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Old 01-27-2004, 03:49 AM   #1
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Angry

Out of an interest of public service to the MUD community, I'm poking my head out of the gopher hole long enough to share the following:

Last Wednesday, I sent a posting to the moderated rec.arts.sf.written Usenet group promoting the games of jointhesaga.com.

The next day, players started complaining: They couldn't reach any of my websites. And when they did a whois check, the registration showed that my domain name had been suspended for spam and abuse by my registrar, GoDaddy.com.

No email. No phone call. No form of warning whatsoever. Not even a complaint from the Usenet group moderator to me.

So began my arduous trek.

I called GoDaddy.com long distance. Waited for 15 minutes. Finally got a customer service rep who told me I'd need to email the abuse department to find out what the problem was. Great!

So, I emailed the abuse department and found out that I'd been marked as a spammer because of a single post to that Usenet group. If I wanted to dispute the complaint, I could pay $29 to unlock the domain once I got proof I didn't do anything wrong. If I wanted to swear up and down I'd never spam again, I could pay $100 and get the domain unlocked.

Naturally, I was livid. I've made Usenet postings about these games for about six years and I've *never* had a complaint that wasn't handled between me and the moderator. If it's against posting rules, I have no problem with ceasing and desisting. But I never got that chance, and GoDaddy never contacted me before acting - talk about presumed guilt.

GoDaddy claimed they'd tried to contact me, using a defunct administrative email address. But my account information on the GoDaddy website (which I assume they must use to sell to telemarketers and spam e-mailers, since they didn't use it to contact me) included current email addresses, home phone number and a mailing address.

This made me absolutely furious. I don't even host my sites on GoDaddy.com. They just held the registration for jointhesaga.com, which was redirected to the name servers at RPG Works. I didn't send any e-mail via GoDaddy's servers. As far as I know, they've got ZERO jurisdiction over Usenet management. I really, really, really wanted to fight this. But, as I've just spent A LOT of money on print advertising for the games, I can ill afford to leave the address in dispute.

So, I sent an email back, calling GoDaddy.com extortionists and incompetents, informed them they could take the $100, but I'd be taking my business elsewhere immediately thereafter. I also notified the folks at RPG Works, as well as all my players - and this led to some angry but well-written letters from supporters who were prepared to yank their business from GoDaddy.com.

This yielded a response that if I didn't like their terms or couldn't comply with their terms, then they'd happily accept $29 to unlock the domain so I could change registrars.

I told them: Take the money. I'll be on my way. So, they did. I'm now in the process of moving jointhesaga.com to Register.com. It's much more expensive than GoDaddy.com, but in my experience, Register.com doesn't stab good customers in the back to make an extra buck, which is all this maneuver reeked of. GoDaddy's definition of "spam" is so broad that just about anything qualifies, and they act so rashly, without anything approaching due process or even simple manners, that you're not treated like a customer: You're treated like a criminal.

Now that this process has started, I've demanded a pro-rated refund on jointhesaga.com's registration (I'd paid through 2007), as well as six other domain names I'm cancelling with GoDaddy.com. If they agree, I should end up with more than $100 back in my accounts, which will cover the expense of paying their stupid penalty and transferring the domain. And they lose a loyal customer - all over one complaint about one email to one moderated Usenet group, because they were too damned lazy to pick up a phone.

If you registered with GoDaddy.com, think twice about staying with them. They use their "noble" anti-spam policies to make money on the back end. Most people probably just suck it up and pay without complaining and don't have the friends I do who can complain even louder and more convincingly. Don't let them make *you* a victim.

If you were thinking about GoDaddy.com, think again! They're nothing, in my opinion, but a bunch of crooks.
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Old 01-27-2004, 05:13 AM   #2
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I hope you are able to broadcast this to a wider audience as that sort of treatment is just appalling. Good luck in your future endeavours.
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Old 01-27-2004, 06:54 AM   #3
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ACK. Thanks for the warning about this. I was considering a move to GoDaddy because my current registrar went IE-only for their domain maintenance system and also began selling email addresses to spammers. But they've never had the gall to pull something like this.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:20 AM   #4
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In defense of GoDaddy (erk), ignoring spam complaints can be very costly, with some blocklists' policies being to block regions of IPs instead of singular spamming IPs*, and so it's often a better policy to have a knee-jerk about this.

Additionally, the rasfw charter doesn't explicitly allow advertising - but then, nor does it explicitly disallow it. I think, however, that the default these days is definitely "do not advertise".

That said, it's moderated, and if the moderator allowed (and has a history of allowing) said post, then it's kosher in my view.

Which leads me to the conclusion:

GoDaddy's customer support sucked rotten eggs through a pair of old socks but, as I read it, their suspension and reactivation policies are downright extortion. After reading this, especially from a regular as respected as Brody, I'm not going anywhere near them, and I will advise anyone else I meet not to, as well. That's just seriously bad.


*and rightly so - a particularly devious host could go "oops, swapped this blocked customer's IP with a previously unblocked customer's IP and whoops again! Innocent customer singled out by spam list. Bad blocklist! Evil blocklist!

Yes, this has happened. Lots.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:42 AM   #5
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Sorry to hear about your experience, Brody!

To speak in support of your alternate registrar choice: I have used Register.com for several years now to manage several domains, and can speak well of them from my experience. I don't think their price is high...rather I think it is *sustainable*--they also provide DNS services so you don't have to arrange for them separately from an ISP for an additional charge; your A pointers and CNAMES can be manipulated through their web-based interface (although I had to ask my ISP to provide reverses, at least on one subnet I manage.)

Their customer service, which I've only had to call twice in about five years, has always managed to answer my question or fix the issue in one phone call.

[Edited for typo]
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Old 01-27-2004, 01:01 PM   #6
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I've used Verio.com on a few occasions and they seem to be a very decent registrar.
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:00 PM   #7
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I've always had good luck with registerfly.com they are cheap ($9.99 a year) and they provide free dns with a webbased control panel and an ad-free webhosting account though it is only like 5 megs.
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Old 01-27-2004, 04:50 PM   #8
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I've put a copy of the first post in another message board I visit. Thanks for the tip
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:08 PM   #9
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Wish I had known of your plight sooner.  I enjoy the inexpensive and customer friendly services of Idotz.net.  All my domains go through them.

Thank you for this great community service.  Though, do they have a libel suit or at least a defamation case now for what you posted here?
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:14 PM   #10
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1-->
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Crystal @ Jan. 27 2004,13[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]1)]I've used Verio.com on a few occasions and they seem to be a very decent registrar.
I used to work as the system administrator for a 3d game development studio, at one point, we had some 30 domains registered at verio.com.

After getting tired of their horrible web management system, we transferred all of our domains over to elysium-hosting.  

Here's the kicker about verio - even after transferring all of our domains, and after repeated emails, they tried FOR TWO YEARS to bill the company credit card every time one of those original thirty domains would come up for renewal.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ntanel @ Jan. 27 2004,23:08)
Thank you for this great community service.  Though, do they have a libel suit or at least a defamation case now for what you posted here?
If he were lying they would. Since he most likely is not, they do not.

Truth is the ultimate defense to defamation.
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Old 01-27-2004, 11:50 PM   #12
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I have a journalism minor and it is "Truth is the ultimate defense against Libel."  I swear I read that they could still try Brody in civil court if they can prove he cost them business for what he is posting here.
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Old 01-28-2004, 12:14 AM   #13
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Angry

They "libeled" me as a spammer and shut my website down for six days, which cost *me* business too. If they'd like to get in that kind of ****ing match, fine. But they're the equivalent of a public figure, I've got documentation, and it's my opinion: All of which makes it protected speech.

Bring it on, I say

P.S.: I was a real actual working journalist at a major metropolitan newspaper for 13 years. I know a thing or two about it. Among other things: You can, as far as I recollect, only libel or slander an individual. Companies can't sue for libel. I didn't name any individuals.
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Old 01-28-2004, 12:39 AM   #14
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I am aware of your work. When you say they libelled you, was it publicly? I would like to see what they said. It be a good laugh because most of us know you are not a spammer.

You may be right, though I think only government/public officials can not sue for libel. Feel free to correct me. I sold my journalism book to pay a bill else I would refer to it.
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Old 01-28-2004, 01:32 AM   #15
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Angry

The publicly listed whois listing showed my status as "dns.suspended-for-spam-and-abuse.net" for six days, beneath my RL name. I'd say that counts, if I really wanted to push it.

And, if corporations could sue for libel, Micro$oft would own a lot of people, don't you think?
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Old 01-28-2004, 02:31 AM   #16
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Their motto just happens to be, "We Own You!"
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Old 01-28-2004, 04:57 PM   #17
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Appalling treatment by GoDaddy.com, I certainly agree... but just out of curiosity, does the rec.arts.sf.written newsgroup allow ads? I haven't visited the newsgroups in years. *nostalgic sigh*
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:03 PM   #18
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Angry

They don't specifically allow them, nor do they specifically forbid them. Regardless, the newsgroup is *moderated*, and if a moderator finds an item objectionable, they reject it and bounce it back.

In any event, my days of sending *any* posts to Usenet are done. Far too much trouble given the minimal return for the effort.
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Old 01-28-2004, 07:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Brody @ Jan. 28 2004,00:14)
Among other things: You can, as far as I recollect, only libel or slander an individual. Companies can't sue for libel. I didn't name any individuals.
Nope. A corporation is a legal "person." It can sue for libel.

Truth is the ultimate defense to defamation. It doesn't matter if you cost someone 50 billion in losses. If you are telling the truth, it is not libel.
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Old 01-28-2004, 08:24 PM   #20
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Defending corporations everywhere (the company I work for actually hosts verio.net - just a side note), I'd have to just let you know that tech support and the abuse department are always under constant siege - tech support bombarded by angry customers and idiots, and abuse hammered by ****ers trying to send 10k emails/hour or whatever.

For every 1 innocent that is inconvenienced (face it, your MUD address bouncing is not the end of the world), the abuse department has stopped at least 100 actual spammers.

Sure, I agree that it shouldn't have happened, theoretically - but godaddy is not out there monitoring your posts on usenet. Someone on Usenet complained to godaddy about your post, and they, while not reacting professionally, did react practically. Your 6 domains, at the rate godaddy charges, won't be a life or death loss/gain for them. However, if a valid complaint is overlooked, they could lose their uplink, which would mean an instant end to their business.

And this is why tech support hates you ;p
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