Whois Privacy brings a lawsuit down on Registrar

Following on our explanation of why we do not offer whois masking here at easyDNS, we note tonight that Registrar Namecheap has been sued “over cybersquatting claims for a domain name registered under the NameCheap whois privacy services”.

As we outlined in our original article: Whoever is listed as the Registrant in the domain’s whois record, effectively owns the domain. If you own the domain, you get all the responsibilities for it. That’s why most Registrars simply drop the whois mask at the slightest legal speedbump. Namecheap didn’t, and so now it cuts the other way they get the sharp end of the legal stick being poked at the domain.

Technology lawyer Eric Goldman in his analysis of the matter under the subheading Why This is a Troubling Ruling noted:

Read literally, every proxy service is exposed to potential contributory ACPA liability for every domain name it services. I can’t imagine proxy service providers will be excited about that liability exposure, and some may choose to exit the business.

Some certainly should. Any of the proxy providers who basically viewed whois masking as an easy business which basically pulls in money for doing nothing (which is more or less how I view it, I’m sorry, but that’s only my opinion) – should take this as their signal that the party’s over and exit the business.

As I’ve noted before, in it’s current implmentation: whois privacy doesn’t actually protect the underlying registrant’s privacy (because most proxy providers will drop the mask at the first sign of trouble) and if they don’t, the proxy providers are exposing themselves to inordinate risk. Coupled with the fact that the whois mask puts the underlying registrant’s rights to the name in question and the whole thing is just one big mess waiting to blow up.

Comcast blocking catch-all wildcard e-mail addresses, and some advice..

Update: Catch-alls originating from EasyDNS to Comcast are now once-again unblocked. That being said, please minimize your usage of catch-all wildcard e-mail addresses where you can. It’s good practice!

Original Post:

Greetings,

Comcast is currently blocking “catch-all” wildcard e-mail addresses originating from EasyDNS. If you have a wildcard e-mail address set up at EasyDNS, and that wildcard e-mail address points to a Comcast destination address, it will likely end up blocked, by comcast.

Important note: This block DOES NOT impact regular mail forwarding for target-specific e-mail address mailmaps.

The best solutions are to a) use a different destination service provider to funnel wildcard e-mail address at, or b) create specific mail-maps for those important addresses. The immediate fix to get your catch-all e-mail working again is to log in to your EasyDNS account, and edit the e-mail address your catch-all points to, to point at a provider other than Comcast.

We are working diligently with Comcast to get our catch-all processing system unblocked, but in the mean time, they are still blocking us.

Now, with all that being said…

A lot of people use wildcard e-mail addresses to “combat” spam, by creating unique e-mail addresses for every sign-up form. While that does have a limited positive impact for personal filtering, it just leaves you open to dictionary attacks and other uglies, like e-mail backscatter.

Catch-all wildcard e-mail addresses are generally a bad idea, because what they really do is increase your volume of spam exponentially. When you have a wildcard e-mail address implemented, spammers can send to any username at your domain, and our mail servers will accept it, and forward it on. So they don’t even have to guess right!

My advice? Don’t use part of your domain as a spam shield. You pay good money to own that property. It’s impossible these days to keep your mail pristine, but using throwaway addresses in your own domain-space just opens you up to even more spam in places you don’t want it to be.

– Do have a throwaway address.
– Don’t host it in your domain-space.

If you need a semi-disposable address, GMail provides an excellent service. I wouldn’t otherwise suggest you “point your spam at host X” but Google seems to eat it up.