RegisterFly Scandal Culminates in Class Action Lawsuit

More than 75,000 individuals have already lost their Internet domain names registered through RegisterFly.com. New class action lawsuit seeks to protect up to a million more from the same fate.

Winston/Salem, NC – March 28, 2007 – Yesterday, a U.S. District Court judge unsealed a class action lawsuit against Internet domain registrar RegisterFly along with the corporation charged with accreditation and oversight of registrars, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”), among others. The lawsuit (Anne Martinez v RegisterFly, ICANN et. al.) filed by Attorney E. Clarke Dummit alleges that RegisterFly has systematically defrauded its customers who attempted to register or renew Internet domain names, causing them to lose their domain names, finances, and even entire businesses. The lawsuit was initially sealed due to fears of retribution by RegisterFly.com towards plaintiff Anne Martinez for filing the suit, but since then other concerns have become more pressing, and the case was opened to the public.

Lead Plaintiff Anne Martinez fears that RegisterFly is likely to cause the loss of her website GoCertify.com, which is the primary source of support for her and her children. The GoCertify.com domain, which had a scheduled expiration date of March 18, 2007, according to Registerfly, could not be renewed (even though Anne was charged for the service of having that done), was refused transfer to a different registrar, and has had Anne”s ownership information completely removed or concealed from public databases as well as made inaccessible to her. Martinez says, “if Medina illegally shuts down my registration, I could end up losing my business that has supported me for years, and even my home, and I am only one of thousands of people in this same situation. I can not just stand by and let this happen.”

Long before the allegations of misuse of RegisterFly funds by company owner Kevin Medina for such things as escort service; a liposuction procedure; a penthouse apartment in Miami, Florida; and a $6,000 Chihuahua dog, RegisterFly had already earned a growing reputation for failing to renew or transfer domain names, respond to customer support issues, and double or triple charge for services never delivered. It was clear that RegisterFly was in trouble, and the accreditation agency of registrars, ICANN, knew it, but ICANN did not perform its duty to protect the public and continued to accredit RegisterFly and allow it to perform as a registrar.

In fact, ICANN, which collects a fee for every domain sold through its accredited registrars, did not give notice of termination of ICANN”s accreditation of RegisterFly until the day AFTER attorney Dummit served ICANN with this class action lawsuit. This provides further evidence that it is time for the American Legal System to step in and reign in this outrageous, illegal behavior that has already harmed many people around the world, and threatens to damage many more.

“I only hope that this situation can be brought under control before it becomes even worse, and that the agents responsible for all of this harm and heartache will be held accountable for what they have done,” says Martinez.

Visit http://www.registerfly-lawsuit.com for details and recent updates according Class Action Lawsuit against Registerfly.

Registerfly Customers: How to Regain Control for Domains

As you probably noticed, due to Registerfly system troubles there”s impossible to remove ProtectFly (whois protection service) for some domains. In such case, your contact information isn”t displayed, so it”s impossible to transfer such domains to other registrar.

Fortunately, there”s solution. It worked for me and for others.

  1. Go to the Registerfly site and open a new account. Select a new log-in name (user ID) when creating the account.
  2. Log-in to the old account and select drop down menu item “Change of Ownership”. Perform an internal push of domains to the other user log-in (User ID).
  3. You will receive a notification email indicating the new Registrant information.
  4. When you log into the new account, Protectfly should be gone and you should be able to unlock the domain and obtain the authorization codes.

Termination of RegisterFly.com Registrar Accreditation Agreement

The news is in. This is it and official, ICANN has in fact stripped Registerfly of the Accreditation effective IMMEDIATELY!

ICANN today issued a formal notice of termination of RegisterFly.com”s Registration Accreditation Agreement (RAA).

ICANN has issued a letter to RegisterFly indicating that it will cease operating as an ICANN-Accredited Registrar on March 31, 2007. Under the terms of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), ICANN must provide 15 days written notice to RegisterFly of its intention to terminate.

Effective immediately ICANN has terminated RegisterFly”s right to use the ICANN Accredited Registrar logo on its website.

Between now and 31 March RegisterFly is required to unlock and provide all necessary Authinfo codes to allow domain name transfers to occur. Any and all registrants wishing to transfer away from RegisterFly during this period should be allowed to do so efficiently and expeditiously.

“Terminating accreditation is the strongest measure ICANN is able to take against RegisterFly under its powers,” Dr. Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN said today.

“ICANN has been frustrated and distressed by recent management confusion inside RegisterFly,” Dr. Twomey, President said. “I completely understand the greater frustration and enormous difficulty that this has created for registrants.”

When the Agreement is terminated, ICANN can approve a bulk transfer of all current RegisterFly domain names to another ICANN accredited Registrar.

“Of course, RegisterFly does not have to wait till then. They can request ICANN to approve a bulk transfer immediately. I call on RegisterFly to act in the interests of registrants and seek such a transfer from us straight away,” Dr. Twomey said.

ICANN intends to hold a forum to discuss the reform of the Accreditation policy and process at its Lisbon meeting in a week”s time*.

A set of questions and points to inform the discussion will be made public prior to the Lisbon meeting.

* The Lisbon meeting is one of three meetings held a year by ICANN to meet with global stakeholders. It will take place from 26-30 March 2007.

You can read this on the ICANN website here.

Some better news according Registerfly

Quick announcement. John and Glenn have re-gained control of Registerfly and the site was down due to them moving it over to the new server. So this domain name successfully transferred away from Kevin Medina and is now under full control of John and Glenn along with Mark Klein.

Update: Later same day (March 6th) site was online, I”ve initiated most urgent transfers and could login to RegisterFly account for obtaining authorization codes. However, members area worked not properly, needed big patience in order to change whois protection status, also for some domains couldn”t change contact information at all (was attempting to enter own instead of Protectfly, but was getting errors). Also, authorization code for 1 domain was invalid.

Let”s hope, that things would go better.

RegisterFly Update – March 2nd, 2007

ICANN provides the following update:

  • As is already known on 21 February 2007, ICANN issued a letter to RegisterFly [PDF, 101K] indicating a Notice of Breach of its Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) and demanding that RegisterFly act within 15 working days to cure the breaches outlined in the letter.
  • Also on 21 February, ICANN sent a Notice of Audit [PDF, 60K] that required RegisterFly to allow ICANN to inspect and copy records as well as a notice to submit data to ICANN or a reputable escrow agent regarding registration applications and Registered name holders.
  • On 27 February 2007, ICANN sent two employees to RegisterFly offices in New Jersey to audit them and obtain the registrant information.
  • RegisterFly has not complied. On 1 March 2007 RegisterFly”s lawyers forwarded a letter [PDF, 12K] to ICANN advising that refusal to comply with ICANN”s request “should not be construed as my client”s unwillingness to cooperate with ICANN but as evidence of their continuing efforts to service their customers.”
  • In response ICANN has issued a second letter [PDF, 288K] dated 2 March 2007 setting out additional breaches of the Registrar Agreement. In that letter ICANN describes RegisterFly”s statement that refusal to comply is evidence of customer service as “preposterous.”
  • RegisterFly”s continuing breaches of the RAA are serious and will be pursued.
  • ICANN”s primary concern is to do what it can to protect registrant and related data.
  • ICANN has provided notice that it will file a suit against RegisterFly in the United States District Court for the Central District of California seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) requiring RegisterFly to turn over the data requested and to compel an emergency audit of its books and records.
  • In addition to this legal action, ICANN today convened a telephone conference among those needed to implement a plan that will help cease unintended deletions. The participants were registries holding RegisterFly names: Afilias (.info), Newstar (.biz), VeriSign (.com, .net), RegisterFly backend services provider Tucows and eNom (for which RegisterFly was a reseller) as well as representatives of RegisterFly.
  • The Registries involved have agreed to move any RegisterFly names in Redemption Grace Period* status into Server-Delete-Prohibited status. This will prevent them from being deleted from the registry and becoming available for re-registration by others. ICANN commends and encourages this example of cooperation to protect registrant data.
  • ICANN will provide further updates as new information is available and action taken.

    Media Contacts:

    Paul Levins

    Executive Officer and Vice President Corporate Affairs ICANN
    Ph: +1 310 301 5804 E: paul.levins – at – icann.org

    International
    Andrew Robertson, Edelman ( London)
    Ph: +44 7921 588 770
    E: andrew.robertson – at – edelman.com

    * (Registration Grace Period is a period that allows the domain-name registrant, registrar, or registry operator time to detect and correct any mistaken deletions. During the grace period, the deleted name will be placed on REGISTRY-HOLD, which will prevent the name from functioning/resolving. This tends to call attention to the impending deletion).