ICANN has terminated the registrar accreditation of Dynamic Dolphin, which it turned out was owned by self-professed “Spam King” Scott Richter.
The company has until December 20 to take down its ICANN logo and cease acting as a registrar.
ICANN, in its termination notice (pdf) late last week, said that it only became aware earlier this month that Richter was the 100% owner of Dynamic Dolphin.
Richter grew to fame a decade ago for being one of the world’s highest-profile spammers. He was sued for spamming by Microsoft and Myspace and was featured on the popular TV program The Daily Show.
As well as being a thoroughly unpleasant chap, he has a 2003 conviction for grand larceny, which should disqualify him from being the director of an ICANN-accredited registrar.
He removed himself as an officer on October 9 in response to ICANN’s persistent inquiries, according to ICANN’s compliance notice.
But he was much too late. ICANN has terminated the accreditation due to the “material misrepresentation, material inaccuracy, or materially misleading statement in its application”.
The question now has to be asked: why didn’t ICANN get to this sooner? In fact, why was Dynamic Dolphin allowed to get an accreditation in the first place?
Former Washington Post security reporter Brian Krebs has been all over this story for five years.
Back in 2008, with a little help from anti-spam outfit KnujOn, he outed Richter’s links to Dynamic Dolphin when it was just a Directi reseller.
Yesterday, Krebs wrote a piece on his blog going into a lot of the background.
Another question now is: which registrar is going to risk taking over Dynamic Dolphin’s registrations?
As of the last registry reports, Dynamic Dolphin had fewer than 25,000 gTLD domains under management.
According to ICANN’s termination notice, 13,280 of these use the company’s in-house privacy service, and 9,933 of those belong to just three individuals.
According to DomainTools, “Dynamic Dolphin Inc” is listed as the registrant for about 23,000 names.
According to KnujOn’s research and Krebs’s reporting, the registrar was once among the most spam-friendly on the market.