I am putting this post up as a public service since most of the results on the web are wrong for this topic.
This is my first experience with DreamHost and I am super impressed with the simplicity of their management UI, the competence of their tech support, and their free LetsEncrypt Certificates. I can have SSL even on domains that are only a HTTP redirect (I have a lot of those).
When you transfer a domain, there are lots of emails that go back and forth. Most of those make perfect sense sense. But there is one mail you get *after* the transfer is complete that completely looks like spam but turns out to be essential.
The mail is from email@example.com (not what the DreamHost documentation claims) and has a subject line of:
IMMEDIATE VERIFICATION required for masteringpython.com
And the text looks something like this (yes the question marks are there).
Fran?ais Italiano Portugu?s Espa?ol Deutsch Polskie Srpski As of January 1, 2014, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has mandated that all ICANN accredited registrars begin verifying the WHOIS contact information for all new domain registrations and Registrant contact modifications. The following Registrant contact information for one or more of your domains has not yet been verified: ...
You are supposed to click on a link to raa.name-services.com to verify the domain. Here is a screen shot of the mail.
My “WOAH THERE THIS MUST BE SPAM” detector went off like crazy. I Googled around a bit and many folks felt it was Spam. So I just deleted them and went about my day.
TL;DR This message is not spam
Somewhat later I went into my DreamHost account and saw this under Domains -> Registrations
So I resent the mail and the spam-like message immediately showed up. At that point I should have just assumed it was not spam. But just to be sure I talked to DreamHost tech support and they verified it was OK.
I clicked on the verification link to raa.name-services.com in the email and it said “thanks” – and then after about 60 seconds the “need to verify” message went away in my DreamHost UI.
So this message is legit. It is an interesting question as to the possible harm that we do when legit messages look so much like spam and then turn out not to be spam. It took me 3 weeks to figure this out.