Last month, Chris Brogan had an interesting story to tell about a domain that GoDaddy sold and then retracted due to a price glitch. It’s a long story and I won’t attempt to summarize it here. Read it in full and then come back.

Clause 10 of the GoDaddy Legal Agreements and Policies gives GoDaddy the right to do exactly what Chris is so upset about:

GoDaddy expressly reserves the right to deny, cancel, terminate, suspend, lock, or modify access to (or control of) any Account or Services (including the right to cancel or transfer any domain name registration) for any reason (as determined by GoDaddy in its sole and absolute discretion), including but not limited to the following: (i) to correct mistakes made by GoDaddy in offering or delivering any Services (including any domain name registration) […]

To correct mistakes made by GoDaddy in offering or delivering any Services (including any domain name registration). You agree to this ToS when you buy a GoDaddy domain.

Chris:

With something as important as a domain purchase, there either must be a real time option available OR there has to be a lot more/better communication flow explaining this experience.

The realtime concept just isn’t a realistic option. And while it’s true that GoDaddy could be more in-your-face about the conceivable scenarios where clause 10 of its ToS might come into play, the scenarios in which it does come into play are exceedingly rare, as evidenced by Chris’ shock despite being a longstanding customer. What GoDaddy could do is have a summary of clause 10 at font size 11 in the footer of the checkout page, although no one is going to read that. But giving this information a truly prominent position at checkout is absurd since it almost never actually happens.

Regardless, it’s unfair to expect GoDaddy to be obligated to its up-front price and eat $550 on a single transaction. That’s like short selling — the sky’s the limit on how much the company could lose on a premium domain glitch like this.

The customer may choose to abandon his cart, and the merchant may choose to abandon the sale. Both parties have this freedom. Those are the rules of engagement when it comes to domain purchases. It’s clearly stated in the ToS. If you have a problem with that, you have the freedom to not buy domains.

My biggest beef with GoDaddy in this story is the fact that it gifted this domain simply because of the prominence of the customer’s lover. GoDaddy should be consistent and stick to its policies regardless of the pedigree of who’s whining.1


  1. The amount of ruckus that Chris has raised over this makes his statement here to seem disingenuous: “To be utterly honest, if the price started at $650, Jacq would’ve bought it without flinching.” If Chris really meant this, he would’ve put his money where his mouth was, and gone forward with the deal at the new price. ↩︎