Domain Name Wire

Domain Name Wire

  • JotForm.com domain suspended, leaving 500k users in lurch

    1. BY - Feb 16, 2012
    2. Policy & Law
    3. 7 Comments

    Online web form creator’s main domain name is suspended.

    JotForm, a WYSIWYG web form creator with 500,000 registered users, had its main domain name JotForm.com suspended by GoDaddy today.

    In a blog post, the company says:

    As a part of an ongoing investigation about a content posted in our site, a US government agency has temporarily suspended our jotform.com domain. We are fully cooperating with them, but it is not possible to say when the domain would be unblocked.

    The company later clarified that GoDaddy suspended the domain.

    The nameserver record for JotForm.com has been changed to:

    NS1.SUSPENDED-FOR.SPAM-AND-ABUSE.COM

    The company suggests switching URLs from JotForm.com to JotForm.net. An email sent to JotForm customers moments ago suggests changing to JotForm.us.

    The company’s explanation has confused and concerned users, judging by the comments to the blog post. Here’s one:

    You provide a form service. Your customers do not upload content to your servers and we don’t download content from your servers. So what content could a federal investigative body be looking into? What could be of such import that it would cause them to suspend the domain? Information that was submitted in a form? I don’t think so…

    I agree- it makes me really uncomfortable given that the primary data collected by jotform is personal information from our clients… Was jotform being used for data mining?…

    Given that JotForm hosts the forms created by users, it’s easy to see how the company could be caught up in an abuse issue. Web forms are often used for phishing, for example.

    I have reached out to GoDaddy for comment and will update this story when I hear back.

    Here is a comment from Ben Butler, Director of Network Abuse atGoDaddy:

    In an effort to make the Internet a better and safer place, Go Daddy has a long history of following established policies designed to address a variety of issues. One of those policies is to readily comply with orders from courts, as well as confirmed official requests from law enforcement agencies.

    Because of our privacy policy, we can’t disclose the specifics of our actions with respect to our customers’ accounts. But, we can tell you in general terms, at the specific request of law enforcement, Go Daddy sometimes takes action to prevent further harm being caused by a website hosted on our servers. This would include things like sites engaged in phishing, malware installation, securities fraud, and so on.

    Unless such request is the subject of a criminal investigation that is required, under statute, to be treated confidentially, Go Daddy promptly notifies its customers of any action taken, and provides the contact information of the law enforcement agency involved. This gives customers an opportunity to address their concerns directly with the agency in question. Our standard policy was followed in the case you mentioned.

7 Comments
  • Ugh, that really sucks, I use JotForm on 100+ sites…

  • There is a more detailed report on this website: http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/02/16/online-form-building-startup-jotform-has-its-domain-suspended-by-the-us-secret-service/
    It is quite frightening to read how the owner of the startup reports ot have been greeted when contacting the person in charge at the agency responsible for suspending the website: no time, will contact you in a few days… Obviously, not very much concerned about the economic consequences for JotForm and the mess for their customers. While I understand there were good reasons for intervening, it seems it would have been possible to handle the issue in a different way, asking JotForm to monitor or suspend specific infringing accounts.

  • Of course we don’t know the details but seems pretty scary that some government agency can make a registrar take down a domain causing permanent damage.

    That site is now permanently labeled with that nameserver change, will probably be banned from Google for ever and users are forced to go to a competitor.

    If jotform management was engaging in criminal acts then I guess this is fine so long as there is due process.

    If a few customers were doing bad things then this is really wrong.

    Like if someone was doing something illegal on one computer in a large company and some government agency just came in a seized the entire company?

    Scary.

  • smells like SOPA. I knew GoDaddy liked it.

  • This is why I keep my domains at Tucows. If you run into a problem you will find out the coupon codes are not worth it.

  • I kind of vomited when I read “In an effort to make the Internet a better and safer place” change the word “internet” with the word “world” and it sounds like Bush pre-Iraq war. It seems it is getting tough to “stay” online.

  • Philip Corwin says:

    February 18, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    USG is doing a great job of driving registrants to non-US registrars

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