Can Parking Companies Send Out Auto Response Emails on Your Domain Names?

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There is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today that I think anyone who parks domain names should read. Apparently, it appears that it’s possible for a parking company to send out auto response emails for domain names that are parked, and those emails may contain spammy links in them.

Here’s an excerpt from the article discussing how this was set up:

“An Associated Press reporter accidentally sent a message to a “verizonwireless.co” address instead of the proper “.com” and got this response, ostensibly from his contact “tom”:

“I am out of office right now on a my (sic) dream vacation and will get back to you when I return. If you don’t hear from me, my assistant should contact you shortly. You should check this site to see how I scored the best travel deal for my trip.”

That’s followed by a link to a site that advertises luxury resorts. Presumably, the owner of verizonwireless.co makes money when someone clicks through to any of the resort sites.”

I sent a test email to info @ one of my parked domain names at Parked.com and I did not receive any type of response (no delivery failure notice either), so it appears that this is not something Parked.com is doing. I don’t do much parking elsewhere, so I can’t say if others are or aren’t doing this.

I recommend that you check out the WSJ article when you have a chance.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Right. You need to have access to and tweak MX records at your registrar.

    Then with some set up on your own server, you can set any domain you own to capture anything@anydomainIown.whatever.

    I have this set up for several domains and it is interesting to receive emails from people who type in the wrong extension… meaning to my domain name.

    Nothing illegal or immoral about this. I own the domain and I simply set it up to catch ANY AND ALL incoming emails.

    If you catch drops from formerly developed websites, you may want to set this system up so you can read emails sent to the previous owner.

    A little creepy like read a dead person’s mail but I see nothing wrong with it. I have sent people an email telling them I am the new owner and I have sent emails to people telling them they typed in the wrong extension.

    Ask your server administrator.

  2. Really nothing I can do about it unless I want to challenge them for owning the domain.

    I don’t get emails to rob at robsequin.com so not sure why someone would register robsequin.co and set up email to grab a typo of something that doesn’t exist.

    What am I missing?

  3. If they had a catch all and you use @robsequin.com for email, they could catch any emails sent that way. For you and most people, it’s unlikely there would be many email typos. For a large company that receives thousands of emails a day, there would be typo email issues.

    I am just saying that it’s sort of taking typosquatting to a new level when it’s infringing on a trademark. Not simply monetizing the domain traffic but also errant emails.

  4. Agree.

    No one should cybersquat on a domain in the first place.

    The owner of verizonwireless.co should be sued for TM infringement and damages.

    I see that I wrote above that I can “receive emails from people who type in the wrong extension”. However, this doesn’t mean I am squatting on their TM.

    In most cases, I had the .com before they had their extension. In the rest of the cases the domains were dropped so I’m curious to see what emails come in to the previous owner.

    I’m sure you have moved into a new apartment and have received snail mail for the previous owner. If you think it’s important, you tell the mailman. If I get an email that I think is important, I tell the sender and let them resend to the proper person.

    If it’s junk (like most of the emails I see) you throw it away.

    If I have the legal right to own the domain, I have the legal right to own ALL email addresses for that domain.

    No?

  5. You don’t have to go so far. You use DomainNames “at” gmail.com. Do you also own Domainames “at” gmail.com?
    If so, you are happy, otherwise?
    😉

  6. Smartname and TZ either don’t use or set a null MX records like localhost.

    But checking a domains I have at google they do. And if you send an email to an address it does bounce. But it makes no sense that they
    are doing this since it is trivial to set the MX to localhost and prevent it from every getting to their system or having any traffic impact at all.

    So I wonder if they are collecting some type of data and that’s the reason they are bouncing the mail and letting it get to their system.

  7. What will be a good test (I think I will do it for 100 names or so) is put a MX record or email forward all emails to an account and see how many I get (for fun).

    I can imagine there are a lot of Black Hat things that could be done with this.

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