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Small Kiwi registrar loses accreditation

Kevin Murphy, December 5, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN has terminated the registrar accreditation of Pacnames, a small New Zealand registrar.

The roughly 10,000 domain names the company had under management will now be transferred to Net-Chinese, a Taiwanese registrar that is not much bigger as measured by DUM.

The termination was voluntary, according to ICANN, but it follows the suspension of Pacnames’ accreditation in October.

ICANN had held the company in breach of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement for failing to provide records about 25 domain names upon request.

The story told in the October breach notice (pdf) makes it sound like Pacnames had refused to provide the data because it was “burdensome” and too much like an “audit”.

Pacnames’ customers, if there are any, should now receive emails from Net-Chinese informing them about the transfer. Which, let’s face it, are definitely going to look dodgy.

ICANN cans “Spam King” registrar

Kevin Murphy, November 26, 2013, Domain Registrars

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.

Tucows takes over as Cheapies loses accreditation

Kevin Murphy, November 8, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN has terminated the registrar Cheapies.com and is to transfer its registrations to Tucows.

Cheapies had fewer than 12,000 gTLD domains under management judging by the last available registry reports.

The registrar was terminated two weeks ago, having previously having its accreditation suspended for 90 days, for various violations of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement mainly related to records keeping.

ICANN said Cheapies’ customers should receive an email from Tucows instructing them how to proceed.

ICANN smacks Cheapies with the ban hammer

Kevin Murphy, September 16, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN for only the second time has suspended an accredited registrar’s ability to sell domain names.

Cheapies.com, which has roughly 12,000 gTLD domain names under management, will not be able to create new domains or accept inbound transfers until January 2, 2014, according to ICANN.

The 90-day suspension of its accreditation, longer by two months than the 30 days Alantron received last year, comes because it’s the third time this year Cheapies has been sent an ICANN breach notice.

The latest breach concerns the domain ebookvortex.com. Apparently Cheapies did not provide the registrant with the required authorization information when he initiated a transfer request.

In January, the company received breach notices related to its records-keeping and another instance of failing to abide by ICANN’s inter-registrar transfers policy.

It’s also being spanked for consistently ignoring or stonewalling ICANN’s attempts to resolve the situation.

Cheapies has the opportunity to rectify its problems to avoid losing its accreditation entirely. In the meantime, it also has to display the following notice “prominently” on its web site:

No new registrations or inbound transfers will be accepted from 4 October 2013 through 2 January 2014.

There’s a clear takeaway for fly-by-night registrars here: ignore ICANN Compliance at your peril.

Register.com hit by breach notice over 62,232 domains

Kevin Murphy, September 12, 2013, Domain Registrars

Register.com, a Web.com business that is one of the top ten registrars by domains under management, has been hit by an ICANN compliance notice covering 62,232 domain names.

It’s a weird one.

ICANN says that the company has failed to provide records documenting the ownership trail of the domains in question, which all currently belong to Register.com itself.

The notice names 000123.net, 0011pp.com, 00h4.com, 010fang.net, 01rabota.com, 02071988.com and 020tong.com, but it seems that these are merely the first in a alphabetical list that is much, much longer.

Judging by DomainTools’ Whois history, these domains all appear to have been originally registered at various times by individuals in China and India, then allowed to expire, then registered by Register.com to itself.

The only common link appears to be that they were kept by Register.com after they expired, for whatever reasons registrars usually hoard their customers’ expired domains.

According to the compliance notice, ICANN wants the registrar to:

Provide a detailed explanation to ICANN how 62,232 domains in which Register.com itself is the registrant are used for the purposes of Registrar Services, as defined by Section 1.11 of the RAA;

The Registrar Accreditation Agreement says registrars have to keep registrant agreement records, except for a limited class of cases where the domain is owned by the registrar itself and used for registrar-related stuff.

Register.com, one of the original five oldest competitive registrars, has been given until October 2 to come up with the requested information for face losing its accreditation.

The registrar has almost three million gTLD domains under management. Combined with its Web.com sister registrars, which include Network Solutions, the number is closer to 10 million.