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

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SuperBrander

Top Contributor
Impact
3,688
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.
 
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DnFolk

Top Member
Epik.com Staff
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17,819
I also had noticed and wanted to buy one of your go + keyword names for attractive pricing but i was travelling and by the time i confirmed and made sure everything to finally buy the name, The listing was gone.

As an active domainer this is terrible to know that godaddy response (or lack of it) on this. Specially when it is the biggest and most popular registrar. And worst thing is with their prevalence you can't even avoid them. I still hope somehow this ends in positive way for you.

Thanks for sharing.
 

SuperBrander

Top Contributor
Impact
3,688
Thanks for the support, everybody. I just talked to the lawyer. I'm more convinced now that these domains were indeed stolen from his client. I hope I won't get any of these details wrong but according to the lawyer, they were originally at Domain.com and were unlawfully transferred out to Godaddy, to my understanding at the end of 2019. According to the lawyer, both Domain.com and Godaddy were notified about it when the owner found out but they didn't do anything about it. These domains were in the owner's possession for many years before this, as verified by the lawyer.

Scenario A: this guy one day went crazy, decided to transfer these domains away to Godaddy and then tried to stop it from happening but both registrars didn't assist. Then he sold the domains and now trying to get them back on top of the money he got for them. Scenario B: A thief transferred them away and then sold them. The owner is trying to get them back.

I think scenario B makes more sense. I've been a member of Domain.com for a few years. It's not the best or most secure registrar to say the least. The reps there are often incompetent and made tons of mistakes. I've had some crazy instances there, including around 200 domains that went missing at one point and all sorts of other affairs that sound like they came out of a fairy tale or more correctly a horror story.
 
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Impact
1,587
Did the lawyer tell you what to expect next? Do you have to give up the domains and is GD going to be involved and refund? Are they going to take the loss?

Scenario B obviously makes more sense as i don't think someone will transfer domains to GD, get them auctioned and then change his/her mind so it's more likely a theft situation.

Keep us posted.
 

SuperBrander

Top Contributor
Impact
3,688
He can't speak on behalf of Godaddy, of course. For now I'm going to continue to discuss this with Godaddy and try to get information since they hold most of the data. Earlier I finally got an email from a tier II rep saying that they're looking into this. I replied. Then a few minutes later I got a reply from a lower tier rep who sent a short message in response telling me the domains are unlocked and active. So now I don't know if the first guy who said he'll be able to update me will respond or not later on. Nothing like bureaucracy. This case involves multiple parties (I don't even know how many) so I don't know what will happen and who will do what. I intend to return these domains regardless of what GD does. Anyway... I'm going to take a break from this thread because I have other things to do. Thanks again to everybody for their input and support.
 

Samer

Restricted (15-30%)
Impact
21,198
He can't speak on behalf of Godaddy, of course. For now I'm going to continue to discuss this with Godaddy and try to get information since they hold most of the data. Earlier I finally got an email from a tier II rep saying that they're looking into this. I replied. Then a few minutes later I got a reply from a lower tier rep who sent a short message telling me the domains are unlocked and active. So now I don't know if the first guy who said he'll be able to update me will respond or not later on. Nothing like bureaucracy. This case involves multiple parties (I don't even know how many) so I don't know what will happen and who will do what. I intend to return these domains regardless of what GD does. Anyway... I'm going to take a break from this thread because I have other things to do. Thanks again to everybody for their input and support.

You’re the man; well put.

Well articulated; considering delicate matter

Consider reply to the comment in Ray’s article, Ray just wanted to bring this issue to light; yet somehow comment goin at u, prob w/o reading

https://tldinvestors.com/2020/02/be-careful-of-possibly-stolen-domain-names-starting-with-go.html

Samer
 
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Lox

_____
Impact
7,113
According to ... after Dec 15, 2019.
Btw. since 1998 the real owner keeps his go & other names @ Domain.com

Screen Shot 2020-02-25 at 22.44.09.png
 

wwwulff

Top Contributor
Impact
6,023
Thanks to Superbrander for this thread - While I understand gowebnames and others' concerns about the google indexing it's important that people who are thinking about buying similar names are aware that they may be stolen - I know one of the pontential stolen names already have been resold via the BB slack channel and I have today made the buyer aware of this thread.
 

Chris Hydrick

Account Closed (Requested)
Impact
9,268
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.

Six months later, after it was brought to light that the customer who purchased GoParts.com was refunded around the time this thread was created, it looks like after a little encouragement from @jberryhill that @Paul Nicks is finally going to escalate this to see what can and what has been done. 👏

More on that: https://www.namepros.com/threads/go-domains-in-inrem-litigation-what-r-my-options.1210088/
 
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GoWebnames.com

Truth alone triumphs
Impact
3,719
Update: Few days ago, these GO domains were ordered by the Virginia court to be transferred over to the plaintiff's chosen registrar (GoDaddy), the same registrar who had sold these stolen names.

I wrote to GoDaddy auctions about it, post which they have refunded my purchase in full by applying an equivalent account credit. Of course, GoDaddy didn't pay any interest or goodwill compensation for my lost time of nearly two years.
 

Attachments

  • 2020-12-15 (Petretta v. GoCars) Report and Recommendation (1).pdf
    243.3 KB · Views: 18
  • 2021-07-22 (Petretta v. GoCars) Order Granting Default Judgment (1).pdf
    116.4 KB · Views: 16
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Alop

Restricted (15-30%)
Impact
1,166
Update: Few days ago, these GO domains were ordered by the Virginia court to be transferred over to the plaintiff's chosen registrar (GoDaddy), the same registrar who had sold these stolen names.

I wrote to GoDaddy auctions about it, post which they have refunded my purchase in full by applying an equivalent account credit. Of course, GoDaddy didn't pay any interest or goodwill compensation for my lost time of nearly two years.

GoDaddy is the best register ever
 
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