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Aardvark Weekly 27 August 99
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Dateline: 2 December 1999 All Day Edition
Read Yesterday's Edition

Two Sets Of Rules?
The "whois" utility is a simple tool that allows its users to extract some useful information from the database of domain names created by a registrar such as Domainz. Recently, after much lobbying and industry pressure, the registrar responsible for administering the .nz namespace (ie: any domain-name that ends in .nz) finally agreed to implement a whois server on their system.

One of the potential problems with providing a whois service is that it can be open to abuse. Unscrupulous marketers could, for instance, use the server to gather email addresses for bulk emailing.

ISOCNZ, the organisation on behalf of which Domainz operate the .nz registry therefore, has a policy which forbids:

"Using any information contained in the WHOIS query output to attempt a targeted contact campaign with any person, or any organisation, using any medium."

Unfortunately, it seems the rules about using this data don't apply to Domainz itself who, earlier this week, sent out an unsolicited commercial email, touting the sale of a piece of software by offering a free 30 day trial to all those who appear as the technical contact for 10 or more domain names.

At the foot of the message is this comment:

"My apologies if you receive multiple copies of this message. The e-mailing list has been taken from a summary of the technical contact email in the .nz Register"

It would seem that while you and I are prohibited from using the information in NZ's domain name registry for sending bulk, unsolicited commercial email, Domainz is not.

Do as we say, not as we do?


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