News and Updates

XYZ wins .car/.cars/.auto auction

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2020-08-07 22:29

XYZ buys out Frank Schilling through auction.

XYZ won the auction for three automotive domain names.

Top level domain company XYZ has won the auction for the .car, .cars, and .auto top level domain names. ICANN posted the assignment agreements today.

XYZ partnered with Frank Schilling to bring the domain names to market, so the company effectively bought out its partner through the auction.

XYZ founder Daniel Negari told Domain Name Wire that he was unable to reveal the purchase price due to non-disclosure terms for the auction. He confirmed that there were bidders in the auction other than XYZ and Schilling.

In a written statement, Negari said:

XYZ is all in on bringing the best domain extensions to businesses and individuals around the globe. As the shift to digital accelerates, dealers and automotive businesses have even more reason to use a memorable .Cars / .Car / .Auto domain name.

XYZ continues to be active in M&A, expecting to launch 5 new domain endings in 2021: .Beauty, .Hair .Skin, .Makeup and .Quest. The XYZ Registry now owns and operates 18 domain extensions, including the most utilized new domain extension .xyz – For every website, everywhere®. We are hyper focused on increasing access and awareness to our generic domain endings and inspiring the next generation of internet users to innovate and grow their online presence.

.Car, .cars and .auto have about 1,000 registrations in total. That generates about $2 million in annual revenue, though: the domains have a wholesale price of $2,000 per year.

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  3. Chinese buyer of TS.com also buys GH.com
Categories: News and Updates

The Challenge of Access to Safe Internet Pharmacies and Medicines During Pandemics

Domain industry news - Fri, 2020-08-07 20:12

Co-authored by Ron Andruff & Mark W. Datysgeld.

With 300+ sessions and over 7,800 participants from 158 countries across every time zone, RightsCon Online 2020 (July 27-31) demonstrated the importance of convening people worldwide to bring about positive changes in a time of crisis. The Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research (York University, Canada) organized a panel of diverse experts and academics (please see the Panel List at the end of this article) to discuss: Promoting human rights and access to safe medicines during pandemics: The critical role of Internet pharmacies.

Over the last four years, we have been working within ICANN, RightsCon and the United Nations Internet Governance Forums to build out a set of standards and norms on the foundation established by the Brussels Principles. We're seeking to clarify the governance and jurisdictional issues in a human rights context that promotes the good actors while rooting out the rogues, using a balanced approach to global access to safe medicines purchased from Internet pharmacies. This is consistent with the 2017 U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution for "[...] the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including access to essential medicines". The Brussels Principles on the Sale of Medicines over the Internet" were developed by a coalition of stakeholders, Internet experts, and civil society at RightsCon Brussels 2017; and subsequently adopted at RightsCon Toronto 2018. At this most extraordinary time, we were happy to be back working with Access Now and the global rights community to continue this critical conversation.

Our main question is whether standards and norms should be advanced at the inter-governmental level through the arduous process of harmonization of trans-national laws, or whether they are best achieved at the Internet governance level, such as through ICANN policy development. What lessons can be drawn from other industry sectors? And, notably, who is the convener of such important work? Should this issue be raised to the agenda of international institutions such as the World Health Organization?

As panelist Dr. Jillian Clare Kohler rightfully stated, before the pandemic, the question of fair pricing of medicines was already a complex issue, and now that issue has been exponentially compounded. Corruption, Dr. Kohler noted, is the abuse of trusted power for private gain, and it finds its way into these situations. The proliferation of fake medicines has been strongly linked with disturbances such as supply disruption and fear-mongering, which could escalate matters in the context of a poorly coordinated, unfair distribution of potential vaccines and medicines against COVID-19.

Panelist Dr. Aria Ilyad Ahmad, who presented his seminal paper "Digital Governance of Public Health: Towards a Regulatory Framework for Internet Pharmacies” at IGF Berlin 2019, invited stakeholders to consider what are the applicable international human rights norms; where do moral and jurisdictional interests intersect (and clash); and, in particular, which institutions have the mandate and legitimacy to set standards and guidelines.

Exploring legal and regulatory approaches that advance the right to health while confronting the risks posed by rogue Internet marketplaces, further exposed vulnerable communities being disproportionately impacted by the virus, and the surging demand on health systems, which has contributed to critical shortages in access to care.

Dr. Oki Olufuye brought the Global South perspective, focused on Nigeria, asking if there is really justification for medicine price discrepancies between different countries. Africa not only suffers from a lack of access to the Internet (just 47% of Nigeria's population of 200 million are online), it also lacks access to a safe, public health infrastructure — both off- and online. She noted that medicine can be bought by the pill without prescription, sometimes in settings as informal as on a bus. Long queues in hospitals force people to go to pharmacies for their general care instead. As Dr. Olufuye puts it: "Accessibility — in every way you think of it — is the challenge in the Global South." It is not difficult to see how fair access to the Internet, combined with safe Internet pharmacies, could advance progress in public health and basic human rights.

Relative to the nature of the complex jurisdictional challenges, panelist Bertrand de la Chapelle declared that important lessons can be gleaned from the earlier free-for-alls around multimedia distribution over the Internet, with the industry initially fighting costly battles against file-sharing software such as Napster and its users. Only through cooperation and the creation of fairly priced services for film and music streaming was an appropriate compromise achieved.

Mr. de la Chapelle noted that any action taken at the Domain Name System (DNS) level acts as a very blunt tool, so it needs to be scoped with precision to be effective. Medicines are naturally regulated due to their risk of harm, often at the national/regional level. The jurisdictional challenge arises when a pharmacy is legal in one jurisdiction, but accessible and necessary in another; blocking it at the DNS level creates problems for all involved parties.

That notwithstanding, there are thousands of illegitimate rogue actors gaming the DNS, and all panelists agreed that they must be shut down. Current measures appear to be solely focused on denouncing all Internet pharmacies irrespective of those safe, licensed pharmacies, rather than establishing a set of multi-stakeholder-developed safety standards and norms to enable appropriate trans-national access. Reaching that precise balance is a mission that the global governance community needs to undertake.

These questions, taken together, are fundamentally a human rights issue, which brings with it questions of licensing, distribution channels, and trans-national recognition. There is a need for a multi-stakeholder initiative to discuss the possible ways to enable access to legitimate medicines across borders, in a transparent manner that avoids corruption. This is particularly important considering potential future pandemics or other situations of global health vulnerability.

Invited to intervene from the audience, Tim Smith, Executive Director of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, explained that despite their extensive membership criteria and safety and privacy protocols, as well as a policy of not selling controlled substances such as narcotics or opioids, the Internet pharmacy association continues to face barriers. Not from patients, but barriers imposed by search engines to organic searches and online advertising, and even access to the top level domain ".pharmacy," which is controlled by a U.S. trade association. To this last point, Mr. de la Chapelle added that the ".pharmacy" Registry Operator is subject to U.S. law; bringing in to question whether or not that TLD could potentially be considered an appropriate Internet pharmacy accreditation mechanism.

A recurring multi-stakeholder model challenge is actors pointing to each other's deficiencies, rather than acknowledging the common problems they share. In this case, all of the legitimate actors face the same challenge of dealing with the thousands of rogue actors who exacerbate the problems of access to safe medicines. With COVID-19 casting a long shadow on the shrinking global economy, all of the panelists agreed that the time to engage the multi-stakeholder model to make real the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, including access to essential medicines, is now; so this discussion will continue at the IGF Online 2020 in the session "Pandemics & Access to Medicines Over the Internet: A 2020 Assessment." If this topic has captured your interest, please watch for future announcements. We welcome broad multi-stakeholder participation.

Finally, when we asked the 275 participants who attended our RightsCon panel discussion: "Are standards and norms best accomplished at the inter-governmental level or rather at the Internet governance level?" the poll reported 65% believe that this is an Internet governance issue, relative to 35% who felt it is a trans-national governmental issue.

Good food for thought.

RightsCon 2020 Panel List

Aria Ilyad Ahmad: Global Health Foresighting Research Fellow, Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research

Jillian Clare Kohler: Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy; Director, WHO CC for Governance, Transparency and Accountability in the Pharmaceutical Sector

Bertrand de la Chapelle: Executive Director, Internet & Jurisdiction Policy Network

Oki Olufuye: Health Manager, Consultant; Teraputik Konsulting

Pat Kane: Senior Vice President, Verisign Naming and Registry Services [Unable to participate]

Ron Andruff: President, ONR Consulting, Inc. [Moderator]

Mark W. Datysgeld: Internet Governance and Policies consultant, Governance Primer [Online Coordinator]

Written by Ronald N. Andruff, President at ONR Consulting, Inc.

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Categories: News and Updates

PayPal adds seller protection for domain name transactions

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2020-08-07 15:16

PayPal extends intangible goods coverage to sellers, but it might not be easy to make a claim.

PayPal has updated its intangible goods coverage for transactions to covers both buyers and sellers of domain names. Previously, PayPal’s protection guarantee only covered buyers of domain names.

The updated coverage protects against someone buying a domain name from you and then disputing the transaction on the grounds that they didn’t receive the domain name. How this will work in practice, however, is a bit tricky.

You’ll need to show proof that the domain was transferred to the buyer:

For intangible or digital goods, proof of shipment or delivery means compelling evidence to show the item was delivered or the purchase order was fulfilled. Compelling evidence could include a system of record showing the date the item was sent and that it was either:

– Electronically sent to the recipient, including the recipient’s address (email, IP, etc.), where applicable; or
– Received or accessed by the recipient.

If there’s a way to verify the email address on the registrar account the domain is being transferred to, it would be smart to make sure this matches up with the PayPal address that paid you.

And, oddly, PayPal’s terms say that signature confirmation is required on purchases over $750 for intangible goods. I understand this requirement for physical goods, but don’t understand how you can get signature confirmation of delivery for an intangible good.

All of this is to say: PayPal might be safe for selling low-value domains, but it’s still worth using a service such as Escrow.com or a marketplace for larger transactions.

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Categories: News and Updates

An Update on LEO Satellites

Domain industry news - Thu, 2020-08-06 22:49

A lot of rural America continues to hope that low orbit satellite (LEO) service will provide a broadband alternative. It's been a while since I've covered the status of the companies proposing to deploy constellations of satellites for providing broadband.

In March, OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 restructuring when it was clear that the company could not raise enough cash to continue the research and development of the satellite product. In July, a bankruptcy court in New York approved a $1 billion offer to take over the company filed jointly by the British Government and Bharti Airtel. Airtel is India's largest cellular company. The restructured company will be owned with 45% stakes by Britain and Bharti Airtel, with the remaining 10% held by Softbank of Japan, the biggest original shareholder of OneWeb. Other earlier investors like the founders, Intelsat, Totalplay Telecommunications of Mexico, and Coca-Cola have been closed out of ownership by the transaction.

There is speculation that the British government purchased the company to create tech jobs in the country and that all R&D and manufacturing for OneWeb would immediately shift to England from Florida.

Of more concern for rural broadband is speculation that the mission of the company will change. Greg Wyler, the company's original CEO, had a vision of using the satellites to bring broadband to parts of the world that have no broadband. He chose a polar orbit for the satellites and was going to launch the business by serving Alaska and the northern territories of Canada like Nunavut. I've seen speculation that the revised company is likely to concentrate instead on wholesale connections to telcos and ISPs, such as providing backhaul for rural cell sites.

Elon Musk's satellite venture StarLink was recently in the news when the company said it was going to raise 'up to $1 billion' to continue the development of the business. The company still has a long and expensive road to success. The company has raised over $3.5 billion to date before this latest raise, but a recent Bloomberg article estimates that the company will need to raise an additional $50 billion between now and 2033, which is when the company is projected to be cash-positive.

StarLink now has over 540 satellites in orbit, but the business plan calls for over 4,000. Keeping the constellation in place will be an ongoing challenge since the satellites have an estimated life of 5 to 6 years. Starlink will forever have to be launching new satellites to replace downed satellites.

The US government and the FCC seem to be in StarLink's corner. The FCC is still evaluating if it will allow StarLink to participate in the upcoming RDOF grants auction in October. It would be incredibly unusual to award giant federal grants for a product that is still on the drawing board and for an ISP that hasn't raised 10% of their needed funding.

StarLink recently made a very public announcement that it was looking for beta customers — likely as a way to spur fundraising. Early Starlink customers will likely see blazingly fast speeds, which would happen for any broadband technology that could devote the bandwidth from one server to connect to one or two customers. The bandwidth delivered on a fully-subscribed satellite network will be far less — but that won't stop the company from using a beta test to set unrealistic expectations of future satellite broadband speeds.

The last LEO player that is still active is Jeff Bezos' venture that is still using the preliminary name of Project Kuiper. The FCC recently approved the licensing for Project Kuiper to move forward. Immediately following the FCC approval, Jeff Bezos announced that he will be investing $10 billion in the business. This ability to self-fund likely gives Project Kuiper an advantage over other competitors. It was reported that Bezos's net worth had climbed by $9 billion just in the month of July. Funding is going to be a constant hurdle for the other two major competitors, but Project Kuiper might be the fastest to deploy if funding is not an issue.

The FCC approval of Project Kuiper and the funding announcement by Bezos came at the same time that Starlink is seeking another round of financing and is trying to get into the FCC auction. It's going to be interesting to see how the battle between two billionaires unfolds — my bet is on Amazon due to easy access to funding.

Written by Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

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More under: Broadband, Mobile Internet, Wireless

Categories: News and Updates

BuyWeed.com domain sells for $50,000

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-08-06 20:33

Another marijuana-related domain sells for big bucks.

People who played the long game betting on marijuana-related domains have finally hit their payday in recent years. Many states have legalized the drug to one degree or another and it has become a big business.

Here’s the latest example: Sedo just reported the sale of BuyWeed .com for $50,000. The .net version of this domain sold for $500 last year in a NamesCon auction.

Here are some other marijuana-related domains that have sold since the beginning of last year, according to NameBio:

cannabiscity .com $12,000
cannabiscompany .com $12,000
cannabismedia .com $19,999
cannabliss .com $15,340
CBD .it $17,000
CBD .world $20,000
CBDclub .com $30,000
CBDinfused .com $15,000
happy420 .com $36,166
medicannabis .com $25,770
weedcenter .org $23,100
weedMagazine .com $10,000

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Categories: News and Updates

Perspectives on Cyber Governance

Domain industry news - Thu, 2020-08-06 19:25

APAN (Asia Pacific Advanced Network) brings together national research and education networks in the Asia Pacific region. APAN holds meetings twice a year to talk about current activities in the regional NREN sector. I was invited to be on a panel at APAN 50 on the subject of Cyber Governance, and I'd like to share my perspective on this topic here.

I'm not sure what "Cyber Governance" actually means!

We've conventionally used the term governance to describe the relationship between citizens and the state, or more generally between a social group and its leaders. It's intended to relate to the processes of decision making that reinforce societal norms and nurture a society's institutions. Much has been said about the processes of governance, its accountability, its effectiveness, and how it can degenerate and be abused. But I'm still somewhat challenged when I try to apply this governance concept to the vague and insubstantive digital environment.

Maybe we could take a more mechanistic view of governance by looking at its intended outcomes. Thus, we could say that the intended outcome of a governance system is the imposition of a collection of constraints on the various actors. In this sense, it is similar to a governor on a motor, for example.

In the context of public telecommunication services or the cyber world, we could see the outcomes of a governance framework as a set of national legislated or regulated constraints that are applied to service operators. But even this definition is somewhat unsatisfactory. While many national regimes would like to think otherwise, there is still a major set of activities that do not clearly sit within national frameworks. Questions relating to the management of the Internet's naming and addressing infrastructure intersect with national governance mechanisms, but the Internet-wide perspective is larger than the sum of each national perspective. When we leave the realm of nation-states, it becomes relevant to ask these governance questions. Who's in charge? Who appointed these governing bodies? How are decisions made? Where is accountability in this framework?

Those are tough questions, and finding usable answers is equally challenging. Perhaps it might be useful to first understand how we arrived at this point.

How Did We Get Here?

The Internet's origins in terms of its public utility role lie within the structure of the public telephone system and its evolution. Following the World Exposition of 1876, the telephone was enthusiastically adopted, first in the United States and soon after across many parts of the world. The immediacy of direct real-time communication was both exciting and empowering in terms, and the technology was adopted with considerable enthusiasm.

After a couple of decades of furious piecemeal expansion, the proliferation of small commercial telephone companies was a clear impediment to a broader vision of the telephone as an integral part of societal infrastructure, on a par with national scale networks of railways, roads and mail delivery. Universal service was seen as an essential component of national infrastructure, and to get there, all these diverse competing telephone companies needed to the corralled together to create a seamless national service. It was unclear how this could be achieved across this essentially unregulated space, and the catch-cry that emerged (perhaps as a statement of self-interest in the case of Theodore Vail and AT&T at the time) was "One Service, One Operator." In the United States, the "Kingsbury Commitment" consent decree of 1913 allowed AT&T to divest itself of the Western Union telegraph company, and in return receive congressional blessing to be a monopoly common carrier for a single telephone service for the entire country. Some countries followed this model of a regulated national monopoly, while others subsumed the telephone function into a state-owned and operated enterprise, often allied with the postal service. The result was relatively uniform for much of the twentieth century when the telephone service was operated as a national monopoly. International telephone networks, as they were deployed, had no independent existence. The international system was constructed as a set of bilateral arrangements between national telephone operators.

Throughout the twentieth-century progressive technology, innovations increased the capacity of these telephone networks and reduced the unit cost of carrying calls. However, this did not necessarily imply a comparable reduction in the cost of the service to consumers. There was an increasing disparity between service costs and service revenues, and due to the monopoly nature of the service, there was little in the way of natural incentives to pass these technology dividends back to consumers in the form of lower prices. The commitment to these 1913 arrangements had well and truly waned by the 1970s, and in 1984 the Bell System was broken up. Long-distance telephone services were opened to competition first, followed by more comprehensive deregulation of the entire telephone service. Similar moves were underway in many other countries. The previous monopoly was opened up to competitive service providers, and in many cases, the public enterprises were privatized.

The rationale for this deregulation could be expressed as a desire to shift the investment burden for national telco infrastructure from the public sector to the private sector, and at the same time, introduce competitive pressures to eliminate the element of monopoly rentals in the price of the service. The expectations of deregulation were expressed both in terms of lower prices to consumers, and increased incentives for the private sector to invest in infrastructure renewal. The intent was all about competition in telephony at a national level. The governance structure of this activity still remained one based around the national legislature in each regime.

But the telecommunications sector didn't follow this plan. Deregulation of the telecommunications industry opened up the sector to competition in technology rather than just limiting itself to competition between service providers all sitting on a common technology platform. The increasing use of computer systems in the private and public sectors meant increased demands for data services from telecommunications services. These demands for data were met by taking some of the capacity in the synchronous circuit-switched network and using it to construct end-to-end data circuits. But switching time is expensive, and computers have no inherent requirement for synchronicity between the sender and receiver. The competition opened up new niche markets, and one of these was the market for data communications.

From Circuits to Packets

Packet switching networks emerged for data communications. Packet switching is invariably a far more efficient way to share a common communications system. Rather than the network attempting to arbitrate across a set of resource demands, the machines that are sending data use feedback control to moderate individual demands and sustain a dynamic equilibrium across all such sources. The result is a vastly improved efficiency in the use of the common communications system. Packets do not need synchronicity, and while voice-based networks were constructed using time-division switches, packet networks could dispense with the common timing signal altogether. Packets would also describe their intended destination to the network, and rather than having to set up a state within the network to pass a unit of data to its intended destination, each packet could describe its intended destination to each network switching element. Such packet switching networks could avoid everything that was expensive to operate in synchronous time-switched networks. Simply put, dedicated packet switching could be multiple orders of magnitude cheaper to build and operate than synchronous circuit-switched networks.

Competitive pressures can produce vastly different outcomes depending on the cost efficiency of the incumbent technology as compared to that of the competitive entrant. Where the cost efficiency is marginal, the incumbent can react and make marginal improvements in its infrastructure, and the environment tends to favor incumbents. Where the cost differential is larger, then the competitive pressure becomes disruptive, and the incumbent is forced to shift its technology base to achieve a similar cost base. At this point, the advantage of incumbency has been largely destroyed, and the result often involves the installation of a new generation of incumbent operators. Even greater levels of cost reduction can entirely destroy the market (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – An Economic Model of Competition and Innovation

This is what we saw in the 1990s in the telecommunications sector when packet-switched networks were placed into direct competition with circuit-switched networks. It was clear that the Internet created a new cost base for communications infrastructure that formed an existential challenge for the incumbent telephone service operators (telcos). This placed the telco sector, and its considerable revenue base, up for grabs. Unsurprisingly, given the size of the potential rewards, the appetite for risk on the part of the challengers increased, and venture capital funds entered the market to accelerate the disruptive competitive process. The pressures placed on the incumbent telcos increased, and they were being forced to undertake fundamental transformation at a scale and speed that was beyond the capability of many. These obvious signs of weakness encouraged further disruptive pressures, and the resultant communications marketplace was shaped by a continuous stream of disruptive innovative pressures. The market shifted from voice over copper wires to data services, then to mobile services, then to the so-called "smart" phones, and then to rich content models with associated demands on content distribution.

Constant innovation in the technology base of any service is very challenging. Each generation of technology has a limited lifetime before it is swept aside by the next generation. Investment risk is increased, and the cost of capital rises to reflect this increased risk. As challengers, each actor strives to maximize the pressure of change to install themselves as the new incumbent. Once installed, each incumbent actor seeks a stable environment that can secure their own incumbency and resist further challenge.

Market-Based Governance

The previous section looked at the rise of the Internet through the lens of the economics of innovation, and that perspective leads me to a view that the governance mechanisms of today's environment are similar in nature of the control mechanisms in the Internet protocols themselves. In the same way that these packet networks self-regulate their use of the common resource to achieve both high efficiency and fairness, these competitive market disciplines provide similar mechanisms of constraint on service providers in this sector. As long as there is vibrant competition between providers, and as long as consumers are not locked into the services of any particular provider, then providers are incented to offer a service that reflects an efficient production outcome.

Obviously, this is not a novel view of the role of markets, and much of Adam Smith's invisible hand of market pressures in his 1776 treatise on the Wealth of Nations can be seen in this perspective. In this model, markets essentially self-regulate. Inefficient producers cannot compete on price with more efficient producers, and the market price of goods is only sustainable if it reflects the efficient cost of production.

Much of our industrial and post-industrial societies have been constructed upon these market-based principles where competition provides the set of constraints that are imposed on service providers. This is the general governance framework used in many realms of activity. Providers compete with each other in the supply of goods and services, and consumers can influence the market through the choices they make when purchasing goods and services. In the case of the producer and the consumer in such markets, self-interest is meant to align with common interest, and external intervention should be unnecessary in such circumstances.

But this is often not enough. Markets can fail in many ways. Monopolies and cartels can form, where the incumbents have sufficient market power to define the terms of competition. Self-interests naturally comes into play, and the terms of competition typically increase barriers to entry for potential competitors, allowing the incumbents to charge consumers a monopoly rental within the price of their services. There are other forms of distortions, including supply-side constraints, selective dumping, and corruption. Indeed, the ways in which markets can be distorted is limited only by human creativity!

However, the results of these various forms of market distortion are similar and collectively termed "market failure." They result in inefficiencies in the supply of goods and services, and this inefficiency becomes a premium placed on the goods and services in this market.

Restoring efficiency to a failed market generally becomes a role for the public sector Frameworks that oversee markets typically include the power to impose remedies, including fines and sanctions, or the subsidization of competitive entrants. In some cases, this may include the forced breakup of a provider to reduce the level of influence of any single entity on the market.

Today's Internet

The opening up of the telco sector to competition was meant to replace a public sector utility function with a private sector competitive market, allowing the national economy to benefit from an efficient communications infrastructure that was sustained through continued private sector investment.

However, here's where theory and practice have diverged.

The Internet was never aligned with national realms. There was no addressing plan that was similar to the national number plans used in telephony. Equally, there was no transactional tariff that exposed marginal costs to consumers when packets transited across national boundaries. Indeed, it is extremely unclear where consumers and services providers reside. The intent of the network was to allow a service provider to be accessed by any and all consumers identically.

This had some interesting repercussions. It allowed service providers to be exposed to a global market of potential customers with no additional imposed costs or other barriers. At the same time, it allowed agile service providers to become extremely big extremely quickly. When an enterprise is not constrained by the physical delivery of goods and materials, and all can access a digital presence, then there are few natural limiting constraints on growth. The growth can quickly surpass national domains and span other social domains, including language and culture.

And that's what's happened. The seven largest enterprises in today's world, using the metric of market capitalization, are digital giants (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Top 10 Public corporations by market capitalisation in 2020 (Wikipedia)

These days, the largest three each have a market capitalization of around 1.5 trillion dollars, significantly larger than most nations' GDP.

So, we have got to the position where a small clique of enterprises totally dominate the enterprise world in terms of their size, and in terms of their chosen activity profile, each of these enterprises completely dominate those activities.

But is this in and of itself a cyber governance problem that is crying out for a solution? Do these enterprises exploit their labor force? It seems unlikely, and in some respects, these enterprises are model employers. Are they extracting monopoly rentals from their customers? Again, that does not seem to be the case. Are they ignoring consumer preferences and desires?

That last question perhaps gets to the heart of the issue. The answer is most definitely "no." Far from ignoring consumer preferences, these enterprises are highly efficient operators in the new economy of surveillance capitalism. They have finely honed their ability to customize a solution for each unitary market of a single consumer, generating a profile of each user and then selling this profile to advertisers, who are willing to bid a premium price to have their ad presented to the user. They have also been careful to heed each user's preferences and attempt to maximize the relevance and utility of the advert to match the user's individual preferences and needs. This is a previously unparalleled level of attention to the desires and needs of individual users, and the services have been popular with users because of this careful attention to understanding what users prefer and attempting to match these preferences with goods and services. As consumers, we want these services because they are tailored for us.

Of course, this is not the only industry that attempts to cater to users' desires and preferences, and the same questions we ask of the fast-food industry, or the soft drink industry, can be asked of this model as well. We may well express a preference here but is catering to such preferences in our best interests?

Protecting the User

This concept of protecting the interests of the individual in an environment where surveillance appears to have run rampant is the thrust of much of the current regulatory interest. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a good example of this focus, as it calls for enterprises to have a far greater level of respect for personal data and personal privacy, and passes some degree of control back to the individual as to how their personal data is collected, stored and used. It has attempted to cut through opaque and exploitative end-user agreements and foster a culture of responsible disclosure as to how personal data is gathered and used.

The shift in emphasis in this form of governance is worthy of highlighting. It does not attempt to manage or curtail any particular market behavior. Instead, it focuses on the individual and attempts, in some small way, to alter the incredibly asymmetric relationship between the entities who are assembling these personal profiles and the individual subjects of this surveillance.

The measures could go further in the coming years, and they likely will. Who owns data that describes me? Where is it stored? What regulatory regimes protect this data? Can I see it? Can I withdraw my permission to hold it? Should I be informed when my profile is sold? What is my profile worth? Who is at fault if my profile is leaked, and how can I seek redress? An effective regime to protect me should be able to answer such questions clearly.

Protecting Our Society

But maybe this is still not what we really need from effective governance of this space. Like the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century, today's societal changes are deeply impactful upon the very fabric of our society. We are now communicating with a computer-mediated environment, rather than communicating with each other. The network itself is largely incidental to this story, and it's not about the Internet anymore. The combination of abundant computing capability, abundant storage, and abundant communications have created a transformative environment that has its own momentum.

In a world of abundant content, what do we chose to view? And to what extent are such choices truly our own? What do we choose to believe? What information can we use to ground our decisions and choices? These days search has become far more than a tool and is now the arbiter of content. We see what search delivers to us. We believe what search tells us to believe. Our navigation thought this world is now determined by search.

So how do we feel about search being dominated by a single commercial entity?

Figure 3 – Search Engine Market Share (statcounter)

From the time of the Great Library of Alexandria more than two millennia ago, the library, as the repository of the sum of all our knowledge, is most effective for the society it serves when it is operated as a public institution. These public libraries were the gateway to knowledge and culture, created opportunities for learning and education, and helped us in our efforts to shape new ideas and perspectives. They were the heart of our higher learning institutions and research and formed the reference backbone of all of our human knowledge.

And now, this role has been superseded by private enterprise in the form of search. And most critically, it has been superseded by one single private enterprise. If our discourse within our society is now arbitrated by search to the extent that if search cannot find it, then it no longer exists, then we've managed to admit a single private enterprise into perhaps the most privileged role in our society.

It's truly amazing that the sum of human knowledge is at my fingertips, instantly accessible from anywhere at any time. That's incredibly empowering.

It's truly frightening that all this information is only accessible through a single entity, who funds this service through an insidious economy based on surveillance capitalism. It's incredibly scary that this enterprise appears to have no accountability in its self-assumed role of global information arbiter.

And I suspect that there is the true substance of the issue of cyber governance in these two observations. The digitization of every aspect of our society and every aspect of our lives has resulted in a fatal erosion of our public institutions' role and replaced them with private services founded on extractive frameworks that capitalize each and every one of us. The benefits of the digital world are truly massive, but the framework we've created to provide this has been built at personal and societal costs that are commensurate in every way with the benefits.

For our society, this market-driven transformation of our society is both incredibly empowering and incredibly threatening at the same time. The essential question I'd like to see addressed in an effective Cyber Governance framework is: Can we devise governance structures that can protect our societies and allow them to thrive with open and informed discourse while avoiding burning down this truly remarkable digital library?

Written by Geoff Huston, Author & Chief Scientist at APNIC

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More under: Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation

Categories: News and Updates

How Brexit Raises Risks for Non-Compliant .EU Domain Names

Domain industry news - Thu, 2020-08-06 16:43

On June 3, 2020, EURid, the registry for .EU domains, published its timeline and action plan to withdraw and delete .EU domains registered to entities and individuals located in the U.K.

Background and Brexit

Following the .EU regulations that were published on March 29, 2019, registrations of .EU domain names may be held by EU citizens, citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, independent of their place of residence — as well as organizations that are established in the EU.

Due to these regulations and subsequently Brexit Day, the day the U.K. formally left the EU, organizations that registered their .EU domains with their U.K. establishments will become non-compliant after the end of the transition period, which is from now until December 31, 2020.

Timeline and action plan

Note: Timeline is subject to change according to the Brexit transition period

Check that your .EU domain names are registered with entities established in the EU. If any of them are not, modify the registration information in these .EU domain names to those of a legally established entity from one of the eligible EU member states, or be sure to register .UK domain names as alternatives. You must complete any changes by December 31, 2020 because you will not be able to modify any aspect of your .EU domain registrations after January 1, 2021.

What are the risks?

Unless you're not planning on renewing certain .EU domain names after January 1, 2021, there are three immediate risks that you must take note of with regards to this notification:

1. Disruption to VPN, VoIP, website, services, dependencies, servers, networks, or email

If any of the .EU domain names in your portfolio are being used for your organization, the domain names should be updated to full compliance so they continue to work and outlast Brexit's transition period.

Use includes:

  • Virtual private network (VPN) network
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) services
  • A content website
  • As part of the server infrastructure or network of servers within your organization
  • A dependent service, like email, web traffic, or any other way you may not be privy to
2. Loss of control and ownership

Non-compliant .EU domains will cease to work after January 1, 2021 and you will lose control of these domains. At that point, you won't be able to modify the domain registration information to make them work. The registry will round them up and make them available for general registration after January 1, 2022, and you'll only be able to make attempts at registering them if you fulfill the .EU registration criteria.

3. Hijacked activity trail from abandoned domain names

We reiterate the core message in our article that an abandoned domain name could hurt you. An abandoned corporate domain name often carries a footprint of activity that can be leveraged as an attack vector by cyber criminals. If any of your .EU domain names were receiving email before, they could continue receiving email correspondence from unsuspecting entities that don't know you abandoned the domains.

A re-registered domain name gives the new registrant access not only to emails — but also the ability to reset passwords to accounts, like management or financial portals, databases, and social media — giving criminals the opportunity to compromise your business through phishing attacks, data leaks, social engineering, and more.

In addition, if any of your .EU domain names get a certain level of web traffic, you should continue renewing them. KrebsOnSecurity further wrote that such domain names, if not renewed, could pose as a huge security risk to the organization. Reason being, the domain names could then be scooped up by crooks who could use them to set up fake eCommerce sites that steal credit card details from unwary shoppers. These sites capitalize on the visitor traffic that goes towards these sites even after the domain names expire.

Reducing these risks is the rationale behind why EURid will only purge non-compliant .EU domain names after withdrawing them from the active zone for a full year. Although one year may be a long enough period for significant levels of visitor traffic to die down, the other risks are not completely diminished.

Resourceful bad actors could still potentially register and restore expired domain names, and leverage them in the aforementioned ways.

What you can do right now

Review your .EU domain portfolio for non-compliance issues that will arise after the end of the Brexit transition period and modify their registration information where possible, and use tools that can help narrow down your vital domains.

  1. This article originally published on Digital Brand Insider.

Written by Connie Hon, Domain Product Manager at CSC

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More under: Cybersecurity, Domain Management, Domain Names, Brand Protection, Policy & Regulation

Categories: News and Updates

Wix has record-setting Q2 thanks to Covid

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-08-06 15:13

Company nearly doubles its marketing spend as businesses move online.

Website builder Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) reported second quarter earnings today, setting records thanks to the pandemic-induced rush to get online.

The company reported a remarkable 64% year-over-year increase in sign-ups with 9.3 million. Most of the new registrations use the free service or don’t convert, but the company grew its paid userbase to over 5 million by adding a net 346,000 subscribers during the quarter. That’s about double the number it added in the first quarter.

Collections—which other companies called bookings—were up 35% year-over-year.

“The need for business owners to move online quickly, communicate with customers, and deliver goods and services has never been more imminent,” said Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami.

Wix nearly doubled its advertising spend to take advantage of the situation. It plans to continue with elevated ad spend as long as it converts. This will suppress free cash flow but should pay long-term dividends.

 

Post link: Wix has record-setting Q2 thanks to Covid

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Categories: News and Updates

July’s top domain name news stories

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-08-06 13:19

A former ICANN CEO was part of the most-viewed story on Domain Name Wire last month.

Here’s a look at the top stories on Domain Name Wire last month.

1. Fadi Chehadé is now co-CEO of Ethos Capital – The former ICANN CEO is now the co-CEO of the private equity company that tried to buy the .org registry. Was this the plan all along?

2. Original Calculator.com owner sues, claims domain is stolen – This case is getting messy and someone is going to be out a lot of money.

3. Intuit missed TurboTaxSucksAss.com – It’s impossible to register every negative domain about your company. Just ask Intuit.

4. Riskless domain investing for beginners – Just getting started with domain investing? Here’s a way to dip your toes in the water without spending a dime.

5. We’re seeing innovation in domain sales – Companies like Squadhelp are helping domainers sell more.

Podcasts

#293 – Elkhan Agamirza (listen)

#294 – Sell more domains with a crowd (listen)

#295 – The best way to pick a company name (listen)

#296 – 2020 (so far) in review (listen)

Post link: July’s top domain name news stories

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Categories: News and Updates

Year's Biggest ccTLD Sale of the Year to Date Gives Sedo Top Spot on This Week's Sales Chart

DN Journal - Thu, 2020-08-06 01:04
A quarter-million $ ccTLD tops this week's domain sales chart . The .coms also posted a solid 6-figure sale and the non .com gTLDs scored with a perfect .net.
Categories: News and Updates

GoDaddy tops 20 million customers

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-08-05 20:28

Company reports strong second quarter and customer base milestone.

GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) announced its second quarter earnings this afternoon.

The company now has over 20 million paying customers after adding 400,000 in the latest quarter.

Q2 was a boon for most domain name and website service providers as people made their businesses digital during pandemic-induced shutdowns. The commerce tier of GoDaddy’s Websites + Marketing product had 60% quarter-over-quarter growth and 90% year-over-year growth in adds.

Overall, year-over-year bookings were up 11%, revenue was up 9%, and unlevered free cash flow was up 11%.

The domains business had $370 million revenue, up 11% year-over-year and about 4% compared to its Q1 number of $355.9 million.

GoDaddy also said that its acquisition of Uniregistry “is showing significant progress in integration with shorter sales cycles and early revenue synergies.”

Post link: GoDaddy tops 20 million customers

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Categories: News and Updates

Purported Calculator.com thief might still be active

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-08-05 17:03

A person using the same name as the alleged thief of Calculator.com is still trying to sell domains.

A purported domain thief going by the name Ruth Yakobzon appears to still be active.

The person, whose name may or may not be real, tried to sell Calculator.com on Sedo in 2018. An auction for the domain concluded at $250,000. But a couple of domain investors saw warning signs that the domain might have been stolen and the buyer backed out of the deal after the previous owner of the domain confirmed the concerns to the buyer.

(Calculator.com sold a couple of months ago and the original owner says the domain was stolen. The buyer is arguing in court that it did not buy a stolen domain.)

Domain Name Wire has learned that someone going by the name Ruth Yakobzon recently tried to sell another name through Sedo. The buyer backed out after seeing warning signs that the domain might be stolen, and after viewing the name on the sales contract. The purported address for the seller in both cases is Billerica, Massachusetts.

I reached out to Sedo to understand why the seller was still active on its platform. Regarding the 2018 sale of Calculator.com, the company stated:

There were “internet rumors” that the domain could be stolen. Upon hearing these, we investigated them further on our end but could not find any evidence to support the validity of these statements. So we asked that the person communicating about this theft to ask the real domain owner to contact us which never happened. But even though we never received an official complaint in regards to this, it was cancelled on the request from the buyer because he did not want to proceed.

In other words, because the “real” owner of the domain never contacted Sedo, the company wasn’t able to conclude that the domain was stolen.

The seller’s account at Sedo has now been suspended after the second case, in which the real owner of the domain made an official complaint with Sedo.

Sedo also stated:

In both cases the seller had full access to the domains and was actively communicating with us without any delay and provided any additional documentation we requested.

Without verification that the domain was not stolen, the only thing we could verify is that the seller passed all our additional checks which is only possible when you have full access to the domain.

In both cases we left the decision with the buyers and both decided to cancel the transaction.

In general as part of our procedures on domain ownership, we complete ownership verifications as a precaution.

In addition, here is a link to more detailed information on the process we have in place to report potential stolen domains:

https://sedo.com/us/about-us/policies/stolen-domain-policy/

We had also participated in this post on Domain Name Investing last year. It has some really good information in a statement we provided:

https://domaininvesting.com/sedo-comments-on-domain-theft-verification-policy/

Stolen domains and ownership verification of domains being sold on our marketplace is something we take very seriously as a trusted third party service provider in the domain industry. We know it is a crucial part of the confidence our customers have in using us to buy and sell domains.

Stolen domains are a big issue in the domain name industry. GDPR and other privacy laws are making it harder to track the provenance of domain name ownership in Whois. At the same time, a lack of Whois information could make it harder for thieves to steal domains because they won’t know the contact details for the registrar accounts they want to target.

 

Post link: Purported Calculator.com thief might still be active

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Categories: News and Updates

Is the Internet Sustaining the Growth Trajectories Observed as the COVID-19 Pandemic Hit the World?

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-08-05 16:58

With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the fifth month of global disruption, many companies have readily shared data, statistics and observational insights on how the pandemic has impacted the global data infrastructure. At DE-CIX, we quickly observed core Internet infrastructure demand increasing and readily reported this data in April of 2020. Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella remarked to DatacenterDynamics in April of 2020 "we have seen two years' worth of digital transformation in two months."

In May of 2020, Dropbox was quoted in Data Center Knowledge saying: "Another challenge for Dropbox has been the shift of Internet traffic from being highly concentrated in big hubs to a more distributed pattern. Instead of having a lot of traffic coming from a thousand accounts in a university, for example, Dropbox is now seeing all those accounts access its platform from many different places, through many different networks." To address this, Dzmitry Markovich, Senior Director Of Engineering at Dropbox, and his team have been analyzing its last-mile connectivity strategy and actively looking for more last-mile ISPs to peer with. Dropbox already peers "heavily," but it's now investing in even more peering relationships.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect many industries, including the restaurant, airline and hospitality sectors, to name a few, the Internet continues to be a beacon of hope, maintaining human interactions and education, all while serving as a business continuity solution. If it weren't for today's Internet, the emotional and physical toll on humans would have been even more devastating.

At the onset of the pandemic, the Internet was reinforced as a formidable and reliable connectivity enabler as at-home workers video conferenced daily, families streamed movies and played games online, students engaged with e-learning tools and more.

Five months in, what trends continue to stick? What demand continues to rise? Has the surging growth of the Internet leveled off?

DE-CIX, the operator of the world's largest carrier and data center-neutral Internet Exchange, is observing continued growth and demand with increased connectivity requests to its globally operated Internet Exchanges. The immediate surge in upgrade requests has subsided a bit, indicating a leveling off and quick response taken by core internet players to immediately add capacity in anticipation of user demand. In April 2020, DE-CIX went on record highlighting the need for more bandwidth throughout the world with core networks and edge locations gobbling data feverishly as they helped communities stay connected, educated, productive, informed — and working. This remains the case, and in some 'edge' locations, even more so than before. As the Internet use surge continues, the digital divide is more rampant than ever.

Has Internet Growth Continued to Accelerate? Decline? Or Level Off?

Prior to COVID-19, standard Internet growth of 10-50% was seen across the DE-CIX platform on an annual basis, as reported in the company's 2019 Annual Report. At the start of this pandemic, DE-CIX observed this level of traffic growth (between 10-50% increases) in a matter of days.

It appears that the incremental capacity immediately added at the onset of the pandemic remains to be the foundation supporting and enabling ongoing growth by network providers. Companies that seemingly had excess capacity are now revisiting their projections, adding incremental capacity to support the ongoing usage demand to ensure a reliable and always-on experience for end-users.

Today, remaining prepared for change is at the core of staying ahead of — or out of the path of — disruption as much as possible. While the future may still be characterized by much uncertainty, recording and analyzing this data on an ongoing basis not only shows the world how much had been accomplished, but it offers reassurance that the Internet remains scalable and highly capable, flexing and adjusting to meet the needs of a changed world. Today, we are seeing that the actions taken at the beginning of this disruption are continuing to ensure that businesses and individuals across the globe are empowered by the digital means — and the teams behind them — that are now so central to life as we know it.

Written by Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX International

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More under: Broadband, Coronavirus, Networks

Categories: News and Updates

17 end user domain name sales up to $100k

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-08-05 13:15

A virtual reality company, an adtech company, and a cryptocurrency wallet provider bought domain names.

Sedo had a handful of strong end user domain names sales this week. The buyer of the top sale remains a bit of a mystery, but the second-highest sale was to a virtual reality gaming company.

Here’s a list of end user sales this past week. You can see previous lists like this here.

HiPhi.com $99,999 – The domain name resolves to a coming soon page that uses the HiPhi capitalization. Whois shows the buyer is in Shanghai. Oddly, the domain had a for sell message quoting $88,888. Update: As a reader points out, this is likely the Chinese electric car brand.

NEOS.com €30,000 – NEOS is a virtual reality gaming company. It forwards this domain to NEOSVR.com.

Hekate.com $20,000 – Hekate Health Sciences bought this domain. This company has filed for trademarks within nutritional categories relating to medicinal supplements, powdered mushroom and cocoa blends “to aid in reducing anxiety, improve focus, memory, strengthen a user’s immune system and increase the maximum oxygen a person can absorb during athletic performance.”

Hausfinanzierung.de €14,000 – Forwards to Kredit.de/Baufinanzierung. Kredit=loan and Baufinanzierung=construction financing. This website compares the different types of loan and construction financing including their advantages and disadvantages.

Speckmann.com €11,000 – Christoph Speckmann, a technical marketer, bought this domain name.

AmericanPayments.com $10,000 – A financial company by the same name bought this domain. American Payments is a coalition of financial institutions providing a safe payment system for consumers and businesses.

KMTX.com $10,000 – Keymantics, which calls itself the Keyword Platform, is an online advertising company. KMTX is shorthand for Keymantics.

NordTeam.com $9,995 – Team is a German energy and construction company. The domain forwards to the company’s website at Team.de.

Wallet.live $7,500 – This domain was bought by Ledger, a cryptocurrency wallet that stores a user’s private keys in a secure hardware device. Hardware wallets isolate your private keys from your computer or smartphone.

Moonshot.de €5,000 – Moonshot is a film production company located near Hamburg, Germany.

Impact.info €4,000 – French venture capital firm Impact Partenaires. It uses the domain Impact.fr.

JobTrailer.com $3,599 – Anyone know why the German beer brewer, the Gutmann Brewery, bought this domain?

Loopit.com.au $3,000 – Forwards to Loopit.co, which was formerly Blinker. Loopit provides the technology for customers to operate a car subscription service, providing a flexible car ownership alternative.

Lichensclerosus.de €2,800 – Forwards to Lichensclerosus-deutschland.de/home. This is a website in German for a chronic disease that mainly targets women. There’s information on how to live with the disease, how other people can interact and help infected persons, as well as treatment options.

Luxmetall.com $2,500 – Forwards to Luxmetall.de, which is a company that sells professional-grade tin sheets for rooftops or walls to reduce noises.

HappyChurch.com $2,500 – Macappstudio Private Limited is an app developer. This might be for a client app.

Black-Arrow.com $2,200 – Nelogica Sistemas de Software Ltda, a Brazilian software company. Perhaps this is for a product.

Post link: 17 end user domain name sales up to $100k

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Categories: News and Updates

New Domain Marketplace at SAV.com Offers Buyers & Sellers an Economical Option

DN Journal - Wed, 2020-08-05 12:40
After entering the domain registration business with SAV.com last year, veteran domain investor Anthos Chrysanthou has added a new domain marketplace to go along with it.
Categories: News and Updates

Why the Pandemic Makes Domain Names More Valuable Than Ever

Domain industry news - Tue, 2020-08-04 19:53

In the United States, at least 25,000 brick and mortar businesses will close in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (source: Coresight). I believe this will only be the tip of the iceberg. The businesses that fight to stay alive will become 100% dependent on the Internet to generate their revenue. No longer able to rely on foot traffic to their old brick and mortars, the popularity and brand-ability of their websites will solely dictate their ability to survive in the coming years.

Domain Names Take Center Stage

Since the beginning of the Internet, a domain name has been the online address of a business — nothing more, nothing less. Before the Coronavirus, most brick and mortar businesses kept a wary eye on their SEO, but search engines were only one slice of the pie of their revenue generation. Now, they will be totally at the mercy of Google and, to a lesser extent, Yahoo and Bing.

The Difference Between Success Or Failure

An instantly memorable domain name will be the only protection these businesses will have against their search engine rankings. If your business has to live or die strictly by your search engine rankings, you will die. If a client has to search for your business every time to remember your brand, your company will become 100% search engine dependent. In other words, your domain name, your brand, will feed your competition.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

It's Marketing 101, but, in the Age of the Internet, many have forgotten that it's not the first time a customer visits your site that's important, but how many times they come back. Of course, your product or service has to be stellar, but they also have to remember your online brand name, your domain name, the instant they read it or hear it without having to search for it. Your domain name will become your most important asset.

More Than Ever, The Name Matters

Buy the best, most memorable and unforgettable domain name you can possibly afford. And, please, make it dotCOM. Don't make your clients have to remember both sides of the dot. It's marketing suicide because it will make your brand twice as hard to remember.

Written by David Castello, Co-Founder at CastelloBrothers.com

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More under: Domain Names, Brand Protection, Web

Categories: News and Updates

GoDaddy completes Neustar Registry acquisition

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-08-04 18:34

GoDaddy is now in the registry business.

GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) has completed its acquisition of Neustar’s domain name registry business, marking a big entry into the wholesale part of the domain business. The company announced the $218 million acquisition in April.

Neustar Registry, now named GoDaddy Registry, operates the back end for many new top level domains such as .buzz and .club. It also has contracts with countries to operate ccTLDs including .co and .us. It is also the operator of the .biz top level domain.

The transaction was a carveout of Neustar, which retains its DNS and DDoS businesses, as well as marketing data.

GoDaddy has committed to a number of safeguards to avoid a conflict of interest between the wholesale registry business and its retail arm.

Post link: GoDaddy completes Neustar Registry acquisition

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Using a trademark in a domain for comparative advertising

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-08-04 16:26

Two mattress makers square off over a domain name.

National Arbitration Forum published a UDRP decision today that is worth reading. It deals with a competitor using another company’s brand name in a domain name.

Bed and mattress company Hästens Sängar AB filed the dispute against Organic Mattresses, Inc. over the domain name ComparetoHastens.com.

When you see this domain name, do you think it’s a website created by the brand included in the domain? Probably not. It’s like seeing a domain that says a company sucks or stinks; your first inclination is that someone else owns the domain name.

In this case, Organize Mattresses, Inc. says it registered the domain (along with others mentioning other brands) to create websites comparing its products to the competition. It registered the instant domain in February but hasn’t built it yet. (It blames Covid-19 for the delay in creating the website.)

Panelist David Bernstein wrote a nuanced position on whether the domain was registered and used in bad faith. Because the Respondent hasn’t created the site yet, its domain registrar put up pay-per-click links to the Complainant’s competitors. Bernstein noted that this was bad faith use. But this is not a case of bad faith registration:

Whether Respondent engaged in bad faith registration requires consideration of Respondent’s intent. Respondent asserts that it registered the domain name in order to establish a comparison website, which, as noted above, could be a permissible use of the disputed domain name. Although Respondent did not come forward with affirmative evidence to establish demonstrable preparations to create such a website (which is a specific requirement under the policy for establishing rights or legitimate interests in a domain name), a finding a (sic) bad faith requires more. It is not enough that Complainant show that Respondent failed to come forward with evidence of its demonstrable preparations; rather, Complainant must come forward with evidence the establishes, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Respondent in fact registered the disputed domain name with a bad faith intention to cybersquat on the domain name. Such evidence might include evidence of an intent to sell the disputed domain name to Complainant for a profit, to prevent Complainant from reflecting its own trademark in a corresponding domain name, to disrupt Complainant’s business, or to attract consumers to the website to which the domain name resolves by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship or affiliation of the website. See generally Policy ¶ 4(b).

Complainant has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish any of these examples of bad faith registration, or any other basis for a conclusion that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith. To the contrary, Respondent has provided sworn declarations of its CEO, Jeff Bader, who attests that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to establish a comparison website. Although Mr. Bader’s testimonial evidence (which was not accompanied by any documentary support) was insufficient to meet the Policy’s requirement of showing “demonstrable preparations,” the Panel does find the statements credible with respect to Respondent’s intent at the time of registration.

It is true that such a comparison website, if launched, may attract consumers to it. But, if the website is properly designed, it likely would not cause confusion as to source, sponsorship or affiliation; rather, it should be clear that the website does not come from Complainant but rather from a competitor of Complainant. It also is true that such a comparison website might be designed to divert business from Complainant to Respondent, but that is not the kind of disruption of a competitor’s business contemplated by the Policy as evidence of bad faith registration and use.

Bernstein denied the complaint.

Post link: Using a trademark in a domain for comparative advertising

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6 Reasons Why You Should Become an ICANN Accredited Registrar

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-08-04 14:11

[This is a sponsored post from our friends at LogicBoxes.]

There are businesses and then there are businesses that build a legacy. What sets them apart, is that they remain flexible to adapt to the ever-changing industry and upgrade their offerings accordingly.

When we think about the web hosting and domain name industry, the first thing that comes to mind is reselling. However, there is more to it.

A reseller, be it a domain or hosting reseller, a domainer or an ISP, can choose to upgrade their business and brand to become an ICANN Accredited Registrar.

ICANN Accreditation is the verified mark or identity of trust granted by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in the Domain Name industry. Registrars that are ICANN Accredited are seen as authentic, secure and credible in the industry. In spite of this, many domain resellers avoid getting accredited as they believe it is a lengthy process and a costly one at that. But there are significant benefits to be had in becoming a registrar that help a brand not only grow their business and their customer base but increase its revenue potential incrementally year on year. If you are one of them, here is a quick sum-up of the 6 worthwhile benefits of ICANN Accreditation.

1. Better Consumer & Industry Recognition

A logo can mean a lot of things and as an ICANN Accredited Registrar, the accreditation logo symbolizes trust, integrity and stability. This is extremely important as no Reseller irrespective of their size can match the assurance you provide.

2. Registry Promotions

As an ICANN Accredited Registrar, apart from having to buy domains directly from the registries which isn’t the case as a reseller, you now have a direct channel of communication with registries regarding promos and discounts.

What this means is, you have far greater control and flexibility on how to go to market with your business and also reap the profits you earn from them directly!

3. Registry Marketing Grants

Not everyone is an ICANN Accredited Registrar. If you are one, it helps you stand proud in a sea of Resellers. Moreover, you are qualified for reviewing specialized Marketing Development Funds from Registries. In fact, with the advent of new gTLDs in the market, this trend is on the rise!

4. Leverage the New gTLD Basket

New gTLD is the buzzword in the web hosting industry. One of the key benefits of being ICANN Accredited is that you now have complete autonomy and freedom to offer lucrative and profitable new gTLDs selectively. In fact, you can make this choice based on the needs and demographics of your customers.

5. Domain Handling Post-Expiry

Domain parking can be profitable if only you can park it smartly. As an ICANN Accredited Registrar, you can easily leverage domain smart parking and domain transfer fulfillment. Therein opening additional revenue channels for your business.

6. Complete Control & Autonomy

Having full control of your domain registration business helps you plan and strategize better. With an ICANN Accreditation, you gain complete liberty and flexibility when it comes to facets like support, marketing and all other mission-critical features of your business.

So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today and be on your way to becoming a leading certified Domain Registrar with LogicBoxes!

LogicBoxes, for over 13 years, has been the leader in providing ICANN Accreditation Consultancy services to web hosts, resellers, ISPs and more. As part of the service, we assist you with the entire ICANN Accreditation process as your consulting partner. From building and submitting the application, to setting up your registry connections as a registrar post accreditation as well as managing your ICANN compliance, we take care of everything, so that you can focus on growing your business.

Post link: 6 Reasons Why You Should Become an ICANN Accredited Registrar

© DomainNameWire.com 2020. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

The Covid-19 Surge

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2020-08-04 13:03

Domain registrars experienced a surge in new domain registrations in April due to the pandemic.

ICANN has published the latest official data from Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) about the .com namespace. This registrar-by-registrar report covers April 2020.

April was a strong month for domain name registrars as companies rushed to go digital because businesses were shut down due to Covid-19.

The numbers reflect that, and they’re even more startling when you consider that March was also an up month due to the pandemic.

Consider Wix. Its registrations for February, April, and March were 75,407, 86,353, and 110,573.

Google’s registrations were 132,513, 144,355, and 170,306.

Tucows: 189,784, 201,660, 270,196.

You get the idea.

The trend is most notable for registrars that cater to end users rather than domain investors.

Here’s how registrars did in terms of new .com registrations in April:

1. GoDaddy.com* (NYSE: GDDY) 1,011,313 (990,805 in March) (March number excludes Uniregistry)
2. Tucows** (NASDAQ:TCX) 270,196 (201,660)
3. Namecheap Inc. 244,079 (220,563)
4. Endurance+ (NASDAQ: EIGI) 203,981 (167,966)
5. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) 170,306 (144,355)
6. Alibaba (HiChina) 146,314 (168,265)
7. Wix (NASDAQ: WIX) 110,573 (86,353)
8. United Internet^ 84,925 (71,767)
9. West263 67,757
10. NameSilo 65,429

Here’s the leaderboard of the top registrars in terms of total .com registrations under management as of the end of April 2020.

1. GoDaddy* 53,544,247 (52,559,293 in March) (March number excludes Uniregistry, appx. 900,000 domains)
2. Tucows** 12,815,824 (12,781,969)
3. Web.com++ 7,064,131 (7,119,532)
4. Endurance+ 6,948,816 (6,888,632)
5. Alibaba 5,859,831 (5,787,345)
6. Namecheap 5,690,180 (5,551,106)
7. United Internet^ 5,532,444 (5,521,784)
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 3,647,376 (3,746,993)
9. Google 3,474,697 (3,367,072)
10. GMO 2,310,668 (2,313,794)

Many domain companies have multiple accreditations and I’ve tried to capture the largest ones. See the notes below.

* Includes GoDaddy, Wild West Domains, Uniregistry and 123 Reg
** Includes Tucows, Enom, Ascio and EPAG
+ Includes PDR, Domain.com, FastDomain and Bigrock. There are other Endurance registrars, but these are the biggest.
++ Includes Network Solutions, Register.com, and Crazy Domains/Dreamscape
^ Includes 1&1, PSI, Cronon, United-Domains, Arsys and world4you

Post link: The Covid-19 Surge

© DomainNameWire.com 2020. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

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