Complaint / review text:
Trademarks were designed to unique protect brand names, like Cheerios, Doritos, or Coca-Cola... So when GoDaddy decided to automate their domain registration system to prevent people from registering domains containing Trademarks.
The trouble is, their system can trigger false red flags for Trademarks of common words. For example, did you know somebody has a Trademark for "April"? I found out the hard way... I registered domains recently that had common words like April and Complete in them, then because of their filters, the domains were taken away two weeks after the confirmed order.
Let me be clear here, although there may be a US Trademark for the word April, NOBODY owns that word. It's a month... And a woman's name. The same is true for Complete, so don't worry if you use it in a sentence.
The trouble is, I ordered the domains Complete. Xyz and April. Xyz and received confirmations on June 20th... Only to have them removed from my account and sold to another GoDaddy customer in July.
That's undefensible. I am perfectly okay with a Trademark filter that stops people from cyber-squatting unique brand names, but that filter needs to remove any Trademark of common words and phrases.
For this reason, if Andersen wanted to buy a domain with Windows in it, Microsoft would not care, because Microsoft has no intention to own the word Windows. Their Trademark is designed to stop other software companies from making a software product called Windows, not to prevent people from using Windows in any other way.
So far, they have taken 3 domains from me because of this flawed system. It's not only flawed for red-flagging common word domains in the first place, but because there are several bugs in that system that prevent them from giving the domain owner an opportunity to sign acknowledgement agreements that would otherwise save the domain.
Because of this second flaw, I never even knew they intended to take my domains from my account.
To fix this problem they need to do four things.
1. Before taking a domain that somebody paid for, there needs to be a second filter for common words. Any common word such as "Dog", "Cat", "House", "January"... April... Should automatically be cleared, because even if somebody has a Trademark, there is no reason to block somebody from owning such a domain. Period.
2. Regardless of the red flag, there should be HUMAN review, so somebody who sees the domain can decide if there is a potential problem.
3. Once the red flag has been reviewed and a clear Trademark issue is indicated, the domain should NOT be removed... But suspended at least 30 days until a CONFIRMED contact is made, by certified mail, phone or email.in the case of email, an unanswered email does not qualify, there must be a response.
4. Once a CONFIRMED notification is made, the owner should have 30 days to submit any documentation needed to keep it, before it is taken away.
The trouble is, I own nearly 700 domains... And I am still concerned they will continue to take my domains away without notice.
After losing the first two domains in this manner, I pressed them to review my list of about 700 domains, and let me know if there were any other domains flagged for Trademark issues, they said I was clear... Then they took the third.
This time, I demanded they look at my list, and put IN WRITING, a single statement that every domain I owned as of that moment was safe, and was not subject to another Trademark grab. I told them this was so that I could hold them accountable if it happens again. They repeatedly refused to put it in writing.
If they had faith in their system, there would be no reason to refuse to put it in writing.
They refunded the price of each domain... About $12, but because all three domains were short, easy to remember domains, the damage to me as a domain investor were potentially in the tens of thousands.
After posting here and on some blogs and social media, I was contacted by somebody from the GoDaddy CEO's office.
He was polite, acted concerned, listened, then ignored everything we talked about and clearly could care less about me or my problem.
I have over 750 domains on GoDaddy, between my 2 accounts, and I made it clear that I wasn't happy with the fact that I was removed from their VIP Program, which provides an additional layer of support by assigning a dedicated representative who keeps in touch with you and monitors your account for anything unusual.
If I was still in that VIP Program, I would've been notified before they took my domains.
Moving 750 domains takes a lot of time, but I have already moved about 40 and I will eventually move them all. I simply hate being treated like garbage.
One of the positive things that came from this was connecting with a lot of high volume domain owners on a bunch of domain blogs.
The general consensus among people who buy and sell domains for a living is that EVERY major domain professional simply HATES GoDaddy.
I can't stress enough how much the domain industry HATES GoDaddy. They became #1 with slick ads to appeal to the masses, but those who know domains know that GoDaddy is one of the worst companies in the world to do business with.