Google dumps all 11+ million .co.cc sites from its results
Bigger than .org or .uk - but mostly spam and phish
Google has removed over 11 million .co.cc websites from its search engine results pages on the basis that most of them are far too "spammy".
The .co.cc space is not an officially authorised second-level domain like .co.uk or .com.au. Rather, it's offered independently by a Korean company (http://co.cc/) that just happens to own the domain name .co.cc.
Google classes the firm as a "freehost", and has exercised its right to block the whole domain "if we see a very large fraction of sites on a specific freehost are spammy or low-quality", according to Matt Cutts, head of Google's web spam team.
The company said in a recent blog post: "To help protect users we recently modified those [malware-scanning] systems to identify bulk subdomain services which are being abused. In some severe cases our systems may now flag the whole bulk domain."
According to a recent report (29-page PDF/2MB) from the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the .cc top-level domain hosted 4,963 phishing attacks in the second half of 2010, almost twice the number found under any other extension.
That was due to a large number of attacks originating from .co.cc addresses, the APWG said.
The .co.cc "registry" offers single sub-domains for free, and enables customers to bulk-register 15,000 addresses at a time for a mere $1,000, or about seven cents a name.
The company claims to have 11,383,736 registered domains and 5,731,278 user accounts. That would make it one of the largest domain extensions in the world, bigger than both .org and .uk by over two million domains.
The .cc top-level domain belongs to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, a small Australian territory in the Indian Ocean. Regular .cc websites are unaffected by Google's changes. ®
Had to say it :-)
What's ICANN go to do with it?
Did you RTFA? The second sentence says "The .co.cc space is not an officially authorised second-level domain like .co.uk or .com.au". Therefore it's outside ICANN's remit.
Google's search results are simply Google's opinion of what might be relevant to the users search terms. They are not legally obliged to return any particular results.
This isn't quite like that though
Google are blocking the second level domain, not the top level, so this is akin to them blocking scummyspammer.com, the block wouldn't be on .com, it also wouldn't affect scummyspammer.net, etc.
The confusion arises because .co.cc looks like the top level domain that many countries use, e.g. .co.uk, which actually is a TLD, whereas .co.cc isn't.
There is only one .co.cc domain, so you couldn't own 'one', you could potentially buy it from the Korean ISP who currently owns it, or more likely register a subdomain with them, such as iamnotaspammerhonest.co.cc. The domain remains in the hands of this single company, whose business model appears to be to sell portions of their namespace onto others without any sort of checks on their use.
Far play to google for blocking it I say - it sounds like this one domain is a huge portal for spam and scams.