News and Updates

Internet Society Seeks Nominations for 2018 Board of Trustees

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-11-01 20:16

Are you passionate about preserving the global, open Internet? Do you have experience in Internet standards, development or public policy? If so, please consider applying for one of the open seats on the Internet Society Board of Trustees.

The Internet Society serves a pivotal role in the world as a leader on Internet policy, technical, economic, and social matters, and as the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Working with members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society promotes the continued evolution and growth of the open Internet for everyone. The Board of Trustees provides strategic direction, inspiration, and oversight to advance the Society's mission.

In 2018:

  • the Internet Society's chapters will elect one Trustee;
  • its Organization Members will elect one Trustee, and
  • the IETF will select two Trustees.

Membership in the Internet Society is not required to nominate someone (including yourself), to stand for election, or to serve on the Board. Following an orientation program, all new Trustees will begin 3-year terms commencing with the Society's annual general meeting in June 2018.

Nominations close at 15:00 UTC on December 15, 2017. Find out more by reading the Call for Nominations and other information available at: https://www.internetsociety.org/trustees

Written by Dan York, Author and Speaker on Internet technologies - and on staff of Internet Society

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Reverse Domain Hijacking Where Complainant Knew but Did Not Disclose Geographic Significance of Mark

Domain industry news - Wed, 2017-11-01 19:09

In the case of Oy Vallila Interior Ab v. Linkz Internet Services, a 3-member WIPO Panel denied the Complainant's efforts to have the disputed domain name <vallila.com> transferred because the Complainant did not prove that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.

The Complainant is in the business of providing fabrics and interior design services and claimed trademark rights in its registered mark VALLILA in the European Union. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name in 2005 and used it to establish a website that contained sponsored links. In response to an anonymous inquiry made on behalf of the Complainant, the Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain name for USD $32,000.

The Panel found that the Complainant failed to demonstrate that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith. Vallila is the name of a geographic location, namely, an inner suburb of Helsinki, Finland. The Complainant did not disclose in its complaint that its mark was also a place name, though correspondence introduced by the Respondent showed the Complainant had that knowledge.

There was no evidence the disputed domain name was used to take advantage of the trademark significance of the Complainant's disputed domain name. The web page at the disputed domain name contained sponsored links — but only about a third of them referred to Finland. The Panel observed that in an ordinary case, that amount of connection to the place name would not be enough to show geographic use of the domain name. But the Complainant did not advance anything sufficiently concrete to link the Respondent with specific knowledge of the Complainant. Even if the Respondent did have such knowledge, it may well also have had knowledge of the geographic significance of the term Vallila and the many other businesses operating there which have Vallila in their name. The price sought for the disputed domain name, therefore, could not necessarily be attributed to the disputed domain name's resemblance to the Complainant's trademark.

The Panel went on to find that the Complainant brought the UDRP proceeding in bad faith. The Complainant had argued that the only possible reason for registering the disputed domain name was to take advantage of its significance as the Complainant's trademark. Moreover, the Complainant relied on the communication from the Respondent's broker offering the disputed domain name for sale for USD $32,000 as evidence of both registration and use in bad faith. But the Panel found that failure to disclose the geographic significance of the name had the potential to mislead the Panel in a way which could be, and in this case was, highly material to the Panel's decision. The panel found there to be reverse domain name hijacking.

Oy Vallila Interior Ab v. Linkz Internet Services, WIPO Case No. D2017-1458

Written by Evan D. Brown, Attorney

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15 end user domain name sales

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-11-01 18:28

A screencasting company, film producer and Irish dance school bought domain names last week.

Film Writer and producer Wesly Lapioli smartly bought Wesly.com.

This week’s end user sales list has a couple of solid five-figure sales, including an agricultural chemicals firm that has been using the domain Infofilcc.com paying $25k to buy Indofil.com. I also like the descriptive domains BusSchedules.com (bought by a new company) and IrishDance.com (bought by an existing company that teaches Irish dance.)

Let’s jump into the list. Here are the 15 end user sales I discovered from Sedo over the past week.

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

Indofil.com $24,990 – Indofil Industries Ltd is an agricultural chemicals company in India that uses the domain name Indofilcc.com.

EZCast.com $20,000 – EZCast is a screencasting technology from Actions Microelectronics.

Spela.com $9,888 – The buyer has set up a gaming site on the domain. Spela is Swedish for “Play”.

BusSchedules.com $8,000 – The buyer is using Whois privacy but promises “a Huge step forward for bus transportation”.

Contract.ai $4,999 – Investment firm Cota Capital likely bought this for one of its portfolio companies.

On-Demand.com EUR 3,726 – Technology training company Global Knowledge, which offers both online and offline training.

SupplyAndDemand.co.uk GBP 3,500 – JD Sports Fashion PLC might have purchased this for a new clothing brand. Here’s its current lineup.

BSCard.com $3,500 – What will BS Card sell? I don’t know, but its buyer is setting up a shop with Shopify.

GPIL.com $3,500 – Greenply Industries Limited bought its acronym. The company manufactures interior products like doors and floors.

Wesly.com EUR 3,000 – Wesly Lapioli is a film writer and producer.

IrishDance.com $3,000 – The domain now forwards to CelticSteps.org, a company that offers Celtic dance classes.

RaceReceiver.com $3,000 – Innovative Spectator Products Inc. sells the RACEceiver, which lets race car fans listen in on racer communications. It owns the domain Raceceiver.com.

Quick-Mix.cn EUR 2,500 – Quick-mix Gruppe GmbH + Co.KG, which uses the domain quick-mix.de.

BoxOffice.ch EUR 2,490 – GeneralMedia SA is a publishing company.

Kertu.com $2,000 – This was a surname purchase by someone in Dubai.


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Categories: News and Updates

DigitalTown Continues Acquisition Binge With Deal for App Maker CityInformation B.V.

DN Journal - Wed, 2017-11-01 16:18
DigitalTown, Inc., a company headed by Epik.com Founder Rob Monster, has announced their 7th acquisition since the beginning of last year.
Categories: News and Updates

An Amazon coin? Amazon.com registers cryptocurrency domain names

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2017-11-01 13:56

Tech giant registers three domain names related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The Whois record for AmazonEthereum.com.

Amazon.com registered three domain names yesterday related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies: amazoncryptocurrencies.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com and amazonethereum.com.

The domain name registrations might suggest that Amazon is getting ready to do something on the Ethereum blockchain or release its own cryptocurrency. However, I caution that Amazon is overzealous when it comes to defensive domain name registrations. I believe that some of the registrations are done at arms-length by a brand protection agency.

The registrations come a week after Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin graded tech giants on their blockchain readiness. On Amazon, Lubin said “Amazon, we’ve not seen that much, so we’ll see.”


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Categories: News and Updates

Security Researchers are Warning About a New IoT Botnet Storm Brewing

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-10-31 20:43

A brand new botnet, dubbed ‘IoTroop’, is discovered evolving and recruiting IoT devices at a far greater pace and with more potential damage than the Mirai botnet of 2016. Researchers at the security firm, Check Point, are warning that "a massive Botnet is forming to create a cyber-storm that could take down the internet. ... Our research suggests we are now experiencing the calm before an even more powerful storm. The next cyber hurricane is about to come."

A far more sophisticated campaign: "While some technical aspects lead us to suspect a possible connection to Mirai, this is an entirely new and far more sophisticated campaign that is rapidly spreading worldwide. It is too early to guess the intentions of the threat actors behind it, but with previous Botnet DDoS attacks essentially taking down the Internet, it is vital that organizations make proper preparations and defense mechanisms are put in place before an attack strikes."

Attack spreading by IoT devices: "With each passing day the malware was evolving to exploit an increasing number of vulnerabilities in Wireless IP Camera devices such as GoAhead, D-Link, TP-Link, AVTECH, NETGEAR, MikroTik, Linksys, Synology and others. It soon became apparent that the attempted attacks were coming from many different sources and a variety of IoT devices, meaning the attack was being spread by the IoT devices themselves."

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Why 5G Is in Trouble (and How to Fix It)

Domain industry news - Tue, 2017-10-31 20:22

I have a somewhat unconventional view of 5G. I just happen to believe it is the right one. It is trapped inside a category error about the nature of packet networking, and this means it is in trouble.

As context, we are seeing the present broadband Internet access model maturing and begin to reach its peak. 5G eagerly anticipates the next wave of applications.

The 5G Difference: "Purpose-for-Fitness" to "Fitness-for-Purpose"

As such, 5G is attempting to both extend and transcend the present "undifferentiated data sludge" model of mobile broadband.

Firstly, it pumps the "undrinkable" mucky bandwidth harder and faster, to give a modified version of what we have today with 4G. We will gloss over the minor miracle that needs to happen with backhaul, or that the mobility protocols today with 4G struggle when you get on the train (and 5G makes it worse).

Secondly, its other goal is to deliver differentiated "drinkable" access for different enterprise cloud and industrial applications. This essentially is a generic version of the very specific VoLTE solution developed for voice telephony in 4G, extended to any cloud application. It can be expressed as being for low-latency applications, or packed in a variety of other guises.

The Slow Evolution Towards General-Purpose Assured APP Access

The conventional wisdom is that packet networks enable networked computing ("join devices"), and networks do "work". As such, the job of the network is to forward as many packets as fast as possible, and what matters most is "speed". 5G fits this.

The unconventional wisdom is that packet networks enable interprocess communications ("join computations"), and networks don't do "work". As such, the job of the network is to trade resources around to deliver the "just right" quantity of quality to optimise the trade-offs of QoE risk.

The former model is "pipe", the latter is "futures and options trading". The former works with TCP/IP, the latter needs new packet architectures (RINA). The former can extend radio network protocols from 2G, 3G and 4G; the latter needs new ones. The former has a low-frequency resource trading model, the latter a high-frequency trading one.

A Paradigm Change in Engineering is Needed for 5G to Succeed

5G is making the network far more dynamic, without having the mathematics, models, methods or mechanisms to do the "high-frequency trading". The whole industry is missing a core performance engineering skill: they can do (component) radio engineering, but not complete systems engineering. When you join all the bits, you don't know what you get until you turn it on!

The result will not be pretty.

In particular, 5G is primarily delivering into the tail of the last S curve of generic unassured broadband Internet access; it is not on its present path fit-for-purpose for assured cloud application access (inc VR/AR and IoT), which is the new S curve of growth.

Telephony is virtual reality. VoLTE wasn't solving the problem of how to extend the life of the past; it was solving a corner case of how do we communicate in future. Understand this, and the future and fate of 5G makes more sense.

The key question is whether 5G is aimed at extending the VoLTE part of 4G (fit-for-purpose voice) or improving the rest (purpose-for-fitness Internet access). It is trying to serve two strategic masters, the past and the future, at once.

Is 5G trying to "buy back up the curve", implying doom for its makers and buyers?
Watch the video presentation: The Death of Cellular by Francis McInerney

So, what to do about it? I see three key industry actions.

Firstly, we need to narrow the intentional semantics. 5G is trying to do too many things.

The focus of the generic broadband access should not be peak speed, or even "antipeak" latency under ideal conditions. It should be to establish a consistent quality floor under real-world conditions with graceful degradation in overload. That floor should be adjustable so that you can segment the market by quality.

This is a precursor to a 6G, where the two sides of unassured and assured can be unified through a shared framework for managing the quality floor.

Whilst we need a "generic VoLTE", only about 5 people on the planet know how to do it (and we're all busy on other things). So for the assured access part, it should not attempt to make the leap from singular VoLTE to a generic offer in one go.

There needs to be a series of smaller and less ambitious steps that allow the coexistence of a modest number of managed services with different latency and throughput needs. However, the real issue is to assure complete supply chains, not just one part (the access) or sub-part (the radio link).

Which brings us to the second issue, the denotational semantics. As an industry, we've yet to agree on the standard units for broadband supply and demand (if you can believe it). So the next thing 5G has to fix is the lack of a shared requirements specification language for performance.

The good news is that this is a solved problem.

Key Action Needed: Upgrade Engineering to Align Supply to Demand/span>

Finally, the operational semantics. If 5G is going to be of any use to anyone but equipment salespeople, it has to demonstrate the difference it makes. That implies it needs to have improved mechanisms that allow for high-fidelity measurement of what QoE was being delivered, high-frequency control to deliver it, and new architectures that appropriately join these together.

This QoE control is a paradigm change. Today the radio people constructing a bandwidth supply, and the packet people chopping up whatever is there, using whatever transport protocols they inherited from the IETF.

The future is a demand-led model that is the antithesis of the IETF's "rough consensus and running code" approach. That means a deep rethink because at present the radio folk are running the show, as they have always done. It's a supply-led industry.

The problem has to be reframed as a distributed computing one that makes the radio subservient to the computational outcome. That's going to ruffle a lot of feathers and upset a lot of power structures. The limiting factor in my experience is always human, never technical.

The alternative is that 5G gets stuck between two mutually incompatible goals, and serves neither well. Then eventually the whole ecosystem eventually gets bypassed in the 2020s, say by an IoT specialist player being bought by an Amazon, rather like how the iPhone overtook the handset space a decade ago.

Couldn't ever happen? Ask him…

Written by Martin Geddes, Founder, Martin Geddes Consulting Ltd

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Directnic acquires domain name registrar Fabulous.com

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-10-31 20:00

Directnic acquires Fabulous.com but brands will remain separate.

Domain name registrar consolidation continues as Directnic has acquired Fabulous.com from Dark Blue Sea Pty, the companies announced today.

Mike Robertson, Directnic Director of Business Development, will now help manage a portfolio and business he worked for nine years prior to joining Directnic.

The businesses will continue to be operated as separate brands, with Directnic focused on business customers and Fabulous.com on domain name investors. But Robertson says Fabulous will be improved.

“Work is already in process to update the Fabulous site and infrastructure,” Robertson told DNW. “Loyal Fabulous customers need not worry though, all the tools and features will remain, with the addition of new functionality, designed to heighten the user experience. These updates will be rolled out in Q1 of 2018.”

Robertson noted, “Having spent 9 years at Fabulous previously, I have a strong understanding of what domain owners need to be successful and we will continue to focus on delivering the best service possible to our customers.”


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Registrar Consolidation Continues as DirectNic Announces Acquisition of Fabulous.com 

DN Journal - Tue, 2017-10-31 19:55
The latest wave in the consolidation ocean has just come ashore with DirectNic swallowing up Fabulous.com.
Categories: News and Updates

Uniregistry gets patent for domain management and transfer system

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-10-31 15:22

Patent is related to its system for monitoring domains not registered at Uniregistry.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted patent number 9,807,053 (pdf) to Uniregistry for “System and method related to domain name tracking and transfer”.

The patent describes various aspects of Uniregistry’s account management system. In particular, it focuses on the ability to monitor domain names owned by the customer that are registered at different domain name registrars. It also has claims related to transferring domain names:

What is described is a system and method providing an improved customer experience for the Registrant. The Registrant is able to use a single interface to monitor multiple domain names as well as to transfer its domain names between Registrars. The single interaction with the single interface works out just as well and just as conveniently regardless of whether at the time a Registrant commences use of the system, a single Registrar happens to be handling all of the domain names, or whether each domain name is handled by a different Registrar.

Frank Schilling and Ryan Smith are listed as inventors. The patent was filed in August 2015 but was based on a provisional application filed in August 2014.


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Categories: News and Updates

ICANN files response in Donuts lawsuit

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-10-31 14:09

ICANN reiterates that Donuts agreed not to sue.

ICANN has filed its response (pdf) in Donuts’ appeal of a lawsuit to the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th District.

The lawsuit stems from the $135 million auction for .web. Donuts was one of seven applicants for the domain name. One applicant, Nu Dot Co, decided that it did not want to hold a private auction for the domain name, thus forcing ICANN to hold an “auction of last resort” for .web.

This was a big financial blow for Donuts. In a private auction, the losers split the proceeds. If a private auction concluded for $135 million, Donuts would have received over $20 million.

Donuts said that Nu Dot Co had a change of control that required updating its application. It turns out that Verisign struck a deal with Nu Dot Co to fund its auction in return for Nu Dot Co assigning rights to .web after it won and entered into a contract with ICANN.

Nu Dot Co denied any change of control. ICANN investigated and came to the same conclusion. It seems that the deal was similar to some others in which Nu Dot Co and Verisign agreed to a transfer deal that would take place after a contract was signed with ICANN.

After going through ICANN’s normal accountability mechanisms, Donuts sued. A district court rejected the claims because Donuts agreed not to sue ICANN when it applied for top level domain names. Donuts appealed.

In ICANN’s response, entered into the docket yesterday, the non-profit states:

Throughout the process, ICANN followed the letter and spirit of the agreed-upon procedures. [Donuts company] Ruby Glen, on the other hand, has taken several steps aimed at highjacking the process for its own financial gain, not the least being this lawsuit, which violates the parties’ agreement to resolve disagreements through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, not litigation.

The answering brief says that Donuts brought up several new arguments in its appeal but argues that none of them apply to the case.

Even if ICANN prevails, the appeal will take a long time to resolve. The 9th circuit’s median time from filing a notice of appeal to disposition is 13.3 months.

Meanwhile, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is still investigating Verisign’s plans to run .web.


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Categories: News and Updates

Trump’s nominee for NTIA administrator is still on hold

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2017-10-31 13:18

Democrat Brian Schatz places hold over concerns about deal struck with Republican Ted Cruz.

It has been nine months since Donald Trump took office but the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) still does not have an administrator. Trump’s appointee, David Redl, has been stymied mostly by Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

The NTIA is the U.S. entity that interacts with ICANN and officially “set if free” last year. Texas Senator Ted Cruz was opposed to the transition out of U.S. government hands. He said it could lead to Russia and China taking over the internet.

During a June hearing, Cruz asked Redl what he thought about the decision to cut U.S. government ties with ICANN last year. Redl said that he was confident the U.S. is in a position to protect its interests, Bloomberg reported.

Concerned about Redl’s position, Cruz put a hold on Redl’s nomination. He then met with Redl and members of Trumps administration. Afterward, he lifted his hold.

Now, according to Washington Internet Daily, Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has placed a hold to block a full Senate vote on Redl. Redl is apparently worried about what kind of deal Cruz struck with Redl and the Trump administration and wants to learn more.


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Categories: News and Updates

Clash Over Dot-Amazon During the ICANN Meetings in Abu Dhabi

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-10-30 19:23

Government representatives from several countries in the Amazonas region clashed with a team of lawyers and communication officers of the global retailer Amazon over the top-level domain .amazon during the Annual Meeting of the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names Numbers (ICANN) in Abu Dhabi today. Monika Ermert reporting in Intellectual Property Watch: "The ICANN Board had decided not to advance Amazon's application for the name, but an independent review panel (IRP) deciding against the board, putting the issue back on the table, to the dismay of a number of governments. ... María Milagros Castañon Seoane, Peruvian representative in the ICANN Government Advisory Committee, flatly rejected the offer, telling the Amazon representative: 'Companies like yours do whatever they want to do. Companies like yours persist in not respecting the governments and the communities we represent. I don't represent your company. I represent my people.'"

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The relentless barrage of web design solicitations after domain registrations

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-10-30 18:12

Here’s what I dealt with on Friday.

The moment you register a domain name you need to be prepared for a barrage of phone calls, emails and texts from companies trying to sell web design services.

For this reason, I now register domain names using a Google Voice number and a special email address. This covers most of the domains I hand register, and it always seemed like the perpetrators were only picking up on new domain registrations.

But last week I won a domain on NameJet that was deposited in my Network Solutions account. Despite being a transfer instead of a new registration, the spam began.

Here’s how one of the more interesting communications occurred. First, I got an email from “Leanna” at leannachatman369@gmail.com:

Hi There,

Your domain registration is finished. Would you like someone to help with web design?

Our offices are based in California and we’re delivering elegant websites made in house.

We’re in association with Godaddy thats how we got your info.

Have a wonderful day.

Thank you,

Leanna

This notion of being in cahoots with GoDaddy is something a lot of companies use when sending these solicitations. Of course, it’s not true.

I decided to see where this would go. I emailed Leanna back and said I was interested.

Instead of hearing back from Leanna, I got a message from “Sam” at DEHMedia ss@dehmedia.com.

His email indicated that his firm had “launched more than 1000 dynamic websites, responsive and mobile friendly” and directed me to DEHMedia.com to learn more.

The email included links to 8 sites that DEHMedia has apparently designed. One led to a Plesk default server page, but the other sites looked pretty good. The first two led to sites with a footer message saying they were designed by BlueZoo Labs. That was odd.

So I called the two phone numbers in Sam’s email signature. Neither of them picked up, and the second one said it was a MagicJack line.

I emailed Sam back saying that I tried calling and no one picked up. He responded “I am in a meeting. Please call my boss Deborah at…”

I called Deborah.

Deborah explained that her company has 6 web developers/designers. I brought up the initial email that mentioned GoDaddy being associated with them.

Deborah explained that GoDaddy will “shoot out to media companies that we work with” some websites that are brand new.

Hmm. I tried to clarify: you mean GoDaddy will tell you there’s a new website and you should contact them?

Deborah said that GoDaddy is going to capture a small part of the business and wants to have web developers work with their customers to build websites.

This is, of course, quite misleading. They got my information from a Whois record.

Deborah then cleared up the confusion about BlueZoo. She explained that DEH Media was the media part of the company and that BlueZoo, her company, does the development. (So Sam’s Boss works for a different company? That’s Odd.)

At this point, I asked about why a Google search for DEH Media pulls up a company in Switzerland. The domainer in Deborah came out: she explained that they bought the domain name from a prior company. The domain helped because it has longevity and credibility.

It’s unclear to me what relationship DEH Media and BlueZoo have. Both claim to have offices in San Ramon, California. The address points to a Regus space. It’s possible that certain companies work to get warm leads from domain registrations and then pass them on to the actual web design shops once they are qualified.

Shortly after I got off the phone with Deborah I got a call from another web development company, GoWebby. The first time you hear this name in a thick Indian accent, you’ll swear it sounds like GoDaddy.


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Internet Penetration in the Middle East has Tripled in the Past 8 Years, New Arabic Domains Credited

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-10-30 17:27

Internet penetration in the Middle East tripled in the past eight years, from 20 per cent in 2009 to 60 per cent this year as a result of the introduction of Arabic domain names, reports Gulf News. "Earlier, Arabic names were used as internet addresses, but they were in the English alphabets because non-Latin characters had limited use at the second, third or even fourth level. The new Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) web addresses with the generic top-level domain (gTLD) introduced in 2010 enabled the users to register and use domain names based on their local language scripts. These included users of language based on right-to left script such as Arabic and users of languages based on non-alphabetic scripts such as Mandarin Chinese. ... [ICANN estimates] one billion more people, mostly from rural areas across the globe, will access internet in the next eight years, using their local languages in non-Latin scripts."

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Finnish firm nailed for Reverse Domain Name Hijacking

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-10-30 17:15

Prior communications contradicted claims in cybersquatting dispute.

A Finnish textiles and interiors company has been found (pdf) to have engaged in reverse domain name hijacking over the domain name Vallila.com.

Oy Vallila Interior Ab of Helsinki, Finland filed the complaint and said that the only reason someone would be interested in this domain is to target its trademarks.

But Vallila is actually a suburb of Helsinki. The complainant failed to mention that, and also failed to submit its complete communication with the domain name owner in which it admits as much.

Instead, the complainant only submitted the communication showing that Linkz Internet Services (Frank Schilling) wanted $32,000 for the name.

It left this part of its inquiry out of its submission:

“I’m a private person and would be interested in buying the domain for the use of our flea market/circulation group active in Vallila (which is a city part in Helsinki, Finland). …”

That made it easy for the three-person World Intellectual Property Organization panel to find that the case was filed in bad faith.

The law firm Eversheds Ltd represented Oy Vallila Interior AB. For its sake, I hope that it wasn’t aware that it was submitting only part of the pre-dispute communications.

John Berryhill defended the domain name.

Berryhill commented to Domain Name Wire:

This is why it is important for domain registrants to save all of their sales inquiries and communications, and to review previous correspondence when a UDRP complaint is made. Frequently, they will find out that an agent of the complainant had previously inquired to buy the domain name, but the complaint will not include those communications. Or, as in this case, they will solicit a sales price, use that as the “offer to sell” for the UDRP, and leave out parts of the correspondence that undercut the trademark claim.


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The FCC Robocall Proceeding: International Insularity

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-10-30 16:48

In March of this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an initial Notice of Inquiry (CG No. 17-59) to mitigate robocalls. In July, it adopted a Second Notice.

Mitigating spoofed telephone calls is a global problem which every country in the world has been addressing as part of a global ecosystem for many years in intergovernmental and industry bodies, in academic R&D and patent filings, and industry products with ongoing activity continuing today.

Furthermore, the telephony service globally is the subject of international treaty instruments that oblige cooperation by the United States — which is delegated to the Federal Communications Commission. Indeed, the treaty and international technical standards exist as a continuum back to 1885. Part of those obligations encompasses management of the global telephone number identifiers themselves (known as E.164 numbers) — a segment of which are allocated to the U.S. for which the responsibility is given to the FCC.

Somewhat incredulously, however, the FCC in its ongoing robocall proceeding completely ignores the global telephony ecosystem of law and intergovernmental cooperation with which it is obliged to engage. The Commission's actions here are embarrassing acts of unilateralism that do not serve the nation well, that opens its actions to subsequent challenge on appeal, and depreciate the very purpose intended — diminishing robocalls.

In the initial Notice of Inquiry (NOI), the Commission asserts its authority to act on the basis of the Communications Act, including Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) provisions, as well as its authority over the use and allocation of telephone numbering resources. What it ignores, however, is that authority stems in significant part from the obligations the U.S. assumed as part of its ratification of multiple international telecommunication treaty instruments for which the FCC is the delegated agency to implement. The obligations include "harm" requirements pursuant to the 1988 Melbourne Convention to "take into account, the relevant provisions of ITU-T Recommendations." Similar requirements pursuant to the World Trade Organization (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Annex on Telecommunications.

Indeed, the only mention of anything international of any nature is a single paragraph treating "internationally originated calls" in the initial notice. Somewhat simplistically, the Commission "note[s] that internationally originated calls may require special treatment" and asks if there are "any other special other special rules we should consider with respect to internationally originated calls?" It also notes "calls that originate domestically may have differences from those which originate internationally, thus requiring consideration of different objective criteria." The topic of anything international is not even raised in the 2nd Notice, although it deals somewhat narrowly with the subject of reassigned numbers. Even here, however, one would note that this need is faced by a great many countries throughout the world who reassign numbers and cooperate in the venue which allocates these number identifiers — the ITU-T. Only a handful of formally commenting parties even responded to the question of international calls — and only to simplistically restate the question.

In the Commission's treatment of standards in the initial Notice, it ignores the entire ecosystem of intergovernmental and industry bodies treating this subject for decades, and references only a single U.S. domestic telecom body (ATIS), and the non-organization of individuals known as the Internet Engineering Task Force which collaborates on TCP/IP internetworking platforms.

As a former senior technical staff member of the FCC, the Commission's failure to perform a treaty-based function of the country, and total current lack of international involvement much less leadership in collaborating with its peers in 193 other countries, is disappointing. It certainly wasn't always this way, and indeed even in the ITU Radio Sector today, it does better.

Fortunately for the world, other entities are stepping up to the plate - for which they deserve praise. At the upcoming meeting of ITU-T Study Group 11 — which is the appropriate global signaling venue for telephony — China Telecom is introducing a new work item on "architecture and signaling requirement of calling identification authentication." Ironically, the new initiative is based on one of the most thorough scholarly studies on the topic — a team of experts at Arizona State University — which was introduced at an ITU Kaleidoscope 2016 international academic outreach programme. ASU is hardly the only academic institution which has been engaged in dealing with the spoofed call challenge. Google Scholar finds thousands of technical studies, and one of the better analyses done at Georgia Tech led to the creation of Pindrop.

The dramatically diminished participation and leadership of the U.S. — including Federal agencies — in international technical venues over the past two decades is a long-term trend. So, it is would be unfair to single out the FCC here. The resources just don't exist anymore. Nonetheless, in proceedings that inherently are international in nature and invoke fiduciary treaty responsibilities, the Commission could at least demonstrate cognizance of the related global ecosystem and facilitate outreach to the many relevant bodies involved through industry, the academic technical community, and other government agencies.

The depreciation of telecommunications treaty obligations and international insularity seem in vogue in today's Washington politics. It is hardly the first time historically. However, the withdrawal of the U.S. into its own domestic shell never proved a winning strategy in the long run. In dealing with spoofed calls, it seems unlikely to prove effective for consumers.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

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How to Sell More Domains with Adam Strong – DNW Podcast #158

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-10-30 15:30

Learn what Adam Strong is doing to increase his domain name sals.

This week we talk with domain name investor Adam Strong. Strong, who owns about 15,000 domain names, explains how he has been able to increase his sales in recent months. He also discusses pricing your domain names and why he avoids zero click domain parking. Domain investors will learn a lot in this episode. Also: GoDaddy buys more domains, domaining in Europe, WooCommerce extensions, Escrow.com API 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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Georgia Tech researchers shed light upon “combosquatting”

Domain Name Wire - Mon, 2017-10-30 14:05

Researchers examine domain names that contain famous trademarks combined with other words.

George Tech, in collaboration with Stony Brook University and London South Bank University, has released a study (pdf) of what it calls “combosquatting” in domain names. The findings are being discussed as part of the Association of Computer Machinery’s Computer and Communications Security 2017 conference in Dallas this week.

The researchers define combosquatting as combining a trademark with additional words, such as bankofamerica-somethingelse-anotherword.com. This compares to typosquatting, in which the domain name consists of a typo of a popular brand.

They found that the domain names are used for a number of malevolent purposes including phishing, malware, and affiliate abuse. I imagine a lot of what they captured under affiliate abuse used zero click parking. (I typed in one of the domains in the study and it went to the misleading download site I pointed out earlier this month.)

The domains are infrequently recovered by the affected brands. 60% of abusive combosquatting domains live for more than 1,000 days.

Many of the abusive domain names use SSL certificates, adding to their perceived validity.

The study suggests that the prevalence of combosquatting can be reduced by defensive registrations and registrars preventing domains with famous trademarks from being registered without verification.

Researchers bought a pair of shoes on a combosquatted Nike domain. The shoes didn’t arrive. (View the full presentation here.)


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Categories: News and Updates

Net Neutrality 101: Why 'Title II' Doesn't Apply to Internet Transmissions

Domain industry news - Mon, 2017-10-30 13:58

No baby boomers had been born when Congress enacted Title II of the Communications Act in 1934 as a means of regulating the Bell telephone monopoly, and the first Millennials were in elementary school when that monopoly was broken up in 1983. Title II was set to die along with plain old telephone service until the Obama administration decided Title II should be used to implement net neutrality — the principle that consumers should have reasonable access to internet functionality. Title II is wholly unsuited to this task, because it doesn't apply to Silicon Valley companies that control access to many of the internet's core functionalities.

Title II doesn't apply because Congress never intended to apply Title II to internet transmissions. Congress intended to limit Title II regulation to transmissions that are interconnected with the public switched telephone network — i.e., to the plain old telephone service that was once provided by the Bell monopoly.

Congress limited the application of Title II to transmissions that meet the statutory definition of "telecommunications," which is defined as "the [1] transmission, [2] between or among points specified by the user, [3] of information of the user's choosing, [4] without change in the form or content of the information as sent and received." The conjunctive elements of this definition clearly describe transmissions on the public switched telephone network, but clearly do not describe internet transmissions.

The ability (or inability) of a user to specify the "points" of a transmission is an unambiguous factual distinction between plain old telephone calls on the publish switched telephone network and internet transmissions. A user making a plain old telephone call specifies the call's points merely by dialing a telephone number. Conversely, a user cannot specify any definable points for internet transmissions. A comparison of network topologies and addressing systems for the public switched telephone network and the internet illustrates the distinctions.

Topology of the public switched telephone network

The public switched telephone network is based on centralized switching in which each residence and business (or "customer premises") is connected by a dedicated line (or "loop") to a switchboard (or "switch") located in a facility ("central office") near the center of a local network. When a user makes a phone call, the switch connects the callers' loop to the called party's loop to establish a dedicated circuit for the duration of the call.

For example, if Ajit called Mignon on the local telephone network depicted above, the switch would connect Ajit's loop to Mignon's loop to set up the call. During the call, the circuit formed by their loops would be dedicated to their conversation only. The switch would disconnect their loops only when Ajit or Mignon hangs up.

Centralized switching works well in relatively small geographic areas, but in areas that require long loop lines, centralized switching is uneconomical. The Bell System's solution was to keep the areas served by central offices relatively small (about three miles in radius) and to interconnect central offices with "trunk" lines. Whereas subscriber loops are typically dedicated access circuits that connect customer premises to the central office, trunks are shared because only a small percentage of loops are typically in use simultaneously. Though trunks are shared, each call still receives a dedicated circuit. When the central office switches a loop to an unused trunk line, it reserves (or "seizes") the trunk for the duration of the call. When the call is disconnected (because a party hangs up), the trunk is "released" for use in another call.

Communications between central offices are connected by switching the loop of the calling party at the "initiating central office" to a trunk line connecting to the "terminating office," which then switches the trunk to the loop of the party being called.

For example, when Ajit calls Mignon using the network depicted above, Central office #944 is the initiating central office, which seizes the trunk line highlighted in red and switches Ajit's loop to it. Central office #331 is the terminating central office that switches Mignon's loop to the trunk highlighted in red to complete the circuit. This circuit will remain dedicated to the call between Ajit and Mignon for its duration.

In larger cities, multiple central offices are connected by "tandem offices" (or "tandem switches") that only switch (tandem) trunk lines and cannot originate or terminate a call. The use of tandem offices avoids the need to directly interconnect all central offices in a local area, as depicted below.

The centralized local switching topology described above is typically used within a city and its immediate area. The network within such an area is known as an "exchange." Calls made within an exchange area are usually included within the basic telephone subscription price (i.e., there is no additional charge to make a local call within the same exchange area).

Calls between exchanges (known as "toll," "long distance," or "interexchange" calls) use the "long distance" network, which is an extension of the "local tandem" network topology used in larger local exchange areas. Exchanges are connected to other cities using long distance (or "toll") trunk lines. An exchange sends a long distance call through the local "toll office" (or "interexchange office") which handles billing for long distance calls (because long distance calls were traditionally not covered by the basic subscription price). The toll office (which might be merely a specially equipped portion of the switchboard in an exchange with a single central office), then switches the call to the appropriate intercity line, either directly or through an "access tandem." A simple long distance network is depicted below.

A user specifies the points of a plain old telephone call merely by dialing the number because telephone numbers function as the addresses of customer premises (i.e., specific loops) and individual subscriber telephones (i.e., a different telephone number is assigned to each mobile device), or other telephony endpoints.

The format for a 10 digit telephone number is divided into 3 parts represented as NXX-NXX-XXXX. The first three digits are typically assigned to a specific exchange area (like the one depicted in Figure 3) and are commonly known as "area codes." The three digits following the area code are assigned to a specific central office within an exchange (office code), and the final four digits (line or station code) are assigned to a specific local telephone line or mobile device (such as a cellular phone or tablet). A telephone number thus specifies (1) a specific exchange area (via the area code), (2) a specific central office (via the office code), and (3) a specific local loop or mobile device (via the line or station code) that is dedicated to a specific customer premises (e.g., a particular residential address) or a specific device (e.g., a particular iPhone).

In the example depicted above, Ajit specifies Mignon's vacation home as the end point of the call when he places a long distance call to telephone number (803) 555-2010. In this example, Ajit would first dial a 1 to signal that he intends to make a long distance call. Central office #944 would then switch the call to the toll office in Ajit's local exchange. That toll office would switch the call to the toll office in area code 803, and the toll office in area code 803 would switch the call to central office #555. Central office #555 would then switch the call to line #2010, the local loop that terminates at Mignon's vacation home.

Congress designed the Communications Act around the fact that a users specifies the known points (locations or devices) of a call merely by making the call. Since its adoption in 1934, the Communications Act's most fundamental jurisdictional distinction has been based on the plain old public switched telephone network's inherent ability to specify the end points of a telephone call. Specifically, Congress granted the FCC authority to regulate "interstate and foreign" communications while expressly denying FCC authority with respect to "intrastate communication service." According to the Supreme Court, this "system of dual state and federal regulation over telephone service" requires federal and state regulators to exercise their jurisdiction based on the geographic location of the end "points" of "telephone communications." The Supreme Court recognized that Congress based this jurisdictional separate on the fact that "[t]he end-to-end geographic locations of traditional landline-to-landline telephone communications are readily known."

Topology of the internet

In a series of decisions determining that voice-over-internet-protocol services should not be regulated under Title II, the FCC relied on the fact that the points of internet transmissions are "difficult or impossible to pinpoint." The internet's defining characteristic is its ability to transmit information without specifying a particular path (i.e., dedicated circuit) or transmission points.

The internet protocol suite has separate systems for identifying and addressing devices on (1) local networks and (2) devices on different networks. Each internet device on a local network has a unique number known as a "hardware address" (or "MAC address"), similar to the way in which each mobile phone is assigned a unique telephone number. Unlike telephone numbers, however, MAC addresses are used only for transmissions between devices that are directly connected on a local network.

Separate "IP addresses" are used to connect to devices on different (non-local) networks. IP addresses are independent of particular hardware (i.e., logical) and are used to create a "virtual network" for indirect transmissions between or among local networks (i.e., "internetworking"). The use of "logical" IP addresses solves the basic problem of connecting different networks: the problem being that transmissions between devices use MAC addresses, but each device on a local network only knows (or can directly discover using "address resolution protocol") the MAC addresses of the devices that are directly connected to that network.

Unlike a 10-digit telephone number, which identifies a specific loop or mobile device, an IP address does not identify a specific device; an IP address identifies only the interface ("host" or "network interface") between a specific device and the internet (other networks). The main components of an IP address are a "Network Identifier" (or "Network ID"), which identifies the network where the host is located, and a "Host Identifier" (or "Host ID"), which identifies the host on the network. Each internet router maintains a "routing table" that maps different Network IDs and the other routers to which the router is connected. Each entry in the table contains information about one network (or subnetwork or host) indicating the routes that lead to that destination. Each time a router receives a packet, it compares the destination IP address to the entries in its routing table to decide where to send the packet next. The process of routing is what allows a device to send transmissions to any other device on the internet without specifying a particular point or even knowing where a particular point is.

The use of "logical" IP addresses solves the basic problem of connecting different networks: the problem being that transmissions between devices use MAC addresses, but each device on a local network only knows (or can directly discover using "address resolution protocol") the MAC addresses of the devices that are directly connected to that network.

For example, assume Ajit is using an xDSL broadband connection and wants to access information that is associated with the URL http://www.fcc.gov. As depicted below, Ajit cannot directly connect to the server that has this information even if Ajit knows the server's MAC address, because the server is on a different network, and neither Ajit nor his computer knows where the server's network is located. Ajit must instead send his message using the server's IP address, which enables routers to forward the message from one physical network to the next, one step (or "hop") at a time. At each hop, a router determines where to forward the message next until it reaches the host, which knows (or can discover) the server's MAC address and forward the message to its final destination. Note that, if a particular route becomes congested, Ajit's transmissions may take multiple paths, and there is no way for Ajit to specify or even know the points of his transmissions.

Why this distinction matters

The distinction is critical to the future of internet regulation. When a statutory definition is unambiguous, Congress's intent is clear and the statutory definition controls. The unambiguous fact that internet transmissions don't fall within the statutory definition of "telecommunications" thus means the FCC cannot regulate internet service providers under Title II.

Though a federal appellate court upheld the FCC's 2015 order applying Title II to internet service providers, the court didn't address the meaning of the term "telecommunications" because the parties in the lawsuit didn't raise the issue. This means the FCC is free to decide that it lacks legal authority to apply Title II to ISPs in its current proceeding to reexamine its net neutrality rules.

If the FCC does that, and a reviewing court affirms the FCC's decision that the term "telecommunications" is unambiguous, a future FCC won't be able to change its mind. No matter how important the policy issues raised by net neutrality might be, the FCC has no power to change the unambiguous meaning of the statutory definition of "telecommunications."

An FCC decision holding that the term "telecommunications" doesn't include internet transmissions would thus end the current game or regulatory ping-pong with respect to net neutrality and put the issue squarely where it belongs: in Congress.

Written by Fred Campbell, Director of Tech Knowledge

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