I have the unfortunate experience to have a lot of domains hosted in GoDaddy.
There are many reasons I don’t really like using them, but the fact remains I have a lot of domains there.
But I have seen one thing they do that I want to warn everyone about – beware of GoDaddy scamming your domain.
Here’s What Happens
Let’s say you have a domain registered in GoDaddy, and want to set up a blog in Blogger. Cool – Blogger gives you instructions on how to change the C record and the A record to make it work.
So this is what I did. And when I looked at my site an hour later, it looked like this, which was good:
So I thought, anyway.
What I found a few weeks later when I was getting ready to return to this site was pretty shocking.
You see, I wanted to go to the site but I forgot to type in the www. Simple mistake. And usually, if I am setting up a site in normal situations (not using Blogger), I set both the www and non-www to work seamlessly.
But no – I saw this – and if you don’t know what this is, it is a PPC page. This means it is something GoDaddy set up to run on my domain.
What it does, is display ads that other people pay to have displayed on certain keywords. The domain I had concerned small business money, so look at how it matches the subject matter.
Needless to say, I was pretty shocked. This was not a parked domain mind you – it was live. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but figured it must have been my fault somewhere in the settings – I was not terribly used to Blogger, so I could have missed something.
The GoDaddy Sham Deepens
There was something wrong with the canonical set-up, but I had it set up correctly, as you can see to the left here. Blogger makes it so you can correct any canonical errors – meaning, the www and non-www versions of the site would be the same.
This made me more concerned. If I had this set up correctly, and my A and C records were properly set up, why was this happening?
Now I realize most people don’t read code, so this means that GoDaddy placed an AdWord campaign directly on my domain, targeting relevant keywords in a broad match manner. Since my domain was about business money, the ads were about business money-so my competitors can suddenly get clicks from MY DOMAIN. GoDaddy gets paid for every click.
Keep in mind too – I bought “myDomain.com” not the www version. GoDaddy was using the domain I bought and set up as my blog.
The GoDaddy Response (or Lack Thereof)
So by now, I am pissed. I write an email to my rep – and I have an executive rep over there because I have so many domains. I kinda feel sorry for him really – he is new to my account, and this was really our second interaction.
But since I was mad, I write the email and let it sit for 4 days. I had all the same images I have here – just not blurred out – and basically, but very directly, asked for an explanation.
I send it, and wait for my response. And wait. And wait.
A week later, I re-forward my original complaint and demand a response.
Finally get a one-line email saying I need to go into the account and delete the C and A record settings and forward the domain to the www to make it work. My original complaint asked about whether or not I now needed to check my other 100+ live sites to make sure this is not happening everywhere – crickets.
Every bit of my complaint ignored – handled by this one-line response. Pathetic.
Why This is So Shady
The reason this chaps me so much, is not for my own situation but what it represents. GoDaddy is a huge registrar…and they do more aggressive advertising than any other. So they’ll attract people who know nothing about the web, but want to get started.
I know what I am doing more than a lot of business owners would, and still did not catch this canonical error. By the time I did, this scam had been running for months. When I looked for help, I was ignored. I had to demand a fix.
GoDaddy was paid for my domain. They then hijacked it, and profited further by sending potential leads I might have received to my competitors.
It makes you wonder how many sites are unassumingly being compromised and swallowed by GoDaddy’s greed?