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Domain Research and Monitoring: Keeping an Eye on the Web for You

Reverse WHOIS: A Powerful Process in Cybersecurity

WHOIS History API: Powering Domain Investigations

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Whois Masking Considered Harmful

Whenever you register a domain name, your contact details are published in a publicly visible database called "Whois", where your contact details are instantly harvested by spambots and marketers who proceed to email and postal mail you marketing offers, deceptive "domain slamming" attempts, ads for dubious products, and perhaps even telemarketing calls. Nobody likes that, so over the years people started resorting to various tactics to protect themselves from the deluge of crap that inevitably comes with simply registering a domain name... more

If ICANN't Keep a Contract, Let the Public Enforce It

Earlier in the Registerfly controversy, ICANN Vice President Paul Levins posted to the ICANN Blog: "ICANN is not a regulator. We rely mainly on contract law. We do not condone in any way whatsoever RegisterFly's business practice and behaviour." This is disingenuous. ICANN is the central link in a web of contracts that regulate the business of domain name allocation. ICANN has committed, as a public benefit corporation, to enforcing those contracts in the public interest. Domain name registrants, among others, rely on those contracts to establish a secure, stable environment for domain name registration and through that for online content location. more

In Historic Vote on WHOIS Purpose, Reformers Win by 2/3 Majority

It has taken almost three years -- by some counts, more than 6 years -- but ICANN's domain name policy making organization has finally taken a stand on Whois and privacy. And the results were a decisive defeat for the copyright and trademark interests and the US government, and a stunning victory for advocates of the rights of individual domain name registrants... more

.COM and .NET: Thick Or Thin?

The fallout from the failure of RegisterFly has been largely addressed as an issue of regulation and enforcement. ...ICANN has not historically enforced the escrow obligation, and in any case, if a company has failed, who exactly is going to take responsibility for updating the escrowed data? It seems to me that the problems that have arisen as a result of RegisterFly's collapse have more to do with the design of the "shared registry system" for the .COM and .NET TLDs than they do with ICANN's failure to enforce the RAA. more

Answers from Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains

Earlier this year we requested your questions on one of ICANN's most heated discussions -- issues involving top-level domains (TLDs) -- which we passed on to Vint Cerf, Google's VP and Chief Internet Evangelist and chairman of the board of ICANN. Despite an understandably heavy schedule, Vint Cerf has taken the time to personally respond to more questions than we had originally anticipated. So with our special thanks, here are his responses. more

10 Things Google Could Do as a Domain Name Registrar

In the absence of any formal announcements, news of Google being accredited by ICANN as a domain name registrar, spread fast in the media today after it was first reported by Bret Fausett on Lextext -- see Google is a Registrar. The company has since mentioned that "Google became a domain name registrar to learn more about the Internet's domain name system," and that it has no plans to sell any domain names at the moment. However, speculations on what Google could do as an accredited registrar are far and wide. Here are ten, listed in no particular order... more

ICANN, WSIS and the Making of a Global Civil Society - Part III

For a book project I decided to extend my interview with Milton Mueller from November 2003 (Part I | Part II). Exclusively for CircleID readers, here's part III that deals with WSIS, WGIG, US-American bias and the Internet Governance Project. "...One good result of the WGIG process is that the involved international community has already moved beyond those cliches. No one is proposing that the UN control the Internet. There is growing consensus that control of the DNS root needs to be internationalized..." more

Confessions of an Ex-Opponent of Whois Privacy

The following is the easyDNS response to ICANN's public comment period on GNSO Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Working Group Initial Report. The public comment period is open until July 7, 2015. We strongly urge you to make your voice known by signing the petition over at Save Domain Privacy. I submit these comments as a CEO of an ICANN accredited registrar, a former director to CIRA and a lifelong anti spam contributor with an unblemished record of running a managed DNS provider that maintains zero tolerance for net abuse or cybercrime... more

Conflict of Opinion

If a UDRP panelist believes domainers are the same thing as cybersquatters, is he fit to arbitrate? I came across an editorial on CNET today by Doug Isenberg, an attorney in Atlanta and founder of GigaLaw.com, and a domain name panelist for the World Intellectual Property Organization. The guest editorial focuses on Whois privacy and why it's imperative to maintain open access to registrant data for intellectual property and legal purposes. That's a common opinion I've read a million times. Nothing groundbreaking there. But then I was shocked to read that Isenberg generalizes domainers as cybersquatters: "Today, cybersquatters have rebranded themselves as 'domainers.' Popular blogs and news sites track their activities..." more

DNS WHOIS: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

As the Internet has grown and matured, it has become obvious to everyone involved that the DNS Whois system, as it currently exists, is not a sustainable way to share contact information for resolving network problems. ICANN, in an attempt to save DNS Whois, has plunged head long into the process of developing new policies aimed at fixing it. While I respect all of the hard work that has gone into this process, the results thus far have only made it clearer that this system faces intractable problems. more

Most Abusive Domain Registrations are Preventable

As the WHOIS debate rages and the Top-Level Domain (TLD) space prepares to scale up the problem of rogue domain registration persists. These are set to be topics of discussion in Costa Rica. While the ICANN contract requires verification, in practice this has been dismissed as impossible. However, in reviewing nearly one million spammed domain registrations from 2011 KnujOn has found upwards of 90% of the purely abusive registrations could have been blocked. more

Getting WHOIS Server Address Directly from Registry

If you want to find out the WHOIS server for a particular TLD then in many cases you can do it with a simple DNS lookup. Just query for an SRV record for the domain _nicname._tcp.tld, like this... Many other TLDs follow this convention including .au .at .dk .fr .de .hu .ie .li .lu .nl .no .re .si .se and .ch. more

ICANN Should Curb Anonymous Domain Name Abuses

E-commerce has revolutionized how businesses sell to consumers -- including those involved in illicit activities, such as websites peddling illegal narcotics, pirated movies and music, or counterfeit handbags. For example, 96 percent of Internet pharmacies do not comply with U.S. laws, and as they ship pills tainted with paint thinner, arsenic, and rat poison, they put the health and safety of consumers at risk. Why don't law enforcement officials do more to combat this problem? Partly because of the difficulty of identifying who is actually operating the illegal pharmacies. It is time to fix this, while allowing anonymity for those who deserve it. more

She Gave Me a Fake Phone Number!

The Intellectual Property Constituency, meeting at the ICANN conference in Vancouver, was interested in increasing ICANN's budget not because they thought they deserved it, but because they wanted ICANN to actually enforce the rules on the books about fake registrations. Now there's some evidence about how prevalent that is. If there's any surprise here, it's that the numbers are so low. more

Recent WHOIS Report Overlooking Fundamental Issue?

Each Task Force recently published a report posted on ICANN's website on recommendations for modifications or improvements to WHOIS. The Task Force recommendations include proposals ranging from a recommendation to notify those who may be included in the database of the possible uses of WHOIS data to one that recommends ICANN offer the Internet community "tiered access" to serve as a vague mechanism to balance privacy against the needs of public access. Too many of the recommendations seem to be framed by those who view Internet users with hostility, such as the recommendation to punish domain name users when a domain name is cancelled or suspended for "false contact data," by canceling all other registrations with identical contact data. more

Industry Updates

Online Brand Protection Tips with Domain Brand Protection Software

What Services Should Be Part of Your Domain Brand Protection Strategy?

The Perils of Typosquatting: The Likely Targets and the Price They Pay

Domain Squatting Disputes: How WHOIS Lookup Tools Can Help

Post-GDPR WHOIS Domain Search: Are Cybercrime Investigations More Difficult to Do?

How to Avoid Fraudulent Classifieds Sites with WHOIS Domain Name Search Tools

How Domain Reputation API Can Help Detect HTTPS-Protected Phishing Sites

How to Avoid Fake Product Support Pages with WHOIS API's Help

How to Safeguard Against Domain Look-Alikes with Domain and Brand Monitoring Services

Reverse Domain Hijacking and the Use of WHOIS and Domain Brand Monitoring Tools

Addressing Cybersquatting Dangers Using Brand Alert API and WHOIS Lookup

Retrospective: Post-GDPR Compliance Rates for Domain Enforcement

Fake Airline Ticket Scams: Domain Spoofing and Other Red Flags

Take Brand Protection Up a Notch with Domain Research and Monitoring Tools

Mitigating Phishing Attacks on Cloud/File Storage Services through Domain Reputation API