GoDaddy Extortion [Digital Mafia]

GoDaddy ExtortionWhen you recall a father figure, I hope that it does not elicit memories of you handing over cash just to maintain some sanity at the dinner table. If it does, you may have been a victim of the GoDaddy Extortion scheme!

Mafia Laying the Groundwork

So, you have made the commitment to start a new business web site. Congratulations! Once you decide to move forward and purchase your web site domains, you are filled with excitement and anticipation. Web sites are like babies. There are millions and millions out there, but when it is your’s it seems more special than all the others. You think that you are being smart, and have done your research. You are going to purchase 5 domains to protect your IP from copycats and scammers. Everything is going along perfectly!

Without even knowing it, you are getting ready to approach a cross road in your exciting journey of web site parenthood. The GoDaddy extortion train is picking up steam.

Extortion Mode Engaged

After you have fallen in love with your new web site and the emotional bond is growing, that is when you are approached from behind like the opening scene in a horror movie. At first you are confused, and feel off balance. Then the realization that you have been duped starts to set in.

You are given notification by your new Daddy that you need to pay their “protection” fee to keep your contact information private. Perfect timing, as you have already committed yourself to your new domains.

This would be enough, but your new Daddy has to take things one step further. Not only do you have to pay your protection fee to be a GoDaddy customer, but you have to pay for this “service” for each and every domain for your new business.

GoDaddy Punishment

Like all children that are defiant from time to time, you feel like you can handle this on your own. You un-check all of the GoDaddy extortion boxes and brazenly move forward! For disobeying your new Daddy you are not spanked, scolded, or given a time out.

No, the mafia is much more sinister for those that try to avoid the “protection” fee. You will be inundated with phone calls about your new web sites. Apparently your Daddy is going to get their money one way or another. So your information is sold…overseas?

Be prepared to received uncountable phone calls from Chicago, New York, California, Indiana, Virginia, Missouri, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Washington, Florida, Texas, and New Jersey. But, these calls are not really from all across the country. Nope, your new Daddy has sold your information to India. These numbers are just routed to trick you in to answering your phone during this racket.

Not My Father

So, my personal experience has not been a pleasant one. During the first 6 days of owning my new domains, I received no less than 60 phone calls from India trying to sell me something.

A couple of these companies were so bold as to claim that “We are calling from India, so we will be much cheaper than American companies.”

So, even though this experience has been quite the headache, I don’t regret my decision. Clearly, this company does not truly value me as a customer and is not really concerned about my best interest.

That said, I am happy about my choice and glad that I did not succumb to the GoDaddy extortion ring.

Matt Carnaghi | Twitter: @carnaghimd1 | Instagram: @carnaghimd1 | LinkedIn: Matt Carnaghi

About Tom Harness

Tom Harness is the owner of Harness Digital Marketing, a digital marketing firm that works with businesses and organizations on Social Media, SEO, and Email Marketing. He is an entrepreneur and business owner with 20 years of combined experience in Education, IT, and Business. Tom is a U.S. Army Veteran and a Southern Illinois University alum. He also enjoys craft beers, his beloved Chicago Cubs, and his family.


  1. We use Godaddy as a domain registrar and DNS provider for a large number of domains, almost none of which have privacy enabled. While we do get the occasional sales call, it’s nowhere near the inundation you received. We use our office phone number and have an email mailbox set aside just for domain-related traffic so solicitations (of which we don’t receive all that many, either) don’t clog up our primary mailboxes.

    We like Godaddy because the DNS menus are intuitive to use and support “advanced” features that some other providers’ DNS control panels don’t, like SPF or SRV records. (Yes, we really have come across DNS providers that only offer rudimentary DNS.) Also, DNS changes propagate almost instantly–none of the “wait up to 48 hours for changes to propagate” that seems to be the norm at some other providers. Hopefully you didn’t use your primary email mailbox as your contact, because, yeah, that’s probably been harvested by spammers.

    Speaking of which, are you sure that Godaddy sold your information, and that it wasn’t just harvested by aggressive bots?

    • Thanks for your feedback Dave.
      I am sure that the relationship that you have with GoDaddy is much different than the one that I have just started. No, I cannot prove that anyone is deliberately selling my information. It is speculation based on how GoDaddy offers that option and how they word things on their website. I appreciate your comments, and it is very enlightening on what may be happening in my situation. I am glad that you have not had the same problems that I have run into the past couple of weeks.

      Obviously you are an expert in this realm, so I am not going to be able to discuss things on the technical level with you. But that is kind of the point. A lot of the promotion and marketing for GoDaddy is geared towards non experts like me.

      So, even though this article was not new or helpful information for you I hope that it may raise awareness to the common individual looking to start their business online.

      I really appreciate your comments and insight. I also like to see that you have a healthy working relationship with GoDaddy.

  2. Actually all domain sellers have the WhoIs blocker that you pay extra for. I have domains at GoDaddy and NameCheap and I have gotten emails and calls off of both domain sellers. They do not sell your information. It is free and clear to be received from a check of a domain. This is why I don’t use my home address and use my Google Voice number for my domains.

    I did find this that can shed more light onto it and will show you that it is not actually a GoDaddy thing but the domain registrar that is doing it unless you opt-in for the hidden WhoIs info.

    I personally like using NameCheap for my domains as I have more of a history with them. GoDaddy is doing better now than they ever have with customer support but they still have a long way to go. Their Managed WP Hosting is pretty legit in comparison to some others at the price point and I have tried and tested many different hosting companies.

    And if ever you would like to speak to someone from GoDaddy to share your experience, I would be happy to do an introduction for you. I know a number of their community support team.

    • Good morning Michele. I appreciate the links. I am a skeptic on any new information, so I appreciate the opportunity to do cross reference and research!

      Not necessary, but I really appreciate the offer.

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