2 questions about reg transfer away from DH


#1

Hi. A few days ago I initiated some domain registration transfers away from DH and have noticed 2 anomalies. TLD is .com in all cases.

(1) My first attempt was rejected by the gaining registrar with a message like “could not extract email address from whois info”. In order to get past this stage, I had to remove private registration at the DH end. Well, I know that in the distant past one almost always had to do this, but, so far as I recall, more recently things were better and one did not have to do this. Maybe I am mis-remembering, but I think that about 2 years ago one could transfer away from DH without removing private registration. Am I mis-remembering? Or has DH procedure changed for the worse in the last 2 years?

(2) It has been several days, and I have not received a domain-jacking protection email like I did last time. 2 years ago the email said,

[quote]Hello,

We’ve received a request to transfer the domain registration for
[example.com] from DreamHost to another domain registrar.

You now have four calendar days to visit:

https://panel.dreamhost.com/?tree=domain.transfer&active_account=[number]

and approve or deny the transfer. If you do nothing, after four
days the transfer will be auto-denied as a precautionary measure
against domain-jacking.

Thank you!
The Happy DreamHost Domain Registration Transfer Team[/quote]

I’ve checked spam folders, and also my support history in the panel, and no such message has arrived. Again, this could be the result of a change in DH procedures. The losing registrar is not actually obliged to send any such message (in which case the transfer should be auto-approved after 5 days). But if DH is no longer sending such messages, it seems like another change for the worse, since the old procedure had the effect of speeding up completion of the transfer, as well as providing valuable protection against domain-jacking.

The transfers which I did a couple of years ago were all completed within 24 hours, and in some cases within 1 hour; as I wrote at the time,

[quote]I noticed that dreamhost batched up sending out its authorization-link emails into two periods of the day … mostly between 1500 and 1600 PST but sometimes between 0600 and 0700 PST

After that batching-behaviour is taken into account, the transfer was always completed expeditiously.

In one case (which by chance I had initiated just before dreamhost’s batch-sending window) the entire transfer (from initial request to final confirmation at the new registrar) took 45 minutes.[/quote]

Also, the domain-jacking protection mentioned in the email is valuable since, without it, protection depends on just 2 things:

(a) the authorization code supplied by the registry via the losing registrar; the problem with this is that it is not (I think) time-limited (in the case of TLD .com) so that once it has been made known to a 3rd party (for example in the course of a failed transfer attempt) it could be re-used many years later in a domain-jacking attempt. If I’m wrong about it not being time-limited, please advise.

(b) an email sent to the email address listed in the whois info … this is a published email address and thus may be relatively easily compromised. The email which DH sends (or used to send) provides significant extra protection since it is sent to the account holder’s login email address which is likely to be (and should be) well protected.


#2

Update: 5 days are now up and the transfers away from DH have been auto-approved.

This means that DH has changed its procedure some time in the last 2 years and is no longer sending the message which says “… If you do nothing, after four days the transfer will be auto-denied as a precautionary measure against domain-jacking.”

And on further investigation, it looks as though a good reason for this change could be that the old DH procedure was violating ICANN policy: see icann.org/en/resources/registrars/transfers/policy,

But if DH wanted to be helpful, they could still provide a way of speeding up the transfer. My other registrar in this situation sends a message which (complying with ICANN policy) says

So my question now is: how can a DH customer transfer away a .com registration in less than 5 days?


#3

2nd update: now I’m confident that I am remembering correctly, and 2 years ago it was possible to transfer away from Dreamhost without having to remove private registration.

Reason: looking at the emails from when I did such a transfer 2 years ago, I see that the authorization email from the gaining registrar was sent to mydomain.com@proxy.dreamhost.com

Furthermore, the September 2011 dreamhost newsletter said:

[quote]To help ease your pain we offer a whois Privacy Service - FREE.

We will provide a valid mailing address, phone number, and email address for your domain’s registration record.

We’ll list "yourdomainname.com@proxy.dreamhost.com" and forward its messages to your true hidden email address.[/quote]

But, looking at the whois NOW (September 2013) for one of my .com domains registered by Dreamhost, the email address is listed NOT as mydomain.com@proxy.dreamhost.com, but as randomstringofalphanumerics@proxy.dreamhost.com, where the randomstringofalphanumerics is not even a text string but is a .png image.

This would seem to explain why I could not do a transfer-away last week without first removing private registration.

So if this is right, then there seem to have been two degradations in DH domain registration service over the last two years:

(1) 2 years ago one could complete a transfer-away of a .com domain within a maximum of 24 hours, and sometimes within 1 hour. Now it seems to take a minimum (and maximum) of 5 days.

(2) 2 years ago one could complete a transfer-away of a .com domain without having removed private registration. Now it seems one has to remove private registration before initiating the transfer.

Were either of these changes announced to customers? … I could have missed the announcement.

Maybe having to wait 5 days for a transfer to complete is not so bad, but having to remove private registration before initiating a transfer would be a case of Dreamhost letting down its customers, unless there is a good reason for it.


#4

3rd update: DH have been making some adjustments behind the scenes.

In the last few days they’ve reverted to their earlier procedure of sending out a (possibly non-ICANN-compliant, but customer-friendly) email which allows you the option of immediately confirming or denying the transfer and says that if you do nothing, the transfer will be “auto-denied” after 4 days.

The other procedure is that they do not send an email, and the transfer is auto-approved after 4 or 5 days.

In the last week I’ve observed both procedures for .com and .net, and the former procedure for .org.

It would be tremendous if DH would actually say which procedure they are going to follow for any particular transfer.

Uncertainty about which procedure they will follow is inconvenient because of the opposite outcomes in the ‘do-nothing’ case. Anyone wanting to avoid the risk of a transfer being auto-denied needs to check (including in spam folders) for receipt or non-receipt of an email which DH may or may not have sent.


#5

Yes — there was an issue causing transfer confirmations to not be sent for .com and .net domains, which we resolved yesterday. All transfers should now generate a confirmation email, as that’s the intended behavior.