News and Updates

A fight over descriptive skateboard domain names

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-06-06 16:04

Company with descriptive domain name tries to get the singular version of the name through UDRP.

Mimic Skateboards Inc., a skateboard seller that uses the domain name, has lost a UDRP it filed against the domain name (singular). The World Intellectual Property Organization panelist did not find reverse domain name hijacking, however.

The domain name is owned by Point Distribution, another company that sells custom skateboards.

Panelist Scott Blackmer included a lengthy discussion of facts in the case, including how the Complainant is trying to get trademarks for One of the applications is for a stylized mark and states that “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘CUSTOMSKATEBOARDS.COM’ apart from the mark as shown.”

Given the facts and descriptive nature of the domain name, I’m surprised that Blackmer did not find reverse domain name hijacking after considering it. He merely denied the claim because the domain wasn’t registered and used in bad faith.

Lewis & Lin represented Mimic Skateboards. The firm is well versed in domain name law and UDRP, and I’m surprised it filed this case.

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Categories: News and Updates

Squirrels Are the Number One Culprit for Animal Damage to Aerial Fiber

Domain industry news - Thu, 2019-06-06 15:42

Most of us don't realize the damage done every year to fiber and other wired networks by animals.

Squirrels. These cute rodents are the number one culprit for animal damage to aerial fiber. To a lesser degree, fiber owners report similar damage by rats and mice. Squirrels mainly chew on cables as a way to sharpen their teeth. Squirrel teeth grow up to 8 inches per year and if squirrels aren't wearing their teeth down from their diet, they look for other things to chew. There has been speculation that squirrels prefer fiber to other cables due to some oil or compound used in the fiber manufacturing process that attracts them.

Before Level 3 was part of CenturyLink, they reported that 17% of their aerial fiber outages were caused by squirrels. A Google search turns up numerous network outages caused by squirrels.

Companies use a wide variety of techniques to try to protect from squirrel damage — but anybody that has ever put out a bird feeder knows how persistent squirrels can be. One deterrent is to use hardened cables that are a challenge for squirrels to chew through. However, there have been cases reported where squirrels partially chew through such cables and cause enough damage to allow in water and cause future damage.

A more common solution is some sort of add-on barriers to keep squirrels away from the cable. There are barrier devices that can be mounted on the pole to block squirrels from moving higher. There are also barriers that are mounted where cables meet a pole to keep the squirrels away from the fiber. There are companies that have tried more exotic solutions like deploying ultrasonic blasters to drive squirrels away from the fiber. In other countries, the fiber providers sometimes deploy poison or obnoxious chemicals to keep squirrels away from the fiber, but these techniques are frowned upon or illegal in the US.

Gophers. For buried fiber, the main animal culprit in parts of the US are pocket gophers. There are thirteen species of pocket gophers in the US that range from 5 to 13 inches in length. The two regions of the country with pocket gophers are the Midwest plains and the Southwest. Gophers live on plants and either eat roots or pull plants down through the soil.

Pocket gophers can cause considerable damage to buried fiber. These rodents will chew almost anything and there have been reported outages from gophers that chewed through gas, water, and buried electric lines. Gophers typically live between 6 and 12 inches below the surface and are a particular threat to buried drops.

There are several ways to protect against gophers. The best protection is to bury fiber deep enough to be out of gopher range, but that can add a lot of cost to buried drops. I have a few clients that bore drops rather than trench or vibrate them for this reason. Another protection is to enclose the fiber in a sheath that is over 3 inches in diameter. Anything that large and tubular is generally too big for a gopher to bite. Again, this is an expensive solution for buried drops. Another solution is to surround the buried fiber with 6 to 8 inches of gravel of at least 1-inch size — anything smaller gets pushed to the side by the gophers.

A recent blog by the fiber material vendor PPC highlights even more exotic animal damage to fiber. The most interesting example (and one that is easy to picture) is when farmers cut fiber while burying dead livestock. They typically bury dead animals where they find them, and if that's in a right-of-way they can easily cut buried fiber.

PPC also reports that birds can do damage to aerial fiber. Large birds with sharp talons can create small cuts in the sheath and introduce water. Flocks of birds sitting on fiber can cause sag and stretching of the fiber. I can remember when living in Florida seeing flocks of birds sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on cables and that has to add a lot of weight over a 200-foot span between poles.

Written by Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

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Categories: News and Updates

.Com dominates North America. What about the ROW?

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-06-06 15:33

Country code domains are still the majority outside of North America.

Take a look at the chart above. What do you notice?

While .com dominates North America, it is secondary in ICANN’s other four regions.

It’s easy to be United States-centric, but the reality of domain name demand is very different around the world.

Afnic, which operates the French country code domain name .Fr, released a report detailing the domain name market in 2018 that included this chart. It’s a great look at the market and required reading for anyone interested in the current mechanics of the domain name market.

If you travel or live outside the United States, you have undoubtedly seen the importance of country code domains in other regions of the world.

Of course, regions are large and the dominance of .com vs. ccTLDs varies by country. And .com is still quite common in most countries, even those in which the country code domain is the most used.

ccTLDs are, by their nature, limiting. Afnic notes:

These data highlight the difficulty for new entrants to impose themselves faced with “cultural prisms” in one case prioritizing the notions of region and proximity, and in the other case a global approach that overrides any reductive specific feature implied by the TLD chosen.

The report has many other takeaways. Here’s a good one about the registry/registrar dynamic and how some registries need to follow a different strategy:

As we already noted in 2018, the fact remains that the registry – registrar system will no doubt have to change in the future, by increasingly favoring the emergence of specialized or “proximity” resellers, who will take care of marketing nTLDs to the relevant niche markets. The transformation is not an obvious one for every player and remains slow to enter the mores, registrars often considering themselves as wholesalers whose role is not to build and facilitate dealer networks optimized for this or that target. Current and future nTLDs cannot, however, be successful without the changing of the retail system.

Afnic also notes that 50% of new top level domains are potentially “loss-making” if they sell domains for less than $20 wholesale, and 83% if they sell below $10.

The full report is available online.

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Categories: News and Updates

14 end user domain name sales

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-06-06 13:59

A Mexican tire dealer, a new U.S. political party and a restaurant marketing company bought domain names this week.

We’re headed into the summer season, which can be a bit slow for domain sales. But Sedo had a nice list of sales from the past week, and I uncovered 14 sales that appear to be to end users.

Here’s the list of end user domain name sales that just completed at Sedo. You can view previous lists like this here. £12,000 – Gonna make you sweat? Not clear who bought it but they’ve started setting up the website. €10,000 – Forwards to the website for Cargo International, a German shipping services provider. Spedition is German for “carrier”. $9,880 – CyberSix A software company focused on cybersecurity including a virtual Chief Information Security Officer service. $5,500 – Purchased by Presuel, a Mexican dealer of tires and related automotive accessories. Currently, they operate from ( so this new purchase could be to broaden their reach since Productores translates to “Products”. $3,500 – A site for a new American political party trying to establish itself between the left and right. $3,000 – Fenix parts is a car parts dealer. $3,000 – No surprise here — purchased by a guy whose name is Ed Frank. $2,995 – A video marketing service for restaurants. $2,945 – The Esmonde Technique operates for its health site. – $2,500 Southwest West Central Service Cooperative. It’s an educational group. $2,500 – An apparel company called Gabru, which is a Punjabi term. The site is under development. €2,000 – The domain forwards to its Yummy’s Facebook page. Yummy is an organic frozen food line based in France. €2,000 – Forwards to, a website about professional Polish basketball. $2,000 – The Carolina Center for ABA and Autism Treatment.


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Diverse Week for Domain Sales With a Pair of 3-Letter .Coms, 5 ccTLDs and 3 .ORGs in the Top 20

DN Journal - Wed, 2019-06-05 23:59
We didn't see any 6-figure domain sales this week but we did see a wide assortment of domains on our latest weekly Top 20 Sales Chart.
Categories: News and Updates

How long does it take to sell a brandable domain name?

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-06-05 17:05

Usually a very long time.

Brandable domain names are an interesting domain investment. I’d split brandable into two buckets:

  1. One word dictionary domain names that can be used as a brand unrelated to the dictionary meaning. Examples are colors, animal names, as well as verbs and other nouns.
  2. Made up words and two+ word combos.

It can take a while to sell either of these two to an end user. And while the first category can be sold to other domain investors, the market for reselling brandables is more limited.

In BrandBucket’s most recent newsletter, the company disclosed how long domains were listed on its service before they sold.

For the most recent month, the median listing time of domains that sold was 29 months. The shortest was 33 days and the longest was over 10 years.

Think about that. This is the time it took for domains to sell, but only a minuscule fraction of the domains on BrandBucket ever sell. And BrandBucket screens out the bad domains, too.

Brandable domains, specifically made up words and keyword combos are tricky. It’s nearly impossible to do outside marketing to end users.

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NameJet and SnapNames sales from May

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-06-05 16:29’s platforms generate nearly a half million dollars of sales in May.’s aftermarket platforms NameJet and SnapNames combined to sell 97 domain names for $2,000 or more in May, totaling $462,000 in sales.

The three letter domain name led the way on NameJet at $23,700. This seems like a domain Verizon would want to own. led SnapNames at $15,200.

Some other sales that pop out to me are:

  • $20,299 – Sure to be a hot topic in the next election cycle.
  • $12,100 – Country names are usually too broad, but not for this tourist destination.
  • $5,056 – it’s only a matter of time before they lose this domain.
  • $2,647 – Thoughts on this negative connotation domain? Maybe an anti-counterfeit group could use it to talk about how counterfeits are inferior.

Here’s the full list of sales for $2,000 or more:

Domain NameSale PricePlatform vzn.com23700NameJet xijiu.com21800NameJet collegeloans.com20299NameJet refuse.com15200SnapNames yona.com13688NameJet iceland.org12100NameJet microcreditsummit.org11700NameJet soca.com10500NameJet vitatech.com10110NameJet xnnn.com8501NameJet madeinusa.org8500NameJet bodyshapers.com8020NameJet ivtherapy.com8001NameJet karta.com7977NameJet 570000.com7500SnapNames qtcp.com7100NameJet pureintimacy.org6500NameJet lecu.com6200NameJet weebeastie.com6118SnapNames agod.com6100NameJet planeo.com5600NameJet lazybear.com5515NameJet xiro.com5200NameJet goxi.com5100NameJet nodeathpenalty.org5100NameJet tripadvisr.com5056SnapNames augustus.org5000SnapNames photolinks.com5000NameJet cahokiamounds.com4900NameJet businessplans.org4800NameJet metals.org4735NameJet cavemen.com4540SnapNames zzaa.com4500NameJet 5d.net4400NameJet cleanlife.com4185NameJet bigsister.com4101NameJet icim.com4000NameJet javajobs.com3656NameJet cops.org3579NameJet megacard.com3520SnapNames netconsult.com3459NameJet dialects.com3339NameJet aesham.com3300NameJet 13797.com3200NameJet tubei.com3010NameJet 13159.com3000NameJet 13220.com3000NameJet 13252.com3000NameJet 13302.com3000NameJet 13309.com3000NameJet 13626.com3000NameJet 13657.com3000NameJet 13676.com3000NameJet 13679.com3000NameJet 13691.com3000NameJet keat.com3000NameJet panicware.com3000NameJet hoyos.com2951NameJet adventuregear.com2910NameJet timeoutgroup.com2888SnapNames redlasso.com2851NameJet u-e.com2822SnapNames ieme.com2800NameJet siccos.com2795SnapNames amtrade.com2650NameJet inferior.com2647NameJet antigrain.com2600NameJet garmentbag.com2600NameJet tapers.com2600NameJet wasil.com2600NameJet theartdepartment.org2577SnapNames epur.com2507SnapNames mxm.org2501NameJet phob.com2501NameJet uran.com2501NameJet 13020.com2500NameJet 13060.com2500NameJet kogls.com2500NameJet sportsclick.com2429SnapNames ardc.com2423NameJet notox.com2374SnapNames humanclone.com2322NameJet panteon.com2311SnapNames agrofeed.com2306SnapNames 13244.com2300NameJet goboomerang.com2295SnapNames kaleidoscope.net2267NameJet 13044.com2200NameJet 13348.com2200NameJet koushi.com2151SnapNames legalia.com2020NameJet kaat.com2010NameJet 13343.com2000NameJet 3gsmworldcongress.com2000NameJet beatthebooks.com2000SnapNames electricman.com2000NameJet starships.com2000NameJet

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Categories: News and Updates domain sold at a big profit

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-06-05 12:59

WebQuest bought the domain name as part of a $100,000 package; sold for $335,000.

Last week DNJournal reported that sold for $335,000.

I believe this is the highest new top level domain sale between a domain investor and a buyer. There have been larger public sales but they were directly between the registry and buyer.

Chad Wright of WebQuest sold the domain name. WebQuest has purchased many new top level domains and I see the company name showing up frequently in Whois on the best new TLDs combos.

I have confirmed that WebQuest originally purchased the domain from the registry as part of a three-domain package for $100,000. The domains were, and

Wright said that he picked these names because they have high search volume. He thinks the domain could have sold for more.

“I knew this one could command a much higher price when the right time came,” he told Domain Name Wire. “Personally, I feel I sold it on the lower end of what it could have gone for but I need more Bitcoin.”

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Photos & Highlights From the 2019 Global Digital Summit in Xiamen, China

DN Journal - Tue, 2019-06-04 22:21
China's 2019 Global Digital Summit wrapped up over the weekend and we have photos & highlights from the big event in the Far East for you.
Categories: News and Updates

Hongyun Project - China's Low-Earth Orbit Broadband Internet Project

Domain industry news - Tue, 2019-06-04 21:36

Long March 11 rocket and Hongyun-1 satellite (source).It might be tempting to dismiss this effort as small and behind the broadband satellite projects of companies like SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat, but that would be a mistake.

Last December, State-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) launched the first experimental Hongyun (rainbow cloud) Project satellite, and they began testing it in March.

The 247 kg test satellite is in orbit at an altitude of around 1,100 km, and they plan to launch four more test satellites this year and begin operating with a 156-satellite constellation in 2022. I don't know anything more about their plans, but with only 156 satellites I suspect they will focus on unserved regions in rural China and perhaps Latin America at first.

It might be tempting to dismiss this effort as small and behind the broadband satellite projects of companies like SpaceX, OneWeb and Telesat, but that would be a mistake. China has an ambitious, global Internet infrastructure and application program called the Digital Silk Road and the "road" is terrestrial with highways, ports, pipelines, and railways, undersea with cables and in space with Hongyun Project and their Beidou satellite navigation system which will be global next year, and the Digital Belt and Road Earth observation program. Our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the current trade war were gifts to the Chinese.

Update Jun 4, 2019

CASIC broke ground on April 24 for a satellite industry park in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, where they will produce satellites for the Hongyun project.

In keeping with China's policy of funding competitors, another production line operated by a satellite start-up, Spacety, based in Changsha, Central China's Hunan Province, began construction in January. Each facility is expected to produce 100 satellites per year. (China has historically funded Internet service competition).

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

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Wireless

Categories: News and Updates

Loon Balloons Restore Internet After a Massive Earthquake Strikes Remote Parts of Peru

Domain industry news - Tue, 2019-06-04 19:54

When a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck remote parts of Peru’s Amazon region, on Sunday, at the request of the government of Peru and Telefónica, Alphabet re-directs a group of its Loon balloons to the impacted area to restore Internet access. Within 48 hours, people on the ground had wireless broadband communication, reports Alphabet.

Record time: This was not the first time Alphabet's Loon responded to a disaster in the region. The difference this time was the response time. Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Loon, explains: "In early 2017 we worked with Telefónica to respond when flooding impacted northern regions of Peru. Later in 2017, we provided service with AT&T;and T-Mobile after Hurricane Maria impacted Puerto Rico. What is different, this time is the speed with which we were able to respond. In Puerto Rico, it took about four weeks for our balloons to begin providing service. In this instance, we were able to begin providing service in about 48 hours, because we had already deployed the building blocks of the Loon network."

Preparedness is key to balloon-powered internet in disaster scenarios says Westgarth. "It takes a lot of planning and setup to make balloon-powered internet work. ... with Loon already active in a country, as is the case in Peru, our ability to respond to a natural disaster can be measured in hours or days rather than weeks."

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ICANN and Voodoo Economics in Wonderland

Domain industry news - Tue, 2019-06-04 04:38

The Coordinator of Unique Internet Identifiers' Latest Financial Disclosure Reveals Rot at the Root

The exposed areas needing improvement by ICANN — both the organization as well as its global community of stakeholders — provide a target-rich environment. In the nearly three years since the completion of the transition of the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA), ICANN has persistently sought to drive top-down dictatorial policymaking; to shroud its activities and decision-making from public view; and, to evade accountability — in some cases even doubling down on its efforts. Alarmingly, the Domain Name System's (DNS) community of stakeholders has demonstrated an inability — or, in some cases, an unwillingness — to serve as an effective check on the ICANN organization's worst tendencies towards profligacy, expediency, and obfuscation. This sorry state of affairs cannot continue.

To substantiate this assertion, one need not look further than ICANN's recently released Form 990 from fiscal year 2018. Form 990 is a financial disclosure required by law to be made annually by non-profit organizations in the United States, and if financial stability is a metric of overall organizational health — and we argue that it is a critical indicator — then ICANN's vital signs are troubling to say the least.

In fiscal year 2018, ICANN — for the first time since its incorporation in 1999 — has posted a net loss. The $23 million shortfall is a 37% decrease in average revenue since 2012 and a 55% drop from an all-time high in 2017. This mind-boggling plummet is made even more dizzying by the disclosure's $5 million downward restatement of FY17 revenue.

What happened?

Well, much like the 20-something millennial that it is, the ICANN organization has overestimated its ability to spend while neglecting to prepare for the proverbial "rainy day" when revenue reality doesn't live up to rosy projections. More than half of its current shortfall can be accounted for by an inexplicable human-resources surge, with 26 new employees and a $13 million increase in compensation from the prior year. There appears to be a disconnect between compensation and the not-for-profit's mission to serve the public interest.

This would be concerning enough, but what is far more troubling are the clear implications that new generic Top-Level Domains are not performing as expected, with market adoption of domain names in the new gTLDs not matching the optimism which accompanied their roll-out. While there are some interesting examples of innovation in a few of the new gTLD namespaces, the vast majority of new entrants to the DNS appear to be pursuing mostly legacy business models in an attempt to become the primary .COM alternative in their market. There are no indications that any sort of disruptively innovative development is on the horizon that might hope to transform the domain name industry and the DNS.

Although ICANN is proposing major cuts in expenses, the mere existence of these dynamics makes any assessment of ICANN's accountability and transparency — along with the community's track record of counter-balancing the organization — much more than an academic exercise. This is because, while budgets with more holes than Swiss cheese may be de rigeur for the Silicon Valley's technology industry, ICANN can't rely on a stock IPO or Series B round of venture capital to cover shortfalls caused by deficit spending. Instead, it must look to its contracted parties — registries and registrars — to forage for new stopgap financing.

Johnny-come-lately attempts at fiscal austerity are a nice talking point but don't address challenges related to budget discipline and expense increases associated with scope creep. Discerning the dangers facing the DNS doesn't require a crystal ball — just a cursory look at the past and some closer scrutiny of the present.

In 2011, ICANN quietly inserted new language into VeriSign's .NET registry agreement that created a "special development fund." This contractual innovation requires the registry operator to remit to ICANN an additional $0.75 per domain name registration per year, in addition to the $0.25 per domain name registration that it, along with every other gTLD registry, already contributes. However, this special assessment on .NET — the second largest registry in the DNS after .COM — is simply placed into ICANN's general treasury without being segregated or otherwise separately accounted for. This amounts to more than $11 million per year that ICANN receives from the .NET registry with no reporting or audit requirements. This "special slush fund" was continued for another six years when the .NET registry agreement was renewed in 2017.

Another area where ICANN has shown remarkable creativity and innovation is in its use of auctions. During the roll-out of new gTLDs, so-called contention sets — where a proposed TLD had more than one applicant — were offered the opportunity to resolve the issue between themselves and, when that failed, the matter was settled by auction. In these auctions, the highest bidder paid to ICANN an amount equal to the second highest bid.

Some controversy arose — and the matter is still being reviewed — during the auction for .WEB. In that auction, the $135 million winning bid was made by Nu Dot Co, a company that was reportedly controlled by VeriSign. The second highest bid of $117 million was the amount to be paid to ICANN by Nu Dot Co using VeriSign's money — an investment that, given the economic realities of operating a registry and especially with what we now know to be the market realities of new gTLDs, will take a very long time to recoup. At a minimum, this has the appearance of impropriety: namely, that an enormous bribe was paid — in plain sight — to ICANN by its largest ratepayer.

More recently, issues surrounding another auction have arisen with respect to VeriSign's proposed auction of one Single Character Domain Name (SCDN), O.COM. The release of this SCDN, which has been coveted by for more than a decade, raises serious and substantive questions about the spirit of cooperation that exists between VeriSign and ICANN. The current negotiation for amending the relatively similar legacy registry agreement for .ORG offers a revealing juxtaposition.

As part of that effort, ICANN and Public Interest Registry, the operator of .ORG, negotiated an interrelated set of amendments that included the removal of pricing regulation — a benefit sought by the registry operator — along with new public interest safeguards, such as including community-developed intellectual property rights protection mechanisms and anti-abuse provisions.

The process for amending the .COM registry agreement to permit the release of O.COM, however, includes a veritable grab bag of benefits sought by VeriSign — including returning the domain name to the registry upon expiration rather than back on the open market, as is current procedure; as well as exempting O.COM from regulatorily restricted pricing, among other things — but without any accompanying public interest concessions, such as the recommendations made by ICANN's own Intellectual Property and Business Constituencies and others that the release of O.COM be subjected to community-developed intellectual property rights protections mechanisms, including a Sunrise period and Priority Access.

ICANN's questionably selective deal-making capabilities became even more suspicious when VeriSign's O.COM proposal was approved by the ICANN Board in Kobe, Japan during a March 14, 2019 vote on a consent agenda — essentially a package of items represented as non-controversial and pro forma. Suspicion turned to alarm upon discovering — during discussions with multiple Board members — that they appeared not to be aware that they had voted to approve a proposal for O.COM nor did they have any understanding of the outstanding issues of controversy and concern related to O.COM.

Additionally, the release of O.COM attempts to skirt regulated pricing by claiming that the auction proceeds — expected to be in the millions of dollars — will be controlled by a trustee who will be charged with distributing this largesse to non-profit organizations that are specified in "Exhibit A" of the proposal. Never mind that "Exhibit A" is redacted to protect the identities of co-conspirators, unwitting or not. Or, that the proposal reserves for VeriSign itself the unilateral right to select and replace the trustee (wink, wink — nod, nod). It is entirely unclear how — by causing a price to be paid that exceeds the regulatory cap as well as indirectly controlling the distribution of the proceeds through direct control of the distributor — this is anything more than a consumer protection bedtime story being spun for a community that is, at best, already somnambulant and, at worst, complicit.

Rather than contorting the release of O.COM into something resembling a pretzel, why didn't the publicly-traded corporation simply choose to accrue for itself the revenue associated with releasing O.COM and other SCDNs? In order to do so, it merely needs to honor its own commitment relating to its transliterated .COM Internationalized Domain Names. These IDNs are not subject to regulated pricing and VeriSign can charge whatever it likes for them. So why not set the price for IDN SCDNs at, say, $8 million each and bundle the legacy .COM SCDN along with it for an extra $7.85?

That would be a very attractive bundled offering that would be compliant with regulatory restrictions as well as its own commitment to reserve in the .COM legacy registry the same, exact-match domain name for the registrant of the corresponding label in one of its transliterated .COM IDNs. But taking that more than reasonable approach would have many practical effects, including adding a lot of revenue to VeriSign's bottom line that would otherwise go to non-profits and could be made available to offset ICANN's budget imbroglio.


Who's to say that those non-profits don't use the funds to assume, for example, the expense burden of paying for ICANN's Fellowship program that covers expenses for travel to ICANN meetings? That's a few million dollars a year in relief for ICANN's budget with no outwardly discernible change in the status quo. Unless ICANN's ranking on a Corruption Index counts as discernible change — but when everybody's in on it there's nothing to see here, folks, please move along.

We are witnessing corruption metastasizing at the root of the Internet at a breakneck pace. ICANN's precocity and opacity with alternative revenue sources is nothing short of remarkable. The spirit of cooperation that exists between ICANN and its largest ratepayer is unseemly, to say the very least. The stakeholder community that was supposed to serve as the check and balance on the ICANN organization has gone AWOL — bought off by the promise of a pittance and sung to sleep by fanciful lullabies of castles in the sky.

Written by Greg Thomas, Managing Director of The Viking Group LLC

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More under: Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, New TLDs

Categories: News and Updates

Trade War Is Turning Into a Technology War

Domain industry news - Mon, 2019-06-03 22:18

President Trump knows that in the current trade war, the Huawei issue is perhaps one of the most important issues for the Chinese government. It directly undermines the Chinese prestige and the ban create global anxiety. This is resulting in discussions in many countries, assessing their relationship with China. It highlights the domination of the Chinese in telecoms manufacturing, but at the same time, it opens up other discussions in relation to Chinese dominance and influence. For example the distribution of Chinese propaganda material by the Chinese Communist Party at universities around the world that have large number of Chinese students. Another international worry is the dependence on China the country is creating. Vulnerable countries in Africa and Asia are provided with loans and investments through the Belts and Roads system. If they can't repay, China offers to take over these assets and as such, can extend its global reach.

Countries are also reflecting on the internal politics within China, such as the social code and the law that requests Chinese people and businesses wherever they are always to put their loyalty to China first. Its level of censorship and social and economic state control is in stark contrast with open democratic systems.

Through these policies and through an increasing economic dominance, the country could potentially be able to more and more push its values onto others; potentially undermining more democratic values in other countries.

For decades other countries have accepted that under the WTO agreement of 2001, China was exempt from certain international trading rules as it was seen as a developing country. This has, for example, led to a situation that allowed China to maintain a strong relationship between government and industry. It also allowed for the transfer of knowledge that required overseas companies to provide Chinese companies with access to their intellectual property. The banking system was also able to develop in a less transparent way than was required from other countries.

Obviously, with China's economic strength, it is very understandable that other countries are now arguing that these special arrangements from 2001 should be abolished and that China should adhere to the global rules. It is just a pity that these discussions are now overruled by the trade war ignited by the USA who wants far more swifter action. Trump doesn't trust global institutions such as the WTO and therefore, has decided to do it alone.

The Huawei issue gets far more media coverage than any of the other issues of the trade war. This hurts President Xi Jinping and his government politically. Trump is cleverly using this in his trade war battles, obvious in the hope to force the Chinese to make more concessions on issues relating to transparency in industry policies, transparency in industry structures such as banking and telecoms, better opportunities for American tech companies without the current restrictions that are in place and other issues such as cyber security, protection of IP, etc.

With a threat towards more trade restriction around Chinese technology, the trade war is heating up significantly. The integrated global system around technologies means that this will affect all countries. Components, software and knowledge are sourced from around the globe and the end products will have elements in it from many different places on earth. If an important country such as the USA is going to boycott this, than all will suffer. The trade war is rapidly becoming a war around the control of technologies.

The Google issue reveals another element of globalization. The sheer monopoly that this company has on the internet search, access to Android applications, messaging, etc. means that if you, for example, produce smartphones that will not be able to connect to Google you basically can't sell your product overseas anymore.

The way the Chinese society is structured around its political system means that — longer term — a trade war will affect China less than other countries. The country will simply turn more inside, might suffer some short term economic and social problems, but this will be tightly managed and financed by its government. Other countries with open economies based on democratic systems don't have the same buffer to withstand such a trade war and therefore they will — longer term — suffer more.

What is also interesting here is to see what happens if indeed China and the USA will be able to resolve their trade issues. This could end the ban on Huawei and clearly shows that the issue was politically motivated rather than technology related. If that would be the case it would expose Australia in a bad way.

These trade-related problems should be solved within the international structures we have developed and not through a trade war under the disguise of security issues.

Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

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Does China’s Digital Silk Road to Latin America and the Caribbean Run Through Cuba?

Domain industry news - Mon, 2019-06-03 21:41

China will not ignore Latin America and the Caribbean forever and Cuba is a logical place to start.

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is an ambitious, long-term, global investment and development program. It was launched in 2013 with a focus on infrastructure — roads, railroads, pipelines, undersea cables and ports. Since then China has invested $80 billion and signed 173 BRI agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations.

DSR IT infrastructure projects as of 12/2018 (source).

Building a Digital Silk Road (DSR) is a BRI subgoal. The DSR was added in 2015 under the name "Information Silk Road" with the goals of improving international communications connectivity and fostering the internationalization of China's rapidly growing tech companies. The DSR plan addresses technologies like security, machine learning, 5G wireless, chip design and manufacturing and applications in areas like e-commerce, e-government, and smart cities. It also encompasses infrastructure in space — the BeiDou satellite navigation system, the Hongyun low-earth orbit broadband Internet project and the Digital Belt and Road Earth observation program.

Huawei's Caribbean cables (source).China Unicom and Camcom installed an undersea cable between Cameroon and Brazil with Huawei doing the engineering and installation. Previously, Huawei had installed the underwater cables shown here, but the DSR project has focused primarily on Eurasia and Africa. However, China will not ignore Latin America and the Caribbean forever and Cuba is a logical place to start.

Cuban delegates attended the thematic-forum on the DSR at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April and Cuba's digital ties to China date back many years:

(Breitbart reported that Cuba has agreed to bring the BRI to the west, but I am not sure if that is evidence that they will or they won't :-)

Cuba's first connection to the Internet was subsidized by the US National Science Foundation and used Cisco equipment, but it's been downhill ever since. President Obama made a sustained effort to establish a connection with Cuba, but little has come of that and Trump's policies on trade, immigration and Cuba have moved us further from many Latin American and Caribbean nations, creating an opening for China and the DSR.

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

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Nicolai Bezsonoff – DNW Podcast #239

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-06-03 15:30

From .co to Neustar.

Nicolai Bezsonoff had a good job in banking in NYC when his friend Juan Calle called him and asked to meet. Juan told him about his plans to turn .Co into a brand and asked Nicolai to join him. Bezsonoff didn’t want to give up his good job to join a domain name company, but then he did what any banker would do: he ran the numbers. He liked what he saw and joined Juan as he relaunched the .co domain. Today, Nicolai joins us on the Domain Name Wire Podcast to talk about how he got into domains and his views on the industry as the current VP & GM of Registry Services for Neustar, which bought the .co registry. Hear his thoughts on what responsibilities registries should have around content, how registries can differentiate and more.

This week’s sponsor:

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

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Categories: News and Updates

ICANN publishes tax return including compensation info

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2019-06-03 13:17

Non-profit grossed $137 million last year.

ICANN published its most recent Form 990 tax return last Friday (a convenient time to bury news). The return covers the financial year ending June 30, 2018. Here are some takeaways from the tax return:

Net assets fell from $465 million in FY 2017 to $451 in FY 2018.

Revenue fell from $303 million to $137 million; the prior year had a big boost from auctions including .web.

Expenses were essentially flat year-over-year, down less than $1 million.

It paid Jones Day $5.4 million for legal expenses

ICANN paid 183 contractors and employees six figures.

12 employees/contractors had compensation of $400,000 or more. This number balloons to 18 when you consider untaxed compensation.

9 employees/contractors had compensation of $300,000 or more, with six people popping up to $400k when you consider untaxed compensation.

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GoDaddy adds its branding to ‘for sale’ landers

Domain Name Wire - Sat, 2019-06-01 14:04

Domains added via GoDaddy listing service now have GoDaddy branding.

GoDaddy adds its logo to landers.

GoDaddy has added its logo to sales landers on client domains, which should give a boost to inquiries and sales.

The company started by changing the branding from Afternic to GoDaddy on its own portfolio of domains. It simultaneously changed the serving for these domains to faster servers. It immediately saw a 10% conversion lift.

A few months ago it added the GoDaddy branding to for sale landers for domains added via Afternic, but not domains that were added via GoDaddy’s listing tool. Just recently it added it to all domain names.

The Afternic name isn’t well-known outside of domainer circles. GoDaddy is a trusted name, so it makes sense that potential buyers will respond better to this branding.

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Celgene sues to get after trying to reverse hijack it first

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2019-05-31 16:20

Company hires new counsel after being found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

Celgene is making a second attempt to get the domain name

In February of this year, pharmaceutical company Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) was found to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking in its attempt to get the domain name The World Intellectual Property Organization panel found that Celgene attempted to mislead the panel.

Now the company is using new counsel at Wiley Rein to try its hand in U.S. courts.

The $66 billion company filed an in rem lawsuit against the domain name in Virginia courts where .com registry Verisign is located.

The lawsuit is for violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) and trademark infringement.

In the suit, Celgene points out that it believes the domain owner is PortMedia, the company that responded in the UDRP for the domain. It states that PortMedia has been found to have engaged in cybersquatting on at least five occasions and has handed over obvious trademark domains in other cases. (One of the examples it gives is for — a case in which PortMedia actually won.)

The trademark infringement claim is notable. Even if the ACPA claim fails, Celgene shows screenshots of pay-per-click landers that had ads related to the pharmaceutical company.

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Categories: News and Updates

Latest Verisign Quarterly Report Says Worldwide Domain Registrations Increased By 18 Million In Past Year

DN Journal - Thu, 2019-05-30 21:55
Verisign has released their latest Domain Name Industry Brief covering 1Q-2019. There is good news for .coms and ccTLDs and a mixed bag for new gTLDs.
Categories: News and Updates

Critics Say FCC's New Report Declaring US Broadband Healthier Than Ever is Based on Flawed Data

Domain industry news - Thu, 2019-05-30 20:58

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its 2019 Broadband Deployment Report on Wednesday stating the digital divide is shrinking substantially, and more Americans than ever have access to high-speed broadband. According to the report, "the number of Americans with access to at least 250 Mbps/25 Mbps broadband grew in 2017 by more than 36%, to 191.5 million." Moreover, the report also indicates that the number of rural Americans with access to high-speed services increased by 85.1% in 2017. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says that "this report shows that our approach is working."

"But Pai's fellow FCC Commissioners said the report, which only tracks broadband improvements as of the end of 2017, paints an inaccurate picture of the industry," reports Motherboard's Karl Bode. "For example, it fails to discuss how broadband pricing continues to skyrocket as consumers increasingly only have access to faster speeds from just one ISP, usually their regional cable provider."

"The report reaches the wrong conclusion," said Democratic FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks in a statement: "The rosy picture the report paints about the status of broadband deployment is fundamentally at odds with reality. ... I am also compelled to speak out about the process that led to this report, which, when initially circulated, was based on massive, erroneous overstatements of high-speed internet deployment in the underlying data."

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