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30 October 2008, 15:51

EstDomains on the chopping block; 280,000 domains seek new home

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ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is shutting down the controversial domain registrar EstDomains – and as a result, it is looking for a new domain registrar for some 280,000 domains.

Many of the domains registered through EstDomains are well-known sources of spam or serve as launch pads for phishing attacks. Security expert Brian Krebs found dozens of EstDomain-registered domains listed in spam databases such as

This is not the direct reason for the shutdown. Instead, ICANN is using the recent Estonian court conviction of EstDomains head Vladimir Tsastin on charges of credit card fraud, money laundering, and forgery. This means that ICANN can invoke paragraph 5.3.3 of the registrar accreditation agreement to justify the premature termination of the accreditation. ICANN's notice faxedPDF to Tsastin cites the relevant paragraph as the reason.

As part of the "de-accredited registrar transition procedure", ICANN has called on other ICANN-accredited registrars to take over the domains previously assigned to EstDomains in a mass transfer. Interested companies are required to deliver a written statement of interest and meet a number of qualifications for the takeover.

The original planned date was November 3, 2008 at 23:00 GMT, but on October 29 EstDomains secured a last-minute stay of execution. Its board says that Tsastin resigned before the conviction and is no longer the head of the company, so that the stated clause no longer holds. The closure is on hold while ICANN analyses the claims.


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