The .ME Bait-and-Switch: GoDaddy Screws Up
Ian Lurie Jul 17 2008
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 auctions.domain.me and lo and behold, the domain I tried to get this morning, ani.me 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…
- When I tried to buy a domain of less than 4 letters, you snagged it and put it in the auction house.
- But I can’t go into the auction house because I didn’t pre-register the domain.
- Which of course you didn’t let me do anyway.
By the way, a WHOIS query on ani.me shows NOT FOUND. If someone bought it, why is it still not found?
So, here’s my question/challenge for domain.me:
Ani.me 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 is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More