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Godaddy, the price of cheap

by @ 11:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Note: There is a second part to this story. Read it here: Godaddy, a truce.

What you are about to read here is not meant as a Godaddy bash. It's an account of a recent unpleasant experience I had with this company. Godaddy may be a fine company for some. It was also for me up until this incident, and they are still my domain registrar. Every story has two sides and I am offering mine. Infer from it what you wish.

Sometimes in life we make decisions based on cost that later on prove to be unwise. Unfortunately my decision to switch my registrar from Network Solutions to Godaddy might end up being one of these. Why? Here's the story:

I offer a free redirection service on my Web site that generates small URLs that can redirect to users' URLs of choice. This is nothing new, and my service is one of several out there. Sadly many spammers and phishers use these services to redirect their victims to their nefarious sites. But when the redirection link is mentioned inside the spam, some people think that the owner of the redirection service is in cahoots with the spammer and that's where the trouble begins.

In this case a spammer was using one of my short links in a spam, a practice known as spamvertizing. When I got wind of it, I disabled the redirection and blocked out the offending IP addresses from that section of my site. But apparently the damage was done and a few angry recipients had fired off complaint letters to my registrar, Godaddy. I received several accusatory emails from Godaddy and it finally culminated in a $10 charge for an incomplete whois data of my domain. I responded to every inquiry pleading my innocence, but apparently it has fallen on deaf ears at this company. Apparently facts mean little to Godaddy. Instead of investigating the matter, they take the shortest path to generating extra cash, and in this case charging my credit card, which they have on file, was the easiest way to tap a little extra money using this incident as an excuse.

Today I found this blog written by Godaddy's chief, Bob Parsons. The irony couldn't be any more poignant. He writes: "As long as I can remember I have always confronted bullies and stood up for myself." It prompted me to write a comment mentioning the bullying tactics employed at his company. I doubt he'll ever publish it on his blog, but I'd like to compliment him for his advice, and decided to fight back in my own small way. First by reporting this incident to the FTC, and then writing this blog explaining my side of the story. I'm just a small fish compared to this mega-company, but even if just one person reads this, that's more than enough for me.

Moral of the story: don't make the same mistake I did by going for the cheap cost. Read the fine print and do your homework. And if you ever wanted to get a Godaddy customer in trouble (for example by having their domain erased, at least temporarily) just pay a couple of bucks to an overseas spammer to include a link to their site in an email and spam it. Sounds incredible, but it appears that this is all it takes for Godaddy to start intimidating the owners of that site.

Here's a copy of the comment I submitted to Bob Parsons' blog:

mr. parsons,
ironic that you should blog such a subject, now that your company and by extension, you, have become a bully in your own right.

a spammer spamvertizes a service page of my web site and your company, rather than working with its customers, sends me ultimatum emails, and then charges my credit card $10 for incomplete whois info. other than a missing phone number (left over from when i transferred my domain to your company from netsol), all info was correct and current. i am not a spammer nor do i associate with any, but apparently finding facts is not as important as charging your customers any way you can.

i suppose it's just natural. when you get so big, pushing the little guy around becomes pleasurable.

obviously you won't publish my note here, but i'll take your advice to heart anyways. i'm stuck with you for 10 years (unless you decide to refund my money so i can return to netsol), but whatever i can do to stop doing any more business with your company, and persuade others to do so, can be considered my way of fighting back.

Note: There is a second part to this story. Read it here: Godaddy, a truce.

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