Earlier this morning I went to Pandoland2015.com to see if they had updated the agenda for the upcoming conference. I was a bit bewildered when instead of seeing the web page I was shown:
Frankly at first I thought someone was screwing with me, but after a bit of research found out that this is an actual ICANN error page.
ICANN is the the nonprofit corporation that deals with dolling out domain names. For most of us it is a name we only hear about when they are debating Top Level Domains or whether to allow non latin characters in domain names. They generally deal with very dry concepts that most of us are glad we really don’t have to think of. One of the things that they deal with when administering the Domain Name Infrastructure is the WhoIs database. Whenever you buy a domain name you are required to submit your name, address, contact information and such. This is to be used to track you down and communicate with you if you’re abusing the system. Frankly updating your ICANN information is something you’re supposed to do yearly, but most people don’t think much about it. The curious thing I didn’t realize is that if your information isn’t up to standards your website can end up pointing to the ICANN warning instead of your website. This redirection is at the highest DNS level and there’s not much you can do about it other than follow ICANN’s instructions.
When I ran WhoIs query on Pandoland2015.com it came back as being listed as private with Dreamhost:
Then after doing some more research I found that Dreamhost was notified that they were in “Breach of Registrar Accreditation Agreement” on October 31 of 2014, and this was their second break of agreement within 4 months.
I can’t say for certain exactly what happened in this specific situation, but it appears the takeaway should be to take seriously the choice of your Domain Registrar, and to make sure you followup on any emails or requests for information from ICANN. Websites seem like simple things until you realize Pando’s event is less than 2 weeks away, and there no guarantee on how long this will take to clear up.
ICANN Verification: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/contact-verification-2013-05-03-en
ICANN WhoIs Reminder Policy: http://whois.icann.org/en/whois-data-reminder-policy-wdrp
WhoIs Quesry for Pandoland2015.com: http://whois.icann.org/en/lookup?name=pandoland2015.com
ICANN’s Communication to Dreamhost: https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/correspondence/serad-to-elizarov-31oct14-en.pdf