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Only.com? Not quite.

Fri, 2018-09-21 14:01

A confusing logo led me to the wrong domain name.

An advertisement for a furniture store in St. Louis

I was watching a Cardinals baseball game recently and saw an interesting advertisement behind home plate (see image above).

What’s the domain name being promoted here? Having never heard of this company, I wondered if its domain name was Only.com. It seemed odd for a company named Weekends to use this domain. But Only.com seemed to be highlighted in the ad.

Only.com isn’t the domain name–it’s WeekendsOnly.com. The name of the business is actually Weekends Only, and its logo looks like the ad minus the .com:

After seeing the logo, I can understand the placement of the .com in the ad. I’m sure people in St. Louis who are familiar with this store would understand that the domain name is WeekendsOnly.com, but it wasn’t clear to me and I’m sure other people who aren’t familiar with the brand would agree. I probably should take issue with the logo rather than how the company promoted its website.

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Categories: News and Updates

IP Blockchain company Cognate picked up by GoDaddy

Thu, 2018-09-20 20:33

GoDaddy takes on Cognate team.

Cognate, a trademark-in-the-blockchain company, is joining GoDaddy.

I interviewed Cognate founder Bennet Collen on the DNW Podcast last year and he explained how the company uses blockchain to record proof-of-use of trademarks.

The startup announced the news on its blog today.

The release makes it sound like more of a technology purchase and acquihire than an outright acquisition. The current business model will likely be different going forward. The company wrote:

We’re going to be working hard with the GoDaddy team on future trademark and documentation management services – there are some exciting things on the horizon!

If you’re an existing Cognate customer, we are sending you an email with more information to address questions or concerns you might have.

Any information that has already been recorded on the blockchain remains there in perpetuity (which is why we adopted blockchain in the first place!), and in the future we’ll release a tool that will enable you to access that information.

Another domain name company, Donuts, invested in Cognate earlier this year.

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Categories: News and Updates

How fast should a new top level domain name grow?

Thu, 2018-09-20 17:23

Without artificial stimulation, a new TLD should grow slowly.

Slow and steady is the name of the game for top level domains.

On this week’s podcast I interviewed Jay Daley, the interim CEO of Public Interest Registry (.Org).

We talked briefly about the organization’s foray into new top level domain names. Daley said:

“We need to recognize that a new gTLD, when it is operated in a good way, will have slow growth, and it will take some many years to get to a large size. That is pretty straightforward for when you examine the history of, say, .org or any ccTLD or any of the others.”

He noted that .org started with slow growth until it got traction. Of course, .org was aided by the growth of the web as well.

The discussion got me thinking about the current market for new top level domain names that were released starting in 2014. A lot of new TLD applicants had strong expectations for initial demand. Even PIR’s CEO at the time set a goal of one million .NGO domains. He was smart to not add a timeframe, but that goal seems unlikely to ever be met.

Some domain names have logical upper bounds for the near term. If there are fewer than 15,000 registration in .com that include the word rugby or cricket, you can’t expect .rugby or .cricket to suddenly have more than 15,000 registrations.

When you see domains exceeding your natural expectations, you can usually find a reason. .Cricket actually has about 30,000 registrations. Almost all of those were registered at Namecheap or Alpnames, and surely at very low prices. They weren’t registered to create sites about cricket.

Even as the number of sites about rugby and cricket grow over time, it’s going to be a slow trickle, not a flood.

Looking at all of the new TLDs that have topped one million registrations, all of them have essentially purchased registrations. They’ve done this with extreme discounting, giveaways, etc.

That’s not to say that they haven’t done other smart things. .Club markets the heck out of its TLD. At the same time, it heavily discounts them. (Listen to my interview with .Club CEO Colin Campbell to understand how this works.)

The “natural” number of .Club registrations would be quite a bit lower without the discounting programs.

In general, here’s how I expect a new TLD to grow:

  1. Initial bump from zero during sunrise, landrush and the first part of general availability.
  2. A slow trickle upwards during the first year.
  3. A drop around the one year anniversary.
  4. Slow growth from there.

If the growth trend is different, look for a reason.

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Categories: News and Updates

Test driving the GoDaddy GoCentral website builder

Thu, 2018-09-20 14:53

GoDaddy’s GoCentral is the simplest website builder I’ve reviewed so far. Whether that’s good or bad depends on the type of user you are.

I’ve previously reviewed my experience building a website on Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. Today, we’ll look at GoDaddy’s GoCentral.

GoDaddy launched the GoCentral Website Builder in early 2017 with much fanfare including a SuperBowl ad.

GoCentral is different from the other website builders I’ve reviewed so far. It’s meant to be simpler and easier to get started. Users should be able to create a website in under an hour. It’s also mobile-first, meaning it was designed from the ground up to build websites on a mobile device.

Building

The first step you take to build a site with GoCentral is to pick a category. I tried to stump GoDaddy by picking a category I thought was esoteric: an auto body shop site for AtlantaBodyShop.com.

To my surprise, there were many variants to choose from including auto repair, auto road services, auto restoration and yes, auto body shops.

Later, when speaking to GoDaddy, I found out there are 1,600 categories in the system. This list changes based on popularity and is even localized. For example, customers in Germany can choose an Oktoberfest category.

Once you pick a category, GoCentral creates a fairly good website that just needs a few content blocks filled out. It even takes information from your GoDaddy account to populate information such as your address and phone number.

You can also select from a few different design themes on top of the template, as well as a color scheme and font. This just changes the overall feel of the site while the elements and content stay the same.

The templates are designed with the elements each type of business needs. For example, the focal point of my body shop page is a “book online” button.

With the cheapest plan, the Book Online button sends visitors to a contact form. With more advanced plans it sends them to an online scheduling system.

Once the basics of the site are in place you can start editing content and adding pages.

One area in which GoCentral is unique is that it offers a different experience and integrations for each type of business. For example, restaurants will be offered an integration with OpenTable. There’s even a difference in site components based on if a restaurant is fast casual or fine dining.

GoCentral is by far the simplest website creator I’ve used. That simplicity helps GoDaddy meet its goal of enabling people to create a website from their smartphone in under an hour.

Heidi Gibson, Sr. Director of Product Management and Marketing at GoDaddy, told me that over half of people outside the U.S. start building their GoCentral site on their mobile phone. Even in the U.S., about 40% do. Those are shocking numbers, and other site builders are going to have to play catchup.

The simplicity and mobile-first approach does restrict flexibility, however. It’s not a drag and drop system and is made up of rigid blocks instead. If you need lots of flexibility and customization, GoCentral isn’t for you.

Packages

GoDaddy recently made changes to its GoCentral packages that are a big improvement.

The entry-level Personal package is $5.99 a month. It includes the basic features and SSL, which was not in the Personal package until just recently.

The business package at $9.99 a month adds a PayPal Buy Now or Donate button and additional SEO tools.

If you want to accept online appointments, accept credit cards, send email marketing, connect to social media accounts and connect a business listing on Google My Business, the Business Plus package is $14.99 a month.

An ecommerce package is $19.99 a month.

For most local small businesses, the Business Plus option is likely the best choice. But the personal plan is a good starting point for a company making the move from no website or a Facebook page to a website.

Publishing and Promoting

Publishing is simple, aided by the fact that GoDaddy is a domain name registrar.

If your domain is already at GoDaddy, you can click a link and it will automatically make DNS changes to your domain. (In my case it didn’t seem to work until I changed the nameservers to GoDaddy’s default, but I might have just needed to be more patient.)

Because there’s no drag-and-drop functionality, you can expect your mobile site to be clean and function well. There’s no separate editing of a mobile version.

With my Personal site, I was able to make basic SEO improvements such as changing meta descriptions. You’ll need to upgrade to the business plan to get additional SEO features. Also, there’s no direct connection to Google Search Console.

Adding Google Analytics and even a Facebook Pixel are very simple as well.

Overall

GoCentral is a great choice for small businesses. It’s the easiest site builder I’ve tested, and it should be simple for even a novice to create a site in under an hour. If you need lots of flexibility and customization, then GoCentral is not the best choice. For people busy running their business cleaning homes or seating customers, it’s a good bet.

 

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Categories: News and Updates

Those domains you’re sitting on? They will probably never sell.

Thu, 2018-09-20 13:53

Domainers need to think about their long-term strategy for the domains they buy.

Your neighbors here are not going to be impressed by your domain portfolio.

Rick Schwartz wrote his viewpoint on the state of domain investing today. He’s never one to mince words, and I think he has some fair points in his post.

What stuck with me is how he concluded the post. Writing about what happens when you invest in a domain, Rick noted:

“They are not liquid. You own it and there is less than a 50/50 chance you will sell it in YOUR lifetime.”

Depending on the type of domains you own and/or the prices you sell them for, 50/50 is actually overshooting the mark. This is especially the case with Rick. He owns some fantastic domains but holds out for top dollar. Unless he ultimately sells his portfolio or liquidates them, he’ll take a lot of his domains to the grave.

That might sound harsh, but it’s the reality of domain names. Some people churn through their portfolio at 1%-2% a year. Others sell their portfolio to GoDaddy to head into retirement.

What amazes me is when people hold onto their very illiquid domains, passing up great offers with no real plan for the end game.

I’ve seen multiple times where the very best possible buyer (i.e., one of the only people in the world who could possibly be interested in a domain) makes a very generous offer on the domain. Their maximum offer. It is rejected.

Let’s say that person offers $60,000 for a domain. Given the domain and the pool of buyers, there’s maybe one or two other potential buyers in the world. The domain owner passes.

What are they waiting for? What’s their goal? Do they want to wait until the one-in-a-million buyer comes along and offers $100,000?

You also have to think about your annualized return. If you pass up $60,000 and that one-in-a-million buyer actually does show up 10 years from now and you sell for $100,000, you only made about 5% a year in that decade you waited. There are plenty of other investments that can return 5% a year.

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Categories: News and Updates

How Dropbox got the Dropbox.com domain name

Wed, 2018-09-19 19:00

Co-founder tells the engaging story on Tim Ferris’ podcast.

Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston explained the long journey to acquiring Dropbox.com. Photo courtey Dropbox.

Dropbox founder Drew Houston was on The Tim Ferriss Show recently and discussed how his business was able to get the Dropbox.com domain name. It’s a long interview, but tune in around 1:12:25 to hear the story.

They started with GetDropbox.com but obviously wanted to drop the ‘get’. After getting brushed off by the domain owner many times, Houston and his co-founder drove to the guy’s house with a bottle of champagne.

The two explained why they were interested in the domain and that they had just gotten funding from Sequoia. Although he joked that they were “hemorrhaging leverage” by giving the full story, they decided that playing coy hadn’t gotten them anywhere so far.

That was a Friday night. They left excited about the potential of getting the domain. They drove back to his house on Monday, only to have him say ‘nope’.

Then Dropbox launched publicly and the domain owner started receiving emails from people who wanted to get in on the beta. He added Whois privacy and made one other change…he parked the domain with ads.

According to Houston, the ads were for all of their competitors.

So Houston looked into trademark law. He found out that you can’t just take a domain from someone because they aren’t using it. But now that the registrant was confusing visitors with ads for rivals, that created a legal issue.

Dropbox sued the domain owner.

That led to further discussions to sell the domain. Dropbox offered him cash or stock. He took $300,000 in cash.

Houston said that the stock would be worth “hundreds of millions” at today’s valuation. Dropbox is now a public company with a $10 billion market cap.

(Hat tip: Jeff Sass)

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Categories: News and Updates

Domain names ending in .Charity available starting today

Wed, 2018-09-19 17:22

Donuts released .charity domain names today.

Domain names ending in the .Charity top level domain name are now available in general availability.

A quick survey of domain name registrars shows that prices are generally in the $25-$35/year range.

Top level domain name company Donuts faced a multi-year battle for rights to operate the domain name.  The Independent Objector filed a community objection against Donuts’ and Famous Four Media’s applications for the TLD. A panelist agreed with the Independent Objector when it came to Donuts’ application, but allowed Famous Four Media’s application to go forward because of a Public Interest Commitment it submitted.

Needless to say, Donuts was rather upset. It challenged the decision with an Independent Review Panel and won. That kicked it back to a panel to rehear the original objection and it took another year for the panel to find in Donuts favor. All told it was a 4-5 year delay.

Donuts paid off Famous Four Media earlier this year to win the contention set.

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Categories: News and Updates

Uniregistry tips hand with “Registry in a Box” trademark application

Wed, 2018-09-19 15:51

Company wants to use “Registry in a Box” for registry services product.

Frank Schilling’s Uniregistry runs its own technical registry for its top level domain names such as .tattoo and .diet. It also provides these services to other top level domains such as Cayman Island’s .ky domain name.

Apparently, Uniregistry wants to up its game in this department. It just applied to register a trademark for “Registry in a Box”.

The intent-to-use application is for “Domain name registry services, namely, coordinating the registration of domain names on the Internet; providing an online computer database in the field of domain name registration information”. It was filed on September 10.

I wonder how this company feels about Uniregistry’s choice of name.

The registry business is extremely cutthroat these days with prices racing to the bottom. Frank has been looking ahead to the next round of top level domains, but that is many years away.

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Will .Amazon ever see the light of day? There’s some movement.

Wed, 2018-09-19 13:59

Amazon region countries reject $5 million gift card but ICANN pushes forward to help Amazon.com get .Amazon top level domain name.

Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) long battle to get rights to run the .Amazon top level domain name might still pay off, but countries that are part of the Amazon region continue to play hardball.

On Sunday, ICANN’s board resolved to have ICANN continue serve as a sort of mediator between countries such as Brazil and Peru and the United States’ second most valuable company.  It wants ICANN to come back with a proposal that will allow the region and company to essentially share the top level domain.

Amazon.com applied to run the .amazon domain name as part of the 2014 top level domain name expansion. It was one of 76 domains the company applied for. Some of the domains were generic in nature, and others were branded domains like .AWS.

Brazil and Peru filed an “early warning” through the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) saying that it was opposed to the application for .Amazon. It argued:

[g]ranting exclusive rights to this specific gTLD to a private company would prevent the use of this domain for the purposes of public interest related to the protection, promotion and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome. It would also hinder the possibility of use of this domain to congregate web pages related to the population inhabiting that geographical region.

(No mention was made to how the region has been hurt by the ecommerce company owning Amazon.com.)

The GAC provided official advice to ICANN that it didn’t approve of the .Amazon domain application, and ICANN rejected Amazon.com’s application as a result.

Amazon.com then tried to work with the member states of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO). Its negotiations failed, and Amazon.com filed for Independent Review of the decision to reject its application. It won that review.

Since then, the company has continued to work with the ACTO to come up with a solution that makes them it comfortable. Its latest proposal includes reserving domains the ACTO would like held back, helping ACTO create a website to promote the region (and funding it), and giving a big, fat $5 million gift card to ACTO member states.

Still, no dice.

The board now wants ICANN to present it with a proposal that will let Amazon.com use the domain for its business purposes but appease ACTO members.

In a battle of hard-headed governments vs. the U.S.’s second biggest company, delay is the big winner.

 

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Categories: News and Updates

15 more end user sales up to $25K

Wed, 2018-09-19 13:27

Several web design and development companies, a personal finance service provider, a British boutique law firm and a healthcare service comparison tool bought domain names last week.

It was a solid week for end user domain sales as Sedo. Sudden.com was the top end user sale this week (that I could identify) at nearly $25K, but it remains to be seen what the web service provider who purchased this will use it for. The overall top sale of the week actually went  qnet.org at $27,250 but I wasn’t able to pinpoint the end user for this domain yet.

(You can view previous lists like this here.)

Sudden.com $24,950 – Bought by Electronic Creations Corporation which is a website creation and management service provider. This could be for a new project but for now this page has a “Coming Soon” message saying the website is currently undergoing a major re-design and expansion.

BestMind.com $15,000 – This domain is registered to Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited, which is a Shanghai-based online publisher of books and games. In 2017 they were acquired by the Zhejiang Century Huatong Group.

Paybit.eu €10,450 – The domain isn’t resolving yet but there is a cryptocurrency payment processing service by the name of Pay Bit who uses PayBit.com. This might be part of an expansion or brand protection. Paybit.de previously sold on Sedo for $27,915.

PB.co.uk £8,400 – This two letter ccTLD already has a fully functioning site up and running for a boutique law firm based in Horsham specializing in intellectual property and business law.

Smile.direct €6,000 – Whois is redacted due to GDPR but I couldn’t help associating the name with the heavily advertised Smile Direct Club which currently uses SmileDirectClub.com. Maybe they will adopt this shorter domain name in the future. SmileDirect(.)com is also in use (NSFW).

Jass.com $5,199 – This site was bought by RAR Info Solutions LTD, an online SEO, PPC, Web Design and Development agency. There’s nothing on their site about Jass but maybe this could be a new product or service or for a client.

HappyScore.com $5,000 – This domain currently forwards to HappyMoney.com, the site of a financial company called Happy Money that used to be called Payoff. It doesn’t appear to be associated with the book of the same name. The company offers services under the name Happy Money Score.

VO1.com $5,000 – VO1, Ltd in the UK.

Trasna.com €4,500 – Purchased by the Oases Health Group, a European healthcare service provider and online comparison tool to arrange for health care services across different EU countries.

Print-Point.de €4,000- Purchased by the German print company Print.point, which currently used the address nichtrumdrucksen.de. That’s a play on the words Drucken=print, and drucksen means “hum and haw”. I’d say this new domain is an improvement, even with the hyphen (which is common in Germany). This domain currently has a “Coming Soon” sign up in German.

Taihing.com $3,500 – Whois is showing the registrant as Black Media Group, which is a web design firm out of Hong Kong. Tai Hing is also the oldest existing public housing estate in the Tuen Mun neighborhood, but it’s not clear if there’s a connection between the web design firm and this domain.

JoyMade.com $3,000 – Organic foods company Hain Celestial Group has a large assortment of natural food brands under its umbrella. Maybe Joy Made is the next brand launching?

Swipe.ch $2,888 – Has a coming soon sign up but this could be the Swiss landing page for Swipe, a service that allows presentations to be made mobile friendly in an easy streamlined process. They use the domain Swipe.to.

Apotheken-Inventur.de €2,500 – The Germany company Behning bought this domain and it appears they will use it to offer inventory assessments for pharmacies to save them time and HR resources.

PCBSoftware.com $2,000 – PCB Software s.r.o. PCB is the name for electronic design automation software.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

Giuseppe Graziano launches three-letter domain marketplace

Tue, 2018-09-18 18:30

New domain marketplace is dedicated to just 17,576 possible domains.

Giuseppe Graziano, a domain broker who runs GGRG.com, has launched a new marketplace for buying and selling three-letter .com domain names.

GGRG.com has always specialized in short domain names, so Liquid Domain Market Exchange is right up its alley. Still, can a marketplace dedicated to a maximum pool of 17,576 possible listings work?

If you want instant liquidity, it probably will. During the beta period, a domain owner sold his domain within 15 minutes of setting his price.

Graziano says the marketplace is not for selling domains to end users, so sellers need to price their domains with domain investors in mind.

Premium account holders can set up alerts to quickly know when a domain that meets their requirements is listed. A premium account is free for the remainder of 2018 if you sign up by September 25.

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Domain name sinkholes and those funky domain registrations

Tue, 2018-09-18 17:06

Sinkholes are why you see companies register a bunch of weird domain names.

A different kind of sinkhole.

Palo Alto Networks Inc was granted a patent today related to domain sinkholing, and it’s a continuation patent of one that was granted in 2016.

It reminded me of times I’ve seen companies (notably Microsoft) register a bunch of nonsensical domain names. Why would a company register a lot of domains with random digits and letters?

The answer is often that it’s a sinkhole.

A sinkhole redirects or blocks traffic meant for a destination. They are used by the security community to stop botnet traffic, phishing and other bad activity.

There are many ways to create a sinkhole. An ISP can simply divert traffic from the IP address you see in Whois to another. A company (or the government) can also go through the courts to get control of a domain name and then change its nameservers.

Some malware campaigns continually register new domain names as their other names get snuffed out and blocked by security companies. It’s sometimes possible to figure out what the future domain registrations will be, and that’s when you might see a company register a huge list of odd domain names. They know what domains the malware will register next, so the company registers the domains to prevent them from being registered by the bad guys.

A famous example of registering a domain to stop an attack was the domain name iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea(.)com. A person researching the WannaCry ransomware noticed this domain in the malware and registered it. It turns out that registering the domain acted as a killswitch. The malware was programmed to check in on this domain and stop if the domain was registered.

While the WannaCry example isn’t a typical sinkhole, it’s interesting to think about how domain names are used to propagate malware and botnets, and how registering domains can thwart the bad guys.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

ICANN loses in German court (again)

Tue, 2018-09-18 14:01

Attempts to get an injunction forcing a German registrar to collect certain Whois data are failing.

ICANN has yet again failed to convince German courts that an injunction is needed to force domain name registrar EPAG to continue collecting certain information for Whois.

The non-profit domain name overseer sued EPAG, part of Tucows, the day the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. EPAG had informed ICANN it would no longer collect Administrative and Technical contact data for Whois because of its interpretation of GDPR.

EPAG’s arguments included that it didn’t necessarily have a contractual relationship with the Admin or Tech contacts and that it was still collecting the registrant information.

The court denied the injunction and ICANN has gone through several appeals processes, bouncing between the courts.

In light of yet another ruling from an appeals court, ICANN said that it was limited to the issue of the necessity of an injunction.

Tucows CEO Elliot Noss has said that the lawsuit isn’t really adversarial. Both ICANN and Tucows no doubt believe they are correct but would welcome some clarification from the courts on how GDPR applies to Whois.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

UDRP has its limits when it comes to taking down counterfeit websites

Tue, 2018-09-18 12:28

Even if the domain owner is doing a bad thing, UDRP can only be used if all three prongs of the policy are met.

This website looks like that of Zimmermann, even showing a picture of one of its storefronts. It’s a fake, but UDRP isn’t the appropriate way to take it down.

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a good tool to take over cybersquatted domain names. These names are often being used for nefarious purposes such as phishing or selling counterfeit goods.

One such case involving counterfeit goods that was just decided by National Arbitration Forum shows the limits of using UDRP to take down a site: you still have to prove that the domain is cybersquatting under the three prongs of UDRP.

The case was filed by Australian clothier Zimmermann Wear Pty Ltd against ZimOutlet(.)com. There’s no question that the domain owner is up to no good. The site is made to look like the clothing company and is allegedly shipping counterfeit goods when someone orders.

The problem is that Zimmermann and Zim aren’t that similar. Panelist David E. Sorkin did a good job comparing this case to others in which only part of the trademark was used in the domain:

Although Complainant has not offered any authority on this issue, the Panel has considered various decisions under the Policy involving domain names that incorporate the first few letters of a longer mark. In Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. v. Center for Ban on Drugs, D2004-0970 (WIPO Feb. 25, 2005), the Panel found fujfilm.com to be confusingly similar to FUJI, on the grounds that it combined the first three letters of the four-letter mark—”essentially the entirety of Complainant’s mark”—with a generic term for the complainant’s principal product. Similarly, in Chevron Intellectual Property LLC v. Linda Hearn, FA 1409285 (Forum Nov. 15, 2011), the Panel found chevoil.com to be confusingly similar to CHEVRON, combining the first four letters of the mark with a term descriptive of the complainant’s products and services. In Tesco Stores Ltd. v. Mat Feakins, DCO2013-0017 (WIPO Oct. 4, 2013), the Panel found tes.co to be confusingly similar to TESCO, even though the second-level component of the domain name corresponded to only the first three letters of the mark, on the grounds that the domain name taken in its entirety was identical to the complete mark but for the intervening dot.

Confusing similarity is particularly likely to be found where a mark is commonly referred to by its first syllable, and of course where the complainant also possesses trademark rights in the truncated form of the mark. See, e.g., Supercell Oy v. WhoisProxy.com Ltd / Jordan Rash, Application Automation LLC, D2015-1445 (finding clashbot.org confusingly similar to CLASH OF CLANS, based upon evidence that the mark is often abbreviated to “CLASH”); Caterpillar Inc. v. Jonathan Scandreth, FA 1348137 (Forum Nov. 8, 2010) (finding cataxles.com and other domain names confusingly similar to CAT and CATERPILLAR, based upon registered trademark rights in both forms of the mark); Anheuser-Busch Inc v. Dot Com Internet Solutions, D2001-0500 (WIPO June 13, 2001) (finding budcommercials.com and other domain names confusingly similar to BUD and BUDWEISER, based upon registered trademark rights in both forms of the mark).

The decisions cited above are all distinguishable from the present matter. The disputed domain name incorporates only three letters of a ten-letter trademark. While those letters correspond to the first syllable of the mark, it is not clear that they serve as the distinctive or dominant aspect of the mark. Complainant has not claimed that it has rights in ZIM or that its ZIMMERMANN mark is commonly referred to in this truncated manner. (Indeed, a cursory Google search for “zim” would likely lead one to conclude that these letters standing alone almost never refer to Complainant.) Nor does the generic term “outlet” that the domain name appends to these three letters bear any obvious connection to Complainant or its products; an “outlet” could be a discounter or retailer of virtually any sort of products.

It’s quite clear that the domain owner is doing a bad thing. Sometimes panelists make the wrong decision for the right reason, effectively trying to remedy a wrong using UDRP. But it’s important for panelists to apply the same standards across all cases. Kudos to Sorkin for his decision in this case.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

Rob Monster exits DigitalTown, George Nagy takes over CEO role

Mon, 2018-09-17 18:46

Rob Monster has left DigitalTown.

Monster pares CEO roles down to one.

Rob Monster has resigned as CEO of DigitalTown, a company that provides community building platforms. The company owns a large portfolio of domain names, including 11,000 .city domain names.

Monster told Domain name Wire that the move has been planned for a while. In an email, he said that new CEO George Nagy, who was the COO, “brings significant experience with running and selling public companies and with working with institutional investors, both which will be highly relevant for the next phase.”

He was CEO of both DigitalTown and domain name company Epik. He will now have more time to focus on Epik and other endeavors.

He noted:

As a general statement, my competency leans more toward vision, strategy and corporate development. Over the last 2.5 years, we completed 7 acquisitions with which we assembled the technology and team that has allowed us to start rollout of DigitalTown around the world as well as secure deals with both private developers and government clients.

Blockchain, Crypto and Decentralized Apps are a logical response to the pattern of winner-take-all and the policies that allow it. Timing-wise, I believe the world is on the cusp of a major catalyzing event that will make DigitalTown a lot more relevant. The economic situations that are unfolding in Puerto Rico, Turkey, Venezuela and Argentina are not isolated events.

Looking ahead, I continue to be a significant DigitalTown shareholder with 18 million shares and to be an informal advisor. I have high hopes for George and the team we built. Epik continues to manage DigitalTown’s domain portfolio and will help accelerate progress on selling domains into the hands of end-users, an area that was lower priority while I was running both companies.

On the personal side, after 3 years of working 100 hour weeks while running 2 companies, I am looking forward to devoting more time to equipping Epik for the next phase. I also plan to devote more time to Christian ministry and philanthropy. My family doubts that I will slow down. Regardless I am taking a measured and Spirit-led approach to what comes next.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

ICANN #63 in Barcelona is next month

Mon, 2018-09-17 17:54

Meeting will attract policymakers, registries, registrars and domain investors.

ICANN #63 takes place in Barcelona, Spain next month from October 20-25. I was on the fence about going but booked my travel over the weekend.

I find ICANN meetings to be a good place to catch up with registries, registrars, service providers and domainers in one place. I’ve heard lots of chatter from domain investors about going to this event, so it should be a good one to attend.

There will also be lots of continuing discussion about GDPR as it relates to domain names. Policy stuff might not be fun, but it has a huge impact on everyone in the business.

Details are here if you’re interested in attending. Nearby hotels are available starting at €185 per night and there is no cost to attend.

If you are going and want to meet up, please drop me a line.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

XYZ files renewed motion for fees against Verisign

Mon, 2018-09-17 17:06

District Court will reconsider request for Verisign to pay legal fees stemming from lawsuit.

After winning its second Appeals Court case against Verisign, top level domain name registry .XYZ is renewing its request (pdf) for Verisign to pay attorney fees.

Here’s the background:

Verisign (NASDAQ:VRSN) sued XYZ for false advertising. A federal district court granted summary judgment in XYZ’s favor, and XYZ asked the court to award it legal fees of over $1 million. Verisign then appealed the original case and lost the appeal. The federal district court then ruled against awarding legal fees (beyond about $57,000 related to discovery.)

XYZ appealed the attorney fees decision. In May, the Appeals Court agreed with XYZ that the lower court did not consider the motion for fees correctly. It wrote:

…we hold that a prevailing party need only prove an exceptional case by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than by clear and convincing evidence, as the district court below required. We further clarify that a prevailing party need not establish that the losing party acted in bad faith in order to prove an exceptional case.

That sent the case back to the lower court to apply the correct standard to XYZ’s motion for fees. On Saturday, XYZ filed its post-remand submission in support of its motion for fees.

XYZ gives a long list of reasons the case should be considered exceptional, including Verisign’s broad discovery requests, 25 depositions and 17 third-party subpoenas. XYZ wrote:

Why would a sophisticated company with competent legal counsel file such a flimsy case? XYZ said nothing about .com that hadn’t been said before, and Verisign’s own numbers showed .com registrations continued to grow even after XYZ’s statements. Why draw further attention to those statements by filing a lawsuit over them? Why drag that suit on as the odds of victory grew ever longer, all the while refusing to ever meaningfully discuss settlement? The reasonable inference is that Verisign’s primary motive wasn’t winning the lawsuit so much as sending a message, not only to XYZ but to all of the other new top-level domains that entered the market and presented Verisign with meaningful competition for the first time in decades.

The circumstantial evidence supports an inference that Verisign’s true motive in pursuing a claim this weak, this aggressively, was to drain XYZ’s resources, intimidate its principal, and send a message to its other new competitors. [redacted] Under these circumstances, fee-shifting is warranted to both deter such conduct going forward and to compensate XYZ for enduring, defending and defeating Verisign’s tenuous claims and faulty lawsuit.

XYZ spent over $1 million defending itself in the lawsuit.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

The Registry/Registrar Sales Channel with Jay Daley – DNW Podcast #202

Mon, 2018-09-17 15:30

.Org operator is changing how it works with registrars.

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the group that operates the .org top level domain name, recently announced changes to how it’s approaching marketing through the domain name registrar channel. On today’s show, PIR interim President and CEO Jay Daley discusses why the organization is making these changes. Jay discusses the current state of registry marketing and sales through registrars, how we got here, and what might change in the future. It’s a great interview.

Also: AWS.com, DomainTools injunction, Sedo gets into expired domains, and Verisign’s (NASDAQ:VRSN) .com contract.

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

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

New: “Like” comments on Domain Name Wire

Thu, 2018-09-13 21:24

Now you can Like comments you read on Domain Name Wire.

Ever read a comment on Domain Name Wire that you agree with or find interesting? Now, in addition to adding your own reply or comment, you can Like the person’s comment.

Just look for the Like link underneath the comment:

In the future, I might feature comments that get more likes.

The Like feature is an experiment. Let me know if you think it’s useful or not.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

Verisign files patent application for IDN domain searches

Thu, 2018-09-13 15:20

Patent covers providing IDN translations and transliterations of ASCII searches.

.Com registry Verisign (NASDAQ: VRSN) has filed a U.S. patent application (pdf) for searching for internationalized domain names (IDN).

An IDN is a domain name that includes at least one non-ASCII character. Many top level domain names allow people to register domain names in languages with non-ASCII character sets, such as Arabic, Japanese and Russian. These domains can be registered in .com, and Verisign now offers some transliterations of .com to the right of the dot. (A transliteration of .com is essentially something that makes the same sound as ‘com’ in the language.)

The patent application describes a way to search for a word and see various translations and transliterations. For example, I might enter a search for ‘house’ in ASCII and the search would return translations and transliterations in other languages. I can see if the domains are available or registered.

It’s essentially a namespinner with a translation element. The graphic to the right is from the patent application.

Sumit Daryani and Craig Davies are listed as the inventors. The patent application was filed in March 2017 and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

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