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Nominet caught using Google Translate on Welsh gTLD site

Kevin Murphy, October 1, 2012, Domain Registries

Welsh internet users have accused Nominet of using Google to translate its .wales and .cymru gTLD sites into Welsh.

According to a Welsh-speaking reader, the majority of the Welsh version Domain For Wales makes “no linguistic sense”.

The site “looks like it has been initially translated using Google Translate, and amended by someone who isn’t that proficient in the language”, the reader said.

While I do not read Welsh, the Nominet site does bear some of the giveaway hallmarks of Google Translate.

If you regularly use Google to translate domain name industry web sites, you’ll know that the software has problems with TLDs, misinterpreting the dot as a period and therefore breaking up sentences.

That seems to be what happened here:

Nid yw eto’n bosibl i gofrestru. Cymru neu. Enw parth cymru gan fod y ceisiadau yn cael eu hystyried gan ICANN.

On the English site, the text is:

It is not yet possible to register a .cymru or .wales domain name as the applications are under consideration by ICANN.

Running a few other English pages through Google Translate also produces the same text as Nominet is using on the Welsh version of the same pages.

Welsh language tech blogger Carl Morris first spotted the errors.

Nominet has applied to ICANN for .wales and .cymru with the blessing of the Welsh and UK governments.

Its selection was initially criticized by some in Wales because Nominet is based in England and has no Welsh presence.

The company has committed to open an office in Wales, hiring Welsh-speaking staff, however.

Directi says Karsten threatened it over .ping gTLD

Kevin Murphy, September 27, 2012, Domain Registries

The golf club maker Karsten has launched an attack on Directi due to their dispute over the new gTLD .ping, following through on threats Directi says the company made last month.

Karsten’s outside counsel, Paul McGrady of Winston & Strawn, filed over 200 comments and a 500-page letter against Direct’s new gTLD applications last night, shortly before the ICANN deadline.

In the comments, McGrady says that Directi should be banned from running any new gTLDs because its affiliated privacy service, PrivacyProtect.org, has lost dozens of UDRP cases.

But Directi said today that the Strawn comments — filed against applications such as .web, .hosting and .app — are just a smokescreen for Karsten’s claim over .ping.

Ping is a brand of golf clubs Karsten sells at ping.com, but Directi plans to use the gTLD in its other, geeky sense, open to all-comers.

Directi says that Karsten told it in an August 8 letter to withdraw the .ping bid or face action. According to Directi, the letter said in part:

Karsten is preparing to post this letter and the attached public comments for each of your applications, not just .ping, prior to the end of the public comment period. Once filed, this letter and the public comments will also be sent to the ICANN Board and Senior Staff. Further, as you know, Karsten may seek relief from the courts, through ICANN’s various processes, and through raising awareness of your activities within the ICANN community generally. Karsten will pursue all appropriate means to ensure that all of your applications are rejected.

Directi said in a statement: “Karsten is our only competitor for the .ping bid and their comment is submitted in bad faith and to further their self-interest.”

CEO Bhavin Turakhia said that PrivacyProtect.org did not own any of the domain names listed in the UDRP cases McGrady cited, it merely acted as the privacy service.

The company removes the privacy protection when UDRPs are filed, he said, but the registrant’s identity is not always listed in the published decision.

Consumer Watchdog slams “outrageous” Google and Amazon keyword gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, September 20, 2012, Domain Registries

Consumer Watchdog, a California-based consumer rights advocacy group, has attacked Google and Amazon’s new gTLD applications in a letter to an influential senator.

The organization has asked Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, to “thwart” the “outrageous” plans for single-registrant dictionary-word gTLDs.

Google and Amazon have separately applied for dozens of gTLDs — such as .music, .blog and .book — that they would exclusively use to market their own products and services.

Consumer Watchdog said in its letter (pdf):

If these applications are granted, large parts of the Internet would be privatized. It is one thing to own a domain associated with your brand, but it is a huge problem to take control of generic strings. Both Google and Amazon are already dominant players on the Internet. Allowing them further control by buying generic domain strings would threaten the free and open Internet that consumers rely upon. Consumer Watchdog urges you to do all that you can to thwart these outrageous efforts and ensure that the Internet continues its vibrant growth while serving the interests of all of its users.

As we reported yesterday, a number of domain name industry participants are planning to complain to ICANN about these applications on pretty much the same grounds.

Industry objection forming to Google and Amazon’s keyword gTLD land grab

Kevin Murphy, September 19, 2012, Domain Registries

Members of the domain name industry, led by Michele Neylon of Blacknight, plan to complain to ICANN about dozens of single-registrant new gTLD applications filed by Google and Amazon.

The signatories of a new letter are bothered by plans by these companies and others to hold dictionary word gTLDs for their own exclusive use, not allowing regular internet users to register domains.

While the letter does not call out applicants by name, it specifically mentions .blog, .music and .cloud as examples of potentially objectionable single-registrant gTLDs.

Google has applied for .blog and .cloud for its own use, among many others. Amazon has done the same for .cloud and .music and dozens of others. All three are heavily contested.

The letter is so far signed by 13 people, many of whom work for registrars. It states in part:

generic words used in a generic way belong to all people. It is inherently in the public interest to allow access to generic new gTLDs to the whole of the Internet Community, e.g., .BLOG, .MUSIC, .CLOUD. Allowing everyone to register and use second level domain names of these powerful, generic TLDs is exactly what we envisioned the New gTLD Program would do. In contrast, to allow individual Registry Operators to segregate and close-off common words for which they do not possess intellectual property rights in effect allows them to circumvent nation-states’ entrenched legal processes for obtaining legitimate and recognized trademark protections.

The ICANN Applicant Guidebook gives certain special privileges to single-registrant gTLDs.

In its discretion, ICANN can release such registries from the Code of Conduct, which obliges them to treat all accredited registrars on a non-discriminatory basis.

The condition for this exception is that “all domain name registrations in the TLD are registered to, and maintained by, Registry Operator for its own exclusive use”.

The measure was designed to capture dot-brand gTLDs such as .google and .amazon, where only the registry itself controls the second-level domain names.

But Google seems to want to benefit from the exception to the Code of Conduct while still offering second-level domains for use by its customers, at least in some applications.

In its .blog application, for example, it states:

Charleston Road Registry [the applying Google subsidiary] intends to apply for an exemption to ICANN’s Registry Operator Code of Conduct and operate the proposed gTLD with Google as the sole registrar and registrant. The proposed gTLD will specifically align with Blogger, an existing Google product, and will provide users with improved capabilities that meet their diverse needs.

The specialization goal of the proposed gTLD is to provide a dedicated second-level domain space for the management of a userʹs Blogger account.

However, the same application also states:

The mission of the proposed gTLD is to provide a dedicated domain space in which users can publish blogs. All registered domains in the .blog gTLD will automatically be delegated to Google DNS servers, which will in turn provide authoritative DNS responses pointing to the Google Blogger service. The mission of the proposed gTLD is to simplify the Blogger user experience. Users will be able to publish content on a unique .blog domain (e.g., myname.blog) which will serve as a short and memorable URL for a particular Blogger account.

“Google want .blog to be only for Blogspot users, which is insane,” Neylon told DI. “No one company should have control of a generic name space like that.”

“The new TLD project spent thousands of hours working on protecting IP rights, and then you get big companies blatantly abusing the system,” he said.

It’s not at all clear whether Google’s plan for .blog is a permitted use case. Does Google’s plan for .blog and other gTLDs mean third parties will be “controlling” and/or “using” .blog domains?

Or is its plan more akin to a dot-brand offering its customers vanity URLs, such as kevin.barclays or john.citi?

I err to the former interpretation.

When a new gTLD applicant asked ICANN for clarity on this matter last December, ICANN’s response was:

“Exclusive use” has its common meaning. The domain name must be exclusively used by the Registry Operator, and no unaffiliated (using the definition of “Affiliate” in the Registry Agreement) third-party may have control over the registration or use of the domain name.

Neylon said he plans to send the letter to ICANN management, board and new gTLD program Independent Objector next week. There’s no target number of signatures.

Almost five million Russian domains registered

Kevin Murphy, September 19, 2012, Domain Registries

Coordination Center for TLD RU broke through the four-million-domain milestone for the Russian ccTLD .ru on Monday, according to a press release.

Including internationalized domain names under .РФ, of which there are 800,000, ccTLD.ru is managing closer to five million domains.

It took 11 months to grow from 3.5 million domains, according to the registry.

The .ru zone is the fifth-largest ccTLD, after .de, .tk, .uk, and .nl, according to Verisign’s last Domain Name Industry Brief.