Bill Hartzer

Chase Ignores Domain Name Whois Privacy, Sends Credit Card Offers to Web Host

Chase Bank is mining internet domain name whois data in the pursuit of credit card customers. When they encounter whois privacy on a domain name, they are disregarding it and alternatively sending the credit card offers to the domain owners’ web hosting companies. If Chase Bank has a credit card offer for you, and you have whois privacy set on a domain name you own, Chase may send that credit card offer to your web hosting company’s mailing address.

I own a small web hosting business in East Texas called Mabank.net. I host several of my own web sites, including this one, and I have other web servers where I host web sites for my customers. What caught my eye this week is the piece of mail I received from our mail carrier, shown below:

As someone who owns a business, I get credit card offers in the mail all of the time. I usually ignore them. However, this one caught my eye because it was NOT addressed to me or my business. It was addressed specifically to one of my web hosting customers, along with my physical address.

I started to investigate this further. And the more I investigated this, the more disturbed annoyed I became, especially because it exposes some of the dirty lengths that credit card companies will purse in their relentless pursuit of credit card customers. All at a time when these same credit card companies, such as Chase Bank, are making it more difficult for hard-working Americans to obtain credit cards.

As I investigated this particular piece of mail, which is a credit card offer from Chase Bank, here is what I discovered:

— Chase is mining whois domain name data
— Chase is ignoring domain name privacy that is set on a domain name
— When Chase encounters whois privacy, they ignore the data
— Chase sends credit card offers to the company’s web hosting company

In my particular case, which is so distrubing to me, the credit card offer is address to something named “Anglersaddiction”. Take a look at the piece of mail I received in the photo above. Anglersaddiction is the name of a domain name that I host on one of my web servers. In fact, Anglersaddiction, at www.AnglersAdddiction.com, is owned, and has always been owned by one of my web hosting customers. It is a customer of mine and is in no way associated with my business address, the address of Mabank.net Web Hosting.

Chase Bank Obtained the Address by Ignoring Whois Privacy Data
Upon further investigation, I talked to my web hosting customer, and they have verified that the whois privacy setting has been in effect on the domain name even before I initially started hosting the domain name. In this case, Anglersaddiction is, in fact, a web site that contains articles about fishing. It is not a business, has never been a business, and will never be a business or even an entity or organization of any kind–it is a web site on a domain name, which contains articles. Since my name server (Mabank.net hosts the Anglersaddiction domain name) Chase has ignored the whois privacy setting and instead sent the credit card offer to the physical street address of Mabank.net, the company Anglersaddiction does business with (their web host).

I have spoken to my customer, and the owner of this Anglersaddiction.com domain names wishes to remain anonymous, does not want to be contacted. However, Chase Bank has decided that whois privacy settings on internet domain names are not an indication of privacy.

Chase Bank, clearly does not care about your privacy, my privacy, or even my customers’ privacy.

In this case, Chase Bank, in their relentless pursuit of credit card customers, is mining internet domain name whois data, which is not a good business practice. And they are taking the unprecedented measure of completely ignoring whois privacy on internet domain names. Instead of offering the credit card to the domain name owner, they are offering the credit card to the web hosting company on behalf of the domain name owner.

I am completely astonished at this business practice. Does this mean that if a credit card company cannot get in touch with me or find my mailing address they will somehow associate me or my business with companies that I do business with–and send them credit card offers in my name? Surely not. But again, that is what they just did to me, my web hosting business, and my customer.

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