News and Updates

WIPO panel screws Domaining.com owner Francois Carrillo out of Ado.com

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-02-05 17:35

Panel orders three-letter domain to be transferred to Mexican bus company.

A three-member World Intellectual Property Organization panel has ordered the domain name Ado.com transferred in a bad UDRP decision.

The domain name is owned by Francois Carrillo, the owner of domain blog aggregator Domaining.com. Carrillo also owns Catchy.com, where he sells many three and four letter domain names.

The decision was flawed.

Among the judgments the panel made is that $500,000 was too much to ask for the domain name because Carillo purchased it for $27,500. Not only is the purchase price incorrect (Carrillo also transferred the domain Koz.com to the seller as part of the deal), but panels shouldn’t generally get involved with determining what a fair price is for a domain.

One of the more forehead-slapping claims by the complainant, a Mexican bus company called Ado that uses Ado.com.mx, relates to this price. It claims that the $500,000 asking price is “outrageous when compared to the other domain names offered for sale or rent on the “Catchy.com” website”, according to the decision. It gives five examples:

Domain Name

ado.com 500,000 USD
kuve.com 45,000 USD
paxe.com 50,000 USD
amim.com 20,000 USD
zill.com 80,000 USD

Notice anything different about Ado.com and the other domains? Perhaps the length?

Indeed, it makes perfect sense that someone asking $80,000 for Zill.com would ask $500,000 for Ado.com. But the panelists swallowed this statement about the price as true.

Another bad claim that was accepted by the panel was that the Ado.com logo was similar to that of the bus company. While both logos are red and include the same letters (for obvious reasons), there is little similarity.

The complainant pointed to other supposed instances of logos on Catchy.com that were similar to logos of trademarks. It seems that the complainant cherry-picked these. Even at that, it did a poor job. Consider this “evidence” of similar logos:

Clearly, the logo designer for Coru.com borrowed significant elements from the BOINC logo (or maybe the other way around). But these names aren’t at all similar, so what point does it prove about trying to target trademarks?

What you have here is a panel appraising a domain name and having little understanding (or giving little attention to) the legitimate business model of the domain owner and the context under which he acquired the domain.

The WIPO panelists were Christopher S. Gibson, William R. Towns and David H. Bernstein.


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Categories: News and Updates

DNForum (and its user database) is for sale again

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-02-05 16:32

Current owners want to sell the forum and user database this week.

DNForum, which was once the top forum for domain name investors, is up for sale again. The owners hope to find a buyer this week.

The site comes with a database of 535,000 users. Offers will be accepted only via email to sales (at) dnforum.com.

While a popular site in its heydey, it started to slip as domainers turned their attention to other media as well as competing forum NamePros.com. It took another hit after its owner, Adam Dicker, was embroiled in scandal. The site even went down for many months.

The site was then purchased by George Verdugo and Kevin Faler but apparently, that’s not working out as intended.

It looks like the most popular conversations on the site right now are about cryptocurrencies, not domain names.


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NamesCon recap with 15 interviews – DNW Podcast #172

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-02-05 16:30

I caught up with 15 domain industry pros at NamesCon last week. Here’s what they had to say.

NamesCon took place in Las Vegas last week, attracting hundreds of domain investors, registrars, registries and other domain name junkies. For this week’s podcast we’ll talk with 15 people at the conference: Page Howe (domain investor), Sandeep Ramchandani (Radix), Steven Kaziyev (domain investor, NameSummit), Ari Goldberger (ESQwire.com), George Hong (GUTA.com), Jeff Sass (.Club), Jackson Elsegood (Escrow.com), Ray King (Top Level Design), Eric Thoni (Emoji Empires), Marc McCutcheon (Internet.bs), Brandon Abbey (Payoneer Escrow), Anthony Beltran (101Domain), Christian Voss (Sedo), Kevin Kopas (.icu) and Todd Han (Dynadot).

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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Here are the domain and website biz’s 2 Super Bowl commercials

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2018-02-05 15:15

Watch the 2 2018 Super Bowl commercials related to websites and domain names.

While GoDaddy was absent in this year’s Super Bowl, much of the growth in domain names and people getting online these days comes courtesy of website builder services such as Squarespace, Wix and Weebly. The former two spent heavily during the Super Bowl to acquire new customers.

Here are their two ads:

Squarespace – I wasn’t impressed with this commercial featuring Keanu Reeves. The idea was to snag attention and then get people to visit Squarespace.com/keanu. I like the “Make it Happen” message, but why not at least show off a website in the ad?

Wix – Comedy duo Rhett and Link showed off Wix’s website builder. Incidentally, Rhett and Link use the domain name Mythical.co, and they use Mythical.store for their merchandise store.


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Transition of the Telecoms Industry Is Overdue

Domain industry news - Mon, 2018-02-05 14:13

It is interesting to observe the changes in the telecommunications environment over the last few decades.

Before videotex (the predecessor of the internet) arrived in the late 1970s early 1980s, 90% of telecommunications revolved around telephone calls. And at that time telephony was still a luxury for many, as making calls were expensive. I remember that in 1972 a telephone call between London and Amsterdam cost one pound per minute. Local telephone calls were timed, and I still remember shouts from my parents when I was on a call to my girlfriend — 'don't make it too long' and 'get off the phone.'

This basically set the scene for the industry ever since. Only reluctantly, and only under the pressure of competition from outside the traditional industry, did changes start to occur. In the 1990s we saw resale providers bypassing the national long-distance and international telco tariffs, offering significantly lower prices. With digital technologies emerging we saw the arrival of so-called value-added service providers (VAS), often led by publishing companies. This environment improved significantly once the internet became web-based.

The incumbents initially fought tooth and nail against these changes before finally being dragged into the new world, kicking and screaming. They used all the tricks in the book to stop innovations and to stop competition. The current net neutrality failure in the USA is a good example of the strength of the incumbent lobby in that country, which totally ignored the wishes of the majority, who were in favour of net neutrality. However this monopolistic behaviour of the traditional telcos is still happening in many countries around the world, hampering innovation and competition, and it is very often supported by their local governments. The traditional telecoms industry, therefore, was never a leader in the new developments that were occurring in their own industry.

Interestingly, most of these new externally-driven developments saw telecoms becoming more of a facilitator than a service in itself.

The outcome is clear if we look at the internet and the smartphones of today. Because of its resistance, the traditional industry has never been able to lead these changes. Looking at WCIT-12 (the World Conference on International Telecommunications) in Dubai we saw that the international telecom tariffs remain an area of dispute within the industry, and at that same conference, the 'them and us' situation between the traditional telcos and the internet companies took centre-stage as well.

Regulations, linked to technologies, are used on both sides to either protect their market or to open up the market. This underlying politicised situation makes it very difficult to put the user central and build services such as e-health, e-education, smart cities, smart grids, etc. from a customer perspective. A great deal of lip service is being paid, but in reality, the user is still taking a back seat. This is also reflected in a blatant disrespect for privacy and cyber safety.

While significant changes have happened over the last 20 years, the underlying structure is still largely in place, and because of the heavy lobby in the industry, it is supported by international institutions such as the ITU. While these institutions support new — customer-focused — developments they are still heavily influenced by the vested interests. Increasingly vested interests also include the new internet monopolies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple).

While the UN does have a more social approach at the same time, they lack a holistic approach towards these developments, and this means that each UN silo has its own vertical set of policies while we need to start taking a more holistic, horizontal approach.

I also advocated this approach within the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which I assisted in setting up. On the positive side, they did try to develop a more holistic approach, but they were hampered by the lack the power to implement such structures across the UN organization, industries, countries, etc. Nevertheless, they are an important part of the education process and are at least able to introduce new ways of holistic thinking.

The overall social and economic structure to better utilize the new advances in ICT for the social and economic benefits that can be achieved does not, in general, exist. The same level of silo thinking exists everywhere in governments, industries, NGOs, international organizations and so on.

Furthermore — especially since the 1980s — the current neo-capitalist structure prefers market forces to government intervention. While I also support market-driven solutions over government intervention, the reality is that based on the above analysis we aren't seeing a truly customer-driven/national interest leadership coming from the private market.

In the specific situation of the telecoms/digital market, this also has to do with the fact that the social and economic benefits from e-health, e-education, smart cities, smart energy, etc. are based more on national cost savings (and other national benefits such as increased productivity and international competitiveness), and this does not deliver immediate new company revenues and new profits. This means that it is difficult to build traditional business models around these services unless governments are prepared to invest upfront in order to receive cost benefits and other national benefits later. Once that hurdle is overcome, the industry will invest in what lies beyond.

Alternatively, to attract long-term investments — for instance, from the World Bank, pension funds and other financial institutions — radical new strategic plans will need to be developed, and these developments depend heavily on government policies (which in most cases do not exist, this at least is partially because of the industry issues mentioned above). Financial institutions — those interested in long-term utilities based investments — are looking for investment-ready projects that are in the order of $500 million-plus, with extensive strategic plans and scalability.

Another important trend is that increasingly the focus of policy-making is moving towards cities and we do see local government slowly taking a leadership role in user/citizen-focused developments.

My work is in developing strategies and policies to make that happen with governments, industry, and academia. We are seeing progress but the full effects will take another 20 to 30 years, and money is an even bigger hurdle here. I recently wrote a blog on this .

With local government leadership, I assist in building two levels of collaboration — one between the different levels of government (local, province/state, federal/national) and the other between cities, industry, and universities.

In the strategies developed within these organizations, technology does, of course, play a key role; but it is not central. To participate in these collaboration processes, the commitment will have to be made to place citizens in the centre. With a holistic approach, there is little room for rigid division between technologies (mobile, fixed, IT), all with their own policies, regulations, narrow business models, etc. The city/industry collaborative in this structure tries to overcome that divide by making the customer outcome central, not the industry outcome. This is easier said than done but it will be the trend moving into the future.

In conclusion, nothing less than a major industry restructuring is needed to obtain the massive economic and social benefits that are on offer in this innovative and dynamic environment. This needs to be led by policies and regulations, aimed at creating the right environment to both maximize the technical outcomes and to attract the right investments needed to make it happen.

Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

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ICANN Maps Whois Models for GDPR

Domain industry news - Fri, 2018-02-02 18:48

Earlier today ICANN held a webinar to provide an update on their data privacy activities in relation to whois and GDPR.

Rather than simply talking about the various "models" they produced both a visual mapping as well as a matrix.

While some attendees may not agree with how all the models are classified it is still a helpful way of showing the deviations from the current fully public whois model for gTLD domain name registrations.

ICANN has been publishing updates and related documents on their site here.

Written by Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions

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Afternic increases fast transfer limit to $100k

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2018-02-02 17:07

Domain names can be listed with buy now prices of up to $100,000 and still get distribution.

Just a few months after increasing it to $50,000, Afternic has increased the price limit on buy now fast transfer domains to $100,000.

This means that you can list domain names on Afternic for up to $100,000 and still have them included in its fast transfer network. A domain buyer can find your name at participating registrars and purchase the domain much like registering an available domain name. The domain will be instantly transferred into the customer’s account at their registrar.

GoDaddy VP of Aftermarket Paul Nicks confirmed to Domain Name Wire that Afternic (owned by GoDaddy) has sold some domain names for more than $25,000 since increasing the limit in October.


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.Com’s Top Registrars

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2018-02-02 15:19

These are the biggest registrars for .com domain names.

ICANN has released Verisign’s most recent official breakdown of domain transactions by registrar. The data are from October.

In October, these were the top 10 registrars in terms of new .com registrations:

1. GoDaddy.com 942,007*
2. Tucows 197,433**
3. Endurance 170,597+
4. NameCheap Inc. 132,524
5. HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. 113,515
6. Web.com 100,930++
7. Google Inc. 78,340
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 65,746
9. 1&1 Internet SE 55,423
10. GMO Internet, Inc. dba Onamae.com 52,154

Here’s the current leaderboard of the top registrars in terms of total .com registrations as of the end of October 2017:

1. GoDaddy 46,325,700*
2. Tucows 15,721,852**
3. Endurance 8,138,111+
4. Web.com 6,647,865++
5. HiChina 5,198,100
6. 1&1 3,803,746
7. GMO 2,197,932
8. Xin Net Technology Corporation 1,530,863
9. OVH 1,333,602
10. Ename 1,314,204

Once Namecheap gets its .com names from Tucows, it will show up on this list.

Many domain companies have multiple accreditations and I’ve tried to capture the largest ones. See the notes below and let me know if I’ve missed any large registrars.

* Includes GoDaddy and Wild West Domains
** Includes Tucows and Enom
+ Includes PDR, Domain.com, FastDomain and Bigrock. There are other Endurance registrars, but I believe these are the biggest
++ Includes Network Solutions and Register.com


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The Rise of a Secondary Market for Domain Names (Part 4/4): Facilitating the Secondary Market

Domain industry news - Fri, 2018-02-02 03:26

The defining of rights in the UDRP process is precisely what WIPO and ICANN contemplated, but it is unlikely they foresaw the destination of the jurisprudence. Since its inception, UDRP Panels have adjudicated over 75,000 disputes, some involving multiple domain names. (These numbers, incidentally, are a tiny fraction of the number of registered domain names in legacy and new top-level domains, which exceeded 320 million in the first quarter 2017). However, roughly ninety percent of UDRP decisions can be discounted because respondents have no defensible claim to accused domain names and do not even bother to appear or argue that they do. I do not regard this class of registrants as entrepreneurs (which I reserve for the investor class) but rather as bottom feeders, although there are some who fancy themselves to be acting in good faith when the evidence is clearly against them.

The development of domain name jurisprudence insofar as drawing the boundaries of rights is therefore based on some ten percent of the adjudicated disputes. Panels began parsing rights in the first year of the UDRP, and they have not stopped. In the first denial (the fifth filed complaint), the respondent acquired the domain names before the complainant rebranded its business with the knowledge that the corresponding domain names were unavailable. [1] The respondent-investor had priority, and it prevailed.

This was quickly followed by another dispute in which the mark owner had priority, but the domain name was composed of a dictionary word, "allocation." The panel explained that the difficulty lay in the fact that

the domain name allocation.com, although descriptive or generic in relation to certain services or goods, may be a valid trademark for others. This difficulty is [com]pounded by the fact that, while "Allocation" may be considered a common word in English speaking countries, this may not be the case in other countries, such as Germany. [2]

The panel found that the registration and offering for sale of allocation.com constituted a legitimate interest of the respondent in the domain name, although it would be "different if it were shown that allocation.com has been chosen with the intent to profit from or otherwise abuse Complainant's trademark rights." The complainant offered no evidence of "intent to profit," and its complaint was, accordingly, denied.

Chief among the principles of domain name jurisprudence for investors are rights or legitimate interests founded on (1) a "first-come, first-served" basis (not necessarily limited to registrations postdating marks' first use in commerce); (2) registration of generic strings used (or potentially usable) in non-infringing ways for their semantic or ordinary meanings; and (3) making bona fide offerings of goods or services (which by consensus includes pay-per-click websites and reselling domain names on the secondary market).

Thus, as a general matter, it is not unlawful to have registered successbank.com following its abandonment by a bank known before its merger with another financial institution as "Success National Bank." [3] The complainant's rebranding to SUCCESS BANK notwithstanding, it had no right to a lawfully registered domain name even though the second level domain is identical to its mark. Nor, is it unlawful to register a geographic indicator — a cambridge.com for example — where the resolving website is devoted to providing information about Cambridge. [4] Cambridge University may have a seven-hundred-year history of marketing its services, but the domain name does not violate its statutory rights.

There was a momentary setback in a dispute over the word "crew" [5] in 2000. The panel majority found that the respondent was "a speculator who registers domain names in the hopes that others will seek to buy or license the domain names from it" and awarded the domain name to the clothier that owned the mark. A vigorous dissent took the position that has become the consensus opinion of panelists that "speculating" in domain names is not abusive per se. This is demonstrated in later cases such as shoeland.com (2009) in which the panel held that "registering such a generic domain name is a business practice that confers upon the practitioner rights or legitimate interests in that domain name." [6]

This delineation of parties' respective rights has been continually reinforced, and it is now well established that mark owners have no right to corresponding domain names unless they can prove cybersquatting, which is increasingly difficult to establish with weak marks. This is reflected in a number of recent UDRP decisions. For example, in J.D.M. Software B.V. v. Robert Mauro, WDINCO (decided in the respondent's favor over a strong dissent) the complainant alleged that "JDM" infringed its Benelux Trademark, which, the respondent countered, was a simply desirable string of letters for businesses in many different lines of trade. [7] The complainant argued that

the use of the disputed domain name to resolve to a website with PPC links and an offer to sell the disputed domain name at what the Complainant characterizes as a "clearly disproportionate price" cannot be considered a good faith offering of goods or services under the Policy.

However, neither pay-per-click links nor the "clearly disproportionate price" are factors in determining bad faith where the registration is lawful. The Panel held that "the evidence shows [JDM as having] a very wide range of potential associations and is in fact in use by numerous businesses other than the Complainant."

The consensus view is set forth in the newly released (May 2017) WIPO Overview 3.0 which the J.D.M. Panel noted "fairly summarizes the weight of UDRP panel decisions" on this issue:

the use of a domain name to host a parked page comprising PPC links does not represent a bona fide offering where such links compete with or capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of the complainant's mark or otherwise mislead Internet users. [8]

However, where the links do not "compete with or capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of the complainant's mark," the registration is not unlawful. Trademark owners have adjusted to this. While the number of registered domain names has increased exponentially, the number of UDRP complaints has remained steady over the last decade at around 5,000 per year. Where the disputed domain name consists of dictionary words, generic terms, descriptive phrases, or random letters, and the complainant contacts the respondent to negotiate purchasing the domain name, the respondent has every right to capitalize on the inherent value of the lexical string regardless of whether the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the complainant's mark.

The final point to be made is that the value of domain assets is market driven. Since dictionary words (alone or with qualifying words), descriptive phrases, and many combinations of random letters useful as acronyms are already unavailable for the dot-com space, new businesses are compelled to buy domain names from investors and bid through auction websites. As noted, claims of outlandish, exorbitant, and unreasonably high prices are not a factor in proving bad faith, as several other recent cases make abundantly clear.

For example, for countryhome.com the panel held that the price "show[s] a reasonable business response to an inquiry about purchasing a business asset." [9] For babyboom.com the panel held that "[i]n the absence of any evidence from the Complainant that the Respondent had registered the disputed domain name with reference to the Complainant, the Respondent was fully entitled to respond to the unsolicited approach from the Complainant by asking whatever price it wanted for the disputed domain name." [10] And for coldfront.com, the panel held that "[i]f the Respondent has legitimate interests in the domain name, it has the right to sell that domain name for whatever price it deems appropriate regardless of the value that appraisers may ascribe to the domain name." [11]

Conclusion

When competitors vie for the same commodity, it becomes increasingly scarce. [12] Counter-intuitive though it may sound, and for the reasons I have explained, the cultural resources from which names were once mined has become exhausted. Where there is opportunity to create demand (by buying up addresses and controlling supply), there is bound to develop a business niche, which for the Internet is filled by investors of different ranks.

The hard lesson for businesses is that investors have competing rights. When it comes to advising clients, the best counsel can do is urge them not to register marks before acquiring corresponding domain names. For businesses with newly minted marks with no corresponding domain names, there is no legal remedy except to pay the pipers who had the prescience to register desirable names and are holding them for resale at (sometimes) "exorbitant," "excessive," and "unreasonable" prices. [12]

Endnotes:

[1]Telaxis Communications Corp. v. William E. Minkle, D2000-0005 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2000) (telaxis.com and telaxis.net).
[2] Allocation Network GmbH v. Steve Gregory, D2000-0016 (WIPO Mar. 24, 2000).
[3] Success Bank v. ZootGraphics c/o Ira Zoot, FA0904001259918 (Forum June 29, 2009) (Rebranding to SUCCESS BANK without due diligence of the corresponding domain name).
[4] The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge v. Kirkland Holdings LLC, D2015-1278 (WIPO Oct. 5, 2015) (cambridge.com. The three-member Panel criticized Complainant's counsel for "exceed[ing] the bounds of advocate's hyperbole."
[5] J. Crew International, Inc. v. crew.com, D2000-0054 (WIPO Apr. 20, 2000) (crew.com).
[6] Shoe Land Group, supra); X6D Limited v. Telepathy, Inc., D2010-1519 (WIPO Nov. 16, 2010) ("Due to the commercial value of descriptive or generic domain names it has become a business model to register and sell such domain names to the highest potential bidder.")
[7] D2017-1182 (WIPO Aug. 23, 2017).
[8] Paragraph 2.9 and for acronyms 2.10.2. The current version of the Overview is available at http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/overview3.0/.
[9] Decisions too numerous to cite, but representative examples from the first year of the UDRP include Meredith Corp. vs. CityHome, Inc., D2000-0223 (WIPO May 18, 2000) ("The fact that Respondent is seeking substantial money for what it believes to be a valuable asset is not tantamount to bad faith").
[10] Wirecard AG v. Telepathy Inc., Development Services, D2015-0703 (WIPO June 22, 2015).
[11] Personally Cool Inc. v. Name Administration Inc. (BVI), FA 1474325 (Forum Jan. 17, 2013) (coldfront.com).
[12] See Shoe Mart Factory Outlet, Inc. v. DomainHouse.com, Inc. c/o Domain Administrator, FA0504000462916 (Forum June 10, 2005) ("With all due respect to my brother Panelists, I must dissent. As an overall matter, I believe the UDRP was designed to regulate a scarce resource (domain names) rather than to provide a mechanism to protect registered trademarks"); Micah Hargress v. PARAMOUNT INTERNET, FA1509001638609 (Forum Nov. 13, 2015) (hargress.com. "Respondent is in the business of registering valuable non-infringing generic domain names and surnames because Respondent knew that they are inherently scarce, attractive, and useful to many parties and it is a fully acceptable practice in the domain name industry, consistent with UDRP guidelines and established precedents.")
[13] See Shesafe Pty Ltd v. DomainMarket.com, D2017-1330 (WIPO Aug. 22, 2017) (shesafe.com). Before Respondent received the complaint it was offering shesafe.com for around $10,000 dollars. Following its dismissal, the value of the domain name escalated into the stratosphere as graphically described in a post on DomainGang: "Since the decision, Mike Mann has jacked up the price tenfold, seeking now no less than $94,888 dollars!” (bolding in original).

Other parts in this series:

Part 1: A Tale of Competing Interests
Part 2: Origins of the Competition
Part 3: Domain Names as Virtual Real Estate
Part 4: Facilitating the Secondary Market

Originally published in Vol. 26, No. 3 of Bright Ideas (Winter 2017), a publication of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

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

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Back from NamesCon — here’s my take

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2018-02-01 19:36

My thoughts on NamesCon 2018.

I arrived home in Austin yesterday after NamesCon and I’m officially in rest-your-voice mode. My fingers can still type, though, so here are my thoughts:

I gave a recap after a couple days and said China was dead. Of course, that was a bit of an overstatement. George Hong of Guta.com saw me shortly after I posted that and gave me his thoughts. They will be in Monday’s podcast. The reality is that China is still investing, they are just investing in the good stuff. No more 7-8 digit domain names…

The highlight for me was interviewing Megadeth co-founder David Ellefson in person. If you missed the interview, you can listen to my previous interview with Ellefson on the DNW Podcast. I think a lot of people were surprised by the talk.

Andrew Allemann (left) and David Ellefson. Photo courtesy NamesCon.

Internet Commerce Association’s annual dinner was much better than last year. The venue wasn’t as swank, but it was bigger, the food was great, you could sit down to eat and you could actually hear people. Kudos…

Where’s GoDaddy? If you didn’t know that GoDaddy was the parent company of the conference, you wouldn’t have figured it out by being there. The company had a slightly bigger presence than in previous years but the NamesCon team did a great job keeping it arms-length. That’s how it should be…

Having a brunch during the closing session Wednesday was genius. The session was packed and wouldn’t have been otherwise. NamesCon should consider doing that for other sessions…

The Tropicana was marginally better than in prior years thanks to a new restaurant (and another one coming soon). Yes, the rooms aren’t great and the filtration system at the hotel is pathetic, but I’ve learned to accept The Trop for what it is. Just don’t try to order room service…


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Thailand has Become the World's Leading Hotspot for Cryptocurrency Mining Malware

Domain industry news - Thu, 2018-02-01 19:21

New research indicates Thailand as being the world's number one hotspot for cryptocurrency mining malware. Suchit Leesa-Nguansuk from the South China Morning Post reports: "XRMig, software that is used to mine the monero cryptocurrency, is being used to attack systems without the knowledge or consent of the victims. While XRMig itself is not specifically malware, it is being delivered using malware delivery techniques… Among the top 10 countries globally attacked, Thailand saw the most downloads of the new malware at 3,545,437, followed by Vietnam (1,830,065), Egypt (1,132,863), Indonesia (988,163), Turkey (665,058), Peru (646,985), Algeria (614,870), Brazil (550,053), the Philippines (406,294) and Venezuela (400,661)."

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Closing Day Photos & Highlights From the 2018 NamesCon Global Conference Wednesday in Las Vegas

DN Journal - Thu, 2018-02-01 17:25
The 5th annual edition of the NamesCon Global conference is now history. We have all of the closing day photos & highlights from Las Vegas Wednesday.
Categories: News and Updates

22 end user domain name sales including .io, .us and .org

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2018-02-01 16:12

Companies bought country code domains plus many good .com names.

RaiBlocks rebranded as Nano and bought Nano.org for £10,000.

Sedo had a good sales week with some notable sales in country code domains.

Its top reported sale was CarStore.com at $82,500, but that domain is still in escrow. There are lots of businesses with this name so I’m not able to pin down the buyer.

I’m also curious who bought Live.us for $26,000. That’s among the top ten .us domain sales publicly reported according to Namebio.com. There was another good .us sale with Care.us at $12,000.

Blockchain and cryto companies continue to buy domain names but not necessarily with coin, crypto or blockchain in the domains. Check out names like Read.io and Nano.org, both bought be companies in the space.

Here’s the list of end user sales I uncovered:

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

PS.co.uk £12,800 – Paul Sunnucks Limited in the UK bought its acronym.

Care.us $12,000 – Synchrony Financial offers the CareCredit healthcare credit card.

Nano.org £10,000 – RaiBlocks rebranded as Nano, A “Digital currency for the real world”.

Systemize.com $10,000 – Moraware makes software for the companies that fabricate countertops. Systemize is the name of its scheduling software for countertop fabricators.

Read.io $10,000 – Another blockchain startup that says it will “Reshape the online literature ecology”.

ShiftProject.com $8,000 – There’s not much on the site yet, but it appears to be a blockchain business.

BillionaireCode.com $7,800 – Alex Charfin helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Car2Go.com $5,999 – Car company Daimler bought this for its Car2Go service.

ProxyTechnologies.com $5,000 – This company offers physical office access via mobile phones. It uses the domain name Proxy.co.

Flavis.com €4,800 – Dr. Shaer SpA is a consumer nutrition and food company. The company filed a trademark application for Flavis in December.

Hegla.com €4,500 – Leonex Internet GmbH is a German websites/app builder. I suspect this is for a client; it forwards to a vehicle interiors site.

MoldMakers.com $4,200 – A-1 Tool company makes injection molds.

BabyPalooza.com $3,800 – The domain forwards to babypaloozatour.com, a group that operates parenting and baby expos.

DallasStartup.com $3,795 – Austin entrepreneur and founder of Capital Factory Joshua Baer. The domain forwards to thedec.co for the new Dallas Entrepreneur Center.

RMEngineering.com $3,700 – RMS Engineering in New York. It owns RMSEngineering.com.

SavvyApp.com $3,499 – Sage Personal Finance is launching the Savvy App.

ModelBox.com $3,400 – Influencer.co launched ModelBox, which provides free stuff to beauty, fitness and related influencers.

Natria.com $3,000 – Bayer purchased this domain for its Natria-brand insect control product.

Lake.ch $2,999 – Lake Solutions AG uses the domain name Lake-Solutions.ch.

Arkus.net $2,488 – Arkus is an event planning system.

DriveHub.com $2,400 – The owner of DriveHub.co, a car rental aggregator.

HRewards.com $2,000 – I suspect that Solutran bought this domain for its Healthy Savings program.


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Escrow.com’s 2018 Masters of Domains

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2018-02-01 14:30

Escrow.com honors some of its top customers in 2018.

For the second year in a row, Escrow.com honored ten “Masters of Domains” before the NamesCon auction in Las Vegas. The list includes the top ten highest grossing individual brokers for the prior year.

Last year’s winner, George Hong, pulled his name out of the running this year because he doesn’t want to be viewed as an individual broker because he has a team at GUTA.com.

Here’s this year’s list:

1. Raymond Liu, 62.com
2. Andrew Rosener, Media Options
3. Mohammed Hashim Al-Asadi, TopNames
4. Joe Uddeme, Name Experts
5. Ali Zandinejad, Starfire Web Holdings
6. Özcan Marcus Kocak, DotWhat
7. Jen Sale, Evergreen
8. James Booth, BGDN
9. Nat Cohen, Telepathy
10. Ryan McKegney, DomainAgents


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NamesCon Global 2018 Day 3 Photos & Highlights from Las Vegas Including Domain Sales Award Winners & Live Auction Results

DN Journal - Thu, 2018-02-01 02:25
The 2018 NamesCon Global conference continued Tuesday with the 3rd day & night of the 5th annual event in Las Vegas. We have all of the photos & highlights.
Categories: News and Updates

The Rise of a Secondary Market for Domain Names (Part 3/4): Domain Names as Virtual Real Estate

Domain industry news - Thu, 2018-02-01 00:52

The way the Internet operates drove a wedge between strings of lexical and numeric characters used as marks and alphanumeric strings used as addresses. Domain names were described by Steve Forbes in a 2007 press release as virtual real estate. It is, he said, analogous to the market in real property: "Internet traffic and domains are the prime real estate of the 21st century." [1]

Mr. Forbes was not the first to recognize this phenomenon. In a case decided in 1999 (the same year ICANN implemented the UDRP), a federal district court presciently observed that "[s]ome domain names ... are valuable assets as domain names irrespective of any goodwill which might be attached to them." The court continued: "Indeed, there is a lucrative market for certain generic or clever domain names that do not violate a trademark or other right or interest, but are otherwise extremely valuable to Internet entrepreneurs." [2]

I have already mentioned the reason they are valuable, but how have they become so? The answer (I think) lies in the commodification of words and letters. Before the Internet, businesses had the luxury of drawing on cultural resources of such depth (dictionaries, thesauruses, and lexicons, among them) that it never appeared likely they would ever be exhausted or "owned." However, what was once a "public domain" of words and letters has become commodified, as investors became increasingly active in vacuuming up every word in general and specialized dictionaries as well as registering strings of arbitrary characters that also can be used as acronyms. Even the definite article "the" is registered — the.com — although it has never been the subject of a cybersquatting complaint. The WhoIs directory shows that it was registered in 1997 and is held anonymously under a proxy. The result of commodifying words and letters is that investors essentially control the market for new names, particularly for dot-com addresses, which remain by far the most desirable extension. This is what the Panel meant when it stated that domain names are a "scares resource."

As the number of registered domain names held by investors has increased, the free pool of available words for new and emerging businesses has decreased. Put another way, there has been a steady shrinking of the public domain of words and letters for use in the legacy spaces that corresponds in inverse fashion to the increase in the number of registered domain names. [3]

This is not to criticize investors who have legitimately taken advantage of market conditions. They recognized and seized upon an economic opportunity and by doing so created a vibrant secondary market. Nevertheless, as I have already noted the emergence and protection of this market for domain names has been facilitated by panelists working to establish a jurisprudence that protects both mark owner and investors.

Endnotes:

[1] Further, "[t]his market has matured, and individuals, brands, investors and organizations who do not grasp their importance or value are missing out on numerous levels." Reported in CircleID at http://www.circleid.com/posts/792113_steve_forbes_domain_name_economics/.
[2] Dorer v Arel, 60 F. Supp. 2d 558 (E.D. Va. 1999).
[3] See 848 F.3d 292, 121 U.S.P.Q.2d 1586 (4th Cir., 2017). The evidence in that case indicated that "99% of all registrar searches today result in a 'domain taken' page." The Court noted further that "Verisign's own data shows that out of approximately two billion requests it receives each month to register a .com name, fewer than three million — less than one percent — actually are registered."

Other parts in this series:

Part 1: A Tale of Competing Interests
Part 2: Origins of the Competition
Part 3: Domain Names as Virtual Real Estate
Part 4: Facilitating the Secondary Market

Originally published in Vol. 26, No. 3 of Bright Ideas (Winter 2017), a publication of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

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

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Alphabet Launches New Cybersecurity Company, Chronicle

Domain industry news - Wed, 2018-01-31 23:54

A new cybersecurity company called Chronicle has emerged from Alphabet's "moonshot factory," that's dedicated to helping companies find and stop cyberattacks before they cause harm. Stephen Gillett, CEO and co-founder of Chronicle writes: "Security threats are growing faster than security teams and budgets can keep up, and there's already a huge talent shortage. The proliferation of data from the dozens of security products that a typical large organization deploys is paradoxically making it harder, not easier, for teams to detect and investigate threats. Thousands of potential clues about hacking activity are overlooked or thrown away each day. ... We believe there's a better way. We want to 10x the speed and impact of security teams' work by making it much easier, faster and more cost-effective for them to capture and analyze security signals that have previously been too difficult and expensive to find."

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NamesCon live domain auction results and extended auction info

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2018-01-31 18:44

Auction grosses over $1.5 million; extended auction ends February 8.

Right of the Dot held a live domain name auction at NamesCon last night in conjunction with NameJet.

Compared to previous auctions, it seemed like the live auction hall stayed pack much longer than in previous years.

The auction grossed over $1.5 million in sales. The top sales were:

great.com $900,000
payperclick.com $100,000
runner.com $69,000
fakenews.com $65,000
tees.com $50,000
boj.com $35,000
bjn.com $29,000
r5.net $7,500
tax.help $6,000
porn.club $5,000
polo.club $4,000

The sell-through rate was about 56%.

Domain names that did not meet their reserves, as well as domains that were not selected for the auction, are available in the extended auction on NameJet. The extended auction ends on February 8.


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From Crisis to Resilience - the Path to Sustainable Communications Infrastructure in the Caribbean

Domain industry news - Wed, 2018-01-31 18:31

The Caribbean suffered six major storms in 2017, including the record-breaking Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria. In the unprecedented destruction, the islands of Dominica and Barbuda lost all communication and telecommunications service, and eight other Caribbean countries were severely disrupted.

Each hurricane season wreaks greater devastation than the last, yet decreased telecommunications competition, inadequate regulation, and high national debt burdens in the region yield ever-diminishing infrastructural investment. In effect, the Caribbean enters each hurricane season with more fragile communications infrastructure than the year before. Consequently, the region's capacity to rebound diminishes each year. Drawing from the devastation and experience of the last hurricane season, the region is now taking steps to ensure that its networks are more robust and more resilient.

The New Normal?

The increasing frequency and intensity of storms in the Caribbean are concerning to both its residents, who have to find ways of surviving, as well as those tasked with maintaining life-supporting infrastructure in the region. The escalating devastation is also profoundly challenging given the historic constraints of economy, infrastructure and human capacity that define the Caribbean's small states.

Hurricane Maria destroyed every building in Barbuda, and all of its infrastructure, requiring that the entirety of the country's population be evacuated to other islands. In Dominica, 29 lives were lost, more than 30 persons are still missing, and the country's agriculture reserves were entirely lost. Barbuda, Dominica, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla sustained severe disruptions in communications networks and entire communities were completely disconnected from the Internet, severely hampering recovery and humanitarian relief efforts. The damage and losses in Dominica alone totaled at least 1.3 billion US dollars, more than double the nation's GDP.
While unprecedented, the 2017 hurricane season was not unanticipated, and it is part of a larger system of related problems. For the Caribbean, the challenge is not only climate-change fueled hurricanes, but includes rising sea levels, coral bleaching, drought, and other consequences of the earth's changing climate patterns.

Opportunity in the Storm

The Director General of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean, (OECS) Dr. Didacus Jules, recently stated,

"The existential challenge of smallness is the contradiction of opportunity coexisting with vulnerability. On the one hand, smallness provides the scale ideal for field-testing innovation and integrated ecological solutions to the dilemmas of human civilization… On the other hand, at the core of smallness is vulnerability. The vulnerability of small states is inversely proportional to size because the mathematics of disaster does not move the human conscience as it does on a larger stage."

The small size of markets and populations in the region make the Caribbean particularly vulnerable to exogenous shocks. However, small size also makes it possible to experiment with and implement solutions that can benefit entire national communities. It allows for national models to be tested before being applied on a regional or even a global scale. This is the opportunity before the Caribbean.

Focus on Network Resilience

The failure of Caribbean communications networks was a particularly worrying consequence of the recent storms. It highlighted the urgent need to strengthen the region's communications infrastructure. Critical telecommunications services, including mobile networks and Internet connectivity, were severely disrupted. Relief efforts were hampered not only by disabled networks, but also by limited technical personnel, and the absence of regulations and plans to allow for emergency spectrum and infrastructure sharing.

Thankfully, regional organizations like the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) and the volunteer-based, non-profit Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG), are focusing special attention on strengthening Caribbean network resilience. They have found solid support from Internet organizations such as Packet Clearing House (PCH) and the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), each with a strong interest and history in supporting critical Internet Infrastructure in the region.

The CTU has empaneled a special Commission for Caribbean Communications Resilience to critically examine the region's communications vulnerabilities and make recommendations for more resilient infrastructure, technologies, and practices. There is strong support for the Commission from industry, including IBM, Cisco, and Intel, as well as intergovernmental organizations like the World Bank and Organization of American States as it works to develop actionable recommendations for regional governments, regulators and communications ministries. It is hoped that these recommendations, expected before the start of the 2018 hurricane season, will help strengthen local and regional network infrastructure and spur the creation of more autonomous networks in the region.

CaribNOG is overseeing the development of special software applications to address specific disaster preparedness and response gaps that were exposed. It is also designing technical workshops targeting network operators and computer engineers to help with the proliferation of autonomous networks and strengthening of critical Internet infrastructure in the Caribbean. The CTU and CaribNOG are also collaborating on capacity building efforts aimed at regulators and policymakers.

The scale of the devastation wrought by this season's hurricanes is unprecedented in recent Caribbean communications history. Now, there is unprecedented commitment to work collaboratively to strengthen network resilience in the region. There is also new resolve to ensure that the Caribbean is better prepared for whatever the future brings.

Written by Bevil Wooding, Internet Strategist at Packet Clearing House

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New domain stats site DomainNameStats.com launches

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2018-01-31 17:27

New site offers domain stats for most TLDs.

The creator of new top level domain stats site NameStat.org has launched DomainNameStats.com in beta.

DomainNameStats.com provides the latest stats about each top level domain name: new, old and country code.

For each domain the site includes:

  • Daily change in domains
  • List of newly registered domains – I think this is very helpful to see the quality of domains that are being registered under a TLD. If the registrations don’t make sense to you, they might be worth investigating.
  • List of dropped domains
  • List of domains re-added
  • Sites in the Alexa top million – While Alexa can be misleading, this is helpful to see if a domain name is getting traction with actual websites
  • New registration price by registrar – A very helpful cost comparison tool

Data is updated data based on zone files when available.

Columns are configurable to get more data on each TLD. As an added bonus, the data can be downloaded in .csv format.

 


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