I try to be happy and positive when online and not add to the trolls and negative content that seems so prevalent. If you’ve ready any comments on a news site, you know what I’m talking about. But I am so pissed off that I gotta vent.
If you need to know one thing in your effort to transfer domains away from Go Daddy, it is this:
Do not, under any circumstance, modify any field other than email OR use the “copy to all” function if you need to update the administrative email in the domain record in order to receive your transfer authorization code.
I do not believe I updated any field other than the email address, but I did use the copy to all option (billing, contact, etc) just to save time. I think that was my issue and now Go Daddy will not, under any circumstance, allow me to transfer my domain until March 24th. I called and there is no one, no function, no force, that can override this.
Let’s go back about 5 years when I originally signed up. Apparently there is a section in the agreement that if you sign up for Go Daddy you may not transfer your domain away within 60 days of updating your name or organization on the domain record. This constitutes as a change in ownership and they reserve the right to lock the domain for 60 days. This isn’t a “domain lock” which can be manually changed, this is a non-reversible lock for 60 days.
Advance ahead a few years, email addresses come and go, I keep my customer account information up to date, receive expiration notices for all domains, and continue on not thinking about updating my domain records. I even let the domain which housed the email address on the domain records lapse. I’d forgotten I used it as contact info.
Around last year I started getting uneasy about using Go Daddy. Their ads were sexist, I felt dirty (Catholic guilt, I guess), and no longer recommended them to friends or family. I also was getting frustrated because when ever I logged into to use the administrative control panel to update the apps, ftp, or perform other functions, I had a hard time getting past all the up-sales to get what I wanted done.
Frustration went on and on but the thought of moving 5 WordPress sites, and one MediaWiki site to another provider overwhelmed me. The files not so much, but the databases. Not to mention all the emails my family and I have accumulated. There was no clear way to download or export them from the Go Daddy servers (Gmail has a work-around for that which I will mention later).
This month, over the heightened talk of SOPA, and the revelation that Go Daddy was a supporter finally pushed me to move. I wasn’t going to be able to have time to make the move on the protest day, but I thought I could do it before the The Big Game so that when their ads offended me and others, I knew I could say I wasn’t a part of it.
So, beginning last week I went to Hover.com and started the transfer process. First I had to unlock the domain and remove the privacy guard. I believe I spent about $15 a year on the domain and an extra $19 a year on keeping my information private and with Hover I could transfer for just $10 and they include the privacy for free. Good, I’m saving money.
The final step is to receive the authorization code. This is a code that you request from Go Daddy and they will send it to the email address listed as the Administrative Contact for that domain. That was the first sign of trouble. All these years I received email regarding my domain, allowed Go Daddy to auto renew the accounts, and never realized how unkempt I let the contact info get. The email listed in the admin portion was at a domain I no longer owned. So I couldn’t even set up a quick alias if I wanted to. The other option was to update the email address. So I edited the contact information, hit confirm, and then to be tidy used the function to apply it to the Billing and Primary contact info as well. My name stayed the same, I don’t have an organization, so I can’t believe I would have modified any of that. Even if it was incorrect, why bother? I’ll confess I didn’t update the mailing address. My privacy is turned off, I’m not going to update my mailing address.
I did this for 3 of the 4 domains. One of them actually had the correct email address which was odd because I manage it for a friend of mine and wouldn’t have thought I would have kept it so up to date while letting the others fall to the side.
Moving the Email
Now, since one of the domains I was transferring included my family email accounts I needed to transfer email service away first otherwise I’d loose everything. I found out that the hosting service I was going to move to, DreamHost, allowed me to use Google Apps for my email. I could retain the family domain and instead of a @gmail.com email address we could keep the same one we were used to using. Plus Gmail made it easy to sync to our phones.
Earlier I had found out that Gmail can download email from other accounts into your Gmail account using POP. All I needed to do was change the domain name record to point to Gmail and Gmail would start receiving all the new mail, and then have Gmail access the old accounts on the other server and suck the emails out. Once the inboxes were cleared out, I moved the sent items into the inbox on the old server and had Gmail suck them in as well except under a Old Sent Items label. I’m still trying to figure out how to get them into Gmail’s sent items. Moving items into sent is not an option from the Move menu.
Now I was ready to request the authorization code. I submitted my request and received a code for each domain. I entered them into Hover and the next day I received notification that the transfers failed. I also received separate communication from Go Daddy that the transfers are locked.
REGISTRAR TRANSFER DENIED
Dear Chad Kluck,
The transfer of . from Go Daddy to another registrar could not be completed for the following reason(s):
Express written objection to the transfer from the Transfer Contact. (e.g. – email, fax, paper document or other processes by which the Transfer Contact has expressly and voluntarily objected through opt-in means).
The express written objection may be the result of a pending or recently completed Change of Registered Name Holder. This is an opt-in process during which the new Registered Name Holder agrees not to transfer for 60-days. This domain will be transferrable [sic] on 3/23/2012.
If you believe that this domain name does not fit the situation described above, go to http://support.godaddy.com/?prog_id=GoDaddy&isc=gdbba35 for assistance.
Go Daddy Domain Services
This didn’t make too much sense to me, but I figured I could start moving files and the databases over in the meantime while I sought to find time during normal business hours to give them a call. Plus the link provided is just a general support page.
So, I was able to download and then upload files one site at a day using FTP. I’d let a site download as I headed off to work, and then allowed it to upload overnight. 5 sites, 5 days just about. Saturday became the day to do the databases and they went quite smoothly. I exported them from PHPMyAdmin as SQL, and then turned around and imported them into the new databases. Got that done Saturday morning.
I then had time to research the issue of domain transfers. One completed as I didn’t touch the admin info, but I still had three left. I looked into it and found a page on Go Daddy’s support site that had been updated on January 24, 2012. My transfer request was denied January 23, 2012 at 8:44 p.m.
It states not to change the Name or Organization otherwise a 60-day lock will occur:
WARNING: You voluntarily agree to a 60-day lock that prevents you from transferring your domain name when you update the Organization field for the registrant contact, or when you update the First name and Last name fields for the registrant contact if an organization is not the legal registrant for your domain name.
This is reinforced on Hover.com’s support site:
A word of caution: Do not change the first name, last name, or organization contact in your contact information. Go Daddy will enable a 60 day transfer lock because this is considered a domain ownership change.
To my knowledge I did not change the first, last, or organization contact. I had no reason to. The only thing I can think of is that I hit the button that applied the change to all contacts. Something may have been copied from the Admin contact over to the others causing the 60-day lock. I am 100% certain I did not change any names, only the email address.
So I call Go Daddy tell them what happened and that I would like the lock removed. The support person said they can’t do that. I asked to speak with someone who could and was put on hold. When he came back he said all support people were on calls but he asked around and there is no one that can undo the 60-day lock. I asked if the lock was a GoDaddy policy or if other registrars did it. He said as far as he knew only Go Daddy did it. I was also informed that it was in the terms I agreed to when signing up therefore it may not have been presented to me when I was making my changes. (Even though I only changed the email address.)
My expression of dissatisfaction went something like this:
I’m looking at a page that was updated the day after I requested my transfer. Go Daddy is notorious for making things complicated when people want to leave. I saw no notification of blocking the transfer when I updated the email address. This is just one more road block put in place to inconvenience me and others switching from Go Daddy. We both know the news, people are unhappy [perhaps a small percentage of Go Daddy’s customer base, but a good number]. This is very convenient–for Go Daddy–to implement this lock.
Probably not that coherent, but something like that.
So, here I sit waiting for the lock to be lifted. Luckily I am not out of money, the domains are not expiring soon, so I do have time to wait. However, the idea of having a task hang over my head, having this transfer incomplete is killing me when I am just 3 authorization codes away from being done with Go Daddy. It really sucks.
Update (1/29/2012 1:39 a.m.): I found the following line in the Domain Name Registration Agreement (Last Revised: December 9, 2011) at Go Daddy:
You agree that you will not transfer any domain name registered through Go Daddy to another domain name registrar during the first sixty (60) days after its initial registration date. (Section 3. Term of agreement; transfers; domain tasting)
I still cannot believe there is no means to dispute this as any change that may have caused this block was incorrectly applied.
Update (1/30/2012 9:23 p.m. CST): I added another post about this with a few more references. Unless I have more luck with Hover.com getting the issue resolved for me I am at the end of the road and need to wait until March to complete my transfers.