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.sucks explains Sunrise Premium name change

Kevin Murphy, May 12, 2015, 12:33:57 (UTC), Domain Registries

Vox Populi Registry abandonment of the .sucks “Sunrise Premium” brand in favor of a new “Market Premium” service is just a renaming, designed to reduce confusion among trademark owners, according to the company.

As we reported Sunday, all mentions of Sunrise Premium — a list of .sucks domains that will always carry a recommended $2,499 a year fee — have been expunged from the Vox Pop web site.

They were replaced with references to Market Premium, which appeared to carry all the characteristics of Sunrise Premium albeit under a new name.

Now, CEO John Berard has confirmed to DI that the program has not changed.

Rather, the new name is an effort to distance it from the regular sunrise period, which is linked to the Trademark Clearinghouse.

The decision was made following last week’s International Trademark Association conference, Berard said:

It was an insight gained from talking to people at INTA15. The intellectual property people there asked us so many times about the sunrise premium list of names that we realized we had allowed a mis-perception to take hold. This is no and never has been a relationship between that list and the TradeMark ClearingHouse. It was surprising how many people thought we had access to the TMCH (we don’t) and merely cut-and-pasted its names.

That is why we renamed it. Now called Market Premium and more clearly presented as a set of names that over time have been viewed as valuable (because they have been registered before). Names on this list will carry a suggested price of $2,499 (yes, the same as was suggested in Sunrise). Given the list is of names that the market has decided has value, it is likely it will contain trademarks.

The change may also be an attempt to head off a contractual squabble with ICANN.

Last Friday, the ICANN Business Constituency told ICANN management that if the Sunrise Premium list had been populated by names drawn from the TMCH, that would have been a breach of the .sucks Registry Agreement.

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Comments (11)

  1. Jean Guillon says:

    Great communication campaign at INTA.

  2. John Berryhill says:

    “Last Friday, the ICANN Business Constituency told ICANN management that if the Sunrise Premium list had been populated by names drawn from the TMCH, that would have been a breach of the .sucks Registry Agreement.”

    If Vox Populi sold meth on streetcorners, kidnapped children, and trafficked in human slaves, they would be in violation of a lot of laws!

    It’s a fun game to play, but there is nothing hypothetical about the number of consumer law violators which constitute the ICANN Business Constituency. The drug dealing part is not far off the mark, though, considering that BC member HSBC laundered more than a billion dollars for the Sinaloa drug cartel, and even financed the purchase of a cocaine smuggling plane. Meanwhile, a US federal judge has found that Wells Fargo engages in “duplicitous and misleading” conduct (Jones v. Wells Fargo).

    The winner of the bunch has to be Verizon, most recently had to pay $90 million in fines for fraudulent billing practices.

    Rounding out the bunch, Amazon is being investigated as Europe’s leading tax evader, while Google and Microsoft have a long history of ill relations with consumer regulators, such as the current EU competition authority investigation of Google.

    For this collection of tax cheats, antitrust violators, drug money launderers and financial racketeers to be be calling attention to themselves before the FTC, claiming violations of “consumer trust”, is a monument in the annals of hypocrisy.

    • Dan says:

      An excellent point (as always)!

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Stalin killed millions.

      I would never argue that Stalin was a good guy.

      I also would never argue that the fact Stalin was bad makes me good.

      Yes, many members of the BC work for companies that are absolute scum.

      Does that exonerate your client/employer from bad things it does?

      • John Berryhill says:

        “Exonerate” from what, Kevin?

        Unlike a substantial number of BC members (among which, yes, I have one client, which is not Vox Populi), Vox Populi has not been charged, cited or fined for anything by any official body, and even in this correspondence, now from both of ICANN’s Intellectual Property Constituencies, has a single law, rule or regulation been claimed to have been violated.

        The closest they come is the “if X then Y” formulation quoted in my comment above.

        US laws are not hard to find, Kevin, they all have title, chapter and section numbers, and are conveniently arranged by topic. Perhaps you know something that ICANN and both of its IPC’s don’t, since the word “exonerate” has a specific meaning in the English language other than “people who didn’t like anyone starting a new TLD as a class are particularly hot and bothered about this one.”

        Remarkably, one can find a specific violation of US law under the circumstances present here – i.e. a group of businesses joining together in a combination to demand that price controls be imposed on a supplier. That would be a violation 15 U.S. Code Sections 1-7. That’s what a citation to relevant law looks like, Kevin.

        The last time that ICANN ventured into imposing price controls on a registry, they were named as a co-defendant in an anti-trust suit. ICANN isn’t going to do that again, and one suspects that not a single GC at any of the businesses who signed onto this letter was consulted about what they are doing here, or whether it is a good idea to bring these frequently-charged companies to the attention of FTC.

        The BC letter is signed by a representative of a company which is quite capable of citing specific laws when, for example, they recently threatened the Village of Copthorne from using the name of their own town in a domain name. Here, they claim to be mystified as to why ICANN referred the first letter to the FTC, but decided to write to the FTC for apparently the same unknown reason.

        But since you seem to know something that neither branch of the ICANN IPC has been able to figure out, then go right ahead and identify the law, regulation or rule from which anyone is in need of “exoneration” here.

        • Kevin Murphy says:

          “Exonerate” was probably a bad choice of words.

          I wasn’t accusing anyone of doing anything illegal or even unethical, just arguing the logic.

          • John Berryhill says:

            Your “logic”, in comparing Vox Populi to a mass murderer responsible for millions of deaths, assumes some wrongdoing on the part of Vox Populi.

            Let’s examine the “logic” here, Kevin. Given a second chance to choose a word other than “exonerate” you have declined. So, let’s assume you would have made a better choice from among “excuse”, “mitigate”, “relieve” or some form of “exonerate”-lite, okay? Not being a mind-reader, it is hard to know what you meant by your “bad choice”, but normally a writer communicates by “writing”, instead of saying “I meant something else other than what I said, but don’t have a better choice at hand”. Buy a thesaurus.

            Getting back to the “logic” here, you are saying that looking at the criminal propensities of those claiming a violation of law is irrelevant to whether the subject at hand is engaged in wrongdoing (while curiously taking an ad hominen swipe at me). That “logic” still presumes some actual wrongdoing on the part of the subject at hand, does it not?

            My point was merely the inherent irony of a group which includes serial violators of consumer law wishing to draw the attention of the FTC to their complaint which is entirely devoid of any legal analysis whatsoever. Unlike their complaint, however, the act of them joinging together to demand price controls to be imposed on a suppler does, in itself, raise an issue under a clearly identifiable law.

            So, if you are not “accusing” Vox Populi of wrongdoing, then could you perhaps elaborate on how the “not as bad as Stalin but still up to no good” follows some form of “logic”, or has Godwin’s Law now been adopted by Aristotle?

            • Kevin Murphy says:

              This really isn’t worth arguing about.

              I was just pointing out that if Party A is Bad, and Party A slags off Party B, it doesn’t necessarily logically follow that Party B is Good.

              It was a throwaway remark you seem to be taking much more seriously than I was.

            • Louise says:

              This is what it is, Mr. John Berryhill, esq. Your argument that the ICANN Business Constituency has among its members too many law violaters to be calling out Vox Populi, is amazing, as are you! You have found a rich niche of applying antiquated law to new tech for cases which have no precedent. Applause. How long has Vox Populi been in existence? There is no, About, page for Vox Populi, it is of vague origin, and was apparently started to apply as a Registry for new gTLDs, which are in existence only a couple of years.

              So, Vox Populi hasn’t existed long enough to establish much of any kind of record, good or bad. You pit the ease of a clean reputation with the charter of a new business in this high tech age against established businesses with millions of employees who depend on their corporate reputation.

              Probably you’ll win.

  3. Craig B says:

    CorporateAmerica.sucks and they’re not crazy about a new way for people to say so

  4. Rubens Kuhl says:

    It’s also of notice that in a good number of jurisdictions, you can get sued for calling out someone as a criminal, no matter what you specify as the crimes, no matter the criminals end up with a guilty verdict. So until a court actually declares someone to be a criminal, only prosecutors are exempt to call someone a criminal, notably in court.

    I don’t know whether this is the case in US, but doing what John is suggesting might be risky.

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