ICANN - a toothless bulldog or what?
Date: Saturday January 27 2007, @08:28AM
Topic: Registrars

Nobsany writes "ICANN IMHO is either a toothless bulldog or a group of individuals who carry out their own interests, indulging in favoritism. Below is a full text of a mail I sent to the Chief Registrar Liaison and others at the ICANN office. None of them even cared to acknowledge the receipt of my mail nor comment on it. I do want to think that ICANN makes rules they cannot enforce, rather I feel their action involves more than condonement but collusion. How else can you explain that?

Read on:

ICANN
ATTN: Tim Cole, Chief Registrar Liaison
4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Dear Mr. Cole:

Abuse of Domain Hosting and Registry process by 1&1 Internet Ltd and SCHLUND+PARTNER AG

I appreciate your effort to make the internet community safe and reliable. I know it’s a difficult task to rid the web of “wolves in sheep clothing”, but I believe that a continuous effort to track down certain nefarious activities especially with regard to accredited companies who hide under the umbrella of the good intentions of ICANN to rip-off unsuspecting clients is necessary to restore the confidence of the internet community on ICANN.

1&1 Internet Ltd and SCHLUND+PARTNER AG, in my opinion, have violated the ICANN Accreditation Agreement in several areas. But I have decided to bring to your attention their most notorious conduct, especially because it is being propagated using the ICANN proposal on domain name redemption period as a cover-up.

Section 3.7.5 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement requires registrars to cancel the registration of any domain name for which the registrant fails to pay a renewal fee at the conclusion of a fixed registration period. As you are well aware of at ICANN at it's meetings in Accra, Ghana, 10-14 March 2002 came up with what was thought to promote reliability and confidence in the domain-name-registration system, the “redemption period”. The redemption period is a domain registry period of up to 30 days that occurs when a domain name is deleted after having expired unrenewed. Domain names reach “redemption period” status if they have been EXPIRED and were NOT RENEWED by the registrant. Registrars then initiate the deletion of the domain names. Basically, the redemption period affords domain name owners a grace period to pay and retrieve these names and avoid undesired loss. In other words, domain names reach “redemption period” status if they have been EXPIRED and were NOT RENEWED by the registrant.

1and1 has turned this into a farce by misinterpretation or abuse of its purpose. When a domain registrant cancels a hosting account with 1and1 hosting company, they immediately place the unexpired domain name in redemption period. It does not matter if the domain name is registered for two years and still has one to go. It does not matter if the owner paid for the registration and merely transferred to 1and1 for hosting purpose. It also does not matter to them that you only cancelled your host account but did not delete your domain name. In the words of one of their Technical Support Staff, Fe Angelique Obenza, “when you cancelled the account it also cancelled the domain name under it”. The effect of this is that domain names may be freely transferred to 1and1 but they will experience a dead end once a host package is cancelled. One way out is a payment to regain your undeleted and unexpired domain even when no money is owed the company.

Suffice this to say that if a customer cancels a hosting account with 1and 1, the domain name status is immediately changed by SCHLUND+PARTNER AG to “redemption period” thereby preventing a transfer to another host. Their web page says, “We can get a domain out of redemption for you within these 30 days by paying a fee of $40. Once the 30 days are up the domain will be irrevocably deleted and will be available to everyone again.” This is applies to domain names not close to expiration in the Whois Registry. Ironically, 1and1 also rightly described the redemption period in one of their pages as follows: “As a safety measure to stop people from losing their domains to domain grabbers, there is a 30-day redemption period which will start as soon as the domain name reaches its expiration date.”

This interpretation of the redemption period by 1and1 raises some issues. First, who in this case is the domain grabber here? Worse still, even prior to expiration of a domain name? Secondly, can 1and1 and SCHLUND+PARTNER AG delete a legitimately registered domain name before the expiration date? If not, what happens to the unexpired domain names held in a state of redemption period by SCHLUND+PARTNER AG? Little wonder why so many domain names are listed under 1and1. To corroborate this, the "Domain Transfer" link on SCHLUND+PARTNER AG web page is not a link to anywhere but just an underlined html text.

If ICANN intended that any cancellation of hosting contract will result in the domain name being held back by the registrar, then businesses will be frustrated as they will be shut down for a minimum of 30 day without any hopes of coming back again or be blackmailed for unjustified amount by hosting companies. But 1and 1 has been hijacking customers domain. Recently one of my domain names, xxxx.com became one of the victims. Though unexpired and will expire March 25, 2007, it is currently placed in redemption period because I cancelled 1and1 domain hosting package, making any transfer impossible. This is the situation even though I requested during the cancellation process that the name not be cancelled.

It is not my intention to delve into other blows being deal to registrants of domain names or the Internet community. For instance, many registrant who have had dealings with 1and1 know that 1and1 hosting makes cancellation of their account very complicated, a little short of a nightmare; these include faxing confirmation after cancellation online and visiting different web pages to confirm and reconfirm cancellation. More so, the earliest date a canceling client can opt for on their cancellation page is “as soon as possible” living it at the discretion of the company and resulting in customers being billed even when they no longer host with 1and 1. In some cases domain names have been prohibited from transfer. I am particularly concerned about the “redemption period” because it was intended as a good cause for the internet community. A search of the internet will reveal how increasingly, people are becoming victims and crying out without knowing how to direct their pleas.

I crave the indulgence of your office to help put a stop this “domain hugging” process, among other abuses which a search of the internet and several complains to the Better Business Bureau will review. In my humble opinion to help curb this, you should reconsider having the same root company as a provider of domain name sales, registration services and web hosting services. In the interim, I plan on seeking redress on my particular case.

Thanks."

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hmmm...
by davezan on Monday January 29 2007, @10:37PM (#16913)
User #4054 Info | http://www.davezan.com/
...sorry to read what happened to you. But I must wonder: did you read the fine print prior to signing up with 1&1?

I seriously doubt ICANN will do anything about this if they don't see how 1&1/Schlund possibly violated their agreements.

Dave Zan www.DaveZan.com
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This article comes from ICANNWatch
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The URL for this story is:
http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/27/1729222