Who needs SOPA when you have GoDaddy's shutdown policy?

David Rusenko, co-founder of website hosting service Weebly.com, describes how GoDaddy wiped his domain name records, only restoring them after a phone call. All it took was a single complaint against a single user.

"They had received a complaint about the content of a site, and that they were removing the DNS entries for weebly.com because of it. I asked him if they had contacted us previously -- he responded that they hadn't. The site in question featured a bad review of a local business, and that business had complained."

Rusenko immediately transferred the domain away from GoDaddy to prevent it from happening again. Just think: if a complaint is all it takes to get GoDaddy to shutter domains now, imagine how tempting it will be to complain should its policies become the law of the land.


  1. I’d recommend Weebly update their FAQs to make it more clear what is happening, or more importantly who is involved, when you register a domain through Weebly.

  2. I don’t know why people even picked GoDaddy in the first place. Marketing? They didn’t know better? Oh, maybe the models in their ads that always have big tits? GoDaddy is run by a complete doosh. Please don’t give your money to this tool. Sex sells, no matter the medium. Too many guys thinking with their dicks is what got this guy where he is today.

    1. Like the ads for mortgage financing that pop up on Facebook that always have a sexy model pictured next to them that has absolutely nothing to do with the product?  Ads like that scream “run away as quickly as possible”.

    2. Honestly what sucked me into godaddy 1st was relatively inexpensive SSL certificates, especially wildcard ones for not-particularly-sensitive uses. Never parked domains with them though.

  3. I had a similar experience a couple years ago with Lunarpages web hosting. Some idiot decided one of my sites was in violation of copyright…and without bothering to check with me first…took the site offline, costing me hundreds of dollars in damages…much more than I had paid for a 2-year hosting package thru them in the first place. Too many self-appointed geniuses with too much power. And yes…GoDaddy used to be my registrar of choice…until about 3 years ago, when I moved all 100 of my domains elsewhere. Bob Parsons is a meglaomanic. I don’t trust guys like that with my business.

      1. Having 100 domain names registered is not necessarily the same thing as managing 100 sites.  I worked for a television station that had dozens of names registered that all pointed to the same site.  I think this is pretty common practice and could add up to hundreds pretty easily.

  4. So is there any independent confirmation of this or so we just publish anti competitive stories now.   Seems Weebly competes with many of the services offered by Godaddy.    Not taking sides just saying maybe we should not just repeat every unconfirmed rumor about our hatred du jour. 

  5. I should have said he *strikes me* as a megalomanic. I don’t know him personally. But to the extent that I have watched him in action…I find him distasteful.

  6. So, just to be clear, Boing Boing is against SOPA? It’s hard to tell from the tone of the articles.

    1. Seems perfectly clear to me. What part of regular tirades against SOPA are you struggling with, exactly?

          1. What an excellent idea! Now, though, I’ll be reading everything in that font in a sarcastic voice. This can only end well.

  7. I don’t like this post, Rob. I’m going to go tattle on you to Big Brother. He’ll make you pay, he’ll take your website away. That’ll show you.

  8. Several years ago I went to the GoDaddy site to check out a domain name . It was not taken. Two days later I returned to register the name and it was taken by a squatter who still owns it: ScienceGraphics.com. 

    1. I had exactly the opposite experience with Register.com. I would deliberately check availability while signed in. A day later, I’d have an e-mail offering a discount on that domain. I bet that’s a better business strategy.

  9. I run a website about video contests:  Videocontestnews.com.  I have my site registered with and hosted by godaddy.  In the last year they have yanked my site down twice because of bogus copyright claims.  One compliant came from a russian guy who seemed to be running some kind of scam video contest site.  I wrote an article explaining what he was doing and posted his company’s logo and a photo of the guy.  It was a clear case of fair use but he was able to get the negative post about him zapped because godaddy could care less about the 1st amendment.  I had youtube videos from the scam contest embedded in my article and godaddy even said embedding those videos was a violation of copyright!  I told a rep on the phone that the owner of a youtube video could turn off embedding and the guy said it didn’t matter.   So according to godaddy, you can get your site pulled if you EMBED the wrong youtube video.

    The second time my site was pulled was because I wrote an article about a guy who won $10K in a video contest by copying a well known tv commercial.  The guy then sent me an anonymous creepy, sexual message but I was able to figure out who he was.  I wrote about the harassment and posted a photo of the guy.  He begged me (in the name of jesus of course) to have mercy and alter the article and remove his full name.  I did as he asked and cut out his name and covered his face in the photo.  2 years later he has my site pulled down because of that one, obscured photo.  It didn’t matter that he knew about it for 2 years and it didn’t matter that he had asked me to hide his face and I did.  Godaddy just does not give a f*** about the law.

    I’m looking forward to transferring all of my sites of my sites away from godaddy on Dec 29th.

  10. I can’t for the life of me imagine why anyone continues to use this sleazeball company. It is enough for me that the CEO goes to Zimbabwe to film himself proudly slaughtering elephants.

    Some people should just be invited to step off the Earth before they do any more harm.

  11. I don’t know what you people are talking about.  I’ve had GodaddyLicksMyBalls.com registered with Godaddy for ten years now.

  12. Considering the oft-accompanying action, perhaps GoDaddy.com should simply change its name to Who’sYourDaddy-Who’sYourDaaaddeeeee.com

  13. This happened to us at our company. Our domain, not our site, was registered at GoDaddy. We had one complaint (from a customer who said we sent them Spam). We were told that unless we sign something saying we were in the wrong, and pay GoDaddy $250 they were going to kill our domain name. (We have been in business with this domain since 1995.)

    As a precaution, to make sure we paid, they locked down domain transfer and then charged us $75 to unlock it so that we could move to a different domain registrar. On top of that they gave us just 48 hours to make our decision – and sent the notification after work hours on a Friday before a long weekend. 

    We would have been able to prove we didn’t SPAM since the person actually signed up for information on our website. But they demanded our server logs for the period. And again, if we didn’t hand them over within 48 hours – they would effectively take down our site. I happened to have logged in over the weekend – thank goodness.

    Our company employs 15 people – and virtually all of our revenues are generated from online sales – so we had no choice. Even a few days outage could have been very expensive.

    Their strong armed tactics really caught us off guard. But a quick Google search showed these shakedowns to be a common occurrence among Go Daddy customers. 

    Oddly – we still do business with them, but not for DNS hosting, just for their cheapo hosting accounts – and never for anything mission critical, because they cannot be trusted to pull this trick again.

    I’m OK with anti-spam measures, but this was a shakedown plain and simple.

  14. Here are some excerpts of their emails:

    First we had to admit we were wrong:————start snip
    First, reply to abuse@godaddy.com with a statement that you (or your employees, affiliates, 3rd party marketers, etc.) will no longer send messages to individuals that did not ask to receive information specifically from your domain name.——end snip

    Then we need to pay them $199 (I said $250 above, but I was wrong)
    —————-start snip
    Second, include in this statement authorization for GoDaddy.com to charge a $199 non-refundable administration fee to the credit card on file for your account (you may want to log into your Go Daddy account and confirm that the card on file is valid and has not expired).
    —–end snip

    Here is the time frame they demanded (They sent this over the July 4th Holiday)
    ————start snipPLEASE NOTE you must reply with the requested information within 48 hours, failure to do so may lead to actions such as the suspension or cancellation of your service.
    ——end snip

    And here’s what happens if we try to leave without paying the fee:
    ———start snipIf you choose to transfer the domain name to another registrar, we first require that you pay a $75 administration fee before your domain name can be transferred. This fee is used to cover the costs of responding to or “cleaning up” the outstanding spam complaints Go Daddy has received regarding your domain name.—–end snip

    Nice, huh? 

  15.   They wiped an entire web hosting site’s record because of one negative restaurant review. And they never even bothered to discuss or inform the corporation of it — just blew them away, the article says.

    Sounds like SOPA is the “GoDaddy” law.

  16. So now what??  Or WHO?

    I transferred my domains to GoDaddy about a year and a half ago because Tucows was giving me the willies.

    What Domain Registrar is actually trustworthy?

    Who is the Trusted Registrar if GoDaddy is truly sleazy?

    I have been registering domain names since 1996 and the issues over the years have been grim and grimmer as the internet was wild and wooly in the Registration process.

    It also got harder and harder to conduct business when 3 rd party marketing companies opened up who claimed to be a registrar but were just using their own account with a legitimate registrar.  If you needed control you couldn’t get it because all of your records actually were just part of some client 3-rd party.

    If you Google Tucows over the years you read a lot of nasty stuff about them, too.
    I was hoping that I had finally found a company that I could trust in GoDaddy.

    So, guys and gals, since so many are running from GoDaddy into whose arms are you running now?

    1. I’ve been using Register.com for more than a decade. The only problem that I’ve ever had is that they tend to send way too many renewal notices.

      And when was GoDaddy ever a Trusted Registrar or anything but sleazy? I always thought of it as like having an AOL e-mail address.

      1. The only problem that I’ve ever had is that they tend to send way too many renewal notices.

        Funny, I always found the fact they charge roughly 3-1/2 times what seems to be the market price a little irritating. And they used to make it quite the hassle to pry a domain away from them — although that’s gotten better lately…

        1. They might be kind of pricey. I tend to sign up for five-plus years, which is cheaper. I never had a problem with transferring away from them.

        2. Also, in the dozen or so times that I’ve called them, a live person has answered within a couple of rings, triaged my issue and transferred me to another live person who’s answered within a couple of rings.  I’m willing to pay extra for that.

  17. I have a former business partner who insisted that we use Go Daddy. Now that he is out of the picture Go Daddy is fast becoming history.

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