KKK.com is registered at Enom, and the domain name expired in mid-October. As a result of its expiration, KKK.com was automatically sent to an expiry auction at GoDaddy Auctions. By mid-day yesterday, the auction had a high bid of nearly $100,000 with a little over a week until the auction would end.
In response to a tweet mentioning the KKK.com auction, Media Options CEO Andrew Rosener wrote about the domain name and suggested that GoDaddy cancel the auction:
Yes but https://t.co/lboRgE6dN8 is a very dangerous one because of its obvious tie to Klu Klux Klan.
Hard to see any value in this name beyond keeping it out of the hands of dangerous actors. @GoDaddy should pull this name and simply reserve it / lock it away. @PaulENicks
— Andrew Rosener (@andrewrosener) November 13, 2022
Paul Nicks, President of the Domains division at GoDaddy, took immediate action to cancel the auction and block it from appearing on GoDaddy Auctions in the future:
Thanks for the mentions folks. Name has been removed and blocked from ever showing up on Auctions again.
— Paul Nicks (@PaulENicks) November 13, 2022
I reached out to Paul to ask him about canceling the auction, and here’s what Paul told me:
“First, I’d like to thank Andrew Rosener for bringing this domain to my attention, self policing as an industry is incredibly important.
As for our takedown action, we won’t be associated with hate, so I made the easy decision to cancel the auction and block it from ever appearing on GoDaddy Auctions again.”
I think there are a few things that could happen with this domain name. It could be renewed and the original registrant will get the domain name back. If that doesn’t happen, Enom could put the domain name into its own portfolio since it can not be auctioned at GoDaddy Auctions. The company could then sell, use, renew and kill DNS, or donate the domain name. If that doesn’t happen, Enom could allow the domain name to delete where other auction platforms will try to catch and auction it.
I am not sure what will ultimately happen with KKK.com. I think it is commendable that GoDaddy could have turned a blind eye and sold the domain name for six figures but opted to not be associated with this domain name.
Update: The nameservers reverted back to what they were previously, so it looks like the domain name may have been renewed at Enom.
What about the many businesses who use the initials KKK that have nothing to do with the neo nazi organization?
Registration Date February 28, 1978
Owner (REGISTRANT) KAPPA KAPPA KAPPA, INC. CORPORATION INDIANA 941 East 86th St., Suite 103 INDIANAPOLIS INDIANA 46240
this fraternal organization and several other REGISTERED marks on the USPTO might suggest otherwise – not to mention likely several international marks registered with WIPO.
In this current WOKE world of authoritarian governME intervention – GoDaddy is probably doing the right thing for now.
Not to mention someone who may have an idea using those letters, or someone who peacefully has an opinion (for or against) the new nazi organization.
And if GoDaddy is so much against “profiting” from the letters KKK, why is it ok to profit from KKK in other extensions?
Some would argue this is a facet of censorship. (Of course this isn’t to discredit the merit of Godaddy’s choice.) Such a move implies Godaddy will cancel ANY kkk domain auction regardless of TLD extension. (Ex: kkk.net, kkk.co, kkk.biz etc.) If they don’t, their choice to cancel the .com could be interpreted as a PR move; and a clear nod to the .com tribalism in the centralized domain space.
Another angle worth considering here is the fact kkk could literally be an acronym for anything. Unless the kkk.com domain has a history of being used in association with hatred, Godaddy MAY be setting a dangerous precedent for the centralized domain space with its choice. Imagine registrars choosing to cancel auctions for whatever reasons THEY deem fit. It’s easy to see how this could be abused.
It might be advantageous for Godaddy to formally elaborate on how they reached the decision to cancel an auction with almost 100k worth of bids and a little over 9 days remaining. (If they haven’t already.) Failure to do so could invite speculation about the merit of the company’s business practices. In addition, they would benefit from being clear about how they’ll proceed with future auctions.
In closing, GoDaddy has badged itself as “the police for domain auction and acronym meaning”. They’ve tasked themselves with validating every acronym domain that comes across their auction block isn’t associated with hatred etc. It’s a noble, but massive, undertaking to say the least. If this wasn’t their goal, the fact a domain investor tipped them off, and thus influenced their auction cancellation decision, raises another set of questions about what this means for the space.
@NamerTips on Twitter
Good move on them getting that off the aftermarket. I would see about privately offering it for sale to organizations or trademark holders of the acronym, but it should not have the option of landing in the hands of hate.