Let me start out by saying that I’ve been using GoDaddy.com to host my website (and my numerous domain names) going on 5+ years and barring the occasional downed website (surely, this happens on all other consumer web hosting services), my experience with them has been mostly positive. I would be surprised by all the complaints about them considering I felt they had served me rather well. Customer service had always been helpful with very little wait times whenever I called and for what my hosting needs were – they more than got the job done for me.
That all changed this week.
So, I’ve been using DANPEREZFILMS.COM going back 8 years now. Had my Dan Perez Films logo created years ago to help establish my brand. It is perhaps the most important domain I own. Why? Well, because my twitter, facebook, instagram, vimeo and tumblr all bear the name danperezfilms. It also links to my website SouthFloridaFilmmaker.com (you’re on it right now). Oh, and it’s also my main email. That.
A few days ago, I received an email from GoDaddy informing me that DANPEREZFILMS.COM AND DANPEREZFILMS.NET had been cancelled. I thought to myself, “Surely, this is some sort of mistake – all my domains are on auto-renew!” So I logged in to my GoDaddy account, went to my Domains page and realized that DANPEREZFILMS.COM/NET were gone(!). I called customer service (got through in minutes) and asked how this could have possibly happened. The answer I got was that they had apparently sent me several emails stating that the domain was about to expire (I went through all my emails and found not one such notification for DANPEREZFILMS.COM).
Then he told me they had called. They did. They called our house phone which nobody ever calls us on (not their fault – that one’s on me) and left a message last month to contact them. But come on, we all know those calls are usually to get me on the phone to try and upsell me something. They’ve gotten me before so I just ignored it. I mean, what bad thing could really happen with my renewals all set to auto-renew, right?
That’s exactly what I explained to customer service – that all my domains are set to auto-renew! It’s been that way for years! He told me that the credit card I had on file must have expired to which I explained that the credit card on file (the ONLY credit card on file) in the Payment Methods in my Account Setting is totally up to date. How could this have happened???
OK, so let me just renew it now, I said. He told me no can do – someone else already purchased it. Say what? Someone else now owns my DANPEREZFILMS.COM domain name? Yup. WHO??? The customer service rep was “kind enough” to show me how to look up who might own a certain domain name. The search revealed that HugeDomains.com now owns the domain name I worked so hard to build. How could this have happened??? With my domains set to auto-renew and a fresh credit card on file? Please explain to me how this could have happened???
Then he uttered the worst thing that could have been said to someone who just lost a domain name he’d worked years to build, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do at this point.”
OK, I get it. Shit happens. Deep breaths. I’ll just contact HugeDomains and ask to purchase the domain back. It might cost me a bit but that domain is priceless to me. So I sent them an email and they responded with an offer.
$3,295. That’s right. Thirty-two-fucking-hundred-and-ninety-five dollars.
How could this have happened???
Was some of this my fault? Perhaps. Maybe I should have locked up DANPEREZFILMS.COM for 5 years, 10 maybe. It’s gone now. And the only explanation I got from the folks at GoDaddy was that they had called me (they did – one time), sent me several emails (they certainly did not), and that the credit card I had on file must have expired (it certainly had not). I mean, I’ve received notifications from GoDaddy in the past that certain domain names I owned were set to renew but I never sweated it because I knew they would renew automatically. Why did I then lose the most cherished domain name I owned?
So, here’s my question: Has anybody else had an experience similar to this one? Were you able to resolve it? Also, what legal options do I have at this point? What actions could I take to correct this most egregious oversight by GoDaddy? Are there internet organizations I can contact for help? Could somebody please pass me a 40oz bottle of Olde English?
Any suggestions on what to do would be most welcome.
You can find me now on DANPEREZFILMS.ME and you can contact me HERE (no more @danperezfilms.com) – that’s what I’m left with. As for DANPEREZFILMS.COM, it’s gone now – free advertising for GoDaddy, nothing more.
And for a company that I had grown to actually like and trust – that really, really hurts.
Photograph by laurent Bertrais