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States will object to .inc, .llc gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, April 7, 2012, 12:30:02 (UTC), Domain Registries

American secretaries of state will object to new gTLD applications for .inc, .corp, .llc and .llp unless they are restricted, the National Association of Secretaries of State has told ICANN.

In a March 30 letter, NASS president Beth Chapman wrote:

While we have concerns about the use of these extensions, if ICANN considers approving these extensions, our members respectfully request that they be approved with restrictions that would attempt to protect legitimate businesses and consumers from confusion or fraud.

The members of NASS believe these extension identifiers (.INC, .LLC, .CORP, .LLP) should only be extended to entities that are also legally and appropriately registered with the Secretaries of State, or the equivalent state agency. The entity purchasing a new domain name should be the same entity registered with a Secretary of State or equivalent state agency.

The sentiment was a repeat of views expressed in a March 20 letter from Jeffrey Bullock, secretary of state of corporation-friendly Delaware.

Bullock said that Delaware “would object to the granting of such strings without restrictions”.

Neither letter acknowledges that the corporate suffixes Inc, Corp and LLP are also used elsewhere in the world.

Both letters refer to DOT Registry, a start-up with plans to apply to ICANN for .inc, .corp and .llc.

DOT Registry plans to put restrictions in place to ensure only registered companies can register domains, Bullock wrote.

I’m not familiar with DOT Registry’s plans, but in general I’m not keen on this type of gTLD string. They strike me as pointless, more likely to create defensive registration revenue than any benefit.

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Comments (8)

  1. “They strike me as pointless, more likely to create defensive registration revenue than any benefit.”

    That’s the entire business model of most new TLDs. :)

  2. Tom G says:

    The site describes a restricted secured TLD.

    so, a verification process which cross checks with states records would seem to satisfy their requirements.

    Question is, are there OTHER applicants for these strings, and what their policy plans are.

    This is where a community can come into play outside the community scoring system. One applicant could have more stringent registration requirements rendering it somewhat ‘less objectionable’, giving it an advantage over a competitive application while not electing for comparative evaluation.

  3. John Berryhill says:

    So, in other words, an individual with a federally registered trademark should be prevented from obtaining that trademark as a domain name in such a TLD, even though ICANN requires sunrise registrations?

    Absolutely – require DuPont to register “E.I duPont de Nemours and Company” and require AT&T to register “American Telephone and Telegraph Company”. There’s a great plan!

  4. John Berryhill says:

    On the other hand, this would be a great tool for cybersquatting.

    The only thing that state corporate registries require is typographical uniqueness.

    So, since Microsoft doesn’t run “Xbox corporation” then I can incorporate “Xbox Inc.” in Delaware for under $100, and then be the only person entitled to register Xbox.inc.

    And when you consider that Delaware charges $10 a pop for corporate status verification, then I can hear the cash registers ringing from Dover all the way to Wilmington!

  5. John Berryhill says:

    “so, a verification process which cross checks with states records would seem to satisfy their requirements.”

    Cross checks what information?

    States like Delaware and Nevada do not provide any information about corporations other than that they are registered corporations. Their owners, addresses, and so on, are not disclosed, and not even provided to the state offices. Corporate agents, like WHOIS privacy services, provide for receipt of any official documents.

    I can certainly obtain a certified copy of any corporate charter for any Delaware corporation from the SoS office. If I show that to you and register a domain name, it does not demonstrate anything.

  6. TAG says:

    I guess I didn’t think this one through. Been known to happen. good thing im not a consultant.

  7. jimmy g says:

    what a freaking mess. there’s 51 secretaries of states where you can incorporate… so who get’s aaataxi.inc when there’s a triple a taxi in every single state?

    these endings must be somehow funded by a trademark attorney association

  8. John Berryhill says:

    “A multi-agency U.S. Money Laundering Threat Assessment issued in 2005 cited Nevada, Wyoming and Delaware as the states with laws most conducive to anonymous corporate ownership. USA TODAY’s review, which examined databases of all Nevada and Wyoming incorporations but was unable to obtain comprehensive data for Delaware, found:

    •A Florida man who served a federal prison term for an international currency trading scam used his secret ownership of a Nevada corporation to launch a similar fraud after he was released. More than 120 victims lost $8 million.

    •Interpol or other international investigators probing suspected crimes overseas have contacted the Wyoming Secretary of State’s office about corporations registered by a businessman whose Internet-based venture advertised using Wyoming firms to shield assets.

    •The sole publicly listed officer for nearly 100 firms incorporated in Wyoming is a woman whose listed address is a postal box in the Republic of Seychelles, an Indian Ocean nation that has been the focus of corporate secrecy concerns.

    USA TODAY’s findings buttressed the money laundering report’s warning that a “race to the bottom” among states vying to set minimal corporate information requirements has enabled companies to hide the identities of their owners, thereby making it harder for law enforcement agencies to track suspected tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes.”

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