ICANN Takes Action against Registrars Who Help Spammers

After a top 10 Worst Registrars list has been published

By on 28 May 2008, 07:51 GMT
I think there is not one Internet user out there that enjoys having their email inbox stuffed with spam. And as most of the spam victims know, spam mail generally redirects you to a certain website, which ultimately tries to trick you into giving away your personal information or simply wants to take your money. Apparently, most of those spam sites are tied to a handful of registrars. To be more exact, three quarters of all Web sites advertised through spam are featured under just 10 domain name registrars.

A top 10 featuring registrars that support spam sites has been published online by KnujOn, after collecting data from millions of junk messages over the past year. The intention in doing so is to convince registrars to dismantle spam sites. According to Garth Bruen, the KnujOn co-founder, links featured in spam messages coming from fake pharmacies, knock-off designer products, pirated software and phony lending institutions, lead users to a relatively small number of sites that are generally under the control of only a few companies.

The actions undertaken by the site have been praised by a number of Internet users, most of which were aware of the issue and have played their part in trying to bring down spam supporting sites. Moreover, it appears that the Top 10 Worst Registrars list has also arisen the interest of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). According to a press notification released by the Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based group, ICANN requires all Web domain registrars to collect and maintain accurate WHOIS data for all domain holders.

The group states that registrars are supposed to cancel any Web site registrations with inaccurate WHOIS data if the domain holder does not update their records within 15 days of receiving notice from the registrar. "But if those registrars, including those publicly cited, do not investigate and correct alleged inaccuracies reported to ICANN, our escalation procedure can ultimately result in ICANN terminating their accreditation and preventing them from registering domain names."

According to Garth Bruen, in an interview with the Washington Post: "ICANN doesn't have any authority or mandate to deal with spam or Internet abuse, but it does have a mandate to make sure the WHOIS records are accurate".

If ICANN succeeds in convincing registrants to take down the Web sites that are featured in spam, it will ultimately serve as step forward in reducing the number of spams on the Internet.

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The ICANN notification
   The ICANN notification