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GoDaddy sorry for anonymity snafu

Webcaster Alliance website back on the air

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Leading domain registrar GoDaddy Inc. says that it's "learned a lesson" after an internal mistake removed a trade website from the web for a month. The Webcaster Alliance, which represents Internet broadcasters, lost its website a month ago - the last thing it needed as it was preparing an antitrust action against the mighty Recording Industry Association of America, the RIAA.

However an associate of the Webcaster Alliance had registered the domain webcastersalliance.com using GoDaddy's anonymity service Domains By Proxy, and that associate was no longer in touch with the organization.

When we contacted GoDaddy a fortnight ago, a spokesperson said that because the Alliance's representative could not provide details that tallied with the original registrant, GoDaddy could not renew the domain name.

Yesterday the Alliance issued a press release, and said it was informing ICANN of potential breaches of ICANN's Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

But overnight the domain was restored. GoDaddy's director of public relations Kimberly Cecere told us that GoDaddy checked some more, and found that the information the Alliance was correct. "It was an erroneous mistake on our part - if they'd dug deeper they'd have found it did match," she said. "That thorough cross catching didn't take place. We've definitely learnt a lesson on our part."

The case illustrates the pitfalls of using an anonymity service. GoDaddy correctly says that it is obliged to maintain the confidentiality of the registrant. For its part, the Alliance is frustrated that after several weeks of dealing with customer support, it couldn't provide the documentation that GoDaddy was asking for.

"Every contact I made with GoDaddy was totally ignored up to and including a letter that was faxed directly to Bob Parsons on November 12, 2003, and a voicemail message left on his direct line on November 13, 2003," WA President Ann Gabriel told us.

"I can only wonder what is happening to others who have been placed in the same kind of 'domain hell'".®

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