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ICM confirms three porn gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, April 12, 2012, Domain Registries

ICM Registry has applied to ICANN for the new gTLDs .sex, .porn and .adult.

If its applications are successful, the company plans to automatically block any second-level domain that is already registered in .xxx, including the Sunrise B defensive registrations.

This means if you own example.xxx, the equivalent .sex, .porn and .adult domains would be reserved until you pay a “nominal” activation fee to activate them.

As well as trademark owners, that would probably be pretty good news for owners of “premium” .xxx domains.

According to ICM, the four domains will not be permanently linked, so if you own a good .xxx you’ll be able to pay a normal registration fee then activate and sell off the three “freebies”.

Because the domains would be permanently reserved, there would be no renewal fees until you choose to activate them, which could well be the same day you sell them.

There’s a good chance these gTLDs will be contested by other applicants and objected to by governments, of course.

I’ve written more on the announcement for The Register here.

TAS glitch “not an attack” says ICANN

Kevin Murphy, April 12, 2012, Domain Registries

ICANN’s decision this afternoon to shut down its TLD Application System until next Tuesday was not prompted by hackers, according to the organization.

“It’s not an attack,” a spokesperson told DI.

ICANN announced within the last hour that it has extended the window for new gTLD applications until next Friday as a result of unspecified “unusual behavior” in TAS.

Speculation as to the cause has already started on social media, with some pointing to the possibility of hacking, but according to ICANN we can rule out foul play.

The immediate reaction from stressed-out applicants has been split between those laughing, those crying, and those doing both.

TAS was down for scheduled maintenance for two hours last night. According to two applicants who logged in afterwards, it was running very slowly when it came back online.

UPDATE: ICANN has just confirmed: “No application data has been lost from those who have already submitted applications, so it should not pose problems for existing applicants.”

Breaking: ICANN extends new gTLD application window after technical glitch

Kevin Murphy, April 12, 2012, Domain Registries

ICANN has extended the deadline to file new generic top-level domain applications by more than a week after its TLD Application System experienced “unusual behavior”.

TAS will be down until next Tuesday while ICANN fixes the unspecified problem, ICANN said.

Here’s the meat of ICANN’s announcement:

Recently, we received a report of unusual behavior with the operation of the TAS system. We then identified a technical issue with the TAS system software.

ICANN is taking the most conservative approach possible to protect all applicants and allow adequate time to resolve the issue. Therefore, TAS will be shut down until Tuesday at 23:59 UTC – unless otherwise notified before that time.

In order to ensure all applicants have sufficient time to complete their applications during the disruption, the application window will remain open until 23:59 UTC on Friday, 20 April 2012.

What this means for the Big Reveal, currently scheduled for April 30, is not yet clear. More when we get it.

TLDH wins .london contract, gets hacked

Kevin Murphy, April 11, 2012, Domain Registries

Top Level Domain Holdings has won the exclusive contract to apply to ICANN for the .london generic top-level domain, it has just been announced.

The deal was awarded by Dot London Domains, a subsidiary of official city PR agency London & Partners, to Minds + Machines Ltd, TLDH’s London-based subsidiary.

M+M will assist with the application and, assuming ICANN delegates .london, the registry infrastructure for at least seven years, with a three-year renewal option.

The application fees will be paid by L&P, according to TLDH chairman Peter Dengate Thrush.

The good news was soured slightly by an apparent hacking of TLDH’s web site by Viagra spammers this morning. According to the Google Cache, when the news broke, tldh.org looked like this:

TLDH

TLDH is listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market.

It also has an office here, though its senior executives are based in the US and the company is registered in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands.

I’d previously tagged .uk registry Nominet as the favorite to win the contract, but the company said today that it withdrew its bid last week.

APRIL 12 UPDATE

TLDH denies it got hacked yesterday. According to a spokesperson, there was an incident last August that may have been responsible for the Google Cache continuing to show Viagra spam for tldh.org yesterday.

From the explanation provided, it sounds like it was probably what’s sometimes known as a “conditional hack”, a difficult-to-detect attack whereby only the GoogleBot sees the spam SEO links.

The TLDH web site itself apparently never showed the links to visitors. Indeed, I only looked at the cache because tldh.org refused to load up for me yesterday morning.

The spokesperson maintained that the problem was sorted out last August and that TLDH has no idea why the Google Cache was showing the spam links in its cached page dated April 11, 2012.

Three-way legal fight over .eco breaks out

Planet.eco, an emergent .eco gTLD applicant with a trademark on “.eco” is suing two rival applicants for trademark infringement and cybersquatting in a California court.

The company sued DotEco (affiliated with Minds + Machines and Top Level Domain Holdings), along with CEO Fred Krueger, and Canada-based Big Room on March 2.

It’s looking for millions of dollars of damages and an injunction preventing both rival applicants from applying for .eco.

In late March, DotEco filed a counter-suit, alleging that Planet.eco’s .eco trademark was fraudulently obtained and that the company is trying to illegally stifle competition for the .eco gTLD.

That’s the short version. It’s a complex story with a great deal of history and more than a little bogus behavior.

DomainIncite PRO subscribers can read the full DI analysis, along with more PDFs than you could ever possibly need, here.

(Thanks to reader Tom Gilles for the tip)