Report Invalid Whois Contact Information to ICANN
101 Domain

Report Invalid Email Addresses to ICANN?

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In my update post yesterday, I mentioned how I find it to be a good sign when a Whois email address contact doesn’t work. I look at it as a challenge to find the owner to try and buy the domain name. Abdu Tarabichi of Domainsville replied to my comment suggesting that the domain name can be reported to ICANN, and if they can’t get in touch with the owner, it might be deleted and he could possibly catch the drop.

As he pointed out in his comment, ICANN does have a form to report a domain name that has invalid Whois information. The form is called the “Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form,” and you can file a complaint by visiting the ICANN website.

According to the website, “this form allows Internet users to submit a complaint to ICANN regarding incomplete or incorrect Whois data, including privacy or proxy contact information. The complaint is then forwarded to the sponsoring registrar, who must take reasonable steps to investigate and correct inaccurate data.

In response to Abdu’s suggestion, someone commented that it was a “slimy tactic” to use this means to buy a domain name, and I have mixed feelings on that.

People are required to keep Whois information updated, but I would be dismayed (and angry) if I lost a domain name that I had been paying for because an old email address was invalid. I would be especially irked if I paid for a ten year registration and they took the name away when it was all paid up.

If I was asked about whether or not I would fill out the form, my first inclination is to say that I wouldn’t fill it out because I feel that I’d rather try and find the owner using other means, since others probably didn’t have luck contacting the person either. Additionally, the price could go sky high if it goes to auction, and I doubt I’d have luck catching it without an auction. I have not reported a domain name for having inaccurate Whois information, and I can’t imagine that I ever would.

Have you ever reported a domain name for having invalid contact information? What was your experience like with that? Has someone else reported an invalid Whois contact for one of your names? What was the result?


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (30)

    DNM

    These type of buyers are unethical losers. Because they want a domain, they go out of their way to report the owner get the domain deleted and/or suspended. What goes around comes around.

    The original poster who mentioned this buying tactic is making it known he believes in this process. Buyers shouldn’t do business with those domain investors. Their domain websites basically reflect their views on this topic.

    May 27th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Abdu

    @DNM

    Perhaps you can email ICANN and ask them to take the form down, or maybe change the way they police domain names.

    The form was not meant to make others domains delete, but instead to inform the registrant that they need to fix a WHOIS inaccuracy. When you submit a claim and the registrant take action, you then get the updated information that you can use to contact the owner for a possible buy out. Another way to look at it is that you just helped the owner receive renewal notices shall the registrar. Tens of thousands of domains drop because the registrant didn’t receive renewal notices due to invalid email under WHOIS.

    May 27th, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      DNM

      Perhaps you should separate your personal views from that of your domain website. You complain as to why people act a certain way – to harm another. (i.e. your Domainsville website).

      Interesting post because your buying strategy to report domain owners with invalid information to ICANN. This type of behavior harms the domain owner. Do you think it’s fair to get a valuable domain name deleted because you feel compelled to do so? Because you want a domain name?

      Your entire December 27, 2011 post contradicts your complaint where you question why people harm individuals who try to help others. Domain owners deserve to own their domain name. They paid the price to retain their domain names.

      The road goes both ways. You are taking advantage of the system to get immediate results. Read your 12/27/2011 post and compare it to the comment you left on this blog.

      May 29th, 2013 at 1:30 am

      DNM

      Meant: Interesting post because your buying strategy to report domain owners with invalid information to ICANN is the type of behavior that harms a domain owner.

      May 29th, 2013 at 1:39 am

    Abdu

    I have also used the ICANN form when a domain buyer doesn’t change the information under WHOIS after I’ve transfered the domain over to him/her despite several email reminders to do so. You don’t want your name on something that doesn’t belong to you anymore, and there is no other way than to use the form for that.

    May 27th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      DNM

      If you can sell a domain name to another individual, there is no reason why you can’t square away the WHOIS information before, during and/or after the domain deal. It doesn’t take much effort to do this.

      Of course, most people wouldn’t want their name on an item not belonging to them. If this domain name is not creating conflict for you, then show some respect to prevent this domain owner from losing their domain.

      Simple process. GoDaddy automatically updates the whois. You can change the Whois to the buyer on Network Solutions. The same can be done on Registrar and 1And1. Any former owner reporting the new owner of a domain for not changing information is trying to create unnecessary conflict.

      May 29th, 2013 at 1:49 am

      ryan underdown

      some buyers like to slow roll the registrant details changeover to avoid getting reset by Google.

      July 26th, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      boo doo

      This is incorrect in every way. If you update the contact information on your domain, it will be transfer locked for another 60 days. The best strategy would be to sanitize domain information far in advance of looking to sell it, within the requirements for actual info on the domain.

      In reply to DNM | August 26th, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Randall

    Elliot you write some interesting post. But I for one would not use this tactic to get a domain name just to sell it but if you have a legit reason you want the domain then maybe. They could have an invalid email due to domainers emailing them. If both email and phone number are invalid then start doing more and seeing if you can not contact them another way like facebook or twitter.

    May 27th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    BullS

    If you are not smart enough to figure out who and how to make contact with the owner of the domain, then you are not smart and creative enough to be in this business!!

    May 27th, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    JP

    Here’s a good one and maybe he’s reading this and will fix his whois.

    We have been debating reporting Furs.com for invalid whois. Emails to the addresses on whois bounce and the guy just can’t be found anywhere else online. We even broadcast this on our newsletter. The sad thing is we have a good buyer for it.

    I checked with GoDaddy where the name is registered and they tried and couldn’t find him either.

    I didn’t feel good about reporting the whois. But don’t see another way so there is a chance we might all see the great domaim Furs.com in the drops soon.

    May 27th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Konstantinos Zournas

      Report what?
      The email doesn’t work because it uses the cashparking nameservers.
      The owner just changed the nameservers from secure.net to cashparking.com 10 days ago. The owner doesn’t want to be contacted. Move on.

      May 27th, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      todd

      Only took about 30 seconds to find this guys info. You are obviously not looking hard enough. Type into Google: his name attorney new york. address, phone number, website, linked in etc….all there on the first listing

      May 28th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      todd

      His Name @ Hotmail, this email seems to be valid for him

      May 28th, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      jp

      Been there done that. Those emails bounced too. Called every phone number we could find. Some had been disconnected. Etc… To be honest though this was an issue a month+ ago. Let it sit figuring we would get back to it later, buyer bought a bunch of other names with us instead. Thought of it again because of Elliot’s post and thought it was worth mentioning here.

      May 28th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    JP

    Just as a follow up, no I have not reported it yet. Still thinking about it.

    May 27th, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Abdu

    @JP

    That same registrant has listed Piel.com for $150,000 and is the owner of DirectFurs.com.

    May 27th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    JP

    I knew about DirectFurs.com. In fact the same guy has ons of great fur domains. From research it appears he used to run an online store on Furs.com. Also he is an Attorney in New York, though it appears ge has left town or worse.

    Had no idea about Piel.com.

    Snap and NameJet could report all this guy’s domains and make a nice commission. I believe GoDaddy won’t auction them as prerelease if deleting as a result of being reported.

    May 27th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Ron

    Not every damn domain will always be relevant, just like every piece of data in the world, or every phone number etc… let’s face it, to some people there are bigger things in life than domains, sh*t happens, you focus on that, you forget your domains, you move on… . Abdu Tarabichi is acting like a lil bitch, and going around blowing the whistle thinking icann is going to hand the domains over to him, give people a break, not everyone is how you think.

    May 27th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      BullS

      Ron

      BullS salutes you

      “there are bigger things in life than domains, sh*t”

      May 27th, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Randall

    @Jp that’s when you go to the phone book online and start calling everyone that has that name. Whitepages would do.

    May 27th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Konstantinos Zournas

    People move, phone numbers change, hosting is not paid etc.
    Unless the registrant info says Donald Duck, Gotham City, 66666, Black Earth, mind your own business…

    May 27th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Elliot Silver

    At Abdu’s suggestion, I posted a poll to see what people think anonymously:

    http://www.domaininvesting.com/poll-would-you-report-invalid-contact-information-to-icann-8364

    May 27th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    David Z

    It’s been years since my past registrar-call center work. I’ll just give maybe general details how this one goes.

    When we receive an inaccurate WHOIS report, we notify the registrant and contacts based on the information on file. Mostly we just email, sometimes we call their phone numbers.

    We give them (I think) two weeks to respond. If no response within that period, we suspend the domain name to (hopefully) get the person’s attention.

    And of course, we have a process for handling that issue (especially when the person calls in angry, which is understandable and expected). The WHOIS accuracy issue is mostly resolved, though, when people update their records or respond to our notifications.

    It’s up to the registrar what to do if the domain name’s contact/s don’t respond to the WHOIS accuracy report after some time. Some will suspend, others like Go Daddy charge a $9.99 fine (last I checked), and it’s rare that a domain name gets deleted due to that. (unless a registrar comes forward with some verifiable numbers, maybe…)

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Jp

    @Randall, Already did that. Found another Scott Rubman in New Jersey. Had a nice conversation with him, in fact he is selling an online business himself regarding online courses (if you are looking for something like that). In fact I connected him with someone he may be able to do some business with.

    @Komstantinos, this is what privacy is for or people could just put the name “leave me alone”. But the email address should not bounce. Not only will this guy miss important notices but I spoke with GoDaddy and they have no way of contacting him. Honestly the domain will probably expire on it’s own. Also note as a domain owner it is your responsibility to have valid whois. If you don’t like that then you know the potential consequences.

    Regarding reporting and invalid whois. I don’t like the idea but the mechanishm is there for a reason. To keep our industry looking just slightly less sleazy than it already looks for the uninformed. Accountability is a good thing, so there is a time and a place for an invalid whois report. In this case I just am not sure I have hit that time and place yet. I’ll probably just let the domain expire on it’s own. Only 5 more monthsish till pending delete.

    May 28th, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Konstantinos Zournas

    The email doesn’t work because it uses the cashparking nameservers. They used to have an active website with a corresponding email address. Now they stopped and forgot to change the email. There is also a working admin email. Why don’t you try that?

    Did you miss the part where “The owner just changed the nameservers from secure.net to cashparking.com 10 days ago.”? The domain will not expire.

    And what is this about Go Daddy having no way to contact him? Have they tried the 2 email addresses? Have they called the 2 phone numbers? Have they send letters? Have they tried the 2 fax numbers?

    And by speaking to Go Daddy you probably made the owner pay a stupid go daddy fine.

    May 28th, 2013 at 5:54 am

      Ron

      Why would godaddy comment on a domain owned by another party, this guy could be looking to hack this parties account for all the know, tighten internal controls.

      Does this douche bag think he has a chance of acquiring it for $50, by contacting the owner, in order to own, and hold onto a name like that for almost 20 years, you have to have deep pockets, and thick skin to say no to big offers.

      Get a life, and move on people, you are no better than grave robbers.

      May 28th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      jp

      “And by speaking to Go Daddy you probably made the owner pay a stupid go daddy fine.”

      I hope not, but again not my fault if they guy puts up bad whois info. We all click “I agree” to that, and they send you annoying reminder emails about it (although doubtful he got those reminder emails).

      Like I just said in a comment above, I haven’t touched on this issue in a month+, moved on and sold the buyer a bunch of other names, buyer got tired of waiting for this guy to surface. Figured I’d get back to it later and saw this post from Elliot and thought it was worth mentioning here. Glad he switched to cash parking now, that means he probably specified a way for GoDaddy to pay him for his parking earnings, so now maybe GoDaddy will be able to find him and get us in touch.

      May 28th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Dietmar Stefitz

    I am sure that the registrar knows the contact details of his client. He can always Post a Message on his admin page.

    Data has to be correct! I find it is a good ICANN solution to have this form.

    May 28th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    bob

    One of the more idiotic posts Ive ever read. Personally, I think whois should be deprecated. There is not reason that owning a domain should require an admin contact or any contact information whatsoever.

    Remember this BS system of domain registration was invented before people realized the many ways in which data could be and would be abused.

    Always use a proxy registration and never expose real data in a whois listing.

    As for reporting inaccurrate whois info, I hope you have alot of time on your hands, and if you actually waste your time doing that you are a super f-ing loser of the nth degree.

    July 26th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

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