I think all of us at CivicActions were disgusted by Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons’ vacation video featuring him murdering an elephant in Zimbabwe (and the subsequent butchering of that elephant by local villagers wearing Go Daddy hats overdubbed with the song Hells Bells). Bob Parsons has exhibited some pretty questionable behavior before, and made distasteful comments. Go Daddy’s website and advertising objectify women, yet they control something like 32% of the domain registration and hosting market. I’ve registered plenty of domains with Go Daddy in the past because it was easy, and it was cheap.

The Elephantacide

I will never register another domain with Go Daddy, neither will CivicActions (and we will be transferring any domains that are registered there) and to help others make that same decision, I’ve polled our team to find out alternative domain registrars.

I switched to Namecheap, a Los Angeles Based company that picked up those twenty thousand domain registrations (8 of them mine) by running a promo deal for a few days. Namecheap donated $1 from each registration to elephant protection and conservation organization SaveTheElephants.org (they raised $20k in donations!). Added bonus: their user interface is straight forward, and far less cluttered than Go Daddy’s.

Transferring your domain

Transferring a domain is not particularly difficult. If you are hosted someplace other than Go Daddy, the process is relatively easy. You find a new registrar, tell them you want to transfer a domain, they put in a request with the current registrar, and then you get emailed a code from the current registrar to give to the new registrar.  The new registrar copies the zone files from the current one, and in a few days, your domain registration is moved, and your websites and email and everything else work just fine.

Do note that domain transfers can be locked if you are too close to the expiration or if you have recently transferred the domain.  It is a good idea to apply for your transfer more than 60 days before the domain registration is set to expire.

Alternate web hosting options

Gandi.net has one of the best privacy policies, they are based in Europe, and are more expensive than most ($15/yr), though that includes (optional) private domain registration.
Namecheap.com registrations start at $2.99 /yr and transfers at $8.99. Optional Whois privacy card is less than $2.

Dreamhost is a California based employee owned company with a strong commitment to free and open source software. They do not offer any Microsoft based hosting products. Dreamhost offers free privacy guard, and competitive priced registrations, starting at $9.95 (or one year free for one domain with hosting). I have some domains registered with Dreamhost because I also host them there. I am not certain how convenient they are as a registrar for domains that you don’t host on their servers, though I am looking into it. I’ve been a Dreamhost hosting customer for over 5 years, and their customer support has always been great.

GKG.net offers domain registration starting at $7.99 /yr

Netfirms.ca is Canada’s number 1 registrar offering .ca domains and other TLDs for CN$9.95 /yr

Canvas Host is a sustainable Web host based in Portland, Oregon, they offer domain registration starting at $12.99 /yr

I’ve included the companies above because people on the CivicActions team have registered domains with them. I am not making any guarantees about the ethics of these companies, nor endorsing their hosting products explicitly. The only company I have hosted with is Dreamhost, and they have a wide variety of hosting products only a few of which I have used.

The bottom line here: don’t register or renew with Go Daddy. Please consider transfering domain names you have currently registered there. And don’t be afraid of the transfer process. It is pretty simple.