Yesterday, on MetaFilter, readers figured out that Hoder.com was about to expire at the end of this month and they wanted to make sure that it stayed in Hossein Derakhshan’s name. Some had suggested that they wouldn’t allow the domain to be renewed until he did it himself — and he obviously can’t as he’s in prison. However, later in the day, the domain’s whois records showed that someone had renewed it for a year, but it was unclear how or why.
To figure out what was up, I spoke with GoDaddy’s general counsel, Christine Jones.
She told me that given the extenuating circumstances of this situation, they decided to renew the domain for a year. This is not a usual policy for the company.
“So, we had some activity around this name, either people that follow the blog, or people who just were friends of his or acquaintances who noticed that the domain was going to expire,” she said. “Some of those people contacted us and because it didn’t seem like he was going to give over permission to somebody to renew his name before the expiration, we went ahead and renewed it as a courtesy.”
She added that if this happens again in a year and he doesn’t renew it or give anyone else access, the domain will expire. In this case, she advises that Derakhshan give his username and password to a trusted friend or family member so that they can access the account and renew it for him. Alternatively, they’ll need the last six digits of the credit card that was used.
She also noted that it’s not possible for friends or other people to donate money to to renew it on his behalf.
“It seems sort of draconian as we’re talking about this one domain that you’re using as an example, but if you take the bigger picture, it might help you understand why we have to be very black and white about this,” she said. “We do have situations where people say: ‘Hey let me send you money so that we can renew hoder.com’ and the gentleman who is the registrant of hoder.com doesn’t want it to be renewed. And that happens from time to time.”
Kudos to GoDaddy for helping out Derakhshan, even in a small way.