domainwatch.org

Sunday September 17 2006

On the prowl for easy prey

Filed under: General — Josh @ 9:44 pm

On the prowl for easy prey
http://www.news.com.au/sundaytelegraph/story/0,,20391879-5001081,00.html

” …

September 12, 2006 12:00
Article from: The Daily Telegraph

WHAT’S in a name? Quite a lot actually if you have an internet domain name and don’t pay close attention to who should be sending you the bill to keep it.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has received a number of complaints from domain name owners who have paid for domain names similar to, but not identical to the ones they already have a license to use.

A number of unsolicited mass mail-outs not just here but in New Zealand and elsewhere abroad have been catching out unwary owners.

Often, these letters capitalise on a lack of understanding of the intricacies of the domain name system, or simply rely on busy owners paying the invoice without thoroughly checking it.

Many of these owners find themselves paying for domains they don’t want or need.

For instance, someone whose registered website goes under the domain name of www.your-business.com.au, might receive a letter asking them to pay for www.your-business.net.au or www.your-business.com.

While seemingly similar, these are in fact completely unrelated domain names and customers are unwittingly paying to sign up for a second name.

Where this type of activity has involved deliberately misleading invoices, the ACCC has already taken action. However, despite the publicity surrounding the cases businesses are still being caught out.

The good news is there are some simple steps that domain name owners can take to protect themselves from being caught out or ripped off.

When signing up for a domain name, owners can expect to receive both a tax invoice and a registry key or password.

Keep these in a safe place as they are important for future use of that name when setting up a website.

The invoice should also be used to cross-check any offers that come in.

Look to ensure the name of the company is the same as the one you originally signed up with.

Also note the renewal date for your original domain name.

Most importantly, check that the actual name of the domain matches exactly to the one you took out originally and the one that is used for your website, and is not a slight variation possibly designed to confuse you.

There are a number of useful resources available to domain name owners wanting to check the validity of an invoice.

The ACCC has a fact sheet on domain name registrations on its website www.accc.gov.au — follow the business link.

For .au domain names www.auda.org.au carries consumer warnings about domain name scams.

This website also contains a registry and look-up service of .au domain names.

The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts also published a free booklet Staking your Claim on the Web which is available online at www.dcita.gov.au.

Those who feel they may have been misled can contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

Graeme Samuel is chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
… “

Thursday July 6 2006

Oz domain name scammer declares bankruptcy (Bradley Norrish)

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty, UK Internet Registry — Josh @ 7:33 am

Oz domain name scammer declares bankruptcy
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/07/05/oz_domain_scam/

” …

Oz domain name scammer declares bankruptcy

Shown the pink card

By John Leyden
Published Wednesday 5th July 2006 12:34 GMT

Australian domain name scammer Bradley Norrish has declared himself bankrupt.

Bradley Norrish, along with business partner Chesley Rafferty, ran an outfit called UK Internet Registry, and three other firms, which sent 50,000 fake invoices to domain name holders in the UK during 2003. The information needed to mount the scam was obtained from a data mining attack on the .uk WHOIS database.

The scale of the attack was so severe that Nominet, the .uk internet domain name registry, was forced to suspend its WHOIS database, which allows people to check the registrants of domain names for nine hours to prevent further abuse.

Nominet linked the attack back to UK Internet Registry and sued the firm and its directors for breach of copyright and offences against Australian fair trade laws.

An Australian court upheld Nominet’s complaint, paving the way for it to sue for costs and damages. In January 2006, Nominet was awarded A$1.3m ($970K) in damages against Chesley Rafferty and Bradley Norrish for copyright infringement, as well as an additional A$500K ($373K) stipend to reflect the “flagrancy” of the breaches.

In a letter, published by Domainwatch, Norrish said although he’d been forced to declare himself broke because of legal judgments against him, he might yet return to the domain name business.

“I’m sure most of you on the domain list will be pleased to hear I am now declared officially bankrupt. This will undoubtedly bring varying levels of happiness to those involved in selling domains from those who raise a slight smile, to those who leap enthusiastically out of their chairs,” Norrish writes.

“It was officially at 4.50pm yesterday afternoon that the Pink Bankruptcy Card was raised to send me off the field for three years. So a big congratulations to the captain of the opposite team Nominet as well as all their supporters. If the game’s still worth playing in three years time I might just get a recall, and if I do you know it will be with fresh legs.”

Nominet said the rocky financial straits Norrish finds himself in are a just a consequence of his abuse of the WHOIS registry. Nominet chief executive Lesley Cowley commented: “The bankruptcy brings an appropriate and successful end to the litigation against the directors of UK Internet Registry and proves that data mining the WHOIS is a serious industry issue that Nominet will not tolerate.

“It has been a long, expensive and often challenging process, but we take protection of our intellectual property and copyright ownership very seriously. This case proves that we can and will detect, track down and sue for WHOIS infringement to protect our business and our .uk registrants from domain name scams,” she added.

… “

Wednesday July 5 2006

Internet scammer announces bankruptcy (Bradley Norrish)

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty, UK Internet Registry — Josh @ 7:16 am

Internet scammer announces bankruptcy
http://www.nominet.org.uk/news/latest/?contentId=3106

” …

July 04 2006
Domainwatch.org today posted a letter from Australian domain name scammer, Bradley Norrish, announcing his declaration of bankruptcy.

http://domainwatch.org/archives/2006/07/04/bradley-norrish-bankrupt/

Lesley Cowley, CEO, Nominet, commented: “The bankruptcy brings an appropriate and successful end to the litigation against the directors of UK Internet Registry and proves that datamining the WHOIS is a serious industry issue that Nominet will not tolerate. It has been a long, expensive and often challenging process, but we take protection of our intellectual property and copyright ownership very seriously. This case proves that we can and will detect, track down and sue for WHOIS infringement to protect our business and our .uk registrants from domain name scams.”

This case was brought by Nominet against Chesley Rafferty and Bradley Norrish and 3 of their companies in the Federal Court of Australia following Nominet’s discovery in January 2003 that its WHOIS database had been the subject of concerted data mining attacks. This database is commonly used by Internet users to check who is the registrant of a domain name. The sheer scale of these assaults subsequently forced Nominet to suspend its WHOIS system for the only time in its six year history. The attacks captured details of many .uk domain name holders and resulted in 50,000 registrants receiving misleading notices from “UK Internet Registry” regarding their domain name registrations.

In January 2006, Nominet was awarded AUD $1.3 million in damages to conclude the battle against Chesley Rafferty and Bradley Norrish. The Court awarded actual damages for copyright infringement, underlining the value of Nominet’s .uk Register and copyright ownership of its databases, as well as additional damages to reflect the “flagrancy” of the breaches, in using Nominet’s records for direct marketing purposes. The award of AUD $500,000 for the misuse of the data is one of the highest additional damages awards ever made by the Australian Courts.

… “

Tuesday July 4 2006

Bradley Norrish bankrupt

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty — Josh @ 8:51 pm

Nominet has been successful in bankrupting Brad Norrish after freezing his assets.

Let’s hope this serves as a deterrent for others in the future.

Chesley Rafferty forwarded the following email to the .au DNS List, which is apparently from Brad Norrish:

from: http://dotau.org/archive/2006-07/0015.html

” …

From: Chesley Rafferty chesleyau@yahoo.com.au
Date: Tue Jul 04 2006 – 02:17:09 UTC

Brad asked me to forward this to the list as he’s not
subscribed :

I’m sure most of you on the domain list will be
pleased to hear I am now declared officially bankrupt.

This will undoubtedly bring varying levels of
happiness to those involved in selling domains from
those who raise a slight smile, to those who leap
enthusiastically out of their chairs with their hands
and feet in the air before landing just in time to
start the exciting scramble to cut out and gather news
articles.

I suggest you take off the Bow Tie, set the TiVo to
record Big Brother and put off updating your blogs and
go have a few celebratory beers down the local pub
because something this exciting might not happen again
for a few more years to come.

It was officially at 4.50pm yesterday afternoon that
the Pink Bankruptcy Card was raised to send me off the
field for 3 years. So a big Congratulations to the
captain of the opposite team Nominet as well as all
their supporters. A special mention to their sponsors
the UK domain registrants, their coach Allens. Well
done to the Groundskeeper Chris and a round of
applause to the Players Enetica, Explorer,
Benchwarmers Rod and Ron, a can of Fanta and a bag of
lollies to Waterboy Josh.

If the game’s still worth playing in 3 years time I
might just get a recall, and if I do you know it will
be with fresh legs,

All the Best

Brad

… “

Sunday March 26 2006

Nominet Legal Case: Score 1 for the Registry (Bradley Norrish + Chesley Rafferty)

Filed under: Bradley Norrish, Chesley Rafferty, UK Internet Registry — Josh @ 12:55 pm

ccTLD ICANN Meetings in Wellington, New Zealand, 25-31 March 2006
http://www.wwtld.org/meetings/cctld/20060326.Wellington-agenda.html

” …

wwTLD meeting Wellington Sunday 26th March

ccTLDs best practices: latest and future developments

15:15 Session 5: Nominet Legal Case: Score 1 for the Registry
Presentation of The Ches & Brad Case, Emily Taylor, .uk and Jackie O’Brien, Allens Arthur Robinson.

… “

Emily Taylor’s presentation is available here (700k PDF).

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