News and Updates

GoDaddy’s marked change shows on International Women’s Day

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2019-03-08 14:15

The company has come a long way since its early marketing.

Today is International Women’s Day. GoDaddy has changed its logo from GoDaddy to GoWomen for the day:

This is noteworthy because of how far GoDaddy has come. The business came to fame on the back of commercials that objectified women; with new ownership and management, it has turned the corner to become a big promoter of women.

It’s not just lip service, either. The company has made a concerted effort to recruit women to the company and is working toward gender pay parity. For the past four years, it has released salary data showing how women are paid at the company compared to men.

Here’s a video GoDaddy put together for International Women’s Day 2019.

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Categories: News and Updates

Supporting Dot Amazon Strengthens Global Internet Cooperation

Domain industry news - Fri, 2019-03-08 01:28

With the backlash against tech companies gaining steam, we've seen certain contrarian members of the media taking indiscriminate aim at companies and issues without due cause. This is what happened when Financial Times columnist Gillian Tett, in a paywalled March 7th editorial, inaccurately portrayed a process involving the Amazon's gTLD application for .AMAZON, an issue the i2Coalition has been engaged in for years.

While we respect that columnists have limited time to write pieces and short space to make their argument, this column argues that the story of .AMAZON is one of attempted exploitation. This is not the case. The columnist praises ICANN's global consultative process and its slow and deliberative action, and yet she goes on to immediately rush to judgment about what it should do with the gTLD itself. Rather than try to understand ICANN's processes, this columnist prefers to complain that it's simply too complicated. "[M]y heart lies on the side of the jungle," she writes, going on to say that proceeding with the .AMAZON delegation would threaten Internet cooperation.

Given looming deadlines to solve this protracted conflict in the right way, we wish to state that the opposite is true.

Amazon applied for .AMAZON and its Chinese and Japanese translations, among many others, when ICANN launched the new gTLD program seven years ago. Under the 2012 gTLD Applicant Guidebook process, the ".AMAZON" application received perfect scores, and ICANN's Geographic Names Panel, which had been consulting with governments for multiple years on the subject, said the domain was neither a prohibited geographic name nor one which required government approval.

ICANN operates under the multi-stakeholder model. The multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance serves to keep the Internet free and open, by bringing the interests of all parties to the table and ensuring that the Internet is free of undue control by any one group, including governments who have an important but not overreaching role to play. It was under this system that the .AMAZON application was made. Amazon met all the requirements under ICANN's articles, bylaws, and guidebook, and drew top marks across the board for its' application.

Amazon is a member of the i2Coalition, but our interest in this matter goes well beyond the commercial interest of a single member of our community. ICANN is seven years into a gTLD delegation process in which the rules were clearly spelled out in advance, with governments at the table when the rules were made. Attempts to change them after the fact, in ways that are not driven by consensus of the global multi-stakeholder community, are corrosive to the trust we have in the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. In short, ICANN needs to follow through with the .AMAZON application, and follow its' own rules, to maintain the credibility of its' systems.

Though we should all be sympathetic to the position of the governments of Brazil and Peru, we should also be impressed with the extensive efforts that Amazon has undertaken in order to assuage as many of those concerns as possible. They have made formal signed commitments to not use the TLDs in a confusing manner. They have promised to support future gTLD applications to represent the region using the geographic terms of the regions, including .AMAZONIA, .AMAZONICA or .AMAZONAS. They also offered to reserve for the relevant governments certain domain names that could cause confusion or touch on national sensitivities.

We strongly believe that the Internet community and the Board of ICANN now has an opportunity to show the entire multi-stakeholder community that its' systems work. By upholding its Applicant Guidebook, its community-developed bylaws, and independent dispute resolution process, the ICANN Board's approval of the .AMAZON applications will increase community trust, and show that the Board takes ICANN's core principles of transparency and accountability extremely seriously. For those reasons, we call on the Board of ICANN to approve the .AMAZON applications.

Written by Christian Dawson, Executive Director, i2Coalition

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More under: ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, New TLDs

Categories: News and Updates

UDRP Panelists: Getting the Standard Right Where No Response is Filed

Domain industry news - Thu, 2019-03-07 19:46

Applying the Incorrect Evidentiary Standard in Default Cases Can Result in Unjustified Transfers

Over three-quarters of the more than 55,000 UDRP cases decided since 1999 have been undefended.[1] Requiring adequate evidentiary support of the complainant's allegations in disputes where the respondent has not filed a response, is therefore critical for producing just outcomes under the UDRP.

While most UDRP disputes involve clear cybersquats that are indefensible, a significant number involve domain names that are not clearly cybersquats, such that the justification for a requested transfer may be questionable. For example, some undefended domain names can easily be identified as common descriptive or generic terms or are potentially suitable for many legitimate uses. Such a domain name may be the subject of a UDRP complaint simply because it is desirable, not due to any violation of the Policy. Panels, therefore, ought to ensure that allegations in a complaint are adequately supported by evidence even when the respondent fails to file a response, in order to avoid an unjustified transfer.

Over the years, some panelists have apparently relied upon an incorrect interpretation of the UDRP that purports to authorize transfers in undefended disputes in reliance on factually unsupported or boilerplate, generalized allegations. Such panelists have been inadvertently led astray by unclear Rules regarding no-response cases and by a prevalent misreading of an early UDRP decision concerning the domain name, talk-city.com. The decision in the talk-city.com dispute has been routinely misunderstood as supporting a low evidentiary burden in undefended cases.

Those panelists who have applied a lower evidentiary burden in no-response cases indirectly encourage complainants to file baseless or faulty complaints in the hope that the respondent will not defend, and that the panel will order a transfer despite inadequate evidence of trademark rights, bad faith, and a respondent's lack of legitimate interest. Just outcomes under the UDRP require that allegations be proven even when the respondent fails to appear.

Allegations Must Be Proven

The Policy sets forth a three-part test to determine whether a transfer is justified and requires that "the complainant must prove that each of [the] three elements are present."[2] Even in no-response cases, therefore, panels must evaluate the allegations and the evidence presented by the complainant to determine whether the complainant has proven each of the Policy's three elements. As stated by Panelist David Bernstein: "even though the Respondent defaulted, it is still Complainant's burden to prove that Respondent lacks rights or a legitimate interest in the disputed domain name".[3] Similarly, in another no-response case, Bernstein held that:

Complaint has shown that it cannot prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith… The burden is on Complainant to prove that this is a case of abusive cybersquatting and Complainant has failed to sustain that burden in this case.[4]

Maintaining the burden of proof on the complainant even in a no-response case is consistent with the consensus view articulated in WIPO's Jurisprudential Overview 3.0:

Noting the burden of proof on the complainant, a respondent's default (i.e., failure to submit a formal response) would not by itself mean that the complainant is deemed to have prevailed; a respondent's default is not necessarily an admission that the complainant's claims are true.[5]

Panels have denied over 1,500 complaints[6] even when the respondent has defaulted due to a failure by the complainant to meet its burden of proof.[7] Reasons for such denials include the Complainant's failure to show any registered or even any common law trademarks,[8] the Complainant's admission that there was a contractual relationship wherein the Respondent had an interest in the domain name,[9] where there is an absence of evidence that the Respondent targeted the Complainant,[10] where the website associated with the Domain Name shows non-commercial usage of a common descriptive term,[11] or where the Complainant failed to prove registration and use in bad faith because the Complainant did not demonstrate trademark rights prior to the registration of the domain name by the Respondent.[12] It does not, therefore, follow from the absence of a response, that every UDRP complaint contains credible allegations, such that a transfer is merited under the Policy.

In some disputes, despite the respondent's failure to file a response, not only have panels rejected complaints, but have at times found the complainant guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking (RDNH). In Mister Auto SAS v. Wharton Lyon & Lyon, WIPO Case No. D2018-1330, August 3, 2018 (misterauto.com), Panelist John Swinson noted that "the onus of proving [the three UDRP] elements remains on the Complainant even though the Respondent has not filed a Response", and that "the Respondent's failure to file a Response does not automatically result in a decision in favor of the Complainant".[13] As the disputed domain name's registration pre-dated the Complainant's existence and trademark, Swinson rejected the Complainant's baseless allegations of bad faith registration and instead entered a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. In Spy Optic, Inc. v. James Lee, WIPO Case No. D2013-1411, October 1, 2013, (spyopticsoutlet.com), Panelist Richard Lyon determined that where a complainant's material allegations are identified as being contradicted by the complainant's own evidence, RDNH can be found: "If the face of the complaint itself demonstrates a settled reason why the complaint must be denied, a panel may make a finding of RDNH".[14]

Likewise in M. Corentin Benoit Thiercelin v. CyberDeal, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2010-0941, August 10, 2010, (virtualpoint.com),[15] even in the absence of a Response, Panelist Tony Willoughby found that the Complainant's "flagrantly insupportable claim" that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith when the registration preceded any trademark rights of the Complainant was deserving of a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. In Insight Energy Ventures LLC v. Alois Muehlberger, L.M.Berger Co.Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2016-2010, December 12, 2016, (powerly.com),[16] despite the lack of a formal response, Panelist John Swinson found that the Complainant had "asserted without any supporting evidence that the Disputed Domain Name was registered in bad faith" and made a finding of RDNH.

The above RDNH findings are among several RDNH decisions issued despite the respondent's failure to appear.[17] These instances of complainants making allegations that are clearly baseless, even in the absence of a response, demonstrates the need for panelists to require evidentiary support for each material allegation and highlights the danger of any guidance suggesting that a panel should uncritically accept a complainant's allegations in a default case, as doing so may result in a panel's unwitting approval of the hijacking of a lawfully registered domain name.

In the UDRP, as in any credible adjudication system, allegations must be proven. As expressed by Panelist Richard Lyon: "Few things are more settled, or more fundamental under the Policy and Rules, than the requirement that material factual allegations must be proven, not simply alleged".[18]

A Mistaken Approach to Undefended Disputes

Despite this bedrock principle that allegations must be proven, there is a long line of UDRP cases holding that when a respondent fails to file a response, material factual allegations need not actually be proven. As will be discussed below, certain panelists have been under the apparent misapprehension that the burden of proof ceases to rest on the complainant where the respondent fails to submit a response and that instead a complainant's allegations can be accepted despite inadequate supporting evidence.

The Rules themselves, which operate in conjunction with the Policy, have unfortunately undermined the otherwise clear language in the Policy that the complainant must prove its case. The Rules state that in the absence of a Response, a panel is entitled to decide the case based upon the complaint alone[19] and is entitled to draw inferences "as it considers appropriate" from a party's failure to participate in the process.[20] This raises the critical question as to what is the appropriate inference to draw from a respondent's failure to appear.

Two of the most frequently cited UDRP decisions for guidance in answering this question are Vertical Solutions Management, Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., NAF Claim Number: FA0006000095095, July 31, 2000 (vsm.com)[21] and Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, WIPO Case No. D2000-0009, February 29, 2000 (talk-city.com) issued by David Bernstein as sole panelist.[22] These two cases have appeared side-by-side in many Forum decisions from the early days of the UDRP as providing the appropriate guidance for deciding a dispute where the respondent defaults. These cases have therefore figured prominently in panelists' views of the appropriate standard of evidence required in no-response cases.

Vertical Solutions holds that in the absence of a response, "all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the Complaint will be deemed true" (emphasis added). This language appears to be derived from Rule 14(b), which speaks of drawing "appropriate" inferences from a failure to participate in the UDRP process but has qualified "appropriate" inferences as necessarily being confined to those which are "reasonable". What constitutes an appropriate or even a reasonable inference, however, is not clear from the Vertical Solutions citation, nor is it spelled out in the Rules, nor is it entirely clear from the established case law, such that Vertical Solutions despite being routinely cited for its guidance offers little in the way of helpful guidance.

Contrasted with Vertical Solutions's vague standard of "reasonable inferences", Talk City is cited for the principle that "In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint”. This purported standard appears to eliminate any requirement that the complainant substantiate its allegations with supporting evidence, such that the mere default of the respondent is sufficient to establish its guilt. This purported holding is in direct conflict with the requirement in the Policy that the complainant must prove its allegations. It is also in direct conflict with other decisions issued by David Bernstein, the sole-panelist in Talk City, who, as noted above, has consistently held that the burden of proof rests with the complainant even when the respondent defaults.

In nearly every dispute handled by the Forum in which the respondent fails to appear, Talk City is cited in the decision for the above-purported holding that it is "appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint". This citation appears in approximately two-thirds of all Forum published decisions, totaling over 15,000 cases dating from 2000 to the present. Talk City is quite possibly the most frequently cited decision in all of UDRP jurisprudence and has thereby influenced countless panelists.

There is a serious flaw in this citation of Talk City, however. The oft-quoted statement, "In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint," appears nowhere in the decision. The purported holding attributed to Talk City is instead a misquotation that distorts the genuine findings in the decision.

The actual language of the Talk City decision is subtly but importantly different:

Given Respondent's failure to submit a substantive answer in a timely fashion, the Panel accepts as true all of the allegations of the complaint. The Rules expressly provide that the Panel "shall draw such inferences" from the Respondent's failure to comply with the rules "as it considers appropriate." Rule 14(b). Moreover, when a respondent defaults, the Rules direct the Panel to "proceed to a decision on the complaint." Rule 14(a); see also Rule 5(e). Furthermore, the Panel is charged with rendering its decision "on the basis of the statements and documents submitted." Rule 15(a).[23]

Rather than standing for an entirely different evidentiary standard than that in Vertical Marketing, the Talk City holding is fully consistent with the Vertical Marketing standard that a complainant's allegations are not to be blindly accepted but rather the panel is to use its judgment to reasonably "draw such inferences" "as it considers appropriate." By shifting the meaning and the placement of the word "appropriate", the misquotation transforms the holding in Talk City from one that properly held that the panel should exercise its independent judgment to draw appropriate inferences into an improper holding directing the panel that it is appropriate to accept all allegations, whether well founded or not.

Moreover, in understanding the findings in Talk City, it is crucial to note the unusual circumstances of that case. The Panel in Talk City received informal communications from the Respondent first indicating that the Respondent was "ready, willing and able to transfer" the disputed domain name and then later stating that it had already "taken steps to transfer the domain name" to the Complainant.[24] The panelist chose to accept as true all the Complainants allegations not merely because the respondent failed "to submit a substantive answer in a timely fashion", but with the knowledge from the Respondent's informal communications that the Respondent was consenting to the transfer.

The facts in Talk City are so exceptional that the case offers no useful precedential value for disputes in which the respondent has not consented to the transfer. It is unfortunate that so many panelists have relied so heavily on a decision that has no genuine precedential value in cases where it is cited. And it is even more troubling that its holding has been contorted to promote an evidentiary standard that undermines the integrity of the UDRP, when its actual holding is wholly consistent with UDRP principles and jurisprudence.

The Consequences of the Talk City Misquotation

The purported guidance in the Talk City citation that allegations need not be supported by evidence in no-response cases inserts unauthorized "default" provisions into the UDRP, which is antithetical to the UDRP framework. This mistaken guidance has unfortunately led some panelists astray.[25]

A number of decisions have been issued over the years citing Talk City in which disputed domain names are ordered transferred despite the failure of the complainant to support its allegations with solid evidence. In Tianrong Internet Products and Services, Inc. v. Josue da Silva, Forum Claim Number: FA0208000123866, October 22, 2002 (phonecalls.com) Panelist James Crary stated as follows:

Furthermore, when Respondent fails to submit a Response the Panel is permitted to make all inferences in favor of Complainant. See Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009, (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) ("In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint").[26]

Apparently influenced by the Talk City misquotation, Crary ordered the transfer of the domain name phonecalls.com despite the absence of evidence that the Respondent registered the domain name to target the Complainant rather than due to the everyday meaning of "phone calls". The evidence presented by the Complainant was that the domain name was being used for non-infringing advertising and that it was being offered for sale to the general public, thereby demonstrating that there was no factual basis for the Complainant's allegations of bad faith. Nevertheless, Crary ordered the transfer of phonecalls.com apparently under the influence of the false standard articulated in the distorted citation from Talk City.

Similarly, in Enlightened, Inc. v. Nil, Forum Claim Number: FA050800054919, October 18, 2005, (enlightened.com),[27] Panelist Ralph Yachnin cited to Talk City while shifting the burden of proof from the Complainant to the Respondent. As it is impossible for the non-appearing Respondent to discharge this burden, Yachnin's approach becomes in effect a "win by default" for the Complainant:

Respondent did not provide evidence that would suggest that Respondent is holding the disputed domain name for any non-infringing purpose. Without an indication that Respondent registered the domain name with the intention of using it for a legitimate purpose, the Panel finds that Respondent's passive holding of the <enlightened.com> domain name for almost seven years constitutes bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).[28]

Yachnin ordered the transfer of a common dictionary word domain name, enlightened.com, despite an absence of infringing use and despite a total absence of evidence that the domain name had been registered because of the Complainant's mark. This case demonstrates how a misapplication and misapprehension of the appropriate standard in no response cases can lead to a troubling reversal of the well-established burden of proof on a complainant.

In Intercontinental Exchange Holdings, Inc. v. Dmitry Vasilev / Elmaco Ltd., NAF Claim Number: FA1612001709953, February 12, 2017, (the-ice.com), Panelist Debrett Lyons, although not citing to Talk City, adopted a similar approach as in Enlightened. Although no evidence was offered that the Respondent was aware of or was targeting the Complainant, Lyons found the Respondent guilty of acting in bad faith. Lyons did so by shifting the burden of proof from the Complainant to the Respondent, such that the Respondent was considered guilty unless it could demonstrate its innocence. This presented an insurmountable hurdle for the Respondent due to its failure to appear:

Noticeable by its absence is any use of THE ICE as either a trademark or in some other way [by the Complainant]...it might be questioned what evidence exists that Respondent here targeted Complainant at the time of registration… [THE ICE] has a trademark "ring" to it. Enough so, the Panel finds, that its adoption by Respondent required some explanation in these Administrative Proceedings. None was given and since, as indicated, the operation of paragraph 4(b)(iv) might only be suspended on clear evidence of good faith registration, the Panel finds registration and use in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) and accordingly finds that Complainant has satisfied the final element of the Policy.[29]

The problem with drawing a rebuttable inference of bad faith where the respondent has not appeared means that it nearly assures a finding of bad faith registration in every no-response case, since after the respondent fails to rebut the allegation of lack of legitimate interest, bad faith can be imputed as a result. This creates a domino effect where the complainant's possession of trademark rights, however tenuous, leads to an unrebutted inference of lack of legitimate interest, which in turn leads to an unrebutted inference of bad faith, such that the three-part test required to justify a transfer collapses into what amounts to a one-part test of whether the complainant has met the very low bar of having some trademark rights.[30]

Relying Upon Irrelevant Cases in an Attempt to Support Unjustified Inferences

The vague admonition in the Rules that panels draw appropriate inference from the respondent's failure to appear is another source of error in no response cases as it offers an apparent justification to make speculative leaps by merely asserting such inferences are "appropriate" and thus in accordance with the Rules. This willingness to rely upon speculative leaps of inference in no-response cases may also have been influenced by the disregard for evidentiary standards expressed in the Talk City mis-citation.

Instances of transfers ordered in reliance on inferences that are not grounded in adequate evidence can often be identified by looking at the cases cited in support of the panel's findings. An indication that an inference is neither "appropriate" nor "reasonable" is when the cases cited for support rely upon entirely different and more robust evidentiary support than in the present case. The difficulty in finding cases to cite as precedent that have similar facts is a warning flag to the panel that it is likely making inferences that are overly speculative and are not adequately supported by the evidence.

Panelist Neil Brown ordered the disputed domain name imi.com transferred in Irving Materials, Inc. v. Black, Jeff / PartnerVision Ventures, Forum Claim Number FA1710001753342, November 7, 2017.[31] The respondent did not appear. The Complainant is an aggregate materials company that had no registered trademark in IMI when the imi.com domain name was registered 23-years prior, in the early days of the commercial Internet. Brown apparently overlooked (or it was not drawn to his attention) that the Whois record showed that the Registrant's business name was "Internet Marketing Inc.", thereby suggesting that the Respondent had a legitimate interest in the domain name. Brown, in support of his finding that in 1994 the Registrant was aware of the unregistered rights in a common acronym of a company operating in an obscure industrial niche, cited to Univision Comm'cns Inc. v. Norte, FA 1000079 (Forum Aug. 16, 2007)(univision.tv)[32] for its holding, in part, that "the panel found that the respondent had knowledge of the complainant's rights in the UNIVISION mark when registering the disputed domain name". Yet Univision was a famous, distinctive mark when univision.tv was registered. Moreover, the respondent in that dispute acknowledged it was intentionally targeting the Univision mark for a parody website. As the circumstances that supported the bad faith finding in the univision.tv dispute are entirely lacking in the imi.com dispute, Brown's reliance on univision.tv highlights instead the apparent absence of evidence to support Brown's finding that imi.com was registered in bad faith. The decision in imi.com was heavily criticized[33] and the Respondent filed a Federal lawsuit seeking to prevent the transfer of the domain name and alleging Reverse Domain Name Hijacking under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.[34]

In Zynex Medical, Inc. v. New Ventures Services Corp, Forum Claim Number FA1805001788042, July 2, 2018, (neuromove.com),[35] Panelist John Upchurch found registration in bad faith despite making no determination as to when the registration of the disputed domain name occurred. Neuromove.com was first registered in 2000, while the trademark relied upon by the Complainant was registered in 2012. This suggests that Upchurch made an unsupported inference in finding that the registration of the disputed domain name was in bad faith. To justify his finding that the Respondent had registered neuromove.com in bad faith, Upchurch cited to a decision concerning GoAlamo.club.[36] That decision relied upon evidence that the Respondent was a serial cybersquatter with a history of targeting the famous ALAMO mark. No comparable evidence was presented in the neuromove.com decision, thereby highlighting the lack of evidence to support an inference of bad faith registration.

In AREAS, S.A. v. Andres Sanchez Garcia, WIPO Case No. D2015-1482, November 9, 2015, (areas.com),[37] Panelist Alejandro Touriño ordered the transfer of the inactive 17-year-old domain name areas.com despite a lack of evidence to support a reasonable inference of either registration or use in bad faith. Lacking any evidence on which he could draw even a highly speculative inference of bad faith, Touriño instead held that it was the Respondent's failure to appear that in itself provided the necessary evidence of bad faith: "a failure to respond [sic] the Complaint can be evidence of bad faith".

Yet the kivotos-hotel.com dispute[38] that Touriño relied upon is readily distinguishable from the areas.com dispute, as it involved two competing Greek hotels, one of which registered its competitor's distinctive brand to drive traffic to its own website, such that the Panelist found the appearance of guilt to be so compelling that it required an explanation from the Respondent. The lack of a similar factual background in the areas.com dispute highlights that Touriño's finding of bad faith from a mere failure to respond was unjustified and did not support the troubling transfer of an aged common word domain name that was put to no infringing use.

The guidance providing in the Rules that a panel make inferences "as it considers appropriate" from a respondent's failure to appear does not grant permission to panels to make speculative inferences that are not grounded in solid evidence. In the above cases, the Panels did not require that the Complainants prove their allegations. Instead the Panels accepted the allegations by making inferences that were not supported by the evidence presented in the case. That the facts in the cases that they cited as support were entirely different and more compelling than the facts in their own cases should have suggested to the Panelists that the inferences they were making were not well founded.

The Proper Approach is to Only Accept Allegations Adequately Supported by Evidence

From the earliest days of the UDRP, the treatment of no-response cases has suffered from an unclear and often misapprehended approach. As the great majority of UDRP disputes are undefended, this incorrect approach has become widespread throughout UDRP jurisprudence. The holding in the most heavily relied-upon decision for the evidentiary standard in no-response cases, Talk City, has been misread and misapplied, directing panelists to accept unsupported allegations of bad faith as true whenever no response is filed. This error in undefended cases has remained uncorrected in over 15,000 citations for over 18 years. The Rules permitting panelists to draw appropriate inferences from a respondent's failure to appear has likewise been misapplied to justify inferences that do not follow from the evidence.

Appropriate inferences well supported by the evidence, accurate citation, and correct application of UDRP precedent are critical to the integrity and authority of the UDRP Policy, in both defended and undefended cases alike. Reflexive and unwarranted transfer of domain names in undefended cases, based on unsupported allegations, undermines confidence in the process and rewards misuse of the UDRP. The Policy and good practice demand careful review of all complaints for sufficient evidentiary support.

[1] Data from UDRP.tools, which incorporates cases from WIPO, the Forum and the Czech Arbitration Council.
[2] See Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy (https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/policy-2012-02-25-en)
[3] See https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/... (sermosucks.com)
[4] See: http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/... (everybodyrides.com)
[5] See: https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/...
[6] UDRP.tools (n 1).
[7] See Paragraph 4(1) of the Policy; https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/policy...
[8] See for example, Mystery Tackle Box, Inc. v. John Connolly, NAF Claim Number: FA1812001819248, January 8, 2019 (ShopKarl.com) and Silver Streak Industries, LLC v. Vietze, Dan / Frederick Manufacturing, Forum Claim Number: FA1510001643236, November 23, 2015 (silverstreak.com)
[9] See for example, Thermotion, LLC v. ISIS, NAF Claim Number: FA1811001817477, January 2, 2019 (thermotion.com)
[10] See PCO AG v. Register4Less Privacy Advocate, 3501256 Canada, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2017-1778, October 30, 2017 (pco.com) and Zeca S.p.A. v. Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. / Domain Vault LLC, WIPO Case No. D2017-0158, April 3, 2017 (zeca.com), Olsen Holding GmbH v. Domain Admin, Whois Privacy Group / Domain Admin, Mighty Products, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2018-0568 (olsen.com). See also http://iplegalcorner.com/ignoring-or-failing-to-understand....
[11] See World Future Society v. S.F.P. Koopmans, BCG eBrpojects B.V., WIPO Case No. D2016-2347, January 13, 2017 (worldfuturesociety.com)
[12] See Zoyo Capital Limited v. A. Zoyo, WIPO Case No. D2018-2234, November 13, 2018 (zoyo.com), TDBBS, Inc. v. Mark Dimitrijevic, WIPO Case No. D2016-2111, December 2, 2016 (pawluxury.com), and Sanabul v. Wasea Qubadi, Forum Claim Number: FA1709001748693, October 18, 2017 (sanabul.com)
[13] https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2018-1330
[14] https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2013-1411
[15] https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=d2010-0941
[16] https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2016-2010
[17] As identified at https://www.rdnh.com/rdnh-panels/
[18] Dean & Simmons, Sàrl and Heintz Van Landewyck S.à.r.l. v. Domain Capital / Moniker Privacy Services, WIPO Case No. D2015-0080, March 27, 2015 (fiesta.com), a defended case.
[19] See Paragraph 5(f) of the UDRP Rules.
[20] See Paragraph 14(b) of the UDRP Rules, ibid.
[21] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/95095.htm
[22] https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2000/d2000-0009.html
[23] ibid
[24] ibid
[25] Many panelists are not led astray by the incorrect evidentiary standard attributed to Talk City, even when the decisions they issue cite to Talk City. Talk City appears to be included as boilerplate language in Forum decisions when no response is filed, whether or not the Panelist relies on the guidance set forth in the purported quote from Talk City. Many decisions that cite to Talk City appropriately require that the complainant meet its burden of proof.
[26] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/123866.htm
[27] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/549191.htm
[28] ibid
[29] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/1709953.htm
[30] See dissent of Panelist Diane Cabell in dispute over ruggedswitch.com: “Today, many panels will find proof of all three of the Policy's elements simply from the existence of a mark of any kind with arguments that any mark is by definition identical or confusingly similar, that any use by any party other than a mark owner can only be illegitimate, and that bad faith necessarily exists if there is no legitimate interest. That takes us back to the beginning, which I find disheartening.” https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2009/d2009-0119.html
[31] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/1753342.htm
[32] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/1000079.htm
[33] See https://iplegalcorner.com/drawing-inferences... : "A similarly false inference was made in Irving Materials, Inc. v. Black, Jeff / PartnerVision Ventures"; https://domainnamewire.com/2017/11/08/valuable-imi-com...; https://domaininvesting.com/imi-com-udrp-decision-stunning/
[34] https://domainnamewire.com/wp-content/IMI.pdf
[35] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/1788042.htm
[36] http://www.adrforum.com/domaindecisions/1625332.htm
[37] https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2015-1482
[38] See https://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2008/d2008-1003.html

Written by Zak Muscovitch, General Counsel, Internet Commerce Association

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More under: Domain Management, Domain Names, UDRP

Categories: News and Updates

ICANN to Grant Verisign Right to Sell a Single-Character .com Domain for First Time in Over 25 Years

Domain industry news - Thu, 2019-03-07 18:10

ICANN's board of directors is due to vote next Thursday at the conclusion of ICANN 64, which begins Saturday in Kobe, Japan, to approve a complex proposal allowing Verisign to auction off o.com, with almost all of the proceeds going to good causes. Kevin Murphy reporting in Domain Incite: "ICANN had referred the Verisign proposal, first put forward in December 2016, to the US government, and the Department of Justice gave it the nod in December 2017. There was also a public comment period last May. The request almost certainly came about due to Overstock.com’s incessant lobbying."

The only single character .com domains currently registered are q.com, z.com and x.com.

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Categories: News and Updates

NDA Keeps Multi-Million $ Sale of Chocolate.com from Topping New Chart But It's a Big Win for Kate Buckley

DN Journal - Thu, 2019-03-07 18:07
Kate Buckley has just closed another major domain sale, brokering a multi-million dollar deal for Chocolate.com. More on all of the week's top sales here.
Categories: News and Updates

22 end user sales up to $50,000

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-03-07 15:17

A new NYC tourist attraction, a bank and a soccer score business bought domain names.

The Edge at Hudson Yards will soon be a big tourist attraction in New York City. The group behind Hudson Yards bought the domain name EdgeNY.com. Photo from HudsonYardsNewYork.com.

It was a big week for end user domain name sales, led by a bank name for $50,000. Also notable (because it’s cool, not the price) is that the developer of Hudson Yards in New York City bought EdgeNY.com for its viewing balcony. The balcony opens this month. Someone registered the domain back in 2005. NYEdge.com is registered by a music band.

Let’s get to this week’s long list of end user domain sales. You can view previous lists like this here.

NaviBank.com $50,000 – The domain is still in escrow but this is definitely an end user. When I google the term I get a bank in Mumbai that uses the domain name NaviMumbaiBank.com.

Blume.com $22,000 – Blume, a women’s health and beauty products company, upgraded from MeetBlume.com.

Aprende.com €8,999 – Forwards to GastronomicaInternacional.com – an online culinary school. Aprende means ‘learn’ in Spanish.

IPData.com $7,500 – Bought by Apilayer GmbH, a German API company.

ColonialGaming.com $5,000 – A message on the site has a logo for Colonial Gaming and says it’s coming soon.  Whois shows The Buzz Creative Group, an ad agency.

CoWorkingCafe.com $4,500 – This domain was bought by Yardi Software which is a property management and real estate software company.

FlashScore.pe $3,999 – Forwarding to FlashScore.com, which has purchased other domains at Sedo for its international soccer score platform.

HanaTravel.com $3,500 – Forwards to HanaTransfer.com – an airport transportation provider in Antayla, a resort destination in Turkey.

Phoenix-Security.de €3,000 – The buyer has installed a WordPress theme. Presumably it’s a physical or cyber security firm.

InvestReal.com €3,000 – This company claims to be first data-driven real estate marketplace focused on matching investors to projects in Opportunity Zones all over the U.S.

Bramlage.com $3,000 – This site is in development for Bramlage Lifesciences, a healthcare research firm out of Berlin.

DesignIQ.com $2,999 – DesignIQ is a digital branding and design agency with several offices in the U.S. It uses the domain DesignIQ.io and forwards the .com to this domain.

QuincyAutoAuction.com $2,971 – Quincy Auction, an auto auction platform based in Quincy, MA. It already owns the domain QuincyAuction.com.

Montessori.ch €2,691- This Swiss ccTLD domain currently forwards to montessori-material.de, a Germany online shop for Motessori games, activities and school-related materials for young children.

EandCSnacks.com $2,627 – This is kind of like a typo domain for E & Cs Snacks website, EandCsSnacks.com.

TraverseHealth.com $2,500 – Forwards to HealBetterFast.com, the website for Dr. Michael Pound. He’s a health practitioner with doctors as guest contributors, his own podcast and more to benefit personal health goals and initiatives.

ProjectFun.com $2,500 – This domain was bought by DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond, WA, which offers a bachelor’s degree in video game technology and development. This could be a name to support an upcoming campaign or marketing push.

Mail.town €2,499 – German email service.

LaCubanita.de €2,499 – La Cubanita is a tapas restaurant chain that uses the domain name LaCubanita.nl.

MagnumMetals.com $2,488 – This is a major supplier in the roofing and commercial pre-engineered building sector operating out of Mississippi. They currently use Magnum-Metals.net as their domain so this is an upgrade to the .com without a hyphen.

Serienreif.de €2,250 – Forwards to Serienreif.com. Serienreif is a German company that supports automotive projects – from product design to manufacturing.

EdgeNY.com $2,000 – Forwards to hudsonyardsnewyork.com/discover/observation-deck. The observation deck, which opens this month, will be the highest public balcony in the U.S.

© 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.

Related posts:
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  2. What domain names Shell and other end users bought last week
  3. A BIG week for end user domain name sales
Categories: News and Updates

Chocolate.com domain name sells for 7 figures

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-03-07 14:26

Buyer of valuable domain name has not been identified yet.

Domain name broker Kate Buckley announced yesterday that she has brokered the sale of Chocolate.com:

Congratulations to our buyer and seller on https://t.co/PwqSwd0ncB! What an amazing asset! #domains #marketing #scale #chocolate #buckleymedia

— Kate Buckley (@katebuckley1) March 6, 2019

She said the exact price is under a non-disclosure agreement but she confirmed it was for seven figures–meaning somewhere between $1-$10 million.

The domain name has been brokered by other entities since at least as far back as 2013 when Sedo marketed it.

Deal Jam LLC acquired Chocolate.com in 2005. The most recent public Whois record I can find for the domain dates to 2016. It shows Andrew Miller, who was with Deal Jam, as the contact. Miller was part of Internet Real Estate Group LLC (not to be confused with iREIT). Internet Real Estate Group was behind a lot of big domain sales last decade.

© 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.

Related posts:
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Categories: News and Updates

Facebook Enters Wholesale Fiber Business, Plans to Sell Unused Capacity on New Fiber Routes

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-03-06 23:42

Facebooks says it intends to allow third parties — including local and regional providers — to purchase excess capacity on its fiber. "Unlike a retail telecommunications provider, we will not be providing services directly to consumers," said the company in a recent post providing an update to its backbone network infrastructure. Kevin Salvadori, Facebook's Director of Network Investments, says: "We will reserve a portion for our own use and make the excess available to others. This means you'll start to see a Facebook subsidiary, Middle Mile Infrastructure, operating as a wholesale provider (or, where necessary, as a telecommunications carrier)."

Facebook's entry into the wholesale fiber market is part of a larger trend says Data Center Frontier's Rich Miller: "As hyperscale companies like Facebook continue to grow, the huge volumes of user data prompt them to add data centers. This leads to larger cloud campuses, with truly massive volumes of data moving between them. The volume of this 'East-West' traffic between data centers far surpasses the volume of data traveling to other campuses and the Internet — known as "North-South" traffic."

Facebook's latest fiber routes will connect data centers in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Cloud Computing, Data Center

Categories: News and Updates

Public Interest Registry Adds Three New Members to Its Executive Team

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-03-06 22:54

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the nonprofit operator of the .org domain, has announced the addition of three new members to the organization's executive team: Judy Song-Marshall, Chief of Staff; Joe Abley, Chief Technology Officer and Anand Vora, Vice President of Business Affairs. The new hires, starting throughout March and April of 2019. The broadening of the executive team comes following Public Interest Registry's recent appointment of Jon Nevett as President and CEO. Public Interest Registry is also on the lookout for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

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Categories: News and Updates

Ram Mohan named Afilias COO

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-03-06 20:27

Long-time employee takes on a new role at Afilias.

Ram Mohan

Apparently it’s a big week for executive appointments.

Afilias has named Ram Mohan as Chief Operating Officer of the company. This is a new position and it appears it will take over a lot of the responsibilities of CEO Hal Lubsen. Most of Lubsen’s reports will now report to Mohan. Lubsen will still oversee finance, mergers and acquisitions and most legal.

Mohan has been with Afilias since 2001 when the firm started in order to launch .info. He has served as the Chief Technology Officer. He’s also very involved with ICANN and Internet Society (ISOC).

He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Manipal Academy, an MBA from Bharathidasan University and an MS in Computer Science from Drexel University.

© 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.

Related posts:
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  2. 5 Reasons for Brands to Get Their Own New TLD
  3. .Info and .Mobi get Chinese approval
Categories: News and Updates

Collaboration to Prevent International Call Spoofing: Will the FCC Comply With Ray Baum’s Act?

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-03-06 20:13

As a former FCC senior staff member, the Commission's increasing disengagement in international telecommunication technology forums over the past two decades has been dismaying. One of the adverse effects of this obliviousness-by-design approach has been felt by American consumers in the massive, exponentially increasing volume of spoofed calling numbers and CallerIDs on communications from outside the United States. It has taken a proverbial Act of Congress in the form of Ray Baum's Act to motivate potential FCC action via a new rulemaking proceeding now open for comment. (Because the FCC after several weeks has yet to update its related website, it is best to go to the Federal Register site to see the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and comments deadline.)

The FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Commission's NPRM on implementing Section 503 of Ray Baum's Act dealing with spoofed caller ID begins with the usual recitation of mounting metrics, the past adoption of rules, deference to industry actions, and imposition of penalties, ending with a plea for comments on how the FCC can do better.

The interesting rub comes with its proposal "to extend the reach of [Commission] caller ID spoofing rules to include communications originating from outside the United States to recipients within the United States." In an assertion of extraterritorial zeal, it believes that it now has the authority "to bring enforcement actions that allege both statutory and rule violations against bad actors who seek out victims in this country, regardless of where the communications originate." It would also apply this authority to an array of voice and text communication.

Somewhat incredulously, however, the NPRM lacks any treatment whatsoever of the larger global legal, operational, technical, and institutional ecosystem for how telephony communications originate from outside the United States — something which has nearly 130 years of history. In a kind of sublime insularity if not arrogance, the Commission ignores the fact that there are 192 other nations facing similar challenges who have been working together for the past decade on same subject matter with ongoing international technical standards and operations activity specifically related to the Ray Baum's Act mandate in the very venue the U.S. employed to instantiate CallerID worldwide 30 years ago.

It was especially ironic if not amusing that the FCC Chairman's associated statement — which began by decrying spoofed call attacks on Chinese Americans - was effectively answered by a technical contribution by China Telecom a few days later in Geneva in a technical standards meeting dealing with international call spoofing.

Implementing the Ray Baum's Act mandate at the Study Group 2 meeting

On 19 February, a mere four days following the release of the FCC's NPRM on the Ray Baum's Act Congressional mandate, the world's intergovernmental body responsible for implementing international telephony services including CallerID convened in Geneva for an eight-day meeting that notably included spoofing. In fact, they had been dealing with international CallerID spoofing for many years — bringing together operators, vendors, and national authorities to deal with the challenges. The meeting had multiple input contributions advancing new operational standards to mitigate spoofing, as well as materials from a European CEPT workshop on the topic last December. There were no contributions from the U.S. to the SG2 meeting.

At this point, a digression is appropriate on the broader global legal, operational, technical, and institutional ecosystem and history section that was missing in the FCC NPRM. International telephony service operational arrangements were first agreed as part of a treaty instrument at the 1885 Berlin Conference in which U.S. private operators participated. Those provisions were carried forward in a continuing stream of treaty instruments since then — which the U.S. signed and ratified for most of the last century. The international technical standards for international telephony were offloaded to a newly created specialized body at Paris in 1923 known as the International Telephone Consultative Committee. It was subsequently moved within the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through an initiative of the U.S. at Atlantic City in 1947 and now exists as the ITU-T. Within the ITU-T and its precursor, Study Group 2 for nearly a hundred years, has remained the authoritative global venue for agreements on international telephony technical standards and operational practices.

As the technology and services evolved, the development and maintenance of a global telephony endpoint numbering system was developed — known as E.164. These are what everyone uses worldwide for global communication, e.g., +1 888.225.5322 for the FCC or +44 207 981 3000 for the UK's OFCOM or +97 5232 2144 for Bhutan's MoIC. The master global registration and database is maintained at the ITU under SG2 control. Most of the core authoritative global standards and arrangements for how the international telephony and related services are interconnected are maintained by the ITU-T, although for mobile communications, many have been undertaken by two other organizations — 3GPP for standards and GSMA for operational arrangements.

The actual specifications for CallerID - or as it is formally known, Calling Line Identification Presentation (CLIP) — was initially introduced internationally in 1988 for ISDN services and 1993 for telephony generally. The specifications have their origin in part in the FCC Computer III Order and the related internationalization proceeding in 1986 articulating the requirements for Open Network Architecture (ONA) Basic Service Elements. The FCC at that time was significantly engaged in ITU-T standards and operations activities. In 2009, an international standard known as E.157 was adopted that provides the basis for trusted international calling party number delivery to meet country treaty obligations. It continues to be evolved.

However, in February 2019 it was not the U.S., but an assortment of other countries and operators around the world who took the initiative to implement Section 503 of Ray Baum's Act in the form of specifications for technical platforms, presentations, outreach to other engaged industry bodies, and a new adopted work item specifically on spoofing. A total of 27 documents were related to CallerID and Calling Number spoofing — a number of them providing insight and collaboration with other organizations and venues throughout the world working on the spoofing challenges. The only U.S. presence was a formal representative from the Dept. of State assisted by one person from the FCC.

Doing Better

The ITU-T is legally and operationally the authoritative global intergovernmental and industry organization for implementing the Ray Baum's Act spoofing prevention mandate, and it will be essential in achieving any meaningful implementation of Commission "caller ID spoofing rules to include communications originating from outside the United States to recipients within the United States." Ideally, the Commission would be leading the activity and actively engaging and facilitating the work not only in the ITU-T, but other essential organizations such as 3GPP and GSMA.

Plainly, the FCC can do better than obliviousness and inaction in implementing the Act, and Congress should hold them accountable if they do not.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

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More under: Policy & Regulation, Telecom

Categories: News and Updates

Community New gTLD Applications: The Wrong Choice

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-03-06 19:51

Community new gTLD applications were one of the three options offered by version one of ICANN new gTLD applicant guidebook. It was also possible to submit a "generic" or a "geographic application." I dug the ICANN website and found out that, in the end — and according to me only — it was a bad choice to submit such application.

The figures:

  • The ICANN website lists 84 applications submitted to the ICANN;
  • 52 were delegated;
  • 20 were withdrawn;
  • 10 have/had objection(s);
  • 9 receive a warning from a government (at least);
  • 5 had a string contention;
  • 4 are still "on hold" (.MUSIC - .KIDS - .MERCH - .HOTEL);
  • 3 were not approved;
  • none received applicant support from the ICANN;
  • the .BUGATTI new gTLD is a community application (...), not a .BRAND
  • Many trademarks submitted community applications;
  • some city names and territories are listed as community applications (.PARIS - .WIEN - .BZH ...);
  • The ICANN sometimes forgets to update its data so some of the 84 applications mentioned could have changed.

"Volumes", "usage" or both?

I went through the 52 delegated applications to investigate which ones have lots of domain name registrations and which ones don't. Volumes of domain name creations are important because they are a good indicator if the new gTLD is a successful project or not. Now: are volumes an indicator of usage: it is up to you to decide and don't care what you think ;-) This is what I found:

  • The .OVH new gTLD has 62,000+ domain name registrations;
  • The .BERLIN new gTLD has 54,800+
  • The .PARIS new gTLD has 20,900+
  • The .SWISS new gTLD has 17,900+
  • The .WIEN new gTLD has 15,400+
  • The .HAMBURG new gTLD has 23,400+
  • The .SCOT new gTLD has 11,500+

All other new gTLDs unlisted here have less than 10,000 registrations. This is surprising because we have very generic terms such as .ARCHI (for architecture), the .SKI and .NGO new gTLDs. The .ECO domain name extension has 3,8400+ domain names created.

Conclusion

We can easily see that none of these applications has passed the 100,000 registrations. If I correctly understand that prices are not the same to register a domain name and "usage" matters; well, I also know how much it costs to maintain a registry and I would not want to operate a registry that has less than 10,000 registrations. In all of these cases, and no matter if a multiple registries lower cost of operating multiple extensions, I am not sure that it is worth submitting "another" community application in the next round of the ICANN new gTLD program… just because it limits domain name registrations to that specific community and also… because figures demonstrate that on a list of 52 TLDs, 7 only have more than 10,000 domain names on the market. Note that this does not even mean that they are used with a real website. We also know that restricting registrations to a so-called community is just a line on the paper; anybody can pay to register a .SKI domain name (for example), it is absolutely not "restricted" in reality.

So: worth it for the next round? No...but that's just according to me.

Written by Jean Guillon, New gTLDs "only".

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

Categories: News and Updates

US House and Senate Democratic Leaders Announce Bill to Restore Federal Net Neutrality Rules

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-03-06 19:47

The United States House and Senate Democratic leaders are about to unveil new legislation today proposing to restore federal net neutrality rules on Internet providers. This latest attempt dubbed "Save the Internet Act 5 of 2019" is to repeal the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission. Brian Fung reporting in The Washington Post: "In their announcement of a news conference Wednesday, Democratic leaders are positioning the legislation as an answer to the 'disastrous repeal' of the government's 2015 net neutrality rules. ... Democrats control the House. But with Republicans in control of the Senate, the legislation could be dead-on-arrival there unless the two parties agree to negotiate a compromise. Even then, it's unclear whether the resulting bill could pass both chambers — or be signed by President Trump."

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Categories: News and Updates

Afilias Elevates Ram Mohan to Chief Operating Officer of the World's 2nd Biggest Registry Operator

DN Journal - Wed, 2019-03-06 19:01
Afilias has announced that Ram Mohan has been named Chief Operating Officer at a company he has spent the past 18 years helping build into a global giant.
Categories: News and Updates

Say YES to DNSSEC

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-03-06 18:18

With the latest "DNSpionage" attack, ICANN astutely prompted domain name holders to fully deploy DNSSEC on their names. Afilias absolutely supports this and encourages the same. In this post, I remind you of why DNSSEC is important and our continued role.

Afilias has a long history in the development and advocacy of DNSSEC. In 2007, we partnered with Public Interest Registry to help found dnssec-deployment.org — an organization designed to advance the operational deployment of DNSSEC (also known as the DNSSEC Consortium). This organization conducted a technical review and outreach necessary to develop DNSSEC best practices and the process for singing the root. The activities of DNSSEC Consortium were transitioned to the Internet Society and merged with their Deploy 360 Programme, where advocacy for DNSSEC continues today.

In 2009, Afilias launched our initial DNSSEC services, two years before the root was signed. The DNSSEC Practice Statement (DPS) for all TLDs has evolved since then to align with RFC 6841 (published in January 2013). Afilias deployed DNSSEC in Public Interest Registry's .org in 2009, the largest TLD to do so at the time, which was more than one year before the root was signed. To facilitate the adoption, we actively engaged with select registrars to test the deployment of signing second level domain names and partnered with Public Interest Registry to develop and present multiple webinars to explain DNSSEC to registrars.

For those of you still wondering if you should deploy DNSSEC, let me explain why you should. DNSSEC solves a real security problem: integrity and authentication of DNS information. From the user perspective, this means ensuring a website, email or server location is the one you expect it to be. From the domain registrant perspective, without DNSSEC you are at risk for name server hijacking and cache poisoning and you may not get the traffic you desire, if any at all.

When you have enabled DNSSEC, your DNS information cannot be altered. Here's how you do it:

  1. Ensure your domain's registry and registrar have deployed DNSSEC.
  2. Ensure your DNS hosting provider supports DNSSEC (this may be your registrar unless you have made separate arrangements) and is able to sign (and re-sign) your DNS zone files.
  3. Make this a technical AND marketing win for your organization: Promote to your customers that they can trust your website as it is protected by DNSSEC.
  4. Go one step further: Educate your customers to use and to look for other sites using DNSSEC: ensure their Internet service provider offers a validating DNS resolver, seek and deploy DNSSEC extensions for their favorite applications (e.g., your browser).

If manipulated data is detected, your customers will be taken to an error page — and never to a fake site. Now that is peace of mind!

Today, DNSSEC is opt-in. But with the rise in DNS exploits, it is hard to imagine why anyone would not take this step to ensure trust in their digital identity. Afilias is continuing to explore ways to promote adoption and make it easier for our customers and their registrants to take advantage of this important technology, including easing the deployment process.

Written by Ram Mohan, Executive Vice President & CTO, Afilias

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Categories: News and Updates

Enough's Enough: It's Time to Set a Deadline for the Next New gTLD Application Window

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-03-06 17:53

The ICANN community is currently in full congratulatory mode because the team responsible for the delivery of the Phase 1 Final Report of the Expedited Policy Development Process on gTLD Registry Data (EPDP) has managed to do so in a record-breaking seven months. The GNSO Council approved the Final Report in a special meeting on 4 March 2019, and the report will now be sent to the ICANN Board for consideration and hopefully adoption.

There is no doubt that this group worked extraordinarily long and difficult hours over the seven months, and given the urgency of the task, they were supported with the resources and budget to give the team its best chance of success: travel support was provided for two face-to-face meetings; external facilitators were engaged to assist during the face-to-face meetings; and Board members and ICANN staff subject matter experts attended every session as liaisons to the team.

While many things contributed to the success of this team, not least the dedication and commitment of the leadership, support and all team members, in reaching this milestone, the key driver was a concrete deadline for delivery of the Final Report. Sure, it missed the mark by a few weeks, but it was the consequence of not making the drop-dead date that was undoubtedly the key motivation for the EPDP Team to meet the deadline not to mention the pressure coming from the GNSO Council and the ICANN Board to complete the work. As the manager of the EPDP, the GNSO Council were receiving weekly updates on progress, something that is not required for other PDPs.

We should also recognize that the subject matter was something that the ICANN community has been grappling with for more than 15 years, and prior to the EPDP, the Registration Data Services PDP WG was unable to make significant headway on the topic after two years of trying and the PDP was subsequently terminated.

It goes to show the power of a deadline.

Contrast this with the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures PDP WG that was established three years ago. The members of this PDP WG are no less dedicated to the task at hand. But there is no drop-dead date driving the conclusion of this work (despite the ICANN Board, on 7 February 2012, committing ICANN to opening a second application window for the New gTLD program "as expeditiously as possible") and as such, the work languishes on with constantly-moving timelines.

Where is the process at currently?

After starting its work over three years ago, the Subsequent Procedures Working Group produced an Initial Report mid-way through last year and is working its way through the unenviable task of reviewing the numerous comments submitted by the community.

According to ICANN's recent publication, the group "has nearly completed its initial review of the public comments received for its Initial Report and expects to begin substantive deliberations soon."

As was presented to the community in Barcelona, this would indicate a possible application period in 2020, should everything move with efficiency and without issue worthy of causing delay. According to the GNSO page on this topic, other remaining phases of this will entail, at a minimum, the following steps;

  • Working Group Proposed Final Report
  • Working Group Final Report
  • GNSO Adoption of the Final Report
  • GNSO Council Report to the ICANN Board
  • Public Comment Prior to ICANN Board Consideration
  • Notification by the ICANN Board to the GAC to Request Input on Whether Policy Recommendations Raise Public Policy Issues
  • Board Paper
  • ICANN Board Resolution Text
  • Notice of Policy Actions
  • Implementation Details

And then presumably a few other elements would need to be considered such as;

  • Applicant Guidebook Development
  • Public Comments
  • Communication Plan Development
  • Systems development to facilitate the applications

So, lots of steps still remaining as you can see.

According to the recent blog by ICANN Chair, Cherine Chalaby, the Board will listen to ICANN CEO Göran Marby lead a session this Saturday, where he will share an overview of the preparatory work needed for the possible launch of a subsequent round of new gTLDs.

What can the Board do in Kobe? It's time to set a date!

After this length of time, the biggest question about the Board's position on the Subsequent Round is about intent.

Does the Board want to avoid an embarrassing 10 or more year delay between new gTLD application rounds, or are they content to let the community remain in the driver's seat with no accountability for 'expeditious' process?

When I posted a similar question to the ICANN Board in Barcelona, I was told in no uncertain terms by Board Chair Cherine Chalaby that the "Board was ready and as soon as the community completed their work, [they] will be ready to review it."

My fear is this… after another five months, and when reviewing such a long list of tasks required to make it a reality, things will continue to drag out without the Board setting a firm date by which the program will proceed.

We all know this in our day to day lives and the EPDP process simply confirms this.

"Parkinson's law" states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." In short, if you give someone a day to complete something, they'll take a day to do it. If you give them a week to complete the same task, they'll take a week.

This is simply unacceptable. It is naïve to the responsibility that the Board should embrace and ignorant to the demand that exists in the marketplace, which I'll explore in an upcoming blog.

Let me be clear...

I'm not suggesting designing something like a new gTLD program is easy and it's in no way intended to be disrespectful of the heavy load that the community has carried to date.

Sure, the first round of new gTLDs wasn't perfect.

But it was a great success in my eyes, as validated each and every day when I see a new website launch on a 'not com' domain name around the world, thanks to our efforts as an industry.

This is a simple message of governance and creating boundaries that respect the need for policy development but also are cognizant of the role we play in the wider internet-using community.

We need a deadline — and we need to work to it together — to continue to foster innovation in our industry.

Written by Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at Neustar

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More under: Domain Names, ICANN, Policy & Regulation, New TLDs

Categories: News and Updates

SXSW comes to Austin this week

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-03-06 16:33

Annual tech, film and music conference starts this week.

The annual SXSW event starts in Austin this week. SXSW Interactive, which attracts tens of thousands of techies, runs March 8-12.

I reviewed the schedule and it looks like there aren’t any domain name-specific sessions this year. There used to be a handful of sessions, especially when new top level domain names were coming out.

Still, I expect some domain name companies to run marketing during the event, although nothing like in the past. .Co always went big during SXSW and Sedo organized some rather large promotions as well, including a Domain Village. If your company will be on the ground in Austin over the next week, feel free to leave a comment.

If you are coming, please bring your patience. For the first time since it became big, SXSW will not overlap with local schools’ Spring Breaks, including the University of Texas. It will be very congested.

 

© 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

L vs. I in domain names

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-03-06 14:29

It’s easily confused.

There was a bit of a ruckus yesterday over a typo. NameJet promoted Investor.com for sale, but it turns out the domain was actually Lnvestor.com with an L. As you can see, the font NameJet uses makes a lowercase L look a lot like an uppercase I.

Before I throw stones, I should note that I made the same mistake a few years ago. I backordered Lnternational.com thinking it was International.com.

And that fake domain broker that was trying to sell domains at too-good-to-be-true prices? They used the same L vs. I trick

If you think this is confusing, imagine people who aren’t aware of internationalized domain names who buy something that appears to be a valuable domain, only to find out some of the characters in it aren’t from the Roman alphabet.

NameJet has an option to ‘view upper case’ next to the domains. I realize this is an edge case, but perhaps they should put both cases next to each other by default.

Oh, and be on the lookout. I don’t think I ever renewed Lnternational.com but it has remained in my Enom count anyway. It expires later this month and will make its way through the drops.

© 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

.IN ccTLD Poised for Significant Growth After Registry Transition to Neustar

Domain industry news - Tue, 2019-03-05 18:39

Last week marked a significant milestone for the Neustar Registry team.

After many months of preparation, we announced the successful migration of the .IN ccTLD onto Neustar's Registry platform. From now onwards, we'll be partnering with the National Exchange of India (NIXI) as the new Technical Services Provider for India's .IN domain.

We are excited to embark upon a "new age of success" for .IN. There is no doubt that the Indian digital economy in general, and the .IN namespace in particular, are uniquely positioned for significant growth and ripe for innovation.

India's Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) recently published a report entitled "India's Trillion Dollar Digital Opportunity”. The result of a year of research and consultation, the report forms part of the Digital India Programme, an enormous undertaking that "envisions the transformation of India in to a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy." MeitY reports that "the existing digital ecosystem could contribute up to $500 billion of economic value, but the potential economic value for India could be as much as double that amount if digital technologies are used to unlock productivity, savings, and efficiency."

Through the flagship Digital India Program, the Government of India is fully committed to the transformation of India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. And so is Neustar. Like NIXI, we are confident that the .IN domain can help to support the growth of India's digital economy and the economic empowerment of millions of individuals and businesses in India.

Towards this end, we believe it is imperative to help take the Internet beyond India's English speakers by supporting all 22 official Indian languages. As such, one of the first upgrades to take effect in .IN following the transition will be to directly improve the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) experience. Our new Registry web portal will allow Registrars to provide IDNs in their native script (no Punycode encoding required) from registration all the way to management and reporting of IDNs. This end-to-end local language support means intuitive IDN registration in your chosen script.

This kind of innovation is part of a larger program that we started at Neustar two years ago that led us to do a full upgrade of our Registry platform to take advantage of the latest technologies and security features. Among other things, we embarked on a largescale investment to update our global infrastructure by adding multiple layers of security and features to handle unusual traffic, attacks and denial of service events. This includes 30 new global DNS nodes, advanced threat mitigation services and an almost tenfold increase in our DDoS mitigation capacity, making us the largest player in the industry, with 10Tbps+.

This combination of ongoing innovation and industry-leading technical infrastructure is what makes Neustar unique, and are some of the reasons why NIXI entrusted Neustar with the privilege and responsibility of driving India's digital domain into the future.

We are honoured to partner with NIXI and are confident that together we can support all Indian internet users with a fast, secure and accessible .IN. So while today we are celebrating a milestone, ultimately this is just the first step in what we trust will be a long and prosperous partne rship.

I'm incredibly proud to lead this Neustar Registry team, who have worked tirelessly during the last few months to make this successful transition a reality. We look forward to marking countless more exciting milestones and achievements for NIXI, the .IN domain and the people of India.

Written by Nicolai Bezsonoff, VP and General Manager of Registry Solutions at Neustar

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More under: Domain Names, Registry Services

Categories: News and Updates

Three Familiar Faces Added to Executive Team at Public Interest Registry/.ORG

DN Journal - Tue, 2019-03-05 17:54
New CEO Jon Nevett continues to build an all-star executive team at Public Interest Registry (.ORG) with 3 additions announced today.
Categories: News and Updates

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