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The Top Ten Spam Top Level Domains

May 7, 2018

There's something in common with many of what Spamhaus considers to be the worst offending Top Level Domains for spamming.

Founded in 1998 the Spamhaus Project is an international nonprofit organization that tracks spam and related cyber threats. It maintains a realtime threat and reputation blocklists, which are used by many ISPs and server administrators to try and minimise the amount of, well, crap, hitting user inboxes.

Among its publications is a regularly updated list showing what it considers to be the most abused TLDs, which are assigned scores. The scores are partly based on the number of active domains observed divided by the number of bad domains detected.

Here's Spamhaus's current list, in order of "badness"

  1. .webcam
  2. .men
  3. .gq
  4. .reise
  5. .racing
  6. .cf
  7. .click
  8. .date
  9. .work
  10. .ga

So, what do many of these have in common? With the exception of .gq, .cf and .ga (which are the country code Top Level Domains for Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Gabon respectively), the rest are all new generic Top Level Domains (new gTLDs) - relative newcomers. 

Why are these extensions attracting so much nefarious activity? Perhaps it may have to do with the low pricing point of some, enabling cheap "burnable" domains to be registered - and/or perhaps lax rules, or just a general lack of oversight or action from the relevant registry on bad actors. It could also be a combination of all three.

As for Spamhaus, it says:

"The registries listed on this page provide spammers and other miscreants with a service they need in order to survive. Many, even most, TLDs succeed, by and large, in keeping abusers off their systems and work to maintain a positive reputation. That success shows that these ten worst could, if they tried, "keep clean" by turning spammers and other abusers away."

How Does Australia's .AU Rate?

The good news is Australian domain names, as a whole, have a pretty good reputation with Spamhaus. The current score for .au domains is 0.2% bad, just a tiny fraction of the worst (.webcam - 79.5%). Our cousins across the pond have a similar low score (.nz - 0.2%)

For .com, it's significantly higher than Australia and New Zealand at 7.9% "bad".

AU's solid reputation in this regard is another good reason why Australian businesses should consider domains as their first port of call when seeking to register a name.

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