View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
March 31, 2004

Spam responsible for most Whois complaints

Spammers trying to hide their identities are believed to be the main cause of people complaining about inaccurate Whois data, according to a report published yesterday by the Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers.

By CBR Staff Writer

Whois databases store the names, phone numbers and email and physical addresses of people who register domain names. Registrars are obliged by ICANN to keep accurate records, and they in turn oblige their customers to keep their data clean.

But Whois works largely on the honor system. Registrars generally do not check at the time of registration. As a result, many people prefer to give inaccurate data, either for legitimate privacy reasons or to cover up illicit activity.

ICANN said yesterday that over 20% of the approximately 24,000 confirmed complaints about inaccurate records that were received between September 2002 and February 2004 mentioned spam in the text of the complaint.

Complaints from intellectual property owners were also believed to be behind a portion of the reports, but it was not possible to extract the exact percentage from the data provided, according to an ICANN spokesperson.

The report also notes that just 20 people were responsible for more than 40% of all complaints received, almost 10,000 complaints between them over the 18 month period (on average, almost one complaint per day for each of the 20).

Complaints about spam were also responsible for some of the inaccuracy reports that were filed inappropriately, ICANN’s report indicated. At least 8%, likely more, of the reports were complaining about something unrelated to Whois accuracy.

In some instances, reports complained about the spam itself, even though the Whois contact information was accurate. In one case, a registrar found itself dealing with someone who habitually reported spam to the registrar.

Content from our partners
Rethinking cloud: challenging assumptions, learning lessons
DTX Manchester welcomes leading tech talent from across the region and beyond
The hidden complexities of deploying AI in your business

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some registrars are more prone to having spamming customers that others, but ICANN’s report said that complaints about inaccuracies are roughly proportional to the market share of the registrar.

Unsurprisingly, .com addresses accounted for the largest share of complaints, at 82%. The .net and .org domains came in second and third with 13% and 5% respectively. New domains including .info and .biz will be included in future ICANN reports.

ICANN published the report to fulfill one of its commitments under its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the US Department of Commerce, from which it derives most of its powers over the internet’s addressing systems.

This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.