ICANN Blasts KnujOn for “Not Verifying the Facts”

ICANN says article by KnujOn is factually inaccurate.

KnujOn has been a controversial group when it comes to trying to clean up domain name abuse.

Its latest attack was on ICANN in an article on CircleID titled “Two Years Later Dozens of Registrars Still in the Shadows“.

The crux of the article is that 23 domain name registrars do not disclose their addresses on their web sites as required in section 3.16 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA).

There’s a problem with that statement, writes ICANN Director of Contractual Compliance Stacy Burnette:

Unfortunately, your research ignored the fact that Section 3.16 is a new provision in the 2009 RAA, and as such registrars who are still operating under the 2001 RAA do not have this obligation and ICANN cannot enforce this provision against them.

According to Burnette, over half of the registrars on KnujOn’s list are, in fact, compliant with the RAA they are currently operating under.

Burnette closes the letter:

While we appreciate your efforts and we are pursuing those registrars we deemed non-compliant with website posting requirements, we strongly recommend that you take time to check facts and details to avoid publishing inaccurate information.

Re-Ranking KnujOn’s Spam Domain Registrar List

Using a different, simpler, and better methodology, here are the top spam registrars.

The internet media goes abuzz when KnujOn (“No Junk” backwards) releases its report of the domain name registrars with the most spam. But few people question the methodology behind the report, and blindly shame the top registrars on the report.

If you know me, I don’t take things at face value. And that’s why I’m presenting a re-ranking of KnujOn’s report based on a simpler and better methodology.

First, let’s look at how KnujOn ranks domain registrars for spam. Realize that KnujOn is looking for domain registrars that have domain names that are advertised in spam, not domain names that supposedly send spam. It calculates four scores for each registrar:

1. The raw number of domains held by the Registrar advertised in spam
2. The number of spam messages used to advertise those domains
3. The percentage of the whole Registrar portfolio that the spammed domains represents
4. The rate of spam messages per spammed domain

KnujOn admits that the raw number of domains advertised in spam (#1) is likely to be higher at a big registrar, which is why it also calculates the percentage (#3). But it calculates the final score by taking the score from each of the four areas and taking a simple average.

It’s a methodology, but I don’t think it’s a good one. It unfairly hurts big registrars. To be fair, KnujOn isn’t trying to say #10 is necessarily better than #9. It’s trying to shed light on the situation and get results.

So I propose a simpler methodology, and that is to only consider stat #3. KnujOn was nice enough to send me data on the top 10 registrars with regards to #3:

1.0% SPOTDOM (domainsite)
0.4% ENOM

You’ll notice some differences between this list and KnujOn’s average list. Missing from the top 10 on my list that IS on KnujOn’s list is GoDaddy’s Wild West Domains. Frankly, I’m surprised WWD has any problem given how vigilant GoDaddy is about shutting down spam sites. Jumping into the top 10 is Name.com.

A few registrars stand out. What’s going on at Planet Online, which has over 50,000 domain names under management? Any why doesn’t eNom do anything about spam when it’s so quick to hand over domain names to Kentucky?

Of course, the rate of spam messages per domain, as used in Knujon’s calculation, could show that a registrar shuts down a spammed domain quickly upon receiving reports. So maybe a combination of #3 and #4 make sense.

KnujOn’s data may not be perfect, including its sample set of spam, but hats off to them for bringing these issues to light. Regardless of which methodology you prefer, it’s clear that a handful of registrars have a big spam problem.