I received an auto-renewal reminder email from GoDaddy this morning. When I looked at the domain name that will be auto-renewed next week, I realized it was for a domain name I previously sold via Dan.com. The first thing I noticed was the account number in the top of the email was different than my account number, so the domain name is definitely not in my account.
When a domain name owner sells a domain name via Dan.com, he is given two options to get the domain name to Dan. The seller can either start an account change to the Dan holding account at GoDaddy or unlock the domain name and provide the transfer authorization code for Dan to transfer it to Metaregistrar.
When selecting the first option, Dan instructs the seller to select the option that doesn’t change Whois information. If the Whois information were to change upon the account change, it will automatically be locked for 60 days due to a Whois change, preventing an outbound transfer. By keeping the Whois information the same, Dan can either push the domain name to the buyer’s GoDaddy account or provide the authorization code for an immediate outbound transfer.
The issue I have run into a number of times is that buyers don’t always update the Whois registrant information when they choose to have the domain name pushed to their GoDaddy account. The domain name moves to the buyer’s account so they are being billed for the domain name, but the Whois contact information does not reflect this.
Earlier this year, GoDaddy began automatically adding Whois privacy following all account changes. This means the public Whois record will show the registrant as Domains By Proxy, GoDaddy’s Whois privacy proxy service. In the background though, likely unbeknownst to the buyer, the seller’s Whois information remains. What this means is that reminder emails like the one I received this morning are sent to the former registrant and not the current registrant. In addition, when a prospective buyer or someone else uses the GoDaddy Whois contact form to connect with a domain registrant, that will also come to the seller’s email inbox.
To alleviate this minor annoyance, I have been providing the authorization code to Dan.com so they can transfer the name to Metaregistrar, effectively changing the Whois information by default. However, I ran into an issue yesterday when a buyer had trouble transferring the domain name to his preferred registrar. He was told by his registrar that the transfer failed because of a 60 day lock, but I was told by Dan that the name is unlocked and ready to transfer. I presume this is a one-off issue because other buyers have not experienced the same issue when they transferred their domain names. That issue is still TBD. Until I understand what happened, I will probably revert to account changes and deal with the Whois issue separately.
In order to try and address the issue of unchanged Whois, I have contacted my GoDaddy Account Manager to ask him to connect with the registrant to update Whois. Sometimes he has to contact the registrant multiple times to get the Whois changed. I wish GoDaddy could coordinate with Dan.com to allow sellers to push their names to the Dan holding account with the Dan Transfer Whois information added without locking the domain name for 60 days.