Rogues and Registrars: Top 10 List (November 2012)

Internet pharmacies selling drugs illegally continue to cluster at a handful of “safe haven” registrars, or ones that do not currently honor their agreements under ICANN’s Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy to disallow the use of domain names for unlawful purposes. Following our October report on the Top 10 registrars allowing rogue pharmacies to use their services, there’s some good news in the new rankings this month. After we contacted 0101 Domain, the Chinese registrar that was No. 6 on our list in October, it suspended hundreds of domain names that were being used to host rogue Internet pharmacies. We appreciate 0101 Domain’s fast, positive response to our notification and note that it now falls below the Top 25 and appears to be committed to not allowing its registration services to be used by criminals selling drugs over the Internet.

Moving into the Top 10 this month is DNC Holdings (also known as DirectNIC), which was close to making the cut in October and received an early warning from us. The rest of the Top 10 is largely unchanged. Note that we have reached out to the registrars listed below in the past, even as recently as the past month, but have seen no major progress in the removal of rogue pharmacy websites from their platforms.

1. AB Systems, dba yournamemonkey.com (Philippines)

It’s worth noting that since our analysis one month ago, this boutique domain name registrar, which is involved with the mega-network RxLimited, has added more than 500 websites to its stable of online pharmacies.

2. Moniker (United States)

3. Momentous Group/Rebel.com (Canada)

4. Joker.com (Germany/Switzerland)

5. Cloud Group Limited (United States)

6. TodayNIC (China)

TodayNIC, like 0101 Domain, was new to the Top 10 (previously No. 7, behind 0101) when we compared our October registrar data to numbers from earlier in 2012. Presumably, rogue Internet pharmacy operators are choosing these Chinese registrars because they are perceived as “offshore” and not likely to respond to LegitScript’s notifications. We urge TodayNIC to follow 0101 Domain’s lead and suspend and lock the domain names that are hosting illicit pharmacy websites.

7. Tucows/OpenSRS (Canada)

Tucows also moved up one spot this month after 0101 Domain dropped out of the top rankings.

8. DNC Holdings/DirectNIC (United States)

DNC Holdings held the No. 11 position a month ago but is now solidly in the Top 10. We have provided this registrar with lists of domain names in the past, but have not seen any action taken to suspend and lock the rogue pharmacies’ domain names, as we recommend.

Examples:

  • rxprofits.com, the affiliate signup page for the RxProfits/DirectNet Partners rogue pharmacy network
  • orderdrugs24.com, medicamentos-generico.com and pharmacyathome.com, websites in the Rx-Partners network
  • orderviagraonline.netbuytramadolhcl.com and online-pharmacy-stores.com, all part of the NetResort network. Nearly 87% of websites in this pharmacy/tobacco network are registered with DNC Holdings.

9. WebNIC.cc (Malaysia)

This registrar moved up from the 10th spot last month. LegitScript sees WebNIC.cc in particular as an emerging safe haven for online pharmaceutical crime.

10. BizCN dba cnobin.com (China)

BizCN has been corresponding with the LegitScript abuse team, but no concrete steps have been taken to suspend the domain names we provided to the registrar.

Early Warnings

  • Key-Systems GmbH is not only the second-most-popular German registrar for rogue pharmacy domain names (after Joker.com) but also is not far behind BizCN (China’s second-most-popular) in the rankings. Key-Systems has, on some occasions, taken decisive action against illegal online pharmacies on its platform but in other cases has declined to act.
  • Regtime, based in Russia and largely registering domain names with the .ru TLD, is the registrar of choice for a significant number of rogue pharmacy websites with some staying power, as opposed to those simply linked to in spam emails and later trashed.