GoDaddy taking european domains hostage prior to expiration

This is something I never thought would concern me. All those domain ownership issues, I thought, were with people who just aren’t organised enough to renew their domains, forget their passwords, or pick domains that others try to steal.

I’m currently managing a couple of .DE and one .CO.UK domains on Godaddy. The .co.uk domain was bought for a fairly long period, so no problems there, but recently, both the .de domains were up for renewal. I received a couple of email reminders from GoDaddy, but when I logged into my account I noticed they are only due to expire on 26th March. More than a month away. On the last email I received on the 20th, I decided it’s probably time to renew, so clicked on the link and was getting my credit card ready.

To my surprise, the GoDaddy domain portal did not allow me to renew them, and marked them as ‘pending expiration’. hmmm… weird. Oh well, I emailed GoDaddy and asked to renew, not even worrying too much. Maybe a system glitch of some sort.

When an email arrived in response, it said that all .co.uk (yeah, this is not a typo, even though I emailed them about 2 .de domains) have to be renewed on the 20th of the month prior to expiration. Very strange. I pointed out to GoDaddy that these were .de domains and even so, why can’t they allow you to renew over their own website??

It was then, that things were beginning to look suspicious. I tried to access both those domains, and was shocked to find out I’m being redirected to a GoDaddy ‘free parking’ page – i.e. a page full of GoDaddy ads and links. Not to where it should have led me to obviously.

WHAT?? The domains are still mine. They have not expired, yet GoDaddy simply hijacked them. That can’t be right. Surely enough. That’s what GoDaddy did.

Ok. I felt angry, and disappointed and very stupid too. Did I miss an email reminder telling me this is going to happen and I ignored it?? I searched through my emails, and nowhere did it say anything about it.

This is what their initial renewal email said

You have elected that the domain name(s) above renew manually. This means that they WILL EXPIRE if you do not log in to your account and renew them by the expiration date(s) listed.

BY THE EXPIRATION DATE(s) LISTED. The dates listed were 26th March. Not the 20th of February.

Ok, so maybe it’s on the original Terms and Conditions I must have signed. I searched, and looked, and searched again. Nothing.

Right then, so it’s probably something the .DE domain TLD forces GoDaddy to do. I trawled through DENIC. Trying to find a clue. Nope. Nein. Nicht.

I’ve had numerous emails and a long telephone conversation with GoDaddy support, but they simply wouldn’t listen. I eventually got to a supervisor who gave me two options:

1. Do nothing, and these domains will expire, but only on the 26th March. Until then they are not going to be released or re-activated.
2. Pay their renewal fees, agree to their terms (which also mean 60 days lock from transferring)

I obviously had no alternative but to pay. The fees were reasonable. At least no nasty ‘re-activation fee’. I didn’t mind paying the renewal fees anyway and in the first place. But why hijack my domains??

As of now, nearly 24 hours after paying, and after another couple of emails to their support, my domains are still locked and redirected to a landing page.

I then came across this post by Simon Kapenda. Looks like he’s in a similar position to mine. There was another similar post, mostly with .co.uk domains here, but not much more I could find.

If you’ve been affected please let me know. Surely there’s something that can be done to complain against such practice.

22 Responses to “GoDaddy taking european domains hostage prior to expiration”

  1. stainless

    Same here with a CO.NZ domain. Doesn’t expire for a month yet GoDaddy has marked it Pending Expiration and won’t let me renew. Bad Form.

  2. Dan

    Hey guys
    I got 10 domains with godaddy
    as u guys said 3 of my co.uk domains are under threat.. So wht do I do in this case.. pls guide me guys

  3. Yoav Aner

    I only had this issue with the .DE domains, but I believe the same ‘rules’ apply at godaddy and they’ll block them before they actually expire. From what I know and understand this is against the registrar rules.

  4. raj

    I paid their renewal fees, and the domain is no longer in my account, i have mailed them and am still waiting for a reply.

  5. Christopher

    The same thing is happening with my .jp address. I think Bob Parsons is more interested in his godaddy girls than his customers.

  6. wit

    same thing happened to me with my co.uk domain, anything we can do for this? will i lose my domain?

  7. RCK

    And yet another casualty from me. My co.uk became ‘inactive’ several weeks before its actual expiry, and my only option seems to be ‘recovery’ … which is a forced 2 year subscription to godaddy.
    I am not impressed. I can heartily recommend people steer clear.

  8. Lorenzo B.

    Got the same problem, but how am I supposed to pay the renewal fee if there’s no option from the UI? Am I supposed to contact support?

  9. Yoav Aner

    That’s what I had to do, yep… I’m surprised this problem still exists and more people are being affected by it this way, but somehow they manage to get away with it.

  10. My EU Domain Lost by GoDaddy

    My EU domain name expires today and it is already lost in the GoDaddy control panel – I don’t have any option to renew it!!!

    :((( Daddyyy, Daddyy, you come here and you’ll see.. or feel it…

  11. Chris

    yup, still the same as of November 2014, Doesn’t expire until 11/23/14, but locked out. Pfft, lovely!

  12. Lucian

    Same problem with .es. My website is set to expire 34 days from now and:
    – They emailed me a reminder for renewing other domains and didn’t include this one, so they WOULD LET IT EXPIRE WITHOUT NOTICE.
    – In my account it is not included in the “My renewals”. Actually I can’t see it at all inside “my domains”. So, unless you remember it (as I did), there is no chance to see it and renew it.
    – It is in the “Pending Expiration” state and I can only renew it from there (they call this “recover”, not renew, but it has the same price as renewal).
    – I can’t transfer it out, without recovering it.

    This is clearly a bad behavior of Godaddy. In fact, I will recover it and transfer it to another registrar.

  13. Alexandre

    Same problem with my .COM.BR domain.
    Godaddy is so bad to realease this Domain and information about that !!

  14. Marco

    8 years after Yoav Aner blog posting this is still happening, just as Yoav describes. I dropped the auto-renewal from my .NL domain, because a friend of my didn’t know if she wanted to continue with her business. When she decided that she wanted to continue, it was after the 20th of the month prior expire and GoDaddy had put this domain in Pending Expiration status.

    I have read on SIDN website that after expiration SIDN will keep the domain in quarantaine for 40 days. I should be able to recover it (by another registrar, if needed) in those 40 days. My friend has suspended her business and her website at the moment, so I am not too stressed if the domain is not hosted for a couple of days.

  15. Frank

    We have a .NL and a .BE domain and they’re not set to expire for half a year. GoDaddy blocked all access to them, set them to “Pending expiry”. We can’t transfer the domains.

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