Recently relaunched budget TLD .pw is being widely abused by spammers already, but registry manager Directi said it’s enforcing a “zero tolerance” policy.
Anti-spam software makers and users have over the last week reported a “massive” increase in email spam from .pw domain names.
Security giant Symantec reports that .pw jumped to #4 in its rankings of TLDs used in spammed URLs in the week ending April 26.
Anti-spam vendor Fort even recommended its customers block the entire TLD at their mail gateways, blogging:
Since we have yet to see a legitimate piece of mail for the .pw domain but have recently seen massive amounts of spam from this domain, we are recommending that you block mail form this domain as soon as practical.
Anti-spam mailing lists have been full of people complaining about .pw spam, according to spam expert John Levine.
Our own TLD Health Check ranks .pw at #19 in abusive domains (which tracks phishing and malware domains rather than spam) for May, having not ranked it at all before April.
But Sandeep Ramchandani, head of Directi’s .PW Registry unit, told DI that the company has deactivated 4,000 too 5,000 .pw domains for breaching its anti-abuse policy.
He said that a single registrar was responsible for the majority of the abusive names, and that the registrar in question has had its discount revoked, resulting in newly registered domains from it going down to “almost nothing”.
“If you remove that registrar, the percentage of abusive names to non-abusive names is not alarming at all,” Ramchandani said.
He said the company has a “zero tolerance” approach to spam. It’s been communicating with many of its critics to let them know it’s on the case.
He noted that it’s not surprising that people are seeing more bad traffic from .pw than good — spammers tend to start using their domains immediately, whereas legitimate registrants take a bit longer.
Directi, which reported 50,000 names registered in the first three weeks of general availability last week, is now up to 100,000 names.
Many of the names were registered via the same aforementioned registrar, so more are likely to be turned off, Ramchandani said.
.pw is the ccTLD for Palau, but Directi brands it as “Professional Web”. It’s going for the budget end of the market, selling domains for less than .com prices even if you exclude discounts.