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"GO" Domains in "inRem" Litigation - What r my options?

Labeled as question in Legal Discussion, started by GoWebnames.com, Sep 28, 2020

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  1. Paul Nicks

    Paul Nicks VIP Member GoDaddy Staff PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    All, take your heat off Joe here. He is not a lawyer and cannot speak to anything coming from our legal department. Joe is a product manager who is part of this community to make sure the products meet the needs of our domain investor customers. To hold him personally accountable for decisions made or unmade by GoDaddy legal is completely unfair. @jberryhill I expect better from you than to pile onto Joe personally, knowing full well he's unable to comment on GoDaddy legal decisions because those go far beyond the scope of his job.

    As for the issue at hand, Joe has asked me to escalate to see what can be done and what has been done, which I am doing.
     
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  2. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Don't make this into something it isn't Paul.

    I made no personal comment whatsoever about Joe.

    I merely mentioned that he is not able to comment and would not tell anyone about the refund.

    That is a simple truth and is not a personal characterization. You have stated the same thing: "he's unable to comment". So I informed readers of the truth he could not tell them.

    The ONLY thing I have told is the truth. THAT is what you can expect from me.

    You spontaneously refunded one customer who didn't even ask and doesn't even want it, and the others can go pound sand. That is what happened here.

    But I certainly expect better from you than a mischaracterization of what I said.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  3. Paul Nicks

    Paul Nicks VIP Member GoDaddy Staff PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Joe: I am sorry but we can't comment on anything to do with legal matters like this.
    John: Well, that's not exactly true in this case, since GoDaddy already intervened in Act I of this particular circus.
    John: GoDaddy doesn't like you as much. But since @Joe Styler wasn't going to tell you that truth, I thought you should at least be informed that GoDaddy has already refunded one of the other people who bought one of the names in that lawsuit.

    Now, tell me how again how you made no personal comments about Joe.
     
  4. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Well, I guess it is reading lessons for Paul Nicks day.

    Let's take both of the statements in question:

    1.

    This statement asserts that "we", GoDaddy, "can't comment on anything to do with legal matters like this".

    That statement is not true. Go back and READ the email from GoDaddy support, Paul, which not only comments on "a legal matter like this", but explains the action GoDaddy took in response to a letter from David Weslow. GoDaddy received the letter, took action, commented about it, and even forwarded it to the customer to explain what GoDaddy did. That's a raftload of "comment on anything to do with legal matters like this".

    So, Joe's statement that "we can't comment on anything to do with legal matters like this" is not, in the context of this legal matter, historically true.

    Whether Joe is uninformed or whatever, is not a character flaw. Also, saying something that is "not true" is not the same as being dishonest. Someone may say something untrue for many reasons - being misinformed, mistaken or uninformed. None of those are character flaws.

    I doubt Joe even knew about the refund, so I corrected his untrue statement for him by pointing out that GoDaddy has previously commented and acted in this matter. You're welcome.

    2.

    That's a pretty dumb objection, Paul. Joe said he wasn't going to comment on the matter. I posted true information about GoDaddy's previous commentary and actions in the matter, acknowledging that, yes, "Joe Styler wasn't going to tell you that truth."

    Are you suggesting that Joe was in fact on the verge of actually posting those true facts? Come on, Paul. Joe already said he wasn't going to say ANYTHING. That would be inclusive of the fact that GoDaddy refunded someone already.

    "Joe wasn't going to tell you that truth" is an objectively true statement. He most certainly was not going to tell anyone about the refund. He said so. Why does that bother you?

    You are reading into both of those factual statements, an emotional content which is not there.

    I did not say that Joe was intentionally lying, for example. However, it is objectively true that Joe (a) stated that GoDaddy could not comment on this matter, when in fact GoDaddy had commented, and (b) stated that he would not make any further comments, and thus was not going to inform readers that GoDaddy issued a refund to one customer already.

    Both of my statements are objectively true, and are not statements about anyone's character.

    I'm perfectly aware of what I wrote, but you are reading something beyond the words in front of you and reaching a conclusion, because you are reacting emotionally instead of rationally.

    Now, when "living up to John Berryhill's expectations" reaches the top of your to-do list, you let me know, okay?

    I'll do the same courtesy for you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  5. Grilled

    Grilled Black Lives Matter VIP

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    Did last nights debate cloud your judgement into thinking everything said about Joe is an attack? Two different Joes.

    Why deflect away from the true issue when GoDaddy is clearly in the wrong here? @Paul Nicks your time and effort thus far here has been severely misguided. How about sticking up for your customers? In actuality, doing that would be far better for GD investors, then treating certain classes of your customers differently. I am not sure GD investors even want to be helping their bottom line profits via proceeds from stolen domains.

    To me, @Paul Nicks, your deflection raises more questions than it answers. And at this point, I am wondering is GoDaddy turning a blind eye to accountability because GoDaddy is selling far more stolen domains than the public/ their customers are aware of?

    Why wait until nearly October to act? Go Parts was refunded in February.

    In fact, Go-Parts may have been refunded around the time of, or maybe even prior to, @SuperBrander creating the thread Possibly stolen domains may have sold at godaddy will godaddy investigate help? so far no back in February?

    If GoDaddy knew these were stolen in February, and were selectively issuing refunds, I don't understand why @Paul Nicks / @Joe Styler would leave namePros members high and dry. Both @Paul Nicks & @Joe Styler were tagged in that thread; yet no response. It seems to me that while GoDaddy is ultimately at fault, both Paul & Joe are also at fault, if of nothing else, providing HORRIBLE support/advocacy/follow-up to their customers.

    Please tell me again what you are doing to help the affected customers? Thus far, it's quite apparent that @jberryhill has been more helpful to the affected customers, than ANYBODY at GoDaddy has been for several MONTHS! Is GoDaddy too dishonest to do the right thing, and retroactively apply refunds to the many customers who unknowingly bought a stolen domain at GoDaddy and was left high and dry?

    I mean, GoDaddy and by proximity @Paul Nicks & @Joe Styler --- shame on all of you. GoDaddy could and should do better. 👁👁
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  6. GoWebnames.com

    GoWebnames.com Truth alone triumphs VIP

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    Paul, we are not sure on what positions you guys are, internally, at GoDaddy but, as far as the domain community at NamePros is concerned, you two are the only GoDaddy Staff here who are supposed to address the members' problems. Please don't evade responsibility by making people run between your various departments. You are welcome to pass the buck to your legal dept. but please do that internally while having a singular dedicated support staff co-ordinate all this, if I may suggest.

    Talking about a resolution is always much better. Please process our refunds for these fraudulent sales of stolen domains made to us, there are no other options with you since you have already refunded one customer here. thank you.
     
  7. ecomslice

    ecomslice Top Contributor VIP

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  8. Ostrados

    Ostrados EpicName.com VIP

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    By Joe he is obviously referring to GoDaddy not to Joe in person.. it didnt feel like personal attack it sounded like he is referring to Joe as GoDaddy representative.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  9. Ostrados

    Ostrados EpicName.com VIP

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    I think it will cost Godaddy up to $100k to refund the 19 names? For their size that amount is not too much to save their reputation! The refunded case clearly shows that they already know for sure that all the Go names were stolen, so no need to wait for the lawsuit outcome, they must refund and return the names to orginal owner then pursue the thief to get their money.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  10. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    Thanks to everybody who's trying to help bring this matter to a positive conclusion.

    Regardless of Joe's ability to discuss legal matters, I feel that Godaddy's whole approach from the get go hasn't been customer friendly. It's been more like running into a brick wall or trying to converse with an ostrich who keeps sticking its head in the sand. Countless empty email exchanges with reps from different auction support tiers and with the legal department and no one willing to provide any shred of information or even say something basic such as: "we'll refund the money if such and such happens". Plus, you can't talk to anyone. Email only. It's surprising especially considering the fact that all three of us are long time customers who spend a lot of money at GD. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, the money from us three doesn't matter to GD much. Naturally this shouldn't matter when a platform facilitates the sale of stolen domains- the result (a refund) should be the same even if it's a first time customer, but still... if loyal customers are getting the runaround, then what can other customers expect? And how is it possible that someone else got a refund while at the same time we were denied? Regardless of this specific case, Godaddy should take this opportunity to revise the way it deals with such cases. First of all have a clear policy in place so people can know what to expect in case things go awry. And then, improve its customer support. Joe has helped a lot of people in the past, me included and his presence here at NP is appreciated, but in these type of cases- it seems like there's no one to turn to. This should have been escalated and resolved 7 months ago. From an innocent customer's perspective- this isn't the way customers should be treated.

    As for the refund- the sum should actually be much much less than $100K. The total cost for the three domains that I bought was $2345. Not sure about the cost of the others besides GoGames, but I remember seeing them listed and if I'm not mistaken they were all in the $XXX to low $XXXX range. Also, to my understanding, not all of the 19 domains sold at Godaddy. They were all transferred there initially when they were stolen but then some sold elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  11. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Well that's the interesting aspect of this, really - I mean, to the extent that a couple of thousand dollars here and there is "interesting".

    I didn't realize there had been contact - and through this forum - about this issue in the same February 2020 time frame that GoDaddy simply decided on their own, and based on no customer request whatsoever, to refund the one customer who actually didn't want the refund.

    This is really wild, though:

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/po...l-godaddy-investigate-help-so-far-no.1178506/

    The crazy thing is that you posted that on FEBRUARY 25, 2020, which is four days after GoDaddy wrote to the Go-Parts people to explain why they had already been refunded.

    It's fascinating that you, and others, were chasing around with GoDaddy support about this issue at the exact same time that GoDaddy decided to refund someone who didn't even ask. You, on the other hand, apparently alerted people within GoDaddy who made sure you didn't get a refund.

    The "screw up" here, of course, is that GoDaddy refunded anyone at all. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an explanation as to why Go-Parts got a refund and you didn't. It apparently hurts their feelings to point that out.
     
  12. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @jberryhill The other two buyers contacted Godaddy way before I did, at the end of 2019 to my understanding. I don't think anything I did alerted people at Godady who made sure I didn't get a refund, as you put it. They were aware of the issues with these domains way before February and didn't refund the other two buyers. Either way, I don't regret posting that post. It helped (thanks to @wwwulff) at least one domainer that I'm aware of to avoid buying one of these domains in the aftermarket and get involved in this unfortunate matter.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  13. wwwulff

    wwwulff Top Contributor VIP

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    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  14. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Now maybe with this cluster GoDaddy will refund, but Sedo and GoDaddy policy on if you bought a stolen domain name on their platform, they do not refund.

    I emailed both Sedo and GoDaddy laying out the scenario completely

    If I buy a domain at GoDaddy or Afternic or Sedo, pay for it, goes through fine, you get the name pushed to you and you push to me, and somewhere down the road, someone comes back to me and says this name is stolen, and I lose that name either through the registrar taking it back, or a UDRP or any other process. Will GoDaddy/Afternic reimburse me for the stolen goods I purchased on their website?

    But Carolyn at Sedo was good enough to talk to their people and get me the direct answer

    Unfortunately, as with anything sold on a secondary market, buyers bear a degree of risk that a domain was once stolen or that the seller has otherwise violated the terms of the purchase and sale agreement. While Sedo employs strict marketplace terms and conditions, between WHOIS privacy and disparate registry policies, it is impossible for Sedo or anyone to guarantee that a domain has never been stolen or remains subject to any other kind of legal dispute. The domain’s registrar, ICANN, or a court of law are the venues to resolve any dispute and Sedo gives our full cooperation once a dispute has been initiated.


    We empathize with our buyer’s desire to eliminate that risk entirely but we ask buyers to perform their due diligence research prior to agreeing to a purchase (especially to ensure that their purchase or intended use does not violate a third party’s trademark which is a key element in UDRP proceedings) and to review their registrar policies on how they would handle a claim of domain theft.


    Sedo does help our buyers minimize risk by requiring sellers to provide a legally binding representation and warranty that they have the authority to sell the name. Once a purchase and sale has been completed, however, Sedo cannot return the funds paid to a seller as we are not an appropriate party to arbitrate a dispute. If a domain is later taken away from a buyer because of the seller’s violation of the purchase and sale agreement Sedo advises the buyer to seek legal counsel to pursue the seller for breach of contract and will support the buyer by providing a documentation history regarding the transaction. This allows a buyer who ends up losing the domain because of theft to pursue the seller for a refund/damages.


    Paul Nicks was kind enough to get GoDaddy Legal to answer

    If I buy a domain at GoDaddy or Afternic, pay for it, goes through fine, you get the name pushed to you and you push to me, and somewhere down the road, someone comes back to me and says this name is stolen, and I lose that name either through the registrar taking it back, or a UDRP or any other process. Will GoDaddy/Afternic reimburse me for the stolen goods I purchased on their website?

    The GoDaddy legal email is an auto reply, Sedo needed to speak to their legal team too, so I understand, I just wanted to make sure I could give GoDaddy's response in the article on how all marketplaces deal with theft and a customer left holding the bag.

    Thank you

    GoDaddy reply:

    Sorry for delay. Here's our statement


    When a customer lists a domain for sale at GoDaddy, they must state they are authorized to list and sell the domain name. If we find out a domain name has been stolen, we promptly remove it from the auction platform and ban the user.


    One a domain auction is completed and there is a dispute regarding the rightful ownership of a domain, we do not get involved in the resolution of the dispute. That issue needs to be handled in the appropriate court of law.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  15. 55Domains

    55Domains Top Contributor VIP

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    These things cost Godaddy millions in revenue every time they pop up...

    godaddy is slowly turning into a platform that simply gives a "fk u" for an answer to any request for support on any matter, (other then technical which they arnt quick at ficing either)... "it is how it is" style,... 101 comes to mind.... while with some other options /namesilo/epik/nb you simply get much better support, sometimes to the extent of being able to talk to managers/owners directly if you run into a 5figure issue.

    Customer Support should be a top priority at companies and issues like these and similar where people lost real $$, should be send straight to an executive where a desicion is made and final.
     
  16. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    One of the things that baffles me the most is that even after Godaddy knew there's a potential problem with these 19 domains at the end of 2019 (Mr. Petretta had already complained about the domains that were stolen from him and the other buyers also already contacted Godaddy about it)- Godaddy still continued to allow the thief to complete sales on their platform with the other 'Go' domains. I bought the 'Go' domains in January- two domains on January 14th, 2020 and one on January 24th, 2020. When there's a complaint about a group of domains- how can Godaddy just let the ones that haven't sold yet be in the system and let more customers buy potentially stolen domains? The transactions are smooth. The clients have no clue that something might be wrong. And then good luck getting a straight answer or your money back. Had Godaddy made sure none of the domains Mister Petretta complained about were listed for sale- I wouldn't have been involved in this mess.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  17. blogspotter

    blogspotter Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Several decades and several ups and downs in the industry, in 2020, we still don't have an industry leader to look up to.
    No wonder outsiders still look at us as a bunch of crooks
     
  18. Ostrados

    Ostrados EpicName.com VIP

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    This is scary! it means even when you go to a highly reputable site to buy a domain you are not protected at all.

    This indecent is a lesson that we all should learn from, If you are going to purchase an expensive domain then make sure that whois info has not changed recently (less than 1 year), if it has changed then you need to investigate before you buy.
     
  19. trelgor

    trelgor Established Member ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Wow. I guess the question here may be ”at what point will the bill for bad press overshadow the one to hold good faith customers indemnified”?

    upload_2020-10-2_11-1-25.png
     
  20. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    Happy to report that Godaddy is issuing refunds for the three 'Go' domains that I bought. I hope that means the other buyers are also getting a refund. Thanks to @Joe Styler & @Paul Nicks for helping get this matter resolved for me as well as thanks to all of the other members of NP who helped, especially @Grilled and @jberryhill.

    I hope that moving forward Godaddy can make every effort to eliminate theft and use of their platform to sell stolen domains. IMO Godaddy should also have a very clear policy about such cases and provide clear explanations to customers who end up with stolen domains so they won't be left in the dark chasing shadows. It's basic customer service. Also, I think Godaddy should make sure to take notifications about stolen domains more seriously and freeze listings of suspicious domains immediately after getting the notice because at least in my case, I bought the domains weeks after Godaddy already knew those domains were reported as stolen. With millions of domains on the platform, no harm will happen if a few domains will be delisted for awhile while there's uncertainty about them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  21. jberryhill

    jberryhill Top Member John Berryhill, Ph.d., Esq. PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    It sounds like a good idea in principle, but that can become another vector of abuse.

    You have widget.tld and I have widgets.tld. I notice that we have both sent them to auction at around the same time. I report yours as “stolen” to lock it up, so I can sell mine. There are a lot of ways this can be abused.

    As I mentioned above, the “mistake” here was refunding the other buyer, thus making it hard to justify not refunding everyone who was similarly situated in relation to this particular batch of names.
     
  22. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @jberryhill I guess people can always find reasons and ways to try and abuse the system. I don't think the altenative, knowing that domains might be stolen and just leaving them in the system, is an option that's reasonable. I think any vendor who knows merchandise they're offering for sale could be stolen has to take it off the shelf while looking into it seriously, unless the claim is totally farfetched. Auctions do seem more complex in that regard, but still... resources should be in place in order to review such cases quickly and efficiently and at least determine if there's a high likelihood of a real problem that might get more clients in trouble or not. In this case, it wasn't about one domain. It was about 19. The owner complained. The buyers complained. The fact that these domains were owned by the owner/complainer for many years at a different registrar and suddenly they were all transfered to Godaddy and hit the market is easy to verify. That's a big bright red flag. Yet the rest of the questionable domains stayed listed for sale. To me, it doesn't seem like a good decision to bet on so many domains- and in hindsight, indeed it didn't turn out well. If GD looked into this matter at the time and that's what caused them to leave the rest of the domains in the system... clearly they didn't look into it well enough otherwise things wouldn't have ended up where they have.

    Also, I don't know why the refunds were issued, whether it was related to that other refund or not, but I'll give GD the benefit of the doubt and I'm thankful that the end result is positive, regardless of the reason. Either way, knowing that there was a prior refund was certainly very helpful, so much thanks for that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  23. forge

    forge disturbed 94% VIP

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
  24. GoWebnames.com

    GoWebnames.com Truth alone triumphs VIP

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    I have received no such refund email from GoDaddy.
    When did you get yours? What did it say?
     
  25. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @GoWebnames.com Sorry to hear that. Since I already returned the domains in March, I guess I'm in a different position than the other buyers at the moment. I got the emails about the refunds first (those automatic emails from Godaddy that notify about a refund) followed by an email from court disputes letting me know that refunds have been issued. I'm presuming that if you contact [email protected] and be willing to transfer the domain to Mr. Petretta, you'll be refunded too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020

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