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TLDH wants to unmask mystery gTLD commenter

Kevin Murphy, September 4, 2012, 22:03:01 (UTC), Domain Registries

Portfolio new gTLD applicant Top Level Domain Holdings has responded to the dozens of claims of financial irregularity being submitted to ICANN by a mystery commenter.

The company told DI tonight that the allegations “may be legally actionable” and that it will ask ICANN to remove the comments and ask it to provide identifying information about the commenter.

As I blogged earlier, someone identifying themselves as Alexander Drummond-Willoughby — which some suspect to be a pseudonym — has filed 82 virtually identical comments about TLDH applications.

Today, he started filing the same comments on applications belonging to TLDH clients.

Here’s what TLDH had to say:

TLDH / Minds + Machines is disappointed that ICANN is allowing individuals hiding behind fictional identities to make accusations against us and our clients that are baseless and may be legally actionable. TLDH, as a company listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, is closely overseen by our Nominated Advisor, Beaumont Cornish, a firm licensed by the LSE to monitor our compliance with Exchange rules and applicable laws. The incoherent insinuations coming from these shadowy commenters are without merit and any charges that we have engaged in illegal or unethical activity are completely untrue. TLDH reserves all its rights and will ask ICANN to remove the comments and provide us with appropriate identifying information of these posters.

Drummond-Willoughby is quite an unusual surname with an aristocratic pedigree, but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that that he is fictional, just an absence of evidence — such as a disclosed affiliation or any search engine results for his name — that he is real.

Comments (3)

  1. Tom G says:

    I don’t doubt that competitive applicants for TLDs would attempt to discredit/disqualify their string rivals.

    Donuts received quite a few cybersquatting comments:

    https://gtldcomment.icann.org/applicationcomment/commentdetails/5033

  2. ICANN should not set a precedent of removing comments upon request without a valid court order.

    And, just for reference, the postings were not made by me (I’ve made no comments on any of the applications to date). When I post, it’s with my real name. Reading the comments that were made, I’d be curious which exact parts would be “actionable”?? Any words are in theory “actionable” — doesn’t mean that the action would prevail.

  3. Alexaner Schubert says:

    Well,

    if the allegations are “made up” and bear all reality – where exactly is the problem?

    It’s easy enough to check whether the allegations are true or not.

    So instead of asking to REMOVE evidence it would be much more transparent and prudent to prove innocence to the evaluator in charge.

    I also don’t see that a “court order” would be sufficient. Which court do you have in mind? A US court? How in hell would a US court have ANY jurisdiction about ICANN proceedings? It would have NOT. Commenter from Europe, TLDH based in a tax haven outside the US. I fail to see ANY involvement of the the US of America in this case. Just because ICANN happens to sit in the US? Well, then it’s maybe about time to relocate the headquarter of ICANN to a neutral country, isn’t it? Brussels or Zürich come to mind.

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