Yesterday, I learned that GoDaddy released personally identifiable information about me to a spammer troll. You see, it all started way back in August of 2011 2012 (edit: I was mistaken on the date of the original incident) when I got a dodgy-looking email from someone I didn’t recognize that said only “Transcendental Argument for the existence of God (17:36)” and a link to a website that I did not click on for fear it would download all sorts of creepy crawlies on my computer. The email went to me and a bunch of other people I do not know whose names also start with “J.” In other words, it was quintessential spam.

I noticed that the email address it came from as well as the link went to a GoDaddy registered domain. I figured I should report it, so I forwarded the email along with headers to GoDaddy’s abuse department. I then immediately forgot about it because I can only worry about a piece of spam for so long.

Yesterday, over 2 years after the original spam incident, I began to get emails from friends of mine forwarding a piece of creepy-looking spam they received that contained my name. All emails said the following:

if you go to:

<website redacted>

4/14/14

 

you can read a 1-page word.doc

featuring Jamie Bernstein of Skepchick.

 

neither her name, nor your organization’s name

appear anywhere in the story … only Jamie’s picture

Clicking the link brought me to the same late-90s-geocities-reminiscent Skeptic website that almost 3 years ago I thought was going to give my computer a bunch of sketchy viruses. There at the top of the page was a photo of me with the following:

Screenshot of harassing site

Cute, huh?

 

(click the picture to read a 1-page word.doc)

 

For anyone considering dating this person

I would recommend that you first google the mating habits of …

 

The praying mantis

 

If someone is already married to this person, the only advice I can offer is …

Drink heavily and smoke constantly … it can’t last forever.

Clicking the photo downloads a word document, the title of which contains my full first and last name.

The document then says that in 2011 he sent an email to “hundreds of atheists” with a link to his website and that I had reported him for violating GoDaddy’s policies against spam. He was supposed to pay a $200 fine or risk the suspension of his domain. Instead, he argued with GoDaddy’s customer service until they agreed to waive the fine as long as he promised never to send spam again.

He ended the document with the following:

When I was threatened on my talk show by neo-Nazis (“I’m going to kill you and your family”), I didn’t “run to mommy” and try to get them in trouble – I handled it myself, like a grownup. Compare my response to physical threats to the complainer’s response to merely watching a video about science/religion.

 

This person needs to grow up. But more importantly, this person needs to make some serious adjustments to their moral code.

 

(an anger management class wouldn’t be such a bad idea either)

In other words, he sent out a spam email that clearly violated the rules of his server. Then, he turned around and retaliated against the person who reported him.

Except, there is a missing step here. You see, he would never have been able to retaliate had he not known who had reported him. The email in question went to a lot of people and there was no way for him to have known that I was the one who reported the email if GoDaddy had not released personally identifiable information about me to my spammer.

Now, I have an angry spammer who blames me for receiving a $200 fine and is retaliating by posting my name and photo on his website with gendered insults and then (ironically) sending out spam emails with the link to friends of mine that he has tracked down and who knows who else.

GoDaddy has put my personal privacy and safety at risk. And, in case you think this could have been a mistake, GoDaddy’s policy for dealing with abuse complaints contains the following:

We review all complaints for validity and will take appropriate action, and as part of our investigation it may also be necessary for us to corroborate your complaint with our customer.

Apparently “corroborate your complaint with our customer” means that GoDaddy provide their customer personally identifiable information that will allow him to stalk you on the Internet and harass you for having the gall to report him.

If you think I can now report to GoDaddy that someone on their servers is using their website for harassment, think again. Here’s what GoDaddy has under their sections of reporting harassment.

godaddy abuse/harassment screenshot

Go Daddy.com does not allow illegal content on our customer’s websites. However, as a hosting provider, it is not our place to determine if the site you have mentioned is actually engaging in illegal activities. If you suspect any of our customers are using their website to engage in any illegal activities, please help us by contacting your local law enforcement agency, and request them to investigate this situation. Please refer to our Universal Terms of Service Agreement for specifics on our policies.

So thank you GoDaddy. I helped you out by reporting someone who was using your servers in an illegal fashion. You responded by telling him that I was the one who reported him. Now he is harassing me, posting my photo and name online with sexist insults, and tracking down my friends in order to send them spam linking to his post about me. And, according to your own policy I can’t even report the harassment because it’s “not your place” to deal with customers who are using your services to harass and abuse.

GoDaddy gave my personally identifiable information to a spammer troll, violating my personal privacy and safety and resulting in me joining the the ever-growing group of women that are subject to online abuse.

Note: I am not linking to the spammer’s website because I don’t want to give him more attention. If you’re really curious, I’m sure you can find it yourself using some creative googling.

UPDATE: GoDaddy responded to my post in the comments with the following statement:

We understand a situation like this is very frustrating. While this may not resolve the issues of the past, we hope some context will help explain how we manage spam complaints and address allegations of defamatory content.

We have a “zero tolerance” spam policy and investigate all accusations of potential spamming on our network. We notify the complainant that it may be necessary for us to corroborate their claim with the person accused of spamming. A critical point in corroborating a spam complaint is confirming whether there was an “opt-in” email consent from the person who says they are being spammed. This is why we ask for an email address from the person filing the complaint. Without it, unfortunately there’s no way to determine if the accused spammer had “opt-in” consent. When proof of “opt-in” isn’t provided, we consider the activity a violation and take appropriate actions to prevent further spamming.

As for the website created after the spamming complaint was handled, we do not make determinations about whether content is defamatory. As citizens of the Internet, we recommend you contact law enforcement to register a complaint about any website material you deem defamatory. We do not remove content without a court order.

Again, we understand this doesn’t erase the issues you’ve experienced, we just wanted to provide some perspective on our policies and the issues we have to balance as an Internet provider. If you would like to discuss this in more depth, please shoot me an email and I’d be happy to speak with you directly.

Pam Bunn
[email protected]
Domain Services
GoDaddy

Jamie Bernstein

Jamie Bernstein

Jamie is a data, stats, policy and economics nerd who sometimes pretends she is a photographer. You can usually find her at skeptic events in Chicago or on Twitter or Flickr. She also blogs about photography at Catching Photons.

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51 Comments

  1. Avatar of Benny
    April 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm —

    This is totally creepy and upsetting and I’m really sorry this happened to you. GoDaddy has all kinds of awful business practices, so I won’t say I’m shocked but I am disappointed that they are so incredibly irresponsible. It’s almost like they actively want people to behave badly while using their products.

    • Avatar of Jamie
      April 15, 2014 at 3:36 pm —

      It’s actually not so bad for their customer. The spammer pays GoDaddy to keep his identity secret. So even though he knows who I am, he still remains anonymous. I am not GoDaddy’s customer and am not paying them to keep my identity private, so apparently that means they can give my name to just about anyone.

      • Avatar of Sitara Singley
        April 16, 2014 at 11:35 am —

        You should sue based on Fourth Amendment grounds if you are an American citizen and this server is based in America. America is supposed to be bound by Constitutional law. Ugh. Ive been screwed on the net too. Stay strong and stay awesome.

        • Avatar of maggie
          April 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm —

          I’m afraid that’s not a viable route. Constitutional grounds does not apply to a private entity , individual or business, only to the government. I don’t know if there are any Arizona laws that apply (I think that’s where GoDaddy is incorporated).

  2. Avatar of Amy Roth
    April 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm —

    Did the spammer credit me for taking that photo or ask me for permission to use that photo that I own copyright to?

    Of course the answer is no.

    • Avatar of Derek Bartholomaus
      April 15, 2014 at 3:09 pm —

      Amy, would you be able to report the copyright infringement to GoDaddy?
      I’ve never heard anything good about using GoDaddy services and I don’t know why anyone uses them. This is not the first time that GoDaddy helped someone commit an illegal act: https://medium.com/p/24eb09e026dd

    • Avatar of Jamie
      April 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm —

      It would have been kind of funny if he had used the photo in this way and then actually properly credited you.

    • Avatar of cortar el cesped
      April 16, 2014 at 10:56 am —

      you should use this as a way to get his page taken down or atleast her picture removed, maybe you can also see to use a way to get her name taken off in a “collaborative” or comprehensive suit of defamation against him, a pending civil suit may be all thats required to get go daddy to take it off line then you can resolve it or prusue it further from there depending on how the nut-ball acts

  3. Avatar of kagehi
    April 15, 2014 at 6:45 pm —

    Unfortunately, there is a reason they tell you to go to the authorities, instead of dealing with them. For years there has been a push by law enforcement to try to impose “real world” laws on the internet, in ways that just can’t work on the internet. One of those attempts is to make providers “liable” for the content on their servers. The theory goes that the owner’s site privacy doesn’t matter, since, I guess, they think its like renting a hotel room, and they expect a maid to wander through, once a day, to change the sheets, and having done so, notice the illegal drugs on sale, the child porn, the pictures stolen from some other website, or who the F knows what might be in there, and immediately report this to the authorities. Attempts have even been made to make it “required” that they do this, and the provider’s reactions, sensibly, have been to go, “They are not hotel rooms, maintenance does not involve looking at all the contents of millions of websites we might have on our servers, and while, if we do find a few shading things in some cases, its vaguely possible some of it might be reported, we have no way to know if, for example, the site is run by someone who “owns” a particular photo, or piece of music, or document, or what ever else there might be lying around out there, nor do we have any way to do so. Besides which, every damn time we do report something, you morons come along and start pointing, and saying, “See, see! They found that, so why can’t they find the rest of the illegal stuff!”

    I hardly blame any, or all, of them for flat out stating that its not only not something they can do, but, “not their damn job, since they are not police”.

    That said, there are lines you don’t cross, such as in this cases, where by they allow anonymity of some ass, but expose the accuser of said ass. But, it may not be so clear cut. If you have a website, your credentials “are” available on a DNS lookup. Its actually legally required, and you can’t use an alias, or other non-identifying method to sign up. Its illegal to have any data in the lookup that isn’t directly linked to you. So, in that case, they don’t need to give him anything, he just needs to be smart enough to do the lookup. However, I think the lookups for those may limit the info, and just point to the company owning the server, not the “site owner”, so.. not sure. If the ass in question got a lawyer, its possible he got a shady one, and the info got to him through that (since his defense would need to know who is making the claims against him). None of which is intended to defend GoDaddy if they just released the info to him, just pointing out that even a halfwit can “probably” find ways to track down the information, and there are always a few halfwits in any company that can be social engineered to give away things they shouldn’t as well, even when its against their own companies policy, someone manages to convince them they have a reason to need the info (and should be fired for it, if someone could work out who did this stupid thing).

    In any case, if you can, nail him to the wall.

  4. Avatar of Giuliano Taverna
    April 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm —

    I’m not surprised, godaddy has been on my radar for a while now. Their advertisements infuriate me, its as if they were written by a moronic 13 year old hormonal middle school boy. With a brand that sexist it wouldn’t shock me if they had a bunch of rape happy neanderthal chauvinists on call totally willing to give up your information for kicks.

  5. Avatar of Jackal
    April 15, 2014 at 7:44 pm —

    Wow, that’s scary and and maddening and saddening and yet another reason never to use GoDaddy.

  6. Avatar of godaddy
    April 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm —

    We understand a situation like this is very frustrating. While this may not resolve the issues of the past, we hope some context will help explain how we manage spam complaints and address allegations of defamatory content.

    We have a “zero tolerance” spam policy and investigate all accusations of potential spamming on our network. We notify the complainant that it may be necessary for us to corroborate their claim with the person accused of spamming. A critical point in corroborating a spam complaint is confirming whether there was an “opt-in” email consent from the person who says they are being spammed. This is why we ask for an email address from the person filing the complaint. Without it, unfortunately there’s no way to determine if the accused spammer had “opt-in” consent. When proof of “opt-in” isn’t provided, we consider the activity a violation and take appropriate actions to prevent further spamming.

    As for the website created after the spamming complaint was handled, we do not make determinations about whether content is defamatory. As citizens of the Internet, we recommend you contact law enforcement to register a complaint about any website material you deem defamatory. We do not remove content without a court order.

    Again, we understand this doesn’t erase the issues you’ve experienced, we just wanted to provide some perspective on our policies and the issues we have to balance as an Internet provider. If you would like to discuss this in more depth, please shoot me an email and I’d be happy to speak with you directly.

    Pam Bunn
    [email protected]
    Domain Services
    GoDaddy

    • Avatar of delphi_ote
      April 15, 2014 at 10:14 pm —

      “Without it, unfortunately there’s no way to determine if the accused spammer had “opt-in” consent.”

      Bullshit. If you’re just handing the email address to the spammer and asking them to verify “consent” for you, you can’t determine a damn thing. They could tell you anything. Sending the email address to the spammer is useless and dangerous, and your smoke screen of nonsensical double speak isn’t fooling anyone.

      “As citizens of the Internet…”

      You have the gall to use the word “citizens”? Unbelievable. You’ve acted like completely irresponsible jackasses and handed a victim to a creepy stalker. Now you’re enabling the stalker to stalk the victim with your own services. Citizens take ownership and try to improve their community. They don’t sabotage the safety of the community for their own self interest. You’re not citizens of the Internet. You’re scum of the Internet. Creepy stalker-assisting scum.

      For God’s sake, you didn’t even have the courage or decency to apologize. I take back what I said, because it’s an insult to scum.

    • Avatar of Anne Marie
      April 15, 2014 at 10:59 pm —

      Ummm, so your policy is terrible and needs to be changed. Context doesn’t help.

    • Avatar of Anne Marie
      April 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm —

      Spammer: *spams*
      Recipient: I’d like to report this.
      GoDaddy: Okay, but we’re going to give your information to the spammer to confirm you’re telling the truth! That can’t possibly end badly.
      Recipient: …
      Spammer: *spams*

      Again, just a wonderful system.

      • Avatar of Buzz Parsec
        April 16, 2014 at 2:00 am —

        And spammer obtains a known-good email address, which is a highly valued commodity in the spamming world. <sarcasm>Good job all around, GoDaddy.</sarcasm>

    • Avatar of skeith
      April 16, 2014 at 7:08 am —

      You’ve now provided context and perspective, and I am here to tell you that it doesn’t help you. You shield a spammer and stalker, and expose the victim. You provide the victim with zero recourse for the spammer/stalker’s actions, and also for your own. I know that you know that telling someone to contact the authorities is a brush-off, especially when you haven’t even told the victim who is stalking her. How is she supposed to report this when she has no way to know what jurisdiction to call?

      Giving the spammer a complainant’s email address is certainly an easy (and completely worthless and abusive) way to handle a complaint. It’s definitely simpler than asking the spammer to provide you with a complete list of all opt-in requests and doing your own search. That might actually take 10 minutes of your precious time.

      I especially like the detail that you agreed to waive the fine based on a kiss and a promise, which you do not deny in the slightest. Classy!

      So this is the best defense you can muster for your actions? It’s a shit defense, and this is the best you can possibly do? I don’t know if you realize just how completely your own defense damns you.

      • Avatar of skeith
        April 16, 2014 at 7:12 am —

        I meant to add that even if you gave her this guy’s info, so that she could call his local cops, we’re all aware that the likelihood of a person getting relief from the authorities for Internet harassment is low. It’s far, far more likely that she would expend a lot of time and energy and get nowhere whatsoever. Wasn’t there a post on Skepchick itself about Rebecca’s experiences in this?

      • Avatar of Dave Z
        April 18, 2014 at 8:09 am —

        So this is the best defense you can muster for your actions? It’s a shit defense, and this is the best you can possibly do? I don’t know if you realize just how completely your own defense damns you.

        I don’t believe Go Daddy is defending their action, albeit one may feel otherwise. After all, they said:

        Again, we understand this doesn’t erase the issues you’ve experienced, we just wanted to provide some perspective on our policies and the issues we have to balance as an Internet provider. If you would like to discuss this in more depth, please shoot me an email and I’d be happy to speak with you directly.

        If anything, Go Daddy gave their side. Understanding one’s side is one thing, while agreeing with it is totally another.

        I’m not defending Go Daddy, though I understand their side because I handled this kind of issue during my past work with one of their competitors. Whenever we get abuse complaints (i.e. spamming) for a customer’s domain name, we notify that person about it.

        In some cases, the customer will ask for “proof” or a copy of that complaint. The registrar has to give something to their paying customer, though not everything.

        Thus, that creates one of the many dilemmas a service provider (such as a registrar) faces: should they give priority to that complaining party or their customer? Can they essentially yet confidently play judge and jury? Between the two, who do you honestly think the registrar has a (material) obligation to do something for?

        Another dilemma: if the registrar doesn’t accommodate the party’s complaint within reason (whatever reason means to everyone involved), then that party might complain about it in social media. If the registrar does accommodate and essentially screw their customer, then the latter might do a similar thing or — worse — sue the former for breach of contract.

        (Whoever suggested to lawyer up: unless one can afford legal fees to fight for whatever principle, that’ll hardly make a dent. Besides, one needs to show how s/he was harmed in some way unless some specific law addresses this situation.)

        I understand if someone finds my comment unacceptable or even bullsh**. I invite you, though, to consider if my comment has some semblance of reality or truth to it.

    • Avatar of Randy Carpadus
      April 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm —

      Dear GoDaddy, this may be the last straw. We have over 100 domains with you and will be looking to move them elsewhere.

      • Avatar of purrpussful
        April 17, 2014 at 9:56 pm —

        Good for you, Randy. No matter their ethics or lack of them, a company is more inclined to constructively address an issue if their failure to adequately do so costs them money.

  7. Avatar of Will
    April 15, 2014 at 9:50 pm —

    late-90s-geocities-reminiscent

    *giggle*

    Sorry you’re having to deal with this, Jamie. What a fucking asshole.

  8. Avatar of Nick Bentley
    April 16, 2014 at 1:26 am —

    That guys an ass, I hope you called the cops.

  9. Avatar of Nick Bentley
    April 16, 2014 at 1:40 am —

    I did some creative googling, he must’ve covered his tracks decently well because nothing I’ve come up with leads to any site but yours. And I’d say I’m on the level of forensic googler.

  10. Avatar of Buzz Parsec
    April 16, 2014 at 1:56 am —

    Jamie, if I were emperor mob boss of the world, I would revoke his Internet privileges.

    The entitlement of spammers truly annoys me. He assumes you watched your video, didn’t like it, and reported him for spamming. You obviously didn’t watch his video, since you quite sensibly didn’t click the (possibly dangerous) link in the original spam. How dare you not pay attention to him?

    I don’t know what he thinks the “grownup” response to spam is, since he doesn’t say how he “handled it himself” when he got death threats from neo-Nazis, but clearly his “grownup” response to having a spam complaint lodged against him was to whine until he got his own way and then to passive-aggressively harass the complainer. I think he somehow found an internet router connecting Earth to Thrae. Maybe the GoDaddy spam enablers have set up such a layer 1 (physical layer) link to try to resolve the inherent cognitive dissonance in their “moral code”.

    P.S. For some reason, I’m assuming this troll is a he. Okay, you said he also, and maybe you know for sure. If SpamTroll prefers another pronoun, then I’ll happily oblige, assuming I ever have occasion to mention SpamTroll again.

  11. Avatar of George
    April 16, 2014 at 9:51 am —

    Usually you can call FBI about that.

    I don’t like the fact that the tag of this post is Feminism. I don’t even know why it went on top of YC …. not important at all, read Terms of Use before signing with a company.

  12. Avatar of Grumpy Philosopher
    April 16, 2014 at 10:00 am —

    File a DMCA takedown to the webhost, a CAN-SPAM complaint to the mail server, and ask to speak to the legal hazard department of the webhost. If you want to be very vengeful (or are genuinely worried about the posted information), go to your lawyer and request him to subpoena the true identity of the hostee and ask your local court to issue a peace order or an injunction (IANAL, but it’s usually cheap, doesn’t require any lawyers, and is VERY embarrassing for the person you’re getting it issued against).

    You could also just post a link to the website on reddit or HN. That’d be interesting.

  13. Avatar of my2cents
    April 16, 2014 at 11:16 am —

    Just my 2 cents but you are blaming GoDaddy for this and it is not their doing, had you read their policies completely, I’m sure they would explain how they handle this situation, you might have thought twice about submitting a complaint.
    As for PII Godaddy provided him/her an email address for verification it is not their fault he was able to use Google and that email address to find so many details about you. Your online foot print provides a lot of details about you DOB/Age, career, current location, your friends. etc. Clean that up first so this can’t happen.

    It is amazing how much info a simple email address can provide when used in conjunction with a search engine.

  14. Avatar of pogue
    April 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm —

    This is why SpamCop exists. It allows you to report spam and deletes your own personal details from the mix, notifying the ISP in question and keeping your own information private. Now, whether or not Godaddy accepts truncated SpamCop reports is another question, but I just thought I’d mention that it exists and you should check it out.

  15. Avatar of ambious
    April 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm —

    I left GoDaddy ages ago and everytime I read something like this I’m glad I did.

  16. Avatar of ambious
    April 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm —

    I left GoDaddy ages ago and everytime I read something like this I’m glad I did.

  17. Avatar of Shana Lyons
    April 16, 2014 at 5:01 pm —

    I want to weigh in from the perspective of someone who works in the commercial email industry for a living. I’m certainly not going to defend what the spammer did here. It’s tacky and unconscionable. I’m so sorry it happened to you. I totally hear that you’re upset and unhappy with GoDaddy. If you’re concerned about this ever happening again, it’s probably good to know what actually happens when you push the SPAM button so you can decide how to handle the situation.

    I don’t work for GoDaddy, BTW.

    What GoDaddy did is basically standard internet practice in a slightly less automated form. Most commercial emailers use companies (ESP’s or Email Service Providers) to send their emails for them. The standard practice is that the ESP and the mailer are responsible for maintaining clean lists of opted-in individuals. Receiving ISP’s like GoDaddy/America Online/Yahoo/Comcast/RCN/Whoever typically (but not always– Gmail is a noted exception) provide what are called Feedback Loops or FBL’s to ESP’s to help cut down on the number of unwanted messages from otherwise reputable senders that they get. When a mail gets sent, your ISP figures out who’s sending it (Lots of technical ways to do this– something called DKIM is very popular) and weighs if they’re a good sender or not based on their past experience with them and some commercial services that rate senders. It’s kind of like checking a credit score. Then, based on the score, they either bounce it, deliver it to your mailbox, or stick it in the bulk mail folder. When this works, you have a tidy, low spam email inbox. When it doesn’t, you get SPAM in your main mail folder. Then, folks typically either start clicking the “SPAM” button or forwarding emails to the postmaster.

    When you mark the mail SPAM or report SPAM, two things typically happen: First, a message in what’s called ARF (abuse reporting format) goes out via the feedback loop to a computer-watched mailbox on the mailer’s server. It has your email, the headers of the message, etc. It’s done so that the mailer can unsubscribe you and you won’t get more mail. This is typically done fully automatically. Most ESP’s have software that reads the ARF email and just opts you out in the database. The marketer also tracks which emails perform well (Opens, Clicks, Purchases, etc.) and which ones are duds (Spam complaints, Opt Outs, etc.) and in theory, gets better over time at marketing.

    Second, their “credit score” with your ISP gets dinged a tiny bit each time you mark something SPAM and more of their messages probably end up in bulk over time. No one wants more dings because bulk is the kiss of death for click and open rates, so this usually just works out well for everyone involved because you benefit from the hivemind’s overall consensus that this mailer is good or bad. Obviously, in your case, things went awry and you got someone psycho. But, if ISP’s didn’t provide the information about who marked something SPAM, the companies wouldn’t know who to opt out. They also provide information (identifiable because it contains email address) about what’s called bounced mail, just FYI. That way companies know not to mail you if your account has been closed or your mailbox is full. This happens millions and millions of times a day. It’s not perfect, but in general, it’s how email and spam reporting work.

    TL:DR: Spam reports by default usually send your info. Don’t do it if you don’t want it shared.

  18. Avatar of pzmyers
    April 16, 2014 at 5:15 pm —

    This same guy has been spamming me today. And prompted by your mention, I searched my inbox…and presto, I got the same spam email about the “transcendant argument”. Only I was one among Rick Warren, Billy Graham, Matt Dillahunty, Dan Dennett, and a few others who were cc’ed this strange comment.

    Definitely spam. I should have complained so I could be enshrined on his site and compared to an awesome insect.

    • Avatar of Jamie
      April 16, 2014 at 5:56 pm —

      Did his recent piece of spam to you mention me? And if so, can you forward it to me? I’m trying to document all the people that he is now spamming, especially if he includes my name in the email. Also, feel free to report it at https://supportcenter.godaddy.com/AbuseReport/ as long as you are aware and ok with the fact that GoDaddy will likely tell him you are the one that reported him.

    • Avatar of Jamie
      April 16, 2014 at 5:58 pm —

      Last night before going to sleep my boyfriend asked me to “please not bite off his head” while he is sleeping. He did manage to wake up with his head this morning but I make no promises about tonight.

  19. Avatar of Michael Rubin
    April 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm —

    Lawyer up. You *might* get their attention…

    • Avatar of Dave Z
      April 18, 2014 at 8:18 am —

      I believe the author already got Go Daddy’s attention, so a lawyer isn’t really necessary. Besides, Go Daddy is no stranger to the maybe-worst case scenario of being sued, if ever.

  20. Avatar of gworroll
    April 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm —

    You should be able to do a whois on the domain name and get the registrants contact information.

    There is basically no guarantee that this is the person causing this trouble, but if you think there’s a need to track them down, it would be a good place to start.

  21. Avatar of sadunlap
    April 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm —

    I just added GoDaddy.com to my spam block list.

  22. Avatar of Martha Knox
    April 22, 2014 at 9:53 am —

    The Troll sent me a message twice today – once through my website and once through my Humanist Blog mom. He added a personal message saying that after reading a critical post I wrote about *one article* Jamie wrote for Grounded Parents: “I think you will enjoy this … immensely: (a link to his stupid website.) Apparently he thinks that just because he can’t distinguish civil and thoughtful debate from slinging personal insults that nobody else can either.

    For what it’s worth, nobody with a brain who looks at this would think anything less of Jamie since the website is nothing but over-the-top personal insults. That said, it’s pretty shitty that this happened and creepy to think GoDaddy would allow the Troll to know who complained about his spam.

    • Avatar of Jamie
      April 22, 2014 at 8:43 pm —

      Ugh. It’s so creepy that he’s now using my name in his spam. I know he’s sent spam mentioning me to my friends but this is the first confirmation I’ve gotten that he is doing it even with people I do not know.

      You can report any spam he sends you to https://supportcenter.godaddy.com/AbuseReport/ but for obvious reasons do not report unless you are ok with him potentially learning that you reported him. Apparently GoDaddy does act on spam reports but it may not be worth becoming a target of his harassment.

  23. Avatar of Nick S Nicholas
    April 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm —

    Perhaps I am a little…well simple…but .. you mention the following;

    “Except, there is a missing step here. You see, he would never have been able to retaliate had he not known who had reported him. The email in question went to a lot of people and there was no way for him to have known that I was the one who reported the email if GoDaddy had not released personally identifiable information about me to my spammer”

    So where exactly is the evidence and or other proof that this occurred, that GoDaddy released your information to someone not authorized to get it? Because based on this article it is all supposition and conjecture. Perhaps (and maybe this is a stretch here), but still, perhaps since the spammer already had the email address, maybe “he” (or she) already had the personally identifiable information. Perhaps, he researched the email addresses that he spammed and was clever enough to gather personally identifiable information about each recipient based on what he could research from that email address. Perhaps he choose many names on the list and did similar things and perhaps you were the one that actually did some kind of response to which further prompted the spammer to act more aggressively.

    – OK STOP – (I imagine anyone reading this is like fuming now, but let me continue as devils’ advocate for the sake of someone filling the role)

    Now I am not trying to downplay what happened– I am not trying to make an excuse for any spammer or anyone whom can harass another person whatsoever for any reason. That is just plain wrong and that person should be punished to the maximum extent of the law – unequivocable and if you have sufficient proof I stand behind it 100% as a citizen of this planet. But….

    One thing that I don’t think people realize is that your personally identifiable information is everywhere and anywhere all the time, not just on the Internet, but sitting in written public records and clever criminals or just people with motive, ill intent or not, can piece together a lot about a person with just a little bit of research. Maybe that is what happened in this case…and maybe not. I just think that if you are going to make an accusation or maybe rather a claim that someone wronged you, you would have something concrete to stand on rather than what appears to be a big assumption– (it appears to be guilt by deduction, rather than by admission, proof and acceptance of guilty party, i.e. it wasn’t me, it was’t him so it must be you).

    Did you think or consult with a lawyer? Could you actually serve GoDaddy with the appropriate papers to show that they released your information? (Is that a subpoena I’m not very versed in legalease..)

    In either case – I do hope you get to the bottom of it and I hope that justice is served appropriately to any and all parties who wronged you. Best of luck and don’t hate me for my response…it isn’t meant in any other way other than to be constructive.

    To “ground this reply-to-post” -My perspective comes from a point of view of an Information Security Professional and the stuff I see floating on the Internet, on disc drives where you would think security should be of utmost importance, printed material or discarded media in dumpsters and documents sitting in public printed file cabinets in most town offices (and on and on) is enough to make you quake in your boots.

    Namaste

    • Avatar of marilove
      April 24, 2014 at 5:42 pm —

      Um, even GoDaddy admits they sent out her personal email and name.

  24. Avatar of useradmn3
    April 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm —

    Why is this receiving any sort of attention? This “issue” has happened because like many other idiots on the web, you choose to click on a link instead of deleting the email. Let’s take a look at the facts. ICANN requires anyone who registers a domain name to have an active email address with the WHOIS database, or you will eventually lose the domain. As a service, GoDaddy offers private registration for $9.99 a year. This shields your personal information. If you weren’t such a cheap ass, your information could have been completely shielded just like the spammer that outsmarted you. Here’s a 20 year wake-up call: information on the internet is everywhere. I hope that saving that $9.99 was worth the publicity, but then again your ads on this page probably have generated well past that. Quit blaming a successful company because you don’t know how the internet works. Maybe use the ad revenue towards private registration next time?

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