March 01, 2004

Aplus Gets an F

Wow, got my first unsolicited telemarketing call (not counting the local political calls) in ages earlier today, from a woman who identified herself as being with "A Plus dot net" (www.aplus.net). She said she noticed I'd registered a domain (and she told me the domain name I'd registered) and then told me that her company offers all kinds of web services and would I be interested and what plans did I have for my domain.

This got me thinking:

One, the number she called is on the Federal "Do-Not-Call" list. Wasn't this a violation of that law? I'm pretty sure it was. Perhaps Ivan Vachovsky, president of Aplus.net, can explain why it wasn't. (I've emailed him to find out.)

Two, it struck me as odd that Aplus.net would know that I had registered a domain less than 48 hours ago -- on Saturday in fact. I mean, I'm sure the data gets into the WHOIS database pretty fast, but doesn't ICANN and/or Verisign have strict rules about companies selling to contacts listed in the WHOIS database? I coulda sworn I read that somewhere. Oh yeah. Here it is (just run a WHOIS command):

TERMS OF USE: You are not authorized to access or query our Whois database through the use of electronic processes that are high-volume and automated except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations; the Data in VeriSign Global Registry Services' ("VeriSign") Whois database is provided by VeriSign for information purposes only, and to assist persons in obtaining information about or related to a domain name registration record. VeriSign does not guarantee its accuracy. By submitting a Whois query, you agree to abide by the following terms of use: You agree that you may use this Data only for lawful purposes and that under no circumstances will you use this Data to: (1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via e-mail, telephone, or facsimile; or (2) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that apply to VeriSign (or its computer systems). The compilation, repackaging, dissemination or other use of this Data is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of VeriSign. You agree not to use electronic processes that are automated and high-volume to access or query the Whois database except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations. VeriSign reserves the right to restrict your access to the Whois database in its sole discretion to ensure operational stability. VeriSign may restrict or terminate your access to the Whois database for failure to abide by these terms of use. VeriSign reserves the right to modify these terms at any time.

Ivan, care to explain?

Posted by brian at March 1, 2004 01:42 PM

Comments

The same thing has been happening to me. The first time, I noticed it was a couple of days after I registered a domain name. The second time was on my cell phone and I've only put that cell phone number on my registrations, as it is a new cell phone. SO, after reading this, I filied a complaint with https://www.donotcall.gov . I suggest you do that too so they can get fined? Also will be joining your efforts. Tia

Posted by: Tia at March 19, 2004 03:07 PM

I just received a spam call from this same company just 15 minutes ago.

It makes me mad that they harvested my phone number from whois AND that I still get calls like this after I signed up for the "do not call" list.

I searched for aplus.net on google and came up with results that indicate that this company is involved in shady business practices.

I had not even heard of aplus.net before they called me.

Posted by: Jason at November 22, 2004 12:22 PM

Hi,
I just referenced this story in my post where I analyzed a blog-spam attack. To sum it up Aplus dot net doesn't look nice in that regard either. On the contrary from the outside it looks like it my be some kind of safe heaven for spammers.

Posted by: g. at December 5, 2004 08:00 AM

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