In the second half of 2010 the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) started sending emails to all Points Of Contact (POCs) registered in the ARIN Whois database. Since then, I have been seeing more and more chatter about these emails – including increased traffic here on my blog. Because I am at least partially responsible for these emails going out, I figured I would put up a sort of public service announcement, and hope that folks see it.

First off: Yes, this is a valid request from a legitimate organization.

Second: There is very good reason for ARIN to conduct this annual validation.

Valid and Legitimate

ARIN is the American Registry for Internet Numbers. They are the organization responsible for all IP addresses and AS numbers in the North American region. ARIN was established in 1997 and Applying the principles of stewardship, ARIN, a nonprofit corporation, allocates Internet Protocol resources; develops consensus-based policies; and facilitates the advancement of the Internet through information and educational outreach.

If ARIN is contacting you to validate your POC record, it is because your email address is listed in their Whois database. This is likely because you are now, or where at some point responsible for an Internet number resource or an organization which holds Internet number resources in some capacity. That’s the only way ARIN got your address; if it was given to them for this purpose.

Great, ARIN is for real but how can you be sure that the annual Whois POC validation email you received is actually from ARIN?

Well, it will be sent to the email address included in your Whois POC record and it will come from a do-not-reply address at The subject will be:

Annual Whois POC Validation: ####-ARIN

Where ####-ARIN is your POC handle. It will include instructions on how to validate (confirm or correct) your Whois POC information as well as instructions to review your Organizations information in Whois as well. All of the included links will utilize HTTPS and point to the domain.

Update January 2020:

The message now comes from [email protected] because they allow users to validate via the email in two different ways:

(1) reply with the work CORRECT in the subject line

(2) click on the URL (or copy the URL and paste it into a browser)

As always, users can validate the POC from within their ARIN Online account by either clicking on the Validate button or by modifying and saving the changes made to the POC.

A couple examples have already been posted to mailing lists by folks who were taken by surprise, here is a generic version of what you will see:

From: American Registry for Internet Numbers <do-not-re…>
To: [email protected]
Subject: Annual Whois POC Validation: ####-ARIN


This message is being sent in accordance with ARIN Policy 3.6.1, “Annual Whois POC Validation”. This policy requires POCs to validate their Whois contact information annually.

The following is your current POC Whois registration record. To validate, please take one of the three actions listed below. If no action is taken within 60 days, your POC record will be marked invalid in ARIN’s Whois.

Your POC information in Whois is:

<your POC info here>

1) If the information above is correct, please click on the following URL to indicate the information is accurate:<your code here>

2) If the information is incorrect, and you already have an ARIN Online web account, please log in to your account and modify the POC information:

3) If the information is incorrect, and you do not have an ARIN Online web account, please create an account by going to and selecting ‘new user’ on the left ‘ARIN Online’ panel.
Once you have created your account, please log in to your account and modify the POC information.

After validating your POC information, please take a few minutes to review your Organization data in ARIN’s Whois to ensure it, too, is up-to-date. If your company sub-delegates IP address blocks to downstream customers, your organization is responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all downstream organization and POC information. Maintaining accurate Whois data is contractually required for all resources registered under ARIN’s Registration Services Agreement.

If you have any questions, please contact the ARIN Registration Services Help Desk.
Ask ARIN via your ARIN Online web account:
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: +1.703.227.0660


Registration Services Department
American Registry for Internet Numbers

Good Reason

OK, so ARIN is legit and they are the one sending these annual Whois POC validation emails, but why should you answer?

The Internet community (myself included) has instructed ARIN to conduct this annual validation. A group of us worked to create draft policy 2008-7 which was adopted by the ARIN board mid-2009 and then implemented this July as NRPM section 3.6. While I can not speak for everyone who worked to create this policy, let alone all those who supported it, I can tell you my rational for doing so:

One of the most important resources when dealing with Internet abuse (including hijacking, spam, dos/ddos, phishing, child pornography, illegal drug sales, etc) is Whois. The Whois database is THE goto resource for security professionals and law enforcement alike when investigating abuse of the Internet. It records ‘who is’ responsible for each Internet number resource and provides contact information to facilitate quick responses to ever-evolving threats.

But ARIN’s Whois data is only useful if it is known to be valid.

The annual Whois POC validation focuses on email addresses because this is the contact method of choice for most in the Internet community when dealing with abuse, hijacking or other issues. It has the added benefit of being easy to validate. Legitimate POCs must be able to receive email at their registered address and, if your information is correct, it only takes a second or two to click the validation link. If your information needs updating, then it is still only a few minute process to get logged in and update your data.

Whois data that is valid and up-to-date is worth far more than the few minutes it may take each of us to update our info. For this reason, I implore you to respond to your annual Whois POC validation emails and update any out of date information for yourself or your organization. The Internet thanks you!

Published On: November 24th, 2010 / Categories: ARIN, Internet, Policy, Tech Policy / Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


  1. Bob Lee 19 December 2011 at 07:53 - Reply

    Thanks for yet more administrative BS I have to deal with every year. REALY appreciated!

    • Chris Grundemann 22 January 2012 at 20:59 - Reply

      The rub here is that by dealing with this one piece of administrative BS each year, all of your abuse complaints for the rest of the year are much more likely to take a LOT less BS (and time).

      • N/A 20 July 2020 at 18:51 - Reply

        Oh, so all zero of the abuse complaints will take less time. Nice.

        • ~Chris 23 July 2020 at 10:15 - Reply

          You sound like the kind of person who refuses to return their shopping cart. Nice.

  2. Remy 11 April 2012 at 08:19 - Reply

    Took about an hour of my time to get used to the navigation and find all POC and Organizations that was registered. Just bad that it does not allow you to change your contacts first and last name, as this will probably be listed in the search engines and carry old/non-current information. Hope you will change that.

    Also, what are the real benefits? Any examples?

    • Paul London 3 May 2013 at 19:22 - Reply


      The value is that now ARIN is able to wholesale wipe out Admin/Tech POCs on legacy space. Thus creating a whois database full of CKN23-ARIN entries. Which in turn decreases the value of the ARIN whois database.

      For those ORGs now neutralized with CKN23-ARIN entries, ARIN moves into a “Document Check” phase. All “Document Check” phases end with a “We need to transfer your IP assets to a new ORG”.

      This is a nightmare. Yet another in a long line caused by ARIN.

      • Chris Grundemann 3 May 2013 at 21:10 - Reply

        Thanks for the comment Paul, it raises three thoughts for me:

        1. ARIN, the organization, is simply carrying out the instructions we (you and I and the entire community) instructed them to when we adopted this policy. If you’d like to get involved in the discussions that lead to policy changes, start by signing up for the PPML and then consider showing up at the meetings (in person or remotely).
        2. ARIN can only “wipe out” POCs that are unresponsive. This is a good thing. What good is a Point Of Contact which can not be contacted?
        3. Any ORG that has zero valid POCs should certainly be checked out, IMO. If they don’t exist anymore, the Internet can certainly benefit from putting the addresses to use and if they do exist, they obviously need to be notified to update their useless POCs.

        In short, I still believe that having valid POCs (people who answer technical and abuse concerns for the address space in question) is imperative to maintaining a useful WHOIS.

  3. Paul London 4 May 2013 at 01:18 - Reply

    1. ARIN is not carrying out my will. I have been opposed to most everything ARIN is and has stood for since its inception. It is futile to respond to the same oft repeated lines. As most legacy holders will readily admit.

    2. It is not a good thing. It is wiping out contacts from the whois database that if an e-mail is missed (or ignored) then their contacts that have been in place for decades are removed. How can a whois database that has had all of the POCs removed have more value than a whois that has POCs? What require dictates that someone needs to respond to ARIN? Certainly not any policy I have ever been part of. The whois is accurate, I am being billed yearly, and paying yearly… and the contact are bad?

    3. I understand this is how you feel. The problem is that ARIN deems itself the final word. Many would disagree with this statement. ARIN’s role is maintain the WHOIS database and not cause irreparable harm to it by removing entries. While at the same time fighting all attempts to have other sources of whois data brought live for the “community” to utilize.

    I already know your opinion on all of these issues. I am merely given others a heads up as to what is happening to the integrity of the whois DB and legacy holders. Thanks for the opportunity to let the “community” know.

    • Chris Grundemann 4 May 2013 at 12:39 - Reply
      1. If you refuse to participate, your opposition is futile.
      2. POCs that don’t respond have no value.
      3. ARIN is the RIR for this region, true. The ARIN community (anyone who chooses to participate in the process) has the last word on what policies ARIN must follow, also true. Again, removing bad data is not harmful, in fact it’s helpful (I don’t have to waste time attempting to contact non-existant POCs).

      You’re very welcome.

  4. Paul London 4 May 2013 at 01:51 - Reply

    “This list contains more than 256 records. Additional records are not shown.”

    It would be interesting to know just how large this list actually is.

    The ASN list gives us some insight into how many POCs have been replaced with incorrect information:

    Again, the question remains. Is data that was/is valid currently or at some point or information that is entirely known to be incorrect. (CKN23-ARIN)

    • Chris Grundemann 4 May 2013 at 12:41 - Reply

      And the answer remains: “ARIN’s Whois data is only useful if it is known to be valid.”

  5. Hank Scorpio 9 May 2014 at 05:18 - Reply

    This whole initiative just seems very fishy. An unsolicited email with a ‘click here’ link is something I tell users to ignore. Because often times that is a pathway to identity theft or malware delivery or whatever else malicious individuals can dream up.

    That there is no manual way to navigate to the proper place for verification is piss poor system design. My registrar can contact me easily enough because I can browse to my online management interface on my own. I don’t have to click a random link in an unsolicited email from an organization with which I have no direct relationship and hope I’m not making a huge mistake.

    • Chris Grundemann 17 June 2014 at 10:00 - Reply

      While I think your suggestion of a better online management system may be valid, the emails from ARIN do clearly indicate who they were sent by and provide an email address and a phone number for any who wish to validate the message and/or the link provided.

  6. Wayne 27 May 2014 at 08:35 - Reply

    So why ARIN?
    I get annual quires from ICANN every year.
    How do the organizations differ?

    • Chris Grundemann 17 June 2014 at 09:44 - Reply

      ARIN (American Registry for Internet Numbers) is the RIR (Regional Internet Registry) for English speaking North America and the Carribean, they deal exclusively with numbers (IP addresses and AS numbers).

      ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is, in this context, dealing exclusively with the whois for domain names.

      Tl;dr: ARIN = numbers && ICANN = names