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==Legal Case Against Petronas==
==Legal Case Against Petronas==
Revision as of 21:53, 2 May 2012
|Headquarters:||14455 N. Hayden Rd.|
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
|Revenue:||610 million dollars (2009)|
| Bob Parsons, Founder|
GoDaddy is a web hosting and internet domain registrar, and the main concern of GoDaddy Group Inc. Founded in 1997 by Bob Parsons, GoDaddy has become the world’s largest domain register company accredited by ICANN and has more than 40 million domain names under its management. Along with hosting and registration services the company also provides e-business solutions and services like: email, website developing, Internet marketing services, SSL and security services.
GoDaddy is known for its racy superbowl advertising campaign, which began in 2005; since then it has been continuing to sponsor various sporting events. CEO Bob Parsons has called GoDaddy's advertising "GoDaddy-esque"; which he defines as "fun, edgy and a bit inappropriate".
The company filed for an IPO to go public in 1996, but later withdrew its filing. During early September, 2010 it was reported that GoDaddy was up for sale and could fetch as much as $1 billion USD. However, during late October, 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company took itself off the market and pulled out of a potential sale.
Domain Name Wire carries out an annual poll asking, “Which domain registrar do you think is best overall”, GoDaddy won 47% of the vote but more notably won 75% of the vote of those respondents that have domain portfolios of 500 or more domains.
- GoDaddy Group was founded in 1997 under the name of Jomax® Technologies by Bob Parsons. In 1998 and 1999 they started to provide web development services. During that time they changed their name from Jomax® to Go Daddy Software®, Inc. The CEO and Founder Bob Parsons commented in his blog that they were looking for a more remarkable name than Jomax® and came up with GoDaddy after someone suggested Big Daddy, which was already taken.
- GoDaddy Software became an ICANN-accredited registrar in 2000 and started to provide domain name registration services at 70% less than the industry leaders’ prices, despite the fact that in 2001 GoDaddy was approximately the same size as its major competitors. In 2005, it became the largest ICANN-accredited domain registrar in the world, taking the title from Network Solutions.
- In 2002, GoDaddy filled a lawsuit against Verisign over its site, Finder Services.Later, Verisign shut down Site Finder to meet ICANN's terms. Numerous lawsuits resulted from Verisign's Site Finder and Waiting List Service, GoDaddy and other prominent registrars were a part of these. The services in question were eventually pulled.
- A DDoS attack was made on GoDaddy.com on January 16, 2009 which affected thousands of shared hosting customers for many hours.
- In early 2010, in response to a new government rule, GoDaddy stopped registering websites in China.
- In December, 2011, it was announced that a private equity investment funding round from KKR, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures would be finished by the end of the year. One of the main points for the funding was for overseas expansion, and thus needed approval from the Chinese government.
- Also in December, 2011, GoDaddy announced that they would once again be featuring .co in their infamous Super Bowl advertisements. They first ran an ad for the 2011 Super Bowl, promising before-hand to unveil a brand new .Co girl, to be added to the likes of current GoDaddy girls, Danica Patrick and Jillian Michaels. The new girl ended up being a bit of a prank, as it was Joan Rivers. At the time of announcing the 2012 ads, they had already passed NBC's censors. .co Internet noted that the first ads they were featured in, in 2011, immediately caused an unprecedented amount of traffic and registration.
- In January, 2012, an anti-GoDaddy site, NoDaddy.co, was launched. This was significant given that a prior site, NoDaddy.com, opened in 2007 and was later acquired in July, 2011, by GoDaddy itself. It is unknown whether GoDaddy purchased the original NoDaddy.com site or threatened legal action. Prior to being acquired, NoDaddy.com was the second highest Google result for the search term "GoDaddy", and the site had received some 2 billion in investment. The new .co site is unaffiliated with the NoDaddy.com owners.
- The 2012 Super bowl featured 2 GoDaddy ads, and it was the eighth consecutive year that the registrar advertised during the event. GoDaddy announced that this year's ads helped create record Super Bowl Sunday sales.
The Major concern of GoDaddy Group is GoDaddy.com. The group also includes other concerns, such as:
- Wild West Domains, Inc. - A concern of the company that deals with reselling domains and domain related products and services.
- Domains By Proxy - This is a private domain registration sevice provider branch of the company.
- Starfield Technologies - A branch that handles research and development affiliates.
- Blue Razor Domains - This concern of the company acts as a membership-based discount registrar.
Products and Services
According to their official website, the products and services GoDaddy provides are:
- Domain Name Registration- Providing comparatively cheaper domain name registration and transfer for both bulk and regular categories.
- Web Hosting- Different kind of website, blog, word press, podcast, hosting on virtual, dedicated, cloud severs.
- Email Service- Email plan for home and business users with additional add-ons.
- Site Builders- Website design and development for different purposes and platforms
- Business- Providing different business solutions, online marketing, online promotion, etc.
- SSL & Security- Providing SSL certificates and code signing certificates along with other security services
- Resellers - Reselling and affiliate plans
GoDaddy has been named “Best Registrar” by DomainNameWire.com, a domain name industry news source, for five consecutive years (2005-2010). For six consecutive years, GoDaddy has also ranked as one of the top employers in the Phoenix-metro area by The Phoenix Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work in the Valley” employee survey. GoDaddy was honored as the AZCentral.com's “Best Perks” Employer in 2009 and 2010. GoDaddy received several 2007 Arizona Corporate Excellence (ACE) Awards, including the prestigious distinction as the state's "Most Innovative Company". GoDaddy also ranked #2 on the ACE "25 Fastest-Growing" companies list and #20 on the ACE "Top 50" companies list. It was ranked #8 on the 2004 Inc. 500 list of the nation's fastest-growing privately held companies; #20 on the 2005 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (growing 8,274 percent); and won the CNET Editor's Choice award in 2001, the Name Intelligence Largest Net Gain Award in 2002, 2003 and 2005; and the Name Intelligence Users' Choice Award in 2005.
Refusal to Register Domain Names in China
In February, 2010, the Chinese Government imposed new rules for website operators. The new guidlines stipulated requirements such as the need to submit photographs and other information, and meet the service provider in person.
Google protested this legislation by refusing to censor their search results on Google.cn on March 22, 2010. On March 24, 2010 GoDaddy announced to Chinese lawmakers that it will cease registering websites in China in opposition to the new intrusive government rule. According to GoDaddy, this rule of increased monitoring and surveillance will put the individual or firms at risk. The company also said the rules will have a "chilling effect" on new domain name registrations.
However, their effort has been criticized as a publicity stunt, given that GoDaddy so quickly followed Google's approach. The company responded in an announcement, saying their refusal to do business in China is not a PR act and that they are genuinely concerned about the situation facing the Chinese web industry..
Potential Sale Issue
Duirng early September, 2010, rumours began to circulate that GoDaddy was up for sale. The rumour was later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal when they published a report verifying exactly that. The report also mentioned the company could fetch more than $1 billion, and that the company had hired the financial firm Qatalyst Partners to find potential buyers.
At first, a GoDaddy spokesman said that the company “does not comment on rumours”. But later, another report by the Wall Street Journal published in late October, 2010, noted that the company pulled itself off the market and was no longer for sale.
- In 2008, GoDaddy has come under fire from ICANN due to its previous practice of locking down domain information for 60 days after the info is edited or updated. The practice meant that updating one's contact information could've potentially prevented a domain transfer to one of GoDaddy's competitors.
- In 2007, GoDaddy agreed to take over RegisterFly's entire portfolio of 850,000 domains. The latter lost its ICANN accreditation due to internal conflicts in the company that were causing its renewal and other automated services not to function properly. GoDaddy's move was enthusiastically welcomed by ICANN, which was put in a critical bind by the situation.
- Over the years, GoDaddy has been the victim of numerous scammers sending out fake ICANN related notices to their customers.
- In 2004, GoDaddy supported ICANN throughout a legal battle between it and Verisign over the latter's SiteFinder and Wait Listing Services, even agreeing to pay up to $100,000 USD for legal bills incurred though the process. Originally, GoDaddy had sued ICANN over it allowing the Wait Listing Service to go forward; that case was thrown out by a U.S federal judge.
Unlike many major Internet companies, GoDaddy came out in support of SOPA in late October. The reasons for their support were cited as protecting American businesses from being robbed and American consumers from being harmed by counterfeit products. The company stated that it was trying hard to help SOPA become an acceptable form of legislature for all those involved. This move came as a surprise, as GoDaddy, just like any other domain name registrar, could potentially have a major liability under the bill, as the responsibility for cybersquatting could be shifted from the registrant to the registrar.
By the end of December, significant media and Internet user attention was being paid to GoDaddy's SOPA support; users of the webforum Reddit.com began a protest against GoDaddy, urging those hosting their domain names with the company to transfer their domains to another service. The original poster suggested that December 29th be made "Move Your Domain Day," and in response many of GoDaddy's competitors began offering discount rates to those wanting to transfer. Reddit users began contacting larger corporations hosting with GoDaddy, such as the Wikimedia Foundation, urging them to transfer their domains from GoDaddy as well. On December 23, GoDaddy released a press release stating that it no longer supported SOPA, stating that it will support it in the future when and if the Internet community supports it. In the first week of protesting, GoDaddy lost approximately 72,300 domains due to their support of SOPA. After two weeks, when more solid figures were available, it was noted via the pay-site RegistrarStats.com that GoDaddy had seen 100,000 domains transferred away from its system; however, in that same time frame 117,000 domains were transferred to GoDaddy; therefore, the boycott did not see the registrar take a net loss to its hosting numbers.
Legal Case Against Petronas
GoDaddy faced a legal battle against Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), a government-owned oil company in Malaysia and owner of the Petronas twin towers. Petronas accused GoDaddy of First Amendment Complaint alleging that the company violated the Anti-Cybersquatting and Protection Act (ACPA) for cybersquatting, contributory to cybersquatting and unfair competition under the California Business & Professions Code § 17200 and California common law on Septemeber 9, 2010.
The case involved two disputed domain names petronastowers.net and petronastower.net, which were registered with GoDaddy by a third party named Heiko Schoenekess who used the registrar's online“dashboard” to automatically redirect the Internet traffic for the disputed domain names to pornographic sites. Petronas learned that its trademark was violated by the registrant On November 26, 2009. The company asked GoDaddy to "cease its contributory infringement of the petronastower domain names.In response, GoDaddy argued that domain name ownership disputes should be sent to the registrant or to an arbitration forum such as the WIPO. The company also said it will not tolerate illegal content of customer's websites and it will cooperate with law enforcement agency for the websites to be taken down. Instead of resolving the case through arbitration procedure, Petronas filed a trademark claim to GoDaddy on December 16, 2009 using the company's "Trademark and/or Copyright Infringement Policy," which excludes domain name disputes. GoDaddy replied that it can only take action against websites related to trademark infringement if the hosting was provided by the company, however the hosting of the disputed domain names were hosted by a different company. GoDaddy reiterated its position that the proper venue to resolve the problem was through a UDRP. Futhermore, under ICANN's policy and the UDRP, registrars are prohibited to get involved with domain ownership disputes. Petronas insited GoDaddy to takedown the domain name and the website but GoDaddy remain maintained a status quo. The registrant of the disputed domain names were also unreachable when Petronas tried to contact them. On December 19, 2008, Petronas filed an in rem action against petronastower.net. On May 13, 2010, the court ordered the transfer of the domain name to Petronas. The same situation happened to the second domain name petronastowers.net, which was also transfered to the company on August 27, 2010. 
GoDaddy filed a motion to dismiss the case due to failure on the side of Petronas to state its claim. On May 5, 2011, the court denied the motion citing that some issues needed to be clarified including the terms forwarding and routing and if they were part of domain names registration services. Following, the court's ruling, GoDaddy filed a motion for summary judgement on the three allegations against the company. Go Daddy argued that it is not the registrant of the disputed domain names and based on ACPA, cybersquatting is the bad faith registration of domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a distinctive mark. In addition, the company asserted that its only role was it provided the registrant with an automatic infrastructure service to route the disputed domain names to his chosen websites. Petronas has no evidence to prove that GoDaddy acted in bad faith with the intention to gain profit from the Petronas trademark. GoDaddy effectively defended its position. On Janury 12, 2012, the court granted its motion for summary judgment. 
- ↑ Yahoo! Finance
- ↑ InvestorPlace
- ↑ WebHostingReport.com
- ↑ Mashable
- ↑ Arizona Business & Money
- ↑ Survey Says GoDaddy is Top Domain Registrar, DomainNameWire.com
- ↑ Robert L Small
- ↑ Bob Parsons' Blog
- ↑ web-hosting-top.com
- ↑ ICANN Strives to Stop GoDaddy Domain Abuse
- ↑ CircleID
- ↑ InternetNews
- ↑ GoDaddy Sues Verisign - CircleID.com
- ↑ ZDNet
- ↑ The Washington Post
- ↑ GoDaddy Investment should Close Before End of Year, DomainNameWire.com
- ↑ Super Bowl Sunday Here we COme, CoInternet.co/blog
- ↑ GoDaddy Gripe Site Relaunches with Co Domain, DomainIncite.com
- ↑ GoDaddy Super Bowl Ads, DomainNameWire.com
- ↑ GoDaddy.com
- ↑ ICANNWiki.org
- ↑ CNet News
- ↑ Official Google Blog
- ↑ PCWorld.
- ↑ Wired.com
- ↑ BARRON'S
- ↑ TFTS
- ↑ AZCentral
- ↑ ICANN Moves Against GoDaddy Domain Lockdowns
- ↑ ICANN Announcement May, 2007
- ↑ http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/19/registerfly_angry_customers/ Registerfly Angry Customers]
- ↑ GoDaddy Community Pages
- ↑ CNET News
- ↑ GoDaddy Faces boycott over SOPA support, http://arstechnica.com/
- ↑ Go Daddy’s Position on SOPA
- ↑ Red Hot on Reddit.com: “Move Your Domain Away From Godaddy Day” Based Off Of Support Of SOPA, thedomains.com
- ↑ GoDaddy supports SOPA, I'm transferring 51 domains & suggesting a move your domain day, reddit.com
- ↑ TIL Wikipedia.org is registered at SOPA supporter GoDaddy, reddit.com
- ↑ Go Daddy No Longer Supports SOPA, godaddy.com
- ↑ GoDaddy lost 21,054 domains yesterday due to their support of SOPA, thenextweb.com
- ↑ 2 Weeks of SOPA The Actual GoDaddy Numbers 100k Domains Transferred out 117k Transferred in, TheDomains.com
- ↑ 
- ↑ Berhad vs. GoDaddy
- ↑ Berhad vs. GoDaddy
- ↑ Berhad vs. GoDaddy