The .ME Bait-and-Switch: GoDaddy Screws Up

Ian Lurie

I’m ranting again.
I got up bright and early this morning to try and grab some good domains in the big .ME landrush.
I was pleasantly surprised when I landed about 2/3 of the domains I wanted. GoDaddy charged my PayPal account, sent me order confirmations and said “Hey! Good job!”.
Then, a few hour laters, they started sending me these:

Evil? Probably not. Stupid? Definitely

I don’t think GoDaddy would be stupid enough to bait-and-switch, grabbing domains folks try to buy and then selling them at a premium at auction. But I do think they were stupid enough to allow simultaneous domain registrations by multiple people.
They expressed surprise at the level of interest and said server load caused the problem. Are you kidding? You guys didn’t expect a lot of people to try and reserve domains ending with ‘me’?

In This Case, Stupid = Evil

Unfortunately, in this case, GoDaddy doesn’t get a pass. Their incompetence, or lack of caring, or whatever, pushed a lot of business to the domain auctions.
And the whole thing stinks of a bait-and-switch.
Given the bad taste they left in everyone’s mouth it probably won’t be long before someone goes and hires a lawyer.
For now, all we can do is shake our heads.


I went to and lo and behold, the domain I tried to get this morning, is now in the auction house! What a coincidence.
Clearly, the registrar grabbed the domain after I tried to buy it. Sort of like peeking over my shoulder during a test.
So, I contacted the .me folks to ask how I get a username and password so I participate. “You can’t unless you have permission.”
And you only get permission from registrars. So, I go back to GoDaddy to get that permission. Guess what? No way to get it.
If anyone ever straightens this total clusterf–k out, they’re going to find out that Donald Rummesfeld took over the .ME auctions after he got booted out of Washington DC…

Update, 7/18

I contacted GoDaddy to get permission to participate in the .ME auctions, and got this message back:
GoDaddy flips me the bird
So, let’s see if I’m getting this right:

  1. When I tried to buy a domain of less than 4 letters, you snagged it and put it in the auction house.
  2. But I can’t go into the auction house because I didn’t pre-register the domain.
  3. Which of course you didn’t let me do anyway.

By the way, a WHOIS query on shows NOT FOUND. If someone bought it, why is it still not found?

So, here’s my question/challenge for is not on your list of premium or reserved names. It was not reserved before I tried to buy it from GoDaddy. It was suddenly reserved seconds after, and now it’s in your closed auction house.
You state that you’ll render null and void auctions where you suspect fraud. [ fraudulent activity ]
I dare you: Declare these auctions null and void. The registrars are clearly taking advantage of you. Start over and let all of us actually take an honest shot at reserving these domains.

Update 2, 7/18

GoDaddy just called and apologized for all the screw ups. They said it was because of unexpected demand.
I wish that either:

  • Dumbass companies who use dumbass excuses like that got fired by all their clients. God knows no one cuts us poor consultants any slack. And I’d never have the nerve to say I didn’t expect great demand on one of the biggest domain landrushes in years. OR
  • The same tolerance for utter, unbelievable stupidity and duplicity extended to us poor consultants.

The more folks look at the data, the more suspicious this is, and apologies won’t clear it up, GoDaddy. Someone grabbed the best domains and stashed them. “Sorry” doesn’t cut it.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Ian,
    We feel your pain. I wrote a hesitant report of my morning’s operation today with three successful purchases of;, and! How shocked I was that they were available!
    An hour later there was no rug under me. GoDaddy giveth and GoDaddy taketh away.
    Read my take on it at
    Rich Hill

  2. I watched this mess roll through Twitter yesterday. Now you can search “godaddy .me” on and see a mighty long list of unhappy customers. Thanks in part to Twitter, it’s only a matter of time until really poor business practices come back to bite companies like this in the rear.

  3. I agree. This is scandalous when you look at it. I was able to nab a few that I wanted by going to a different registrar when I saw that godaddy was locking up, but lots of folks weren’t as lucky.
    To lock up domains AFTER the open registration had started is bad. To not allow the general public to bid on those domains when they do actually auction them, is worse.
    They have close to 3,000 of the best of the best domains in this closed auction. It’s not fair that they are going to create some kind of secret club from their sunrise bidder pool to participate.

  4. GoDaddy is becoming notorious in their “stupidity”, clearly a company that now is driven by the motive of greed over customer service.
    There are similar questionable GoDaddy issues with their server hosting.
    If you have been stung by the GoDaddy greed, as more and more are, report them to the Better Business Bureau.

  5. you guys need to file an official complaint with your states attorney generals office, they will contact the Arizona attorney generals office on a followup, if enough people file the complaints it will raise a flag for a potential investigation. So they may get away with it now, but someday it will come back to bit them.

  6. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Godaddy, and especially after this fiasco. I’ve been doing a little research to make an upcoming post and wanted to cite this whole debacle. It’s pretty amazing that things like this go without much notice and it is absurd. I’m all for FREE and FAIR registration processes, not biased like the .ME registrations. I got so unmotivated after receiving the same emails on all my domains I’m not sure if I’ll register using GD again.

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