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Taking Domain Control Back from the Registrar? 101

Patrick Clinger asks: "I run a large community Web site, and today I woke up to find that one of my domain names ( was disabled by my unnamed registrar -- my name servers were changed to NS1/NS2.SUSPENDED-FOR.SPAM-AND-ABUSE.COM and I no longer have access to that domain in my control panel. I am in no way involved in any spam activities, and the registration for my domain expires in 2007. I would expect at least a courtesy call or an email letting me know what happened, but neither was provided by the unnamed registrar. What can you do when suddenly a registrar goes off and takes control of your domain when there was no violation of your agreement with them? What is to prevent any registrar from taking over any domain when they feel like it? Right now my domain is in limbo, waiting for them to hopefully restore it to the correct name servers."
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Taking Domain Control Back from the Registrar?

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  • do a domain transfer (Score:3, Informative)

    by ophix ( 680455 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:25PM (#8393727) Homepage
    i would do a domain transfer to another registrar, taking all your domain names with you. on the other hand i have had no troubles whatsoever with said "unnamed registrar". have you tried calling their tech support line?
  • by clintp ( 5169 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:28PM (#8393746)
    My registrar just went out of business. Of course before they did, mysteriously, all of the contact information -- except billing -- was switched to them. And so I've got a couple of stranded domains that I can't move anywhere, at any price.

    Proving "ownership" is turning out to be harder than expected.
  • by bersl2 ( 689221 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:28PM (#8393749) Journal

    It's a .com, so Verisign?

    The courts?
  • Live and learn. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gklinger ( 571901 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:28PM (#8393752)
    I'm not sure there is anything you can do other than ask them to reinstate the domains unless you want to take this to court but that takes money and perhaps even more importantly, time. I'm not even sure suing them would get the results you want. It depends on what you agreed to when you registered the domain. It's vitally important to read all the fine print when making a business arrangement (like registering a domain). I think the rights and responsibilities outlined in the contract should be the prime factor when choosing a register, not price. All of that aside, a registrar suspending a domain for 'abuse', real or imagined, is ridiculous.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:33PM (#8393788)
    Write their support an email telling them you'll be contacting the Better Business Bureau if you do not hear from them with 24 hours. It works.
    • The BBB doesn't do jack. I've tried, but the BBB has no authority whatsoever; it's just a list of companies that *some* consumers are unhappy with, and it seems most companies reported to the BBB simply shakes it off, just like water on a goose.
      • AMEN. I reported a couple of companies to the BBB, got nothing for my troubles and ... wait for it ...

        If you go to the BBB site and look up the companies to see if they have any complaints against them, THEY DO NOT SHOW UP WITH ANY COMPLAINTS! Glad to know my voice and effort was wasted.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:41PM (#8393843)
    You could bitch about it on slashdot. That can only turn out well.
    • by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @06:40AM (#8395852)
      Acually public pressure is one of the few things that *does* work nowadays.

      If a company will behave in this way then do you really think they'll respond well to polite e-mails and phone calls? No, they have to be faced with a cold, hard loss of business and a bad reputation.

      My first thought when I read the story was: Glad to see this guy is getting some help but what about all the thousands of other people in similar situations who *aren't* being featured on Slashdot?

      The domain registration system is horrible, quite possibly the worst part of online life with the exception of spam. If you run a business online then literally you can wake up one morning and find that your entire livelihood has been brought to a halt by one person, who you've never met and never talked to, deciding to suspend your domain.

      Note that this has never happened to me. If I sound bitter it's because I find the situation utterly frustrating and unjust, even though I have not been a victim of it myself. Yet.
  • Give them a call! (Score:3, Informative)

    by dacarr ( 562277 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:42PM (#8393852) Homepage Journal
    Liek Ophix suggested above, I myself haven't had any problems with said registrar, but note that they keep phone lines open for their registrants so you can sort this out, and my experience is that they're more than willing to bend over backwards for their registrants.
    • by aster_ken ( 516808 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @01:53AM (#8394823)
      When I was working for a law firm in downtown Dallas, I had to work with 174 domain names registered with GoDaddy. I had a few minor quibbles with them, but their telephone support was second-to-none. Just give the guys a call. The worst they could do is say no.

      Don't get irate with them on the phone, either - that'll just convince the telephone rep. to not help you. Be nice, courteous - it's not that guy's fault. Don't threaten with lawyers or the BBB to the phone guys. Save that for certified mail.
      • ...but their telephone support was second-to-none.

        I, too, have found that none is better than most computer-related companies' technical support. It's heartening to hear from someone who shares my view.

  • Godaddy (Score:4, Funny)

    by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:44PM (#8393868) Homepage Journal
    I've heard both good and bad stories about Godaddy, so I've stayed away, they seem to be cheapest price, but I didnt want to take a chance.

    Personally, I'd send a certified letter from a lawyer, and work with them. But you did allow one of your sites to be used for spam relay, even if by mistake. Work it out, if not, get, and tell the world. Bad reputation can cause lots of damages.

    • Re:Godaddy (Score:5, Funny)

      by jmt9581 ( 554192 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:59PM (#8393956) Homepage
      Work it out, if not, get, and tell the world. Bad reputation can cause lots of damages.

      If you do get, at least remember not to register it through them. :)

    • Re:Godaddy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by pclinger ( 114364 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @01:48AM (#8394797) Homepage Journal
      If you read my message, I never said my server was used as a spam relay -- it wasn't. My servers are locked down, I don't leave them as open relays. I'm not an idiot.

      GoDaddy disabled my domain because some person sent an email to another person, and mentioned my domain in that email. It is as simple was that. The email did not originate from my servers. The email had nothing to do with me, except it mentioned the URL of one of the over 500,000 message boards that ProBoards hosts.

      Don't make accusations when you don't know the facts.
      • Spam doesn't have to be in email, you know.
        We regularly get idiots spamming proboard links on our forums.

        That said, people who have problems with users spamming links should be contacting the *user's* upstream provider.. works like a charm! ;)
      • Re:Godaddy (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Oddly_Drac ( 625066 )
        "GoDaddy disabled my domain because some person sent an email to another person, and mentioned my domain in that email. It is as simple was that."

        Then you have a watertight case for taking them through the legal wringer. However, you might want to get hold of their side of the story first. Nine times out of ten there's a misunderstanding or a joe job in the background that you have to clear up with an open mind.

        Give 'em attitude and they'll flip you the bird until the lawyers get involved, and then th
      • you are obviously pissed off. Although you tried to resolve this, it didn't happen the way you wanted to. Instantly. I understand your feelings, I would be just as pissed. But IMHO this is a classic example of the growing pains of the net. Sorry you were the victim. From all these threads, (I don't use it looks like they are one of the hosting companies doing something right, you just chose to flip out right away instead of using common sense to solve the problem. Call the Pres, then complain!
  • Publicize it on Slashdot.
  • by autarkeia ( 152712 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @10:51PM (#8393910) Homepage
    How about don't let your webhost register domains for you, and don't give your webhost administrative contact status in your domain? Do it yourself at a registrar that respects your rights, like GANDI [].
    • by ar32h ( 45035 ) <> on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:07PM (#8393993) Homepage Journal
      Sure, and be subject to France's restrictive speech laws.
      At least I have a reasonable expectation with Go Daddy that they will not suspend my domain without a good reason.

      Bad things happened, that's not a reason to erase inanimate, historical, objects from history.
      Insert whole free speech defend though I disagree speech here.

      I would also like to note that I have personal experience with some users abusing the send message to all members capability. Their use of the send to all function meets some definitions of spam. You know what? the particularly annoying user just might have been hosted on I'm not sad to see that they have been stopped, even though I disagree with the method used.
      • > At least I have a reasonable expectation with Go Daddy that they will not suspend my domain without a good reason.

        Let me check : between a registrar that disables a domain because supposed abuse has been reported and they didn't bother to check with the domain owner (!) and a registrar who will not act unless it is compelled to do so by a court of law, which one will you choose ?

        > Bad things happened, that's not a reason to erase inanimate, historical, objects from history.

        Is that some refere

        • Let me be clear : I'm not a total fan of GANDI. They started out as an `` ethical '' registrar (arguing against the high prices demanded for something so mundane as a record in a database and in some domain name servers) and then last year their employees had to drag the managers to court because they were screwing them and generally mismanaging the company egregiously.

          I register almost all my domains with Gandi, except when I have to use Dotster (via NameWinner [], which now seems to suck). The rise of the
          • >But like the AC poster, I'd like more info about their troubles, if you could find a URL...

            Hmmmm... can't find much (most of what we heard was on their internal news server and on IRC at the time), but there are still some messages from GANDI employees on Usenet lying around. This thread [] talks about a personnel strike, and this one [] mentions them sorting it out in court (that's all in French, a ruling in October is mentioned by a poster, but I can't seem to find it). Since I didn't hear about it since

          • I tried Hostway ... but quit using them when I realized they had several "we can charge you an indeterminate amount" clauses in their domain registration agreement

            Your credit card has protections for places like this. Many CC companies offer single-use virtual cards now for no extra charge. If you have a dispute, you close the virtual card and contact your CC company to file a dispute of charges.

            Remember, this is a last resort. You have to make an effort to resolve the problem first.
    • He didn't. The registrar, GoDaddy, has the power to edit the domains they sell..
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:10PM (#8394008)
    I had something similar happen. I registered a domain with a fly-by-night registrar. They took the money and closed down. I actually managed to find his home phone #. His mother (?) answered and actually said that the guy just got out of jail again.

    Anyway, I explained this to the registrar upstream from the scam company, and the upstream registrar unlocked it for me, without having to have any communications with the jailbird. My money was lost, but I was able to move the domain elsewhere.
  • Did you read this? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jjshoe ( 410772 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:22PM (#8394063) Homepage
    Did you read this? []
    • the $250.00 non-refundable re-activation fee doesn't seem to come with anything along the lines of "to be paid only if you actually screwed up." godaddy seems to make this determination entirely on their own, with no notice before rendering their verdict. no appeal?

      oh, wait, i use godaddy. damn. if you really hated my website(s) you could probably send an abuse letter to godaddy. if they're having a bad day, they might not bother investigating ... that could be bad. don't get any ideas.
  • by nemui-chan ( 550759 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:26PM (#8394091) Homepage
    I had a problem with my domain name providers as well. Some of the pictures I had taken and put up were noticed by my ex-girlfriend (and no they weren't pr0n.) and she called up the company and told them that I was infringing upon copyright and they shutdown my website. After explaining that she was a completely psychopath to the head of the company ( he was very polite about it, apologized, and said that any contact from her would be ignored and if they had any issues they would contact me before anything was changed.

    Long story short, call, talk to their manager, then their manager. Repeat as needed as high up the chain as you need to go to get them to listen to you.

  • suspicious (Score:3, Informative)

    by drDugan ( 219551 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:27PM (#8394097) Homepage
    either this was fixed right quick, or this person has done an intentional salshdotting of their own site to rev subscriptions.

    seems to be working fine now. 7pm PST 2/25
    • The link he posted was to his main web site, the domain in question is still down as of 8:44 PST
    • Re:suspicious (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pclinger ( 114364 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @01:53AM (#8394827) Homepage Journal
      The nameservers are still wrong. If you read my other thread [] you will see that I had to pay them $250 to get my domain back. Now the domain shows up in my account at GoDaddy, and I submitted a request to change my name servers back to the correct setting. Until those changes propogate, I still have people who are not able to access their accounts.

      21532 Calle Otono
      Lake Forest, California 92630
      United States

      Registered through:
      Domain Name: PROBOARDS21.COM
      Created on: 17-Mar-03
      Expires on: 17-Mar-07
      Last Updated on: 24-Feb-04

      Administrative Contact:
      Clinger, Patrick
      21532 Calle Otono
      Lake Forest, California 92630
      United States
      9494630329 Fax --
      Technical Contact:
      Clinger, Patrick
      21532 Calle Otono
      Lake Forest, California 92630
      United States
      9494630329 Fax --

      Domain servers in listed order:
      • Now there's nothing like posting your name, address, and phone number on Slashdot to get a date for the weekend.

        Can a little black book get Slashdotted?
  • Gandi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:45PM (#8394203) Homepage []

    "The Client owns the Domain Name registered. Gandi simply acts on the Client's behalf."

    No, I'm not affiliated with Gandi, but I do use them for my registration services. They're the only company who makes such a statement in their contract (AFAIK).
  • by ezraekman ( 650090 ) on Wednesday February 25, 2004 @11:54PM (#8394242) Homepage

    I must say that I'm very surprised by this response. I've had an extraordinarily positive experience with them, particularly BECAUSE of their anti-spam policy. They are very serious about complaints, but when I filed one, were definitely very careful about not arbitrarily shutting the spammer down just because *I said* they were a spammer. They contacted the spammer first, went back and forth with them and myself for a few days, and then shut them down when they would not stop.

    Based on my experience from the other side of the equation, you should have been contacted first. I'm surprised that you weren't. I would suggest contacting the President, Bob Parsons' office. When I called, I was told that he kept his number fairly easy to access because he prefers to be more hands-on and accessible to customers. I'm sure that he doesn't take the calls personally (I got voicemail when I called), but was told later that the issue had been referred by him personally to the abuse dept manager, who called me back.

    The " Office of The President" number is (480) 505-8828, and the e-mail address is [mailto]. Give 'em a call, and a chance. Everyone has given some variation of "you get what you pay for", but this customer has gotten far more than that in the past.

  • joe jobs et al. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by perlchild ( 582235 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @12:06AM (#8394291)
    While I doubt it's the case of the person in the article, it does make a joe-job(spammer pretending to be you) a lot more threatening...
  • Because if you do, these addresses may be used to fake from headers for the MyDoom worm, or other spam, etc. Maybe a lot of it went to a group of people who got together and in retaliation, bugged GoDaddy a lot, causing them to suspend the account (without properly investigating to see if it actually ORIGINATED from your domain).

    Hell, this may even be the case if you don't let people have email addresses at your domain. Nothing's stopping spammers from making it look like stuff comes from or billybob or whatever, so long as the payload still generates sales for the right person.

    Meanwhile it makes you (or your service providers) look like the most obvious source of ill will.
  • Possible reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @12:37AM (#8394434) Homepage Journal
    Looking at*, there seems to be quite a few reports of spammers from

    Example []
    Example []
    Example []

    My guess is that complaints about the spammer went to GoDaddy rather than you. Did you receive complaints? Do you, I hope, have an address set up...

    • Re:Possible reason (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Looking at*, there seems to be quite a few reports of spammers from


      My guess is that complaints about the spammer went to GoDaddy rather than you. Did you receive complaints? Do you, I hope, have an address set up...

      A quick trip to, his main web site, shows that he is giving away free sub domains. My guess is that a spammer screwed him, and his registrar helped. Goes to show you, no act of
    • That was an account which we terminated a couple days ago due to a SpamCop complaint we received. That situation was handled, and then GoDaddy came around and decided it would be a great idea if they just disabled our domain because of the complaint. I've posted more details in other threads.
      • This little thread makes me think you were being disingenuous when you said "I am in no way involved in spam activities"

        You were involved in spam activities - you allowed spammers to use sub-domains off a domain you control.

        I imagine you have emails from godaddy somewhere in some mailbox where they tried to contact you, the connection didn't happen, and then they yanked you.

        Which is just a long way of applying the old axiom "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity". Not saying your s
        • you allowed spammers to use sub-domains off a domain you control.

          At ProBoards, every single account gets their own subdomain instantly when you sign up. We don't provide them any type of email services, just a nice URL to access their message board at. I "allowed spammers" to use a subdomain? Please. Someone create a message board, and they got a subdomain for the URL to their message board. Thats all that there is here.

          How is giving everyone a subdomain for their account being involved in spam ac

          • You would also be "involved in spam activities" IF you failed to take reasonable measures to prevent a spammer from abusing your domain and/or other resources to send spam (which is only legal for Hormel (tm)).
  • More Details (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pclinger ( 114364 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @01:22AM (#8394685) Homepage Journal
    I got more details from GoDaddy as I talked to their abuse department on the phone. This is what they told me:

    1) Some person (a person I do not know) sent out an email to a bunch of people with their newsletter, and included a link to their message board that was hosted by ProBoards.
    2) Another person received a copy of that email, and took it as spam (it may have been -- although the email looks like a newsletter).
    3) That person SpamCop report, and contacted GoDaddy regarding it.
    4) I deleted that message board account about 2 days prior to GoDaddy disabling my domain name.
    5) GoDaddy disabled the domain because it was "associated" with spam.

    Now let me make this clear if you don't understand it: Some person out there on the Internet sent an email to another person out there on the Internet and because that email mentioned my domain name in the body of it, my domain was disabled for being associated with spam.

    The email did NOT originate from my servers, it was not sent by me or a member of my staff. It is just like if I opened up my mail program and sent an email to a hundred people mentioning somewhere in the email "" and then /.'s registrar disables their domain by changing their name servers.

    To top the entire situation off, GoDaddy charged me a $250 fee to get my domain name back! I am now looking to transfer my domain names to a new registrar, so time to start looking - and time to start considering legal action.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Contact SpamCop about it. Also, send yourself an email with a link it, and report it to SpamCop. GoDaddy can suspend themselves. ;-)
    • If you have the time - go to your county courthouse - get the paperwork filled out to get a small claim. Put the maximum allowed in small claims court for damages, get it delivered to godaddy's local lawyer in your state (they are doing business there aren't they ) and wait for THEM to contact you.

      If they don't take the claim against them and get it collected. You should not be out money for something that they did

    • Re:More Details (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eponymous Cowboy ( 706996 ) on Thursday February 26, 2004 @02:26AM (#8394943)

      This whole thing bothers me to no end.

      I've noticed this kind of thing happens all the time in life, and I really am starting to dislike it: Everything is going just fine, you do nothing wrong, someone else screws up--completely outside of your control--and it takes you time and money to fix it.

      I've gotten half-a-million-dollar tax bills because my state double-issued a taxpayer ID. I've been pulled over for speeding by the police within seconds of entering a highway, not even yet at highway speed, because my car happened to be the same model as someone they had clocked miles up the highway. I've had my ISP cancel my account when their credit card processor double-billed my card and marked the chargeback of the second amount as nonpayal.

      And now, I've got this to worry about, too. I have around twenty domain names with GoDaddy.

      I really empathize with you. This just sucks.

      I really hope that you can get the $250 refunded, talking with the right people at Please keep us updated, if not here, then in your Slashdot journal. I can't imagine that they could keep the $250; I am amazed they actually made you pay it in the first place.

      If you cannot get them to refund the $250 within the next week or so, here is what I would recommend:

      Transfer all of your domain names elswhere (once you find a registrar of course). Then once they have been successfully transferred, dispute the $250 charge with your credit card company. You have 60 days from the date of your statement; so anywhere from 60 to 90 days from today, depending on when your next statement is sent out. It's as easy as filling out a form or writing a short letter and mailing it in. Your credit card company will side with you by default, that's how they work, and refund the money immediately. The burden of proof will then like with to show that they charged you this fee correctly; if what you have said is true, they will be unable to do it.

      Of course it will be a hassle, transferring your domain names. Hopefully it won't come to that, and GoDaddy will step up to the plate, refund your $250, and apologize. Let us know what happens. I wish you the best.

    • Re:More Details (Score:3, Informative)

      by Electrum ( 94638 )
      To top the entire situation off, GoDaddy charged me a $250 fee to get my domain name back! I am now looking to transfer my domain names to a new registrar, so time to start looking - and time to start considering legal action.

      I highly recommend []. They have a great interface, great customer service, good prices and most importantly, they don't pull crap like that. There is a reason why so many adult companies register their domains through them. Of course, they are great for anyone, but the
    • Re:More Details (Score:4, Informative)

      by Pathwalker ( 103 ) * <> on Thursday February 26, 2004 @04:56AM (#8395516) Homepage Journal
      Looks like your domain being suspended might just be the beginning of your problems.

      You appear to be listed [] on four blocklists.

      You might want to keep a closer eye on your customers in the future...
      • Doing another search for [] other [] IPs [] in [] the [] same [] block [] as mine, you will find that the same 4 "positives" show up for all IPs with the prefix 207.44.184.

        That isn't me getting blacklisted, that is the entire block being blacklisted, which is not my doing. Parent should be modded down.
        • Re:More Details (Score:3, Interesting)

          Why should he be modded down? He didn't accuse you of anything, he said having the domain suspended isn't the last of your problems, which - if your IP is going to be blacklisted (whether part of a netblock or not) - certainly is going to be the case.

          If nothing else, as you are offering services to uncontrolled third parties, you do need to look into building a relationship both with your registrar and with the more reasonable parts of the anti-spam community, so that you are considered the primary focus

  • transfer it (Score:3, Informative)

    by ddent ( 166525 ) * on Thursday February 26, 2004 @03:19AM (#8395190) Homepage
    I took a look, they haven't put the domain on registrar-lock.

    Just transfer the domain to another registrar - you won't lose anything other than a registrar you aren't happy with (i.e. the existing time on the registration is extended by a year).

    (Shameless plug: We offer domain name [] registration for $10.95/year.)
  • What a bummer - I'd switch fast as I could too, as others here have said; but I'd take at least a day and find out who is good in this business, who guarantees you 'own' your domain name, etc. It's not always the cheapest who are best and safest, and it's not always the most expensive either (VeriSlime).
  • GANDI's French, but I spent a long time with a friend going over user policies and prices. GANDI has some of the strongest protections for the user (it's hard for GANDI to do things for your domain and easy for you to transfer it), and is still one of the cheaper ones -- though I think godaddy is still the cheapest.

    Whatever you do, avoid Verisign like the plague.
  • I had the same problem for about 40 of my clients. The solution was simple;

    1. I set up a DNS server 2. Transferred ALL domains to 3. I changed all the DNS records for those domains to my DNS server. Cheap, easy and if you ever want a MX change or whatever, you don't have to wait ages for you provider to change and replicate. Not ment as advertisement for register, there are many like them, but that is what I did 2 years ago and I never want to go back.

  • lawrence /home/lawrence > dig ns

    ; <<>> DiG 9.2.1 <<>> ns
    ;; global options: printcmd
    ;; Got answer:
    ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 20107
    ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0

    ; IN NS

    com. 10733 IN SOA 1077773317 1800 900 60480

  • ive been using for a few months and i havent had any problems with them. also they're cheap.
  • I resolved a dispute like this with my hosting company over the phone.

    I had designed a single page for a customer within a regional business district website I'd put together a few years ago. The business was a small, independent children's clothing and toy store with the word "Kiddie" in the name, and some whack job prankster had sent out some kind of inane spam that referenced the page for this store, along with a handful of other innocent pages on the web, advertising it as a child pornography site. Som
  • Go Daddy's Spam and Abuse Department received spam complaints regarding and began investigating the situation. The Go Daddy Spam and Abuse team sent multiple warnings to the Administrative and Technical contact email addresses, which are the email addresses that ICANN requires be accurate. Email warnings sent to both contact addresses were rejected by the customer's mail server with a "did not like recipient" error. This, in an of itself, can be a big problem. Our abuse department also a

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!