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Thursday, 7 July 2005

Warning about eNom

In the MeFi and Daily Kos threads linked in the post about Go Daddy, I noticed many recommendations for the domain registrar eNom.com or Namecheap.com (a reseller of eNom).

Last year, eNom started a questionable business practice: the company took clients’ personal information (name, phone, address, e-mail address, etc.) listed in the WHOIS database and, without permission, used this information to register .info domain names that matched their clients’ existing .com domains. For example, if you had registered [domain].com and [domain2].com with eNom, the company used your WHOIS info for those domains to register [domain].info and [domain2].info…without your permission. So, those .info domains showed up registered in the WHOIS database with your name, e-mail, etc. Then, eNom offered a "courtesy" service so that if you wanted to use those .info domains, you could then agree and pay a fee (in some cases — in other cases, the domains were free).

Some more details are in an article from the Netcraft news archive and in a thread from the WebHostingTalk forum.

A few opinions expressed in the WebHostingTalk thread are positive. They’re basically in the vein of, "So, what? The registrar did it as a service, for our own convenience. If we don’t want it, no prob" or "Why complain? We got free domains!" However, I’m with the customers who aren’t so thrilled. If you actually (and knowingly) register for a .info domain, there are different terms of service you must accept (separate from eNom’s TOS), because .info domains are operated by Afilias (afilias.info). Also, you have to agree to let the registrar release your personal info to Afilias. So, if eNom registered .info domains without your permission, it means that eNom agreed to Afilias’ terms of service for you, and also gave your personal information to Afilias without your permission.

Apparently, eNom’s method of .info promotion is still going on.

Namecheap.com is a popular reseller of eNom. I’ve seen the president’s responses to problems in the WebHostingTalk forums. The word is that Namecheap will become its own accredited registar soon, but until that happens and the company operates independently from eNom, I’m wary. (I’d also avoid other eNom resellers.)

Posted at 2:15 am | Filed under Tech/geek

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