Brent Oxley Loses Access to Create.com, Plus Millions of Dollars Worth of His Domains

March 18, 2021: Brent Oxley’s domain names have now been unlocked.

Brent Oxley, the founder of HostGator, has been accruing a portfolio of ultra-premium domain names since he sold his hosting company for close to $300 million in 2013. 

With purchases such as Give.com for $500,000, Broker.com for $375,000, and Texas.com for $1,007,500, Oxley has spent millions of dollars over the past few years accumulating this collection. According to his website, the portfolio is worth more than $25 million.

Oxley has now, however, lost access to a proportion of his portfolio after GoDaddy locked 25 domain names as a result of a lawsuit filed by an Indian domainer. 

Create.com, one of the most valuable domains Oxley has lost access to, is home to his new hosting company. Create.com’s launch was a much-anticipated return to the hosting industry for Oxley, where he made his mark founding HostGator. 

Oxley confirmed, though, that his new hosting business wouldn’t be affected by the locking of Create.com since the domain is only used for sales and has nothing to do with the hosting servers that keep his customer’s sites online.

 

The Indian Litigation

The locking of Oxley’s domains came about as a result of a civil suit filed in November 2019 by Puneet Agarwal in an Indian court. 

A translated copy of the suit is available to read here, but in short, Agarwal attests that he made a contractual agreement with Oxley to sell and acquire domain names for Oxley in return for a commission. The original suit mentions emails but no binding contractual document.

The PDF linked to above shows total costs of 820 Rupees in connection to filing this claim. That’s the equivalent of roughly $11.28. 

Upon approaching Agarwal before publishing, Agarwal declined to comment or offer any insight into the alleged contract.

Why were Oxley’s domains locked as a result of this filing? That’s because Agarwal claims he played a part in helping Oxley acquire the following domains:

Piano.com, Flute.com, Memo.com, Admirer.com, Darm.com, Devote.com, Demolish.com, Emir.com, Vtok.com, Vandalize.com, LoanTap.com, Advise.com, Message.com, Distribute.com, Detect.com, Jewel.com, Dust.com, Bonjour.com, and Viaje.com.

According to the court documents, Agarwal also negotiated the purchase of seven domain names now owned by Oxley and should have received a commission if not for Oxley’s supposed breach of contract.

Those domains are CIA.com, Drone.com, Item.com, Valentine.com, Bride.com, Hybrid.com, and Athlete.com. 

When reached for comment, Oxley denied the existence of any contract. Oxley still owns all of the domain names mentioned aside from Memo.com. Every domain name is registered with GoDaddy, except Vandalize.com.

As part of a fact-finding mission for this article, I reached out to brokers listed as facilitating deals for some of the domains listed to ask about Agarwal’s involvement. The brokers involved denied that Agarwal had any participation in the respective deals.

 

What About Create.com?

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that Create.com wasn’t mentioned in either list above. Create.com was, according to Oxley, only locked in February 2021 after Agarwal sent an email to Oxley’s lawyer. 

The email that Oxley showed me states that Agarwal “won’t be responsible” if “Create.com goes offline.” Agarwal goes on to say, “your client is doing an illegal thing by running a business on a disputed domain name.” 

Create.com was acquired in 2015, but Oxley states his relationship with Agarwal started when Agarwal contacted him in 2018. 

 

Oxley’s Texas Lawsuit

Oxley filed suit (PDF) in July 2020 in a Texas court to get an order to get his 25 domain names unlocked, a case that is ongoing. The court recently denied an injunction filed by Oxley, with the judge requesting a Hague Convention application instead.

A document filed to the court by case manager Byron Thomas (PDF) shows Agarwal sent an email to Thomas requesting that the court should “order Brent Oxley to pay me compensation of 11 million USD as per my losses from his cheating, fraud, willfull [sic] deception, and the loss of 7000 domains owned by me with 50‐50% partnership with Brent Oxley.” 

Upon contacting Oxley for comment, he provided me with a screenshot of an Escrow.com transaction purportedly created by Agarwal.

In the transaction (#7813820), titled “Mutual settlement of fight,” Agarwal offers to withdraw his case against Oxley and allow the registrar to unlock Oxley’s domain names.

In exchange for this, Agarwal is asking for $5 million, according to the screenshot provided. 

Oxley also sent screenshots of hundreds of emails and instant messages allegedly sent by Agarwal to Oxley.

In one string of 99 messages allegedly sent by Agarwal, numerous threats are made to Oxley, including “Ur [sic] ranch will burn one day,” “Ur [sic] car will catch fire,” “I will also take help from black magic,” and “I will pray to devil god to fulfill it.” 

In another string, messages include “Ur [sic] children will pay for ur [sic] bad karma,” “All ur [sic] money will be no use to them,” and “U [sic] will cry blood tears.”

I did reach out to Mr. Agarwal for comment on the article, but he declined.

 

Oxley Moves to Namecheap

In May 2020, I noticed that Oxley moved the majority of his domain name portfolio to Namecheap. In fact, every valuable domain Oxley owns was moved to Namecheap. The only other domain left at GoDaddy, aside from the locked names, was Create.com, which was locked in February 2021.

I understand that after Oxley moved his domains to Namecheap, Agarwal contacted Namecheap asking for Oxley’s names to be locked, a request that Namecheap declined. I contacted Namecheap for comment. I was told:

“Namecheap always puts our customers first, protecting their right, freedoms and valuable digital assets such as domain names. We have a proven track record of doing the right thing by our customers that includes fighting for their rights in court when deemed necessary. We do not lock or disable customer domains on a whim without the correct legal requirement.”

The 25 domain names have been locked by GoDaddy, Oxley’s registrar for these domains. The company’s universal terms of service agreement states that GoDaddy has the right to lock domain names for any reason, including to comply with court orders, which is typical for a domain registrar service agreement. Here, for example, is Google Domains’ terms of service. I reached out to GoDaddy for comment before the publication of this article, but I received no response.

Oxley, in an email to me, disputed the existence of any court order.

A quick look at India’s Ecourts filing (PDF) for Agarwal’s lawsuit shows a status of “Awaiting Services [sic] of notices/summons,” which seems to suggest Oxley hasn’t been served with a summons to appear. 

For balance, when asked directly about the status of the case, Agarwal did tell me, “[the] lawsuit has not been stalled in India.”  

An affidavit filed by Oxley’s Indian Advocate (PDF) also attests that Oxley has yet to be served, despite the case being open for more than a year. 

 

What Will Happen to Oxley’s Domains?

As of writing, 25 of Oxley’s domain names remain locked. I’m told that the domain names will be renewed if necessary, so they will not be expiring. 

Beyond that, what is the fate of Oxley’s names? It seems that the domain names will remain locked until the outcome of the Indian lawsuit is decided upon unless Oxley’s Texas lawsuit is successful before then. 

According to one source, the average civil suit in India has a duration of between three and six years. 

In the meantime, Agarwal has successfully halted Oxley’s use of a proportion of his valuable domain portfolio. With Oxley reporting in his court case that he has received over $5 million in offers on the locked domains, the standstill on his domaining activity has cost him dearly.

 

About James Iles

James Iles is a domain name industry writer and publisher of JamesNames.com. You can contact me here, or follow me on Twitter @jamesiles.

49 thoughts on “Brent Oxley Loses Access to Create.com, Plus Millions of Dollars Worth of His Domains”

  1. Oxley discovered this lawsuit when I sold him encrypt.com for cash + domains one year ago with the help of Michael Gargiulo of VPN.com. Brent was unable to push me 2 domains… That’s when he called GoDaddy.com to learn about a claim from an unknown guy in India who apparently had filed a frivolous lawsuit on a large collection of his premium domains. It was incredible that GoDaddy locked all these domains overnight without even inform the owner. This is a scary story that I thought will be resolved quickly but apparently continues. It’s terrible!!!

    Reply
      • Well, Godaddy pulls(automated or manually is a question) domains from customers accounts after day 29-30 in the drop/domain expiration process, if the domain has a bid on the domain at Godaddy Auctions, but WITHOUT NOTICE to the customer.. And on the other hand allows the domains registered with other registrars the ability to renew domains after day 30 with bids.. So, no surprise Brent did not receive a simple automated or manual email from GoDaddy noting the domains had been locked with an explanation of why…

        Class action lawsuit or Civil suit or mass exodus from Godaddy..? Something needs to be done to regulate GoDaddy and change these rules and guidelines godaddy makes up as they go and grow to become an monopoly… Writing is on the WALL, now in bold and ALL CAPS now..

        Happy to be in the process(over the last year) of moving domains away from Godady to Epik..

        Best of luck Brent, go get’em with the Big Guns…
        Thanks for covering this eye-opening story/news James.. Cheers…
        Peace to all…

        Reply
  2. This is an absolute joke! The fact someone can do something like this for $11 is beyond ridiculous. Brent is one of the most honest, straight shooting guys out there. Not once had any issues. He has benefited this industry massively and I find it disgusting he has to go through this with threats to him and his family while someone tries to extort him. This POS belongs in jail!

    Reply
    • Just to play the devil’s advocate, what if Brent cheated him out of commission? What if Brent did have some sort of partnership with him?

      Reply
      • What if you don’t get your merchandise from Amazon.com? Does the domain name get locked? No. There are all sorts of commercial disputes which are brought and adjudicated without tangentially-involved domain names being locked.

        Reply
  3. Godaddy is an absolute joke. It’s a shame really to see a brand that powerful being tarnished again and again due to the incompetence of some people in key positions. There are numerous issues going on with their platform, with the response usually being we know about it but it’s not in the top of our priorities. Despite that, they went ahead and locked domains because of an indian lawsuit? It’s unbelievable. If I was in Oxley’s position and godaddy’s actions caused me any sort of damage or inconvenience, I wouldn’t think twice about suing them.

    Reply
  4. Shame, Registrar ability lock him out.

    Oxley knows who the community rooting for. Good luck, Brent!

    Following your Texas case.
    This is wrong, so many levels, Brent.

    Godaddy? they dont deserve you.
    Keep us posted,

    Samer

    Reply
  5. Any court outside of the USA should not have this kind of power. Further, what an awful time for this to happen with all digital assets seemingly going parabolic at the moment (high end domains, crypto, nfts, etc.)

    Reply
  6. Puneet spent a little over $12 in India, and without proof, a contract, or even a court order, was able to abuse Godaddy’s policy and lock over $10mm worth of my domains!

    These names have been locked for over a year now, and I’ve spent $10,000’s in legal bills trying to get a court order to get them unlocked as Godaddy requires. (covid hasn’t made it easy with the courts) The legal fees pale in comparison to the millions in deals I’ve had to turn down. The lock prevents you from changing a domain’s DNS or transferring it, which means you can’t sell it.

    This scam is pretty genius if you think about it. Just about any scammer in the world can file in their country courts for a small fee; email GoDaddy that the domains are under “dispute,” and bam Godaddy will lock whatever domains the scammer asks them to in their email to courtdisputes@godaddy.com. (at least that’s what happened to me) 

    The scammer doesn’t even have to show up for court to keep your names locked and most likely won’t. Godaddy will lock the domains without a court order and then require you to get a court order to unlock them all.

    Getting a court order to get your domains unlocked is very costly, time-consuming, and can take several years with how backed up most of the courts are from Covid. 

    If you’re with Godaddy and you think your account is safe from this scam, I’d recommend you email them and find out for yourself that your names can be locked from a “dispute.” their UTOS says cearly says this.

    I’m ashamed to admit it, but I had a few moments of weakness and offered the scammer Puneet over $10,000 to drop the “dispute” with Godaddy. I even had some of the potential buyers wanting to pay Puneet $10,000’s in extortion money in order to close on the names locked. He was too greedy, demanding millions, and as a result, I’m not going to pay him a dime in extortion money. Instead, I’m paying lawyers in India to make sure he serves prison time for both extortion and fraud. 

    At one point, I even offered Godaddy full indemnification from the “dispute” if they unlocked my names. This is off the table now, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why’d they turn this down and continue to keep my names locked without any proof or court order. 

    Below is the email in which I found out why my names were locked. In this email Godaddy lied about there being a court order to lock my names. I don’t know why they lied about this but I’m guessing it’s because the file Puneet attached was in Hindu and they took his word for it.

    “Dear Brent,

    We have been notified that per documents filed in the District Court in Alwar, Rajasthan, the domain names below are the subject of a legal dispute:

    HYBRID.COMDISTRIBUTE.COMADMIRER.COMDRONE.COMCIA.COMDEMOLISH.COMEMIR.COMDARM.COMBRIDE.COMADVISE.COMFLUTE.COMLOANTAP.COMJEWEL.COM,

    ITEM.COMPIANO.COMDEVOTE.COMVTOK.COMATHLETE.COMBONJOUR.COMVALENTINE.COMDUST.COMDETECT.COMVIAJE.COMMESSAGE.COM

    The court ordered that the domain names are to be locked pending further order of the court. Accordingly, we have locked the domain names.

    If you have any questions regarding these actions or this court case, please contact the Court or Plaintiff’s Counsel directly. Contact information for Plaintiff’s Counsel can be found below:

    Puneet Agarwal

    ** email removed **

    Kind regards,

    Lisa

    Disputes Administrator

    GoDaddy”

    When I pressed them on there being no such legal ruling or court order, they quoted their UTOS:

    “Per Section 14 of GoDaddy’s Universal Terms of Service (“UTOS”), we reserve the right to lock domain names to defend any legal action or threatened legal action without consideration for whether such legal action or threatened legal action is eventually determined to be with or without merit. 

    ” 

    I’m positive Puneet is insane. He has sent me thousands upon thousands of emails, messages, calls, etc, etc. Many of these messages involve death threats, talking about praying to the devil, drugs, pictures of mutilated naked bodies, and all kinds of craziness. In a few of the messages, he told me he got in trouble for waiting outside Prime Minister Modi’s private house and office for trying to talk to him. I’m not sure I would have even believed this if it wasn’t for him sending over a document that was an official complaint against the officer that questioned him for harassment!

    Reply
    • Very sorry to hear about the lock. It takes many years in the 10-20s for the Indian court system to process civil cases. The government has therefore created the eCourt system for faster processing. Sorry to see it being abused without a written contract with you. Godaddy locking your domains is with an abundance of caution I guess but they should not lock until a local court does the ruling. I have decided to move away all my domains from Godaddy to Namecheap due to this pitfall. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. BTW I have been using Create.com for my hosting and it is a very nice hosting provider. Thank you.

      Reply
    • Sorry that you had to deal with this but bravo for not paying him a penny. If it can happen to the big domainers, what hope to the small guys have?

      Reply
    • Brent, after reviewing this appalling matter, as far as I’m concerned you should be suing for far more than just unlocking the domains, and I sure hope you do (or are). It would be good and best for yourself, everyone, the industry, even the world no less. Also see my comments at TheDomains and DomainInvesting.

      On a side note, props again for the years of what I regard to be a golden age of hosting when HG was such a beacon of excellence before you left. Those were really some days before the plunge into similar decline.

      Reply
  7. This is f insane, now anybody in India can follow this scam!!

    How come this issue was not brought up to the GD CEO during the namecon?

    Reply
    • Anybody in USA can also follow this scam or anybody from European countries can also follow this scam. BS you are full of racism

      Reply
    • Uniregistry

      Registration and Service Agreement

      Revised January 7, 2021

      2.6 Domain Name Disputes, In General

      ‘If we are notified that a complaint has been filed with a judicial or administrative body regarding your domain name, we may, in our sole discretion, suspend your ability to use your domain name or to make modifications to your registration records until (i) we are directed to do so by the judicial or administrative body, or (ii) we receive notification by you and the other party contesting your domain that the dispute has been settled. Furthermore, you agree that if you are subject to litigation regarding your registration or use of your domain name, we may deposit control of your registration record into the registry of the judicial body by supplying a party with a registrar certificate from us.’

      https://uniregistry.com/legal/registration-agreement

      Reply
  8. FYI all : Puneet is barybadrinath on NamePros. He’s been found guilty of cybersquatting in two URDPs. One was for FacebookEngineering.com.

    Reply
  9. What a terrible series of events. It goes to show that even if you have good names, you need reserves to not only defend from frivolous UDRP complaints, but now from people who think they have rights to your names because you have simply responded to their emails…

    Reply
  10. The reason (an assumption) why Godaddy locked account of Oxley on a lawsuit filed by Indian domainer – is – Godaddy has physical offices and presence in India as a PVT.LTD. registered company and it has to follow the law of the land (since the domainer has filed case in Indian court). But it may not have locked Oxley’s account if it was Pakistani/Bangladeshi domainer – since Godaddy does not has any official presence in those countries. SO its not about ‘Indians’ but its merely Godaddy is law-abiding company (in India).

    Oxley has moved majority of his portfolio to Namecheap the blog post says. Now suppose Oxley is Indian resident and some US Domainer files a law suit in any state of U.S. then Namecheap or any U.S. based registrar will also have to lock the account (to avoid domain transfers) of Oxley. What all a registrar can do is follow the law of the land where they have the presence.

    So it’s really really risky to park domains with any of the registrar it seems. One can face law suits and get all of their domains locked out until some court order is passed. What we learnt from this is keep valuable domains with various registrars around the world or in U.S. to be on safer side.

    Reply
  11. Nice article, James.

    At VPN.com, we brokered a number of deals for Brent in 2019 and 2020. Early last year we were working on completing the sale of Encrypt.com for Brent and Francois from Domaining.com. During this negotiation we discovered this Indian litigation by Puneet and the resulting GoDaddy locks of nearly $10 million in domains of Brent’s portfolio.

    Francois also commented on this issue below.

    As James and I discussed this past week, about 25 of Brent’s names were locked including several we previously brokered, CIA.com and Detect.com. We found this highly suspicious because each of these transactions were handled through Escrow.com, who verified the identity of the buyer, seller, and broker accounts…none of which were Puneet.

    Furthermore, Viaje.com was brokered through Uniregistry to Brent’s ownership. How could Puneet have been involved with a Uniregistry deal?

    To make this an even bigger debacle, Puneet’s entire litigation and evidence were served to Brent and our team.. in Hindi. We had to have the documents legally translated before discussions with GoDaddy could be had. This took weeks to authenticate.

    Puneet’s claims revolved around Brent owing him money for domain brokerage work but never produced any English documents or contracts that point out such a breach. This made clear to GoDaddy that no agreement actually existed, or at the very least the claim is unsubstantiated.

    It very much appears that Puneet filed this litigation because he knew GoDaddy would lock the names. He was aware of how their policy would react to his hostage litigation.

    Of course, we wanted to get this resolved amicably with GoDaddy and most preferably without litigation against them. I spoke to GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani, Paul Nicks and Justin Redman, GoDaddy’s Assistant General Council about this case explicitly and the vulnerability to abuse this GoDaddy policy presents on multiple occasions. None of our conversations seemed to alter GoDaddy’s policy on locking the domains.

    After these conversations with GoDaddy, Brent and I recognized the power of the registrar to be influenced by frivolous and unsubstantiated litigation.
    Interestingly, GoDaddy did confirm to me that they were aware Puneet due to other litigation and multiple cybersquatting rulings against him but refused to lift the locks.

    The main take away: IF your domain is subject in ANY legal proceeding and is registered at GoDaddy, that domain is frozen until the legal proceeding is resolved. The merits or evidence including in the original filing having no influence on whether a lock will be placed, they automatically lock the domain until the court instructs them otherwise or a settlement agreement has been reached.

    This is permitted in GoDaddy’s Terms of Service. They can actually lock domain of yours any time. Something to think about. While I understand this approach may protect GoDaddy from potential liabilities that arise from allowing names to be transferred outside of GoDaddy’s control during litigation, this policy has collateral damage that develops into larger damages as missed deals accrue. It is a very tough situation for GoDaddy customers who find themselves in this position, like Brent.

    It is important to note that GoDaddy does not discriminate on where a filing comes from when placing registrar locks. So anyone or government, in ANY jurisdiction, could file a similar claim and you would be stuck. Accordingly, domains hosted at GoDaddy are exposed to this issue in every jurisdiction on earth.

    Given the developing cancel culture developing across the Internet and social media, it would be a devastating blow to the domain industry and GoDaddy customers if abusive litigation, unrelated to title, was to have this control of transactions and ownership.

    Someone with ill intent could pretty easily see how this process can be abused. By filing litigation, you create hostage situation of the domain owner through GoDaddy’s policy. Litigation in India can take over a decade to resolve. This is exactly what has happened.

    The current GoDaddy policy of waiting for a settlement through an Indian court is not a viable solution for American owned property.

    GoDaddy has over 76 million domains registered through them or about 20% of all domains in the world. This policy impacts 1 in 5 domain owners.

    If this can happen to Brent Oxley, one of the largest domain owners in the world, it can happen to anyone. I really hope GoDaddy can see the industry badly needs their help and reform on this issue. Registrars and in a unique middle position of critical influence when it comes to litigation oversight. We need a solution that protects owners, otherwise thee exploitation of GoDaddy’s policy (and cancel culture) will damage the long term value premium domain names carry, due to these mounting risks and ownership loopholes.

    Michael Gargiulo
    CEO at VPN.com

    Reply
    • I’m not a lawyer, but the part “To make this an even bigger debacle, Puneet’s entire litigation and evidence were served to Brent and our team.. in Hindi.” seems very odd.

      When my company sued in an Ontario to protect our Pupa(.)com domain name against an Italian company that filed a UDRP, we had to serve the Italian company via the Hague Convention. This meant that we had to translate, at our own expense, the English court documents into Italian (even though the company in Italy had counsel that understood English, they refused to accept service on their behalf, so we had to resort to the Hague Convention).

      Both Brent Oxley and VPN.com appear to be in the USA. I’m surprised that service of the lawsuit in Hindi is considered appropriate, that it wasn’t required to be translated into English at the plaintiff’s expense (like it was in my case).

      As I noted in the very long thread at NamePros:

      https://www.namepros.com/threads/brent-oxley-loses-access-to-create-com-plus-millions-of-dollars-worth-of-his-domains.1230431/page-9#post-8189433

      there was also the potential to initiate a TDRP (transfer dispute resolution procedure) via the relevant ICANN policy. That TDRP gives GoDaddy (the losing registrar) the ability to deny a transfer if there’s a court order. It doesn’t let the deny on the basis of simply a legal dispute, according to my reading of that policy. [more details in the NamePros thread]

      Reply
  12. @Bobby, @Fat Anon, where do you get the completely fatuous idea that US courts are the only competent ones in the world? The utter illusion that you are the only ones who deal in domain names?

    No Indian or any other court has passed judgement of any kind to date. GoDaddy, a USA registered business and registrar, USA, did you fatheads get that, decided to lcok those domains, not “Johnny Foreigner”. Neither court nor registrar.

    Reply
  13. James, I just wanted to say thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. The NamePros thread is quite active.

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/brent-oxley-loses-access-to-create-com-plus-millions-of-dollars-worth-of-his-domains.1230431/

    If some random lawsuit, in some random court, in some random country is going to lead to GoDaddy locking domains without a court order, or even being served, including a domain that was not even part of the lawsuit… Who is going to feel secure with assets there?

    GoDaddy needs to clean this mess up ASAP.

    Brad

    Reply
    • Hi Brad: Great to see you positing here.

      The thing is it doesn’t even take a court order! READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE

      14) 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)

      But the kicker is their limitation on liability READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE

      Limitation of Liability

      In no event, under any circumstances shall GoDaddy be liable for an amount in excess of $10,000

      Do the math

      Oxley says his names are worth 30 million So based on the TOS Oxley is a $10k liability plus costs. That leaves an approximate $29,990,00 arbitrage opportunity for Godaddy.

      The worst is the worst no matter how you spin it and Godaddy has proven time and time again year over year that they are the absolute WORST

      Reply
  14. What I find mindboggling is that people still use Godaddy at all. Godaddy has been pulling so much shit over the years, I wouldn’t let them handle our assets even if they paid us money.

    That being said, I hope you’ll get it sorted out, Brent. Good luck and all the best.

    Reply
  15. This is big news in Canada and is being discussed on our Canadian forums and clubhouse. The most senior domainers with large portfolios have expressed interest to move away from godaddy.

    I think godaddy needs to do more than unlock the domains I think they need to give assurances to the domaining industry. If that does not happen I fear they will become shunned by the domaining industry.

    A well know domainer that most of you know called me Saturday and asked me if I was moving away.
    I told him I have not come this far by making rushed decisions but I will definitely be watching the outcome and deciding which company best reflects my interests moving forward.

    Reply
  16. What is everyone’s opinion on the safest US based company to keep and protect domain names? A registrar who has shown to be the best, by example, of protecting the domain owner from any type of legal threat or transfer under any circumstances besides valid and specific court order? That line or two hidden in the TOS for Godaddy and Uniregistry is terrible.

    Reply
  17. Dear GoDaddy,

    I love GoDaddy and my partners love GoDaddy, we are about 20 years GoDaddy customers.

    We have huge domain portfolio in GoDaddy and everyday buying domains from GoDaddy auctions.

    Dear GoDaddy, if you want to be our Daddy many years more, please change your TOS, your policy, for your real customers, domainers benefıt. And stand by our sıde, protect our digital assets.

    We don’t want to live in fear every day, to see if something will happen to our digital assets.

    As all we see that GoDaddy reputation is bleeding very badly.

    I am not sure GoDaddy aware of this?

    All domainers want to protect their domains, domains our digital assets, our family future…

    Without finalized court order, GoDaddy can’t lock any customer domain.

    This is not same as UDRP case, Wipo case takes a few months maximum. But foreigner countries courts cases take many, many years…. It depends that country law, rules and regulations…

    So how come GoDaddy lock the domain(s) until the exact court decision, a few years, maybe 3-4 years, maybe more… That is absolutely ridiculous, let me ask GoDaddy this: Where is your conscience? Why you are not on your customers side, you are earning millions dollars everyday thanks to us. We are making GoDaddy number 1 registrar in the world.

    Without us, GoDaddy is nothing. If you cant see that, you will learn it soon.

    If you dont change your TOS, and not protect our domains, we are going to move all our domains to NameCheap or other registrars…

    And of course will not join the GoDaddy auction, not buying any domain…

    And you will lose all your reputation…

    I am not Name Cheap customer yet, do you know this:

    Lets read what James says on his website:

    https://www.jamesnames.com/2021/03/brent-oxley/

    ” Namecheap asking for Oxley’s names to be locked, a request that Namecheap declined. I contacted Namecheap for comment. I was told:

    “Namecheap always puts our customers first, protecting their right, freedoms and valuable digital assets such as domain names. We have a proven track record of doing the right thing by our customers that includes fighting for their rights in court when deemed necessary. We do not lock or disable customer domains on a whim without the correct legal requirement.”

    In a nutshell:

    Please read what Michael Gargiulo says below. As I know all domainers agree with these:

    The current GoDaddy policy of waiting for a settlement through an Indian court is not a viable solution for American owned property.

    GoDaddy has over 76 million domains registered through them or about 20% of all domains in the world. This policy impacts 1 in 5 domain owners.

    If this can happen to Brent Oxley, one of the largest domain owners in the world, it can happen to anyone. I really hope GoDaddy can see the industry badly needs their help and reform on this issue. Registrars and in a unique middle position of critical influence when it comes to litigation oversight. We need a solution that protects owners, otherwise thee exploitation of GoDaddy’s policy (and cancel culture) will damage the long term value premium domain names carry, due to these mounting risks and ownership loopholes.

    Michael Gargiulo
    CEO at VPN.com

    Reply
  18. Moved thousands domains from GoDaddy to anywhere else in the past 2-3 years. I don’t see any advantage over other registrars. Nor in their pricing, their TOS, their support. Found alternatives, better ones.

    What happens to Oxley is terrible. But he’s also put his eggs in the same basket. Makes you think what’s really going on here. Cause I don’t buy it.

    I don’t.

    Reply
  19. The Brent Oxley situation @godaddy is an absolute travesty and clear and convincing evidence of the fact that price should be the least of your considerations when you are deciding which domain name registrar you will choose to safeguard your valuable digital assets. As a direct result of the Brent Oxley situation I have decided to transfer my domains including domaintrader.com away from #GoDaddy and to terminate my business relationship with them effective immediately. I can only speak with my words and my wallet and in this instance I feel the overwhelming need to do both!

    Reply
  20. I spoke to Aman and Paul Nicks multiple times about this situation for Brent over the last 12 months about this situation.

    These locks interfered with over $900,000 in deals that VPN.com was working on for Brent. Significant delays and failed solutions were induced into our negotiations because of these locks. Outside of our deals, I am sure Brent’s total damages from domains that he would have sold are now over $3 million USD due to these locks… which should pain every domainer.

    While we have always been supportive of GoDaddy and its position in the domain industry over the years, this has become a situation that is not right. 

    As listed on this thread, Puneet made multiple threats against Brent’s life, his family, and his business prior to submitting the claim to GoDaddy. He knew that this litigation would lock Brent’s domains and use these threats to extort Brent through a publically traded U.S. company. It is against US law to threaten a business with threats or violence.

    Puneet’s conduct rises to criminal racketeering and conspiracy according to 18 U.S. Code § 1951 but because he is not inside the U.S. or a U.S. citizen, a ruling would be useless without extradition. 

    For American citizens, this is a felony punishable by 1-15 years in a U.S. prison, upon conviction. Additionally, without a signed contract between Puneet and Brent, which was never submitted in court, there is no claim against the ownership of these domains, just a frivolous lawsuit in Hindi that lists domain names. GoDaddy automatically locked the names.

    As I told Justin Redman, GoDaddy’s Assistant General Council, if you are going to lock domains under the guise of your company policy without reasonable evidence, you are forcing GoDaddy customers into a terrible legal position to protect their assets registered at GoDaddy.

    The only remaining remedy Brent (and other customers) have is to litigate with GoDaddy, which would be an absolute nightmare for both parties and the entire domain industry. Everyone would prefer an amicable solution.

    Here is the except from GoDaddy’s current Terms of Service.

    From GoDaddy’s Terms of Service: You acknowledge and agree that GoDaddy and registry reserve the right to deny, cancel or transfer any registration or transaction, or place any domain name(s) on lock, hold or similar status, as either deems necessary, in the unlimited and sole discretion of either GoDaddy or the registry: (i) to comply with specifications adopted by any industry group generally recognized as authoritative with respect to the Internet (e.g., RFCs), (ii) to protect the integrity and stability of, and correct mistakes made by, any domain name registry or registrar, (iii) for the non-payment of fees to registry, (iv) to protect the integrity and stability of the registry, (v) to comply with any applicable court orders, laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement, or any dispute resolution process, (vi) to comply with any applicable ICANN rules or regulations, including without limitation, the registry agreement, (vii) to avoid any liability, civil or criminal, on the part of registry operator, as well as its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, and employees, (viii) per the terms of this Agreement, (ix) following an occurrence of any of the prohibited activities described in Section 8 below, or (x) during the resolution of a dispute.

    While GoDaddy’s Terms of Service may allow them to lock these assets for a period to review a complaint, there is an extremely thin line between their Terms of Service and what becomes ongoing tortious interference to the resolution of this matter. 

    GoDaddy should not involve itself in business disputes that do not challenge the ownership of domain names. This opens GoDaddy up to a substantial amount of liability to interpret legal cases outside a courtroom. This interpretation can now be influenced by frivolous litigation, cancel culture, or outright bias against an account holder.

    Brent Oxley runs one of the largest wildlife and hunting ranch in North America. He believes in the 2nd amendment. If you leave any business dispute that mentions a domain name up to GoDaddy to interpret, it can become very hard to tell how much politics is playing into his treatment by GoDaddy, given their unilateral authority.

    Aman Bhutani and GoDaddy’s culture are on opposite ends of the American political spectrum compared to Brent Oxley. I would sincerely hope that this influence is not a factor but this ongoing situation and lost deals have led us to this thought of a possibility.

    As far as a solution, it is highly likely this is NOT the first time Puneet has utilized GoDaddy’s policy to extort people who host at GoDaddy. If there are findings to this end, GoDaddy would be able to lift the locks through the term bolded in section (vii) above.

    Given the lack of evidence or a signed contract submitted to the court, GoDaddy would be unlocking the names to avoid any liability or becoming an accessory after the fact, that would arise towards them from Brent’s position. This seems to be the most logical next step and one that would allow confidence to be retained in GoDaddy by the entire domain industry. 

    GoDaddy has the unilateral authority to cancel a domain name from your account for any reason or no reason at all. As we have seen with Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Parler, this is a very heavy burden for any company to always get right. 

    There must be better protection domain owners can deploy against this risk, otherwise, scammers now have the entire playbook.

    I hope we have a positive update from GoDaddy very soon regarding this situation.

    Michael Gargiulo

    CEO at VPN.com

    Reply
    • Filing a lawsuit against GD is the legitimate publicity GD doesn’t want. I’ll mention it again- I sold Dust.com (one of the locked names) to Brent directly. I never dealt with someone in India.

      Reply
      • Michael, I agree. Two names we acquired for Brent are locked. Those transactions were handled by Escrow.com through authenticated accounts. I just do not understand how this can happen.

        The chain of title is being disputed on names that clearly negate the dispute and/or have no contract included as evidence that suggests otherwise.

        Brent purchased Viaje.com through Uniregistry, so not sure how that was even eligible to be disputed in this way?

        These frivolous lawsuits will induce more “cancel culture” lawsuits throughout the domain industry. No different than Trump being canceled from Twitter. If someone doesn’t like you just open a lawsuit that lists the name and boom…locked for good.

        Brent’s domains are in many ways damaged goods and future values diminished until GoDaddy clarifies its approach to this situation and future frivolous claims.

        See this comment I made on NamePros that explains a bit more of the detail on what we encountered with GoDaddy and Puneet.

        Reply
  21. I’m not buying domains on the legacy ‘Net anymore. Too much B.S. These days, I’m buying domains on the Handshake blockchain via Namebase.io.

    I won’t go into full-on shill mode but if you want to help dismantle ICANN’s grip on the Internet and become your own registry for a lot less than $185k, it’s worth a look.

    Reply

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