Registrars Fight Spammers as Whois Data Disappears – Domain Name Wire
Spammers and scammers need to be creative in contacting domain name owners.
This month, a GoDaddy customer received an email shortly after registering a domain name. We’ll call the domain example.com for this story.
Subject: example.com is not yet registered
The post suggested it was somehow from GoDaddy. Which it was, because it was sent via a Domains By Proxy email address.
Here is the rest of the message:
Hello, my name is Matthew from Domain Management.
A quick note to let you know that as of this morning, example.com has been claimed and is in your GoDaddy.com, LLC account.
The next important step is to register the domain name to be visible on search engines like Google, Bing, Yelp, MSN, Yahoo and more.
Without this record, your domain won’t be indexed by its crawling algorithm that searches the web – and you don’t want someone else claiming example.com as their own domain before you do.
Click here to register your domain to be visible in search engines now. [Link removed, but it went to domainsupportus/.com]
This allows potential customers and visitors to see your website and click on it from Google when they search.
This is an important step for any new domain owner.
Click here to register your domain now and become visible in search.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask!
Internet Domain Registration Authority
About the Internet Domain Registration Authority (IDRA).
We manage the registry that develops policies to support the global Internet community.
You are receiving this email because you recently took action on a domain name and it is the email address listed in our database as the domain name holder. It is important that you are notified of changes/updates to your domain names so that you cannot stop receiving these important transaction notifications.
Below the main post was a white space that actually had a lot of white-on-white text about sloths. The text was presumably there to fool spam filters. This may include the Domains By Proxy filter.
Since most domain registrars remove email and phone contacts from Whois, scammers and spammers have had a harder time finding victims. They must rely on contact forms and Whois privacy forwarding addresses. But not being blocked by these services is a challenge.
In response to a query regarding the above spam, a GoDaddy spokesperson told Domain Name Wire:
We have reviewed the email and are constantly strengthening our filtering to prevent unwanted emails. Spam blocking is an ever-evolving challenge and we will continue to look for ways to protect our customers.
In addition to Domains By Proxy transfer, people also try to contact domain owners through the “Contact Domain Owner” link on GoDaddy Whois records. (Registrars are required to provide users with a means of contacting domain owners.)
I received several emails via these contact forms this month. In all cases, users had Gmail addresses containing multiple dots. Gmail ignores dots in emails, so firstname.lastname@example.org is the same as email@example.com. I suspect spammers add dots to make one email address look like many and evade GoDaddy’s spam filters. I also suspect senders are trying to harvest registrant email addresses to sell to marketers.
GoDaddy isn’t the only company battling spammers with its forms and proxy email address.
I built a test site on Wix that contains a contact form. Contact forms send me emails from a @crm.wix.com email address. I received this message earlier this week:
My name is Oliver and I represent a company that employs 48 experts in website design and optimization for Wix.
There are several errors in your site’s source code that cause most of the content on the website not even to be indexed by Google, resulting in low traffic.
Your site was created in the Wix editor, so it’s easy to fix any errors.
If you would like to know which parts of your website need to be changed to achieve a much higher position in Google, please fill out the form below: [Link to webhelper/.us removed]
The spammer uses the Wix name and sends it through Wix contact forms, but Wix’s filter doesn’t catch it.
As a domain owner, I generally want people to be able to contact me. I certainly don’t want my registrar or web host filtering an email from someone who wants to buy my domain, for example.
But these companies must also protect their customers, especially the less sophisticated. It will be a continuous game of cat and mouse.
I advise you to carefully review an email you receive via a proxy forwarding, site contact form, or Whois contact form. Be very careful before responding to a Whois contact email and ignore those with multiple dots in a Gmail address.