Donuts has clawed back a couple dozen premium domain names from their erstwhile owners after accidentally selling names that were supposed to be restricted.
The second-level strings “eco” and “00” were inadvertently released for sale in Donuts’ new gTLDs, even though they’re on ICANN’s lists of names that must not be registered.
After noticing its error, the company started deleting the affected domains, notifying registrants that they would be receiving a refund.
The domains were deleted because they’re on one of the several lists of reserved names attached to Donuts’ ICANN contracts.
ECO is the acronym for the Economic Cooperation Organization, which is on a temporary list of reservations related to international governmental organizations.
00 is an ASCII two-character label that is supposed to be reserved under a measure designed to prevent clashes with existing and future ccTLDs. The rule also captures numeric strings for some reason.
Donuts said in a statement:
We understand the confusion regarding certain second level registrations. Donuts inadvertently made two strings — “eco” and “00” — available for registration due to a registry error and is sorry for the inconvenience.
We WISH we could sell these names, and frustrating as it may be, these strings are on at least two lists of ICANN-prohibited registrations, so we were obligated to take this step in order for Donuts, registrars and registrants to be in compliance with ICANN requirements.
The IGO acronyms rule is extremely controversial.
It was demanded by ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee following requests from IGOs, which generally do not enjoy trademark protection and would be unable to use new gTLD rights protection mechanisms.
But the Generic Names Supporting Organization, representing a more diverse range of interests, came to a unanimous consensus that only the names — not the acronyms — of IGOs should be reserved.
Acronyms of course have multiple uses, as the ECO case amply illustrates. ECO the organization doesn’t even own “eco” in any legacy TLD, operating its web site at ecosecretariat.org.