GoDaddy Domain Protected Registration Hell

GoDaddy is well known for their edgy commercials. In the last ten years, they’ve created a brand that portrays a company that is cool and customer friendly. It’s no wonder that when any individual, especially a small business owner, is thinking about starting a website for the first time, he or she is most likely going to think of GoDaddy.

Among many web designers and developers, myself included, GoDaddy is a malicious company that intentionally deceives and confuses their customers.

Take my recent experience when it came to attempting to let several domains of a client I work with expire. When buying a domain through GoDaddy, there are several attempts to up-sell you on additional services. Bypassing some of these attempts by GoDaddy can sometimes leave the end-user confused. I speak from experience because there have been several times where I have gotten to the final checkout phase and was surprised at some of the add-on items that I had unintentionally added to my cart.

If this happens to me, this is definitely happening to the newbie GoDaddy shopper who may not be as skilled at maneuvering around such up-sell attempts.

One common add-on that I have intentionally purchased with my domain purchases is private registration. When you purchase a domain, the information about you (address, phone number, email) become public records within the domain registrar universe. For an added $12 a year, private registration keeps your identify and contact details private. In recent years, GoDaddy started offering another service, called protected registration, which is an entirely different service.

Private registration. Protected registration. Of course no one will get confused by that!

GoDaddy touts the protected registration service as preventing “accidental domain expiration or malicious transfer.” What they don’t tell you is that when the day comes when you no longer want the domain and are ready to let it expire, the only way to cancel protected registration is by providing GoDaddy a scanned copy of the registrant’s driver’s license or government ID. And if you registered the domain under a business name, you will also need a scanned copy of a business license!

Back to my situation with the client I was working with, the individual who registered the domain was not someone I regularly saw, so imagine the awkward conversation when I had to explain to this person why they needed to scan their driver’s license and then email it to me in addition to also scanning me a copy of their business license — all of which while the individual was on the verge of selling the business!

There are other horror stories out there in which individuals are unable to provide a business license for whatever reason and were essentially stuck in GoDaddy hell with no way out of having their domains renew each year. I detest such business practices and it has made me no longer want to use them for any of my own personal domain management. While I have a few remaining domains still registered with GoDaddy, I have been in the process of either letting them expire or transferring them to a different domain registrar.

The domain registrar that I do recommend is Google Domains. The registration and checkout process is simple and your domain is an easy $12 per year — and that includes private registration (not protected registration) at no extra cost.

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