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Punished by eNom for a Registration Placeholder - Comments

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I agree that they should have warned you but I understand why they want contact information so users of your site can verify that you are who you claim to be and so they can contact you if they have a problem. Granted your autoresponder points to full contact information but any large corporation tends to have a problem with people who don't do things "their" way.

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Remember, the autoresponder points to contact info that's already there, and easy to find, on my site. -rc

Ah, but once they take your sites down, the autoresponder doesn't point to anything anymore and thus you must be trying to do something phishy!

Last September, I tried to contact enom about a site they had shut down. Emails to the contact addresses listed on their Web site went unanswered. Phone calls led me to automated machines that infinitely referred me to other recordings, or to voice mail boxes that required me to enter a password before leaving a message. Ultimately, I faxed them a letter, detailing these frustrations and asking them to call me back. They eventually did -- a week later.

I use register.com and networksolutions.com. I had a lot of trouble setting up and/or transferring domains with/to/from both of them. Once I got things set up the way I wanted, I haven't touched it except for the occasional renewal. Things have been all right - so far. But then, I supplied my actual contact info, resulting in numerous junk faxes and other spam. Sigh.

There are alternatives to using fake information. One company (Domains by Proxy - http://www.domainsbyproxy.com ) will register your domains with "proxy" information. Anyone wishing to contact you regarding your domain must go through them. In this way, your information is kept secure and confidential while still providing legitimate information for the registration of the domain name.

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I'm not terribly interested in hiding my contact information from the world -- that's why I have it prominently linked on my major web sites. What I'm trying to do is reduce the junk mail and junk phone calls from the telemarketers who comb whois records for sales leads. I get plenty of both. -rc

One aspect of this that is so discouraging is that enom's behavior is par for the course. All Webmasters have tales of hosting companies being practically inaccessible -- usually when you are in a panic to figure out why your site is down.

It was obviously poor service for them to shut down the websites without making any apparent attempt to contact you.

That said... I have to disagree with you a bit. Most registrars offer private registration (so you can completely shield your personal data). All of them, even if you don't opt for private registration, take significant steps to prevent information harvesters from getting your contact info. You can always use free online voicemail and fax numbers, po boxes, and throwaway webmail accounts. Given al the options to address privacy concerns and the abuse possible if people are allowed to give fake information, I think registrars should be able to shut down websites until they get correct information. Note in this case that they got you to promptly update and verify your information--just what they were no doubt trying to do.

You point out that they could have tracked you down if they wanted to--but you had given them a mailing address where you couldn't be reached, a completely fake phone number, and an unmonitored email address. They can't be expected to invest time tracking everyone down individually, especially given the high number of falsified or incorrect registration data you described. It's possible that they had been sending you letters, phone calls, and emails for months (or years) before shutting down your site.

So, bottom line: eNom apparently overreacted, but I think the whole situation could have been avoided if the registration had been completed properly.

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No, it's not possible they had been sending me letters for years, since my old address is still forwarding me mail, even if that was the one showing. Yes, they did get me to move quickly -- so would a robber with a gun in my face. Both techniques are equally reprehensible. -rc

While I appreciate the undoubted pain of having a domain temporarily ganked, companies the size of enom don't have a whole lot of choice, particularly if they are responding to a spate of complaints.

For a similar story, check out this page.

There are a few non-trivial problems involved.

First, they have tens of thousands of customers.

Second, when going after 'bad guys' who have been reported to them for reason x, they need to deal with the complaint as quickly as possible. A registrar is typically the last point of contact in a abuse investigation, and the good ones investigate and act on those complaints.

Registrars, generally speaking, have very limited options in what they can independently confirm as factual, and even fewer options in dealing with the problem. The only information they can know for sure is that the data provided to them for a domain is true or false. If it's false, they are the limited to a single response when you take problem one into account - break dns for the site.

A registrar, especially one the size of Enom, does not have the resources to contact every domain with falsified information. It can also sometimes be a help to the bad guys if they receive notice their domain is being broken at the registrar level. Rather than getting a heads up, they now have to register new domains from scratch, wait for propagation and potentially lose hundreds of thousands, or millions, of successfully delivered spam emails with their now defunct url.

I feel your pain, but there are tools out there to legitimately protect ones identity.

The bad guys are ruining it for all of us, and the companies providing services are ill equipped to deal with the threat.

UCE is the problem most people are aware of, but there was recently a very large scale attack on the servers responsible for the .org TLD... and this sort of thing is increasing in frequency. Service providers are starting to respond quickly and harshly in enforcing their rules, because it's the only workable response at the moment.

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There was no evidence of one complaint, let alone a "spate of complaints". Rather, I'm 100% convinced that this was triggered by a filter looking at my edits. Rather than a spammer site, thisistrue.com (for instance) is a well-established, Google PR-7 site which enom knows was first registered ten years ago -- and paid through 2009. It's no fly-by-night site. Still, I already said that registrars must have such a power, but they need to use a little discretion in 1) taking action, and 2) issuing a warning first. That is not too much to ask, no matter how big they are. -rc

It's the real issue that of the almighty dollar. ENom spotted (or were told) that you were "doing them out of" $9.98 a domain, a year for their "privacy protection".

Sorry I mean "privacy exortion".

:)

Curious.... If you had just typed in any random set of digits for your phone number -- rather than 0000000000 -- would they have ever noticed?

Sure, it might set up some poor bastard to start getting telemarketers, but then again, you could always check the random numbers against the Do Not Call Registry first to make sure they're already on the list! >;)

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No, as far as I know they don't check the numbers at all, and wouldn't find out without a complaint. -rc

I work for GKG.NET a domain name registrar. I just want to let you know, that registrars like us and Enom, (even register.com) are required to adhere to ICANN (Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers) policy.

That policy states that whois information must be valid at all times. If a domain name's contact information is found to be false, the registrar must follow a procedure to get the owner to update that information. This usually involves sending the owner an email and giving them a number of days to respond. No response means that the information must be false, and the registrar must take action. Failure to do so could get ICANN to remove the registrar's accreditation, which would basically put them out of business.

Most if not all registrars will have a method for you to hide the information from public view. ICANN's policy says the information must be accurate, but it does not say it can be obscured. What GKG does is put their information in place of yours. The information is still valid, but hides your real identity from the wacko's.

Just wanted to shed some light on this.

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As I said from the start, and repeated several times in response to comments, I accept that registrars need to have this ability, but feel enom should have given prior notice. Your employer gives "several days"; enom 1) gave NO notice, and 2) indeed shut down the sites within HOURS. That, again, is my complaint. Had they merely given notice, none of this would have been a problem. -rc

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(Read the article that everyone's commenting on.)