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Domain Registry of America Suspended By ICANN 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-not-pass-go dept.
First time accepted submitter EpicMaxGuy writes ICANN has suspended Domain Registry of America aka Brandon Gray Internet Services aka NameJuice. The registrar is forbidden from registering any new domain names or accepting any inbound transfers until 17 October 2014. The announcement was posted on the ICANN website and will probably be welcomed in many circles."
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Domain Registry of America Suspended By ICANN

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  • From TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by morethanapapercert (749527) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:07PM (#47494991)
    What happened exactly?

    ICANN posted two letters regarding Brandon Gray today. One is the suspension notice, while the other is a detailed breach notice which explains it all.

    Essentially Brandon Gray got finally caught out by a couple of clauses in the 2013 registrar contract with ICANN (RAA):

    Brandon Gray’s resellers subjecting Registered Name Holders to false advertising, deceptive practices, or deceptive notices, pursuant to Section 3.12.7 of the RAA and Section 3 of Domain Name Registrants’ Rights of the Registrants’ Benefits and Responsibilities Specification (“RBRS”).

    ICANN would also like to know how they managed to mine whois data to send out all the letters to registrants without falling foul of the section 3.3.5 of the RAA, which states:

    3.3.5 In providing query-based public access to registration data as required by Subsections 3.3.1 and 3.3.4, Registrar shall not impose terms and conditions on use of the data provided, except as permitted by any Specification or Policy established by ICANN. Unless and until ICANN establishes a different Consensus Policy, Registrar shall permit use of data it provides in response to queries for any lawful purposes except to: (a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, postal mail, facsimile or other means of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than the data recipient’s own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of any Registry Operator or ICANN-Accredited registrar, except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations.

    For the rest of the article, including images of the actual letters, follow the link in the summary.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That is the real news, actually.

    • Re:From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jopsen (885607) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Sunday July 20, 2014 @04:42PM (#47496125) Homepage

      Brandon Gray’s resellers subjecting Registered Name Holders to false advertising, deceptive practices, or deceptive notices, pursuant to Section 3.12.7 of the RAA and Section 3 of Domain Name Registrants’ Rights of the Registrants’ Benefits and Responsibilities Specification (“RBRS”). >

      Sure you can treat that as a contract breach, but it seems more like a criminal matter to me... Why do you even put that in the contract, it's needless to say that criminal conduct will not be tolerated.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Brandon Gray’s resellers subjecting Registered Name Holders to false advertising, deceptive practices, or deceptive notices, pursuant to Section 3.12.7 of the RAA and Section 3 of Domain Name Registrants’ Rights of the Registrants’ Benefits and Responsibilities Specification (“RBRS”). >

        Sure you can treat that as a contract breach, but it seems more like a criminal matter to me... Why do you even put that in the contract, it's needless to say that criminal conduct will not be tolerated.

        Because a contract breach is much easier to deal with than a criminal prosecution, as the former can be based on determining only what is likely to be true, whereas the latter requires proof that there was actually criminal intent, which is much, much harder to achieve.

      • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Monday July 21, 2014 @01:00AM (#47498369)
        You'd have to wait for the government to declare Brandon Gray an illegal organization or punish them some other way if you want to rely on the criminal part of the law to deal with this. That is why you want obvious criminal actions to be named in your contract as a reason to suspend/stop delivering services or payments.
      • by Artifakt (700173)

        It's not needless to say, unfortunately:

        (Start of facts) Right now, there's a dispute developing in New York state, over whether McDonalds should have their contracts with franchisees set up so if those franchisees are caught violating state labor laws McDonalds will terminate their franchise rights. Some of the violations at issue include what are definitely felonies (i.e. extortion, threats of death or physical injury). Others are sometimes just misdemeanors (theft of wages, if under a certain amount), b

        • by jopsen (885607)
          Hmm, that's interesting... I would think that if ICANN knowingly continues to conduct business with a partner known to employ fraud then ICANN is a co-conspirator to fraud.
          Hence, it would be illegal for ICANN to honor its contract, forcing them to terminate it. Regardless, of what the contract states.

          I mean, no judge in his right mind will convict ICANN of contract breach, if the other party is abusing the powers delegated to them for criminal activities.
          At least that was my two cents (I'm just applying
      • by pegdhcp (1158827)
        First of all IANAL,
        2nd of all, I will state Turkish practice, which was shaped on European (Swiss and German in this case) law. keeping those in mind:

        In a commercial relation/contract, there are certain obligations, where illegal activity of one party becomes a joint responsibility of other, like obligations toward employees and most importantly consumers' rights issues. So the stronger partners in a contract (ICAAN for example) usually put in protective measures against illegal (or just shady) activitie

      • Also, just because it's illegal here doesn't mean it's not in, let's say Russia
      • by jandersen (462034)

        Sure you can treat that as a contract breach, but it seems more like a criminal matter to me... Why do you even put that in the contract, it's needless to say that criminal conduct will not be tolerated.

        Because, in the criminal court, you are innocent until proven guilty, whereas in the civil court, the standard of proof is much more relaxed. So, in terms of stopping unwanted activity, putting it in the contract like this, is much more efficient.

  • Only took 10 years (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:09PM (#47495007)

    These guys have been slime since they started business. Why did it take so long to shut them done?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:35PM (#47495147)

      You see, even with regulations in place the consumer gets screwed. Now imagine the self-regulatory fantasy some folk have, that would sure be good to society.

      • Not to pull this down to a political argument, but just on a logical reasoning level, this is the WORST argument I've heard regarding regulation.
        Regulation is working badly! Clearly we're better off with regulation than no regulation!

        Anyways, ICANN is not government regulation in the sense of "US Government". Its an organization that has rules, and noone is arguing that "rules" are, as a whole, a dumb idea-- except maybe anarchists, and there are precious few true anarchists out there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because we're splitting hairs between them and domain racketeering sites like godaddy which will put holds on domain names you search for so you can't purchase them elsewhere, then immediately auction them to squatters so is essentially saying, "That's a nice domain name you found there, be terrible if something happened to it. Better buy it before it gets fed to the wolves who will sell it back to you at a higher price because they know you're interested."

      Personally, when it comes to criminality I don't r

      • by Noishe (829350)

        Fuck go daddy for that practice. I lost a good domain name and have been bad mouthing them for over a decade because of it.

  • by slashdice (3722985) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:10PM (#47495015)
    They snail mail "renewal bills" for your domains (registered elsewhere). I hope most of slashdot would recognize it for what it is. But I'm sure a lot of sheeple accidentally transferred.
    • by LordKaT (619540) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:13PM (#47495039) Homepage Journal

      Oh! THOSE guys.

      Yeah, fuck these assholes.

    • by sjwest (948274) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:21PM (#47495085)

      We got one once, the paper envelope was then returned with lots of junk paper [reply paid by droa] and we never got another.

      Wow Icann did something.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        We got them all the time. They got returned with some toilet tissue that had had a teaspoon of instant coffee wetted and then smudged with the back of a spoon. It looks like a crappy skidmark (try it!). I'd love to have seen their faces opening them.

        And yeah - Icann did something!

    • by Sandman1971 (516283) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:46PM (#47495213) Homepage Journal

      The Domain Registry of Canada has been doing this scam for years, sending false renewal bills for my .net and .org domains. I wish ICANN and CIRA would suspend their operations as well.
      http://www.domainpeople.com/al... [domainpeople.com]

      • I believe that's one of many names for the same company.

      • by LostOne (51301)

        CIRA de-certified Brandon Gray years ago, actually.

    • Also, for those that don't know, they've been doing this for ten years and ICANN bothered to do something about it a decade or so after their peak.

      Up to you whether you think this is good governance or not.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        Up to you whether you think this is good governance or not.

        ICANN always argued that regulation / enforcement / policing of the registrars was not their job in response to complaints about many registrar's activities --- such as GoDaddy's onerous "60 day hold/no registrar transfer period" after you renew your domain or change the name of any of your WHOIS contacts.

        • ICANN always argued that regulation / enforcement / policing of the registrars was not their job in response to complaints about many registrar's activities

          Even if the activities are illegal (statute or Common Law)? If not ICANN, than who else? This is one of the problems with giving ICANN a monopoly.

          "60 day hold/no registrar transfer period" after you renew your domain or change the name of any of your WHOIS contacts

          Is that not disclosed in their Terms of Service or is it more like, "big boobs on TV so I

          • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @04:10PM (#47495959)

            Is that not disclosed in their Terms of Service or is it more like, "big boobs on TV so I didn't bother to read the agreement"?

            Hi. Compliance with the accredited registrar policy is not optional; it is part of a signed agreement between the registrar and ICANN. ICANN posted an advisory [icann.org] clearly alerting registrars to their obligations: 1. Registrars are prohibited from denying a domain name transfer request based on non-payment of fees for pending or future registration periods during the Auto-Renew Grace Period; and 2. A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid basis for denying a transfer request.

            GoDaddy adopted practices that were directly contrary to the ICANN policy [zdnet.com].

            It doesn't matter if GoDaddy disclosed it in the terms of service, the ICANN terms have priority: the practice was a violation of policies that accredited registrars have promised to adhere to, before being allowed to be accredited registrars, and before being able to maintain that status and any access to the registry database or the ability to be in the business of transferring or creating domain registrations.

      • by BronsCon (927697)
        It wasn't a violation of ICANN regulations until they were updated late last year. This is the 3rd violation, first suspension, since then.
    • by sjames (1099)

      Probably a lot of people got scammed. In my capacity as 'that guy who does internet stuff' I have explained to quite a few that the letter was a scam.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      Ah. I think I threw away a few of those as well. But there must be more scum playing that game, as I got several of these via email.

  • by Snowhare (263311) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:11PM (#47495021) Homepage

    Domain Registry of America has made a business out of sending deceptive letters to domain owners using other registrars asking them to "renew" their domain registration with DRA. The letters are cleverly written to make it unobvious so that people who think they are just renewing their domain actually have their domain registry transfered from their current registrar to DRA.

  • Ok, but (Score:5, Informative)

    by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:12PM (#47495027)

    ICANN has suspended Domain Registry of America

    "First time accepted submitter EpicMaxGuy" didn't even bother to tell us the reason why it was suspended... So for one

    Brandon Gray’s resellers subjecting Registered Name Holders to false advertising, deceptive practices, or deceptive notices

    and also the article mentions that

    mining your competitors’ data to send unsolicited and misleading marketing messages isn’t allowed

    .

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Also, what connection is there between Brandon Gray’s resellers and Domain Registry of America?

      It requires research to figure out what the summary means. That means it's a bad summary
  • Hijacking (Score:5, Informative)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:20PM (#47495075) Journal

    I get hijack letters from them all the goddamn time. I have about a dozen domains and I constantly get "expiration" notices that are really transfer authorizations in the fine print. It's sleazy and deceitful, and they deserve to be shut down.

    I can't imagine how many suckers fall for it and end up paying $40 or more for domain registration... does DRA even allow outbound transfers?

    • They're 100% scam artists. They just send snail mail "bills" to everyone who registers a domain. They expect people to fall for it and I'm sure many people do which is why they can afford the postage stamps and keep sending them out.
    • They do allow outbound transfers (it's a requirement of being an accredited registrar) but it's a giant pain in the ass. I used to do customer domain management for my company and getting the auth code and domain unlocked from these guys was an exercise in frustration. Took several calls and emails to "authorize". This was several years ago; maybe they have an online portal now.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        They do allow outbound transfers (it's a requirement of being an accredited registrar) but it's a giant pain in the ass. I used to do customer domain management for my company and getting the auth code and domain unlocked from these guys was an exercise in frustration.

        Considering their "piece of paper" form that they send out is enough to get a transfer to other registrars: I do believe they must honor the same process. If a written form is presented to them, they must take it as authorization for the

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      I registered my domains at an address that's no longer valid (I moved, and it was "safer" to not give a proper forwarding address, and let some things lapse). I've never gotten any of the letters, but then, my official address is a place I haven't lived in years.
      • I like my system of avoiding this kind of scam better: my (vanity) domain is registered using my correct snail address, but I've told the registrar that I only want email from them, no paper. That means that if and when I get something in my mailbox claiming to be a bill for registration, I just throw it away unopened because I know it's not legit.
  • Good! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flightmaker (1844046) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:22PM (#47495095)

    It's always nice to get at least one item of good news in a day. I guess this is it.

    I've also had the snail mailed fake invoices from them, which I can only suppose is an illegal use of the whois database. I guess their strategy is to land these on the desks of overworked administrators who are more likely than me to rubber stamp them and pass them along for payment. Me? I always put them in the shredder.

    Why did it take so long? I really don't know. Why is it not a permanent shut down? Don't know that either, but at least they're shut down for now.

    • What, you put your actual address in there? Why? No one I care about would use the Whois to contact me by snail mail. And if actual authorities need to find me, then they can subpoena my billing address (or maybe, y'know, just email me and set up an appointment?)
      I think mine is currently set to some hotel in Uzbeckistan. Next renewal I think I'll set it to a Yurt in Mongolia.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What, you put your actual address in there? Why?

        Depending on the interpretation of certain ICANN rules, not having legitimate contact information available to the registrar can be cause for termination of the domain registration. Note that some registrars allow you to "hide" your actual contact information (WhoisGuard/Domains_by_proxy are a couple of examples), but the real information is available to the registrar of record. As required.

        • by Geeky (90998)

          In the UK you can request your details are hidden from whois for any .co.uk domain if you're a personal user rather than a business. It shows up as follows:

          Registrant's address: The registrant is a non-trading individual who has opted to have their address omitted from the WHOIS service.

          This is to comply with UK data protection laws. I don't think it applies to international domains registered within the UK though. Obviously your registrar still has the details on record.

    • I've also had the snail mailed fake invoices from them, which I can only suppose is an illegal use of the whois database.

      It's also Mail Fraud, [wikipedia.org] and the owners should already be in prison for what they've been doing. Let's hope that the Feds get off their asses and earn their salaries.
    • "I've also had the snail mailed fake invoices from them, which I can only suppose is an illegal use of the whois database. I guess their strategy is to land these on the desks of overworked administrators who are more likely than me to rubber stamp them and pass them along for payment. Me? I always put them in the shredder."

      You are too kind.

      At the very least you should return to sender.

      But much better! Take it to your local postmaster general. Report it as mail fraud.
  • Not sure if they are connected but they used to send real mail to try and trap people into renewing/transferring with them. So it only takes 14+ years for ICANN to do something?

    • by exploder (196936)

      Not sure if they are connected but they used to send real mail to try and trap people into renewing/transferring with them. So it only takes 14+ years for ICANN to do something?

      I know, motherfuckers act like they forgot about DRA.

    • by whoever57 (658626)

      So it only takes 14+ years for ICANN to do something?

      Perhaps DRA sent a letter to ICANN concerining renewal of icann.org?

      • by nwf (25607)

        So it only takes 14+ years for ICANN to do something?

        Perhaps DRA sent a letter to ICANN concerining renewal of icann.org?

        My guess is ICANN would pay it, too.

  • Now if only they'd suspend HugeDomains as well, I'd be happy. They snatch up domains as soon as they expire, as well as alternate TLDs of a domain you just bought, and then they email you. They cybersquat and charge ridiculous prices for the domains they've acquired.
  • It's about damn time! That asshole sends out fake domain registration renewal notices via mail and fax. So many businesses fall for it and at the same time basically put this company in charge of their domain. They should have arrested this asshole years ago! In fact, it sounds like he's not arrested, he's just banned from registrations.

    So there goes any hope that Perion Network will be shut down. They're responsible for the vast majority of advertising malware infections and they're in a lovely look
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 20, 2014 @01:37PM (#47495159)

    A couple of years ago I wanted to register my family name as a domain.
    I had no immediate plans for it, just wanted to claim it for possible future use.

    Before registering my domain I checked whois to see if it was free. It was.

    Phone goes, lengthy call, I get back to the computer 30 minutes later.
    I try to register the domain and I see that the .com, .co.uk and .nl versions are all taken by RNA.
    Eventually I registered the .info version, just to make sure they couldn't grab that too.

    2 days later I start getting emails to the registration-address for the .info domain offering the .com, .co.uk and .nl names for sale.
    At $10.000 a piece. I didn't bother replying.
    After a week the emails went into "your last chance" mode and the price dropped to $5.000.
    Another week later price went to $1.000 and after a month they started to offer the set of 3 domains for $1.000.
    I still get a reminder every 3 months or so. Price was down to $ 500 the last time I bothered reading one of those emails.

    It is about time ICANN does something about these jerks.
    They have been running various scams since at least 2005.

    • by bswarm (2540294)
      I use regtek http://www.registrationtek.com... [registrationtek.com] They offer "private registration" service. For about 8 years I've never been spammed or snail-spammed by them.
    • by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Sunday July 20, 2014 @03:36PM (#47495793)

      Avoid using whois on registrar sites to check availability. It's trivial for them to hijack that info and then allow someone else to see what domains people have been checking, so they can pre-emptively register them.

      The best way is to check the TLD server directly, using "dig"

      Failing that, use a real whois client (NOT anything web-based)

      $ dig thisdomaindoesnotexist.com ns


      ; <<>> DiG 9.8.4-rpz2+rl005.12-P1 <<>> thisdomaindoesnotexist.com ns
      ;; global options: +cmd
      ;; Got answer:
      ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 39567
      ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0

      ;; QUESTION SECTION:
      ;thisdomaindoesnotexist.com. IN NS

      ;; AUTHORITY SECTION:

      com. 899 IN SOA a.gtld-servers.net. nstld.verisign-grs.com. 1405884613 1800 900 604800 86400

      ;; Query time: 178 msec
      ;; SERVER: 192.168.1.1#53(192.168.1.1)
      ;; WHEN: Sun Jul 20 15:31:01 2014
      ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 117


      $ whois thisdomaindoesnotexist.com

      Whois Server Version 2.0

      Domain names in the .com and .net domains can now be registered
      with many different competing registrars. Go to http://www.internic.net/ [internic.net]
      for detailed information.

      No match for "THISDOMAINDOESNOTEXIST.COM".
      >>> Last update of whois database: Sun, 20 Jul 2014 19:30:55 UTC <<<

      • by Motard (1553251)

        Avoid using whois on registrar sites to check availability. It's trivial for them to hijack that info and then allow someone else to see what domains people have been checking, so they can pre-emptively register them.

        Seems like a pretty good argument to do *a lot* of bogus inquiries. Let them pre-emptively register to their heart's content.

  • by Anonymous Coward
  • It makes me so happy that these guys got shut down. I really hope they could be shut down indefinitely. Working in tech support, I see these guys trying their deceptive practices and confusing so many people all the time.
  • ICANN actually did something for once.

    *happy dance*

    Fry in hell, "Domain Registry of Canada". I hope ICANN goes further and requires you to transfer the domains belonging all the people you've scammed to a legitimate registrar.
  • This bunch of assholes has been sending fake renew notices to my company and to my clients for years. I've of course caught them and prevented people I work for from falling for it.

    They never should have been allowed to act as a registrar, and it shows the corruption of ICANN that they weren't kicked in the balls years ago.

  • Like others, I've had to deal with these guys for ages. It was because of them that I put MY address on WHOIS records of domains I host for un-clued people (back when I was in hosting) - otherwise the domains would have gone their way.

  • This is one of those companies that still sends misleading renewal notices even after all this time. At first they were told to make them not look like "renewal" notices from your current domain registrar. They were reworded and redesigned but still strongly imply that you need to "renew."

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