[At-Large] Impressions from the Whois-Review

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Wed Feb 2 21:23:39 UTC 2011

Dear John Levine, johnl at iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",

Why do you continue to call then vanity domains?

I find that as offensive as some would probably find me referring to nosy commercial users who wanted to know my phone number and email so they could try to sell me stuff or try to get me to transfer my domain.  Or if I referred to viscous lawyer users who want to scare me because I used some word in my blog that they find offensive to their client.

With all due respect,


On 2 Feb 2011, at 15:11, John R. Levine wrote:

>> I cannot accept that there cannot be a balance between the right to privacy
>> and the right to know for those harmed by an act traceable to a domain.
> There certainly should be a balance.  But when there are a billion 
> Internet users, and thousands of individual vanity domain registrants, it 
> is silly to argue that the two interests are of the same weight and also 
> to argue, as many have over the past decade, that vanity registrants must 
> not be put to any extra or effort at all if they don't want to be treated 
> the same as the businesses and organizations that register the vast 
> majority of domains.
> I also have to say that it is not helpful when people make claims, as 
> we've seen recently, that WHOIS is useless for tracking miscreants, which 
> is false, or that it's only used to research trivial misbehavior, which is 
> equally false.  It is also unhelpful when people refuse to recognize the 
> scale of the modern Internet, in which web hosts routinely turn down 
> thousands of domains every day for anti-social behavior.  The real 
> surprise is that they don't make more mistakes than they do.
> All of my own domains have accurate WHOIS info.  I use a post office box 
> to receive my mail, so they don't show my home address, which I don't 
> think is an unreasonable burden.
> Regards,
> John Levine, johnl at iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
> Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly
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