While I am the first to admit I’m a little on the cranky side, it actually takes quite a lot to trip my moral outrage switch.
But GoDaddy has tripped it in spectacular style.
The well-known blogger Hoder is a dual Canadian/Iranian citizen who is generally considered to be the daddy of Iranian blogging. He has written passionately about politics and censorship, been published in mainstream publications including the Guardian, and visited Israel in 2007 as a citizen journalist and peace activist.
On November 1, 2008 (almost exactly a year ago), Hoder was arrested while visiting his family in Tehran, probably because of that visit to Israel. He has since spent at least ten months in solitary confinement, and has been repeatedly beaten and tortured. He may still be facing the death penalty.
His domain is registered at GoDaddy. Hoder.com, and thus the site housing the online archive of his writing, expires in 21 days. Many, many members of MetaFilter, where Hoder is also a member, are more than willing to fork over the renewal fee to preserve his domain while he’s imprisoned. GoDaddy’s response to this request has been thus:
They refused citing security issues. However, if any of Hoder’s family can provide his password or the last 6 digits of the credit card used to register, the company will allow renewal, even with a different CC.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
Would GoDaddy like the Iranian police to beat that Visa number out of Hoder? Perhaps his family should stop their efforts to get their son released and instead expend energy requesting he be “interviewed” to get his GoDaddy password?
This attitude is frankly beyond indifferent and appalling and into territory previously uncharted by my vocabulary. I am literally at a loss to find the adjectives to describe how stunning this is.
This is a problem that is very easily solved by simply crediting Hoder’s hosting and domain account, and would already be solved by any company that hadn’t had its last ounce of human decency sucked out of its mindless, bureaucratic soul. This requires nothing more than a little ordinary customer service in an extraordinary situation.
There appear to be actual people behind the @GoDaddyGuy account on Twitter. Let us hope that Twitter requests to renew #hoder’s domain registration will be treated with vastly more compassion than GoDaddy has shown to date.
They could hardly show less.