Domain Registrars

Cuba-Related Websites Shutdown; Domains Taken

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In this morning’s New York Times, there’s an article about an English travel agent who owned several Cuba-related domain names which were shut down by his registrar eNom, due to their listing on the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). While owning and operating these websites on his own soil is legal, since they were being managed by eNom, a US-based domain registrar, eNom had to take possession of the domain names and essentially put the owner out of business.
While I am not going to debate the merits of this decision by the Treasury Department, I do think it is important for everyone to take a few moments and check to see where their domain registrar is located. Just a few months ago, a similar situation occurred with Internet gaming giant Bodog, whose domain names were taken and awarded to a litigant who filed suit in the US. While the situation was different then, it still shows that a US government decision or a ruling in a US court could potentially lead to losing domain names.
When doing business in another country, it is important to know that country’s laws related to your business.   Since many non-Americans who own domain names are doing business with American-based companies, it is important to know US law when it comes to domain names and online activities. If you should have any questions related to domain name law, I urge you to contact an attorney.

DNN: Network Solutions Sued

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According to today’s post on DomainNameNews, a class action lawsuit was filed against Network Solutions and ICANN by the law firm of Kabateck Brown Kellner. The firm issued a press release announcing the action earlier today.
This is the second article written by Frank and Adam today about Network Solutions, the first being an article about the company monetizing a racially sensitive domain name owned by the NAACP, presumably to prevent links like this from being displayed.

Hidden Issue of "Ghost Records" at Domain Registrars

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A few months ago, I encountered a problem at one of my registrars where domain names were still listed in my account even though I transferred these names out to buyers who used other registrars. While the Whois records displayed the correct ownership, these names were still showing up in my account. This was confusing as the names still looked like they were under my control, but I didn’t have any control over them and they weren’t really in my account.
I contacted my account manager who asked me to list all of the names that shouldn’t be listed in my account, so the issue could be resolved by technical support. I was afraid to do that, as I feared a mistake would lead to the cancellation of a domain name I owned. Since there were at least a few dozen of these names, and I have a significant number of domain names in this account, the process of going through my records would have been tedious. Also, since many of the names involved were average names that I had sold, it wouldn’t have been as obvious as some premium generics I sold, and I was afraid that I would accidentally list a name I still owned.
I had never experienced this “ghost record” issue at other registrars, so I put the question out there on a domain forum, and a number of people emailed me telling me that they had gone through the same problem with various registrars at some point. Fortunately, as luck would have it, I was contacted by Jason Lavigne, Business Development manager at Rebel.com & Pool.com, who gave me a suggestion to pass along to my registrar. With Jason’s permission to post, this is what he advised me to do:

“The problem can be greatly reduced by regularly running a script to check against the whois or by using the registry message queue. The registry message queue advises registrars every time a domain is added or removed from a registrar and is more reliable than using the whois. If a registrar checks their message queue daily for transfer away notices and then adjusts their database they should be able to minimize ghost records as we’ve done at Rebel.com.”

With this information, I emailed my account representative and asked to have the customer support group run the transfer away script against the Whois records. A couple of days later, these ghost records were all removed from my account, and the problem disappeared.
Thanks a bunch to Jason for that great advice!

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