News and Updates

Fierce Political Battle Expected as FCC Chair Elaborated on Plan to Reverse 'Net Neutrality' Rules

Domain industry news - 4 hours 51 min ago

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking in Washington today, said he wants to reverse rules that boosted government regulatory powers over Internet service providers. "Proponents who fought to get the rules passed said his proposal would set off a fierce political battle over the future of the Internet regulation," reports David Shepardson in Reuters. Ajit Pai ended his speech today stating: "When the FCC rammed through the Title II Order two years ago, I expressed hope that we would look back at that vote 'as an aberration, a temporary deviation from the bipartisan path that ha[d] served us so well.' And I voiced my confidence that the Title II Order's days were already numbered. At the FCC's next meeting on May 18, we will take a significant step towards making that prediction a reality. And later this year, I am confident that we will finish the job. Make no mistake about it: this is a fight that we intend to wage and it is a fight that we are going to win."

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More under: Access Providers, Net Neutrality, Policy & Regulation

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A 3-Letter .Com Commands Seven Figures in a Stunning Deal Brokered by Guta.com

DN Journal - Wed, 2017-04-26 22:42
In one of the highest 3-letter acronym sales ever reported, Guta.com has brokered a sale that passed the $1 million barrier.
Categories: News and Updates

Cuba Getting Faster YouTube Access in Next 24 Hours, Thanks to Deal Signed in December

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-04-26 19:54

In the December of last, Cuba singed a deal with Google to enable faster access to content served via its popular platforms such Gmail and YouTube. Under the deal, Cuba would gain access to a network of local servers called Google Global Cache that would reduce access time for content served via Google-owned sources. Today, Doug Madory, Dyn's Director of Internet Analysis, emailed to report that Google’s (Google Global Cache) GGC nodes have finally gone active in the past 24hrs. "It is a milestone as this is the first time an outside internet company has hosted anything in Cuba. Also, this is the first tangible development from Google's involvement in the country since wiring Kcho’s art studio with free WiFi"

Also pointed out by Madory: If you drop this Cuban IP address [http://190.92.112.12] into your browser, it will redirect you to Google’s homepage. This is one of the IPs ETECSA is using for the GGC service.

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Gleissner’s UDRP filings just an R&D project?

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-04-26 15:59

Well, that would be an abuse of UDRP.

World Trademark Review talked with an unnamed source “related to one of [Michael] Gleissner’s businesses” about what the heck he’s up to with his trademark filings, UDRPs and more.

The anonymous source told World Trademark Review that the allegation that the trademark filings are part of a scheme to acquire domain names is bunk:

That is a far-fetched and gross allegation. Just in case you’re wondering whether the stuff on UDRP that you see written on blogs is true, the truth is that we were trying to see how UDRP works and learn its possibilities in-house as part of an R&D project. It would be really ambitious thinking that you can just obtain old domains by virtue of a baby-trademark filed six months ago.

An R&D project? That’s interesting. Don’t forget what one of a Bigfoot representative’s job responsibilities was:

co-existence, consent agreements, etc. to ensure creative resolution of IP disputes, including manipulation of TMs and common law marks to achieve UDRP “reverse domain name hijacking”

I’m not sure exactly what Gleissner and his companies are up to. But they are filing an awful lot of objections against trademark applications that have little to nothing to do with what they are seeking trademarks for. And trying to trademark .com domains you don’t own? What could possibly be a benign motive for that?


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Categories: News and Updates

The Sysadmin's Guide to Securing Your SaaS Apps

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-04-26 15:32

As an admin, app security should be a top priority - but SaaS apps represent a difficult challenge in that regard. How can you protect your business from their risks, while enjoying all their rewards?

Within the average enterprise, there are 508 unique cloud applications in use. That number's overwhelming enough on its own without considering that 88% of those applications aren't enterprise ready, or the fact that one in five cloud applications has data sharing as a core functionality. Allowing your employees to use these apps freely is like installing a screen door on the side of a boat - sure, it might not sink your organization, but it's still a huge risk.

Of course, the challenge is that where SaaS apps are concerned, you as an administrator have very little control. People are going to rely on the functionality these apps offer in an effort to get their jobs done. That's inevitable.

The only thing you can control is whether or not your data is protected as they do so. At its core, that's tied to whether or not your users look upon you as a productivity enabler or just another obstruction. Let's talk about how you can be the former.

Talk To Your Users

If your users are employing third-party, consumer-grade SaaS apps in the workplace, then it's blindingly clear that they've some productivity need your business's standard tools aren't meeting for them. You have to find out what that need is - determine the functionality your users require in order to effectively do their jobs. I guarantee that for every single unsecure app your users employ, there's an enterprise-ready alternative just waiting to be implemented. And it's up to you to find them.

But that's only the tip of the iceberg.

Improve Your Authentication Process

There's a simple term I'd like you to familiarize yourself with: Single Sign On. Your end goal here is to make your entire SaaS application suite part of one platform, in a sense - to allow your users to access every single application they need to get their job done while only requiring them to authenticate once. On the surface, that may sound like a huge security breach waiting to happen.

Improperly-implemented, it most assuredly is. But here's the thing - single sign on can actually be incredibly secure if you make use of multi-factor authentication. Consider the following authentication process, which makes use of several 'security barricades,' but nevertheless remains secure:

  • An employee wishes to access their business's SharePoint repository via smartphone. When they attempt to access the system, it immediately recognizes the device they're using - it's been registered as 'trusted.'
  • Said employee is then prompted for their fingerprint. They use the fingerprint scanner on their smartphone.
  • Finally, they're prompted to enter a four-digit PIN or username/password.
  • Once they've done all this, they can access not only the SharePoint repository, but every other SaaS app employed by their organization until the authentication period expires (something which can be controlled by IT).

That's actually a pretty barebones process - you can makes things even more complex by introducing features such as access time and access location into the mix. But from the employee's perspective, it's pretty seamless. They simply log-in, swipe their fingerprint, enter their PIN, and they're done.

Better yet, the multiple checks and balances ensures that if someone does try to crack your system, they need to not only possess the employee's physical device (which can easily be reported as lost or stolen), but also their fingerprint and their login info.

Sure beats using RSA Tokens and Smartcard Readers, doesn't it?

Rethink Your Protocols

According to Search Cloud Computing, insecure access protocols are one of the most significant security risks facing SaaS applications in enterprise. With that in mind...what are you doing to protect your remote employees? Are you using Telnet or FTP? Have you neglected to set up a secure tunnel or VPN?

You'd best answer those questions before going further — because even if your applications are secure, they can still leak data over an unsecured connection.

Containerize Critical Applications

Given how many employees want to use their personal devices in the workplace, I'd strongly advise that you look into some form of containerization solution - some way to lock off business applications and accounts from personal ones on a user's smartphone. App-based containerization's actually come a long way in recent years, and there are several solutions on the market that are completely managed by IT, and rely solely on centralized security controls.

That means no on-device encryption for hackers to break through, and no need for you to worry about a consumer app leaking critical data from an enterprise app (though admittedly, this risk is relatively minor with SaaS applications compared to traditional mobility).

Keep Your Head Out Of The Clouds Where Security's Concerned

SaaS applications have become central to the workplace. As an administrator, it's your job to ensure that they don't represent a security risk. Because your employees are going to use them no matter what you do.

Written by Tim Mullahy, General Manager of Liberty Center One

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More under: Cloud Computing, Security

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16 domain names recently purchased by end users

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-04-26 14:43

End users buy domain names matching their existing second level domain under other top level domains.

This week’s list of end user domain name sales that transacted through Sedo includes two companies that bought the .com to match their .co, a company that uses .online that purchased the matching .co.uk domain, and a real estate developer that uses .com that bought the matching .cn (China) domain name.

A lot of sales at Sedo this past week are still in escrow, so I went back to last week’s list to check domains that were still in escrow when I published the previous list. So some of the sales on this list are from two weeks ago.

Here’s the list of end user sales I uncovered:

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

Metalam.com $13,500 – I’m not sure why NUCAP Industries, which makes brakes, bought this domain.

LeadCenter.com $13,000 – CallRail, a company that tracks conversions from phone calls.

Thankfully.com $7,700 – The buyer is using Whois privacy but has a coming soon page up. I think they should be thankful for the good deal they got on this domain.

Smithery.com £5,500 – Design firm Smithery uses the domain name Smithery.co.

Gazelli.com $5,500 – Gazelli International, which uses the domain name Gazeli.co.uk.

CriticalMix.co.uk £5,000 – CriticalMix is an audience survey company.

Knees.co.uk £4,000 – H J Knee Ltd is a home goods retailer. It uses the domain name Knees.online.

PureControl.com $3,900 – French company Fortilink has a coming soon splash page that suggests a site might be live next week.

Versand.com €3,860 – The office supplies company that runs OfficeLike.de. Versand means shipping in German.

PropertyApps.com $2,875 – Property Apps International Inc uses the domain name PropertyApps.co.

CJCUP.com $2,800 – CJ Corporation, a Korean firm that uses the domain name CJ.net.

Briqs.com $2,700 – brIQs Technologies Pte Ltd in Singapore.

Fluss.de €2,600 – The new owner is already developing the site but details are scant so far.

Ferienhaus.online €2,500 – Cabaneo publishing e.K. This is a vacation rental company.

h265codec.com $2,500 – CoreCodec, which licenses codecs. h265 is a video encoder.

NobleHome.cn $2,000 – Noble Home develops condos in Thailand (and perhaps other places in the region). It uses the domain name NobleHome.com.


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Phishing Scam Targets USAA

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-04-26 13:44

Last Saturday, I received a phishing email targeting members of USAA, which is a bank extensively used by active-duty military members, veterans, and their family members. See for yourself:

Subject:

Important Message

From:

USAA <onlineservices@ussa.com>

Message:

Dear valued USAA member:

Thank you for your support, At USAA we are updating our server for security reasons and some additional security measure.

You will need to download and open the document attached to this e-mail in order to verify your records. Please follow the instructions from the document.

USAA, 9800 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, Texas 78288

USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its insurance, banking and investment affiliates.

Attachment:

USAA.htm

Did you spot the flaw? Half a dozen references to “USAA”, yet the domain name in the email address is USSA.com [sic]. Really, this phishing scam is nothing special. Like so many others, the fraudsters use a domain name that is confusingly similar to the authentic website. [Note: it’s possible that the return address was spoofed, so the owner of USSA.com might not be the culprit. It would be odd to spoof a typo rather than the actual domain, though.]

Yet this status quo is appalling, isn’t it? Few active-duty military service personnel, let alone retirees, are vigilant for impostor domain names. This lack of training makes them sitting ducks for identity thieves, ransomware, hackers – you name it.

Banks ought to be alert to such phishing scams. In particular, they ought to conduct regular audits, looking for chinks in their domain portfolio “armor”. Typo-based attacks such as USSA.com / USAA.com are predictable to the point of inevitability. USAA may be remiss in not having secured this typo domain already; but they are, unfortunately, in good company. Many banks are equally vulnerable.

Domainers often excoriate the UDRP process, owing to cases that abuse domain ownership rights. But it’s a good thing the UDRP is available to banks, domain registrars, and other sites often impersonated by scammers. I hope USAA files a complaint and takes possession of USSA.com. Given the phishing email being sent out, the case ought to be a slam dunk.


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A Report on Cyber Espionage Activities of Pawn Storm Over the Past Two Years

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-04-25 20:55

Security firm, Trend Micro, released a paper today detailing Pawn Storm's operations within the last two years. Pawn Storm, also known as Sednit, Fancy Bear, APT28, Sofacy, and STRONTIUM, is a cyber espionage organization operating for over a decade which has been particularly aggressive in the past few years. From the report: "Pawn Storm has become increasingly relevant over the past two years, particularly because the group has been found to be doing more than espionage alone. In 2016, Pawn Storm attempted to influence public opinion, influence elections, and attempted to sway the mainstream media with stolen data. Earlier, Pawn Storm may seem to have limited their activities to political, military, and domestic espionage. Today the impact can be felt by various industries and enterprises operating throughout the world. ... In 2016, the group not only attacked the Democratic National Convention (DNC), but also targeted the German political party Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Turkish parliament, the parliament in Montenegro, and the World Doping Agency (WADA). ... We have compiled data on targets and campaigns conducted by the group, as well as details on the specific attacks used to compromise victims. Later sections cover the operational side of the group, from their facilitators to their attitude about organizational security."

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MMX annual shareholder letter gives a great overview of new TLD business

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-04-25 18:10

Deep insight into the past and present of the new TLD business.

Minds + Machines Group Limited, aka MMX, released its final results for 2016 today. I found the shareholder letter particularly interesting.

MMX’s current management is not the group that founded the company. A lot has happened with new top level domain names (expectations vs. reality) since the company was founded, and the new management has restructured the company and its strategy. Therefore, the shareholder letter freely discusses the missteps the company made and what it is doing now to recover from them.

MMX started with a grand strategy of owning the domain name experience from end to end; playing the technical registry role, the business registry role, registrar, and even domainer.

Some of the losses from these businesses have been quite large, such as the registrar effort. The company also entered into a contract for one new TLD early on that it has had to pay millions of dollars to restructure.

The company has now shifted to a pure-play registry business.

The shareholder letter explains what it sees as workable new TLD model: extra cashflow when a new TLD launches, and then a focus on a sustainable business driven by renewals. TLDs are a subscription business, after all.

Of note, one of the three targets for the company is domainers. This was not the case with the previous management, which wanted to capture all of the upside from good domain names. I like how the letter describes this group:

“Domain investors who serve both as early pioneers, as well as marketeers, of new extensions.”

The company has changed its premium domain pricing so that domains renew at standard prices.

The rubber is hitting the road in the new top level domain name business. Companies are adjusting to the reality of the business, and I think MMX’s shareholder letter is a good summary of what has worked and what hasn’t.


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SEO Secrets of Keyword-Relevant Domain Extensions

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-04-25 14:05

The Domain Name Association (DNA) recently commissioned Web Traffic Advisors, with supporting analysis from Kevin Rowe of Rowe Digital, to do an independent study, Hidden Advantages of Relevant Domain Names, to answer the following question:

Can domain name extensions, especially meaningful or relevant domain name extensions (e.g. .Club, .Online, .Rocks, .Today), have the same opportunity as traditional or more generic ones (e.g. traditional .Biz, .Com, .Info, .Org)?

The answer is yes! Companies that want to compete for visibility in search engines — either organically or through paid search — are discovering that they can do so with keyword-rich domain name extensions. By utilizing relevant, domain name extension that map more directly (on both the left and the right side of the dot) to frequently searched descriptive terms can fast-track search rankings. To view the full infographic and report summary, visit here.

The top takeaway is that keyword-relevant domain name extensions stand on equal ground when it comes to organic search performance. Plus, relevant domain name extensions required less inbound links to rank in the top page search spots than their traditional and more generic .Com and related counterparts based on the case studies and keywords examined.

This finding is a pretty big reveal from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective because there have been years of speculation and even research around the idea that having the keyword in the URL itself is helpful. While there has always been a lot of evidence that points to that conclusion, it has been a bit of a leap to confirm that a keyword-relevant domain name extension would also be of value in search rankings.

Many marketers have favored sticking with a traditional domain with a keyword to the left of the dot such as healthinsurance.com, over a domain name extension like health.insurance with keywords on both sides of the dot. However, the study confirms that keyword-relevant domain name extensions are doing very well without having to create the same amount of inbound links generated by keyword-rich web pages, content and social media.

So, how is it possible that relevant new domain name extensions can rank so well for high-volume keyword searches and also have visibility for related modified terms? Here's why:

Good rankings can be achieved by domains with relevant extensions with lower "Domain Authority," which is a scoring system developed by several technology firms serving the industry that is used to measure the relative number and quality of links pointed to a website's domain name from pages on other websites. Relevant domain extensions in the study had a low Domain Authority, an average of 4, yet they ranked with near equal results to more established domains with much higher Domain Authority. As a result, unique, relevant domain name extensions rank frequently on top pages of the search results alongside .Coms, which have a Domain Authority average of 33, according to Rowe Digital Research.

This means that relevant domain names have the opportunity to rank well in categories with less overall Domain Authority and inbound links than traditional extensions vying for those top page spots.

Collectively, the research examined four case studies that form a sample set spanning across different industries, including business-to-business, retail, sports and entertainment. Each competes for very high-volume keywords being targeted by marketers and bid on by search professionals for paid search.

For example, Seo.Agency, one of the four case studies (see figure below) is unique because the domain name extension itself is made up of very competitive keywords. According to the research, Seo.Agency has been able to establish a strong relevance for that term and maintain their rankings on the top three search pages with just 30 qualified keywords, attracting eyeballs for the 2,000 searches that happen each month. The rankings achieved for search term phrase "SEO agency" put it on exactly the same playing field as the "pay-to-play" top 10 sites and the other agencies typically ranking in the top five for this specific keyword search or ones very closely relevant, such as "SEO agency New York," for example.

While all of the SEO agency-related websites across different top-level domains compete very well for terms related to SEO agencies and companies (see figure below), they gain their rankings through different strengths.

Seo.Agency has 26 inbound links and gains its ranking strength from its keyword-relevant domain name. Other "SEO agency" related domain name extensions, like Clutch.co and Topseos.com, generate more inbound links (10,188 and 31,106 respectively) from content, web pages, and social media to rank within the same top page search spots.

According to the study, Seo.Agency is saving approximately $3,000 U.S. per month in cost-per-click advertising (the keyword phrase "SEO agency" costs around $25 U.S. per click through "Pay-Per-Click" in Google AdWords).

Another example, Diamonds.Pro, can compete with websites that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for paid search positioning within search engines.

The study found that the keywords Diamonds.Pro ranks for would cost $236,000 U.S. per month based on the estimated 114,000 organic clicks achieved if the brand were purchasing the clicks using Google AdWords.

However, by providing useful content for people engaged in the diamond-buying process, Diamonds.Pro also ranks well for many additional diamond-related search terms. The domain has garnered nearly 1,000 external links from other websites, which means "two-for-one" value from an SEO perspective, gaining both relevance and authority, or "trust."

Conclusion

Today, there are more than 1,000 options for domain name extensions. This creates the opportunity to add meaning and relevance on both sides of the dot, which can lead to getting rankings cost-effectively and organically. So if you've spent thousands of dollars on an ad campaign and wanted to add a unique domain name to drive eyeballs directly to your URL, a relevant domain name extension could be just the thing to add to your digital marketing strategy.

Written by Chris Boggs, Founder, Web Traffic Advisors

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Study shows that new TLDs can rank like other TLDs, but not much else

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-04-25 13:52

Study provides little more than anecdotal evidence.

You’re going to see some headlines today about an SEO study commissioned by The Domain Name Association (DNA). Some of these headlines might suggest that new top level domain names get some sort of search engine boost over .com domains. It’s not quite that simple.

Here’s the deal: DNA commissioned a search engine optimization study (pdf) about new top level domain names. It cherry picked a few niches that it felt would have a good mix of websites built on new top level domain names. It further highlighted four domain names built on non-.com domain names that are ranking exceptionally well.

And although the group was careful to not fall into the same trap Rightside did when Google debunked its headline SEO takeaways, its official headline still reads:

“SEO Expert Research Reveals Search Advantages of Relevant Domain Name Extension”

What the research did find was that the so-called “domain authority” of some of the ranked new top level domain names was much lower than .com domain names ranked for the same terms. This would suggest that it’s easier to rank a site on a new TLD than on .com.

What you won’t see in the material is that the sample size was quite small–about 300 “newer” domains (about 2,000 total).

The report admits:

Since the .com websites had by nature more competitors over time, it makes sense that the domains with those TLDs would have to have a higher domain authority to beat out other websites on the same TLD across a sample where only 10 keywords can rank per page of results.

I’m not disputing the work that the SEO experts did to gather the data. I just don’t think people should swallow the headline and pitch as it is.

There was some bias in how the study was set up. And, had the study shown the opposite, you can bet it wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

Now, could new top level domain names with relevant extensions rank well in Google? Could they actually get some sort of boost? I have no doubt that having a domain name with relevant words in it can provide a search engine boost. There’s some debate about whether this includes the keyword in the domain extension. But it’s plausible, especially when people include it in the anchor text they use to link to the site.

I’ve thought about how you could devise a fair study about search engine rankings across top level domain names. It would be rather hard. You’d need to pick a bunch of sets of two domain names (one .com, one non-.com) and get the same backlinks for them. Both would need to have similar keywords in them, so perhaps somekeywords.com and some.keywords. You’d also need the same content on each domain name…but then you’d run into duplicate content issues with Google.

If someone has a suggestion on how to do this, I’m all ears.

Update: Elliot Silver asked Google’s John Mu about the study’s infographic. Here’s what he said:

@DInvesting That looks misleading. New TLDs can rank well, of course: all TLDs can! Also, Google doesn't use DA for ranking.

— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) April 25, 2017

Of course, the idea behind “domain authority” is that it encapsulates some of the factors in Google’s algorithm.


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You need a plausible trademark to recover stolen domains through UDRP

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-04-25 13:27

UDRP can be used to recover stolen domain names but you need to prove some sort of trademark rights in the domains.

The owner of 74 domain names who claims they were stolen from their GoDaddy account has failed to recover the domain names through a UDRP.

When you look at the list of domain names, it’s not surprising:

111xin2.com 222xin2.com 333xin2.com 444xin2.com 555xin2.com 666xin2.com 7-q.com 7422.com 777xin2.com 797979.com 888xin2.com 999xin2.com bx111222.com bx222333.com bx333444.com bx444555.com bx555666.com bx666777.com bx777888.com bx888999.com cheng11.com cheng111.com cheng222.com cheng33.com cheng333.com cheng444.com cheng55.com cheng555.com cheng666.com cheng77.com cheng777.com cheng88.com cheng99.com fa888.com h1898.com hg1669.com hg1895.com hg1896.com hg1898.com hg1898.net hggjw.com hggjw.net hhhggg.com hhhggg.net hhhggg.org long00000.com long11111.com long22222.com long33333.com long44444.com long55555.com long66666.com long77777.com long88888.com long99999.com my1898.com new2.com ok888999.com sjb1122.com sjb1133.com sjb1144.com sjb1155.com sjb6699.com xin2.com xin2.net yh111222.com yh1122.com yh1133.com yh1144.com yh1155.com yh1555.com yh1666.com yh6789.com yhgj.com

UDRP can be used to get back stolen domain names. But the complainant still must show some sort of trademark rights in the domain names that were stolen. Panelists tend to be lenient on this requirement in cases of stolen domains (especially when the current domain owner doesn’t respond), but you still need to provide some sort of proof for the rather generic domains at issue in this case.

In this case, panelist Linda Chang wrote:

The Panel has reviewed all of the annexes submitted by the Complainant, and has been unable to find any evidence that the key parts of the disputed domain names have been used/advertised as trademarks, i.e., to identify the Complainant as the source of goods or services under a particular mark. The Complainant only submits a conclusory allegation of common law rights without proving it has acquired trademark rights in these names to support its contention.

The Complainant provides no evidence beyond an assertion that very modest economic resources were spent on marketing the disputed domain names and they produce modest annual revenue. Furthermore, the mere assertion that the Complainants have spent economic resources in order to market the disputed domain names is insufficient by itself to establish rights in a mark for the purposes of the Policy


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DigitalTown defends Gorgonzola.city

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-04-25 13:17

Domain name is one of 20,000 .city domains it registered.

You probably wouldn’t register Gorgonzola.CITY to sell cheese.

DigitalTown has successfully defended its domain name gorgonzola.city in a UDRP. The domain name is one of over 20,000 .city domain names that the company registered for its smart cities platform.

Consorzio per la Tutela del Formaggio Gorgonzola, which was formed to control the use of the GORGONZOLA trademark in relation to gorgonzola cheese, filed the complaint.

The panel found that the complainant failed to show a lack of rights or legitimate interests in DigitalTown’s registration of the domain name:

…the Panel concludes that the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name in a descriptive manner, rather than in order to target the Complainant’s CG GORGONZOLA mark, and that such activity provides the defense to the Respondent set out in paragraph 4(c)(i), in respect to the Disputed Domain Name.

The panel declined to find reverse domain name hijacking, in part because the domain name was not being used in relation to the city at the time the complaint was filed.

It’s also noteworthy that the panel considered that the use of the .city top level domain supports the idea that the domain was registered in connection with the smart cities platform instead of to sell cheese.

DigitalTown is also currently defending the domain name Motul.city in a UDRP. The company is led by Rob Monster, who also founded domain name registrar and marketplace Epik.

Gorgonzola by DomainNameWire on Scribd


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Denmark Says Russia Has Been Hacking Its Defense Ministry for Past Two Years

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-04-25 03:37

According to a new report by the Danish government's Center for Cybersecurity, hackers have breached email accounts and servers at both the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry in 2015 and 2016. Neil MacFarquhar from the New York Times reports: "Although the report, made public on Sunday, did not name Russia, Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen blamed Moscow in his remarks to the Danish news media. ... 'This is part of a continuing war from the Russian side in this field, where we are seeing a very aggressive Russia. The hacked emails don't contain military secrets, but it is of course serious.' ... The Kremlin on Monday denied accusations."

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Walden Savings Bank to Switch from .com to a .bank TLD

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-04-25 00:56

Walden Savings Bank will be the fifth bank in New York state to switch its domain name from a .com top-level domain (TLD) to the new .bank TLD in May of this year. Daniel Axelrod reporting in Times Herald-Record: "The change makes Walden an early adopter of a cyber-banking security measure that's gradually taking root mostly among community banks or those with less than $10 billion in assets and a local lending focus. ... Part of the delay for the domain’s implementation is a function of the cost and effort for banks to change computer systems, email addresses, business cards and marketing materials. Still, the .bank change is cheaper and easier than the alternate route some of America’s big banks are taking ... Large firms, like Citibank and Chase, are opting for self-named domains, such as .citi and .chase, which are great branding tools, but they require significant back-end effort to register."

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Cannell pushes for more independent board at Rightside

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-04-24 18:22

Investor wants other Rightside shareholders to vote “no” again this year.

Investor J. Carlo Cannell, whose clients collectively own about 8.5% of Rightside (NASDAQ:NAME), is continuing to push for changes to the company’s board.

On Friday, Cannell filed with the SEC and said Rightside’s board is exhibiting “value-destroying behavior” and needs “truly independent and rigorous representation.”

To that end, he’s asking shareholders to vote against Rightside’s slate of three board members at the upcoming annual meeting.

He made the same request last year but it didn’t go anywhere.

He also said he’s going to release “presentations that highlight severe errors of judgment by principals and affiliates of Oak Investment Partners, a representative of which currently serves on the Board of Rightside. Cannell is preparing to release these presentations to Rightside shareholders by and by.”

Cannell has identified ten board candidates that he wants Rightside to interview.

I reached out to Cannell’s firm on Friday via phone and email to ask for more details about what he doesn’t like about the company’s current strategy. I have not received a response yet.

He has previously voiced his displeasure over the company’s focus on new top level domain names. He later said he approved of the company’s sale of eNom but not the price.


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Don't Make the Internet Safe for Monopolies

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-04-24 17:20

This week I'm going to Washington to argue against regulating Internet access as if it were phone service. Twenty years ago I was there for the same reason. My concern now as it was then is that such regulation will damage the economy and reduce opportunity by stifling innovation and protecting the current dominant players from the startups which would otherwise threaten them.

At that time the proponents of Internet regulation were most regional monopoly telephone companies, who were regulated themselves (and very comfortable living in a regulated environment). The then small Internet industry (including me) argued that startups were not monopolies and could not afford the batteries of lobbyists and regulatory compliance lawyers needed to survive in a regulated world. "Imagine," we said, "if each new Internet app had to be approved by some commission or another".

Fortunately, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Reed Hundt, a Democrat appointed by Bill Clinton, and a majority of commissioners agreed with us. The Commission policy on Internet regulation became one of forbearance. The monopolists were right to worry. The Internet was disruptive. If they had won, there would be no such thing as Skype or Vonage; calls to China would still be $3.00 minute; and 800 numbers might still be more important than websites for shopping. Google, Netflix, Facebook, and Amazon wouldn't be the companies they are today.

Hundt's successor William Kennard, also appointed by Clinton, listened carefully to all arguments and continued the policy of benign forbearance. Innovation flourished. When Bush was elected, Internet folk were afraid that his FCC appointees would be more responsive to telco lobbying. We could no longer argue that the Internet was a fledgling industry but could and did argue the public benefits of innovation and rapidly evolving business models. Michael Powell, Bush's first appointee as FCC Chair, and the Commission debated and then issued the "Pulver Order” declaring that Voice over IP was not a telecommunications service. That meant in practice that the FCC, whose mandate only extends to telephony services, would have no reason to regulate the Internet.

The FCC did NOT regulate the Internet from then until now. However, in the waning days of the Obama administration, the FCC promulgated a regulation saying that Internet access is a telecommunications service (regardless of whether voice over IP is involved.). Therefor the FCC has the right to regulate Internet access as it used to regulate monopoly phone service. Big reversal.

Those who now want regulation are Google, Facebook, and other major Internet players. They are good marketers so this regulation is called "Net Neutrality". Who could be against a neutral Internet where all bits are equal? Ironically it is the telcos and cable companies (ISPs) who are on the other side and against reregulation; they are the ones who will be regulated.

There are four major things wrong with the "Net Neutrality" regulations as promulgated (they are not yet in effect):

  1. All users of the Internet, as well as the economy itself, will suffer if regulation is used to throttle innovation — that's as true now as it ever was.
  2. This regulation protects the powerhouse incumbents — Google, Facebook et al — from effective and needed competition. It protects them on one side from rich ISPs (why?) and on the other side from would be new providers of Internet access (think mesh networks, access from drones, whatever) who won't be able to satisfy the regulations made for the technologies they are obsoleting.
  3. There is probably no legal justification for the FCC regulating the Internet. FCC has jurisdiction over basic telecommunications service. They said the Internet isn't such a service for years; just saying it is all of a sudden a basic telecommunications service doesn't make it so.

Google may yet regret its call for regulation of any part of the Internet value chain. A Wall Street Journal story last week says that Google is working on an ad-blocking filter for its Chrome browser. Will the FCC next declare browsers a telecommunication service and require browser neutrality?

With all due respect to many people I respect who support the "Net Neutrality" regulations, I'm as much against regulating the Internet now as I was 20 years ago although I no longer have any direct financial interest except as a consumer. I hope both that the legal challenge to this extension of the FCC's reach will continue and that the current FCC will undo the harm that its immediate predecessors did and return to the policy which has so successfully supported economic growth and innovation for the last twenty years.

See https://www.bna.com/pai-engages-silicon-n57982087000/ for a Bloomberg story on this issue.

This post was originally posted on Fractals of Change.

Written by Tom Evslin

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Wow: Spectrum (Charter) is a reverse domain name hijacker

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-04-24 16:17

Your cable company might be a reverse domain name hijacker.

Would you like a bogus cybersquatting complaint with your cable bundle?

Charter Communications, which does business as Spectrum, has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking in a cybersquatting dispute it brought against the owner of MySpectrumNews.com.

Based on the decision, it appears that Spectrum tried to acquire this domain name that was registered well before it created the Spectrum brand. When acquisition talks didn’t go where the company hoped, it filed a UDRP.

Not only did the owner of MySpectrumNews.com register the domain before Charter’s Spectrum brand was introduced, but they actually put the domain name to use.

Spectrum argued that the domain name was renewed in bad faith. Even though that argument didn’t go anywhere, it turns out that the domain name hasn’t even been renewed since the Spectrum brand was introduced. A quick look at historical Whois records show that was renewed in 2011 for a day in late 2017.

A unanimous three-member World Intellectual Property Organization panel wrote:

Complainants should have known that Respondent’s original use of the disputed domain name in the manner outlined above was likely to prove fatal to their prospects in this proceeding. Complainants’ reliance on the “update date” as the date of Respondent’s renewal was fundamentally wrong. The Panel might overlook this mistake were it not the primary pillar of Complainants’ bad faith contention, causing the Panel concern that Complainants knew or should have known that they had built their case on an erroneous factual premise.

Furthermore, before launching this case, Complainants engaged in lengthy and detailed negotiations with Respondent to buy the disputed domain name. Frustrated by these negotiations, Complainants strained too hard to find a theory, making erroneous assertions of fact regarding the renewal date their central contention and lobbing baseless allegations (such as the false contact assertion) in an effort to achieve via the UDRP what they could not achieve by negotiation.

I’m shocked that Charter and its attorneys at Loeb & Loeb, LLP filed this dispute.


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Talking domains with Kevin Murphy – DNW Podcast #133

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-04-24 15:30

Blogger Kevin Murphy discusses new top level domain names and more.

Kevin Murphy blogs about the domain name business, but not as a domain investor. The DomainIncite author comes on today’s show to give his thoughts on the state of new top level domain names and their future, plus we discuss the new whois proxy service created by a Pirate Bay founder. Also: website pirates, .com trademarks and more.

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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UDRPSearch owner sues after UDRP filed against one of his domains

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-04-24 13:14

VirtualPoint claims reverse domain name hijacking and asks for at least $100,000.

VirtualPoint, Inc., the company that runs the UDRP information site UDRPSearch.com, has filed a lawsuit after one of its own domain names was subject to a UDRP.

Florida company FastTrak, which uses the domain name FastTrak.biz, filed a UDRP against VirtualPoint’s domain name FastTrak.com.

In its dispute, FastTrak stated “the internet is our store front, and we would like to improve our online presence with the most common domain extension .COM.”

VirtualPoint’s owner David Lahoti registered the FastTrak.com domain in 2004. According to the suit (pdf), in May 2016 the Florida company inquired about buying the domain name. The next month it filed a design trademark in the U.S., which was granted in January 2017. Shortly thereafter it filed the UDRP.

The Florida company registered the domain name FastTrak.biz in 2010.

VirtualPoint is asking the court to confirm that it is not cybersquatting on the domain and asks for a reverse domain name hijacking finding and at least $100,000.

If there’s any defense for the Florida company’s actions, it’s that the Whois record has changed company names a few times since Lahoti acquired it in 2014. In its UDRP the Florida company states that VirtualPoint acquired the domain name in 2015, which is when the Whois record changed from one of Lahoti’s other company names to VirtualPoint.

Still, if the complainant was sophisticated enough to look at historical Whois records, they surely would have noticed that the city name and phone number associated with the domain hasn’t changed even when the company names have.


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