News and Updates

Policymakers to Discuss Data Privacy at Caribbean Internet Governance Forum

Domain industry news - Wed, 2018-05-02 20:20

Data privacy will be among the items topping the agenda at an upcoming Caribbean Internet Governance Forum to be held by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) in Suriname this month.

The meeting is part of an effort by several Caribbean countries to establish and strengthen policies to ensure that Internet users' personal information is collected, shared and used in appropriate ways.

It will take place from May 21 to 23, days before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in the European Union on May 25. The GDPR is a regulation on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. But Caribbean stakeholders are already preparing for the fallout across the region's geopolitical space.

"Although the GDPR comes into effect in Europe, its effect will be felt in the Caribbean, because the region includes Dutch, French and British territories, all of which fall under the EU jurisdiction, and will, therefore, have to comply with the GDPR from as early as May 25, 2018," said Nigel Cassimire, Telecommunications Specialist at the CTU.

Because the GDPR has significant penalties for companies found in violation of its data privacy regulations, the law could adversely affect Caribbean companies doing business with European companies.

"The onus is on European companies doing business with anyone in our region to ensure that whoever they do business with have measures in place that will enable them to remain compliant with the GDPR. For the Caribbean, it is urgent for us to understand what requirements will be placed on us," Cassimire said.

The forum will be held in Suriname, a former colony of the Kingdom of the Netherlands which became an independent nation in 1975.

The agenda will include a range of issues, including service resiliency and network neutrality.

The Caribbean Internet Governance Forum is a multi-stakeholder meeting initiated by the CTU and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat to coordinate a regional approach to Internet Governance. Since its inception in 2005, the forum has met annually and has focused on the formulation of a regional framework for Caribbean Internet governance policy, the proliferation of Internet exchange points, and the growth of Caribbean influence in the global Internet governance arena.

The forum is part of a series of ongoing policy development discussions across the region. Policymakers met in Miami on April 19 to discuss Internet governance issues at a special Caribbean Forum hosted by the CTU and the American Registry for Internet Numbers.

Written by Gerard Best, Development Journalist

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Internet Platforms Collecting User Data are Digital Sweat Factories, Says EU's Data Protection Chief

Domain industry news - Wed, 2018-05-02 19:27

"The digital information ecosystem farms people for their attention, ideas and data in exchange for so called 'free' services," says Giovanni Buttarelli, the European data protection supervisor. With the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) fast approaching end of this month, companies around the world are scrambling to notify users to accept new privacy policies and data processing terms in order to continue using their services. Buttarelli writes: "Companies whose business model depends on tracking are now asking their customers to say whether they agree to, for example, the use of sensitive data and data from outside sources. Just like with the notorious cookie pop-ups, people fell pushed towards clicking 'I accept' because the only apparent alternative on offer seems complicated, time-consuming and risks excluding them from digital society. We and other DPAs are therefore worried that even the biggest companies may not yet understand that with the GDPR these manipulative approaches must change. ... Brilliant lawyers will always be able to fashion ingenious arguments to justify almost any practice."

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End user domain name sales including a $60k .bio sale

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2018-05-02 18:25

Take a look at these strong end user domain name sales.

Sedo had a strong week for end user domain name sales including a huge new TLD sale: for €49,900, which is about $60,000 USD.

The company also had a three-character .com end user sale, a couple of cryptocurrency related sales and more.

Here’s a list of end user sales I found:

(You can see previous lists like this here.) $50,000 – The owner of YeahMobi, a mobile marketing program. €49,900 – AllMyLinks LLC pulls all of your social media data into one account. A rebrand or a new service? €40,000 – This appears to be an end user sale of a three-letter domain. VRK is a tech products company. $24,010 – It must be the same company that paid $55,000 for €16,000 – HKSDK, which bought for $5,000. There’s no mention of this term on the company’s website so it’s probably a forthcoming name for one of its materials. $13,000 – Stracon is a mining company in Peru. $8,900 – The law firm Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLP bought this domain. It looks like it bought it for a company called Catalant, which is running a pilot project called ConsultSpace. €5,000 – CyberX is a cryptocurrency trading platform. $4,999 – Transit planning company Remix uses the domain name It is forwarding the .ca domain to the .com. $4,799 – The Vitamin C Foundation promotes and sells Vitamin C. It uses the matching .org domain for its web address. €3,900 – Mast Group Ltd uses the domain $3,000 – Speech Processing Solutions GmbH in Vienna. How’s this for a domain: they own $2,875 – OpenSouth helps IT vendors grow their business in Latin America. $2,400 – Baldwin Aviation is an aviation safety provider.

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  3. More end user domain name sales
Categories: News and Updates and among first .App domain names registered

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2018-05-02 15:07

Customers pay stiff premiums to register domains early.

Google released the .app domain name to the general public yesterday–if they were willing to pay a hefty fee.

The so-called Early Access Period (EAP) for .app domain names started at 16:00Z yesterday. This Dutch auction starts with high registration fees that drop ever time.

Most registrars were asking for at least $10,000 to register a domain during the first day of EAP. That’s on top of the normal and premium registration fees.

Still, some people lined up to register domains.

A company called Axonic GmbH registered, and These domain names no doubt have an annual premium on top of the Early Access fee.

One letter domains were also popular.,, and were snapped up by people in China.

Qurate, the new name of the company that owns QVC, registered The company’s website is

I’m a bit surprised that Overstock hasn’t registered at the time of publication.

In addition to the early access fee, single letter .app domains have an annual registration fee of $2,000 at GoDaddy.

The big European company Bosch picked up Ringler Informatik AG registered

Some of the other day one registrations include,, and

The second day of Early Access is quite a bit cheaper, with upcharges of about $2,500. Or you can wait until May 8 when domains are available for general registration at about $15-$25.

Just don’t try to register domains at Google Domains. The registrar is not participating in its own company’s Early Access Period.

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Consensus be damned: here’s how transfers will work at Tucows after GDPR

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2018-05-02 13:48

Tucows will follow TechOps subcommittee recommendation for domain transfers as ICANN figures out what to do.

Here’s the thing about GDPR and domain name registrars/registries: if they wait for ICANN to figure out how to address GDPR, it will be too late to make the necessary changes to comply with the law. GDPR enforcement goes into effect in just 23 days.

One registrar that has been at the forefront of making changes to comply with GDPR (and has been stating them publicly) is Tucows (NASDAQ: TCX), which owns both Enom and OpenSRS. It is the second largest domain name registrar in the world behind GoDaddy.

The company recently posted about changes it will make to its domain name transfer process as a result of GDPR.

As I’ve written about before, if you can’t access a domain registrant’s email address, you can’t do a transfer under the current methodology mandated by ICANN.

Tucows is adopting the proposal put forth by the TechOps subcommittee of the Contracted Party House inside GNSO. It removes the gaining registrar’s Form of Authorization requirement.

Today, if you were to transfer a domain name to a Tucows registrar, you would provide the transfer authorization code to Tucows. Tucows would then send a Form of Authorization email to the current registrant listed in Whois to verify that they authorize the transfer.

Once this verification is complete, the losing registrar begins its process. This includes sending an email to the domain registrant to ask if they’re OK with the transfer. If they don’t respond within 5 days, the transfer is completed.

Tucows is eliminating the first Form of Authorization. Once you provide the authorization code, Tucows will skip directly to sending the transfer request to the losing registrar.

This creates a security risk because of how losing registrars are currently required by ICANN to respond to transfer requests. If they send an email to the registrant and the registrant doesn’t respond, the transfer goes through.

The TechOps committee has proposed a solution to this. It would allow the losing registrar to deny the transfer if the domain owner doesn’t affirmatively confirm the transfer.

How many registrars will start denying transfers like this starting May 25? It’s hard to tell. Big ones might, but small registrars are mostly unprepared for GDPR changes.

Of course, there are common sense security measures that domain owners can take to protect their domains as Whois and the domain transfer system is in flux.

Be sure to set transfer lock on your domains and add two-factor authentication to your domain name registrar account. Also, check to see if your registrar offers added transfer protection.

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Related posts:
  1. Tucows changes domain name price structure
  2. Tucows expects $20 million EBITDA/year from “opportunistic” eNom acquisition
  3. Two Tucows execs are leaving
Categories: News and Updates

Thousands of Websites Preparing to "Go Red" in Protest to Save Net Neutrality

Domain industry news - Tue, 2018-05-01 23:23

Starting at 12:01am on May 9th, this RED ALERT widget to be displayed on protestors' websites.

Reddit, Etsy, Vimeo, Tumblr and other major websites are among thousands of other websites and Internet activists preparing a mass action on May 9th ahead of Senate vote to overrule the FCC's controversial repeal of net neutrality. The campaign is organized by a group called Battle For The Net which has been responsible for driving millions of phone calls, emails and tweets to lawmakers in recent years. The protest called "Red Alert for Net Neutrality” will involve websites covering their homepages with a red box telling visitors about the impending vote and encouraging them to take action.

From a statement issued on Monday by Fight for the Future: "If the resolution passes into law, it will restore the strong net neutrality protections that were put in place in 2015. All 49 members of the Democratic Caucus, as well as Republican Susan Collins, have announced their support for the effort — meaning that, at most, just one more vote is needed to ensure passage in the Senate, at which point Internet activists plan to take the fight to the House."

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Firestorm Over Outrage Spreading After Domain Taken From Its Rightful Owner

DN Journal - Tue, 2018-05-01 22:34
Jean-Noel Frydman has owned for nearly 25 years and ran a solid business on it. It all disappeared overnight when the domain was taken from his account.
Categories: News and Updates

The Spontaneous Development of the Domain Name Market

Domain industry news - Tue, 2018-05-01 22:28

From a panel talk at the Fordham International IP Conference, New York City April 6, 2018

If we traveled back in time, we would discover that unauthorized squatting on someone else's property is an ancient tort, but in cyberspace, it dates from the mid-1990s. Its emergence brought together governments and intellectual property stakeholders to demand a rights protection mechanism devised to deal with this new form of squatting. In 1999 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) completed its work on a proposal for an online rights protection mechanism which the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) crafted into the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). WIPO, in its Final Report, included some harsh words for those who engaged in unauthorized squatting, branding them as "predators" and "parasites."

That was not the whole story, of course. The recommendations for assessing abusive registrations of domain names also recognized there were innocent and good faith registrants, although the cases decided in U.S. courts before Congress enacted the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) were of the predator/parasite variety. There were not then any clear principles or set of factors ready-made to separate the wheat of innocence from the chaff of guilt.

The job of creating a new jurisprudence fell to UDRP Panels appointed to hear disputes of alleged cybersquatting. They immediately began filing reasoned decisions. WIPO in its provider hat administered around 1800 disputes in the first year. As of today, all the providers combined have administered over 60,000 disputes, yielding (roughly) 40,000 plus decisions (approximately 20% of complaints are withdrawn and proceedings terminated). It can be roughly guessed why complaints are withdrawn, but one of them may be surprising, and I will hold it until the end.

It is clear in reviewing the 18 years of decisions that Panels accepted the twin propositions from the WIPO Final Report and ICANN's Second Staff Report that 1) it was not the goal of the recommended process "to accord greater protection to intellectual property in cyberspace than that which exists elsewhere" and 2) there are many reasons for registering domain names that by happenstance correspond to marks earlier used in commerce (but not known by the registrant when acquired).

As Panels immediately began construing the minimalist prescriptions of the Policy and Rules, there emerged a jurisprudence mark owners, and investors could rely on in that it produced consistent and predictable decisions. It quickly became apparent that as marks descended the classification scale to dictionary words, common expressions, acronyms (not particularly or alone associated with any particular complainant), and descriptive phrases, over which owners could not claim to have exclusive rights, they had less protection than those well-known and famous. Even though marks predated domain name registrations there had to be proof that their reputations were such as to put registrants on notice of their existence. Reputation can be a key factor in determining bad faith.

So, for example, in September 2000 (the 16th decision), a Panel determined that registering dictionary words (in this case "allocation") as domain names could not be found unlawful absent concrete proof respondent was actually targeting complainant's mark. The parties were located in Germany and the United States. There was no proof of targeting, and the complaint was dismissed. The decision was good news for investors in bolstering their confidence that trading in domain names was viable even though at that time there was no secondary market for profiting from them.

Very briefly I want to offer some thoughts on 1) how the secondary market took root, 2) What facilitated its rise and consolidation, and 3) where the inventory for the secondary market came from. Paradoxically, the emergence and consolidation of a secondary market lies in the convergence of four intertwined circumstances:

  • First, there is a well-established trademark law principle that parties cannot monopolize words to the exclusion of their lawful use by others;
  • Second, there was a consensus among competing interests that the UDRP was to be a conjunctive regime. Both WIPO and ICANN rejected arguments from the trademark constituency to have a disjunctive requirement for defining abusive registration.
  • Third, the commodification of language parts which I will briefly explain (dealt with at greater length in Origins of the Competition; and
  • Fourth, the emergence of a jurisprudence of domain names based on an accumulating base of well-reasoned decisions available in publicly accessible databases.

I am not claiming that there would be no secondary market without this convergence, but I am claiming that such a market would never have become what we are now experiencing if there had been no convergence.

We must approach the three questions about the secondary market by first recognizing that there is a direct correlation between the shrinkage of cultural resources that businesses once drew upon for finding appropriate names in the marketing of their goods and services and the market's emergence and consolidation.

What I mean by a shrinkage of cultural resources is that twenty-five years ago (before the Internet) words, random letters, phrases, and descriptive expressions were as free as air. The only competitors for such common lexical parts were other businesses looking for suitable marks to identify and distinguish themselves from others. That is no longer the case. Now, if businesses are looking for a one to four or five letter domain name or combined words (adjectival or adverbial phrases) corresponding to their marks or brands they most likely will have to pay for them from investors who got there first.

Immediately upon the implementation of the UDRP, Panels conscientiously began measuring the metes and bounds distinguishing good from bad faith registration of domain names in well-reasoned and publicly available decisions. At the same time, investor-entrepreneurs intuitively began vacuuming up immense inventories of domain names composed of dictionary words and other common terms, in essence taking them out of the public domain and privatizing them.

This had an immediate impact on both owners of the earlier acquired marks and new businesses. Mark owners discovered they had to live with a new reality that others could legitimately hold identical or confusingly similar domain names even though they were identical or confusingly similar to earlier acquired marks. New businesses learned they had to pay for lexical strings that before the Internet were waiting to be discovered.

Certainly by 2005 when WIPO published the first of its overviews of the jurisprudence, now in its third edition, it was evident that the UDRP was not a rubber-stamp forum for owners whose marks were capable of having unrelated and therefore noninfringing associations. So, for example, there are numerous decisions involving what complainants allege are acronyms and respondents deny as random letters — "lgg," "dw," "lfo," "ssx," "usu," "ktg," jat," "ivi," "dll," and many more. Recent words and combinations include <>, <>, < >, and <>.

The jurisprudence as it has developed has affirmed a well-established principle of trademark law, namely that it is not unlawful to have registered domain names identical or confusingly similar to trademarks as long as the registrations are not for the purpose of taking advantage of the goodwill and reputation mark owners have built up in their names. What trademark owners learned was that they could only prevail by proving respondents both lacked rights or legitimate interests in the accused domain names and had registered them in (conjunctive) bad faith. This is not an easy burden to satisfy for marks composed of common lexical parts.

As the jurisprudence matured and consolidated, so has the market for domain names. The reason for this is obvious. Consistency stabilizes markets by giving confidence to investors that they can rely on the application of a stable body of law. As a result, we find that domain names sold on the secondary market are rarely contested in UDRP proceedings. For the most part, the UDRP docket is filled 90% with claims of infringing well-known and famous marks for which there is no unassailable defense. The balance of claims is against large and small investors holding domain names composed of strings attractive to many businesses. It is rare (very rare!) for complaints against domain names acquired in the secondary market. There have some challenges of domain names acquired through public auctions [Rolyn Companies Inc. v. Mediablue Inc., D2018-0072 (WIPO April 4, 2018) (<> auctioned after company by that name went out of business, thus not unique to Complainant).

As seen from the perspective of new businesses, domain names can reach into the stratosphere. Examples of recent sales in the secondary market include <> and <> both for $1.2 million, <> at $900K, <> at $80K, and <> at $50K, but there are numerous reported every week in the low hundreds or less. With the secondary market having reached a degree of maturity, beginning in 2015 portfolios of domain names began to be purchased by larger domain businesses. We can think of these new investors as the Woolworths of the present age. They operate supermarkets of domain names. If you go to any of them, you can search for a desired string. Prices range from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars.

These portfolios carry some risk. Whenever there is a transfer of rights to domain names the transferee's good faith is measured from the date of its acquisition not from the acquisition by the original registrant. This creates a potential exposure for successor domain businesses selling domain names from portfolios that may have been lawful when originally purchased but may no longer be lawful for the transferee. As a consequence, and because they do not want to be labeled cybersquatters, these supermarkets generally transfer domain names if they believe mark owners can prevail in UDRP proceedings (this from private conversations), hence the reason for some of the withdrawals of complaints.

Final thoughts: We owe a healthy secondary market for domain names to a set of fortuitously converging circumstances. If there had been no convergence, there would be no or only an anemic secondary market for buying and selling domain names. If the UDRP were to be suddenly stripped of any of its key provisions (amending conjunctive bad faith to disjunctive for example), the market would collapse.

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

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Categories: News and Updates

Google's .APP TLD Sunrise Period Ends With Possibly a Record-Breaking Registration Numbers

Domain industry news - Tue, 2018-05-01 15:04

The sunrise period for Google Registry's .app new gTLD closed today with possibly the biggest sunrise of the 2012 round to date. Kevin Murphy reporting in Domain Incite: ".app had 3,068 domains in its zone file this morning. While not all will be sunrise registrations, it seems very likely that the new domain has comfortably beaten the previous sunrise record, which according to ICANN records was 2,091, set by ICM Registry's .porn back in 2015. ... The .app zone file today is a mash of big app brands such as Uber and Instagram, among a strong showing from software vendors and other industries such as banking and retail."

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Tucows changes domain name price structure

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2018-05-01 14:40

New pricing structure draws ire of some customers.

Tucows (NASDAQ:TCX), owner of the dominant reseller domain name platforms Enom and OpenSRS, is introducing new pricing on both of its platforms. The pricing is not uniform across the brands.

The pricing structure looks somewhat like an airline mileage club, requiring a minimum annual spend and number of new transactions in order to get the best pricing.

For example, the top Platinum Plus plan on Enom requires an annual domain spend of $100,000 and 1,000 new registrations or inbound transfers. That plan offers $9.00 .com domains and $12.00 .biz, .info, .net and .org domains.

The baseline Enom account will now pay $13.50 for .com domain names and $17.00 for .biz, .info, .net and .org.

Pricing for other TLDs at Enom hasn’t been adjusted yet but that will change in the future, the company stated on its site.

Despite being owned by the same company, OpenSRS has named its tiers differently and they come with slightly different prices.

Price changes like this are relatively easy for domain name investors — they can just move to another registrar. Many registrars offer .com domains for less than $9.00 to volume customers. I suspect many domain investors will leave Enom as a result of the price change.

But domain resellers are a bit more sticky. Moving to a new reseller platform is challenging and requires a technical investment. Plus, with both Enom and OpenSRS now owned by the same company, that really just leaves Endurance International Group’s ResellerClub as a big option. (GoDaddy also offers a reseller platform but it historically hasn’t been as flexible.) (See the comments for a list of other reseller registrars.)

ResellerClub has price tiers based solely on how much money is deposited, and it starts out very low. The baseline .com price is $9.99 and .coms are $8.89 with a $3,000 deposit.

I’m sure Tucows has done a careful calculation of how many customers it expects to lose from the price change and the resulting impact on its bottom line.

Here are some reactions on Twitter to the price change:

Bye bye @OpenSRS, @eNom and thus @Tucows . It was fun while it lasted; increasing all my pricing across the board is not something I can do to my customers. The move is going to be a pain, too. End of an era. Sniff.

— Frank Michlick (@fmichlick) May 1, 2018

Looks like the airline model of miles flown + annual spend to reach a status tier has moved into the domain industry as new pricing tiers are rolled out.
Is it time to switch registrars?

— eckhaus (@eckhaus) May 1, 2018

In response to a request for comment, Tucows CEO Elliot Noss told Domain Name Wire:

There are two important elements. First, the Enom reseller pricing was, in many respects, quite inconsistent when it came to price and volume. It is never easy to get from that to something more consistent, which is important for fairness. It often depended upon who you knew.

Second, over the last few years, and particularly with the GDPR, we are incurring more and more costs. This is especially true in compliance as more and more of the world views domain names and domain registrars as the single neck to choke.

We want more transparency and more predictability and we want to reward the resellers who are most successful.

As for the price difference between Enom and Tucows, Noss said “Each was starting from a different place and we want to be sensitive to what each group of customers would encounter. Over time, and once we have moved to a single platform, you should expect pricing consistency.”

This story has been updated with a statement from Tucows CEO Elliot Noss.

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Related posts:
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  2. Consensus be damned: here’s how transfers will work at Tucows after GDPR
  3. Two Tucows execs are leaving
Categories: News and Updates

Domain names are one bright spot for Endurance

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2018-05-01 13:39

Revenue dips overall but domain business grows.

Endurance International Group (NASDAQ: EIGI) reported first quarter earnings before the bell this morning.

Revenue dropped year-over-year from $295.1 million in Q1 2017 to $291.4 million in Q1 of this year. Its subscriber base fell from 5.304 million to 5.011 million.

The rollup of hosting, domain and email marketing companies was hard hit in the web presence business. Its hosting companies, which include BlueHost and HostGator, lost 8% of their subscriber base over the past year. Revenue dropped from $164.0 million in Q1 2017 to $155.0 million in Q1 2018. Numbers were also down quarter-over-quarter.

Endurance has traditionally paid very large affiliate referral fees to keep its hosting business growing. It will be interesting to see if it changes this strategy.

While year-over-year email marketing revenue was up, it was down in Q1 compared to Q4 2017. Subscriber numbers also fell year-over-year, so the revenue bump came from higher revenue per subscriber.

The lone bright spot was the domain name business, which includes, BuyDomains, ResellerClub and many smaller brands. Revenue ticked up $0.6 million in Q1 compared to Q1 last year, and $0.8 million compared to Q4 2017. Q1 is traditionally a strong quarter in the domain name business.

With all of its brands combined, Endurance is the third largest domain name registrar with about 12 million domains registered.

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Categories: News and Updates

Massachusetts School District Pays Hackers $10K in Bitcoin, Police Calls Case "Impossible" to Solve

Domain industry news - Mon, 2018-04-30 21:35

A Massachusetts school district was forced to pay a $10,000 Bitcoin ransom to hackers following a cyberattack that blocked access to its system. CBS News reports: "And despite the nefarious nature of the school system's lockdown, there is no criminal investigation into the matter because solving this crime is 'impossible,' said Interim Leominster Police Chief Michael Goldman. ... It's something that very, very likely came from out of the country, and trying to trace something like this down is impossible." The school district is now waiting for its system to be fully restored.

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T-Mobile, Sprint Announce Merger Plans, Deal Will Combine 3rd and 4th Largest US Telecom Companies

Domain industry news - Mon, 2018-04-30 20:36

T-Mobile and Sprint on Sunday announced a plan to merge in a deal that would reduce the number of wireless carriers in the U.S. from four to three. According to the press release issued at noon on Sunday, the combined company will be called T-Mobile, and it will have the network capacity to rapidly create a nationwide 5G network — "The new company will be able to light up a broad and deep 5G network faster than either company could separately." According to a report from Reuters today, winning U.S. regulatory approval for a $26 billion tie-up is the biggest hurdle to completing the deal. "Sprint and T-Mobile had called off their last merger talks in November, partly because SoftBank did not want to cede control of Sprint. This time, the companies touted tax reforms from the Trump administration, synergies at present value of $43 billion and plans to invest billions on developing 5G network."

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What's the Big Idea? Erik Bergman Explains Why He Spent $900,000 for

DN Journal - Mon, 2018-04-30 16:49
30-year-old Swedish entrepreneur Erik Bergman paid $900,000 for In a new Cover we tell you who he is and what he has planned.
Categories: News and Updates

Sandeep Ramchandani, CEO of Radix – DNW Podcast #183

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-04-30 15:30

Radix CEO explains the company’s strategy.

This week we talk about new top level domain names with Sandeep Ramchandani, CEO of Radix. Radix is a portfolio new TLD company that focuses on generic extensions such as .online and .site. Sandeep reveals the company’s results so far, talks about how to value a top level namespace, discusses premium domains, and explains how he plans to grow his business. Also: Square buys Weebly, Verisign earnings, Cooperative Agreement, Google’s domain patent app,, privacy, .web and more.

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

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Categories: News and Updates

Security vs. Privacy with GDPR

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-04-30 13:34

There’s a real security issue with ditching public Whois. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

I’ve written a lot about GDPR and how the domain registrar/registry ecosystem is responding to it. Privacy advocates are using this as an opportunity to push for privacy across the board, and I think this is a bad idea.

Security journalist Brian Krebs wrote an excellent Q&A on Friday explaining the trade-offs that come with no public Whois. He gives concrete examples of how he (and security researchers) have used Whois to track down bad guys. Many people reading this blog have also used Whois for the same purpose, such as tracking down stolen domains.

It’s the last two paragraphs of Kreb’s post that I think are most important:

If opponents of the current WHOIS system are being intellectually honest, they will make the following argument and stick to it: By restricting access to information currently available in the WHOIS system, whatever losses or negative consequences on security we may suffer as a result will be worth the cost in terms of added privacy. That’s an argument I can respect, if not agree with.

But for the most part that’s not the refrain I’m hearing. Instead, what this camp seems to be saying is if you’re not on board with the WHOIS changes that will be brought about by the GDPR, then there must be something wrong with you, and in any case here a bunch of thinly-sourced reasons why the coming changes might not be that bad.

It is frustrating to read advocacy pieces from groups that downplay the damage that hidden Whois will have. It’s true that there will be some good things that come from hiding registrant information. I’d argue the bad outweighs the good.

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George Kirikos Uncovers 2018's Biggest Sale to Date: 4-Letter .Com Commands $2.5 Million

DN Journal - Sat, 2018-04-28 21:06
We have a new 2018 King of the Hill. Thanks to George Kirikos we've learned of a $2.5 million sale that more than doubles the previous high water mark.
Categories: News and Updates

Over 100 US Mayors Sign Pledge to Hold ISPs Accountable for Net Neutrality Violations

Domain industry news - Sat, 2018-04-28 18:34

A net neutrality pledge initiated by mayors from New York City, Austin, and Portland, is now signed by more than 100 US mayors. The signed pledge holds ISPs accountable for net neutrality violations, despite the FCC's vote to repeal the regulations late last year. Dell Cameron reporting in Gizmodo: "The mayors, brought together by a coalition of open internet advocates, including Free Press, Demand Progress, and Daily Kos, have accused FCC Chairman Ajit Pai of caving to corporate interests by giving companies such as AT&T and Verizon the power to 'block, throttle and slow access to sites and services at will.' ... A complete list of the cities taking the pledge is available on the campaign’s website. At time of writing, nearly 80,000 letters have been sent urging mayors across the country to participate."

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More under: Access Providers, Net Neutrality, Policy & Regulation

Categories: News and Updates

Coffee shop tries the old “renewed in bad faith” argument

Domain Name Wire - Sat, 2018-04-28 14:00

A domain name can’t be renewed in bad faith under UDRP.

A chain of coffee shops has tried (and failed) to use the “renewed in bad faith” argument in a cybersquatting dispute.

Revelry Partners, LLC, which runs coffee and wine bars by the name Ascension Coffee, filed a UDRP against

The complainant claimed rights back to 2012, but the current owner registered the domain name in 2010.

Represented by Lisa Greenwald-Swire of Fish & Richardson, P.C., the coffee company made the argument that the domain owner renewed the domain name in bad faith last year.

Actually, she got a bit more creative than that. The National Arbitration Forum decision indicates that the argument was that the respondent reregistered the domain after allowing the domain registration to lapse.

The respondent didn’t reply to the assertions, so the panel reached out to GoDaddy to inquire what the circumstances were for the 2017 renewal. GoDaddy responded:

A review of ASCENSIONCOFFEE.COM shows that the domain was auto-renewed on December 8, 2017 per the settings in the account.

The domain expired on December 3. So the domain might have been renewed during the grace period, perhaps after updating a payment method. But no matter; this domain was continuously registered by the respondent since 2010.

The three-person panel found in favor of the respondent because the dates precluded a finding of bad faith registration.

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Mining Available Domains via GoDaddy’s Watching List

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2018-04-27 16:16

Alvin Brown shares a way to find hand-reg domains to register.

I shared 3 tips to Discover Expired Domains Available at Hand-Registration Fee at the end of last year.  As a follow up, I’m sharing another method to discover available domains using GoDaddy’ Watching feature.

It’s not really a “new” feature as some of you may recall a brief experiment by GoDaddy to display Watcher data on auction landing pages. Nevertheless, you may discover a profitable opportunity exists using Watching export data as a method to bulk search for available domains.

In addition to providing a daily list of GoDaddy expiring domain auctions for the general public to peruse, I “watch” quite a large number of GoDaddy expiring domains each day. Prior to providing a daily list for the general public, I never used the export feature for Watching domains.

But for the last two years and counting, I download this list of expiring domains daily as I strategize about which domains I’m going to actively bid and at what cost — via GoDaddy’s Watching download (see image below).

I also use it as a tool to test my ability to guess what a domain auction is likely to close at, adding an extra column next to the bid Price column with my own estimated auction close value. I then check the auction close prices from the previous and compare the value with the value I assigned to each of the domains I tested against. But I digress.

There are thousands of expiring and closeout domains contained in the daily Watching exported CSV file. Some of the domains have bids while a good percentage have 0 (zero) bids at the time of export.

Nevertheless, I move each daily exported Watching CSV files to a storage drive at the end of every week. It was this action of “digital” spring cleaning that uncovered over 2 years worth of exported daily expired domain data.

 Then I had a light bulb moment to execute a bulk search as an experiment to see if any of the domains were available for hand registration.

In my very first export file, now just over 2 years old, I discovered nearly 10 percent of the domains were available at hand-reg fee. I executed a few additional bulk searches from different months and found most to have 6-10% of the domains available for hand registration.

And although I was tempted to bulk registration a few of the files, I slowly and calmly backed away from the browser to institute a 24-hour “sleep on it before purchasing” policy.

Nevertheless, if you’re wanting to give this feature a try, do note you must start exporting the Watching list daily or weekly, but not attempt to bulk search until about 40-60 days into the future from export date.

It’s also worth noting I chose to use Hexonet’s Bulk Search feature over GoDaddy because of it allowing 1,000 domain searches as opposed to GoDaddy’s bulk limit of 500 domains per search.

And last but not least, for those of you with a bit of software development and engineering prowess, you could simply automate this process from A to Z using scripting, a database, and GoDaddy’s API to check domain availability.

Good luck and I hope to share an update in the near future should I manage to flip a few domains using this strategy and tactic.  Back to mining I go…

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