an unfortunate situation. But it’s definitely not GoDaddy’s fault.

      I hope you find another domain name that suits your needs.

      Best,
      Michael

  7. CD Saner says:

    Mr Cyger

    While this may not currently be the case, it certainly once was,
    multiple times I had this occur to me in early 2000, even in 15 minutes
    My advice is to try to go the url first, then be ready to purchase immediately,
    when looking it up on a registrars site..

    Regards

    Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      If you believe it was in the past, but have no data, then I cannot try to debunk your statement. We can agree to disagree and move on.

      If you have recent data, please share and I’ll research. Happy to be proven wrong, but I doubt it’s the case and I will do the research jointly with you.

      If anyone is reading this and thinking, “yeah, me too” then do something about it. Here’s how you lookup domain names without using a third party website: http://www.domainsherpa.com/prevent-domain-name-front-running/

      Best wishes to all,
      Michael

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