As you may already know per an email we sent out a short time ago (to those that inquired about it today), and per numerous posts on this thread, I would just like to reiterate: the email sent from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ is legitimate.
Starting January 1, 2014, any gTLD New Registrations or Contact Modifications (WHOIS update for First Name, Last Name, Email Address, aka “Contact info”) must be verified by the Registrant. (Per: http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Domain_Verification_Policy )
ICANN’s reason for this new verification step is to prevent WHOIS and ownership changes on domains that were not made by the legitimate domain owner. The reason why the link you see in the email takes you to “name-services.com” is because name-services.com is a URL that our registry partner, Enom, uses to verify domain WHOIS changes.
I agree with you all that our communication on this process could/should have been much more informative and less surprising. The policy itself was sprung on us rather suddenly as well, and I certainly understand the skepticism upon receiving one of these emails for the first time. We’re working to improve this process moving forward.
On top of that uncertainty, we discovered a bug on our end of things today. For those that may have already gone through this verification process, some were not completed properly. ICANN takes this matter very seriously, and we were required to obtain the missing verifications. As a customer of DreamHost as well as an employee, I also had to re-verify a domain today, heh.
NOTE: If you have multiple domains requiring verification, and the information is correct, you need only verify one of the registrations using that contact information, and the remaining domains will be automatically verified.
You can read more about ICANN’s verification policy on their site, here: https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/contact-verification-2013-05-03-en
We offer our sincerest apologies for the confusion caused by this policy and the related emails sent. If you run into any trouble verifying your domain registrations or have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our support teams via live chat or at Support > Contact Support in your web panel.