Another day, another large hosting provider knowingly providing service & support to spammers, by turning a blind eye to spam complaints. The latest provider to demonstrate that behaviour? NameCheap.com.
Since earlier this year, a site that we manage has received repeated, persistent spam EMails hawking small-business loans, via links using a number of different, but similar domain names. Rather than sending the links in regular EMails, these spammers were instead using the website's contact form - a common trick used by some types of spammers, to evade spam filters (typically it's much more difficult to block contact form spam, because the actual EMails come from your own server) - which also makes it harder to report the spammers, since you can't do so using automated/turnkey services like SpamCop. But these spammers managed to get my attention thanks to their persistence (at one point, we were receiving daily contact form spam from them), so I started attempting to track down where the spam-vertised sites were hosted. Which brings us to the main topic of this article: NameCheap.com, the company providing hosting service to the spam support site advertised in the most recent example.
Read on for the details of NameCheap's response (or rather the utter lack thereof) when we attempted to report the issue to them.
We took the standard steps to determine where the spam support site was hosted: first looking up the IP address of the server hosting it, 18.104.22.168 - and then looking up that IP address in a geolocation service that also also lists the owner of the IP address: in this case, the owner is listed as "Namecheap Inc." Being familiar with NameCheap & knowing them as a fairly large, reputable (by and large) provider, we decided to report the issue to them & looked up the contact information for their abuse department. We then sent copy of the full spam message to their primary abuse reporting address, email@example.com, including the offending links to the spam support site hosted on their servers. That was on November 1st... after 5 days with no response whatsoever, we sent a follow-up through their support ticket system. That was 4 days ago, on November 6th - and the response since then? The best way to illustrate that is with a screenshot of the replies/history for that support ticket:
That's right, after 9 days, the only messages under that ticket are the ones from us - with no response whatsoever from NameCheap staff. The ticket is listed as not even having been assigned to one of their staff - which, if you're familiar with Kayako Fusion (the support ticket software they appear to be using), means there's a very good chance that the ticket hasn't even been looked-at yet. And suffice it to say, nothing has been done about the offending spam-support site: GetMyBusinessFundedNow[dot]com is still online, and still hosted on NameCheap's servers. At this point, it looks like NameCheap belongs in the steadily-growing list of large providers who are spammer-friendly in practice, if not in official policy: such as OVH, BlueHost, Google/GMail, and Microsoft/Hotmail. They're a great choice for spamming & hosting spam-support sites, but they should be avoided for anything else - for the same reasons that it's a bad idea for a legitimate business to setup shop in a neighbourhood that's full of crack houses.
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