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  1. #1

    A few questions for Richard (enetwork) from Namecheap

    Hi Richard

    Let me open this by saying I am not Namecheap-bashing in any way, shape or form. These is are genuine questions.

    A few times I've had attempts to post comment spam on my gallery, with the spamvertised domain having been registered by Namecheap, and the spammer hiding behind your Whoisguard service. When your firstliners on the support desk have been informed by the proper channels, the response has been either that:
    1. Namecheap are not hosting the domain, or
    2. Namecheap will not divulge the real contact details.


    Now in cases of 1, I'm well aware of that, and the hosting provider has been contacted too, and in case of 2, I've never once requested that Namecheap does divulge the real contact details to me.

    However, the reports I submit clearly state that the reason why the report was submitted to your support desk is because the spammer is using your Whoisguard service in violation of the Whoisguard ToS. However much I try to get this through to the support desk staff, the mantra of 1 & 2 above is repeated ad nauseum.

    In light of the fact that I've had no success in finding a direct email address for you (Which, again, is understandable - there are many crazies out there), I've come here to ask, as you seem to be fairly active and responsive here.

    so....

    Question 1: As the registrar of the spamvertised domains, and provider of the Whoisguard service that the spammers are using to hide behind, is there any policy within the company to deal with spammers using the Whoisguard service, if clear proof is provided that the spammers are doing so?
    Question 2: If the answer to the above is yes, where should I report this abuse of your services to? I have not had much luck so far via the [email protected] address

    If you require, I can provide you with the latest ticket number via PM

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    To be honest, I would really start to think twice whether to keep my domain name with any registrar who would give every single detail about me to a random Joe who walks in with a few pieces of paper claiming I am DDOSing/attacking his website...
    I definitely have no sympathy towards spammers and I think all those people should be punished. However, from Name Cheap's perspective, I think it is reasonable for them to make sure that the spamming is indeed the case (i.e., investigate the evidence you have provided), and see if your claim is true. And even if in the case your claim is true, the suspension/legal action should be taken by Name Cheap and not you, right?
    Just my $0.02.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by geekinfinance View Post
    To be honest, I would really start to think twice whether to keep my domain name with any registrar who would give every single detail about me to a random Joe who walks in with a few pieces of paper claiming I am DDOSing/attacking his website...
    Did you not understand this:

    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog
    I've never once requested that Namecheap does divulge the real contact details to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by geekinfinance View Post
    I definitely have no sympathy towards spammers and I think all those people should be punished. However, from Name Cheap's perspective, I think it is reasonable for them to make sure that the spamming is indeed the case (i.e., investigate the evidence you have provided), and see if your claim is true. And even if in the case your claim is true, the suspension/legal action should be taken by Name Cheap and not you, right?
    Just my $0.02.
    or this:

    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog
    Question 1: As the registrar of the spamvertised domains, and provider of the Whoisguard service that the spammers are using to hide behind, is there any policy within the company to deal with spammers using the Whoisguard service, if clear proof is provided that the spammers are doing so?
    I have no interest in pursuing spammers through legal channels. I also have no interest in the "real" details that the spammers would have registered with Whoisguard - they're spammers, remember, do you think they'd actually have real details registered? What I would like to see, though, is entities enforcing their ToS, and sending a clear message to these scumbags that their custom is not welcome.
    Last edited by FredFrog; 02-25-2011 at 09:08 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by EmuHost-Pete View Post
    Try here

    <URL deleted due to constraints>
    Thanks - unfortunately, that would not work, it's for email spam, not comment spam. I would also require an email address for the automated spam traps, online submissions are no good.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    A few times I've had attempts to post comment spam on my gallery, with the spamvertised domain having been registered by Namecheap, and the spammer hiding behind your Whoisguard service
    1. Comment spamming while annoying is NOT illegal in the United States.

    2. How can you possibly even have any idea that it was the person that owns the domain that left the comments?

    If it was so easy to cause trouble, then people would just comment spam their competitors out of business.

    Just delete the comments if they bother you. You just wasting NameCheap's time, they are never going to do anything about it. Because; see commend 1 & 2 above.

  7. #7
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    Why not report the offending IP to the spammers hosting provider instead of going through the registrar, and simply block the IP?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by geekinfinance View Post
    claiming I am DDOSing/attacking his website...

    Wait, who said anything about a DDOS? I thought we were talking about comment spam, which is NOT a criminal act. A DOS attack is illegal. However with a DDOS in inherently virtually impossible to prove who initiated the attack.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
    1. Comment spamming while annoying is NOT illegal in the United States.
    Which is, of course, not the point. The point is that the spammer is using Namecheaps service in contravention of Namecheaps ToS. What's the point of have ToS if you're not going to bother enforcing them?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by TheJoker View Post
    Why not report the offending IP to the spammers hosting provider instead of going through the registrar, and simply block the IP?
    Comment spam very rarely originates from the host of the site being spamvertised. And the spamtrap automations DO report to the spammers hosting provider, and the owner of the IP range containing the originating IP address.

    However, making life as difficult as possible for spammers is a good thing. Which is why any spammer misusuing WHOIS masking services, against the ToS of that WHOIS masking service, are also reported to the owners of the service, so that they may enforce their ToS by slinging the scumbag OFF their service.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    Which is, of course, not the point. The point is that the spammer is using Namecheaps service in contravention of Namecheaps ToS. What's the point of have ToS if you're not going to bother enforcing them?
    Again; How can you prove that it is the owner of the domain that is doing the spamming?

  12. #12
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    My bad, for some reason I missed that line...
    However, in that case what do you expect to hear from NameCheap? "We have canceled the domain and fined the spammer x dollars"?
    I highly doubt that will be the answer they'll give.
    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    Did you not understand this:





    or this:



    I have no interest in pursuing spammers through legal channels. I also have no interest in the "real" details that the spammers would have registered with Whoisguard - they're spammers, remember, do you think they'd actually have real details registered? What I would like to see, though, is entities enforcing their ToS, and sending a clear message to these scumbags that their custom is not welcome.

  13. #13
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    Again, my bad, I was just giving an example and used DDOS to refer to any action that would potentially screw websites...

    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
    Wait, who said anything about a DDOS? I thought we were talking about comment spam, which is NOT a criminal act. A DOS attack is illegal. However with a DDOS in inherently virtually impossible to prove who initiated the attack.

  14. #14
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    I'm sure they have logs showing what IP requested to use their service, and what domain they went to. If you have logs/comments showing the date, and time then they should be able to just check the logs and see what IP it is, and then you could block that IP from your site all together. I guess thats the problem here though.. They wont tell you the ip right? I say just put something important on there, get like 10 people to buy it, and then file a lawsuit against them for not following their TOS, and file for loss of income..

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluemer View Post
    I'm sure they have logs showing what IP requested to use their service, and what domain they went to. If you have logs/comments showing the date, and time then they should be able to just check the logs and see what IP it is, and then you could block that IP from your site all together. I guess thats the problem here though.. They wont tell you the ip right? I say just put something important on there, get like 10 people to buy it, and then file a lawsuit against them for not following their TOS, and file for loss of income..
    Ever here of an anonymous proxy? The people leaving those comments are using proxies, and it is highly unlikely that the proxies are keeping logs. If they do, your going to have one heck of a time getting a hold of them. Then on top of that, your going to have an even harder time proving it was the domain owner. Most of the time third parties are going to be hired to leave these comments.

    I'm not sure exactly what your talking about, but you can't sue someone for not abiding by another companies TOS.

    You're not going to get a domain disabled for comment spam and your not going to win a law suite.

    There is nothing you can do but delete the comment.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by geekinfinance View Post
    To be honest, I would really start to think twice whether to keep my domain name with any registrar who would give every single detail about me to a random Joe who walks in with a few pieces of paper claiming I am DDOSing/attacking his website...
    I definitely have no sympathy towards spammers and I think all those people should be punished. However, from Name Cheap's perspective, I think it is reasonable for them to make sure that the spamming is indeed the case (i.e., investigate the evidence you have provided), and see if your claim is true. And even if in the case your claim is true, the suspension/legal action should be taken by Name Cheap and not you, right?
    Just my $0.02.
    I think you may like to choose internetbs because they totally have whois privacy and its free with every domain.

    and they have 24/7 live chat support and i think they are also non-us.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    Which is, of course, not the point. The point is that the spammer is using Namecheaps service in contravention of Namecheaps ToS. What's the point of have ToS if you're not going to bother enforcing them?
    One catch to that is who exactly is going to determine if NameCheap's TOS is being violated.

    Think of it like I put a do-not-step-on-my-grass sign on my lawn. One day a good friend comes over, but inadvertently steps on my grass as I come out to welcome him.

    You tell my good friend, "Hey, don't step on that guy's lawn!", I wave you thanks, and both my friend and I walk in while stepping over my grass. Well, who decides that?

    Anyway, just PM user enetwork or mdrussell with specifics about this. Or can't you put in some script or so to screen out comment spam like WordPress does?

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
    Again; How can you prove that it is the owner of the domain that is doing the spamming?
    Contrary to popular belief, it is rarely worth the time, effort and money for an individual to spamvertise a rivals site. Every attempt to do so can also inadvertently raise the profile of the rivals site, thus rendering the exercise counter productive.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by geekinfinance View Post
    My bad, for some reason I missed that line...
    However, in that case what do you expect to hear from NameCheap? "We have canceled the domain and fined the spammer x dollars"?
    I highly doubt that will be the answer they'll give.
    I would expect them to want to enforce their ToS

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
    Ever here of an anonymous proxy? The people leaving those comments are using proxies, and it is highly unlikely that the proxies are keeping logs. If they do, your going to have one heck of a time getting a hold of them. Then on top of that, your going to have an even harder time proving it was the domain owner. Most of the time third parties are going to be hired to leave these comments.
    Which is indeed what happens. However, most free proxies are not anonymous. Reports to paid proxies see the spammers lose their proxy account, something which they factor into their costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan
    You're not going to get a domain disabled for comment spam and your not going to win a law suite.
    Do you really think so? I've caused hundreds of spamvertised domains to be disabled over the years. Without ever having to file a lawsuit (Which would be a waste of time anyway)


    Quote Originally Posted by jamiedolan
    There is nothing you can do but delete the comment.
    I don't even need to do that - the comments never make it on to the gallery, the automations which make the notifications see to that.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    One catch to that is who exactly is going to determine if NameCheap's TOS is being violated.

    Think of it like I put a do-not-step-on-my-grass sign on my lawn. One day a good friend comes over, but inadvertently steps on my grass as I come out to welcome him.

    You tell my good friend, "Hey, don't step on that guy's lawn!", I wave you thanks, and both my friend and I walk in while stepping over my grass. Well, who decides that?

    The analogy falls down in several areas. Here are just two:

    • The spammers are not Namecheap's friends. They are paying for a service provided by Namecheap, which is supplied to them on condition they do not break the rules.
    • Allowing your friends to wallk on your grass is not going to harm your reputation. Allowing spammers to use a service provided, however, will. One would think that Namecheap would be interested in protecting their reputation.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan
    Or can't you put in some script or so to screen out comment spam like WordPress does?
    You must have missed this bit:

    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog
    And the spamtrap automations DO report to the spammers hosting provider, and the owner of the IP range containing the originating IP address.
    The specific code I wrote for Coppermine has been downloaded thousands of times, and is used a large number of Coppermine galleries. The authours of automated backlinkers have even had a go at trying to circumvent it, with no success. There is constant moaning on the bhseos forum (home of Backlinker) about it. Suffice to say, the comments never make it on to the galleries either.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    The analogy falls down in several areas. Here are just two:

    • The spammers are not Namecheap's friends. They are paying for a service provided by Namecheap, which is supplied to them on condition they do not break the rules.
    • Allowing your friends to wallk on your grass is not going to harm your reputation. Allowing spammers to use a service provided, however, will. One would think that Namecheap would be interested in protecting their reputation.
    Heh, analogies are never perfect, but as long as they help understand or make a point. Point here is that only NameCheap will decide if their TOS is being violated or not, despite what others tell them.

    I guess blocking the domain in question from your gallery won't work either? Or just PM the two users I mentioned previously and see how it goes.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    Heh, analogies are never perfect, but as long as they help understand or make a point. Point here is that only NameCheap will decide if their TOS is being violated or not, despite what others tell them.

    I guess blocking the domain in question from your gallery won't work either? Or just PM the two users I mentioned previously and see how it goes.
    How exactly does one block a domain? You can block incoming traffic from an IP address, but not a domain. Considering that domains are portable with respect to IP addresses, and that incoming traffic comes from an IP address, not a domain, what you're saying really makes little sense. There are methods of blocking via content of the posted comment (Akismet, for example), but this is still not "blocking a domain".

    Invariably, the spam originates from an IP address that is not the IP address of the host the spamvertised site is hosted on. Spammers are stupid, but not many are THAT stupid.

    Back to the real point - Yes, it is up to Namecheap to decide if their ToS has been violated. But if they're not informed about the activity their "customers" undertake while making use of (And violating the conditions of) their service, how are they to even know that they have the decision to make? And who gets to make that decision? A firstliner who can't even understand what's being reported to them? Unfortunately, while everyone knows what email spam is, not many know what comment spam is. This is true of support staff too.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    How exactly does one block a domain?
    I just figured there's maybe a script, Apache command or whatever that blocks off or filters anything with a specific word or so. Depends how your gallery is created.

    If NameCheap's higher-ups taught their first or second-line people to handle certain issues in certain ways, then I guess that's how they want to do it. You can push it as far as you can, and their manager or so can also finally say, "Sorry, but our decision" despite the possible repercussions.

    Just do what you can.

  25. #25
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    You can block a domain.. I did a google search, and http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/howto/access.html

    "If you wish to restrict access to portions of your site based on the host address of your visitors, this is most easily done using mod_authz_host."

    "The Allow and Deny directives let you allow and deny access based on the host name, or host address, of the machine requesting a document. The Order directive goes hand-in-hand with these two, and tells Apache in which order to apply the filters.
    "

    So I would think if you really wanted you could simply block the hostname used by the namecheap proxy.. or block multiple of their proxies..

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by bluemer View Post
    You can block a domain.. I did a google search, and http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/howto/access.html

    "If you wish to restrict access to portions of your site based on the host address of your visitors, this is most easily done using mod_authz_host."

    "The Allow and Deny directives let you allow and deny access based on the host name, or host address, of the machine requesting a document. The Order directive goes hand-in-hand with these two, and tells Apache in which order to apply the filters.
    "

    So I would think if you really wanted you could simply block the hostname used by the namecheap proxy.. or block multiple of their proxies..
    You have misunderstood.

    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog
    Invariably, the spam originates from an IP address that is not the IP address of the host the spamvertised site is hosted on. Spammers are stupid, but not many are THAT stupid.
    So, seeing as the comment spam usually originates form some proxy somewhere, exactly how is blocking traffic originating from Namecheap going to help?

    To try to explain again, as it seems there are many people on this forum who have as much trouble understanding this concept as Namecheaps firstliners, and who also don't seem to understand the difference between email spam and comment spam:

    Comment spamming is attempts to post links to websites that the spammer is trying to promote in the comments section of a blog entry or online gallery, or to an online forum. These attempts are usually automated via a bot, and will originate from a proxy somewhere. Very seldom are the spammers dumb enough to do so directly from the host hosting the website they are trying to promote (or in the case of the so-called "SEO" companies, the host where their bot is running).

    I say again - there is almost always NO connection between the originating host, and the spamvertised website in the submitted comment. Or, in other words, the spamming attempt is not coming from Namecheap. This immediately rules out any Apache filtering.

    Usually, the spamvertised website has the contact details obscured by services such as Namecheaps Whoiguard or some other similar service (And I can guarantee that the "real" details lodged with the service are bogus too). Almost all services of this type specifically prohibit this type of behaviour in their ToS.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    I just figured there's maybe a script, Apache command or whatever that blocks off or filters anything with a specific word or so. Depends how your gallery is created.
    As I've stated a few times before, this is exactly how this spamming is caught, and the reports generated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    If NameCheap's higher-ups taught their first or second-line people to handle certain issues in certain ways, then I guess that's how they want to do it. You can push it as far as you can, and their manager or so can also finally say, "Sorry, but our decision" despite the possible repercussions.
    That is just the problem - they appear to not have taught their firstliners how to understand this type of abuse of their ToS, let alone how to handle it

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    Just do what you can.
    I do - Like I stated, I have a very comprehensive set of anti-comment spam measures running, that not only block the scumbags, but also notify all organisations whose services they are abusing. Some of these organisations choose to deal with abuse of their services, and some don't. One would think, though, that any reputable organisation would choose to defend their reputation.

  28. #28
    I suppose also you can deal with web hosting or domain name registrar directly. That will help you to get out more information and help.
    In any case that is really hard to fight against spam and the simplest way is deleting.

  29. #29
    As the registrar of the spamvertised domains, and provider of the Whoisguard service that the spammers are using to hide behind, is there any policy within the company to deal with spammers using the Whoisguard service, if clear proof is provided that the spammers are doing so?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbrown123 View Post
    As the registrar of the spamvertised domains, and provider of the Whoisguard service that the spammers are using to hide behind, is there any policy within the company to deal with spammers using the Whoisguard service, if clear proof is provided that the spammers are doing so?
    What is your clear proof?

    There is no way to prove who posted a domain on a blog.

  31. #31
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    Who's to say its the domain owner engaged in the spam? What if it is his SEO company they have hired who are engaged in such practices?
    Matthew Russell | Namecheap
    Twitter: @mattdrussell

    www.namecheap.com - hosting from a registrar DONE RIGHT!

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by mdrussell View Post
    Who's to say its the domain owner engaged in the spam? What if it is his SEO company they have hired who are engaged in such practices?
    Cop out. Is anything at all to notify the domain owner, so that they may clean up their act if this is the case? And anyway, isn't that also against the ToS? The replies from the firstliners indicate they've done absolutely nothing.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    Cop out. Is anything at all to notify the domain owner, so that they may clean up their act if this is the case? And anyway, isn't that also against the ToS? The replies from the firstliners indicate they've done absolutely nothing.
    So you're locked and loaded with sure stock this domain is willfully engaged in ..comment spam.. and you wish for what exactly here? Are you asking for them to provide details? Are you asking a registrar to cancel the domain because of the spam? What approach are you using? What outcome is it that you want besides for it to stop, which any competent person could do especially from a single domain?

    I guess in your fervor I am lost as to the exact details you are hoping will manifest?
    WHT is now used as the Universal Hosting Helpdesk.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeyr View Post
    So you're locked and loaded with sure stock this domain is willfully engaged in ..comment spam.. and you wish for what exactly here? Are you asking for them to provide details? Are you asking a registrar to cancel the domain because of the spam? What approach are you using? What outcome is it that you want besides for it to stop, which any competent person could do especially from a single domain?

    I guess in your fervor I am lost as to the exact details you are hoping will manifest?
    Go back and read the thread, all of your questions are answered. If you still don't understand, direct your queries at the nearest brick wall, because I'm sick and tired of explaining very simple concepts to people who don't want to understand them.

  35. #35
    Anyway, after watching things unfold, and seeing increasing complaints elsewhere regarding spamvertised domains registered by Namecheap, using the Namecheap Whoisguard service, I've come to the conclusion that Namecheap love the spammer $$$$$, so aren't prepared to do anything about it. Their absolute lack of action means that spammers love them, and are flocking to register their domains with Namecheap.

    Talk about having your brand tarnished.......

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    Anyway, after watching things unfold, and seeing increasing complaints elsewhere regarding spamvertised domains registered by Namecheap, using the Namecheap Whoisguard service, I've come to the conclusion that Namecheap love the spammer $$$$$, so aren't prepared to do anything about it. Their absolute lack of action means that spammers love them, and are flocking to register their domains with Namecheap.

    Talk about having your brand tarnished.......
    Matthew Russell | Namecheap
    Twitter: @mattdrussell

    www.namecheap.com - hosting from a registrar DONE RIGHT!

  37. #37
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    I have four domains registered with NameCheap and have absolutely zero spam. Maybe it's the pron sites you visit.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by FredFrog View Post
    Anyway, after watching things unfold, and seeing increasing complaints elsewhere regarding spamvertised domains registered by Namecheap, using the Namecheap Whoisguard service, I've come to the conclusion that Namecheap love the spammer $$$$$, so aren't prepared to do anything about it. Their absolute lack of action means that spammers love them, and are flocking to register their domains with Namecheap.

    Talk about having your brand tarnished.......
    Microsoft and Exxon both had their brands arguably tarnished at some point, and they're both still doing business.

    Thing is, it's NameCheap who ultimately decides if their contract is violated or not, despite what others tell them. While it's highly unlikely, they (like any registrar) always risks being sued by their client if they shut down the domain "just like that", or without an arguably reasonable basis as especially defined in their contract.

    I take it you're still getting comment spam or so?

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by TheJoker View Post
    I have four domains registered with NameCheap and have absolutely zero spam. Maybe it's the pron sites you visit.
    You obviously have no idea what comment spam is. Until you do understand what comment spam is, and what this thread is about, your input is worthless
    Last edited by FredFrog; 04-05-2011 at 03:32 AM.

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    Microsoft and Exxon both had their brands arguably tarnished at some point, and they're both still doing business.

    Thing is, it's NameCheap who ultimately decides if their contract is violated or not, despite what others tell them. While it's highly unlikely, they (like any registrar) always risks being sued by their client if they shut down the domain "just like that", or without an arguably reasonable basis as especially defined in their contract.

    I take it you're still getting comment spam or so?
    Comment spam will always be around as long as there are clueless forum/gallery/blog owners who don't take active measures to prevent it.

    While I don't get comment spam, I do get many attempts every day to post comment spam. It doesn't get through.

    I (And many others) are seeing an increasing amount of comment spam where the spamvertised domains have been registered through Namecheap, and are using the Namecheap Whoisgaurd service - obviously word is getting around that they take no action against spammers. Yes, it is them who ultimately decide if their service is being abused or not, however, their attitude seems to be "We don't have spammers as customers, so we're not even going to bother checking". They're falling into the same category as Nobis here, and they don't seem to care.

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