News and Updates

Pair of 3-Letter .Coms Tops This Week's Domain Sales Chart - One Hits Six Figures

DN Journal - Wed, 2017-06-21 22:50
This was the official first day of summer and even though the summer doldrums have arrived there were some notable aftermarket sales.
Categories: News and Updates

Three Reasons Why Broadband Is So Unreliable

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-06-21 19:25

We all take the predictability and reliability of other utilities for granted. So why is broadband such a frustrating exception? Why do our Skype calls fail mid-way? What makes Netflix buffer like crazy? How come our gaming sessions are so laggy?


No real experience intention

Imagine if the design of your electrical supply was optimised to apply the biggest possible voltage and current to anything that was plugged in. That would clearly be ridiculous!

Imagine if the design of your kitchen tap was optimised to deliver as much water as possible at the highest possible pressure the moment you turned it on. That would clearly be ridiculous!

Imagine if the design of your gas cooker was optimised to burn everything to a crisp as fast as possible in a white hot inferno. That would clearly be ridiculous!

So, why have we optimised broadband to deliver as much bandwidth as possible? That's clearly ridiculous!

In order to work, applications need enough packets to arrive "fresh" enough. In other words, they are sensitive to quality, and need a sufficient quantity of good enough quality. Instead, we've aimed to deliver a maximum quantity with an undefined quality.

This is disconnected from what the user values, unlike all the other utilities. There is no specific experience intention, merely a "you get what you get".

Missing engineering specification

With a domestic AC power supply, we primarily define its quality through having a stable voltage and frequency. With gas we have a regulated composition and energy content. With water, it has to be potable and delivered under sufficient pressure.

So what's the specification for the quality of broadband? It is, and please don't laugh too hard, purely accidental. Yup, the quality of all current ISPs is an emergent property of random processes. Whilst it may be a stable and managed property, it is (unlike all those other utilities) not engineered to a specification with a known safety margin.

The quality of your broadband can and will suddenly shift (under load) in ways your ISP has effectively no control over. Some genius came up with the PR term of "best effort" to describe "out of control" and "not engineered".

Inappropriate operational mechanisms

With power, gas and water we understand that there are switches, valves and taps to regulate flow. With networks we have buffers. And we've chosen the wrong kind. Absolutely everywhere. Honest!

In every network you are likely to encounter, the default policy is to send as many packets as quickly as possible. After all, we wouldn't want any expensive data link to become sinfully idle, would we? We want a network that is busy, busy, busy!

Regrettably, this is a really dumb thing to do. Other industries figured this out decades ago with their 'lean' revolutions. More work in progress and busyness is not the same as delivering value.

What is happening is that we are sending packets into networks faster than downstream data links can process them. The excess "work" we do can only have one effect: those packets get in the way of other data being delivered, without creating any value.

So we have optimised our networks for instability and overload, not for smooth flow of packets within the inherent limits of the system. This architecture error (called "work conservation") is ubiquitous.

The core (and mistaken) industry belief that the job of the network is to create as much "bandwidth" as possible by delivering as many packets as fast as possible. It doesn't matter whether it is cable, cellular, DSL, fibre or any other bearer: everyone is selling on bandwidth with unpredictable quality.

This is not the same as delivering a predictable user experience. Whoever first switches to an outcome-centric and engineered performance model may well revolutionise the broadband industry.

Written by Martin Geddes, Founder, Martin Geddes Consulting Ltd

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Normann Copenhagen and DLA Piper team up in bad reverse domain hijacking case

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-06-21 18:59

With help of well-known law firm, furniture company tries to take Normann.com away from guy whose last name is Normann.

Normann Copenhagen ApS, a seller of Scandinavian furniture, has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name Normann.com.

This is a really, really bad case of reverse domain name hijacking. It’s particularly surprising that the international law firm DLA Piper was behind it.

The guy who owns the domain name has the surname Normann, so the case was bound to fail on the rights or legitimate interests prong.

Even worse, the guy registered the domain name before the furniture company existed, so there was no chance on bad faith.

Normann Copenhagen knew that the domain had been put to use, too. It argued:

The Respondent has merely used the disputed domain name for a personal mail server, and the Complainant claims that the Respondent does not even use the mail server, since the Respondent has a business engaged within software programming and that the Respondent uses a different mail server for this business.

It turns out that the furniture company and the domain owner had communicated via an @normann.com email address.

Also, a simple look at the Wayback Machine shows that he used the domain name at one point.

Here’s another amusing argument:

[the Respondent] has been offered due compensation by the Complainant in exchange for the domain name on three occasions, but has probably decided to await higher bids, in an effort to profit on the ownership in bad faith. The registration of the domain name in 1996, with no use for 21 years must be interpreted as the Respondent acquiring it as an investment. Thus, the Respondent continues to renew the registration of the domain name in order to higher the domain names value [sic].

It’s too bad the domain owner won’t be compensated for having to hire a lawyer.


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Categories: News and Updates

Honda Halts Domestic Car Production Plant Due to WannaCry Virus in Computer Network

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-06-21 17:37

Production at a Honda domestic vehicle plant was halted for a day this week as a result of the discovery of WannaCry ransomware in the computer network, the company reports. Reported today in Reuters: "The automaker shut production on Monday at its Sayama plant, northwest of Tokyo, which produces models including the Accord sedan, Odyssey Minivan and Step Wagon compact multipurpose vehicle and has a daily output of around 1,000 vehicles. Honda discovered on Sunday that the virus had affected networks across Japan, North America, Europe, China and other regions ... despite efforts to secure its systems in mid-May."

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Cloud Computing and Digital Divide 2.0

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-06-21 17:11

Internet connectivity is the great enabler of the 21st century global economy. Studies worldwide unequivocally link increases in Internet penetration rates and expansion of Internet infrastructure to improved education, employment rates, and overall GDP development. Over the next decade, the Internet will reinvent itself yet again in ways we can only imagine today, and cloud computing will be the primary operating platform of this revolution.

But not for everyone. Worldwide, the estimated Internet penetration rate ranges between 44% and 50%, much of which is through less productive mobile devices than desktop workstations. Overall, Internet penetration rates in developed countries stand at over twice that of underdeveloped economies. For many, high-quality Internet services are simply cost-prohibitive. Low-quality infrastructure and devices, unreliable connectivity, and low data rates relegate millions to a global online underclass that lack the resources and skills necessary to more fully participate in the global economy. First recognized as early as the 1990s, these persistent quantitative inequities in overall availability, usability, etc., demarcate a world of Internet "haves" and "have not's" known commonly as the "Digital Divide".

In the decade to come, cloud computing and computational capacity and storage as a service will transform the global economy in ways more substantial than the initial Internet revolution. Public data will become its own public resource that will drive smart cities, improve business processes, and enable innovation across multiple sectors. As the instrumented, data-driven world gathers momentum, well-postured economies will begin to make qualitative leaps ahead of others, creating an even greater chasm between the haves and have not's that we will call Digital Divide 2.0.

At one end of the chasm are modern information-driven economies that will exploit the foundational technologies of the initial Internet revolution to propel their economies forward as never before. In particular, cloud technologies will unleash new capabilities to innovate, collaborate and manage complex data sets that will facilitate start-ups, create new jobs, and improve public governance.

Meanwhile, many in the developing world will continue to struggle with the quantitative inequities of the first Digital Divide. Developing economies will very likely continue to make some progress; however, their inability to rapidly bridge the Internet capacity gap will inhibit them from fully participating in the emerging, instrumented economies of the developed world. Failing to keep pace, these economies will continue to face the perennial problems of lack of investment, lack of transparency within public institutions, and a persistent departure of talent to more developed economies.

In the early 1990s, there was much sloganeering — and some real public policy—in the United States regarding the development of "information superhighways" that would connect schools and libraries nationwide. Information sharing across educational institutions provided the critical mass for launching today's emerging information economy. However, implementation was uneven, and since that time there remain winners and losers, both nationally and globally.

As cloud computing emerges as the principal operating platform for the next-generation information economy, we are again challenged by many of the same questions from two decades ago: who will benefit most from the upcoming revolution? Will progress be limited solely to wealthy urban and suburban centers, already hard-wired with the necessary high-capacity infrastructure, and flush with raw, university-educated talent? Will poorer and rural economies be left to fall that much further behind?

Not necessarily. Industry experts and economists worldwide broadly recognize the tremendous latent economic value of cloud. Clever public-private partnerships in cloud adoption are reinvigorating and transforming municipalities. Shaping public policy begins with recognizing the transformative power of this technology and the role it can play in enabling a wide range of economic sectors.

  • Lowering barriers. As cloud lowers the cost of entry into competitive markets, it enables entrepreneurial growth in developing or depressed economies.
  • Education and professional development. Cloud will radically alter the entire higher education and career development system in the next decade. Smart public policy can ensure that these benefits extend to typically underserved communities and sectors.
  • Government transparency. Public sector cloud adoption facilitates e-government services and enables greater public participation in governance, all of which can engender greater confidence in public administration and attract investments.

Now is the time for public sector authorities, private enterprise, and global thought leaders to develop creative approaches to ensure some level of equity in global information technology access. Engagement now may help avoid repeating and exacerbating the original Digital Divide and posture cloud computing as a global enabler, rather than a global divider.

Written by Michael McMahon, Director, Cyber Strategy and Analysis at Innovative Analytics & Training

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iOS 11 might make QR codes cool again

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-06-21 15:31

QR reader built into camera in next version of iOS.

You can scan this QR code rather than type in DomainNameWire.com.

Remember QR codes? Scanning one makes it easy to visit a URL or get other information. It’s supposed to be a lot easier than typing a long URL. But they never really took off, at least in the U.S.

Part of the problem is that users have to install a third-party app in order to read QR codes. So if I see one, I have to download (or open) an app made by some obscure company before reading the code. I’d rather just type a domain name.

But this friction appears to be changing in Apple’s iOS 11, due out later this year. In the beta version, you can merely open the camera on your iPhone and point it at a QR code to read it.

That’s simple, and it might mean greater marketing adoption of QR codes.

I’m not saying these will supplant domain names, but don’t be surprised if the most prominent navigation call on an offline ad in the future is a QR code instead of a domain name. Apple has a unique capability to push adoption.


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17 end user domain name sales up to $50,000

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-06-21 14:45

Three letter domain name is top end user domain name sale of the week.

Sedo’s top reported sale of the week was Nom.com. However, the domain is still in escrow so the buyer isn’t known. This isn’t an investor price these days, so it was probably an end user.

But another three letter domain name has cleared escrow and tops the end user list this week: EPG.com for $50,000.

Find out details on this sale and other end user domain buys in this list:

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

EPG.com $50,000 – Ehrhardt + Partner GmbH & Co. is a logistics software company. This is a nice improvement over ehrhardt-partner.com.

Amedico.com $9,000 – Amedico provides in-home, on demand healthcare. It originally registered Amedico.life, but with the .com purchase the .life domain now forwards to .com.

EPXT.com $8,687 – Electronic Payments, Inc. does what its name says. I imagine the domain will be used for a product name.

TeenDrivers.com $8,200 – Tail Light, LLC makes apps for car dealers.

Bluevent.com $6,000 – Luwa Air Engineering AG bought this domain. It might be connected to bluevent-gmbh.de.

Wmax.com €4,500 – The owner needs to update the Whois for this domain. The email in whois is dns (at) wmax.com, so the owner has set up email on the domain already.

Wise.de €4,300 – a CSC client bought this domain.

Menu.ch €4,000 – MENU Technologies AG has an app that lets customers order and pay for their food at restaurants. They use the domain UseMenu.com.

Mediket.com $4,000 – The domain name now forwards to skincare site Mediket.ch.

Jung-Group.com $3,490 – Building control company Albrecht Jung GmbH & Co. KG uses the domain name Jung.de.

NYC.ai $2,999 – The buyer is the managing director of Future Labs, a business accelerator in New York City.

CallMed.com $2,999 – MedCore provides onsite medical services for companies and government entities.

Meinfest.com $2,875 – Mobile payments company MEINFEST GmbH in Germany.

BrandPropeller.com $2,650 – Kwikee’s Brand Propeller is a product photography service.

MeetAtlanta.com $2,500 – Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

EdBell.com $2,377 – A guy whose name is Edward Bell.

PineLife.com $2,000 – Pine Life is an outdoor clothing company like Patagonia.


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Categories: News and Updates

.NYC’s most trafficked websites are actually legit

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-06-21 13:12

40 are in Alexa’s Top Million, and they are real websites.

Since most sites that use new top level domain names are relatively new, you wouldn’t expect to find many that get a lot more traffic than well-established .com sites.

Typically, when I use DomainPunch’s Top 1 Million Alexa tool and search for specific new TLDs, the top ones are all spam sites.

But I decided to take a look at .NYC after seeing this tweet:

40 .nyc domains are in top 1 million by Alexa. .nyc usage and adaption is growing. @NYCMayorsOffice @dotnyc @JeffSMerritt #nyc #dotnyc pic.twitter.com/VA8zjChEqo

— .NYC Meetup (@MeetupDotnyc) June 19, 2017

Indeed, .NYC has 40 sites in the top million. The top one is around #60,000, but the most important thing is that all of the domains look legit. This makes sense given the relatively high registration fees for the domains and the nexus requirement that registrants live or have a business in the city.

Alexa isn’t the world’s best ranking source, but this is still an indication that use of .NYC domains is growing.

I haven’t been to the city in a while, but I’m curious if people there have seen .NYC domains displayed in ads and on buildings in the city. It’s this offline promotion that will be critical to the domain’s success.


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Categories: News and Updates

Bloomberg: Pricing of New TLDs Seem "Kind of Random", Sector in "Flux"

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-06-20 22:15

"What does it mean that a web address ending in .pizza costs more than one ending in .beer? Or that .bar costs more than .academy?" Bloomberg's Economic Editor, Peter Coy, suggests that the new Top-Level Domain pricing seen in the market today appears to represent a big pricing experiment in a sector of the economy "that's in flux". So why the various TLDs vary so much in price? Coy writes: "One reason seems to be that the market is young, and both buyers and sellers are trying to feel their way toward what’s good value for the money. Entrepreneurs that spent a lot of money for top-level domain names may try to price higher to recoup their costs, which can be tricky because customers don’t really care about their suppliers’ costs."

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Trump's Cuba Policy and Its Impact on the Cuban Internet

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-06-20 21:44

President Trump showing a signed executive order on Cuba policy, Fri, 16 Jun 2017 in MiamiOverall, I don't see anything in Trump's policy that will directly impact the Cuban Internet, but it will have an indirect impact by delaying the eventual rapprochement between the US and Cuba.

On June 12th, I speculated on Trump's forthcoming Cuba policy and its impact on the Internet. He outlined his policy in a June 16th speech (transcript) and the Treasury Department published a FAQ on forthcoming regulation changes. It looks like my (safe) predictions were accurate.

I predicted he would attack President Obama, brag about what he had done, make relatively minor changes that would not upset businesses like cruise lines, airlines, and telecommunication and hotel companies. I also said he would criticize Cuban human rights, while hypocritically ignoring the issue in other countries.

For example, he slammed President Obama and bragged that "I am canceling the last administration's completely one-sided deal with Cuba."

This does not come close to passing a fact-check. He said he was going to restrict people-to-people travel and stop people from doing business with companies owned by the Cuban Military, but that is far from canceling President Obama's "deal," which included little things like establishing diplomatic relations, reducing constraints on remittances, dropping the wet-foot, dry-foot policy, allowing US companies to do business with self-employed Cubans, allowing US companies to sell telecommunication equipment and services in Cuba, taking Cuba off the list of state-sponsors of terrorism, etc. You get the idea — he canceled none of this.

His statements on Cuban human rights are either 100% hypocritical, or he has changed his mind since his speech in Saudi Arabia last month. At that time, he promised that "America will not seek to impose our way of life on others but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust."

If he really has changed his live-and-let-live human-rights policy, we can expect a spate of new sanctions, from Manila to Moscow.

I had one surprise — his singling out hotels and other businesses operated by the military-run conglomerate, Grupo de Administración Empresarial S.A. (GAESA). Officials say existing hotel deals will not be effected, but the detailed regulations have not yet been released. This change will cut Cuban worker's jobs and GAESA's profit, but I guess the ban is good news for AirBnB and any future Trump hotel or resort in Cuba.

How about changes affecting the Cuban Internet?

I read the Fact Sheet on Cuba Policy, looking for changes that would affect the Internet, and did not find much.

The first "key policy change" is "allowing American individuals and entities to develop economic ties to the private, small business sector in Cuba." Someone should let him know that President Obama made such changes some time ago, for example in allowing software imports from the private sector.

In fact, someone should read him President Obama's 2009 Fact Sheet – Reaching out to the Cuban people. That document introduced many changes which enhance the ability of Cuban private, small businesses to "develop ties to the US," for example by authorizing "greater telecommunications links with Cuba to advance people-to-people interaction at no cost to the U.S. government." The fact sheet lists seven concrete telecommunication policy changes, none of which were "canceled" by Trump.

He has canceled none of President Obama's changes to encourage private Cuban business and added nothing new himself.

One change he did make is stopping "self-directed, individual travel" to Cuba. That will force would-be tourists to join fake groups and fake their travel reports or go to Aruba instead of Cuba, but it will not slow the deployment of Chinese telecommunication infrastructure.

I hope Trump's policy will not undo the progress made by Google in establishing a relationship with Cuba and gaining permission to install Google Global Cache servers on the island. The servers are not yet in use, and when they go online they will have a small practical impact, but they indicate that Google has built trust and a relationship with the Cuban government and Internet community. I bet representatives of Google and other companies who have established relationships with Cuba are trying to reassure their counterparts that this is a temporary, unpopular change in US policy.

Overall, I don't see anything in Trump's policy that will directly impact the Cuban Internet, but it will have an indirect impact by delaying the eventual rapprochement between the US and Cuba. The Cuban government will enjoy a few more years of claiming their economic problems are the result of the US embargo, the integration of the Cuban and American people will be slowed and The Chinese, Russians, and Iranians will have more time to establish political and business relationships in Cuba with diminished competition from the US.

Trump's speech did not change much practically — its intent and impact were symbolic. It let him say he had carried out a campaign pledge, which was music to the ears of the Cuba-hardline audience at the Manuel Artime auditorium, named for a leader of the Bay of Pigs invasion. The talk lasted about 39 minutes with 53 applause breaks (50 for Trump, 3 for others) and a violin rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Add to that the fact that Trump speaks slowly and repeats a lot of words and phrases, you realize that the speech was 90% political cheerleading and 10% content. You can watch the speech here on YouTube, but reading the transcript is a lot quicker.

For a more comprehensive critique of Trump's Cuba policy see this article by Ben Rhodes, who was one of two White House staff members handling the negotiations leading up to our opening with Cuba. I also recommend the podcast interviews of Rhodes and Dan Restrepo, who served as a top Latin America advisor to President Obama and wrote a Cuban-rapprochement roadmap for candidate Obama before he was elected President. The interviews reveal President Obama's strategy and describe the negotiation process.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

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New Standard for Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-06-20 20:45

Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) Rule 1 defines Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH) as "using the Policy in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain name holder of a domain name" (further defined in Rule 15(c)). There has been a mixed history in granting and denying this remedy for overreaching rights. Some Panels consider RDNH regardless whether it has been requested (even if respondent defaults in responding to the complaint); others will only consider the issue if requested. There are also variant views on the burden of proof. Some panelists simply ignore the request even though dismissing the complaint. In Impossible BV v. Joel Runyon, Impossible Ventures, D2016-0506 (WIPO May 22, 2016) (<impossibleproject.com>) the majority denied RDNH over the objection of the third-member:

I am conscious that the Panel majority do not regard the issue of RDNH as being of any great relevance in the context of this dispute. I fundamentally disagree.

The reasons for this fundamental disagreement (from one of the veteran panelists) are interesting and I'll come back to them further below.

In the recently released WIPO Overview 3.0 the editors now acknowledge that "following some early cases to the contrary, panels have more recently clarified that, for an RDNH finding to be made, it is not necessary for a respondent to seek an RDNH finding or prove the presence of conduct constituting RDNH" (Paragraph 4.16). It would appear from this that the standard has tightened in favor of RDNH although there continue to be baffling examples, as noted by Andrew Allemann in Domain Name Wire: "I can't believe it's not RDNH: Gloo.com" referring to Entertainment Technology Investments, Inc. d/b/a Gloo, LLC v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 011945202 / K Blacklock, D2017-0606 (WIPO May 31, 2017). The surprise in this case of not finding RDNH is that the registration of <gloo.com> predated the mark by many years. (The Panel didn't even bother to explain itself!) Granting standing to complainants whose trademarks were not distinctive at the time of the domain name registration is now been woven into the fabric, but it should be a de rigour finding that overreaching mark owners be slapped with sanctions.

The one constant of marks not distinctive at the time of domain name registration is that by definition the registrations could not have been in bad faith regardless how subsequently they may have been used. There should be a rule (memorialized in the UDRP Rules or accepted by consensus) that complainants of this stripe be marked with an "A" (abusive) for commencing the proceeding. See also EBSCO Industries, Inc. v. WebMagic Staff / WebMagic Ventures, LLC., FA1703001722095 (<novelist.com>. RDNH requested and granted); Platterz Inc. v. Andrew Melcher, FA1705001729887 (Forum June 19, 2017) (<platterz.com>. RDNH requested and granted). The only reason for granting standing it to give complainants the opportunity to prove common law rights predating registration of the domain name.

WIPO Overview 3.0 points out "NB, parties may be aware that unlike in the UDRP system, certain national courts may (where invoked) impose monetary penalties (including punitive damages) where the equivalent of RDNH is found" (Paragraph 4.16). While domain name holders have prevailed in district court in direct cases under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) up to now there have been no cases in which they have commenced an action for damages after winning RDNH. (There are cases in which domain holders lost in UDRPs and prevailed in ACPA actions).

There is now a case in which a prevailing Respondent with RDNH in hand has filed an action under the ACPA for $75,000, CORPORACION EMPRESARIAL ALTRA S.L. v. Development Services, Telepathy, Inc., D2017-0178 (WIPO May 15, 2017) (<airzone.com>). See here for copy of complaint and comment from Domain Name Wire). This could be an important case, a test case, but there are a couple of difficulties, most notably personal jurisdiction. (An action for damages requires the court having personal jurisdiction over defendant). In an earlier case involving the same Respondent (who incidentally invariably prevails) the Panel declined to award RDNH. X6D Limited v. Telepathy, Inc., D2010-1519 (WIPO November 16, 2010).

What does the landscape look like, notwithstanding the new standard? In two cases by SPS Commerce, Inc., FA1703001724583 and 1724584 (Forum May 24, 2017) (<spcommerce.com>) and (<specommerce.com>) (same three-member Panels) RDNH was not requested and the Panels did not consider sanctions, although the factual findings would surely have warranted it:

Indeed, much of Respondent's evidence goes beyond demonstrable preparation and establishes actual use of the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of e-commerce services. In addition to the branding focus groups, marketing expenditure, and developing case studies and other digital content, Respondent actually offered e-commerce services via the Domain Name website.

In other words, Respondent's rebuttal evidence was more than sufficient to prove its defense of rights or legitimate interests in the domain names.

Respondent in Wes Madan / United Oil Heat, Inc., d/b/a OrderMyOil.com v. michael meehan, FA170100 1715122 (Forum March 9, 2017 (<orderyouroil.com>) requested RDNH but it was not considered. It does not appear that Respondent requested RDNH in SOG Specialty Knives and Tools, LLC v. Val Katayev / Poise Media Inc, FA1704001726464 (Forum May 23, 2017) (<sog.com>) and it was not considered (probably not requested or considered because the mark predated the registration of the domain name).

In Technologies Sensopia Inc. v. BLUE NOVA INC. FA1704001725217 (Forum June 9, 2017) (<magicplan.com>) Respondent requested RDNH and it was granted because

Complainant knew or should have known when it filed this case that it could not possibly prove bad faith registration, since Respondent registered the Domain Name seven years before Complainant began using its MAGICPLAN mark. It knew or should have known that its renewal/re-registration argument was universally discredited and would not be accepted by any Panel. It knew or should have known that it would have to prove both bad faith registration and bad faith use in order to prevail.

The Panel in Impossible used similar language to make its point. Not only "should [the case] never have been launched" but,

it is crucial that complainants and their advisers have it made very clear to them that in a system such as this where many respondents do not bother to respond, it is important that panels can rely upon the certificate at the end of the Complaint.

More specifically,

if, as some panelists believe, failure on the part of respondents to conduct trademark searches prior to registering domain names may be evidence of bad faith registration and use, one might reasonably enquire why it is not equally abusive for a complainant to assert that the respondent has no relevant rights, when a simple trademark search in the respondent's jurisdiction would have confirmed to the complainant that the respondent might well have such rights… [W]hat makes matters much worse is that, as I have pointed out above, the Complainant was expressly informed months prior to the filing of the Complaint that the Respondent was the owner of registered trademark rights and a simple search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office would have verified it.

In Tupras Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri A.S. v. See PrivacyGuardian.org / Wizarc Computing, D2017-0818 (WIPO June 6, 2017) (<hexmon.com>) the Respondent does not make any allegation of RDNH but "the Respondent acting in person makes it clear that he regards the Complaint as totally unjustified and oppressive." The Panel held that the "Rules do not require the Respondent to have made an express allegation of RDNH. In the circumstances, the Panel considers it appropriate to consider the issue of RDNH of its own volition." Complainant's allegations of earlier use and bad faith were unsupported by any evidence: " The Panel confesses to finding grossly exaggerated the suggestion that advertisements by the Complainant for some product or service under the HEXMON mark "appear on almost all TVs and radios [...] everyday".

It does not appear Respondent requested RDNH in Crestron Electronics, Inc. v. ATTN: crestronasia.com, Domain Discreet Privacy Service / Transtrade Hong Kong Co. Limited (formerly known as Crestron Asia Limited), D2017-0777 (WIPO June 9, 2017) (<crestonasia.com> and other domains including a dot asia) but the facts (a distribution agreement silent on transferring domain names after termination) warranted it (same Panel as in Impossible).

The final issue concerns complainants represented by counsel or pro se. WIPO Overview 3.0 states that "[g]iven the undertakings in paragraphs 3(b)(xiii) and (xiv) of the UDRP Rules [certification that the information found in the Complaint is not presented for any improper purpose], some panels have held that a represented complainant should be held to a higher standard." (This "higher standard" is surely in play in Crestron Electronics as it was in Impossible). Where counsel is involved, there's simply no excuse!

Decisions giving complainants a pass for pro se or incompetence include FastTrak v. Virtual Point, D2017-0652 (WIPO May 16,2017) (<fasttrak.com>) and Clasen Quality Chocolate, Inc. v. Earthlink, Inc., D2017-0129 (WIPO March 1, 2017) (<cqc.com>).

In FastTrak, the Panel gave Complainant the benefit of doubt on the issue of reverse domain name hijacking since it was "not represented by counsel." It concluded it could not "go so far as to determine the action was taken in bad faith [rather its complaint] was misdirected and generally wrongly pursued." The Panel in Clasen Quality Chocolate denied RDNH because the complaint "appears, on balance, to be more misconceived than malicious in nature" (emphasis added). The head scratcher in this decision is that the Panel also stated that the "Complaint should not have been brought" which is the formulaic language used by panelists on the other end of the spectrum for finding abuse of the proceeding.

See also LaFrance Corp. v. David Zhang, D2009-0415 (WIPO May 15, 2009) in which the Panel stated that "[h]ad Complainant been represented by counsel the Panel would not have hesitated to make an RDNH finding… Nevertheless, in his discretion the Panel declines to enter a finding of RDNH, but does find, as provided in paragraph 15(e) of the Rules, that the Complaint "was brought primarily to harass the domain-name holder.")

Written by Gerald M. Levine, Intellectual Property, Arbitrator/Mediator at Levine Samuel LLP

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Analyzing Donuts’ deal to acquire Rightside

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-06-20 15:22

Rightside had to sell and Donuts is the logical buyer.

Last week, Donuts agreed to acquire Rightside (NASDAQ: NAME) for $213 million. As luck would have it, I was vacationing in Costa Rica when the deal was announced. I gave some initial thoughts right after the news broke, and now I’ve had more time to think through the deal and the ramifications.

Rightside had to sell

There was no question that Rightside was going to be acquired or go private in some way. After selling eNom to Tucows for $83.5 million earlier this year, the company was just too small to remain public.

It also had lots of pressure to perform, and the numbers weren’t heading in the right direction.

It had to sell eNom because it was about to lose its biggest customer. This move increased the attention on new top level domains, and new TLD revenue was stalling.

Here’s a look at Rightside’s registry revenue, which includes sales of its 40 top level domains as well as fees collected for managing technical registry services for Donuts’ top level domains:

Revenue grew as the company launched top level domains, but stalled once the funnel of new domains dried up.

The company continued to forecast $50-$75 million of registry revenue per year within a few years time, and that was going to be a very difficult target to hit.

The company also faced headwinds with the unpredictable revenue stream it made in the domain name aftermarket, and predicted lower overall revenue in 2017 than 2016 thanks, in part, to the aftermarket.

Wedding Partners

Donuts and Rightside have been partners since the beginning of Donuts’ history. The two companies applied for a pool of roughly 100 domains together through a partnership, and some people even suspected that Donuts was acting as a backdoor in case Rightside (then part of Demand Media) was disqualified from owning new top level domains.

Rightside also runs the technical backend registry services for all of Donuts’ domains.

One of Donuts’ founders and its first CEO, Paul Stahura, founded eNom, which was later purchased by Demand Media and became part of Rightside.

It hasn’t always been a peachy relationship, though. There was Donuts’ unsolicited $70 million offer for Rightside’s registry business, which Donuts made public after it was rebuffed by Rightside. Donuts also seemed to use Google’s open source registry as a way to negotiate a good deal when renewing its registry contract.

Hidden Figures

Donuts’ $213 million offer is a lot more than its first $70 million offer, but there are a couple of things at play here.

First, this is for the entire business, not just the registry business. For now, the registry business is the smallest part of Rightside. Registry generated $11.8 million last year. Donuts also gets retail registrar Name.com and Rightside’s portfolio of about 300,000 domain names. The registrar generated $29.1 million revenue last year and aftermarket (which includes the portfolio and parking revenue) generated $22.6 million.

To be sure, the registry business has much higher margins than the business as a whole.

Rightside also has a ton of cash after selling eNom. It started to use some of it for buybacks, but the $213 million offer net of cash is probably closer to $150 million or so.

It will be interesting to see what Donuts does with the registrar and aftermarket business. So far it has avoided the conflict of interest of owning a registrar, but vertical integration between registries and registrars hasn’t ended up being as big of a deal as some predicted. Rightside has leveraged Name.com to boost some of its own TLDs, so perhaps Donuts will decide to keep it. If not, there are probably a lot of willing buyers.

The aftermarket business is a different matter. It would be kind of funny for Donuts to hold onto this business and its hundreds of thousands of .com domains in light of its new top level domain mission. I don’t have much insight into what’s in the portfolio, but GoDaddy would be a logical buyer for the “clean” part of this portfolio.

Different Strategies

Donuts was already the big dog in the new TLD game with about 200 domains. It’s now even bigger.

Donuts and Rightside took different approaches to new TLDs and it will be interesting to see if Donuts shifts.

Historically, Donuts has done little to market its domains. It’s an economies-of-scale business. Rightside is different. It has marketed its domains. It had no choice because it had to show topline growth, even at the expense of profits.

Rightside cultivated certain top level domains. For example, it used streaming video influencers to grow .live.

Will Donuts drop all of this activity in favor of harvesting Rightside’s efforts to date?

Honestly, this might make more financial sense than plowing money into marketing. For the sake of the industry, I hope Donuts ramps up its marketing. I just don’t know if the numbers will add up. Donuts doesn’t have the same short-term pressures that Rightside had as a public company.

Both Donuts and Rightside also took an analytical approach to premium domains, but Rightside took it overboard. Will Donuts pare Rightside’s premium inventory?

From a trademark protection standpoint, expect the two companies’ similar trademark blocking services to be combined (and sell at a higher price).

Efficiencies

Despite recent layoffs, Rightside still has a lot of overhead. A lot of positions are now redundant with Donuts. Depending on the strategy Donuts takes going forward, now would be a great time for domain industry companies looking to bolster their ranks to take a look at some of Rightside’s staff.

Summing it up

Rightside had no choice but to sell. Donuts was the ideal buyer given the existing partnership and Donuts’ role in the new top level domain business. Two things to watch are what Donuts does with Rightside’s non-new TLD businesses and if it changes its marketing approach.


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Related posts:
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  2. Tucows acquires eNom from Rightside
  3. First take: Donuts to buy Rightside for $213 million
Categories: News and Updates

Another day, two more RDNH domain cases

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-06-20 13:04

Two more cybersquatting cases were filed in abuse of the UDRP.

It probably seems like I’ve been writing a lot of posts about reverse domain name hijacking lately. Hey, I don’t control the flow of unscrupulous companies filing bogus RDNH cases. I take them as they come.

Here are two more.

First up is Crestron Electronics, Inc, which filed a UDRP against a former partner for crestronasia.com, crestronasia.asia and creston.asia.

The domains are owned by Transtrade Hong Kong Co. Limited (formerly known as Crestron Asia Limited). As you can probably guess, these two companies used to be partners. It’s basically a case of a distributorship that went sour.

Panelist Tony Willoughby noted that the respondent clearly didn’t register the domains in bad faith when it registered the domains. Just because the relationship has ended doesn’t change the state of the relationship when the respondent registered the domains.

The second case was filed by Platterz Inc for the domain name platterz.com. Platterz owns the domain name Platterz.ca.

The company was formed well after the registrant registered the domain name. The complainant tried to buy the domain name. When that failed, it filed the UDRP.

Intriguingly, respondent Andrew Melcher said he has never sold or leased a domain name. Since he owns over 10,000, I wonder what he’s doing with these domains. Because he didn’t argue he is a domain investor, the panel didn’t find him to have a legitimate interest or rights in the domain.

Still, he clearly didn’t register the domain in bad faith well before the complainant existed. The panel was miffed that Platterz cited a case in which bad faith was found when a domain was registered before the complainant registered its trademark, because in that case (unlike the present one) the complainant had common law rights before the registration.


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The post Another day, two more RDNH domain cases appeared first on Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News & Views.

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Categories: News and Updates

Data on Nearly 200 Million Potential Voters in U.S. Found Fully Exposed

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-06-19 20:12

According to reports released today, databases containing information on close to 200 million potential U.S. voters were found unsecured and exposed to the Internet, allowing anyone to download it without a password. The data analytics contractor Deep Root Analytics employed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) has taken full responsibility for the situation. Joe Uchill reporting in The Hill: "The databases were part of 25 terabytes of files contained in an Amazon cloud account that could be browsed without logging in. The account was discovered by researcher Chris Vickery of the security firm UpGuard. The files have since been secured. ... 'In terms of the disc space used, this is the biggest exposure I've found. In terms of the scope and depth, this is the biggest one I've found,' said Vickery."

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Overview of the Global Domain Market, Afnic Study

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-06-19 19:31

Afnic, the French Network Information Centre and manager of the .fr TLD, today published its report on the global domain market in 2016. The study is based on ICANN statistics, information from registries, specialized websites and its own research. "After boosting the performance of some TLDs in 2015, 'Chinese domain name filings' are now weighing on the growth of these same TLDs because of the numerous deletions. The build-up of the financial sphere in the capital of certain major players is resulting in ambitious strategies while subjecting the market to new frames of reference and changes in management teams."

Highlight of some of the key points from the report:

Overall market growth in 2016 was 7.1%, down from 11.7% in 2015.

At the end of 2016, the global domain name market represented some 338 million domain names, including 169 million under Legacy TLDs (.COM, .NET, .ORG, etc.), 28 million under nTLDs created from 2014 onwards, and 141 million under ccTLDs (GeoTLDs).

The situation of the "Legacy" TLDs varied quite considerably in 2016, some losing stock while others made marked progress. With its 131 million domain names and 39% market share, the .COM remained the market heavyweight but its positions are slowly being eroded, with a loss of 3 market share points since year-end 2014. Its growth has also considerably slowed down (from 6.4% to 3.7%).

nTLDs continued to gain market share in terms of volume, accounting for 8% of the domain names registered worldwide at year-end 2016, compared with 4% at year-end 2015. This development in the use of nTLDs is encouraging, although its level is still low. The nTLD market can be broken down into segments - Community, Geo, Generic and Corp - with very different purposes and profiles, from the hundreds of .Corp that only hold a few names, to generic TLDs involved in a race for volume.

Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) which had an excellent year in 2015, experienced zero growth in 2016. Africa and North America were the most dynamic regions in 2016, while Europe in comparison stagnated. Latin America is growing slowly but surely, and the Asia-Pacific region is subject to very strong variations both upwards and downwards. That region today is the one that determines the overall market trend.

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Internet Governance for Sustainability

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-06-19 17:53

Sustainability is a difficult term to avoid these days. With that in mind, it's somewhat surprising that last week's European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), now in its tenth year, featured one of its first workshops looking at the subject. But while the workshop focused on issues of energy usage and e-waste, the concept of sustainability raises some much broader and likely difficult questions for the Internet governance community.

The one thing that is abundantly clear after two days of workshops and sessions at EuroDIG is that "Internet governance" is hard to pin down — in one session you'll be talking social policies for employment, in another, international trade arrangements, another will delve into industrial and manufacturing policy, while in the next room you'll find a multistakeholder discussion on law enforcement practices. This is a natural reflection of the fact that the Internet has effectively infiltrated all spheres of human activity. But what then is Internet governance?

Practically, these kinds of Internet governance events are about sharing and consolidating knowledge and information — everyone comes away better informed and more able to contribute in venues where policymaking actually takes place (whether it's national government, international standards organisations or elsewhere). But as participants share information across such diverse range of topics, we also see the emergence of a broader consensus on themes, approaches or priorities — not solid policy outcomes or even recommendations, but rather approaches for governance relating to the Internet. And sometimes it can be about changing dominant paradigms.

When we think about the Internet, we think of growth. More than perhaps any other area of human activity, the Internet has been defined by growth, graph lines racing "up and to the right" as we marvel at the speed with which the Internet has developed, spread and transformed our societies. Internet governance has reflected this — one of the primary motivations for the initial World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) discussions was that the Internet grows so quickly and dynamically that new processes and structures were needed for its governance.

That growth is also an underlying premise of the Internet governance community's focus on "development", an effort to address the inescapable fact that despite the rate of growth, the benefits of Internet access have not been evenly spread. "IG4D" (Internet governance for development), prioritising efforts to steer growth and development towards under-served populations, has been one of IGF community's most important contributions to the global Internet governance discussion.

Looking at Internet governance in this way, and reflecting on the EuroDIG session on e-waste, I wonder if it's time to consider a new paradigm, parallel, but separate to the idea of development: Internet governance for sustainability.

At the mention of sustainability, people immediately think of issues like e-waste, Internet energy consumption and environmental impact. But an Internet governance sustainability paradigm could (and must) go beyond these relatively straightforward environmental concerns to larger questions of how we can ensure the continued viability of the Internet and its benefits, based on finite resources. In doing so, it would inevitably raise deeper questions about the limits of "growth" in the Internet context.

Is our current approach to the Internet and its governance sustainable? A model that focuses on growth may not immediately appear unsustainable, but even based on the discussions at EuroDIG last week, I think there are some troubling indicators visible in the current trends. Consider just two:

  1. In discussions on the Internet of Things, many people have noted the problematic market dynamic whereby consumers demand (or applications require) cheap devices and manufacturers cut production costs in response, often at the expense of device security. The IoT continues to grow, but in doing so it jeopardises the security of all Internet-connected technologies. Meanwhile...
  2. With the exhaustion of the IPv4 address pool (and the slower-than-hoped uptake of IPv6), operators are increasingly turning to Carrier-Grade NAT, a technology that allows them to connect multiple users via a single IPv4 address. Growth of the user base can continue, but only via increasingly expensive and complex systems which have the added effect of making attribution and evidence collection more difficult for law enforcement (as discussed in another EuroDIG workshop).

In both cases, stakeholders from various sectors have raised the possibility of government regulation as a means to overcome these concerns — enforce security standards in IoT device manufacture, legislate to limit the degree of NAT usage by operators. But this leaves unanswered questions about whether such a "hand on the tiller" approach is the only means to ensure a sustainable approach. When placed alongside the kinds of concerns raised in relation to the proliferation of e-waste, the rapidly increasing energy usage of Internet technologies and even the rapidly growing number of applications chewing up radio spectrum for vital (or not-so-vital) communications, it's clear that there is a need for all Internet stakeholders to "bake in" considerations of long-term sustainability to their development and growth strategies.

The overall question is this: should Internet governance foster an awareness across stakeholder groups of the need to consider long-term sustainability as a primary issue for any Internet-related development? This would be a paradigm of Internet governance for sustainability.

The question is broad, and deliberately so, and the operational, strategic or policy outcomes of such awareness would differ radically across the different kinds of areas mentioned above. But, as in the case of "development", Internet governance can perhaps play its strongest role in setting such broad, thematic paradigms. How venues like the IGF will follow up on this question remains to be seen, but this should be something of concern to all Internet stakeholders.

Written by Chris Buckridge, External Relations Manager at RIPE NCC

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More under: Internet Governance, Internet of Things, IP Addressing, Policy & Regulation

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Domain names in Costa Rica

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-06-19 17:16

.Com is the favorite in Costa Rica.

I just returned from a weeklong vacation in Costa Rica. I hadn’t been to Costa Rica in 15 years, and my visit reminded me why people like to vacation there, but also the niceties of living in the United States (like well-paved roads).

Of course, I also paid attention to what types of domain names people used. Here’s what I observed:

1. Almost all of the domain names were .com.

2. Very few businesses used .CR domain names. A more common approach was to use .com with CR right before the .com.

3. Even though many businesses had a .com domain name, many used free email accounts for email (such as @yahoo.com or @hotmail.com).

One of the funniest photos I took was of this jack-of-all-trades storefront near the beach. How about some SEO work with your kayak rental?


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The post Domain names in Costa Rica appeared first on Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News & Views.

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Categories: News and Updates

Dynadot CEO Todd Han – DNW Podcast #141

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-06-19 15:30

How a bootstrapped domain name registrar attracted a loyal following.

What’s it like bootstrapping a domain name registrar for 15 years? Find out today as we talk with Todd Han, CEO of Dynadot. The mid-sized registrar has had to grow organically while battling a maze of regulation, but it has found a loyal following. There are some great business discussions in this week’s episode.

Subscribe via iTunes to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, view on Google Play Music, or click play below or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)


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Categories: News and Updates

Oil company Tupras is a reverse domain name hijacker

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-06-19 13:15

Company went after domain name Hexmon.com, which is owned by a fan of hex-based wargames.

Do you watch TV or listen to the radio? If so, have you heard commercials for Tupras or Hexmon?

My guess is you haven’t, especially if you live outside of Turkey. But Tupras Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri A.S. made the claim in a recent UDRP that “it has advertisements all over the world, from subways to advertisement spaces on the side of the roads, streets and buildings, and that its thousands of commercials appear on almost all TVs and radios every day.”

The company made the claim in a UDRP for Hexmon.com. The domain name was registered by a guy who is a fan of hex-based wargames. He adopted the name Hexmon as a handle on twitter in 2009 and registered the domain name before the complainant ever started using the name “hexmon” for one of its products.

The domain name owner represented himself in the UDRP and did not request a finding of reverse domain name hijacking. But panelist Ian Lowe did his job, noting that it is appropriate for a UDRP panel to consider RDNH on its own volition. Low wrote:

There was no doubt in this case that the Domain Name was registered more than two years before the Complainant registered its Turkey trademark. The Complainant made the bald assertion that it had prior rights in the trademark that preceded the registration of the Domain Name, yet it produced no evidence whatsoever that this was the case and the factual background as to the Complainant’s application for a patent in respect of an invention for which it may have used the trademark strongly suggested that any such use must have been long after the Domain Name was registered.

The Complainant made no allegations of bad faith use of the Domain Name beyond its passive holding by the Respondent. Even after the details of the underlying registrant were disclosed to the Complainant, it does not appear to have made any enquiries as to what rights or legitimate interests the Respondent may have had in respect of the Domain Name. Although scarcely relevant, as stated above, the Panel found the Complainant’s assertion that advertisements for its products or services under the HEXMON mark appeared on almost all TVs or radios every day to be grossly exaggerated.

In the circumstances, the Panel considers that the Complainant must have known that its allegations of bad faith were unfounded and that on proper consideration its Complaint was bound to fail. For these reasons, the Panel finds that there was RDNH in this case.


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The post Oil company Tupras is a reverse domain name hijacker appeared first on Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News & Views.

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Categories: News and Updates

Update on the 2017 DomainX Conference Coming to New Delhi in Early August

DN Journal - Sun, 2017-06-18 15:54
India's 4th annual DomainX conference is coming up August 5-6 in New Delhi. We have some show updates for you.
Categories: News and Updates

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