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Possibly Stolen Domains May Have Sold At Godaddy. Will Godaddy Investigate/Help? So Far- No.

Labeled as warning in Warnings and Alerts, started by SuperBrander, Feb 25, 2020

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  1. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    Recently I bought at Godaddy three domains that are/were also registered at Godaddy: GoSystems dot com, GoToys dot com and GoEducation dot com. A few days ago I got an email from attorney David E Weslow (who's a well respected attorney in the industry, to my understanding) about an intent to file a lawsuit on behalf of a client in order to retrieve 19 stolen domains. The 3 domains I mentioned were included alongside 15 other GoWord.com domains and one LLN.com. I remember seeing almost all of these domains listed at Godaddy recently with attractive Buy It Nows and they were apparently picked off by buyers. A few days ago I posted a warning, but took it off after I was told that the matter was already dealt with. Unfortunately this matter is still alive and kicking and that's why I'm posting this post.

    According to historic whois the person who claims they were stolen from him was indeed the owner of these domains. I'm not a big conspiracy theorist so I think it's quite likely that these domains were indeed stolen. Most people wouldn't go to such lengths as to pretend that domains got stolen and then hire a respected attorney to try and get them back.

    So I started going down the inevitable bureaucratic path. Godaddy's phone rep sent me to [email protected]. They said: "To the best of our knowledge, the complaining party is not pursuing this matter at this time. If we are notified of a legal dispute regarding the domains, we will further notify you". There's a letter of intent to proceed with litigation which I sent to them, the attorney also said he notified Godaddy about the upcoming lawsuit and at least two other buyers beside me also contacted them about it, but apparently this needs to get to an actual lawsuit in order for them to take interest.

    I emailed Godaddy Auctions as well, but they just sent me to the next level support who then referred me back to Court Disputes. What's extraordinary to me is that nobody is saying: We're going to investigate and try to determine if these domains were indeed stolen and sold on our platform. I contacted @Joe Styler . I have much respect for him for being here at NP and for being available for help in the past, but he replied that he can't get involved in legal matters so that's another dead end.

    What's the bottom line? 19 possibly stolen domains may have just sold at Godaddy but Godaddy doesn't seem to want to investigate. Probably because if they do investigate, they might have to refund 19 purchases that were done on their platform and lose to my estimate around $15K-$20K. The possibility that 19 stolen domains may have just sold there doesn't seem to concern anybody or make them want to try to check if it happened, at the very least in order to know and to try to avoid it from happening again, if it happened. Based on their responses up till now it seems like Godaddy is just waiting for their customers to be sued.

    I, as a buyer, can't know who got the money I paid for the domains so there's nothing I can do but return the domains or wait for a lawsuit. Is this Godaddy's way of treating domain investors better and trying to look out for them and their needs? Godaddy's new CEO certainly talked the talk at NamesCon about embracing domainers and trying to help them. But can he and the rest of Godaddy actually walk the walk when domainers who spend a lot of money on their platform need help because of domains that are registered there and were sold on their platform, likely by a thief?

    It remains to be seen. For now it certainly doesn't seem like it. But perhaps there will be a good end to this story. Be careful with GoWord.com domains in the near future. And make sure the registrar you use will be there for you when you need it and not just when it takes your money.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
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  2. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Got a list? How were they stolen?

    "Go" names are pretty liquid so best to document what's potential impaired and work to clean that up without making all Go names toxic goods.

    As for getting intervention, it used to be that could be done, but lately pretty hard at Godaddy. It must be part of the new empowerment agenda. Dunno.
     
  3. Pay.My.id

    Pay.My.id Established Member

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    Really like your statement : "And make sure the registrar you use will be there for you when you need it and not just when it takes your money". Its totally true for all customer in the world ...
     
  4. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @Rob Monster Thanks. I'm a bit reluctant to post the other domains, because other people's domains are involved and nothing is certain at this point besides the fact that a previous owner claims they were stolen. I did post them in my original post a few days ago with the word 'dot' replacing '.' so they won't be indexed, but since nothing has been proven yet- perhaps it's not wise to post them here. Other domainers here in the forum own some of them, so for now I won't mention them though I definitely want to. I don't know how the domains were stolen, if they were stolen. Probably an email hack. But who knows. I tried to call the attorney earlier to get more information but couldn't catch him. I'll try again tomorrow.
     
  5. Sutruk

    Sutruk Established Member

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    Godaddy should have the IP address of every transaction made on their platform, of every movement, and of course, they have the seller info where the funds of that sale were sent.

    So they have the tools to investigate and know who got those funds from those sales, and who placed those domains for sale at Godaddy (the IP address).

    I wish the best for you in this case. And thanks again for alerting about this issue with the Go+Word.com domains.
     
  6. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP Blue Account

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    Keep us posted. You're a valuable member of this community, posts i enjoy reading. Sad, since GD... looks wont be resolved timely, but hope gets resolved, especially with amount.

    Are you "important" enough to have your own Godaddy agent, @SuperBrander?

    Wondering if reaction times to customers with to the ones without GD agents, varies...

    Samer
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  7. Ategy

    Ategy NameCult.com VIP Gold Account

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    Seems as the auction platform, GoDaddy would obviously not want to get involved if possible.

    At the moment for all they know .. those are your domains. It's kinda like Schrodinger's cat .. at the moment the domains are theoretically yours .. but by the very act of them looking into it and investigating could lead to the discovery that the domains were indeed stolen .. in which case they would likely have to report it and take the domains back from you (even if there was no official legal action taken against you yet).

    I'm not saying it's right or wrong .. there are ethical arguments to be made on both sides .. one in terms of the overall truth .. the other in terms of protecting you as their client.

    I think a lot might also hinge on whether they think if they can get your money back or not.

    That's unfortunately a problem with GoDaddy, in that you don't have access to any seller information. At Sedo you don't get tons of information, but you can see the country and age of the account .. certainly not everything .. and definitely something that can be taken advantage of by people who want to cheat/steal .. but it is better than nothing.


    Almost all my acquisitions are expired domains .. so stolen domains is one nightmare I personally don't have to worry about for the most part! :)
     
  8. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @Samer Thanks. I don't have a Godaddy agent. I spend a lot of money in the aftermarket there but I don't renew domains at Godaddy because even with the discount club renewing elsewhere is cheaper. Maybe that might be the reason I didn't get an agent. I never felt like I needed an agent, to be honest. Maybe one would have been helpful now. Who knows.

    @Ategy Naturally looking into it is something Godaddy probably wants to avoid. But they can't. They simply can't ignore this. The domains were/are registered there. And sold on their platform. They have a few impacted customers who spend a lot of money there. They have the data of the seller. They can also be in touch with the previous registrar and check what happened there if the domain was just recently moved to Godaddy. Yet no one I discussed this matter with (and it's been 5 or 6 Godaddy people now) seems to care about the very likely prospect of stolen domains that sold on the platform. Or trying to help me as a customer by at least looking into it and investigating. The only responses I got so far all referred me to the Court Disputes department who just wants to avoid dealing with it unless there's a live lawsuit. I don't want this to get to a lawsuit. I want this to be investigated by the site where everything happened and that paid someone who is very likely a thief a sum that's around $15K-$20K while long time customers are left with toxic domains.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  9. GoWebnames.com

    GoWebnames.com Truth alone triumphs VIP

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    @SuperBrander please control your super activism and refrain from mentioning any domain names publicly, NP is a heavily indexed site and a public outcry here will only serve to tarnish the names involved while solving nothing.

    You were made part of the private conversation that I had started with @Joe Styler, @Paul Nicks and the NP admin team on this very issue on Dec/21/2019, to investigate and, if found stolen, to cancel and refund these GD assured transactions where I am down mid $xxxx. I also created a ticket with GD auctions who never replied to it. So, neither GD nor Joe have been helpful at all. But it's strange that you never responded in that private conversation. You also ignored the private conversation that another member started with you and me on this very issue, with us tagging you repeatedly but now bring this on here publicly?

    Anyway, as for the truth of alleged theft, the former owner, who was in communication with me on his own historical WHOIS email, tried to allege theft immediately after selling me the name through GD which was like within 2-3 minutes. This was from his historical WHOIS email only. Then, within an hour, the seller [using a different email than the one on the WHOIS but from a matching IP] wrote a mail to his registrar, GD rep and me, alleging theft and threatening to involve FTC. It appeared to me that the seller was trying to keep the money and to recover the domain as well. I replied-all to that mail of his suggesting an investigation and a resolution but, to this day, neither the seller's own registrar, nor GoDaddy have replied to that email. What should we understand when the seller's own registrar isn't taking any interest in telling us if the domains were taking out of his account forcefully?

    Now, on the very next day of my purchase, I had requested GD to freeze the payout and to investigate the sale as they could have clarified IF the payout was marked for seller's account or to someone else. But apparently they didn't want to respond. Nearly two months later, when the seller sent them this notice of intent of litigation, they locked down the domains "pending investigation" but subsequently released them after their "investigation".

    So, what's my conclusion? You are left holding hot potatoes that might or might not have been stolen. Because, firstly, in alleging theft, the seller used two different emails but matching IPs. Even his email signature was the exact same on both mails. Secondly, even his original domain registrar never cared to investigate and clarify. Thirdly, GD could have but never clarified it either. Fourthly, the seller never communicated with me again despite my readiness for an investigation and a resolution. So, who's the best judge now? A court of law IMO. But when? When it comes to that (A mere notice of intent doesn't really mean much).

    I would suggest that you please share any updates in the private conversation that's already created between us. The public has learnt sufficiently well that nonsense like this can happen and that GoDaddy can never be helpful except when taking your money. If your plan of action is to coerce GD into refunding you with this public post, i don't think it'll be successful. Should you lose your domains to litigation, we can discuss this publicly but, before that happens, let's refrain from trying to turn molehills into mountains.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  10. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    What’s the point of a fire sale of such domains less high commissions, then hiring a lawyer who takes their fee upfront to get the names back, where is the gain in that?

    Step 1 attorney filing legal threat to see what they can recover, as godaddy probably won’t play ball, unless they push it to an actual filing.
     
  11. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @GoWebnames.com Thanks. I had no idea about this whole matter until I got the email from the lawyer a few days ago. I think the reason I didn't see any of your tagging or conversations is probably because I had a member on 'Ignore'. He's a great domainer (in fact, one of the best at NP) but he posts about his purchases and sales everywhere, often in a few places (also outside NP), and it just exhausted me at some point to see them again and again (sorry but to me it's distracting when I try to browse NP). Either way, the date you mentioned- 21st of December seems strange because I only bought the first domain out of these three in mid January.

    I'm putting this in public because I think people should be aware. I know I would have liked to know about such a matter. These three domains that I bought are toxic now as far as I'm concerned. I wouldn't sell them to anyone. As for what you described- if the owner's email got hacked, this scenario might be possible. It's strange, but someone who hacks somebody's email likely keeps jumping between email addresses. I really find it hard to believe that someone who owns awesome domains wakes up one morning and decides to start selling them and then immediately disputing transactions. This has thief written all over it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  12. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP Blue Account

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    “No fee unless we win.” how they get you.

    Competitions fierce;

    then again, said respectable industry attorney.

    Samer
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  13. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @wwwweb IMO whoever sold the domains earlier is a different person than the one who's now filing for a lawsuit. The first one is the thief who still had the whois details of the owner and perhaps also control over his email address. The second one is the owner who realized there was a theft. That's my take on it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  14. Shaan Chopra

    Shaan Chopra Established Member

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    You should not be worried in this case, just keep all your backup data like the invoices and payment slips that you bought the domain legally. You are the owner until proven the domains are actually stolen and who sold it to you wants to reverse the transactions. Just mark these domains red and keep them for a period for 6 months. Just sending a letter saying and we are filing a case doesn't mean the case is actually filed. This could be a scam on you, we don't know. They were actually stolen we don't know. You should formally reply back to the attorney that you have made these domains as red and will keep them for a period of 6-9 months whichever you think is fair to actually file the case. Godaddy is a big company they would have their legal dept which will look into the matter once there is an actual case. If you don't see any movement in the next 6-9 months on the case life goes on as normal.
     
  15. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Agreed, looks low a hacked email, and they probably changed payment details. Godaddy most likely l cannot comment, as it probably has been kicked up to legal.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  16. lock

    lock DomainUsed.com VIP

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    Even though a massive event happened whether intention or mistake everyone here would like to know rightful owners can retrieve names.
     
  17. Mister Funsky

    Mister Funsky Top Contributor VIP

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    I too operate this way. If their club pricing for domainers (aka domain investors) would include free privacy, they would have over 1000 more of my domains sitting there and offered for sale on their platform. Until they treat us as the valuable customers we are, I will gladly move my names to other registrars that have reasonable pricing.

    btw, thanks for sharing this issue/experience.
     
  18. Silentptnr

    Silentptnr Top Contributor VIP

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    I had a similar situation with GoDaddy.

    Rest assured that because you purchased the names on their platform, you will either keep the domains or be reimbursed if the names get clawed back.

    Had you paid somewhere else and just got the names pushed at GD, you would be screwed if they turned out to be stolen.

    If you paid GoDaddy, you'll be fine.

    Sorry this happened to you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  19. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @Silentptnr Thanks. The thing is- an investigation has to be done either way. Perhaps it was already done, but they keep referring me to their legal team because they're hoping an actual lawsuit won't happen so they won't have to refund. As a customer, I don't appreciate that Godaddy seems to be waiting for me to be sued and is giving me zero insight, even in general terms, not specifics about what happened and how things look from their end. Godaddy has access to valuable information and can also get information from the previous registrar if necessary and I want them to give me any shred of information or assessment that they have. So far I got absolutely nothing. I think they owe that to customers on their platform who are now being pursued by a lawyer and are stuck with domains that morally can't be sold. BTW it seems like some of the 19 were sold at Dan.com, not Godaddy. Mine were all bought at Godaddy, though.

    Personally, since I believe the owner, I think there's a person out there who had 19 domains stolen from them and they now have to deal with a lot of shit. I've seen it happen in other cases and I was unfortunately a part of similar case two years ago when a NP member sold me and a bunch of other people stolen domains. The MO is usually similar. Email hack. The thief doesn't change whois. Sells domains. Later the owner finds out and is screwed because registrars and buyers all think he was responsible since his email address was involved and he was shown on whois. I don't want this to get to litigation. These domains aren't worth worrying about for months and possibly causing the real owner more hassle. I just want Godaddy to be fair, take responsibility for what happens on their platform and be honest with me about how this whole mess looks from their end. If they determine foul play- then I'd like a refund. If not- then I'll deal with that. But don't wait for me to be sued and leave me with this mess without giving me any info. I still hope they'll be helpful. Fingers crossed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  20. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    The seller has a huge burden of proof, and it has to serve godaddy to get that data first.

    At the end of the day you have a bill of sale, and a transfer most likely from the sellers account to yours, and probably charged to a credit card, or PayPal.

    Lawyers going after registrants first is a move to try, and intimidate you to transfer names back, but they have the burden of proof on them at this point. The owner of the domains will have to spend substantial monies to bring the real data to light.

    At this time I would just stay steady, and explain you have a legal bill of sale for your purchase, and unless it can be proven without a doubt otherwise you will honor that sale in good standing.
     
  21. johnn

    johnn WeSellName.com VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I don't think anyone here can help you.
    Let it sleep and move on or work privately with your lawyer.
    Google is not your friend in this case.
     
  22. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @wwwweb @johnn Thanks. Appreciate the advice. Yeah, nothing much can probably be achieved here. But I still think it's important for people to air these things when they happen. Discuss, learn from other people's mistakes, hold registrars and marketplaces accountable for things that happen there, try to make them live up to to the high standard of conduct and customer service that they say they have etc. I'll keep pursuing info from Godaddy. I'll update if I'm able to get some news.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  23. Lox

    Lox _____ VIP Gold Account

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    What’s the reason for keeping the rest of the “hot gocandy” names off the radar. Did GD asked you or K.T. , S.P. , K.C. ... Wiley? Curious, Thx
     
  24. SuperBrander

    SuperBrander Top Contributor VIP

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    @Lox I already replied to Rob earlier in the thread about that. So far there's no lawsuit. Just a letter of intent and a previous owner trying to get domains he claims are stolen. It's probably better not to mention other domains because that can cause their owners problems, perhaps without reason. The ones I own are dead to me so I mentioned them. Even though they're unlocked and active I can't morally offer them for sale and drag another innocent victim into this with this uncertainty. Plus I think this claim is likely legitimate. I'm trying to reach the lawyer and left him a message a few minutes ago because I can't seem to catch him available and keep getting the answering machine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2020
  25. AdamFL

    AdamFL Established Member

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    Sorry to hear this happening to you and to other NP members. If I remember I saw some posts about members acquiring good quality Go+Keyword so they are most likely in the same situation.

    You should be covered by your receipts since you didn't do anything illegal and worst case scenario you give back those domains and GD should reimburse you. I know it's not that easy because of the headaches and time but it could happen to anyone and on any platforms.

    Good luck and keep us posted as we wll want to know the outcome in such delicate situations.
     

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