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Does .tickets have the ultimate anti-cybersquatting system?

Kevin Murphy, January 19, 2016, 16:56:13 (UTC), Domain Registries

I’ve never seen anything like this before.

.tickets gTLD registry Accent Media has launched an anti-cybersquatting measure that lets the world know who is trying to register what domain name a whole month before the domain is allowed to go live.

The service, at domains.watch, is currently only being used by .tickets, but it seems to be geared up to accept other TLDs too.

A spokesperson said the site soft-launched a couple months ago.

Today, if you want to register a .tickets domain name, you have a choice of two processes — “fast-track” or “standard”.

Fast-track is for organizations with trademarks matching their names. It take five days for the trademark to be verified and the domain to go live.

Standard-track applications, however, are published on domains.watch for 30 days before the the registration is fully processed (under the registry hood, the domain are kept in “Pending Create” status).

Domains.Watch

During that 30 days, anyone with a trademark they believe would be infringed by the domain may file a challenge against the registration. They have to pay a fee to do so.

The would-be registrant can counter by showing their own rights. If they have no documented rights, the challenger gets the name instead.

“Rights” in the case of .tickets means a trademark or evidence of use of a mark in a ticketing-related context.

While it’s certainly not unusual in the industry for restricted TLDs to manually vet their registrants before processing a registration, I’ve never before come across a registry that does it all in public, allowing basically anyone — or, at least, anyone who is willing to pay the challenge fee — to challenge any registration.

Can you imagine what the domain world would be like if this kind of system were commonplace across a range of TLDs?

A lot of people outside the industry — particularly in security, I fancy — would love it.

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Comments (12)

  1. Randall Jones says:

    Probably would have been better than TMCH

  2. Gary Fisher says:

    Thanks Kevin. We spent a lot of time thinking about how we at the .tickets registry could best create value for our registrants and their users, and create a trusted space for the ticketing world.

    We wanted to gear our registry towards genuine rights holders, and felt this was a great way to do it. You are absolutely right that we named our service domains.watch because we want this to be a service that supports a wide range of registries with custom validation requirements.

    And we want rights holders around the world, whether they be sports teams, travel companies, entertainers and their agents, or stadia, to be aware of when people have applied for their names – hence the need to make it a public website. We’ve already had rights holders including Disney successfully challenge applicants and secure their names. We think it’s a better model than the TMCH which was massively gamed.

    Happy to talk to other registries about supporting their processes and maintaining the integrity of their namespace.

  3. Francesco says:

    The ccTLD operator for the Faroe Islands (.fo) used to publish the applications received in the local newspaper before the allocation was completed.

  4. Acro says:

    Not sure how this mechanism deters the registration of trademarks, but it does appear to be effective against spam.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      Spammers are more than happy to use domains like djfhdsjkfhsdjk.tickets, but will not like to use a TLD that is expensive (compared to USD 1) and imposes a 30-day waiting period.

  5. Christopher Ambler says:

    Great for intellectual property protection, but as someone who is often paid to create and stand up a web site for a client in hours, not days (or weeks), any domain that did this would be a non-starter.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      I don’t see anyone setting up an online ticketing operation in hours, so for .tickets that might be more acceptable. One possible issue though is that you can only start producing anything that includes domain name, from user videos to business cards, after the domain passes the veto process… so some of the parallelization of launch activities might be affected.

  6. I think a registrar should face its business and leave trademark issues to the courts who has the jurisdiction to do so.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      That is true for the most generic TLDs, but vertical-specific TLDs can seize the opportunity to provide something different based on the inner workings of that vertical.

  7. You are too young!

    This is exactly how .CO.UK operated prior to the incorporation of Nominet in August 1996 (except this used email between every single ISP in the country — collectively “The Naming Committee” instead of publishing on a website).

    Any member could object to a proposed name . .

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