Avoid GoDaddy For Domain Registration.
Lack of experience can be very costly. I wish I had learn from others mistakes, though. I have wanted to publish this article since December 2016, but I wanted to be sure of what went wrong before going ahead.
You see, precisely December 28th 2016, after weeks of permutations of the best domain name to use for a website, I eventually arrived at a name (****stack.com). I wasn’t sure if the domain has been picked or not, so I went straight to GoDaddy to check; alas, it was available!
I immediately tried to buy the domain. I went through the add-to-cart-checkout process, but upon checking out, my debit card was not successfully processed. I tried another debit card, to no avail. The next morning, I was on GoDaddy to try another debit card. Lo and behold, the domain was no longer available. I did a WhoIs lookup and it showed it was registered the day before (precisely on December 28th) by, what I now believe, to be a company fronting for GoDaddy.
As expected, I was very sad. First, I tried to know if this was likely to be a case of someone doing the search at the same time as me. The probability was almost zero as no company or individual anywhere in the world uses even a name that close (as at December 29th 2016). While searching the internet for answers, I came across the concept of domain-front running, domain tasting and domain kitting. There is a Reddit thread on the same.
Obviously, GoDaddy, using their insider knowledge, knew when a buyer is interested in buying a domain. My multiple attempts to purchase the domain could have signaled to a human or computer program that it is a premium domain. So, if the said buyer didn’t buy the domain straightaway, they will then front-run or taste the domain with the sole intention of causing the buyer to buy the domain name at a premium from them (or from the company fronting for them). The domain I tried registering is now up for sale and their website wanted to help me purchase it!
This is an insidious practice and go against all ethical norms. It should be totally discouraged and even penalized by ICANN. Imagine your lawyer using the information you provided him/her against you, or selling it to the other party! Imagine your doctor using your confidential information against you or selling it to pharmacies so they can market certain drugs to you (if you are in a country where you can buy drugs directly)! Imagine your bank monitoring your financial activities and selling this information to third parties. This is essentially what GoDaddy did to me and to many others.
My advice to you is never to buy a domain from GoDaddy or even use their whois or search tool to do anything. Avoid their website like plague and make sure your existing website, if it is still with them, never get expired as they may likely swoop it up (once it’s outside the grace period) and then want you to come buy it from them at a premium. I also advise that you move away your domain to a more ethical registrar. As this kind of activities go unpunished, we help unethical folks like GoDaddy make profits at the expense of unwary customers.
I have since registered another domain (through another register) but it was hard coming up with the new name. I now use the WhoIs tool within Terminal in Mac to search for domains and only tried to register it after I’ve confirmed it is available.