Can someone steal my domain with GoDaddy? Domain hijacking is on the rise, with thieves using increasingly sophisticated methods to steal domain names from under the noses of their legitimate owners. While GoDaddy has been a popular domain registrar for many years, recent experiences have shown that GoDaddy Domain Protection is lacking and their ability to keep their customers protected from these fraudsters is clearly missing.
Learn about GoDaddy Controversies, their poor customer support, and why you should avoid using them if you want to keep your domains safe from hackers.
Can GoDaddy Be Trusted?
Do I need to worry about domain hijacking? It’s something that should concern any business. Domain hijacking is when bad actors gain control of your URLs by impersonating you and contacting your registrar falsely claiming that they are the legitimate owner of your domain. Registrars that fail to do their due diligence will often simply transfer control of your domains to the hacker, forcing you to jump through countless hoops to get your property back and potentially ruining your business’ reputation in the process.
How easily can a domain get hijacked? It happened to Peachy Essay. Hackers created an account on GoDaddy’s website and submitted fake IDs and proof of address demanding an immediate transfer of the site’s URL. GoDaddy failed to verify the IDs whatsoever and simply accepted them without bothering to contact us, initiating the transfer on August 4. When our team noticed it, we contacted them asking them to stop the transfer; they responded claiming that someone had submitted “sufficient evidence” proving that the domain was theirs. After speaking to GoDaddy, they cancelled the transfer and promised us they would not make the same mistake again.
However, this was not the end of these GoDaddy controversies. Can someone steal my domain with GoDaddy? Yes, with enough persistence. 24 hours after we spoke to GoDaddy, the same hackers again attempted to hijack our domain, but this time, the transfer happened in less than five minutes, and we were given no chance to appeal or challenge it. Our domain is worth $3.3 million, and we were clearly being targeted by cybercriminals.
We contacted GoDaddy again trying to get them to reverse this transfer, but GoDaddy’s customer support is appalling. When you first call them, you can only get a hold of salespeople; they just try to blame you for the issue and then they try to sell you an additional service. However, if you stay your ground and ask them that you would like to talk to the technical support, this is when the waiting tactic starts. Talking to technical support requires a minimum 45-minute wait time. Once you actually get on the line to a tech support member, they simply recite a prewritten script to you and then forward your request to email; if you’re lucky, you’ll get a reply 72 hours later. Every time we called GoDaddy, we were given totally different advice and three different email addresses yet were repeatedly reassured that “this is the right team.”
With no other options, we initiated legal action against GoDaddy to recover our domain. As part of this, we obtained the phone number of GoDaddy’s U.K. CEO and spoke to him directly; he was “unaware” of the situation. Afterwards, GoDaddy’s support staff contacted us to state that the domain hijacker had submitted an ID that matched the domain owner, so we submitted our ID to prove that we were the owners. GoDaddy replied asking us to take a selfie with the ID (we wonder why they didn’t ask this from the attackers at the first place). We took a selfie and video with the ID. Only then, after seven days, did GoDaddy return our stolen domain to us.
At no point during this process did GoDaddy explain how they made such a huge mistake and how they failed to keep our domain safe from these thieves. Nor did they provide the details of the fraudsters who very nearly managed to steal our successful and popular website.
Peachy Essay is more than a website: it’s a community of tens of thousands of students and tutors around the world working together to improve their academic careers, share ideas, and collaborate. The thieves who tried to steal our domain know this, and more importantly, they know they are incompetent and will never be able to build anything as popular and beloved as our business.
Is GoDaddy a Good Place to Buy a Domain?
Based on our experience, we cannot recommend GoDaddy for any business owner that is concerned about security. It is beyond embarrassing that a corporation like GoDaddy was so easily fooled by a couple of photoshopped JPG files. From our investigations, domain hijacking has become a common problem with GoDaddy customers, and the company has no protections in place to stop it.
If you don’t have access to expensive lawyers, we cannot recommend you use GoDaddy. While we were able to regain control of our domain, it was only after taking legal action and talking directly to the company’s U.K. CEO. If you use GoDaddy to host your website, you are taking an enormous risk.