News and Updates

Here’s the crazy story from the IMI.com cybersquatting trial

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-08-12 18:54

A dispute over IMI.com led to a jury trial with what many would see as an obvious verdict.

Old school: an image of IMI.com in 1997 from the Wayback Machine. The original registrant has defended the domain name from cybersquatting claims brought by a concrete company.

In 2017, concrete company Irving Materials, Inc. filed a cybersquatting claim under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) to get the domain name IMI.com. The domain owner didn’t respond, but it was still surprising that Irving won the case given that it was easy to determine the domain owner had rights or legitimate interests in the domain.

Jeffery Black, the owner of IMI.com, subsequently sued Irving to block the transfer of the domain name. The court challenge went all the way to a jury trial, and the jury determined that Black did not violate the AntiCybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA).

The judge just issued a report affirming the jury’s verdict and outlining what happened in the case. It gives an overview of the story from when Black registered the domain in 1994, to Irving Material’s attempts to get the domain name.

Early Days

Black registered IMI.com in March of 1994. One month later, he incorporated an entity named Internet Marketing Inc (IMI).

He created a business as IMI that was quite successful. He tried collaborating with Yahoo founder Jerry Yang. Yang wrote an email to Black stating:

To summarize, we are impressed by the resource and talent pool that IMI has pulled together. We share much of the vision that IMI does, and see a good potential fit. Of concern to us is the relative worth of Yahoo, the amount of resources Yahoo will receive from IMI in the short run and long run, the autonomy of Yahoo (both short and long term), and the pace at which things will be accomplished.

Black later took venture capital money for IMI and rolled it into another entity. He sold that company to AltaVista for $25M, but was allowed to keep the IMI.com domain.

IMI.com was not the only great domain Black registered back then. According to the transcript, he also registered “hiking, biking, scuba, tennis, recreation, hotels.com, [and] resorts.com.”

For hotels.com, Black built a booking reservation system complete with maps, and hand coded over 40,000 hotels into the database. Black ultimately sold resorts.com in 1999 for $950,000 and
hotels.com in 2001 for $11 million. He gave many of the other domains away for free.

Irving Material’s Overture

Irving Materials tried to acquired the IMI.com domain name in 1998. Here, the two sides disagree about the course of discussions.

According to Black, Irving offered to buy the domain for $500. He responded:

I said, I’m sorry. Hold on. Let me explain something here. My business is called Internet Marketing, Inc. It’s still running. I’m the biggest spider in the world for what I do. I track more
data than anybody else in the world as a data aggregator. $500 isn’t going to cut it.

Black says he calculated what it would cost to change over everything on the website, and it was $126,800. He said he wouldn’t consider anything les than $135,000 for thedomain.

Jerry Howard, Irving’s VP of IT, testified that he never offered to purchase the domain for $500, but instead offered $5,000 and then $10,000, and that black told him he’d turned down offers of $100k.

Black said that Irving refused the $135,000 offer price, repeated the $500 offer and threatened to sue for trademark infringement. It even sent him a draft complaint of a lawsuit it intended to file. Black hired lawyers and Irving never filed the lawsuit.

Because Black was able to keep the IMI.com domain name after the sale to AltaVista, he receive inbound offers for the domain. He said that between 2000-2002 he received offers of $2-$4 million for the domain.

Getting With the Times

Black didn’t hear from Irving Materials again for about two decades.

In 2014, Irving developed a new marketing and branding strategy under VP of Sales and Marketing, Jeffrey McPherson. It also hired an an ad firm called Heavyweights.

A lot had changed online since the late 90s, and Irving Materials wanted to get with the times. It wanted to upgrade its domain name to IMI.com again.

According to the judge’s report, when asked “between 1998 and 2017, why did Irving not say a word to Black about his registration and use of the [imi.com] domain name?,” McPherson responded:

…different strategy we have right now after going through the research and things of that nature that we’ve gone through. And also the way the website, social media apps and everything interact[s] with one another, it’s my job to make sure our brand is consistent throughout our footprint, consistent throughout the country, consistent everywhere we operate.

The dialogue continued:

Q. So you’re saying because the internet got bigger, it made it more important for you to have Mr. Black’s property as your own?

A. I’m not saying the internet. I’m saying marketing and branding in general to begin with. Branding is what people remember when the marketing stops.

Q. I’m asking you to explain all reasons that Irving Materials did not reassert its cybersquatting claim from 1998 for 19 years.

A. I would say the biggest reason would be the research that I did when I first got the Vice-President of Sales and Marketing role. And also the other thing is, when did the
UDRP start? We didn’t have any way of doing anything.

Q. Are you aware the UDRP went into effect in the year 2000, Mr. McPherson?

A. I am now.

McPherson said that Heavyweights told him he could hire an attorney and file a UDRP against IMI.com. Irving did.

Black didn’t respond to the UDRP, perhaps because he wasn’t aware of it until it was too late. Panelist Neil Anthony Brown, who often finds reverse domain name hijacking on behalf of Respondents, surprisingly found in Irving Material’s favor. That led to the lawsuit and verdict.

A verdict that is in line with what anyone who studies ACPA and UDRP could have told you a long time ago: It’s clear that Black didn’t register the domain name in bad faith to target Irving Materials.

 

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

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Categories: News and Updates

Satisfying the Evidentiary Demands of the UDRP

Domain industry news - Mon, 2019-08-12 16:29

It continues to surprise that some counsel in proceedings under the Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) are unaware or oblivious of its evidentiary demands, by which I mean they file and certify complaints with insufficient evidence either of their clients' rights or their claims. Because the UDRP requires conjunctive proof of bad faith registration and bad faith use (as opposed to the disjunctive model of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act), it should be ingrained for counsel experienced in the jurisprudence to know they cannot hope to succeed with marks postdating registration of domain names.

Yet, whatever the level of counsel experience with UDRP jurisprudence suing when there is no actionable claim is a recurrent feature on the docket. Examples: Puretalk Holdings, LLC v. Domain Administrator / Fundacion Privacy Services LTD, FA1906001848525 (Forum August 5, 2019) (<pure talk.com>, mark postdating domain name registration by15 years); Art-Four Development Limited v. Tatiana Meadows, D2019-1311 (WIPO July 29, 2019) (<aizel.com>, also postdating by almost 15 years). In Femida a/k/a International Legal Counsels PC v. Reserved for Customers / MustNeed.com, FA1906001847829 (Forum July 25, 2019) the postdating is quite short, but still "Respondent's domain name was registered before the first use and registration of the Complainant's mark."

Claiming cybersquatting against domain names predating marks in commerce is obviously misguided, but challenging domain names with deficient evidence of a mark's right or a respondent's bad faith is careless or worse. It is no more sufficient to have a naked right than it would be for complainants to succeed on respondents default. Respondents did not appear in Pure Talk and Art-Four; Complainants failed because it was impossible for them to succeed. The answer to why complainants fail depends in part on complainants linguistic brand choices, and in another part, on failing to marshal proof supporting their claims. For marks composed of dictionary words, descriptive phrases, and short strings of letters, the evidentiary bar is higher because complainants are not alone in the sole magnets for having associations with allegedly infringing names. The bar is higher still for complainants of unregistered marks.

Whereas complainants of registered marks have standing by virtue of their registrations, those with unregistered marks only have standing on proof of secondary meaning antedating registration of the challenged domain name. (Under the ACPA the "mark [must be] distinctive at the time of the registration of the domain name" regardless whether registered or unregistered). Applications awaiting approval by trademark registries are not deemed to qualify as a right; nor are marks registered on the Supplemental Register in the US, although unregistered rights may include trade names and personal names if they are found to be functioning as trademarks. (See earlier essay Do Trade Names Qualify as Trade Marks for Purposes of the UDRP?)

Both ICANN Panels and US courts (and, no doubt, other jurisdictions) insist that proof of secondary meaning "includes evidence as to (1) the length and continuity of a mark's use, (2) sales, advertising, and promotional activities, (3) expenditures relating to promotion and marketing, (4) unsolicited media coverage, and (5) sales or admission figures." The Panel in Facele SPA v. Jason Owens, D2019-0140 (WIPO July 28, 2019) (<facele.com>, Complainant represented by counsel) gives a thoughtful discussion of these expectations:

Even if the Complaint had only included details of the Complainant's pre-2010 sales and advertising figures accompanied by examples of how the mark has been used, that would have been helpful. (Emphasis added).

Since the facts the Panel references should be within a complainant's knowledge and control, failure of proof, evasiveness, or silence supports an adverse inference that the mark was not used before the registration of the domain name; if it were, the proof would have been submitted (or carelessly omitted).

A good illustration of this deficiency of proof is Empire Engineering LTD v. Liamuiga LLC, FA1906001847862 (Forum July 22, 2019) <empireengineering.com>). In this case, Complainant (represented "internally" presumably by an attorney) had to deal with the descriptive nature of the alleged mark. While the phrase "empire engineering" is hardly striking as an indicator of source, it is certainly capable of functioning as a mark. However, the Panel dismissed the complaint because "Complainant has not provided evidence of secondary meaning with respect to the expression 'Empire Engineering'". As in Facele SPA, Complainant (but more particularly its representative) failed to take into account the quality of and demand for proof to establish rights under paragraph 4(a)((i) of the Policy.

Failure to establish common law rights also sunk Complainant in Aurora Cannabis Inc., Aurora Marijuana Inc., Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc. v. Byron Smith, D2019-0583 (WIPO July12, 2019) (<auroradrops.com>). The Panel held

If there was indeed common law use of the AURORA DROPS at any relevant time by the Complainants, proof of that use was also deficient. This may be a function of the fact that the marijuana market in Canada was only operational at full scale beginning in October 2018. In any event, the Complainants' evidence of common law rights has not satisfied the Panel that there was a substantial reputation as of April, 2017, when the disputed domain name was registered. The Complainants' belated attempt to register AURORA DROPS has only served to muddy the waters."

The underlying concept of secondary meaning is proving reputation in the marketplace, not now but then. The evidence must be sufficient to show that the mark would have been recognized by consumers as a source of complainant's goods or services.

The same deficiency is noted in another common law claim, Dakota Access, LLC (c/o Energy Transfer LP) v John Saldis, FA1906001849464 (Forum August 6, 2019) (<dakotaaccess pipeline.com>). Here "Complainant has not adduced any evidence of trademark registration." While it "contends [it] has used the DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE name in publicity materials, contracts, and filings with state and federal regulatory agencies," it has not produced them:

The only supporting evidence adduced by Complainant is a presentation deck named "Energy Transfer LP Investor Presentation — June 2019". It is unclear to the Panel how this presentation deck supports Complainant's contention. This 45-page presentation deck seems to only have one reference to "Dakota Access Pipeline" in a map, without any elaboration as to the relationship of "Dakota Access Pipeline" with either Dakota Access, LLC or Energy Transfer LP. In addition, while the timing of when a complainant has acquired common law rights in a mark is not relevant for the panel in deciding on this element, the Panel notes that this presentation deck is dated June 2019, which is later than the creation date of the disputed domain name (September 18, 2016).

Even where marks allegedly predate domain name registrations, complainant's must still anticipate legitimate interests and rights defenses squarely undercutting their claims of cybersquatting. In Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. v. James Booth, BQDN.com, D2019-1042 (WIPO July 17, 2019) (<rcc.com>) Complainant argued that the three-letter string infringed its unregistered four-letter acronym, "rccl." This raised a problem as summarized by the three-member Panel:

the Respondent raises a reasonable question regarding whether a four-character mark which is an initialism or acronym can be found to be confusingly similar to a three-character domain name which, as here, shares part of the same character set. The Respondent points out that, if a finding of confusing similarity is made in those circumstances, the logical extension is that all four-character initialisms/ acronyms would be regarded as confusingly similar to all partially corresponding three-character domain names. (Emphasis added).

Interestingly (and unusual), the Panel declined to make a ruling under Paragraphs 4(a)(i) and 4(a)(ii) and rested its dismissal of the complaint on 4(a)(iii):

The Panel is inclined to favor the Respondent's case on registration in bad faith [and] accepts that the Respondent more probably than not acquired the disputed domain name due to its value as a short, ubiquitous and memorable three-letter string which would be attractive to a wide variety of existing and potential entrants to the marketplace rather than in a bad faith attempt to target one specific rights owner in the form of the Complainant.

In fact, such findings under either 4(a)(ii) or 4(a)(iii) have been made "in multiple past cases." For example, the panel noted in Compañía Logística de Hidrocarburos CLH SA v. Privacy Administrator, Anonymize, Inc. / Sam Dennis, Investments.org Inc, D2018-0793 (WIPO June 13, 2018) (<clh.com>) that "it is commonly accepted that absent factors to the contrary in a particular dispute [of which there are none offered in this case], trading in domain names is a legitimate activity that has grown into a substantial market over the years."

The facts in A Mediocre Corporation v. Domain Admin / Domain Registries Foundation, FA190600 1849931 (Forum July 27, 2019) (MORNING SAVE and <morningsafe.com>, Complainant represented by counsel) look like a textbook example of typosquatting, substituting an "f" for a "v" (which on the Qwerty keyboard sits immediately below the "f"). I like Andrew Allemann's comment on DomainNameWire.com because it suggests an approach which counsel did not pursue and was not taken into account in deciding the case:

There are plenty of Wayback Machine screenshots showing early use of the MorningSave. These could have been included with date stamps to show the [earlier] use.

Although the Panel rejected Complainant's argument, it more appears the dismissal was based on Complainant's failure to offer the necessary proof to support its claim. Complainant's contention based on constructive notice was rejected as not applicable in a UDRP proceeding (counsel should have known this!).

Mr. Allemann may very well be right about Mediocre that counsel could have done better. It applies to other cases of which it could be said that but for the deficiency of proof, the result would have been different if proof had been properly marshaled. For example, in Numerix LLC v. Dagmar Brebock, FA190600 1846731 (Forum July 25, 2019) (NUMEREX and <nurnerix.com> the confusing similarity is with the "rn" which replaces the "m." It would not be unreasonable to ask, who got it wrong the Panel or Complainant's counsel? The Panel found that Complainant limited its proof to asserting that "Our domain name Numerix.com has been registered and in use since at least 1998 with corporate formation in 1996." An astute commentator (Evan Brown this time, udrptracker.com) offered the following "practice tip":

If you own trademark registrations, be sure to actually plead them in the complaint. This UDRP case should not have been lost on these grounds. Some panels cut no slack, even when there is obvious evidence outside the record.

What Mr. Brown means by "outside the record" is that Panels are not forbidden to do research on the Internet and trademark databases, which it didn't do hence his wry comment that "some panels cut no slack." Substituting "rn" for "m" is right out of the squatters handbook: <rnerial.com> for MERIAL, <ernersson.com> for EMERSON, <freernanco.com> for FREEMAN, are some examples, all of them resulting in transfers. There is no indication that Complainant's counsel in Numerix brought this history of typosquatting practice to the Panel's attention. (This is probably a good candidate for an ACPA action).

If only for instructional purposes, complainants and their counsel should pay close attention to Panels' reasoning of what evidence is necessary to satisfy claims of cybersquatting. As I have pointed in earlier essays, complainants only get one shot in a UDRP at proving cybersquatting; there is no such pleading as an "amended complaint" under the UDRP. See UDRP Complaint: Actually, a Motion for Summary Judgment and Words and Descriptive Phrases as Trademarks Registered as Domain Names.

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

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Categories: News and Updates

Fractal Analytics files cybersquatting lawsuit

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-08-12 16:00

Analytics firm wants to recover two domain names that are similar to its trademark.

Fractal Analytics has filed an in rem cybersquatting lawsuit (pdf) against the domain names FractalAnalyticsInc.com and Fractal-Analytics.com.

The analytics company uses the domain names FractalAnalytics.com and Fractal.ai. It’s a private company that has raised over $300 million from investors.

The two domain names at issue were registered within days of each other in June at Namecheap and Domain.com, respectively.

Fractal Analytics previously turned to the courts in 2018 for a cybersquatting claim. It got a default judgment against the domain name FractalAnalyticsPro.com.

Wiley Rein is representing Fractal Analytics. It filed the lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia, where .com registry Verisign is located.

 

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

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Categories: News and Updates

A new TLD update with Sandeep Ramchandani – DNW Podcast #248

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-08-12 15:30

Sandeep Ramchandani returns to the program to discuss the top level domain market.

Radix CEO Sandeep Ramchandani discusses the current state of new top level domain names from his perspective. We discuss how much premium domains should cost, if domains under management is the right metric, switching costs of domains, and much more. It’s an interesting discussion.

Also: Tucows, GoDaddy expired domains, PIR’s hire, EFF fights .org contract, 8chan and more.

This week’s sponsor: NameSilo. Use coupon code DNWPod for $1 off your next domain.

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.)

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

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Categories: News and Updates

Who bought Uniregistry’s top 20 public domain sales last month

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-08-12 13:19

Phrase.com, Radix.com among domain purchases.

Phrase upgraded its domain from PhraseApp.com to Phrase.com for $75,000

Uniregistry has begun publishing some of its top monthly domain name sales. The company released its first batch for July. Keep in mind that many of the top domains are excluded from the list due to non-disclosure agreements.

Like I do for my Sedo end user reports, I reviewed the top sales to find out who bought the domains. Some are now resolving to new websites, some still point to old sales landers, and it seems investors also snapped up some of the names.

Here they are:

bestdeals.com – $105,000 – Namecheap Whois privacy, does not resolve.

katie.com – $100,000 – Uniregistry privacy, resolves to Uniregistry parked page.

phrase.com – $75,000 – Phrase is a software translation management company that upgraded its domain from PhraseApp.com to Phrase.com. (I recently acquired SoftwareTranslation.com)

knots.com – $69,350 – Knots is a Melbourne, Australia-based shoe designer.

radix.com – $48,000 – No, the new top level domain company didn’t buy a .com. Bi:Radix, a market survey company, bought it to forward to its website BiRadix.com.

profix.com – $38,000 – Uniregistry whois only shows an owner in New Jersey. The domain resolves to a Uniregistry lander.

ninemonths.com – $40,000 – Uniregistry privacy. The domain forwards to a lander on CategoryDefining.com.

gpgroup.com – $28,520 – Enom Whois privacy. The domain resolves to a website saying the site is under renovation. It has a logo for GPGroup and a rather generic description.

poema.com – $26,000 – 1&1 Whois privacy. The domain resolves to a Sedo lander.

toha.com – $27,500 – The Whois briefly changed to “System Admin” in Florida but is now under GoDaddy privacy. It still resolves to a Uniregistry lander.

ruby.cn – $22,000 – A HiChina Whois record and it doesn’t resolve.

kanga.com – $20,000 – Namecheap Whois privacy. The domain doesn’t resolve but the buyer moved it to AWS servers. I thought it might be the owner of BuyKanga.com but they use GoDaddy’s default servers for their website. GetKanga.com uses AWS so my money is on that one.

namegenerator.com – $20,000 – Uniregistry Whois privacy. Resolves to Uniregistry lander. Surely a domain company bought it?

roomrent.com – $20,000 – Uniregistry Whois privacy. Does not resolve.

golfsuperstore.com $20,000 – PJLJ Enterprises, Inc is starting a golf store on Shopify using this domain.

greentone.com – $20,000 – Whois shows Joannie Sauvageau in Quebec, Canada. A couple of people with this name in Quebec pop up on LinkedIn.

nse.co – $17,000 – NSE Products Inc in Utah. A google search returns some corporate filings.

cabello.com – $16,800 – NEOCOS Laboratorios SL is a hair cosmetics company in Spain. Cabello means hair in Spanish.

officeinteriors.com $16,500 – An office furniture company forwards this domain to its website oimemphis.com.

lsd.co $15,000 – Uniregistry Whois lists Australia as the location of the buyer.

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

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Categories: News and Updates

Huawei Launches Its Own Operating System, Says Its Completely Different From Android and iOS

Domain industry news - Fri, 2019-08-09 19:55

AUGUST 9, 2019 / Huawei Launches New Distributed Operating System, HarmonyOS at the Huawei Developer Conference

Huawei announces a new homegrown operating system called HarmonyOS. The Chinese tech giant launched the new OS during its developer conference on Friday, calling it "completely different from Android and iOS." The company says HarmonyOS is a microkernel-based, distributed operating system designed to offer cohesive user experience across different devices, including smartphones, smartwatches, laptops, and smart home devices. The move comes following the US ban and the threat of Huawei losing access to Google's Android operating system.

Huawei lists the following as the four distinct technical features of the new OS:

Distributed architecture: "With HarmonyOS, app developers won't have to deal with the underlying technology for distributed apps… Apps built on HarmonyOS can run on different devices while delivering a seamless, collaborative experience across all scenarios."

Up to five times more efficient: "HarmonyOS will address underperformance challenges with a Deterministic Latency Engine and high-performance Inter Process Communication (IPC). ... The microkernel can make IPC performance up to five times more efficient than existing systems."

Enhanced security, low latency: "HarmonyOS is the first OS to use formal verification in device TEE, significantly improving security. In addition, because the HarmonyOS microkernel has much less code (roughly one-thousandth the amount of the Linux kernel), the probability of attack is greatly reduced."

Develop once, deploy across multiple devices: "With a multi-device IDE, developers can code their apps once and deploy them across multiple devices, creating a tightly integrated ecosystem across all user devices."

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Categories: News and Updates

Broadband and the Census: Why Decision to Go Online Is Probably Ten Years Premature

Domain industry news - Fri, 2019-08-09 18:13

The US government is gearing up to begin the 2020 census which will be administered starting next April 20. For the first time, the census is going to rely heavily on people answering the census questions online. Live census takers will then follow-up with those that don't submit the online response.

This seems like an odd decision since there are still many people who don't have home broadband. This seems like a poorly conceived idea by those of us who understand the FCC's dirty little secret — the FCC has no idea how many homes don't have broadband.

As a country, we care a lot about an accurate Census. The census data is used for multiple government purposes. The 10-year census is used to redraw both federal and state political boundaries every ten years. The census is used to determine the number of US House Representatives allowed for each state. The government uses the census to allocate the funding for numerous federal programs that allocate funding by population. If an area of the country is undercounted, they lose both political representation and federal funding for a wide variety of purposes.

This all means that there is a significant downside risk for any part of the country that is undercounted in the census. The census is hiring 175,000 fewer door-to-door people nationwide to follow-up on those that don't answer the first wave of the census, and one has to wonder if they are going to be equipped when vast portions of rural America doesn't respond to the online census request.

As I said earlier, we have no idea as a country how many people don't have home broadband. According to the FCC maps, there are still 21 million people in rural America with no access to broadband. However, everybody understands that this number is understated due to the idiotic rules used to count broadband customers by the FCC. We use a self-reporting system where ISPs tell the FCC about their broadband coverage. We know that many ISPs have overstated the speeds they can deliver along with the areas of their coverage. That's bad enough, but the FCC then compounds this error by assuming that if a census block has at least one broadband customer, that the whole block has broadband. A census block is normally 600-800 homes, and anybody living in rural America understands how large such an area can cover.

We have other people counting broadband that paint a very different picture than the FCC. The one with the widest reach and most credibility is Microsoft. They are able to measure the speed of downloaded software upgrades — a method that tells the real broadband situation at a home. Microsoft estimates that 162 million people in the US don't have access to broadband that meets the FCC's definition of 25/3 Mbps. But Microsoft has no way of counting homes with no broadband.

This is not just a rural problem. It's always been suspected that there are millions of homes in older urban areas that don't have access to broadband. There are apartments and little pockets of neighborhoods everywhere that were bypassed by the cable companies when they built their networks in the 1970s and 80s. Folks who study this issue estimate that there could be as many as 10 million people in urban areas without broadband access.

Even more importantly, there are millions of people that elect not to buy broadband or who access the Internet only using a cellphone. There are still homes everywhere that either can't afford the Internet or who refuse to go online. Even among houses with broadband, there are going to be many who don't have good enough computer skills or the language skills to find and complete the Census questions online.

My guess is that the Census Bureau is going to be totally overwhelmed by the levels of non-response of households that don't take the census online. There will be huge geographic rural areas where few people respond online. There will be people everywhere who don't have access to broadband or are unable to navigate the online questionnaire.

In the past, the US Census Bureau believes they got a pretty high response. They got a decently high response from households that completed the paper census forms and had an army of census takers that tracked down houses that didn't respond. If the completion ratio for the census slips even a few percents, then areas without good broadband are likely to be disadvantaged in the many ways that Census data affects states.

The census was moved online to save money. I think that the decision to go online is probably ten years premature and that the Census Bureau is probably totally unprepared for what's going to happen next April. I hope I'm wrong.

Written by Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Policy & Regulation, Telecom

Categories: News and Updates

15 more end user domain name sales

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2019-08-09 13:40

A chatbot maker, an international hotel chain, and construction company bought domain names.

Last week I wondered if the $1 million RX.com sale at Sedo was an investor purchase or an end user sale. For now, we’ll have to qualify it as an investor sale. Brent Oxley, the founder of HostGator and a domain investor, is the buyer.

Here’s a look at sales to end users that recently closed at Sedo. See prior end user lists here.

RaumFabrik.com €10,000 – The domain forwards to the website for construction company Peter Gross Bau. Google translate offers “room factory” and “space factory” as translations.

GLS.co £7,999 – California Cryobank, which purchased my favorite name from last week, Generate.US, bought this domain. I’m not sure why.

Shopee.org $5,000 – Forwards to Shopee.com, an online shopping platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. The company recently paid $5,000 for Shopee.in.

Be-U.com £5,000 – Purchased by Genting International Management, LTD, an international hotel management group and energy company out of Malaysia. They own and operate properties globally including New York City, Las Vegas, Singapore, Malaysia and more. This domain has potential for a marketing campaign.

LuxuryCottages.co.uk £5,000 – Holiday “cottage” booking site for the UK and Ireland.

WestHollywoodHotels.com $4,995 – Pebblebrook Hotel Trust operates many hotels in Los Angeles, including the Montrose West Hollywood.

OurLife.org €4,600 – A company called Guild Care in Great Britain bought this domain. It appears to be a senior care provider.

RIVN.com $4,000 – RIVN, a GDPR and compliance provider, bought this domain and forwards it to RIVNco.com.

GrayCap.com $3,000 – GrayCap Inc. is a new company that was formed in Utah last month.

MindKit.com $3,000 – MindKit is a chatbot builder.

Es-Project.de €2,500 – ES project is a software company focused on server and security measures.

Refereed.com $2,500 – This is a clever name for a peer review system that’s coming soon.

PeritonealMesothelioma.net $2,400 – Purchased by Patient Care Services, LLC in of Orlando, Florida.

TeamSpeak5.de €2,000 – Forwarding to NexTeamSpeak.de, which appears to be a hosting company.

Letter.one €2,000 – Parcel One is an international shipping company.

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Categories: News and Updates

There's a Full-On War for Cybersecurity Talent, CEOs Forking Millions to Fill Roles

Domain industry news - Fri, 2019-08-09 00:46

With companies realizing the threat of hefty fines, lawsuits, and executive resignations that can follow security breaches, companies are scrambling to scoop up scarce security experts. A company this year had to pay $2.5 million to fill a cybersecurity role that it paid $650,000 in 2012, reports Anders Melin in a Bloomberg story: "The growing compensation packages and broadened responsibilities are a dramatic shift for a group of workers who once confined to obscure IT departments, little more than an afterthought to senior management. In the 12 months ended August 2018, there were more than 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. ... Globally, the shortage is estimated to exceed 1 million in coming years, studies have shown."

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Domain Packages Begin Filling the Gap Between Sales of Individual Domains and Entire Portfolios

DN Journal - Thu, 2019-08-08 22:39
When domains are put up for sale owners usually try to sell them individually but, in addition to the occasional portfolio sale, we are now seeing tighter packages of domains and other assets offered together.
Categories: News and Updates

Tucows releases earnings, quantifies lift from GoDaddy Auctions

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-08-08 15:49

Margin contribution from domains up due to price increases and Ascio; Tucows also explains lift from moving Enom expiry stream.

Tucows (NASDAQ: TCX) released second quarter earnings (pdf) yesterday after the close of the market.

The company has three business lines: domain names, mobile service and internet service.

For the domains segment, Q2 revenue was $60.5 million, up from $56.8 million in the same quarter last year.

The domain business can be further broken down into wholesale and retail. The Wholesale Business is its reseller network including Enom, OpenSRS and Ascio. Retail includes its Hover brand.

The wholesale business contributed $51.3 million revenue and the retail business contributed $8.8 million. Tucows also generates a small amount of money from its own portfolio of domains.

Total registrations are growing very slowly. Total Q2 registrations increased 1% year-over-year to 4 million including the lift from acquiring Ascio last year. Without Ascio, registration volume dropped 3.5%.

So why is revenue going up? The company raised prices last year and it’s boosting results across the board.

Gross margin in the wholesale business was up 20% year-over-year, and the domain portion of this (excluding value-added services) was up 30%. 40% of this increase was primarily due to the price increases and the other 60% is from the Ascio resellers.

Tucows also explained why its gross margin contribution for Value-Added Services jumped 19% in Q2 compared to Q1 of this year. It’s because the company moved its Enom expired domain inventory from NameJet to GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY).

 

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Public Interest Registry (.org) hires CFO

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-08-08 15:16

.Org manager hires Laurie Tarpey as CFO.

Laurie Tarpey

Public Interest Registry, the non-profit that manages the .org top level domain name, has hired a new Chief Financial Officer.

Laurie Tarpey was most recently the Chief Operating Officer of Raffa, P.C., an accounting firm that was acquired by Marcum LLP. Prior to that, she was CFO of Northern Virginia Family Service, a non-profit that helps disadvantaged and underserved families and individuals on the path to self-sufficiency.

The hiring is just the latest in a series beginning with Jon Nevett taking over as CEO of the organization at the end of last year.

Other recent hires include Judy Song-Marshall as Chief of Staff, Joe Abley as Chief Technology Officer, and Anand Vora as VP of Business Affairs.

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Blockchain.io lawsuit can go forward after judge issues ruling

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-08-08 13:11

Judge dismisses claims against CEO but says most of the other claims can move forward.

A lawsuit brought by the owner of Blockchain.com against the owner of Blockchain.io can move forward after the judge hearing the case denied the defendant’s motion for dismissal.

Blockchain Luxembourg S.A. & Blockchain (US), Inc., which own the domain name Blockchain.com, filed the lawsuit against Blockchain.io owner Paymium, SAS last year. The plaintiffs argue that Paymium’s domain name infringes its mark for “blockchain”. They also allege that Paymium is false advertising.

Paymium filed a motion to dismiss.

The judge ruled (pdf) that the allegations of infringement can only be resolved after property discovery, and denied Paymium’s motion to dismiss on that issue. He also ruled that some of the other claims are plausible given the pleadings.

He did, however, grant a motion to dismiss the case against Paymium founder Pierre Noizat.

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

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Uniregistry Dominates This Week's Chart After Deciding to Release Their Top Sales Each Week

DN Journal - Thu, 2019-08-08 00:30
The new weekly domain sales report is out and it was another big week for domain sales, especially since Uniregistry added their muscle to the mix.
Categories: News and Updates

FCC's Ignorant Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Bravado

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-08-07 16:24

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday released a Report and Order (R&O) in the matter of its implementation of Ray Baum's Act Section 503 and international call spoofing.

The FCC mostly did the right things in the R&O except in one rather extraordinary assertion of legal ignorance and bravado. It asserted unilaterally that it could exercise "extraterritorial jurisdiction that Congress expressly provided in section 503 of the Ray Baum's Act," and it furthermore knew of no "treaty obligation [contravened],...nor other legal barrier...and...are aware of none." It goes on to cite an essentially irrelevant 1999 Federal appellate decision, and its participation in a variety of bilateral and multilateral activities. Only one FCC Commissioner — O'Rielly — expressed concern in a separate statement.

The problem here is that today's FCC does not seem to understand the meaning of "extraterritorial jurisdiction." (As a former FCC senior staff member, it certainly was not always that way.) The term "extraterritorial" refers to the exercise of FCC regulatory authority outside the United States. The FCC simply cannot unilaterally do that, and Ray Baum's Act proscription of international call spoofing does not provide the FCC with extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the most fundamental and enduring construct of public international law for all telecommunication for the past 169 years that is contained innumerable treaties signed and ratified by the U.S. and all nations begins with words "fully recognizing the sovereign right of each State to regulate its telecommunication..." The existence of all transnational electronic communication today occurs within the scope that basic instrument — and it was the United States itself which repeatedly over the past hundred years helped cement it in place to enable global communication.

What the FCC can do — pursuant to longstanding public international law provisions — is exercise its authority to inspect, stop, or suspend non-compliant electronic communications at the border or implement bilateral arrangements at a U.S. territorial gateway. It can also cooperate and act through other nations to deal with the perpetrators. What it cannot do is exercise that authority extraterritorially. Few if any nations would relinquish their sovereign right to regulate their own telecommunication to another nation, and accepting the notion that any nation can assert that jurisdiction on its own is an untenable act of foreign aggression.

The concern here is amplified by the extremely broad rule promulgated in the Order. FCC Sec. 64.1604 defines caller identification and service in essentially unbounded terms that includes anything and everything associated with the call or text and every provider in the transit or processing path. Further, the Rule applies in vague and abstract terms to "any person or entity outside the United States." The breadth of the Rule here in conjunction with a unilaterally asserted extraterritorial jurisdiction should give rise to concern, and deserves further clarification by either the Commission or the Dept. of State under whose delegated authority the FCC operates pursuant to treaty instruments.

The FCC needs to skip the jurisdictional bravado and engage in bilateral and multilateral activities described in footnote 36 of the R&O. There is only one global intergovernmental organization with jurisdiction here, and it is the International Telecommunication Union, and its ITU-T Study Group 2 collaborating with other bodies like 3GPP and GSMA, are the right places to pursue the necessary arrangements.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

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More under: Policy & Regulation, Telecom

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Mamar tries to reverse hijack domain from Mrs Jello

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-08-07 15:36

Canadian company that owns Mamar.ca tries to get matching .com through UDRP.

Mamar Group LTD, a Canadian company that sells products on Amazon and at Mamar.ca, has been found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name Mamar.com.

The domain is owned by Mrs Jello, LLC, a domain investment company created by the late Igal Lichtman. It acquired the domain name in 2006.

Mamar Group was formed just last year, so it had no chance of winning a cybersquatting case under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). It would be impossible to show the domain was registered in bad faith to target a company that didn’t exist until 12 years later.

The company first tried to buy the domain before filing the UDRP.

In finding reverse domain name hijacking, panelist David Taylor wrote:

…in the present case, the Panel considers that it was clear from the information available to the Complainant at the time of filing, under a plain reading of the Policy and taking account of readily‑available Policy precedent, that the Complainant could not prove the Respondent’s bad faith registration of the disputed domain name. The Panel considers that the Respondent knew, or should have known, that it could not succeed in its Complaint under any reasonable interpretation of the Policy. The above, combined with the Complainant’s failed attempt to purchase the disputed domain name from the Respondent, leads the Panel to conclude that the Complaint was brought in bad faith in an attempt at RDNH and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.

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URS Is a Bad Fit for .ORG, Says EFF

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-08-07 02:32

The online digital rights group, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Tuesday published a post warning ICANN's latest move requiring the use of Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) for .org domain names is a "bad fit." EFF argues that the use of URS, designed for a fast and cheap way to deal with cybersquatting or trademark cases involving newer top-level domains, does not make sense for legacy .org domains which are primarily used by non-profits. Mitch Stoltz, EFF's Senior Staff Attorney, explains:

"When non-profit organizations use brand names and other commercial trademarks, it's often to call out corporations for their misdeeds — a classic First Amendment-protected activity. That means challenges to domain names in .org need more careful, thorough consideration than URS can provide. Adding URS to the .org domain puts non-profit organizations who strive to hold powerful corporations and governments accountable at risk of losing their domain names, effectively removing those organizations from the Internet until they can register a new name and teach the public how to find it. Losing a domain name means losing search engine placement, breaking every inbound link to the website, and knocking email and other vital services offline."

Stoltz also cautions that beyond URS, new .org agreement could also result in the handling of challenges to the content of websites by the .org operator, Public Interest Registry (PIR) — "effectively making PIR a censorship bureau."

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More under: Censorship, Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, UDRP

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PIR to Host a .ORG Community Forum & the Impact Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C. October 10

DN Journal - Tue, 2019-08-06 22:41
If you operate a .ORG website or have one planned, you might want to make a trip to Washington DC this fall for a free community forum meant for you.
Categories: News and Updates

An Optimistic Update From Telesat

Domain industry news - Tue, 2019-08-06 19:49

Polar (green) and inclined (red) orbitsOnce the 100 inclined-orbit satellites are in orbit, they may be able to utilize their inter-satellite laser links to achieve the 30 ms latency Goldman spoke of.

Emily Jackson interviewed Dan Goldberg, Telesat President and CEO, in a recent episode of the Down to Business podcast. The interview followed the announcement that the Canadian Government would contribute $85 million (all amounts are in Canadian dollars) to support research and development in support of Telesat's planned constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites and another $600 million to subsidize Internet connectivity in rural Canada.

Goldberg pointed out that all governments subsidize rural connectivity and said the $600 million grant was expected to generate $600 million in revenue from below-market-rate sales to telephone companies and ISPs. The remaining capacity would be sold to others and he said they anticipated sales to enterprises, governments, ships, and airlines, but did not mention marketing directly to consumers. (Only SpaceX seems to be targeting consumers from the start).

In return for the R&D contribution, Telesat has agreed to support approximately 500 professional jobs in Canada and invest $215 million in R&D. (That R&D;includes the first dozen or so test satellites). Telesat has a profitable, established geostationary satellite business and will fund part of the constellation themselves, but they will also need debt and equity financing, and Goldberg said this government support would make it easier for them to finance the constellation.

This financial news is important, but Goldberg's optimism about the technology is what caught my attention. They have been working on their LEO project for six years, and during that time the cost of launching satellites — geostationary as well as LEO — has fallen dramatically, and he expects it to continue to do so. He also predicted that the cost of mass-produced satellites would fall dramatically. He is confident that inter-satellite laser links (ISLLs) and electronically-steerable phased-array antennas will be cheap enough to allow them to compete successfully with terrestrial fiber and 5G, offering fast, 30 ms latency broadband. (ISLLs present both technological and political problems).

The only technological concern he expressed was about the problem of radio interference. He did not say anything specific on these technologies but did point out that Telesat has been providing satellite service for 50 years and is the "leading satellite technical consultant" in the world. (Three percent of their revenue is from consulting).

Goldberg summed up his optimism by saying:

Our confidence level in terms of our ability to bring this disruptive capability to the market and provide an extraordinarily high-quality, disruptive broadband service to Canadians and also to everybody else living in the world is extraordinarily high. This is not some high, big-gamble, futuristic new technology. This technology will be disruptive, but it is ready for prime time.

Yes, but ...

SpaceX simulation with uncovered areasGoldberg said they could achieve global coverage with only 72 satellites and a simulation by Mark Handley predicts that SpaceX will not completely cover the planet with 792 satellites. How do we explain the difference?

SpaceX with 792 satellites would have much more capacity than Telesat with 72 satellites, and Telesat does not plan to offer service with only 72 satellites. They plan to start service at the end of 2022 with around 200 satellites in polar orbit. They will add 100 more in inclined orbit in 2023 and perhaps eventually reach 500 satellites. Those 200 polar-orbit satellites will serve the polar regions, fulfilling their promise to provide connectivity in rural Canada. (This is reminiscent of China's Hongyun LEO satellite project which will focus on rural China).

While the 200 polar orbit satellites will provide coverage in rural Canada, they will be partially reliant upon terrestrial ground stations to reach the entire globe, and therefore latency will suffer. However, in 2016 Telesat filed for a patent on a "Dual LEO Satellite System and Method for Global Coverage" and once the 100 inclined-orbit satellites are in orbit, they may be able to utilize their inter-satellite laser links to achieve the 30 ms latency Goldman spoke of.

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

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Epik provides update on 8chan

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2019-08-06 19:29

Epik will provide registrar services but not content delivery. CEO Monster says, “Their community grew and their moderation skills did not.”

A screenshot of 8ch.net, the 8chan website, on August 3. As captured by Archive.org. Further down the page are deragotry threads about black people and Jewish people, among others.

Domain name registrar Epik has issued an update on providing services to 8chan.

8chan came under fire after the shooting in El Paso this weekend. The site operator moved the domain to Epik, a registrar which has welcomed domain names for other controversial websites such as Gab.

Epik CEO Rob Monster told Domain Name Wire yesterday that it had not solicited 8chan’s business. He also said that the company had not made a decision on whether it should provide content delivery services and DDoS mitigation to the site.

Then Epik’s upstream provider for these services, Voxility, pulled the plug. This caused Epik to scramble to replace Voxility.

Today, the company said it will not provide content delivery services to 8chan. Here’s the company’s statement about this:

Upon careful consideration of the recent operating history of 8Chan, and in the wake of tragic news in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend, Epik has elected to not provide content delivery services to 8Chan. This is largely due to the concern of inadequate enforcement and the elevated possibility of violent radicalization on the platform.

How much of this decision was Epik’s as opposed to finding a backend provider for its services is not clear. Perhaps Voxility just forced its hand. Monster elaborated on the official statement in a message to Domain Name Wire:

The issue is that their community grew and their moderation skills did not. This was neglect, and like a neglected building it eventually became a menace to itself.

Monster told Domain Name Wire that his company will continue to provide registrar services to 8chan.

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