Here’s What Probably Happened With eth.link – Domain Name Wire
Nobody played dirty, but the expiration process can appear that way.
Ethereum Name Service and Virgil Griffith, the licensee of eth.link, recently filed a lawsuit against GoDaddy, Dynadot, and a company that “bought” eth.link at a domain auction at Dynadot. A judge issued a temporary restraining order that returned the estate to Griffith for the time being.
It is a violent trial, pretending that the defendants are taking advantage of the situation to make a profit.
To hear the complainant’s story:
1. GoDaddy failed to renew the domain when it should have been on auto-renewal
2. The domain was renewed anyway, but then GoDaddy decided to let it expire after it was renewed. GoDaddy said it will expire on September 5.
3. GoDaddy then “completed a sale of the eth.link domain name” to Dynadot, and Dynadot auctioned the domain name two days before it fully expired.
It would indeed look bad if that was the course of events and someone didn’t understand how the domain deletion cycle works. I have no inside knowledge of what happened at GoDaddy. Yet, based on my two decades of observing domain names, GoDaddy, and the expiration cycle, I’d bet that what happened was more like this:
1. The domain did not renew automatically for one of two reasons: auto-renewal was not enabled or the payment method on file failed. That last one makes a lot of sense. I suspect your credit cards stop working when you’re in jail for helping North Korea try to evade sanctions.
2. The domain has not been renewed as claimants claim. The domain’s expiration date was July 26, 2022. The complainants say they checked the Whois record a few days later, and it showed the expiration date was changed to July 26, 2023. is correct, but… when domains expire, the registry usually temporarily extends the registration period by one year. This allows the registrant to renew the domain after it expires, but before it goes through the entire expiration cycle. The domain expires if the registrant does not renew within the grace period.
3. Faced with questions about the domain name, GoDaddy informed the public that the domain was not renewed and would completely expire on September 5 (after the grace and deletion period) if the current registrant did not renew it. GoDaddy does not allow anyone other than the registrant to renew a domain.
Typically, when a domain registered with GoDaddy expires, it goes through GoDaddy auctions before being completely deleted. But that was a fringe case because GoDaddy does not currently support new .link domain registrations. The company has therefore entered into an agreement with Dynadot in which expired .link domains are sold through Dynadot auctions. The domain auction process at GoDaddy or Dynadot is automated and requires manual intervention to stop this process.
There was probably a bit of confusion at GoDaddy about this, or at least an oversight. GoDaddy may decide not to remove a controversial name from the auction system if it wishes. But since this was a fringe case, they may have forgotten that the domain would automatically go to a Dynadot auction.
Either way, the domain hasn’t been treated any differently than other .link domains. He went to a Dyandot auction. If no one had bid on the domain, it would have been removed entirely on September 5.
But given the prior use of the domain, it sold – for a whopping $852,000.
The situation isn’t great, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the plaintiffs try to paint it.
What happens next?
It depends on how much GoDaddy and Dyandot want to fight. The money lost at auction is more meaningful to Dynadot than GoDaddy, but GoDaddy might also want to defend its practices. I could see a settlement between the parties where the plaintiffs drop their claims now that they have the domain, and GoDaddy and Dynadot agree to untie the auction. But I could also see one or both companies deciding to challenge it, especially if the plaintiffs are asking for some kind of damages.