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So there is this .com USA based domain set up wrong and is dumping traffic onto our DNS. This domain is privatized with namecheap whois masking, and since it's wrong routing, I can't send emails through the methods they provide. The owner is an elderly gentleman and doesn't even reply to mails sent to his gmail (which I had to sleuth). His name is too broad to find a phone or address.

How do I get ahold of this guy? Namecheap is being totally amateur claiming its not an abuse issue, they can't help, this and that, keep telling me to email even though it's broken. I have gone as far as sending a mail right to the CEO -- no go. They claim "they don't offer phone numbers as a method to contact an owner". It's like the twilight zone run by a bunch of kids over there at Namecheap. Can I go above them somehow to get this point of contact such as phone number?

  • Are you able to block/discard the unwanted network traffic using firewall rules? If so this would be worth pursuing. – richhallstoke Oct 20 '14 at 14:52
  • Could you let us know the domain extension? e.g. is it .com or .net etc? Some domain name registries now mandate that contact information must be accurate and verified - if you report to Namecheap or the domain registry responsible for the relevant domain extension that the contact details are invalid/inaccurate for that domain, they will have to inform the registrant, and if not updated within 30 or so days the domain should be suspended. – richhallstoke Oct 20 '14 at 15:01
  • @richhallstoke Good thoughts, it's a .com domain name, apparently the guy has had it many years. Im pretty sure the email contact is accurate, but he just doesn't answer (gmail). Namecheap claimed they were updating the whois information to be more accurate, then informed me this morning the change was complete. Upon checking, it was clear that they only re-masked it via "Whoisguard". When I asked if I could now get the phone, they told me it was out of their hands - quote: "Also we do not provide phone support at the moment." – dhaupin Oct 20 '14 at 15:19
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    You could change your own infrastructure to use a different IP address to that which is receiving unwanted traffic - can be a pain but at least its in your control, though I realise rather than resolving the issue its kind of a side-step. This would be a lot quicker than trying to pursue complaints and cheaper than taking legal action. If after changing your IP address(es) they change their domain's DNS records to keep sending you unwanted traffic (I think this is unlikely given the context you have described), then you could report this as a Denial-of-Service attack to your local Police. – richhallstoke Oct 20 '14 at 15:30
  • Since namecheap.com is ICANN accredited, have you considered complaining to ICANN? – barrycarter Oct 20 '14 at 16:36
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You are in a tough spot. It is the responsibility of the registrar to pass all complaints to the domain owner. GoDaddy can contact me a variety of ways and has. A real e-mail, mailing address, and phone number has to be provided for private registration. And before the domain can go private, the registration information must be verified.

But not all registrars care and do what they are supposed to do. This is one reason why private registration and registrar quality is a metric for Google trust factors.

The best thing I think you can do is block all accesses. Work with your provider as much as you can. As well, any registrar would/should respond to a legal request. It may be that you have to get an attorney to collect this information in an effort to create a cease and desist letter. If the registrar does not respond, then a request that they provide the information in a deposition should be sought. If that does not work, then they can go to a judge and a subpoena will be created and the registrar must appear in court before the judge to satisfy the deposition. This is assuming that the company is a U.S. company or in a country that cooperates. Generally, an attorney can get things done. It would not cost too much and it may be your only option at this point.

One thing for sure is that the registrar cannot decide what is abuse. That is up to you and you have a right to the information you seek. I suspect that namecheap.com not only does not care but blows people off with success and uses this tactic regularly. It is easy to blow off someone over the phone. But not when an attorney gets involved. Attorneys cannot be blown off. Not easily anyway.

  • I'm almost at that point of blocking requests. Its a bit tricky though because its Google and friends...I don't want to tell G to "stay away from this DNS IP, but only via this wrong domain" since we run production traffic through it. I have paranoia that G would see that it's banned via that incorrect route and apply memory to a working route via the same IP. I think you're right on the money about their "this isn't abuse" pass-offs though :) The ticket went right to the top to their General Manager. Apparently it stumped him haha. – dhaupin Oct 20 '14 at 15:24
  • @dhaupin Aaaahhhh the BIG G! The G to end all G! The Gmeister! The G-aroni and G! The Who cut the Geese? Makes sense now.... I would be cautious then. I am not sure I fully understand the DNS issue except that perhaps the ISP has your DNS as the authority perhaps? Otherwise, how does this work exactly? Perhaps you can create a false entry for the domain name and route it to Botswana somewhere. That might get someones attention. It could also be a routing issue. I had loads of wrong traffic hit me once or twice. – closetnoc Oct 21 '14 at 0:20
  • It's fine to NX requests for domains that you don't serve on your DNS, Google won't mind. I wouldn't silently drop those requests though, since that makes it hard to understand what you're trying to say (it'll just look like your DNS is flakey). – John Mueller Oct 22 '14 at 7:27
  • @JohnMueller Yes. You are correct. I was being somewhat sarcastic about routing to Botswana and I know that sometimes sarcasm does not come across. Still, dropping the request would wake up the domain owner which may be good. It is a tough situation. I tend to be quite a bit bolder once thoroughly annoyed. – closetnoc Oct 22 '14 at 15:44
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If the domain's contact details held by the registrar are accurate/verified and the domain owner is reachable by the registrar, but they do not respond to your complaint, there is not really anything further you can do in terms of direct contact with either the registrar or registrant since both parties are now aware but not interested in helping. If you can prove in financial terms an amount for damages to a business or direct costs incurred then you could try to sue for damages to get their attention however this will likely not be a cheap option for yourself.

Given this rare but awkward situation I would strongly recommend you carefully plan and then take action to phase out the problem IP address from your own use and switch to using a new IP address. While this can be a cumbersome change, since you can still use the old IP address at the same time you should be able to complete this switch without any real disruption or downtime to anything - just plan it out carefully first. Changing the IP addresses used for DNS servers is actually not an uncommon task - this can often be requied when building in additional resilience into systems or moving server locations.

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    If the DNS traffic is A record lookups then you could return the IP address of a webserver setup with an HTTP 400 Bad Request response - this should help to minimize further requests as client browsers will not retry the DNS lookup automatically. This obviously only works for HTTP clients. – richhallstoke Oct 22 '14 at 10:56

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