How Registering a Domain Can Cost Almost $2,000

Filed Under Geek, Scam | 2009-12-15, 16:46

or Why I Don’t Recommend Anyone Use Go Daddy

Go Daddy Parody Logo

I register a lot of domains. In fact so many ( around 285 286) that I have my own disease. I generally use DomainSite and recommend them (even though they don’t have an affiliate program). They’re simple, to the point and don’t have all the unnecessary bells and whistles. Plus they have bulk update tools which are essential for me. Only thing they don’t have is auto-renew, but I have domains to renew every month, so it’s just part of my monthly workflow. But this post isn’t about DomainSite, it’s about Go Daddy.

I don’t like Go Daddy. Plain and simple. I feel like they take advantage of people that perhaps don’t know much about domain registration, don’t care about customers, and have a bad reputation based on past behaviors. They’re famous for their upselling and the pushing of features you don’t need. It had been awhile since I’d actually checked out GoDaddy before swearing to never use them again, so I figured I’d give them a visit to see how they were these days. Nothing’s changed.

For the sake of this post, let’s pretend for a minute that I’m your everyday user that’s heard about this internet thing and I want to start my own website cause I heard you could make money blogging online. I’ve heard that you should have your own domain, so I’m going to go with since everything else is already taken. I jump onto to register it and I’m greeted by a page with a hot chick that has nothing to do with domains and I plug in the domain name I want:


Ed Note: Why in the world is this page so unbelievably busy?! GoDaddy’s use of “hot chicks” to sell domains and services just feels dirty. Wanna read a post where someone analyzes their poor UI?

After clicking “GO!” I’m greeted with the exciting news that “ is available! Just $10.69*” Great, that’s really affordable! Let’s get it. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t need all those other domains like .net, .info, etc. So I select and add it to my cart and click to continue my registration.


Oh noes, popup! Go Daddy says I could save money if I get a bunch of other domains. That’s silly, I know this trick. I click the little “No Thanks” at the bottom.


Ed Note: Nice touch of making the “No Thanks” a link rather than something people are more inclined to click, like a button.

Normally at this point you’d be asked to create an account with Go Daddy and provide all your info and whatnot. For the sake of brevity and privacy I’m just using my pre-created account and skipping that part.

Great, I’m at the Registration and Checkout. I’m only seconds away from owning my own domain name! Apparently I have to pick some options first though. Let’s take a look:


Registration Length: That’s great, 5 years for $10.69 sounds awesome.
Ed Note: Go Daddy conveniently baits and switches the customer with their low price which is just for 1 year, but they default to 5 years on this page

Certified Domain: I really want people to take seriously, I should get it certified. It’s only $2.99 per year, that’s not that much.
Ed Note: What the heck is a Certified Domain? This “certification” is something that Go Daddy issues themselves. They are basically certifying that the Whois info is correct, which is a requirement of ICANN for ALL domains, not just certified ones.

Add Hosting: Oh, yes I need hosting! Deluxe is only $1.90 more than Economy? Check in the Deluxe box for $6.64.
Add Email: Go Daddy says I “will benefit tremendously” from having multiple addresses/mailboxes. Unlimited email address is only $2.50! Check.
Ed Note: Now is the time to note that there are cheaper hosting and email alternatives (we’ll get to them). But more importantly is Go Daddy’s shift from yearly pricing to monthly pricing.

Select Type of Registration: I’m being asked to choose between a Standard, Deluxe, or Protected registration. What does that even mean? All this domain stuff is sooooo confusing! Oh good, Go Daddy gives us this handy chart:
Private registration “Helps protect yourself from spam, scams, prying eyes and more by shielding your personal information from public view” – OMG, I need protection from spam, I’m sick of all those emails about making my love machine last longer.
Business registration – Well, I’m not a business, but it’s included in Deluxe which I’m already getting to stop the spam.
Expiration Protection “Protects your domain against loss due to credit card expiration or failure, outdated contact information and more” – Oh man, my credit card is going to expire some day, I better get this or I might lose my domain! Guess I’m getting the Protected registration.
Deadbolt Transfer Protection “Protects your domain against any accidental or malicious transfer” – I’m not very smart and I have accidents, so I’m glad I have this. I have no idea what this means, but accidental and malicious sounds bad. It’s probably like rental car insurance so I’m glad I’m getting it with the Protected registration.

Ed Note: I find it difficult to believe that Go Daddy charges for these features.
– A Private registration is an acceptable feature. DomainSite charges 50 cents for it.
– Expiration Protection seems like a no-brainer that should be included by domain registrars. Do you really think they’re going to let your domain expire without notifying you to renew it and pay them more money?
– Deadbolt Transfer Protection is basically locking the domain to prevent unauthorized transferring. This is a feature that all domain registrars should offer by default. DomainSite does.

Also interesting is how when you Add one of these registration types, the page changes so that you can’t switch it back.

Add SmartSpace(tm) – “Perfect for the home or business, SmartSpace™ is the fast, easy way to turn EDSINTERWEBSITEBLOG.COM into a Web site with all your favorite content.” That sounds great! I really don’t know anything about this AJAXHTMLPHPJAVAPAGE programming stuff. This sounds easy and it’s only $4.74. Added for the length of my domain!
Ed Note: SmartSpace appears to be a legit feature that Go Daddy offers. I have no idea what’s behind it, but it has a monthly cost associated with what is probably just a script that gets installed once when they setup your account? Also want to point out how they don’t show the price to “Match domain length”. Come on guys, it’s a little bit of javascript to check the registration length field and do some math to show the user what they’re going to be billed.

I click Continue and get excited that I’m almost done registering my new domain. Oh wait, I have more customizing to do? *sigh* Ok, what else do I need to do?


Make your domain registration private! – Oh yes, this is easy, my sister’s boyfriend’s uncle had his identity stolen on the Internet so I don’t want my personal information out there. I definitely want private registration. I also want the Deluxe Registration because it “boosts traffic” to my site and I want everyone to read my site! I thought I had added privacy when I selected the Protected Registration, but I guess not. Adding Deluxe Registration for $9.99.
Ed Note: Why is this being asked again? Shouldn’t this be included in the Protected Registration we already selected for $14.99?

Clicking Add & Continue! Oh boy, even more customizing of my order! Let’s see, what do I want?

Customize - SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates – “Guarantee protection of your customers’ information!” – Well I don’t have any customers and this is expensive, so I guess I don’t need this. Whew, saved a lot of money.

Customize - Drive Traffic

Drive traffic to your Web site and increase online visibility! – I really want people to visit my website! I should Add Search Engine Visibility, it’s only $25.49 per year if I add it for all 5 years that I’ll have the domain. Oh wait, I can also get 12 months of Site Analytics if I go with Search Engine Visibility Premium. Let’s do that. It’s pricey, but you’ve got to spend money to make money online, right?
Ed Note: WTF is “Search Engine Visibility”?! Try this: Post a tweet with a link to your website, watch your logs and I almost guarantee you that within minutes you’ll have a search engine crawling your site. Better yet, get your friends to post links to your website on their sites. Boom, you’re indexed within days. And as far as analytics, if you’re not aware that Google Analytics is 100% free, well… [REDACTED]

Another interesting thing I noticed when getting screenshots for this post. If you scroll down and add Site Analytics before you choose Search Engine Visibility Premium, you’ll get charged for both when Site Analytics should be included in the former. (screenshot)

Customize - Quick Shopping Cart

Quick Shopping Cart – I’m not going to be selling anything on my site, so I don’t need this.

Customize - Join the Go Daddy Savings Network

Join the Go Daddy Savings Network – Hmm, I enroll for $9.99 and I get a $10 Go Daddy Gift Card in return? Sounds great! Let me just plug in my email address.
Ed Note: What is this? There’s no additional information on exactly what the Go Daddy Saving Network is. Do people really just blindly give their email addresses away like this? Oh, if you click on Help Me Choose it takes you to some additional pages where from what I can gather it’s an online coupon code site for members only. go Daddy says: “We’ve used our reputation as the world’s #1 domain name registrar to negotiate deep discounts for Savings Network members.” Huh, I didn’t know domain name registrar reputation had any pull with merchants. Oh wait, if by reputation you mean “ability to send customers” then it makes sense.

Customize - Blog or podcast

Blog or Podcast your news online with Quick Blogcast! – Oh, I want to blog, I guess I need this! I plan on being very popular so I should get Quick Blogcast Premium since my harddrive is 500GB. Hmm, I can’t get it for 5 years like my domain, so I guess I’m just doing 36 months for $16 a month.
Ed Note: Not sure exactly what this is, but I imagine it’s a combination of some scripts (probably WordPress for blogging) that setup a blog and/or podcast for you. Plus this appears to be where you are specifying the amount of space and bandwidth you’d like for your site. To give some sort of indication, Dreamhost (a web hosting company) gives you unlimited space and bandwidth for $9-11 a month depending on length of contract.

Customize - Go Daddy Site Surveys

Go Daddy Site Surveys – Oh I love surveys! I do them all the time on Facebook to see what kind of Buffy character I am. I definitely want to be able to make my own. Nuts, no 5 year option, guess I’m going with 36 months again. It’s only $2.84, that’s like half a cup of coffee that I get every day!
Ed Note: I imagine this is just a script install and database setup that should be a 1 time fee since there’s not really any upkeep to it.
One really interesting thing to note on this page is that after you click “Add to Cart” for each option, it disappears! You’re not giving an option to modify your choice on this page.

Ok, whew got those decisions made. I can’t wait to get started blogging and podcasting! Let’s click Add & Continue and pay for this baby.

HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF !#$(*#%!#$)%&*$@^*$#!% $1,855.10?!?!?!

Total: $1,855.10

Total: $1,855.10

On top of the simple used salesman sort of techniques, there are even more serious things to be concerned about with GoDaddy. Gordon Lyon setup to expose the behaviors of Go Daddy that should not be tolerated. Everything from holding domains for ransom, exposing personal information, and more.


Supreme Master TV Billboard

Filed Under Scam, SF Bay Area | 2009-07-15, 13:48

Be Veg! Go Green! Save the Planet
Photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Those readers that are recent visitors/residents of San Francisco may have noticed the above billboards popping up. They read “Be Veg! Go Green! Save the planet!” with a url beneath it. It’s not an uncommon sort of thing to hear these days, but the people behind this specific billboard are anything but common.

The person behind Supreme Master TV and the parent group of Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association is.. yes, you guessed it Supreme Master Ching Hai. According to Wikipedia, Supreme Master Ching Hai is “is the self titled founder and spiritual teacher of the Quan Yin Method.” In addition to founding and teaching this method to “sincere people longing to know the Truth”, Supreme Master Ching Hai stays busy by running Supreme Master TV, making art, designing high-end fashion, and running vegetarian restaurants. Many of her writings, art, clothes, and various items are sold for top dollar to her devotees. It’s easy to say, money is not an insignificant part of Supreme Master Ching Hai’s life. In fact she is so wealthy that she tried to build an artificial island off Florida before she was shut down for environmental concerns. I hope you see the irony in that.

My personal exposure to her organization was when I ate at Vegetarian House down in San Jose. Rather than rehash a description from memory, go read the Yelp reviews to get a feel for the place. The food and service were quite good as long as you ignored the shelves upon shelves of literature and the slightly creepy vibe.

Want some more interesting reading? Try out these articles:

* God Inc.: Inner peace isn’t the only thing Supreme Master Ching Hai is selling Bay Area disciples
* Sect Appeal
* Part Buddha, part Madonna, Supreme Master Ching Hai promises immediate enlightenment to San Jose’s Asian immigrants
* even has an archive for her
* There are accusations of marriage fraud to boot.


An unoccupied derelict’s attempt to communicate

Filed Under Pranks, Scam | 2009-01-05, 14:56

Heather received the perplexing email at the end of this post in her inbox a few days ago. I’m not sure what it all means, and I could only find this post on Yahoo! Answers with other people questioning it as well. The email posted there was slightly different in some sentences.

Intelliant (the username in the email address) is a company that provides OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software. Alternatively “IntelliAnt” is another company that provides “end-to-end corporate services focused upon addressing both Business and IT needs of the corporate world”. I doubt either is behind this email though, unless they’re testing OCR software on someone’s scribbled rantings.

Another clue is that all the emails in the To: field were *.edu. The other copy of the email posted on Yahoo! Answers was from “” but was addressed to *.edu email addresses as well.

Is it some strange spambot looking for valid emails? Or maybe a spammer trying to craft emails that get past filters? Is it viral marketing? Is it just somebody bored? Anyone have any ideas?

UPDATE: Looks like some people are already on the case and have uncovered a plethora of information related to this interesting email. Head over to tomecatti’s livejournal for more info and enough links to keep you busy until 2010! I haven’t read it all, but there’s a good summary posted in an lj community:

So, about two and a half weeks ago, I got this weird email at my university email account. My first reaction? Post it in my LJ and laugh. Over the next two weeks, that LJ post was flooded with other people who got the email, with interpretations, theories, and sudden paranoia about terrorism. We’ve come to a few conclusions: It’s not Jim Strope, author of the hilarious manifesto Weeping for Narcissus, but it also could be, because Jim is practically giving the culprit head in his denial. It also seems to only be going to people with some association with Colleges; students and faculty members have shown up. We’re also pretty sure that it’s this guy who registers his sites as “Tom Jones”, but is more likely named “Michael” or “The Man Smarter Than Everyone For Seriously You Guys” and wants to make the Borg real.

(warning: All links here may give you a combination headache and lulz, and be packed full of stupid “puzzles”)

Original email that H recieved:

—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 12:16 PM
Subject: An unoccupied derelict’s attempt to communicate

Is it accurate to say that you’re trying to find another human who thinks as you do? If not, there is no need to read further as it means that those who think just like you are already around you.

You must wish to force all people to adopt your views. Or does it appeal to you more to promote imbecility?

I was planning to get married this year since it would have increased the tax refund. They told me a marital union should be about love. They had no interest in acting as allies.

They think the most wonderful thing is to find what you enjoy doing. This is self-deception. Perhaps one twentieth of today’s GDP would suffice to live luxuriously by historical standards.

People ask how I make ends meet as I rarely work. I question why they compensate skillful liars by donating to the movie industry. Why do they crave after cars and private property? Is it not apparent that they admire traveling only as long as it’s highly regarded by the general populace?

They’re confident that society can’t change. But as children, they dreamt about omniscience, perfect relationships, and utopias. We are still that impressionable. We’ll build a society based on rational thinking.

Don’t reply to this message as we will not read it. Use the best internet search engine to search these words.

arrogant teenage expectation intelligence students
light philosophy strategy ideology logic
distilled pure general design insecure
terrestrial personality intolerant delectable defiance
conspiracy social spiritual art traits
indoctrination innovative Borg monomania clandestine

Search for three words at a time for best results. Hence, there are a very large number of possible searches, so only the fanatical will succeed.


Domain Buying Scam?

Filed Under Scam | 2008-06-05, 13:27

I got the following email today:

From: Anne Gaskins <>
Subject: Your Website


Browsing on the Internet I came across your website [] . If you are interested in selling it, please email me back your phone number, so we can discuss it.
I have cash to buy today!

Thank you in advance

My first thought was why in the world do they want to buy this domain? It’s old, outdated, and the comments have been spammed to hell so it hardly even ranks in Google. Yes, it’s a site I totally neglected because a) I tossed it up in 20 minutes and b) it has only made $224 in Google Adsense in the 2.5 years it’s been up. I was planning on emailing them back just out of curiosity, but then I saw this post pop up in my news reader. Looks like I’m not the only one.


Winston is a scam

Filed Under Scam | 2007-12-02, 15:09

I received the following email the other day:

from Winston
subject Have a question about the site…

I had stopped by the site and took a look at your ranking and just wondered if you’d be at all interested in having your site appear on page 1 of Google, Yahoo, MSN and a few other major engines – Guaranteed page 1 within 7-14 days 100% to get the most out of the 4th quarter rush. Yes, I’m a real person, Yes, I actually just came back from viewing your site. I already know you get a ton of offers day to day. This is obviously different, I have plenty of references. Call me at home if you want to, I work at home all day long building sites, optimizing adword campaigns, doing press releases, doing graphic design, basic freelance work for multiple people. My number is below, please let me know either way as I’m not going to pester you again if all you have to say is no.

What it is I plan on doing is working to get your listings on page 1 naturally, until I am able to do so, I pay (out of my own pocket) for your sponsored listing/pay per clicks which would appear on page 1, so you really have nothing to lose as you will be on page one either way. In any event, if this would be something you’d be interested in having me do please let me know as I’m only going to do this for a handful of people as it takes time to monitor everything.


No Winston, you did not take a look at my rankings, and you probably didn’t take a look at my site. If you had, you would know I rank #1, #3, and #3 for the top three search queries I target, ranking only below the official pages of the device my site is about. I don’t think I’d ever hire someone who is dumb enough to blanket-email and not do the proper research. I would recommend against anyone else hiring this guy too. If you really want to get to the top of the search results, you can either buy a listing directly from Google, or you can learn about Search Engine Optimization.


Paul Lockett is a scam

Filed Under Scam | 2007-04-22, 13:28

I received the following email the other day, thought I’d post it up here to let people know that it is a scam. Don’t bother replying.

Good day,

My name is Mr. Paul Lockett, I am a senior partner in the firm of
Infinity Consultants “Private Investigators and Security Consultants”.
We are conducting a standard process investigation on behalf
of “HSBC”, the International Banking conglomerate.

This investigation involves a client who shares the same surname with
you and also the circumstances surrounding investments made by this
client at “HSBC”, the Private Banking arm of HSBC. The HSBC Private
Banking client died in testate and nominated no successor in title
over the investments made with the bank. I would respectfully request
that you keep the contents of this mail private and respect the
integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail.

I contact you independently of our investigation and no one is
informed of this communication. I would like to intimate you with
certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you.

You share similar details to the late fellow; I am prepared to place
you in a position to instruct the firm to release the deposit to you
as the closest surviving relation. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am
prepared to share the money with you, that is, I will simply nominate
you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you. We
share the proceeds 50/50. I would have gone ahead to ask the funds be
released to me, but that would have drawn a straight line to me and my
involvement in claiming the deposit. But on the other hand, you with
the same very name as the depositor’s would easily pass as the
beneficiary with right to claim. I assure you that I could have the
deposit released to you within few days.

I am aware of the consequences of this proposal. I ask that if you
find no interest in this project that you should discard this mail. I
ask that you do not be vindictive and destructive. If my offer is of
no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you.
Do not destroy my career because you do not approve of my proposal.
You may not know this but people like myself who have made tidy sums
out of comparable situations run the whole private banking sector. I
am not a criminal and what I do, I do not find against good
conscience, this may be hard for you to understand, but the dynamics
of my industry dictates that I make this move. Such opportunities only
come ones in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by, for
once, I have found myself in total control of my destiny. These
chances won’t pass me by. I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if
you will not work with me let me know and let me move on with my life
but do not destroy me. I am a family man and this is an opportunity to
provide them with new opportunities.

There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth
undertaking. I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here
is from you refusing to work with me. I am the only one who knows of
this situation, good fortune has blessed you with a name that has
planted you into the center of relevance in my life. Lets share the
blessing. If you find yourself able to work with me, contact me
through my email account below. If you give me positive signals, I
will initiate this process towards a conclusion.

I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the
consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing
gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of
gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking
clients. Do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord, we
should plan a meeting, soon.

Kind regards,

Mr. Paul Lockett