News and Updates

3-Letter .Coms Claim 3 of Week's 5 Biggest Sales - One of Year's 10 Biggest Non .Com gTLD Sales Also Reported

DN Journal - 5 hours 26 min ago
This week the domain aftermarket produced something for everyone. The .coms had their usual full plate but the non .com gTLDs and ccTLDs scored too.
Categories: News and Updates

The interesting connection between the .Org deal and ICANN

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-11-13 19:51

Former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé appears to have a connection to the latest big deal in the domain name industry.

Former CEO of ICANN appears to have a connection to the firm that just bought the .Org registry.

This morning, Internet Society announced it is selling Public Interest Registry, the non-profit that runs the .org domain name, to Ethos Capital.

Ethos Capital isn’t exactly a household name. In fact, it appears to have been set up in recent months. It just acquired its domain name at the end of last month.

The founder of Ethos Capital is Erik Brooks. He left ABRY Partners this year after spending two decades at the investment firm.

Does the name Abry ring a bell? That’s because it’s the company that bought new top level domain name company Donuts last year.

That deal involved Abry Senior Advisor Fadi Chehadé. Chehadé is the former CEO of ICANN, the group that oversees the domain name industry.

Now we have a twenty year veteran of Abry, who worked on the Donuts deal and was (or still is) a member of Donuts’ board, leaving this year to form a new entity that buys a registry, much like how Abry bought Donuts.

And the CEO of Public Interest Registry is Jon Nevett, one of the founders of Donuts.

Things get even connected.

On May 7 this year, Fadi Chehadé appears to have registered He is listed as the owner in Whois. That was just before a Delaware company by the name Ethos Capital, LLC was formed.

I wonder why Abry didn’t invest in PIR? Was Ethos set up as a special entity to invest in PIR, and why? What is Chehadé’s connection?

The other person listed on Ethos Capital’s website is Nora Abusitta- Ouri. She worked for Chehadi at ICANN as SVP, Development and Public Responsibility Programs.

I’ve reached out to Ethos Capital, Chehadé, and Abry Partners about this and will update this story if I hear back.

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Categories: News and Updates

Ethos Capital to Acquire .ORG Top-Level Domain

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-11-13 19:01

The Internet Society and Public Interest Registry (PIR) have reached an agreement with Ethos Capital, under which Ethos Capital will acquire PIR and all of its assets from the Internet Society. Public Interest Registry (PIR) is the nonprofit corporation that operates the .ORG top-level domain. The transaction is expected to close during the first quarter of next year. The transaction will provide the Internet Society with the sustainable funding and resources to advance its mission, said Andrew Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society. PIR assures that all of its domain operations and educational initiatives will continue, and "there will be no disruption of service or support to the .ORG Community or other generic top-level domains operated by the organization."

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More under: Domain Names, Registry Services

Categories: News and Updates

Breaking: Private Equity company acquires .Org registry

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-11-13 17:20

Ethos Capital, led by former ABRY Partners Managing Partner, buys .Org registry.

I thought this might happen. And now it has.

Fresh off ICANN’s blunder letting Public Interest Registry set whatever price it wants for .org domain names, Internet Society (ISOC) has sold the .org registry Public Interest Registry (PIR) to private equity company Ethos Capital.

Game. Set. Match.

This gives Internet Society a huge (as yet unkown) endowment rather than worrying about what the future of the .org domain name holds. PIR generated $101 million in revenue in 2018 and contributed nearly $50 million to Internet Society. It contributed $74 million to ISOC in 2017.

ICANN made this deal much more valuable by removing all price controls on .org.

While Internet Society might not have wanted to raise prices, a private equity company surely will try to maximize the value of the registry.

In a release about the deal, Internet Society noted:

Today’s news has tremendous benefits for both the Internet Society and PIR.  The transaction will help the Internet Society to secure its future through more stable, diversified and sustainable financial resources than it has at present, allowing the organization to plan for the long term and advance its vision of an Internet for everyone on an even broader scale.  It will also enable PIR to continue expanding its mission and important work under new ownership — including its goal of keeping .ORG accessible and reasonably priced — while further strengthening and deepening its commitment to the .ORG Community.

We’ll have to see what “reasonably priced” means. Certainly, the goals of Ethos Capital are very different from Internet Society.

Ethos Capital is a new private equity firm lead by Erik Brooks. Brooks was at Abry Partners until earlier this year. Abry Partners acquired Donuts and installed former ICANN President of Global Domains Akram Atallah in the top spot there.

Donuts co-founder Jon Nevett left to be CEO of Public Interest Registry.

The other person at Ethos is former ICANN Senior Vice President Abusitta-Ouri.

Ethos appears to have just been founded. It acquired the domain name at the end of October through Afternic.

[Update: The firm might be tied to former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé as well.]

PIR CEO Jon Nevett commented to Domain Name Wire:

Our goal has always been to make .ORG accessible and reasonably priced – and that will continue under our new ownership. PIR has made reasonable decisions on price in the past, and we will uphold this spirit going forward. We would never make dramatic price increases as we know it would harm our registrants, as well as our registrars.

ICANN watcher George Kirikos brought up the potential of a PE sale when ICANN proposed the contractual changes removing price caps:

Some have suggested that the Internet Society and/or PIR would never raise fees by a large amount. However, “hope is not a strategy.” Past performance is no guarantee of the future. Leadership can change, as can priorities/missions. It’s clear from section 7.5 of the the draft contract itself:

that ISOC/PIR could simply sell or assign the registry contract to another entity (e.g. Private Equity, just as registry operator Donuts was sold by its founders), and that new owner/entity could take the heat for future egregious fee increases. ICANN would not be able to stop such a deal. Such a sale would allow ISOC to create a huge endowment for itself worth billions of dollars, given that .org is arguably the second most desirable gTLD, after only .com.

This type of deal doesn’t happen overnight, and has likely been in the works for a while.

When ICANN decided to remove price restrictions on .org, my thought was this would be a pivitol moment in the history of ICANN. But it probably wouldn’t come back to bite it for another 5-10 years, at which point current leadership would have moved on.

But it came back to bite it now, and many more groups will call upon ICANN to justify its decision.

Public Interest Registry had operating income of $45.9 million in 2018. Any amount it increases prices falls directly to the bottom line.

I have reached out to Ethos for comment.

Update: Richard Kirkendall, CEO of Namecheap, which filed a reconsideration request with ICANN over the .org price cap removal, released this statement to DNW:

Obviously, we are disturbed by the timing of this transaction and how it reflects on the decision by ICANN to lift the price caps. While we all as registrars will be affected by this sale, the biggest losers will be our customers and all other .org holders who are sure to see their renewal prices increase over time.

Note: this post has been updated throughout the day with more information and comments from the industry.

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Categories: News and Updates

Cybersecurity Standards Practices as Cyber Threats

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-11-13 16:29

One of the most embarrassing and pernicious realities in the world of cybersecurity is the stark reality that some industry cybersecurity standards practices are themselves cyber threats. How so?

Most industry and intergovernmental standards bodies serve as means for assembling the constantly evolving collective knowledge of participant experts and package the resulting specifications and best practices as freely available online documents to a vast, diverse universe of users. In many cases, these materials have the force and effect of law through governmental bodies who reference them as compulsory requirements for an array of cybersecurity products and services provided to end-users.

Unfortunately, a few remaining outlier standards organizations attempt to exploit the cybersecurity marketplace by significantly restricting availability of their standards and charging incredulous prices for access to documents that deter use. This behavior is often coupled with lobbying co-opted government authorities to reference the specifications as mandatory requirements — flying in the face of longstanding juridical norms. In some cases where such references have created artificial demand, the prices reach an astronomical seven dollars per page for a single user to simply look at specifications that are often trivial and useless, yet mandated by some governmental authority or certification group. The result is that the cybersecurity standards practices themselves become cyber threats because the needed specifications are not available to end-users who cannot or will not pay seven dollars per page for a standard.

The most extreme of these bodies is the Geneva-based, private International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which together with its regional and national partners, manages to continue the practice of enticing participants to contribute their cybersecurity intellectual property for free — which is then resold by the organization's secretariats at vicarious prices reflecting whatever the cybersecurity market will bear. That some of the participants are also government employees who are contributing government IPR, and then effectively serving as marketing arms for secretariats selling the pricey products, makes the practice all the more unacceptable.

In a recent proposal to the European Union on cybersecurity normative standards, the entire bundle of proposed ISO/IEC specifications amounts to $ 5000 per individual user license. Additionally, that amount is potentially recurrent every five years - the asserted maintenance period for the standards. For the proposed bundle of 31 documents, the per-page price varies wildly between 0.68 and 6.77 Swiss Francs with the average 2.63 Francs ($ 2.65) per page as downloadable PDF files. The 6.77 Swiss Franc ($ 6.81) per page amount is for the ISO/IEC 30111 standard on how to process and resolve potential vulnerability information in a product or online services. And, these 31 standards only include the explicitly mandated specifications themselves. Secondary normative references requiring still further ISO/IEC standards can significantly add to the cost.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) engages in similar behavior, and even leverages its association with engineering profession members. Its price per page varies between $0.56 to $3.48 for common cybersecurity standards.

Over the years, most standards bodies who once sold their cybersecurity standards have ceased the practice — realizing that meaningful standards making in the ICT sector effectively require freely available standards to as many people and entities as quickly as possible. Where public safety or security are factors, or where the specification is referenced as a regulatory requirement, freely available standards are essential, and the converse inexcusable.

Several years ago, the American Bar Association advanced an initiative on public ownership of the law and adopted a resolution calling for public availability to standards which are the subject of regulatory enactments. However, the ISO/IEC national body in the U.S., ANSI, mounted a fierce lobbying effort asserting their right to pursue a business model of whatever the market will bear, and to do otherwise will put them out of business — without ever providing supporting financial data.

Today, as cybersecurity becomes ever more critical, government authorities worldwide need to seriously question arguments of the few remaining standards bodies who seek the largesse of a cybersecurity regulatory imprimatur, while maintaining a business model which is a clear detriment to end-users. Attempting to extract revenues from a cybersecurity standards marketplace is clearly very different from standards developed for a closed manufacturing community of physical "widgets." Today, there are many other cybersecurity standards bodies for governmental authorities to choose from who do have acceptable business models.

So in sum, while charging whatever the market will bear for cybersecurity specifications may be ill-considered as a private standards organization business practice, it is ultimately its choice. However, they should not be seeking a helping hand from regulatory authorities to prop up a broken business model at the expense of diminished cybersecurity.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

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More under: Cybersecurity, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation

Categories: News and Updates

Why this weird domain sold for so much money

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-11-13 14:55

It might not make sense to Westerners, but it does to people in China.

Have you wondered why some mixed letter and number domains can sell for 4 or even 5 figures? Sometimes a little bit of research can reveal the possible reason. 520HB(.)com is a good example.

On November 11, Namebio reported that the domain sold for $5,600 on GoDaddy. While no buyer information has been revealed, I know from experience that some Chinese buyers like this kind of domain, so I turned to Baidu search for hints — and I found one.

520HB has a meaning in Chinese. 520 represents May 20 and it also rhymes with Wo Ai Ni (我爱你 = I Love You). HB is an acronym for the Pinyin words Hong Bao (红包 = Red Packet). All together, 520HB refers to May 20 (unofficial Valentine’s Day in China). On this day, you can send “I Love You” electronic red packets to the digital wallets of your loved ones — up to the amount of 520 yuan using WeChat as I understand.

Giving red packets of money is an age-old Chinese tradition to celebrate Chinese New Year, weddings, graduations, birthdays, and many other occasions. In 2014 WeChat launched digital red packets for the Chinese New Year, followed by rival Alipay. Since then, this practice has been extended to other events, including this invented festival on May 20.

If you look at’s Wayback Machine, you’ll see that the domain was previously used. Most recently, it was for an adult entertainment site. The auction price was probably impacted by this prior use and any remaining search engine value the domain has.

But as I’ve explained, it’s also easy for Chinese consumers to remember this domain, which makes it valuable.

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Categories: News and Updates

21 end user domain name sales at Uniregistry

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2019-11-12 18:51

These companies invested in a new domain name for their business.

PlantCraft, a meat-substitute company, bought It was using

I just reviewed the top 20 weekly sales at Uniregistry for this week and last, and discovered at least 21 sales that appear to be to end users. There are others that are likely end user sales, such as for $40,000 and for $25,000, but I can’t yet tie them to the buyer yet.

Here are the 21 domains that link to an end user: $15,000 – Guidewire Software, Inc. is an insurance software company. It recently launched Guidewire Jutro, which it calls “a new digital experience framework for designing and developing Guidewire Digital apps rapidly.” $15,000 – Imperial Family Companies appears to develop software for internet privacy. $13,800 – Hirepay Pty Ltd serves as a sort of float between recruiters and companies. The recruiter gets paid immediately and the hiring company pays the fee off over 3-6 months. It uses the domain is still available for purchase at Uniregistry. $10,000 – There’s a language barrier (French), but I think the buyer GROUPE ENR CERT is an energy efficiency company. $9,000 – Our School And Us, a school search platform. $9,000 – OTO Technology in France. It’s an IT services company, so this might be for a client. $9,000 – E-Borealis LDA is an online media company in Portugal. $8,000 – This is a typo for the buyer, $7,200 – The domain forwards to the website for H&H medical, which sells medical trauma supplies. $6,300 – The domain forwards to, the website for Halo, a communications platform for medical facilities. $6,000 – Booleans is an Identity & Access Management (IAM) company. It forwards the domain to its ccTLD $6,000 – The buyer is setting up a website about investing in gold. $6,000 – According to WasteIQ’s LinkedIn page, it “is a platform for the tracking and distribution in public waste management, based on openness, standards and collaborative innovation.” It forwards the domain to its LinkedIn page. $5,700 – Gold Locksmith in Ohio. Locksmiths sometimes jump batteries, too. $5,500 – PlantCraft is a food tech company that produces plant-based proteins. It’s an upgrade from $5,000 – I believe the buyer is Lukla, a digital asset management company that uses the domain $5,000 – GuangHongDa Technology sells metals and metal services. $5,000 – I think the buyer is the Enterprise Service Management company that uses $4,800 – Konnekt is a job recruiting company. $4,000 OAK’S LAB s.r.o. in Czech Republic is a venture capital and product development company. $4,000 – Hip Hop Kidz, a dance program, bought the .com to match its .co.

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Categories: News and Updates

I’d bid more if…

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2019-11-12 17:14

Both GoDaddy Auctions and NameJet could make small changes that drive more bidding.

I’ve acquired roughly 200 expired domain names this year. Most of these have been on the lower end, pricewise. I’d bid more on auctions, especially the higher-end ones, if the expired domain marketplaces made a couple of simple changes.

I’d bid more at GoDaddy if… the site let you bulk upload to a watchlist. Currently, you have to search for each domain individually and then click the watch icon to add it to your list.

I add domains to my watchlist at GoDaddy so that they show up in the app. Then I get an alert when the auction is ending so that I can place my bid.

But because the process of adding domains is so laborious, I only add a fraction of what I would otherwise.

GoDaddy should add a “bulk add to watchlist” feature that’s as easy as bulk backordering at NameJet.

I’d bid more at NameJet if… its app alerts worked. They don’t, and that means I miss the end of most domain auctions. It’s frustrating, and I end up usually not bothering with NameJet because of this.

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Categories: News and Updates

.Com Winners & Losers: Dynadot surges

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2019-11-12 14:52

Dynadot returned to the top 10; Chinese registrar Chengdu West plummets.

ICANN has published the latest official data from Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) about the .com namespace. This registrar-by-registrar report covers July 2019.

There was a shakeup in the top ten registrars for monthly .com volume. Chengdu West fell out of the top 10. Dynadot surged back in to spot #6. NameSilo dropped a lot but still remained in top 10.

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

1.* (NYSE: GDDY) 854,643 (844,698 in June)
2. Xin Net Technology Corporation 321,742 (254,177)
3. Tucows** (NASDAQ:TCX) 194,581 (188,913)
4. NameCheap Inc. 161,790 (148,553)
5. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) 134,583 (118,274)
6. Dynadot 131,601 (n/a)
7. Endurance+ (NASDAQ: EIGI) 129,559 (117,245)
8. Alibaba (HiChina) 126,586 (158,341)
9. NameSilo (CSE:URL) 89,027 (149,951)
10. GMO 66,323 (n/a)

Here’s the leaderboard of the top registrars in terms of total .com registrations as of the end of July 2019.

1. GoDaddy* 51,022,025 (51,012,237 in June)
2. Tucows** 13,192,663 (13,265,609)
3. Endurance+ 6,896,718 (6,928,107)
4. 6,599,516 (6,638,229)
5. Alibaba 6,232,572 (6,250,554)
6. United Internet^ 5,550,220 (5,558,557)
7. Namecheap 4,915,798 (4,855,101)
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 4,469,021 (4,201,902)
9. Google 2,662,532 (2,580,499)
10. GMO 2,104,444 (2,081,293)

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

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

© 2019. 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) Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

Cybersecurity Workforce Needs to Grow 145% to Close Skills Gap Worldwide, Says New Study

Domain industry news - Mon, 2019-11-11 21:53

The cybersecurity workforce needs to grow by 145% to close the skills gap and better defend organizations worldwide according to a report released by (ISC)², a nonprofit membership association of certified cybersecurity professionals. The organization has, for the first time, estimated the current cybersecurity workforce to be 2.8 million professionals and concluded that 4.07 million additional trained professionals are needed to close the skills gap worldwide. In the U.S. market, the current cybersecurity workforce estimate is reported to be 804,700, and the shortage of skilled professionals is 498,480. Other key findings:

"65% of organizations report a shortage of cybersecurity staff; a lack of skilled/experienced cybersecurity personnel is the top job concern among respondents (36%)"

"62% of large organizations with more than 500 employees have a CISO; that number drops to 50% among smaller organizations."

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Categories: News and Updates

What to expect at NamesCon 2020 – DNW Podcast #261

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-11-11 16:30

Soeren von Varchmin talks about the domain investing community’s big conference in January.

I spent last week in Montreal at the ICANN meeting. While there, I sat down with NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin to talk about January’s conference. After many years in Las Vegas, NamesCon is moving to Austin. Soeren explains why it’s moving and why you should attend. He also explains how running a conference for the domain business is different than for the hosting business.

Also: Tucows sells its domain portfolio, ICANN’s expected decision, True Detective, Sixth Street, Jimmy Wales, MarkMonitor and more.

See also: How to go to NamesCon for cheap


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

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Categories: News and Updates isn’t the only three letter domain the hockey league owns

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-11-11 14:59

It owns a three-letter .com for its French audience, too.

Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That’s, not

Last week in Montreal, I went to the Canadiens vs. Bruins game with other people attending the ICANN meeting. Something caught my eye during the second period (see picture).

While most people visit the National Hockey League’s website at, the league also owns LNH brings you to a French version of the NHL’s website at

LNH stands for Ligue Nationale de Hockey.

The league appears to have acquired in 2006. I can’t find a public price for the purchase.

Interestingly, the NHL still keeps its primary domains at Moniker rather than a brand protection registrar. The other three major North American sports leagues (MLB, NBA and NFL) use corporate brand registrars.

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Categories: News and Updates

How to go to NamesCon for cheap

Domain Name Wire - Sat, 2019-11-09 16:04

Here are ways to save money on your trip to Austin.

NamesCon is not an expensive conference to attend. However, two things give people pause before booking their travel.

First, NamesCon set the bar so low on prices in the past by going to The Tropicana that people are having sticker shock at traveling to Austin. The Trop is a crappy hotel with a commensurate price; it was about $120 or so a night with the “resort fee” before taxes. The Omni is a good hotel that costs about $100 more per night.

Second, as NamesCon CEO Soeren von Varchmin points out on the DNW Podcast airing Monday, many people who go to NamesCon go on their own dime. A company isn’t paying for them to attend, so they need to carefully consider the cost of going and what they get out of it.

Here are some ways you can save money on your accommodations.

As far as event tickets are concerned, there are lots of 30% off coupons out there. The ticket price will be much less than the hotel cost.

So if you’re looking to save money, here are five options for cheaper accommodations.

1. Share a room. That cuts your bill in half. You can even share a two-bedroom apartment.

2. Try The Guild. This Austin, Texas-based company rents apartments by the night. Not only can you “live like a local,” but there are lots of rooms available during the conference for less than $200.

3. Go to another downtown Austin hotel. The savings won’t be significant, but The Wyndham and Hamilton Inn & Suites are less than $200. (The Hamilton is nicer than expected for the brand.)

4. Stay further away from the venue. I don’t love this idea, but if the price is a deciding factor, there are options within a 20-minute drive that cost about $100. Also, take a look at the Extended Stay America just south of Lady Bird Lake. It’s very cheap and walkable to the hotel, although a bit on the far side.

5. Airbnb/HomeAway. You’ll find many options just to the east and south of downtown at low prices.


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Do Cable Companies Have a Wireless Advantage?

Domain industry news - Fri, 2019-11-08 18:52

The big wireless companies have been wrangling for years with the issues associated with placing small cells on poles. Even with new FCC rules in their favor, they are still getting a lot of resistance from communities. Maybe the future of urban/suburban wireless lies with the big cable companies. Cable companies have a few major cost advantages over the wireless companies, including the ability to bypass the pole issue.

The first advantage is the ability to deploy mid-span cellular small cells. These are cylindrical devices that can be placed along the coaxial cable between poles. I could not find a picture of these devices, and the picture accompanying this article is of a strand-mounted fiber splice box — but it's s good analogy since the size and shape of the strand-mounted small cell device is approximately the same size and shape.

Strand-mounted small cells provide a cable company with a huge advantage. First, they don't need to go through the hassle of getting access to poles, and they avoid paying the annual fees to rent space on poles. They also avoid the issue of fiber backhaul since each unit can get broadband using a DOCSIS 3.1 modem connection. The cellular companies don't talk about backhaul a lot when they discuss small cells, but since they don't own fiber everywhere, they will be paying a lot of money to other parties to transport broadband to the many small cells they are deploying.

The cable companies also benefit because they could quickly deploy small cells anywhere they have coaxial cable on poles. In the future, when wireless networks might need to be very dense, the cable companies could deploy a small cell between every pair of poles. If the revenue benefits of providing small cells is great enough, this could even prompt the cable companies to expand the coaxial network to nearby neighborhoods that might not otherwise meet their density tests, which for most cable companies is to only build where there are at least 15 to 20 potential customers per linear mile of cable.

The cable companies have another advantage over the cellular carriers in that they have already deployed a vast WiFi network comprised of customer WiFi modems. Comcast claims to have 19 million WiFi hotspots. Charter has a much smaller 500,000 hotspots but could expand that count quickly if needed. Altice is reportedly investing in WiFi hotspots, as well. The big advantage of WiFi hotspots is that the broadband capacity of the hotspots can be tapped to act as landline backhaul for cellular data and even voice calls.

The biggest cable companies are already benefitting from WiFi backhaul today. Comcast just reported to investors that they added 204,000 wireless customers in the third quarter of 2019 and now have almost 1.8 million wireless customers. Charter is newer to the wireless business and added 276,000 wireless customers in the third quarter and now has almost 800,000 wireless customers.

Both companies are buying wholesale cellular capacity from Verizon under an MVNO contract. Any cellular minute or cellular data they can backhaul with WiFi doesn't have to be purchased from Verizon. If the companies build small cells, they would further free themselves from the MVNO arrangement — another cost savings.

A final advantage for the cable companies is that they are deploying small cell networks where they already have a workforce to maintain the network. Bother AT&T and Verizon have laid off huge numbers of workers over the last few years and no longer have the fleets of technicians in all of the markets where they need to deploy cellular networks. These companies are faced with adding technicians where their network is expanding from a few big-tower cell sites to vast networks of small cells.

The cable companies don't have nearly as much spectrum as they wireless companies, but they might not need it. The cable companies will likely buy spectrum in the upcoming CBRS auction and the other mid-range spectrum auctions over the next few years. They can use the 80 MHz of free CBRS spectrum that's available everywhere.

These advantages equate to a big cost advantage for the cable companies. They save on speed to market and avoid paying for pole-mounted small cells. Their networks can provide the needed backhaul for practically free. They can offload a lot of cellular data through the customer WiFi hotspots. And the cable companies already have a staff to maintain the small cell sites. At least in the places that have aerial coaxial networks, the cellular companies should have higher margins than the cellular companies and should be formidable competitors.

Written by Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Mobile Internet, Wireless

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HBO wins domain name in cybersquatting fight

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2019-11-08 16:38

HBO gets domain name for popular series.

It didn’t take gritty police work to solve a case over the domain name

HBO has won a cybersquatting dispute over the domain name for its popular True Detective show.

The company filed a complaint with National Arbitration Forum under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, arguing that the owner of the domain was cybersquatting.

A National Arbitration Forum panelist came to an easy decision in favor of HBO. A parked page at includes ad links for “HBO True Detective” and “HBOGO”. The owner of the domain didn’t bother to respond to the allegations, either.

True Detective has aired for three seasons and featured stars including Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Colin Farrell, and Vince Vaughn.

Fabricio Vayra of Perkins Coie LLP represented HBO.

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Categories: News and Updates

Company tries to hijack domain name

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2019-11-08 16:09

Finance company filed reverse domain name hijacking case to get

The owner of named his business after the entertainment district in Austin. Note in this picture of 6th street the Omni Hotel, which is the location of January’s NamesCon conference. Photo from BigStock.

When I first saw that the domain name was in a cybersquatting dispute, I wondered if it was a couple of bar owners on the famed Sixth Street in Austin that were duking it out.

That wasn’t the case, but the domain owner did pick the name because of the famous entertainment district in Austin.

TPG Sixth Street Partners, LLC, an investment firm headquartered in Dallas, filed a cybersquatting complaint against David Frieze, who runs a real estate company called Sixth Street Properties, LLC.

Frieze acquired the domain in 2016 for his company, which is named after the street in Austin. He hasn’t set up a website but uses it for email.

According to the UDRP decision from World Intellectual Property Organization, Frieze registered and began using the disputed domain name with an email address for his real estate business more than a year before the Complainant first applied to register its TPG SIXTH STREET PARTNERS marks, two and a half years prior to the Complainant first use of the marks in commerce, and three years prior to the USPTO’s registration of the Complainant’s marks.

Panelist William R. Towns noted that this would have been obvious to anyone who looked at the Whois record. He said that the case was groundless and filed in abuse of the policy, which is called reverse domain name hijacking.

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Categories: News and Updates

A Chinese perspective on the $550,000 upgrade from to

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2019-11-08 14:46

Here’s why this upgrade makes sense, but still isn’t perfect.

A real estate website has paid $550,000 to shorten its domain name.

A few days ago, domain broker James Booth announced on Twitter the sale of for $550,000.

Another great name sold! gone to for $550,000 USD. Congratulations to buyer and seller on another amazing upgrade!

— James Booth (@DomainBooth) November 2, 2019 was mentioned in the buyer party’s name. I was curious about the buyer, so I did some research on

Beijing-based Wo Ai Wo Jia (我爱我家 = I Love My Home) was founded in 2000 to help consumers buy, sell, or rent properties. It features 3300 outlets with 55,000 property specialists, covering major cities in China and overseas. In 2017, it successfully listed as A-share on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges (ticker symbol: 000560).

Wo Ai Wo Jia uses as its corporate domain (官方 or literally meaning “official”). This domain is not easy to remember because it is not brand matching. A brand matching domain matches the brand name of a company. For example, for Tencent, for Pin Duo Duo, or for Jing Dong. By the same token, the ideal corporate domain for Wo Ai Wo Jia would be or

The use of is quite unusual. In the domain, “5” is used because it rhymes with “wo”. In other words, “5” sounds like “wo”. Similarly, “i” rhymes with “Ai”. “j” is the only letter which is an acronym for “jia”. Therefore, the domain 5i5j does not follow the usual rule in brand matching. As a result, it is not very easy to remember because some sort of translation has to be processed in the brain, even though some creative folks may think this is “cool”.

If turns out to be an upgrade from, the brand name will become shorter: from 我爱我家 ( I Love My Home) to simply 爱家 ( Love Home). The upgrade in the brand is very good. However, the same issue still remains. The ideal domain for the upgrade would be

Currently, both and do not resolve. If the company has not secured these two domains, they should, even if only for brand protection.

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ICANN loves how they do it down in Puerto Rico

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-11-07 21:15

Group schedules a 2020 meeting for San Juan.

ICANN has selected San Juan, Puerto Rico, for its first meeting of 2022. The meeting will take place March 5-10, 2022.

The non-profit domain industry overseer held a meeting in San Juan last year. It originally scheduled a meeting for 2016, but that was pushed back due to the Zika virus outbreak. Hurricane Maria almost forced ICANN to push back its re-scheduled date, but it was, fortunately, able to hold an event there in 2018.

With this latest announcement, ICANN’s meeting slate is now scheduled out for the next seven meetings:

  1. #67 – Cancun March 7-12, 2020
  2. #68 – Kuala Lumpur June 22-25, 2020
  3. #69 – Hamburg October 17-22, 2020
  4. #70 – Cancun March 20-25, 2021
  5. #71 – The Hague June 14-17, 2021
  6. #72 – Seattle October 23-28
  7. #73 – San Juan, PR March 5-10, 2022

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Categories: News and Updates

When is RDNH not RDNH?

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-11-07 18:49

Answer: when the UDRP panelist fails to address it.

Some cybersquatting cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) are bad. Some are so egregious that you wonder how much research the Complainant did before fiing the case.

Such is the case with a recent dispute over

The Complainant, who was represented by counsel, argued that Thomas Duggan was cybersquatting with the domain name he registered in 1995 because:

  • Complainant has also been forced to register the domain name because the .com was taken.
  • Respondent’s only use of the Domain Name was to maintain an email address.
  • Respondent failed to enter into negotiations to sell the domain to Complainant.

I’m not kidding. These are all stated in the panelist’s UDRP decision.

Obviously, the panelist did not find that the domain was registered and used in bad faith.

What’s unfortunate is that panelist Nicolas Smith did not consider reverse domain name hijacking (RDNH). Thomas Duggan had to take the time to defend his domain name against a case that had no chance of succeeding under UDRP.

I doubt that the Respondent asked for RDNH, but a panelist should always consider it when the Respondent prevails in a case.


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Categories: News and Updates

Tucows exits its domain name portfolio

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-11-07 17:44

Company no longer holds a portfolio of domains for the secondary market.

Tucows (NASDAQ: TCX) released its Q3 earnings yesterday. You can see the numbers here (pdf), but they aren’t the headline for the domain segment. Instead, it’s this: after many years of owning its a domain portfolio, Tucows has exited that business.

It still owns a portfolio of surname domain names that it uses for its Realnames email service. But it no longer holds a portfolio of domain names to monetize via pay-per-click and to sell on the aftermarket.

It sold the remainder of its portfolio over the past few months. It made a bulk sale of $1.9 million during the third quarter and $1.4 million after the quarter ended. (I believe that GoDaddy was the buyer.)

Tucows CEO Elliot Noss explained the change in the aftermarket business in the latest pre-recorded investor conference call (pdf):

We have owned our own portfolio for a little over a decade now, and it’s been a great tactical business, consistently generating sales in the range of $2 and $3 million annually, with relatively little ebb and flow, and with some years punctuated by a larger bulk sale or two.

Throughout this period, two things were true. We were always adding to the portfolio through the expiry stream and we were always needing to increase the transaction volume in order to maintain the same levels. At the same time, the underlying demand in this segment was declining as the increasing sophistication of SEO and related online advertising technologies reduced the returns on direct navigation domain names. We have all witnessed the maturation of online advertising technologies over this time as they evolved from a relatively blunt instrument to an amazing precision tool that now tracks every element of our life with great accuracy and provides incredibly efficient, if sometimes annoying, results. Through this maturation, the value of domain name traffic has declined to the point where we made the decision, starting a couple of years ago, to first reduce our exposure to this segment, and  finally, to exit it completely. We do want to note that the value of a premium domain name, as a name for a company itself, has never waned — it’s at least what it was when we started this exercise –and might even be up over time. Despite the fact that premium names was the segment of the market that we focused on, the value of leads was the primary driver for the health of this segment.

Tl;dr: Direct navigation and domain parking went to shit, which has dramatically changed the domain name investing business.

There’s some good news for domain investors in this announcement. Investors were annoyed that Tucows would cherry-pick expiring inventory for its own portfolio. Now it’s sending all of it to GoDaddy Auctions.

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