Registrar Hide And Seek
John R. Levine:
In the past year ICANN has been putting a lot more effort into its compliance activities, which is a good thing, since the previous level was, ah, exiguous. That's the good news. The bad news is that while they're paying more attention to misbehaving registrants, the registrars, gatekeepers to the world of domains, have serious issues that ICANN have yet to address.
One straightforward problem is registrar (as opposed to registrant) compliance with the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA). ICANN has sent out quite a few termination notices for failure to comply, but in nearly every case the failure involves not paying their bills. Other than that, the only meaningful enforcement has been their recent attempt to shut down Estdomains for the felony conviction of one of their principals.
Registrar Dynamic Dolphin is run by infamous high volume e-mail deployer Scott Richter. In 2003 Richter pled guilty to felony charges of receiving stolen property. Earlier this year Richter settled a suit with MySpace for $6 million, for spamming MySpace users using phished accounts. Section 5.3.3 of the RAA says that ICANN can terminate a registrar if an officer:
"...is convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor related to financial activities, or is judged by a court to have committed fraud or breach of fiduciary duty, or is the subject of a judicial determination that ICANN deems as the substantive equivalent of any of these..."
Why hasn't ICANN acted in this case? ICANN certainly knows about it.