First, let me say I think GoDaddy, the domain name registry company, provides some great service. In fact, when I’m talking to clients or friends who need to check the availability of a domain name, I tell them just to check on GoDaddy.

But today GoDaddy got up my nose, needlessly, pointlessly – as far as I can tell.

GoDaddy send out a lot of special offer emails and I don’t mind, but I don’t pay a lot of attention. I have a strategic approach to buying domains and usually don’t buy on impulse or just for the sake of collecting them.

But the email today caught my eye, because it appeared to offer me the chance to have the top level domain for my family and ancestral name, Walsh.

I mean, what would you think if you got an email like this (where it says ‘Walsh’ insert your own family name to get the feeling)?

GoDaddy email screenshot

You’d think the domain was yours for the asking, right?

As it happens, wrong.

Because when I skipped delightedly to GoDaddy to register the name and typed it in I got the dreaded red letter message WALSH.COM is already taken.

Crest of Walsh of Castlehale - Kilkenny

And no, it wasn’t that someone else had beaten me to the punch on this “offer”. Because when I checked for more information, I found that the name had been registered by its current owners in 1997 and is not up for renewal till 2007. It is in use, sort of, but more as a promise of good things to come than as the address of  a site with  substantive content.

I’ve emailed GoDaddy via the email support function, asking them how they could do this, when they actually have the database and could surely check  I wondered how many other Walshes on their lists might be feeling miffed just now, assuming the promotional email was not directed just to me.

On the website, they promise a response within four hours. I’ll be interested to see what they say.

Moral of the story? Well, it could be, think before you do a mailout.

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