Domain name registry suspends ISP for spamming

New Zealand

When the New Zealand arm of Asia Online was placed in voluntary liquidation in late October, Auckland internet service provider (ISP) Strongnet launched an unsolicited commercial email campaign targeting Asia Online's customers. Domainz, the registry for the '.nz' domain, has suspended Strongnet pending investigation.

Although Asia Online was still providing its service, and was purchased on October 31 by holding company Dresden Equities as a going concern, Strongnet's spam messages invited customers to contact it to discuss domain name and web hosting, pointing out that Asia Online had gone into liquidation.

By agreeing to Domainz's service provider conditions, all providers are obliged to not act in a way that would be detrimental to the integrity or performance of the register or the Internet generally, and to act in good faith towards domain name holders.

The suspension means Strongnet is unable to transfer the domain name records of Asia Online customers. However, Strongnet's current customers are not stopped from updating their domain name details.

Strongnet's director, Philip Hunt, has admitted to the spamming, but argues that spamming customers of Asia Online is not the same as generic spamming.

This is not the only recent case where Domainz has suspended an ISP for spamming. Earlier this year Australian ISP, The Internet Name Group, was suspended after it sent thousands of messages to '.nz' domain name holders, inviting them to pay NZ$250 as a "pre-registration fee" for '.biz' and '.info' addresses. The messages were headed "Protect Your Domain Name", and implied that unless the recipients paid the money (significantly more than the cost of registering a '.biz' or '.info' domain name), they could lose their '.nz' domain name and internet identity.

David von Dadelszen, AJ Park, Auckland

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