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Verisign hopeful after decision reached in .web gTLD case

Kevin Murphy, May 25, 2021, 16:26:33 (UTC), Domain Policy

The fate of .web has been decided, over 20 years after it was first applied for, and Verisign thinks it might emerge triumphant.

The company said last night that the ICANN Independent Review Panel handling the case of Afilias v ICANN reached a decision May 20 and delivered it to Verisign the following day.

Verisign says the panel “dismissed Afilias’ claims for relief seeking to invalidate the .web auction and to award the .web TLD to Afilias, concluding that such issues were beyond its jurisdiction.”

Sounds good for Verisign so far. Afilias wanted its $135 million bid for .web, submitted via an intermediary called Nu Dot Co, thrown out due to claims that ICANN violated its own bylaws by not sufficiently vetting the bidder.

But Verisign goes on to say “the panel’s ruling recommends that ICANN’s Board of Directors consider the objections made about the .web auction and then make a decision on the delegation of .web”.

It adds that the panel found that ICANN violated its fairness and transparency commitments:

With respect to ICANN, the ruling finds that certain actions and/or inaction by ICANN in response to Afilias’ objections violated aspects of ICANN’s bylaws related to transparency and fairness. These findings are particular to ICANN’s actions and not conduct by Verisign. Verisign anticipates that ICANN’s Board will review the panel’s ruling and proceed consistent with the panel’s recommendation to consider the objections and make a decision on the delegation of .web.

Based on Verisign’s statements, it seems that ICANN lost, but Afilias didn’t win.

The revelation was buried in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on an unrelated financial matter last night. Hat tip to @jintlaw for spotting and tweeting about it.

It’s the most eagerly anticipated IRP ruling since 2011’s .xxx case, but in stark contrast to Rod “let’s draft this tweet” Beckstrom-era ICANN, where the decision was posted in a matter of hours, the 2021 org has not yet posted the panel’s findings or made a public statement acknowledging the ruling.

Verisign says it intends to “vigorously pursue” .web, but “can provide no assurance” as to which way the ICANN board of directors will swing.

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Comments (21)

  1. sharon peters says:

    Look it does not matter anymore. Handshake names can be bought for 10 dollars a whole extension.

    Only a matter of time before guess which registrar comes out with own browser.

    No one is going to buy a web name now. Game is over. Younger generation does not care, I,m sure people have different views but follow the big boys who are investing in hns names. Why do you think none of them say anything about it they are buyers. I wonder if namecheap will come out with a browser mmm?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      They said the same about AOL Keywords.

    • Snoopy says:

      Shameless spam, go away “Sharon”. Posting this garbage on blogs will not help your cause. The reason why you say nobody says anything about it is because nobody cares outside of desperate people such as yourself who have sunk money into that non resolving mess.

      Why would Namecheap come out with a browser and who would care if they do?

  2. John says:

    Okay, but…isn’t the real truth that Chris Ambler and whatever company or group was associated with him is the real party that was genuinely screwed out of .web no matter what anyone says otherwise?

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Depends on whether you think setting up a TLD in an alt-root that nobody uses gives you the right to the same string in the authoritative root.

      • John says:

        I’m inclined to doubt that could be accurate because back in the days when .web actually existed and was apparently under Ambler’s control (et al?) and being used you could do a standard “site:.web” search on Google every day and it would yield a whole big bunch of lovely example.web website results. And I used to do that search from time to time myself, did it many times until one day all such results vanished and became non-existent. So while I still have a few technical things to learn myself, how could that not have been “authoritative root” vs. whatever “alt-root” denotes?

        • John says:

          PS: Hmm, apparently Chris Ambler weighed in on that very topic himself just this March right here on Twitter:

        • John says:

          From that link:

          “Christopher Ambler


          Replying to


          I never wanted .web in an alt root. I just wanted ICANN to honor their agreement. Unlike most others (with exceptions), we applied and played by the rules. ICANN didn’t.

          What? Me? Bitter?

          11:12 AM · Mar 30, 2021·Twitter for iPad”

        • Kevin Murphy says:

          If you were using Google to dig up .web sites (which is not something I recall ever being possible) presumably the reason Google stopped providing those links is that the links would have been dead to almost every internet user. The domains didn’t work unless you deliberately configured your DNS to use the alt-root, and almost nobody did that.

          • John says:

            Wow…just wow…

            Now that’s the statement of a person so mentally committed to a certain position that it clouds his judgment in a really big, surprising and regrettable way.

            I think I’ve made it clear I don’t even know what the “alt-root” even really is, aside from obvious connotations of the words themselves, let alone how to access it, and even less how to configure anything to access it.

            And words sure can be used for desired affect, can’t they. So no, I was not trying to “dig up” .web sites. I was doing nothing but the standard “site:.example” search that many people knew how to do on Google and that I had probably only even learned about myself not so long before doing it. And it was producing many .web site results over a long period of time just like any other simple “site” search like “” and “” and “” would do. Until it stopped.

            And I was doing that any time I ever felt like it on a whim or was in the mood, out of curiosity, and also looking forward to the day when .web’s would become generally available to register since I knew that was supposed to be pending. Had even seen Chris Ambler in DN Forum. And that is the *only* thing I was “deliberately” doing. Many times.

            Let’s get Chris Ambler in here to weigh in on this, and even J. Berryhill too while we’re at it. Would love to see what they say about it, especially Chris Ambler. And for the record, they don’t know me, vice versa.

          • Kevin Murphy says:

            Oh. You again.

          • John says:

            You do know about things like “ad hominem,” evasion, sidestepping, skirting the issue, dismissing, and so forth, right? How about just “ad hominem”? Are you even sure about what you just said, that I am the “you again” you have in mind? Does “Oh. You again.” help at all regarding this topic, or invalidate a single word I’ve said, or do anything other than evade, avoid, and dismiss?

            How about this: is there an implied accusation in there perhaps? For example, do you want to say or believe or imply that I’m simply lying or making up what I’ve said here? That maybe I never did the many simple searches for .web sites using the standard simple Google “site:” search syntax without any special configuring of anything? Is that it?

    • Snoopy says:

      In what way was he screwed over? The tld was never approved by Icann. You can’t operate an alternate root and then expect Icann to adopted, the extension will get steamrolled like all the extensions when Icann approves the real version.

      The real patsies are the people who bought domains in non functioning extensions, like Handshake today for example and .Web in the past.

      • John says:

        Ok, Snoop, unlike our pouting host Mr. Murphy here and his “erroneous” implication about me by his conduct above, I’ll say a bit about that despite how you are someone who has genuinely trolled me many times in the past.

        Regarding Chris Ambler and .web, has it not been hashed and rehashed many times over online for all to see? I’m not the expert on all those public details, but from what I saw over the years here and there I was satisfied that not all is well in Denmark, and that something is apparently and almost certainly quite rotten there.

        And for the record, I say that as someone who was not even completely happy myself with some of what he was doing, the part about the special chosen few getting dibs on great domains before others.

        Was .web not even personally approved and was Ambler not even personally instructed and greenlighted by Vint Cerf himself to proceed with it?

        What part of Ambler’s own March 2021 statement above about *not* wanting anything to do with any “alt root” does anyone not understand, and does not apply here?

        How could what Ambler was actually doing with .web while it lasted be this “alt root” vs. “authoritative root” to begin with if many example.web results were appearing over a long period of time with a simple straightforward Google “site:.example” search?

      • John says:

        And just on a total side note by the way, Snoop, hope you saw this recently: 😉

        Seriously? Can’t believe you said that. Naming is critical from day one.

      • Kevin Murphy says:

        You might find the documents here useful, Snoopy. Ambler took ICANN to court and lost.

        • John says:

          Indeed, I’m confident I would. Well thank you for adding to my potential avenues for enlightenment about all this. As I indicate from time to time, I’m keeping an open mind and am open to sound persuasion. Either Ambler’s cause was just, or not. I’m still open to both, but would note that means I would also listen to anyone arguing any such decision was perhaps “not good.” After all, look what just almost happened with .org for instance, and courts are as human as anyone else.

          There is one well known domain blogger I won’t name who I know from experience would never even let my comments appear at all, if he is still so inclined, so given our own history together I will mention how notable the opposite of that and your hospitality here is for you. 😉

          And on another total side note, I would bet 50 US Dollars or 50 British Pounds that you liked the video I added at the venue I referred Snoopy to above. You liked that video. You know you did. 😉

        • John says:

          Now Kevin, how could you?

          Your comment yesterday originally appeared in this form:

          “Kevin Murphy

          May 27, 2021 at 6:07 pm

          You might find the documents here useful. Ambler took ICANN to court and lost.

          Notice the difference? 🙂

          Today, however, the comment is edited to appear as if it was originally addressed to “Snoopy” only and not to me. You have added the word “Snoopy” after the fact, but kept the same time/date stamp. And just as your “oh you again” above creates a certain unspecified insinuation about me in the mind of any reader, doing what you have done here without *instead* having merely said something vs. editing after the fact creates a false impression about me having replied to you as I did.

          My, my, how curiouser and curiouser.

          That wasn’t very nice or hospitable of you today at all, Kevin.

          And the bet about that video is still on too.

  3. chris says:

    ICANN posted IRR decision here. Sounds like ICANN lost but Verisign won??

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