GoDaddy Steps in It

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2007-02-12 Print this article Print

Opinion: When a vendor says they can cancel your service because they don't like you, it's time to look elsewhere. Consider the capriciousness and hypocrisy of what GoDaddy did to Fyodor Vaskovich.

Not many of us actually read all the legal agreements we enter into and this problem has gotten far worse in the era of the Internet. We all agree to licenses and contracts that we dont take seriously. Fyodor Vaskovich found out the hard way that some terms of service are so arbitrary and capricious that they mean whatever the vendor wants them to mean. Vaskovich operates, a mailing list archive site for most of the really important security mailing lists. This means that if someone posts content to those lists, he stores it on that site.

GoDaddys DomainsByProxy service is a model for changes being proposed to the Internets "Whois" system. Click here to read more.

As Vaskovich explains in this e-mail, the day before Christmas he got a voice mail from GoDaddy saying that they were suspending his domain One minute later he received an e-mail from them that the domain "has been suspended for violation of the Abuse Policy."

Normally, GoDaddy doesnt respond to inquiries about why they have suspended a domain for a business day or two, but he was able to prod them into revealing that they had shut down the domain because MySpace had asked them to. A list of 34,000 MySpace user names and passwords was posted to the very popular Full-Disclosure list and therefore archived by Instead of contacting Vaskovich, MySpace approached GoDaddy and had them shut off his domain.

Before I get to GoDaddys behavior, I must wonder what MySpaces goal is here. The list of usernames and passwords went out on a mailing list and thousands of outsiders have it already, irrespective of whether the archived version is available. The cats out of the bag and MySpace, at a minimum, must void the passwords and force those users to reset theirs. What is accomplished by taking the list down? They only reinforce the reasonable conclusion that they dont know what they are doing. And why not go through the site admin? As Vaskovich said himself: "I would cancel my [MySpace] account if I was pathetic enough to have one."

Next page: GoDaddys Policies

Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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