A lot has been written in blogs and the message boards warning that if you update any portion of your WhoIs information, such as your email address or organization name, GoDaddy will initiate a 60-Day Transfer Lock, during which your domain can’t be transfered or registered to anyone else. For a lot of people, this means there’s a “waiting period” before you can sell a domain and transfer it to the new owner. GoDaddy’s rule is different from the mandatory 60-Day lock on new registrations, which ICANN put in place to prevent fraudulent activity.
The funny thing is that GoDaddy is enforcing an outdated rule, that was invalidated by this ICANN Advisory from April 2008, which clearly states:
2. A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid reason to deny a transfer request.
Section A.3 of the Transfer Policy enumerates nine independent bases that a registrar may rely on to deny a domain name transfer request. Registrant updates to Whois contact details is not enumerated as a valid basis to deny a transfer request in the Transfer Policy. In addition, ordinary changes to Whois data fields are not evidence of fraud and therefore not a basis to deny a domain name transfer request.
- ICANN Advisory dated April 2008
I’ve heard people claim that if you call GoDaddy and ask nicely, you can get the mandatory transfer-lock removed, on a case-by-case basis. However, I’m not sure whether those domainers had dedicated Account Execs (which I don’t, although I have several hundred domains with them). I ran into this issue with a few of my newer registrations earlier this month, when I wanted to add my company name and email address to the WhoIs, instead of using my personal email. When I called GoDaddy, neither of the representatives I spoke to were aware of ICANN’s policy, and they both said the transfer lock could not be removed.
Considering a lot of people seem to flip domains relatively quickly (by selling to end users within a week of registering them or getting them at auction), they must either have their names registered with Moniker or another registrar, or have found a way to work around this rule. A few people have had success by directly emailing GoDaddy and stating their case, as suggested in a DotWeekly article from April 2010. You could also try calling, although that didn’t work for me.
An important note: If you do use list your company name (“Top Name Domains, LLC,” etc.) as the Registrant, be aware that it takes precedence over any other names that might be listed below it. Even though my your name is also listed in the Registrant info, should there be any legal disputes that arise over that particular domain, the company will be held accountable (and be able to claim ownership), not you personally. In other words, you need to make sure you have filed the proper business documents to show that you and your company are one and the same, or that you are the sole representative. If not, you could risk losing the domain, if you are ever engaged in a dispute.