[BALUG-Admin] I might need to change registrars?

Rick Moen rick@linuxmafia.com
Thu Feb 2 22:20:19 UTC 2023

I used to have my two domains, linuxmafia.com and unixmercenary.net, 
registered through an individual in Texas, found via my wife Deirdre,
who was a Tucows OpenSRS reseller.  Years down the line, he wound down
that operation:  I think I was among the final customers, probably kept
because I wasn't "high maintenance" unlike many domain owners.

Where I moved was to small, clueful registrar IWantMyName.com of
Wellington, NZ.  And all was good for a long time.  There was one brief
bobble when GDPR kicked in:  Suddenly and without explanation, let alone
my request, all my domain contacts toggled to "private registration".  I
opened a IWantMyName.com support ticket, like "not what I want, please

Their clued and cheerful tech quickly figured out what happened:
IWantMyName.com is a reseller of domain services provided by very large,
German registrar 1API Gmbh (with presumably IWantMyName.com doing its
work via 1API's, er, API.  And, like many large registrars, 1API Gmbh
had reacted to the rollout of GDPR by doing a "Fine, we'll just set
everyone for maximum privacy as a new default, so we cannot be sued for
privacy violation."

IWantMyName.com staff intervened with the larger company, and it got
fixed.  More years passed.  In August 2019, the unwelcome news arrived
that the Wellington, NZ shop was now a wholly owned subsidiary of 
CentralNic Group PLC of London.[1]  Drat.  You go to the effort of
researching a small clueful business, run by people you have confidence
in, and they get bought out by some distant idiots.  More years pass.

A few days ago, I check, and linuxmafia.com and unixmercenary.net are
_again_ set to "private registration".  Grr.  I do due-diligence by
visiting the IWantMyName.com customer WebUI:  For each domain, there is
a toggle to _enable_ (but not one to disable) "private registration".
Fine, I've tried to fix it myself, and no.  Will require registrar

New support ticket.  I thank them for prior help, detail 1API Gmbh
having pushed out this unrequested change once _before_, suggest this 
might have been a similar corporate spasm, give the context that I'm 
one of those rare people who insist on _public_ WHOIS, and that I've
had these domains for decades.

Support guy sends back a one-liner saying:


Shaswat, 2 Feb 2023, 00:23 UTC

Hello there,

Verisign domains do not show registrant details, regardless of privacy setting.

This is registry policy over which we do not have any influence so there isn't much we can do from our end.



I draft a response, saying "That's odd, I find nobody online discussing 
Verisign ever adopting such a policy, which is suspicious.  Nor can I
find any declaration of such a policy.  Can you please point me to one?
Also, when did this occur?  Please give me details so I know how to
escalate my complaint at Verisign."  (Verisign is indeed the operator of
the .com and .net TLDs, since their acquisition of NSI.)

But, before sending, I smell a rat.  Wait, does Shaswat's statement
actually check out?  If it's true, then _no_ .com or .net domains have
public WHOIS, any more.

I check:

o  apple.com
o  verisign.net

Both have public WHOIS.  I discard my pending draft response to Shaswat, 
and politely point out that his assertion is erroneous, citing the above
two domains as counter-examples.  I reiterate my request, say that his
first response is in no way acceptable, and advise checking with his 
team if he doesn't know how to proceed.  I also say he should use
standard WHOIS client queried to verify what I said about apple.com and 
verisign.net -- and paste the contact results for his convenience.

A few minutes later, Shaswat responds:


Shaswat, 2 Feb 2023, 04:11 UTC

I passed your email to our developers and I am getting the same response.

Here is a third party source that displays registrant info :- +https://www.whois.com/

Despite the privacy being turned off for the domains: linuxmafia.com and +unixmercenary.net, it says redacted.

That's because whois pulls data from the registry database and verisign keeps it



Notice the implication that his _entire_ notion of how to view WHOIS 
is to use an outsourced third-party _Web_ front-end to WHOIS.  I.e., I
suspect he is completely unaware of /usr/bin/whois and /usr/bin/jwhois .
One gets the picture of some underpaid technophone, who knows nothing
about the registrar business and uses only a Web browser, never command

I reply back, reiterating that irrespective of what "our developers"
say, that is obviously incorrect, and that he can see that for himself
using any WHOIS tool including the third-party https://www.whois.com/
CGI.  I also add that I'd advise him becoming fluent with /usr/bin/whois
and /usr/bin/jwhois, as that is a necessary skill for his present job.

That was about 14 hours ago.  I'm still waiting to hear... something.

So, I get the picture that CentralNic Group PLC probably laid off 
all the competent support staff and moved IWantMyName.com support 
into its existing ultra-low-paid helpdesk staff operation who only
copy-paste stock answers and are incompetent to do technical work.

I'm going to give it a day, and maybe try to escalate to the CentralNic
Group PLC / IWantMyName.com _sales_ staff, pointing out that they're 
about to lose a customer.

My expection is:  They're going to lose a customer.  I suspect they've
been Computer Associated.
( http://linuxmafia.com/~rick/lexicon.html#computer-associates )

(1) Michael, I notice you have berleleylug.com (with public WHOIS) at
registrar gandi.net .  Still happy with them?

(2) Anyone here have a .net domain (with public WHOIS) at gandi.net 
or any other reputable registrar?

[1] https://iwantmyname.com/about

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