The Great Domain Robbery of 05
Opinion: Not too long after ICANN changed the rules, a domain thief has stolen several domains. Have the new rules already failed, or have the registrars failed their customers?A lot of people lost e-mail, access to Web administration and even their porno accounts over the weekend. Yes, it was a momentous and stressful couple of days. Several domains were stolen, including panix.com, the home domain of Internet service provider Panix, the oldest ISP in the New York area (or so they say about themselves). This particular thievery is what raised most of the attention, because Panix customers who use a panix.com e-mail address stopped getting their mail. According to this message on ICANNs message boards by George Kirikos, aem.com and f3.com (both of which, I think, are car-related sites), as well as xybererotica.com, appear to have been stolen as well. In fact, all three of these domains seem now to have the same whois data and point to the same Web site. Some serious traffic was diverted, and the new sites are spyware-infected. (Perhaps the old ones were too, I cant say.)
It may be the first great test of the response of ICANN and the domain registrar industry to a violation of their new policies implemented late in 2004. I expressed concern about these new policies at the time, but was reassured that one of the strengths of the new system was the well-defined mechanism for dealing with disputes.