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"Don't give us $16. Give our competitor $70 instead."

February 6, 2004 @ 8:09am

I've been using for all of my domain name registrations and as my older domains on Network Solutions come up for renewal I transfer them over to GoDaddy. If you don't renew or transfer a domain before it expires, they are not immediately released. As a service to the owner, they are held in limbo for some random number of weeks and then released — just to keep you on your toes.

Before a pair of my older domains expired, I told GoDaddy that I wanted to bring them in. That sent an email to the owner (me) asking if it's okay to transfer the domain. I use an AOL account for all of my domain registrations because you'll always be able to send it mail even if I'm having domain-related problems. I checked AOL (using their Web-mail gateway) and had nothing. I figured it would show up eventually.

Weeks later I noticed that those domains' expiration dates had passed. I checked AOL again and found tons of spam, but no GoDaddy mail. I went to GoDaddy to check the status of the transfer (which I paid for) and it said they were waiting for me to answer the email they sent. I asked it to send mail again. Again, nothing showed up in my AOL inbox.

A call to their customer service department uncovered the problem: even though dozens of spammers successfully send me spam that bypasses AOL's new automatic spam filters, GoDaddy's legitimate (critical) domain transfer email is trapped as spam. Opening the spam folder I didn't even know I had, I found tons of real spam and about a dozen important GoDaddy messages.

Here's the stupid part: GoDaddy knows that this is happening to their critical email!

Now that the deadline has passed, I have no choice but to renew both domains at Network Solutions (a minimum of $70) and you cannot transfer a renewed domain until 60 days have passed. I explained to the GoDaddy customer service representative that this could have been prevented by putting a big message on their Web site that reads:

"Warning! We noticed you are using an AOL address. AOL frequently puts our mail into their spam folder. If you are serious about transferring this domain and don't immediately see our email, please look for it in your spam folder."

AOL isn't going to correct this. Network Solutions would be thrilled to know about this. Only GoDaddy can prevent this insanity. If they don't put a warning like that on their site (not for all users — just for people using AOL addresses), then they're wasting their customers' money and fattening their competitors.

I still plan to move those domains to GoDaddy, but now I have to blow $70 at Network Solutions so I don't lose the domains. A simple warning on GoDaddy's Web site could have saved me that $70.

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