When you buy a domain name, common sense would say that it is yours for the keeping. The only time that we really hear about people losing a domain name is when they forget to renew it after it expires, and in order to get it back you normally have to fork out a good chunk of money.
There was just a situation, however, that goes beyond what many people have ever thought about happening. The owner of the domain FamilyAlbum.com found himself pinned in a corner when he saw that he no longer owned the domain. Apparently GoDaddy was informed that the email address specified for the Whois registration was no longer valid. GoDaddy sent the owner of the domain an email to that account, and after no response for 8–weeks GoDaddy automatically took possession of it.
GoDaddy’s response was:
We cancelled the domain name registration on this domain name because the customer did not respond to our email request to update the information. In fact, we did not hear from the customer for more than eight weeks after our initial contact attempt. Per ICANN regulations, we are required to collect valid information. Per our Registration Agreement, we will cancel the name for invalid Whois if the information is not updated within the appropriate amount of time.
What is really aggravating is that they only sent an email. They didn’t try to mail him a quick letter or even pick up the phone to call him, which would have worked since that information was still said to be valid. Instead they relied on an email address that people have a tendency to change quite frequently.
After GoDaddy got the domain they turned around and sold it for $18.99, which is their backorder price. That means someone probably notified GoDaddy that the email address was no longer valid just so that they could swoop up the domain themselves. I did a little hunting around and it appears as though the domain is just for personal purposes, but that still doesn’t excuse their actions.
If you are using GoDaddy for your Registrar,I highly recommend that you make sure your Whois information is up-to-date. That would be really horrible to go through a lot of work setting up a site just to have it taken away from you!