February 2, 2007 4:00 AM PST
Survey: Are domain registrars free-speech friendly?
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NameKingdid not participate We first submitted a request for Los Angeles-based NameKing to fill out our survey at around 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon. We repeated that process again in the days that followed, sent e-mails to multiple accounts, and left a message on the company's answering machine. But the only response we received was a series of boilerplate help-desk tickets. One said: "There is no need to reply to this message right now. Your ticket has been assigned an ID of [nameking.com #10715]."
Network Solutionsrefused to participate We first spoke with Susan Wade in the Virginia-headquartered registrar's corporate communications department on Monday afternoon, and she agreed to take a look at our survey questions. Hearing no response, we sent reminder e-mails on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. Just after 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Wade informed us by e-mail: "We're going to pass on this opportunity to participate."
OnlineNICcompleted survey OnlineNIC is based in San Francisco and bills itself as one of the oldest accredited registrars. It offers .CN domains for between $14 and $26, and .COM and other generic top-level domains for $6.69 to $8.
1. Under what circumstances will you suspend a customer's domain name based on the content of his or her Web site, in the absence of a court order?
We only suspend a customer's domain name as we get the order from the court or some authorizations.
2. How many times a month, on average, do you suspend a customer's domain name based on the content of his or her Web site?
Sorry, there is no exact number.
3. What are the most common reasons for suspension?
Spam, phishing, tortious.
4. How many domain names do your customers currently have registered through you?
More than 1,063,000 domain names.
5. Go Daddy last week suspended its customer's domain, Seclists.org, because of a complaint from MySpace. Would you have done the same thing in the same way if Seclists.org happened to be your customer?
6. If you do suspend domain names in the absence of a court order, what procedures do you have in place to ensure that the customer is notified beforehand and given adequate opportunity to respond?
Before we suspend the domain name, we will notice the customer first, and offer the concerned evidence and policy to the customer.
7. Do you believe that your most important responsibility is to provide technical services to paying customers--or is it to police the content of their Web sites, FTP sites, and so on?
Yes, we only provide the domain registration service, and the customer should agree to the registration policy.
8. Are you attempting to recruit Go Daddy customers as a result of last week's news about Seclists.org?
9. If you do suspend domain names in the absence of a court order, how do your customers go about getting their sites restored?
The customer should promise that he/she will not do the illegal activities again.
10. Do you have a dedicated department or person who handles issues related to domain name suspensions?
Yes, we have such department.
Register.comdid not particpate We left a message with a New York City-based Register.com representative, Norm Silverberg, on Monday and managed to reach him by phone on Tuesday. He instructed us to e-mail our survey questions. At around 9 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Silverberg informed us that the questions were in the hands of the general counsel. Come afternoon, he said he wasn't sure he would be able to make our deadline. In follow-up e-mails, we said we would continue accepting responses until Thursday evening, but we never heard from the company again.
Tucowsrefused to participate We first contacted this Toronto-based registrar at around 3 p.m. EST on Monday afternoon. Communications Director Leona Hobbs responded promptly by e-mail, inviting us to send our questions her way. We heard nothing more from Tucows until around 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, when Hobbs e-mailed the following reply: "Thank-you for your inquiry. Tucows is unable to participate in your survey at this time." We made two additional attempts to find out why Tucows declined to respond and offered the company additional time to fill out the survey. We eventually received the identical, and final, response on Thursday.
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