One of the competitors to domain registrar GoDaddy is accusing the service of purposefully delaying domain name transfer requests. Namecheap, which stands to gain a lot of accounts from businesses and consumers switching away from GoDaddy, accuses GoDaddy of withholding WHOIS information to Namscheap, delaying the transfer process.

Update: GoDaddy has responded to Namecheap’s accusations. See the statement below.

Here is what Namecheap has to say about GoDaddy as written on the company blog:

We wanted to give our customers a quick update on the status of domain transfers associated with one of our competitors, GoDaddy.

First, we’re very sorry that some of you in the past 24 hours have experienced delays in transferring domains over to us.

As many customers have recently complained of transfer issues, we suspect that this competitor is thwarting efforts to transfer domains away from them.

Specifically, GoDaddy appears to be returning incomplete WHOIS information to Namecheap, delaying the transfer process. This practice is against ICANN rules.

We at Namecheap believe that this action speaks volumes about the impact that informed customers are having on GoDaddy’s business.

It’s a shame that GoDaddy feels they have to block their (former) customers from voting with their dollars. We can only guess that at GoDaddy, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Don’t worry – each and every transfer request will be processed manually by our team. Every request will go through. We won’t rest until everyone who wants to join the Namecheap family can do so!

Note: Italics emphasis is ours, bold by Namecheap.

The Verge reports that GoDaddy lost 21,054 domains on Dec. 23, 2011 yet gained 20,034 domains. While it has been widely reported that there has been an exodus from GoDaddy, it appears that much of the churn has been business as usual for the domain registrar.

Users began to boycott GoDaddy and transfer their domains away from the service after GoDaddy was revealed to be one of the official supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act that has become very unpopular among technology circles. GoDaddy has since rescinded its support of SOPA but the damage has been done and the fact of the matter is that GoDaddy still supports SOPA in theory, if not in an official capacity.

Here is a screen shot from a user trying to transfer his website:

Reports surfaced last week that GoDaddy was calling clients with large numbers of registries that were trying to transfer away, begging them to stay. GoDaddy realizes that the cost of the SOPA blunder and PR nightmare could mean millions of dollars lost in the short term and less public trust in the longer run. Namecheap wants to position itself as the go-to destination for GoDaddy refugees. Hence, whatever Namecheap can do to make GoDaddy look bad in the process is good for business.

Are you transferring out of GoDaddy? Has the process been easy? Have you experienced delays? Let us know in the comments.

Update 5:18 EST, Dec. 26:

GoDaddy has responded to Namecheap’s accusations in an email to tech blog TechCrunch. In the statement, Richard Merdinger, senior director of product development at GoDaddy, says that Namecheap never contacted GoDaddy about normal rate limit blocking for transferring of domains. According to Merdinger, the block has been removed and GoDaddy is not hindering domain transfers to Namecheap. See the statement sent to tech blog TechCrunch below:

Namecheap posted their accusations in a blog, but to the best our of knowledge, has yet to contact Go Daddy directly, which would be common practice for situations like this. Normally, the fellow registrar would make a request for us to remove the normal rate limiting block which is a standard practice used by Go Daddy, and many other registrars, to rate limit Whois queries to combat WhoIs abuse.

Because some registrars (and other data gathering, analyzing and reporting entities) have legitimate need for heavy port 43 access, we routinely grant requests for expanded access per an SOP we’ve had in place for many years. Should we make contact with Namecheap, and learn they need similar access, we would treat that request similarly.

As a side note, we have seen some nefarious activity this weekend which came from non-registrar sources. But, that is not unusual for a holiday weekend, nor would it cause legitimate requests to be rejected. Nevertheless, we have now proactively removed the rate limit for Namecheap, as a courtesy, but it is important to point out, there still may be back-end IP addresses affiliated with Namecheap of which we are unaware. For complete resolution, we should be talking to each other — an effort we are initiating since they have not done so themselves.

-Rich Merdinger

Sr. Director of Product Development – Domains

Go Daddy

What we appear to have hear is a failure to communicate. So, the company’s will communicate through the press. This comes down to a “he said, she said” confrontation. Namecheap says that GoDaddy is violating ICANN rules while GoDaddy says that this is normal operating procedure in domain transferring.

Several commenters and people on Twitter have noted that of the several domains they transferred off of GoDaddy, the last few have taken a lot longer than the first. What has been your experience? Let us know in the comments.