News and Updates

Amazon buys AWS.com domain name

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2018-09-13 13:36

Company gets coveted domain name for its cloud business.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) has acquired the domain name AWS.com, Whois records indicate.

Historical Whois records at DomainTools show that the domain was transferred to Amazon.com this week, between September 11 and September 12.

The domain name was owned by AWS Convergence Technologies, Inc. Although the corporate relationships are a bit convoluted, the seller appears to be part of a company called Earth Networks that runs the site WeatherBug.com. (That’s further convoluted by a company name of GroundTruth on the WeatherBug website).

The oldest Whois record at DomainTools dates to 2001, showing Automated Weather Source as the registrant. But data in the Whois records since then all show a common owner. The domain was registered in 1995.

Amazon’s cloud business is Amazon Web Services, or AWS for short. The company recently started using the dot-brand domain name .AWS in marketing. Although I’m sure it has coveted the AWS.com domain name for many years, I wonder if traffic to the domain has increased since it began marketing domain names like BuildOn.AWS.

AWS.com does not resolve as of this morning.

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Categories: News and Updates

New Zealand's Domain Name Commission Wins Injunction in a Lawsuit Against DomainTools

Domain industry news - Thu, 2018-09-13 03:40

New Zealand's Domain Name Commission today won a motion for preliminary injunction in a US lawsuit against the company DomainTools. Plaintiff argued that DomainTools breached the Commission's terms of use and exposed details of domain name holders who choose to have their details kept private. Domain Name Commissioner, Brent Carey, in a release today said: "We look forward to presenting our full case to the Court, as we seek to permanently prevent DomainTools from ever building a secondary .nz database offshore and outside the control of the Domain Name Commission."

DomainTools argued that this lawsuit may cause an avalanche of litigation as a result of other registries also attempting to protect the privacy of their registrants to which Judge Lasnik responded they may be correct.

The court paper here.

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Categories: News and Updates

Spare a Thought for Venezuela

Domain industry news - Thu, 2018-09-13 03:13

Please spare a thought for Venezuela. This, the 33rd largest country in the world and with about 34 million people, the largest proven reserves of oil, the cheapest price of gasoline in the world, and was in 1950 richer than Germany, has fallen on times so hard in this once Latin America's richest country that 75% of the population lost an average of 11 Kg (24 pounds) in weight in one year because of food scarcity. And you might ask: "Why should I care?"

Venezuela is located on the northern coast of South America and shares land borders with Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. Officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the country was colonized by Spain in 1522 but gained full independence about 300 years later and 188 years ago, in 1830. Venezuela is a charter member of many important international organizations, including the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), Mercosur (the South American trade bloc), and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to name a few.

Venezuela is the 10th largest exporter of oil in the world, and its economy is largely based on the petroleum sector, which accounted for over 50% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country in 2015. Thanks to a huge government subsidy program, Venezuela has the cheapest gasoline in the world, costing $0.11 per gallon ($0.03 per litre) in 2014, even after a 6,200% increase!

Give Me Two!

Venezuela's history, although rocky, has had its glorious moments, including periods of political plurality, as well as oil-fueled economic booms that attracted immigrants from near and far (including Europe) into the country. Venezuela has also had dark moments of political turmoil, dictatorships, and economic gloom, because of various domestic and external factors.

Venezuela enjoyed both a relatively stable democracy, and significant economic growth between 1958 and the early 1980s. During this period, politics was dominated by two parties, and government revenues more than doubled after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war resulted in a huge rise in oil prices. Although the boom would soon turn to burst, it lasted long enough for Venezuelans to become known for the phrase "Ta barato, dame dos” ("It's cheap, give me two") as they bought up relatively cheap goods in their travels abroad.

In the early 1980s, the global oil glut brought down crude oil prices, and along with it, the Venezuelan economy. As a result, the country's foreign exchange reserves ran desperately low, as government debt mounted, and in desperation government devalued the currency by 100% on "Black Friday” (February 18, 1983). In addition, government announced an IMF-backed economic reform program which increased fuel, transport, and utilities prices, and lifted the price cap on some basic goods.

As a result, the country was plunged into economic and political crises, with deadly a wave of protests called the Caracazo riots in which an estimated 300 to 3,000 people died. The prevailing conditions also resulted in two unsuccessful coup attempts (in February and November, 1992), by leftist military officers, led by Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías to overthrow the government. Although Chavéz was imprisoned after the first coup attempt, he was pardoned in March 1994, thus enabling him to contest, and win, the 1998 presidential elections.

The Road to Hell

The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. And if anything, Venezuela's current tragic plight proves the adage, given the innocuous and well-intentioned start of the Chavéz-led Bolivarian Revolution.

Following his victory in the 1998 elections, Chavéz embarked on a reform campaign some have termed "institutional engineering” in a bid to consolidate his power and break the 40-year hold the two leading political parties had on Venezuelan politics. Chavéz also implemented "democratic socialist" economic policies, including the redistribution of wealth, land reform, the creating creation of worker-owned cooperatives, and the attainment of food security and food sovereignty. To implement these policies, Chavéz created social programs called Bolivarian Missions and Communes, and 100,000 state-owned cooperatives.

Venezuela suffered an economic downturn in early 2002, and this, coupled with anger about Chavéz's war on the elites, and his alignment with Fidel Castro's Cuba led to an abortive coup against his government in April 2002. That same month, managers at the state petroleum company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), went on a two-month strike over Chavéz's nominations for new members of the company's board of directors. Chavéz had long denounced PDVSA (parent company of Citgo, a US energy company) for its association with the US and business elites. After the collapse of the strike, Chávez fired 18,000 PDVSA employees and replaced them with 100,000 of his supporters, aka Chavistas.

The failed PDVSA management strike enabled Chavéz to take control of the company's coffers to fund his social programs and support his political base. By 2011, some $500 million was siphoned from the PDVSA pension fund to finance government-backed financiers. Such lavish spending inflicted the Dutch Disease on the country, with its fiscal health wrecked, despite increasing exports of, and revenues from oil.

Chavéz's policies were initially helpful, but unsustainable because of the drain on the country's finances. While poverty rates decreased 48.6% in 1999 to 32.1% in 2013, Venezuela had the one of the highest literacy rates in the region, and malnutrition fell from 21% in 1998 to 6% in 2009, price controls led to shortages of goods. Similarly, currency controls, introduced to curb capital flight exacerbated matters by leading to a shortage of foreign exchange, a decline in the value of the Bolivar, and increasing inflation.

Although oil prices increased significantly later in 2002, bringing in huge revenues, Venezuela's economy began to collapse because of what someone called RIDDS: recession, inflation, declining foreign reserves, debt, and shortages. Thus, the huge increase in government spending during the 2012 campaign to re-elect Chavéz ballooned public debt and fiscal deficit. Similarly, the decision to replace trained PDVSA personnel with revolutionaries, and deprive the company of capital decreased oil production, despite increasing levels of proven reserves of oil.

Between 2007 and 2013, inflation grew an annual rate of 27.4% (at least five times the rate for Latin America), scarcity, (especially of food, medicines and essential goods) set in, and foreign reserves fell at an alarming rate of $38 million per day. In short, all indicators pointed to trouble ahead for Venezuela when Chavéz died in March 2013.

Enter Maduro

Following the death of Chavéz, his Vice President and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro Moros, became Interim President. Maduro went on to win the constitutionally-mandated presidential elections in April 2013, and was inaugurated as President on April 19, 2013. A former bus driver who did not complete his high school education, Maduro made up for his lack of the charisma that Chávez, his predecessor and mentor, had by being autocratic and continuing Chávez's populist programs.

Things got worse in a hurry. Annual inflation increased from 29.4% in April 2013 to 61.5% a year later. Hyperinflation (i.e. monthly inflation rate exceeds 50%) set in in 2016 when inflation reached an annual rate of 800%, and the economy contracted almost 19%. By September 2016, 15% of Venezuelans were eating discarded food they picked from dumpsites.

In 2017, inflation reached 4,000%, as Venezuelans lost average of 11 Kg (24 pounds) because of food shortages, and 90% of them lived in poverty. To make matters worse, the US government slapped sanctions on Maduro in a bid to prevent him from raising additional funds. Last month, Venezuela's annual inflation rate reached a staggering 200,000%, meaning that prices increase by that much since August 2017. In addition, corruption and crime increased, and people took to the streets to protest against the difficult conditions they were enduring.

President Maduro tried every trick in the book to arrest the country's slide into chaos by increasing the minimum wage four times between April 2014 and July 2015, changing the method of calculation of inflation, introducing a crypto currency, the Petro, as well as devaluing and re-denominating the currency by cutting five zeros from it. Nothing worked.

In exasperation, Venezuelans have been voting with their feet, with an estimated 1.6 million of them having fled their country since 2015, according to the UN agency for migration. The majority of these migrants are professionals and the middle class, thereby depriving the country of much-needed human capital. The mass emigration of Venezuelans has also strained neighboring countries (especially Colombia and Peru, which have taken in almost 1 million, and over 400,000 Venezuelans, respectively), and provided graphic images to a global audience. About two weeks ago, a Summit of 13 Latin American countries agreed to reduce restrictions on Venezuelan migrants, and appealed for more international aid to enable them deal with the inflow of Venezuelans, which Venezuela's president Maduro said was "normal."

Who Cares?

Venezuela's economic meltdown should be of concern to many, including those in the Internet infrastructure industry. With one chicken costing 14 million Bolivars (about $2.2), and banks out of cash, it is easy to imagine how difficult it would be to register or renew the registration of a domain name, or purchase a certificate of authority, not to mention buy hardware such as servers. Such challenges impact many people and issues such as online privacy and safety, as well as security, both within and outside Venezuela.

Venezuela should also be a cause for concern because it has been a major source of funding for developing countries, especially in development cooperation among developing countries in the global South (the so-called South-South cooperation). Between 2000 and 2011, Venezuela spent $7.6 billion (in 2009 USD) on development finance in other countries. In addition, Venezuela initiated the Petrocaribe alliance which provides oil at concessionary terms to its 17 member countries, many of them from CARICOM, the 15-member Caribbean economic community.

Despite the unimaginable difficulties faced by Venezuelans, they continue to make significant contributions to the maintenance of the global Internet infrastructure as well as the policy development processes that underpin it. The Venezuelan ccTLD, .VE is an important part of the Internet infrastructure, along with copies of the F and L root servers. Earlier this year, the .VE ccTLD was reported to have had an additional 48,000 domain names registered compared to a year earlier. This increase, however, is probably due to the high-handed methods of the Venezuelan government which banned the use of all non-.VE domains in the country.

In partnership with the Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre (LACNIC), Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), and ICANN, Venezuela installed copies of the F- and L-root servers in 2006, and 2015, respectively, thereby helping increasing the resilience of the Internet infrastructure in the region. Venezuela's contribution to the global Internet infrastructure includes the ALBA-1 fiber cable which connects Venezuela, Cuba and Jamaica to the Internet. Other international sub-marine cable projects Venezuela is connected to include the Americas-1 South, the Americas-II, Arcos-1, the Atlantica-1/GlobeNet, and the PAC.

Besides hardware and hard cash, Venezuela also contributes to the global Internet by participating in ICANN, and other similar regional and international organizations. Venezuela has been a member of ICANN's Government Advisory Committee (GAC) since 2014, is a member of the CCNSO as well as ALAC, and its regional structure in Latin America and the Caribbean, LACRALO. Venezuelans also contribute to the work of Internet-related regional organizations such as LACNOG and LACNIC, work in the DNS industry, and have an Internet Society (ISOC) Chapter.

What Now?

In view of the difficult economic situation in Venezuela and the contribution of the country and its people to the global Internet, it is fair to contemplate what can and should be done to support them. Clearly, support from the international community should be coordinated, and tailored to the missions of various organizations or partner providing such support.

Venezuelans themselves should take the lead in the developing a support program or programs. In this regard, organizations such as ICANN and ISOC, along with international development partners (e.g. World Bank, and the ITU), should work with Venezuelans, as well as regional partners (e.g. LACNIC) to develop a support program to address current needs and plan for the recovery of the Venezuelan economy.

Although this might be easier said than done given that the US is hell-bent on regime change in Venezuela, the old adage that there's a way where there's a will applies. ICANN, for example, can help in a number of ways including travel support to enable Venezuelans attend the organization's meetings and providing them additional slots in ICANN'S Fellowship and Future Leaders programs.

ICANN can also support the Venezuelan Internet infrastructure and DNS industry players, including ISPs, registrars, the .VE ccTLD registry, and operators of root server copies. ICANN, ISOC, and the DNS industry outside Venezuela can hire Venezuelans who are or have been active in these communities but were forced to leave their country because of the difficult circumstances prevailing there.

No Condition is Permanent

Venezuela's present predicament is a good reason to recall the Nigerian proverb: No condition is permanent! As tough as things are, they will get better. Just as the United States, which once paid tributes to Barbary (aka Ottoman) corsairs based in Tripoli, Libya, can now choose when and how to lord over that country, Venezuela will one day rise from these ashes. This is a great time to leave a lasting legacy on the minds of Venezuelans, especially the younger generation, and all hands should be on deck to help them wade through their present difficulties. So, when next you get in the mood to sing What a Wonderful World, please spare a thought for Venezuela.

Written by Katim S. Touray, International Development Consultant, and ICT for development advocate

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More under: ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Regional Registries, Web

Categories: News and Updates

A .Com Mastermind Topped This Week's Chart But a Bad Country Code Domain Was Just a Step Behind

DN Journal - Thu, 2018-09-13 01:31
The latest weekly domain sales report is out at DNJournal.com. A big .com sale is at the top with the year's biggest ccTLD sale to date in the #2 spot.
Categories: News and Updates

New Zealand’s .Nz namespace gets preliminary injuction against DomainTools

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2018-09-13 00:41

Judge orders DomainTools to cease collecting and publishing .nz Whois records.

Domain Name Commission (DNC), the organization that manages New Zealand’s .nz domain name, has won a big victory against DomainTools.

U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik has granted DNC’s motion for preliminary injunction against DomainTools. DNC alleged that DomainTools collected and published .nz Whois records in violation of DNC’s terms of use. DomainTools’ business model relies (in part) on aggregating domain name ownership data from Whois databases.

Lasnik ordered DomainTools to stop accessing .nz Whois records and to remove any publication of the records while the lawsuit proceeds. He did not seem sympathetic to any of DomainTools’ arguments. In one particularly damning paragraph, Lasnik wrote:

Finally, defendant argues that a preliminary injunction in this case could start an avalanche of litigation as other registers attempt to protect the privacy of their registrants. If defendant built a business by downloading, storing, and using data from other registers in violation of the terms that governed its access to that data, defendant may be correct – other
registers may be encouraged to pursue a breach of contract claim if plaintiff is successful here. It would be ironic, however, if a plaintiff who has shown a likelihood of success and irreparable injury were deprived of preliminary relief simply because defendant may have acted wrongfully toward others as well.

DomainTools is already facing headwinds thanks to the European Union’s GDPR, which has resulted in domain registrars ceasing to publish Whois records.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. 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 copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

Basketball Australia Switches Its Official Website to New Top-Level Domain .Basketball

Domain industry news - Wed, 2018-09-12 23:26

As part of a plan to unify Australian basketball digital front, Basketball Australia is moving its official website to a new TLD-based domain name at www.australia.basketball. It is also switching its four national men's and women's teams to new domains at boomers.basketball, opals.basketball, gliders.basketball and rollers.basketball. The transition follows the world governing body's move to FIBA.basketball in late 2017. "The process to obtain the .basketball domain began in 2012 when FIBA partnered with Roar Domains, a US-based company focused on the commercialization of sports-related Top Level Domains, to submit its application," reports Australasian Leisure Management.

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Frequency of DDoS Attacks Risen by 40% While Duration of Attacks Decrease

Domain industry news - Wed, 2018-09-12 22:58

The frequency of DDoS attacks has risen by 40% year on year while the duration of attacks decreased with 77% lasting ten minutes or less, according to a new report released by Corero Network Security. The report warns one in five organizations will be targeted again within 24 hours. Other key highlights from the report: Low volume, sub-saturating attacks continue to dominate (94% less than 5Gbps); Whilst still infrequent, attacks over 10Gbps have doubled; Organisations faced an average of 8 attacks per day in Q2 2018, an increase of 40% compared to the same quarter in 2017.

Increase in DDoS attacks attributed to IoT Botnets: In another report from security firm NexusGuard also released today, the company warns the increase in attacks and their sizes is the result of attackers amassing giant botnets using insecure IoT devices. "Attackers are using vulnerabilities in these devices to rapidly build large botnets ... at one point the Mirai Satori botnet was seen from over 280,000 IP addresses over a 12 hour period and the newer Anarchy botnet was able to amass over 18,000 routers in a single day."

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EU Authorities to Give Internet Companies 1 Hour to Take Down Extremist Content or Face Hefty Fines

Domain industry news - Wed, 2018-09-12 21:39

12 SEPTEMBER 2018, on the occasion of his State of the Union Address, President Jean-Claude Juncker

European authorities proposed new laws today subjecting internet companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook to big fines if the extremist content is not taken down within one hour. From the official press release: "The new rules are being presented one week ahead of the Informal Meeting in Salzburg where EU Leaders are expected to discuss security. Every internet platform that wants to offer its services in the European Union will be subject to clear rules to prevent their services from being misused to disseminate terrorist content. Strong safeguards will also be introduced to protect freedom of speech on the internet and ensure only terrorist content is targeted." Why one hour: "Terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours after it appears online because of the speed at which it spreads. This is why the Commission is proposing a legally binding one-hour deadline for content to be removed following a removal order from national competent authorities." Companies that fail to comply could face fines of up to 4 percent of their annual global turnover.

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Google News is not the publisher’s foe

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2018-09-12 16:46

Google News is the bogeyman of many publishers, but it shouldn’t be.

The European Union is at it again, trying to muck up the web with new regulations.

This time it’s new copyright rules.

As an online publisher, I’m certainly frustrated by copyright infringement. But the EU’s rules are designed more to attack innovative internet companies.

One particularly controversial rule is dubbed the “link tax”. It seems squarely aimed at Google News and would charge Google for including a snippet from news stories in Google News.

For small publishers like me, Google News is a savior. It helps surface my stories to a large audience including many other journalists who sometimes pick up my stories and link to them. The idea of charging Google to send me traffic is asinine.

Big publications might be frustrated that people treat Google News as their news destination rather than going directly to the news site’s homepage. But there are huge societal benefits to this. I get much more diverse viewpoints on Google News than I do on a news site, whether that’s MSNBC or Fox News.

What happens when a “link tax” gets applied in a country? Google News shuts down, hurting many publishers.

The EU’s rules will probably hurt all publishers, but they will particularly impact small publishers. It’s the upstarts that should be protected, not the dinosaurs.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. 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 copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

14 end user domain names sales up to $30,500

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2018-09-12 13:27

An IT Company, a fruit distributor, and an eyewear manufacturer bought domain names last week.

It was a busy week for sales at Sedo with lots of diverse end users in the mix including international companies, many based in Sedo’s headquarter country of Germany. The top sale of the week was bad.de at €119,000, but it’s not yet clear who bought the domain name.

Take a look at some of the end user sales at Sedo this past week, and you can view previous weeks’ lists here.

EBF.Com $30,500 – German IT Consultant EBF specializes in management and safeguarding of mobile end devices for companies in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).
The domain forwards to the .DE of this domain.

Fyat.com €12,075 – The title of the “coming soon” page says it’s “Everyone’s Exchange”. This could potentially be a cryptocurrency related site.

Namensaufkleber.de €8,400 – Currently forwards to namensetiketten.de, a German site for customized label making.

Webschmoeker.de €7,500 – A Germany-based web designer.

ERCE.com €5,900 – ERCE Energy is an oil & gas company. The domain forwards to its website at ERCE.energy.

Hakkipilke.com €5,322 – HakkiPilke makes firewood processing equipment in Finland. The domain forwards to the company’s matching .FI domain.

XNDO.com €5,000 – Xndo is a health food and supplements company. The domain forwards to the company’s existing .net domain.

Win.gg $5,000 – Forwards to winesports.com, but they may be shifting to this shorter domain in the future or it could be used as a URL shortener. The site boasts that they are “the next big thing in esports media” with coverage of the biggest games in esports, including League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and Overwatch.

Bussgeld-Katalog.de €3,500 – Forwards to geblitzt.de, which provides legal services for traffic offenders in Germany.

Trendworthy.com $3,000 – The domain now resolves to a page with trending news stories.

FixNetwork.com $3,200 – A Canadian company called MondoFix inc. bought the domain. The company owns hundreds of auto repair shops.

Regalin.com $3,001- An upgrade from a hyphenated version: Regal-In.com for this French fruit distributor specializing in peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries and apples.

Forecastable.com $2,500 – A coming soon page on the site says “Enterprise Account-Based Selling Will Never be the Same”.

DeerOptics.com $2,353 – Appears to be a rebranding of an eyewear company previously called MN Optics, the exact same site is also on MNOptics.com.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. 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 copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

Steady Growth Has Given .GLOBAL Good Reason to Celebrate Their 4th Anniversary This Month

DN Journal - Tue, 2018-09-11 21:38
At a time when many new gTLD registries have seen registration number stall taking a different approach has helped.GLOBAL keep growing.
Categories: News and Updates

PIR, the .ORG Domain Registry, Announces Radical Change to Marketing Scheme

Domain industry news - Tue, 2018-09-11 20:05

Public Interest Registry, the non-profit organization managing the .ORG top-level domain, says it will not be offering any further volume discounts to domain registrars when the current agreements expire. Jay Daley, organization's interim President and CEO, in a blog post said: "While volume discounts are a long established product offered by many registries, they clearly favor larger registrars as only the larger registrars can reach the volumes necessary to qualify for the discount. We don't think this is fair and we want all our products in the future to be equally accessible to registrars of all sizes. The second change is that we're going to measure the success of our products on more key performance indicators than just the number of creates they produce."

"We are a public interest organization and need to take a public interest view on everything we do," Daley told Kevin Murphy, reported today in Domain Incite. "We need to be looking at our promotions for more than just commercial reasons, we need to be looking at public interest reasons as well."

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Categories: News and Updates

How much would .Com domains cost if .com went out to bid?

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2018-09-11 16:05

Consumers pay over a half billion dollars more than necessary each year to register .com domains.

Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) is currently in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Commerce with regards to the Cooperative Agreement to run the .com domain name. The agreement expires November 30 of this year. The Department of Commerce has the sole discretion to extend the term of the agreement.

It’s the Department of Commerce, through the Cooperative Agreement, that effectively sets price controls on registrations and renewals .com. Verisign has a contract with ICANN for running the domain but the Cooperative Agreement can mandate price controls in the ICANN agreement. In the past, ICANN granted Verisign the ability to raise prices in .com. The DOC stepped in and froze the amount Verisign charges registrars at $7.85 per domain per year.

Verisign also has a presumptive right of renewal with ICANN for the .com contract. It got this right after negotiations with ICANN following a lawsuit. Unless Verisign really messes up, or if there’s an antitrust ruling, Verisign gets to run .com in perpetuity.

So in some ways, considering what the cost of .com would be if the contract was put out to bid is a pointless exercise. However, it’s relevant to the Department of Commerce and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as they consider what to do with the Cooperative Agreement.

Verisign’s business

Verisign’s business is effectively an exclusive contract to run .com. (While it also runs .net and a handful of other top level domains, its business is built on .com.) It has extremely high margins and these margins are akin to a tax on consumers around the world.

Let’s take a look at the margins.

In 2017, Verisign had a gross margin of 83.4% and an operating margin of 60.7%.

These numbers are staggering. According to CSIMarket, the S&P 500 combined gross margin is typically in the mid-40% range and operating margins are in the mid-teens. CSIMarket shows that gross margins for communications services companies are near 80%. But the operating margin of these companies is still typically in the teens.

Verisign is printing money. Every additional domain that is registered drops directly to the bottom line after paying ICANN 25 cents.

That’s why investors love the company. Even as the S&P 500 and tech sector valuations have skyrocketed, Verisign has outpaced them.

A chart of Verisign’s stock returns from the company’s 2017 annual report.

A fair price

How much would a competitor bid to run .com? It would certainly be lower than $7.85.

Consider a recent bid to manage the registry for India’s .in domain name. According to MoneyControl, Neustar bid just 70 cents per domain. Its rival Afilias offered to run it for $1.65 per domain.

These are competent registry operators. Neustar runs .us, .biz and .co. Afilias runs .info and .au. These companies also manage the registries for hundreds of other top level domains.

While .com comes with challenges of scale, it also benefits from economies of scale.

Now, consider what the above-market contract with Verisign means for consumers. Let’s be generous and say that the best competent bid to run .com would be $3.50 per name. With 137 million .com domains currently registered, that means consumers across the globe are paying about $600 million in extra fees per year than necessary. That amount only grows if Verisign gets the right to increase prices.

That’s a big tax on the world’s consumers that exists primarily because the .com contract can’t be put out to bid. It’s not a market-price situation.

That’s where the Department of Commerce needs to step in. With the Cooperative Agreement, it is the only entity that can control the price of .com domain names. It should exercise this power.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. 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 copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

1&1 sends expired domain names to Sedo

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2018-09-11 15:23

New arrangement sends domains to Sedo before SnapNames.

Domain name registrar 1&1 has begun sending expired domain names to Sedo as a preliminary stop through the expiration cycle.

The domain names are listed for sale on Sedo in a special category with starting bids at $79.00.

1&1 is continuing to partner with SnapNames for expired domains, but Sedo is the first stop. Domains that don’t sell at Sedo are then sent through SnapNames.

Sending the domain names to Sedo first could expose expiring domain names to more end users.

1&1 and Sedo are part of the same family of companies. However, the companies just recently started working more closely together. 1&1 didn’t join Sedo’s aftermarket syndication network until just last year.

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Categories: News and Updates

PIR (.org) makes changes to its sales practices

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-09-10 18:19

No more volume discounts, focus on quality over quantity.

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the non-profit registry that runs the .org top level domain name, is making changes to how it markets its domains.

Jay Daley, Interim President and CEO of PIR, said in a blog post that the organization is nixing volume discounts. These discounts are only attainable by the largest registrars; new incentives and rebates will be designed so that all registrars can participate.

It will also start judging results by more than just registration numbers. It will look at how domains are used in an effort to favor positive use and avoid spam and other nefarious uses.

Reading between the lines, it also appears that the company will stop participating in pay-for-placement deals with registrars in which it takes on all of the risk.

Daley admits that its headline domain stats might dip in the short term as a result of these changes.

He says the changes mean the organization is moving from a sales-led organization to a marketing-led organization. The company has made several marketing hires as a result.

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Categories: News and Updates

The limits of using UDRP for personal names

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-09-10 16:44

Does your personal name function as a trademark?

Celebrities and well-known people can use the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy to go after cybersquatters who use their names in domain names. But this has limits; the name must function as a common law or unregistered trademark (or be a registered trademark).

This can be difficult to prove, especially if the person filing the dispute is not a major media celebrity.

Consider the case of MaryPfaffko(.)com, in which the Complainant has a long career in wildlife biology and policy. The registrant of the domain name appears to have a personal vendetta against the Complainant.

World Intellectual Property Organization panelist Georges Nahitchevansky found that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that the Complainant has common law trademark rights in the name. He noted that UDRP is limited in scope and that the complaint would be better served in the courts:

The Panel wants to make clear that it takes no pleasure in reaching this decision. Hijacking the name of another for purposes of furthering what appears to be a personal vendetta is likely an abusive practice. However, the scope of the Policy is a narrow one and is meant to provide appropriate relief to a party that has rights in a trademark and not to address matters such as defamation or other torts that are outside the scope of the Policy. Such abusive practices would be better addressed in a court action and not through the UDRP.

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Categories: News and Updates

Talking UDRP with Gerald Levine – DNW Podcast #201

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-09-10 15:30

The author of a book about UDRP discusses cybersquattind dispute trends.

Gerald Levine literally wrote the book on UDRP. His book Domain Name Arbitration is the bible for domain name lawyers. On today’s show, Levine discusses some of the trends he’s seeing in UDRP cybersquatting disputes.

Also: Abry gobbles up Donuts, Namecheap hits 10 million, CentralNic’s purchase, and Google says URLs suck.

Subscribe via iTunes 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

NameJet sales in August up to $57,000

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-09-10 14:38

A slow month but some solid sales at NameJet.

August is generally a slow month for domain sales, and that showed at NameJet. The company had 69 sales of $2,000 or more, totaling $339,000. Here are some of the sales that caught my attention:

AMZ.com $57,000 – This non-expiry sale was obviously aided by the similarity to Amazon.com, but it doesn’t seem that Amazon bought the domain.

YouCar.com $9,100 – This used to be part of YouTravel.com.

Genitalherpes.com $7,027 – Names that drug companies can buy are usually good bets.

AutoLife.com $5,647 – This domain can have two meanings; one with life being a generic modifier for a site about cars, the other is auto and life insurance.

Stylism.com $2,800 – I like this name for a clothing seller or style blog.

CustomPrints.com $2,795 – A solid name for customized photo products or designs.

GreatPyramid.com $2,050 – Makes me feel a bit better about EgyptianPyramids.com.

Here’s the full list of NameJet sales over $2,000 last month:

Domain NamePayment Amount amz.com57000 dpn.com32200 xr.net19532 Youcar.com9100 fu8.com8200 genitalherpes.com7027 fede.com6500 hunchback.com6201 autolife.com5647 05c.com5610 ihea.com5200 dure.com5101 plead.com5100 walletshop.com4999 anonymouse.com4800 sexedlibrary.org4600 bathroomfurniture.com4420 cavanagh.com4256 sovak.com4201 w29.com4111 exceltraining.com4100 hillier.com4035 ramped.com3999 b2b.net3800 arabchat.com3700 filk.com3650 parktronic.com3600 dietsupplements.com3360 shitao.com3311 gaojin.com3310 earthfoods.com3190 twox.com3100 asano.com3069 purx.com3000 d82.com2911 t82.com2911 bestex.com2888 alphacity.com2808 stylism.com2800 customprints.com2795 anvis.com2756 bitcoinbuyer.com2655 spin.org2650 infobeat.com2600 meldium.com2600 prbuzz.com2600 xave.com2600 payrollloans.com2599 paax.com2559 watchxxx.com2513 juif.com2501 ultracell.com2501 jaqu.com2401 trackbikes.com2390 marketrate.com2350 coldplanet.com2322 multivision.com2322 mainway.com2322 internalization.com2300 dweebs.com2300 halifax.net2296 irba.com2241 mmorpg.net2222 ranwen.com2099 greatpyramid.com2050 racingpicks.com2036 chugg.com2012 275678.com2009 casabranca.com2000

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Categories: News and Updates

Spamhaus chimes in on spam-after-GDPR claims

Domain Name Wire - Sat, 2018-09-08 19:26

Group says there could be many reasons spam hasn’t increased after GDPR.

Yes, spam is down since the date GDPR caused Whois records to go dark. But anti-spam group Spamhaus says there are many possible reasons for this, and not having Whois information is hampering its efforts.

The back story is this: anti-spam and internet security groups cautioned that domain name registrars hiding Whois information because of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation could lead to more spam. Since the GDPR went into effect in May, however, spam volumes have actually gone down.

This has led some people to suggest that claims about the impact of hidden Whois records on spam were overblown.

In a blog post, Spamhaus says there are a number of possible reasons spam has dropped since Whois went dark:

1. Legitimate companies have purged their email lists to become GDPR compliant so there’s less “legit” spam.
2. Fewer domains are being flagged as spam because of no access to Whois data; anti-spam systems are flagging less spam as spam.
3. The natural ebb and flow of spam volumes.
4. Bad actors focusing on other types of illegal activity.
5. Few new top level domain specials, so domains are more expensive for spammers to churn through.

The organization says that it’s too early to draw any conclusions. But it also notes that a lack of Whois info is hurting its efforts to connect the dots between domains and spammers.

Spamhaus is a member of Coalition for a Secure and Transparent Internet, a group advocating for public Whois.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. 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 copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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ICANN at 20: Looking Back Forward

Domain industry news - Fri, 2018-09-07 20:17

This essay is part of a series of posts CircleID will be hosting from the ICANN community to commemorate ICANN's 20th anniversary. CircleID collaborated with ICANN to spread the word and to encourage participation. We invite you to submit your essays to us in consideration for posting.

* * *

This year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), marks its 20th anniversary since inception.

ICANN was birthed as a result of the infamous DNS Wars — in 1994, the U.S National Science Foundation, the then overseer of the Internet infrastructure decided to sub-contract the management of the Domain Name System (DNS) to a private U.S company called Network Solutions INC (NSI). This move was not well received by the Internet community, culminating in the so-called "DNS Wars".[1]

The controversial Relationship

With ICANN mandated the key role to manage the core Internet infrastructure i.e IP addresses, domain names, and root servers, Internet actors seemed to breathe a sigh of relief for this development.

However, a new issue rapidly emerged once again — that of the U.S government's influence into ICANN's affairs.

This would become the focus in most United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) debates.

While ICANN was largely perceived as a multi-stakeholder institution involving a variety of players in their respective roles, a section of Internet players felt that the global accountability of ICANN could be in jeopardy if the mandate was rested on one country, namely the U.S.

Considering that the Internet started off as a U.S government project sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Project Agency Network (DARPANet), there was a misconceived perception that the U.S government could use this as a veto to dictate on the form and pace of the globalization of the Internet Governance.

The other point of concern was the issue of practical and legal consideration; the fact that ICANN was based in California, some Internet Governance players felt that it would be "legally feasible and technically possible for the U.S to order ICANN to delete country domain names of states perceived to be nemesis of the U.S, for instance, Cuba, Iran, North Korea."[2] This viewpoint led to immense calls to push for the handing over of the Internet management to a neutral body free from U.S government interference.

IANA Transition

Following the anticipated expiration of the Internet Assigned Numbers and Names Authority (IANA) functions contract, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), announced its intent to transition key Internet Domain Name functions in its efforts to support, and enhance the multi-stakeholder model of Internet policymaking and governance.

In its March 2014 press release, NTIA asked ICANN to convene global stakeholders to develop a proposal to transition the role that was then being played by NTIA in the coordination of the Internet Domain Name System (DNS).[3]

In light of this directive from NTIA, the new phase of the status of ICANN, otherwise known as the IANA stewardship transition, took effect resulting in ICANN forming the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG), which comprised of 30 members from 13 constituencies.

Each constituency was responsible in forming their own working groups to develop their respective proposal.

On its part, the Numbering Resources Community comprised of the Resource Organisation (NRO), the Address Supporting Organisation (ASO).

The five Regional Internet Registries (RIRs) formed the Consolidated RIR IANA Stewardship Proposal Team (CRISP Team) to develop their proposal.

On the other hand, the Protocol Parameters community comprised of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) created the IANAPLAN Working Group.

Correspondingly, the Domain Names Community formed two working groups: the Cross Working Group (CWG) Stewardship and the Community Cross Working Group (CCWG) Accountability.

All's well, ends well

Some Internet pundits had expressed pessimism over the IANA process, casting doubt that the U.S Congress would eventually reject the proposal, and acquire the mandate to oversight ICANN. An imminent regime change in the U.S would further fuel these speculations.

The NTIA, however, approved the proposal before ICANN's IANA functions contract expired in September 2016, thus paving the way for the globalization of an ICANN, free from U.S government's influence.

Conclusion

In 1998, U.S Department of Commerce (DoC) issued a Statement of Policy pointing out that the U.S government was "committed to a transition that would allow the private sector to take leadership for DNS management".

The move to globalize ICANN can thus be in part seen as a deliberate commitment by the U.S government, and other stakeholders in their respective roles, in efforts to enhance and enforce ICANN's Global accountability to the Internet actors.

[1] An Introduction to Internet Governance, Jovan Kurbalija
[2] Ibid
[3] NTIA Press Release, March 14, 2014

Written by Bonface Witaba, Trainer, Researcher, Consultant in Internet Governance and Policy

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