29 March, 2009

Domain transfers: 1and1 to GoDaddy

Frankly, I’ve got more domains than sense, but I have an abiding interest in evaluating online services. Domain registrars are among my favorite targets. I have registered probably dozens of domains for myself and others over the years…and keep transferring them between registrars to keep my overhead costs low.

I’ve already written a column about the information you need to collect before transferring a domain from one registrar to another. Here are the steps I went through to transfer two domains I had at 1and1.com to GoDaddy.

Day 1

The first step is to go to the registrar you want for the next year. You pump in your domain names and they’ll tell you the domains are already registered. There’s usually a link that reads “I’m the owner of these domains and I want to transfer them.” If not, there’ll be another link that reads “Transfers” where you can put in one or more domain names you want to transfer.

In this round of transfers, GoDaddy offered transfers at $6.99 with a one-year renewal on the domain, so I signed up to transfer two domains, a .info and a .com, currently registered at 1and1.com. The order confirmation comes through in a confirmation note almost immediately. I’d clicked like lighting to get the transfer registered, and repented at leisure. Two domains at $6.99 equals $13.98, right? Wrong.




1 .INFO Domain Name Transfer - 1 Year $7.19

1 .COM Domain Name Transfer - 1 Year $7.19

$7.19 each? Not $6.99? Darn GoDaddy. I forgot they slap on an “ICANN fee” surcharge of 20 cents. They make it sound like a tax. It’s not a tax. It’s GoDaddy being mealy-mouthed about passing on their cost of doing business to their customers. A few other registrars do the same, and it always ticks me off because it’s basically a dishonest way of making your prices look lower than your competition’s. But GoDaddy’s a bit of a cowboy operation that way. From their blustering CEO downwards, GoDaddy seems like an operation that’ll do whatever it takes to get customers—in good or bad taste, honest or deceptive--as long as they stay basically legal. But they offer a pretty good price and set of features, so I’ll stick with them for now.

Minutes later, I get another e-mail:

To complete your recently requested transfer, we must receive approval of the administrative contact currently associated with the domain name(s) below, which we have determined to be proxy1237839@1and1-private-registration.com. A request for approval has been sent to that address. If you believe the email address is not correct, you must visit your current registrar and have it updated.

I’d forgotten something else. My .COM domain was registered anonymously with 1and1. It’s a great free feature of theirs. I thought I had to change the Admin content, but minutes later, I get another e-mail from GoDaddy:

DOMAIN NAME TRANSFER - Initial Authorization for Registrar Transfer

Re: Transfer of .COM and .INFO

Dear Oneandone Private Registration,

GoDaddy.com, Inc. received a request on 3/3/2009 for us to become the new registrar of record.

You have received this message because you are listed as the Registered Name Holder or Administrative contact for this domain name in the WHOIS database. If you are not the Account Holder, or you are transferring the domain to a new owner, please forward this email to the appropriate Account Holder so that they may complete the transfer process.

1and1 apparently forwards to their anonymous account holders. Excellent…and less work for me. (Why did I choose GoDaddy over 1and1, I began to wonder).

The next step is for me to follow a link in this email to a transfer acknowledgement page run by GoDaddy. It contains a request for an AUTH code, which 1and1.com keeps secrete on the domain administration page for the domains I’m transferring. I log in there, get the code, pump it into the transfer acknowledgement page and my work is done. All I need to do now is wait…and wait…and wait…

Day 6

I get another Transfer Acknowledgement email from GoDaddy. Didn’t I do this already? Well … apparently not for my .INFO domain.

So “to complete your recently requested transfer, we must receive approval of the administrative contact currently associated with the domain name(s) below”, so I do that.

And wait…and wait…and wait…

DAY 12

Oh, frabjous day! I get my confirmation telling me that my domains are officially now at GoDaddy. Twelve days for a transfer’s about right. I always give it at least four weeks in case there’s some kind of problem. And there almost always is. Yet somehow, here is how the e-mail started:




Congratulations! The transfer request for the following domain name(s) has been completed

Could I possibly have got through a domain transfer with no problems? I’ve had lots of them in the past. I’ll blast past some crucial step and find out a week later that the whole process has failed. Then I’ll have to go back at get a credit at the new registrar, and then start the process all over again. It’s a nuisance I’m anxious to avoid.

I read the confirmation e-mail over one more time, just to set my mind at rest. It didn’t. Naturally, I’d forgotten one crucial final step, which GoDaddy reminded me about:


IF THIS DOMAIN IS NOT CURRENTLY HOSTED, follow the instructions below to change your domain name servers to our parked servers. By doing so, you will avoid possible charges from your prior registrar and enable your domain's new features now that your transfer is complete.

Agh! When you transfer a domain from one registrar to another, it transfers the complete record…including the Nameservers that host the domain. I’d had the domain hosted at 1and1 for ten months and not really done much with it. The $60 a year in hosting fees had seemed pretty reasonable, but I’d not actually developed the site at all, so it actually amounted to flushing sixty bucks a year down the toilet. And with the six-month billing cycle coming up, I had cancel the hosting fast.

So I did. And by doing so, I averted a billing disaster.

The whole process, including two days it took to cancel hosting and get a pro-rated rebate on the hosting I’d already paid for was two weeks. My domains were now safely over at GoDaddy, where I turned on domain forwarding so that anyone tapping in the address would be brought straight to an existing web page on another server.

One of the domains comes straight here. Another goes to another blog I run. And it’s using free blog services like these that saves me sixty bucks a year (and countless hours of mucking around in HTML) in developing a Web site to go with each of my domains. So maybe I do have more sense than domains. But on the other hand, I do have quite a few domains.


  1. In my opinion, avoid 1and1 like the Black Plaque.

  2. Why's that, Brother Rolf? What are the symptoms?

  3. You have done a great job by sharing this informative post. I would like to appreciate your good work and also would like to encourage you to keep it up.web hosting in india

  4. Often, as a domain name owner, you may find the services of your current registrar unsatisfactory. Other times, you may have bought or sold a name and may need to transfer it to a different registrar. It is for these reasons that most registrars have made transferring a domain name a deceptively easy task.

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  5. I'd have to disagree with you there, Allen. The reason it's deceptively easy is that ICANN has mandated it, to allow for competition in the marketplace. Registering dotcoms, dotnets, and dotorgs used to be a monopoly run by a government-appointed agency (Network Solutions): That's a philosophical no-no in this market. So it was changed, and changed in such a way that it would be secure and easy.