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Barrett launches new gTLD launch calendar

Kevin Murphy, October 30, 2013, Domain Services

EnCirca’s Tom Barrett has launched a collaborative calendar to help spread the word about new gTLD launch dates.

Leveraging Google Apps, the service can be found at and is currently in a short beta open only to applicants and registries.

All new gTLD sunrise dates published by ICANN will be incorporated into the service, Barrett tells us, and the registries themselves are invited to add other useful deadlines, such as for founders programs.

Users will be able to synchronize the calendar with their own and receive alerts, he said. They’ll also be able to filter by categories of string, such as “finance” or “health”.

Two 2014 new gTLD conferences planned

Kevin Murphy, October 23, 2013, Domain Services

Two new gTLD conferences with different focuses are planned for early 2014.

NamesCon is a new event “For Registries, Registrars and Registrants” planned by long-time domainer Richard Lau, due to be held somewhere in Las Vegas January 13 to 15.

The early line-up is looking more domainer-heavy than new gTLD conferences we’ve seen to date, which might make it a good opportunity for registries to network with investor “market makers”.

Momentum Consulting has also confirmed dates for its third Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress.

Set for March 3 to 4 at the Dream Hotel in New York, the site of the first conference earlier this year, the third event promises “real-world launch case studies timed to coincide with the anticipated delegation and launch of the initial wave of new TLDs” according to Momentum.

The Congress is a more brand-oriented event.

The first 25 people to buy tickets will apparently get full recordings of the recent London event thrown in.

Trademark+50 costs $75 to $200 a pop

Kevin Murphy, October 15, 2013, Domain Services

The Trademark Clearinghouse has started accepting submissions under the new “Trademark+50” service, with prices starting at about $76.

It’s now called the Abused DNL (for Domain Name Label) service.

It allows trademark owners to add up to 50 additional strings — which must have been cybersquatted according to a court or a UDRP panel — to each record they have in the TMCH.

To validate labels found in court decisions, it will cost mark owners $200 and then $1 per abused string. For UDRP cases, the validation fee is $75.

If you’re on the “advanced” (read: bulk) fee structure, the prices drop to $150 and $50 respectively.

To add a UDRP case covering 25 domains to the Abused DNL would cost $100 in the first year and $25 a year thereafter, for example.

Adding a trademark to the TMCH costs between $95 and $150 a year, depending on your fee structure.

Third Bulgarian new gTLDs conference planned

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2013, Domain Services

Domain Forum, the Bulgarian new gTLDs conference, will run for a third time on November 1 in Sofia.

The one-day event, which will be free to attend and conducted in English, will have a focus this year on Cyrillic internationalized domain names, according to organizers.

Much of the agenda has yet to be finalized but confirmed speakers include consultant Stephane Van Gelder, Blacknight CEO Michele Neylon and Afilias business development director Francesco Cetraro.

Organizer UNINET also hopes to have an ICANN VP keynoting.

Domain Forum will take place at the National Palace of Culture in central Sofia.

Domain Name Association opens membership

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2013, Domain Services

The new Domain Name Association, which hopes to represent the interests of the domain name industry as a whole, has opened its doors to new members.

The DNA formed in January, named an interim board in April, and has spent the last several months conducting outreach and establishing its corporate structure, goals and membership rules.

Membership prices range from $1,000 to $50,000, with the make-up of the final board (estimated to be fewer than 20 directors) determined by which companies pay for the more expensive membership tiers.

Paying $50,000 will guarantee you a seat on the board, for example, while paying $5,000 makes your company eligible for, but not guaranteed, one of two reserved seats.

Speaking at the Digital Marketing & gTLD Strategy Congress in London two weeks ago, interim DNA chair Adrian Kinderis made no bones about the fact that the DNA is pay-to-play; it’s “not a democracy”.

It’s a trade group in the usual sense, in other words, borrowing nothing from ICANN’s multistakeholder model.

That said, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade encouraged its creation and ICANN seems to generally support its goal.

That goal is to represent the entire domain name industry — registrars, registries, resellers, etc. Its mission statement is pretty succinct:

Promote the interest of the domain name industry by advocating the use, adoption, and expansion of domain names as the primary tool for users to navigate the Internet.

Promoting new gTLDs is its first priority.

The DNA operates two web sites: for its members and for internet end users.

Angry gTLD applicants lay into ANA and Verisign “bullshit”

Kevin Murphy, October 2, 2013, Domain Services

They’re as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more.

New gTLD applicants yesterday laid into the Association of National Advertisers and Verisign with gusto, accusing them of seeking to delay the program for commercial reasons using security as a smokescreen.

The second TLD Security Forum in Washington DC was marked by a heated public argument between applicants and their back-end providers and the ANA’s representatives at the event.

The question was, of course, name collisions: will new gTLDs cause unacceptable security risks — maybe even threatening life — when they are delegated?

ANA vice president Dan Jaffe and outside counsel Amy Mushahwar had walked into the lion’s den, to their credit, to put forth the view that enterprises may face catastrophic IT failures if new gTLDs show up in the in DNS root.

What they got instead was a predictably hostile audience and a barrage of criticism from event organizer Alex Stamos, CTO of .secure applicant Artemis Internet, and Neustar VP Jeff Neuman.

Stamos was evidently already having a Bad Day before the ANA showed up for the afternoon sessions.

During his morning presentation, he laid the blame for certain types of name collision risks squarely with the “dumb” enterprises that are configuring their internal name servers in insecure ways. He said:

Any company that is using any of these domains, they’re all screwing up. Anyone who’s admitting these collisions is making a mistake. It’s a bad mistake, it’s a common mistake, but that doesn’t make it right. They’re opening themselves up to possible horrible security flaws that have nothing to do with the new gTLD program.

There is a mechanism by which you can split DNS resolution in a secure manner on Windows. But unless you do that, you’re in trouble, you’re creating a security hole for yourself. So stop complaining and delaying the whole new gTLD program, because you’re dumb, honestly. These are people who are going to have a problem whether new gTLDs exist or not. Let’s be realistic about this: it’s not about security, it’s about other commercial interests.

That’s of course a reference to Verisign, which is suspected of pressing the name collisions issue in order to prevent or delay competition to .com, and the ANA, which tried to get the program delayed on trademark grounds before it discovered collisions earlier this year.

Executives from Verisign, which put the ANA onto the name collision scent in the first place, apparently lacked the cojones to show up and defend the company’s position in person.

Stamos was preaching mainly to the choir at this point. The fireworks didn’t start until Jaffe and Mushahwar arrived for their panel a few hours later.

The ANA’s point of view, which they both made pretty clearly, is that there seems to be a risk that things could go badly wrong for enterprises if they’re running internal names that clash with applied-for gTLDs.

They’ve got beef with ICANN for running a “not long enough” comment period on the topic primarily during the vacation month of August, which didn’t give big companies enough time to figure out whether they’re at risk and obtain the necessary sign-off on disclosing this fact.

In short, the ANA wants more time — many more months — for its members and others to look at the issue before new gTLDs are delegated.

Mushahwar dismissed the argument that the event-free launches of .asia, .xxx and others showed that gTLD delegations don’t cause any problems, saying:

Let me admit right now: DNS collision is not new, it’s been around since the beginning of the internet… what is new is the velocity of change expected within the next year to 18 months.

I really dismiss the arguments that people are making on the public record saying we’ve dealt with this issue before, we’ve dealt with these issues, view the past TLDs as your test runs. We have never had this velocity of change happening.

The ANA seems to believe that the risk and the consequences are substantial, talking about people dying because their voice over IP fails or electricity supply gets cut off.

But other speakers weren’t buying it.

Stamos was first to the mic to challenge Mushahwar and Jaffe, saying their concerns are “mostly about IP and other commercial interests”, rather than sound technical analysis.

He pointed to letters sent to ICANN’s comment periods in support of the ANA’s position that were largely signed by IP lawyers. Security guys at these companies were not even aware of the letters, he said.

The internet is this crazy messy place where all kinds of weird things happen… if this is the mode that the internet goes forward — you have to prove everything you do has absolutely no risk of impacting anyone connected to the internet — then that’s it, we might as well call it done. We might as well freeze the internet as it is right now.

If you want to stall the program because you have a problem with IP rights or whatever I think that’s fine, but don’t try to grab hold of this thing and blow it up under a microscope and say “needs more study, needs more study”. For anything we do on the internet we can make that argument.

Any call for “we need to study every single possible impact for all several billion devices connected to the internet” is honestly kinda bullshit… it really smacks to me of lawyers coming in and telling engineers how to do their job.

Mushahwar pointed out in response that she’s a “security attorney, not an IP attorney” and that her primary concern is business continuity for large business, not trademark protection.

A few minutes later Neustar’s Neuman was equally passionate at the mic, clashing with Mushahwar more than once.

It all got a bit Fox News, with frequent crosstalk and “if you’d let me continue” and “I’ll let you finish” raising tempers. Neuman at one point accused Mushahwar of “condescending to the entire audience”.

His position, like Stamos before him, was that new gTLD applicants have looked at the same data as Interisle Consulting in its original report, and found that with the exception of .home, .corp and .mail, the risks posed by new gTLDs are minor and can be easily mitigated.

He asked the ANA to present some concrete examples of things that could go wrong.

“You guys have come to the table with a bunch of rhetoric, not supported by facts,” Neuman said.

He pointed to Neustar’s own research into the name collisions, which used the same data (more or less) as Interisle and Verisign and concluded that the risk of damaging effects is low.

The two sides of the debate were never going to come to any agreements yesterday, and they didn’t. But in many respects the ANA and applicants are on the same page.

Stamos, Neuman and others demanded examples of real-world problems that will be encountered when specific gTLDs are delegated and the ANA said basically: “Sure, but we need more time to do that”.

But more time means more delay, of course, which isn’t what the domain name industry wants to hear. ticket compo winners announced

Kevin Murphy, September 26, 2013, Domain Services

The winners of the recent DI prize draw, with three free tickets for the conference at stake, have been confirmed.

To enter the competition, you simply had to leave a comment on DI completing the sentence “The biggest challenge facing new gTLDs next year will be…”

I read all the submissions and found them all interesting but ultimately the comments were completely irrelevant in determining the winners, which were selected by three random numbers generated by

The winners were:

  • Colin Campbell of .CLUB Domains.
  • Jeffrey Sass of .CLUB Domains.
  • Phil Buckingham of DotAdvice.

It definitely looks weird that two people from the same company won tickets. Weird enough that for half a second I wondered whether justice would be better serviced if were to fix a different outcome.

But I didn’t. If it looks unjust, blame randomness. Fate’s a bitch.

Many thanks to all who entered. There were some interesting comments.

Authentic Web wants to be dot-brands’ pocket registrar

Kevin Murphy, September 25, 2013, Domain Services

Toronto-based start-up Authentic Web launched today with a set of workflow automation tools for dot-brand gTLD registries.

Because ICANN requires all new gTLDs, even the closed ones, to make registrations via accredited registrars, there’s often talk about dot-brands signing up with “pocket” registrars.

That’s what Authentic Web wants to be, according to CEO Peter LaMantia. The company is focused on the dot-brand market.

The company’s new Brand Registry Asset Manager will provide a way for dot-brands to control the registration process workflow so that only approved second-level domains are registered, he said.

For example, a smaller dot-brand might have a single person responsible for registering all domains in the gTLD, while a multinational might have multiple layers of delegated power.

Instead of plonking down a credit card at Go Daddy to buy a .com domain, a marketing manager would place a request into the BRAM system and have it approved up a chain of command before the ultimate Add command was made with the registry.

Authentic Web would usually act as the registrar middleman, but the plan is to also integrate the software with third-party registrars.

The software will also give dot-brands greater visibility over their portfolios, LaMantia said.

Many big brands already have a hard time keeping track of their existing portfolios of domain names in gTLDs they do not control, he said.

“I know a lot of companies that do this on Excel sheets,” he said. “If they own the registry they’re not going to want to do that. That’s the hole in the market.”

BRAM is web-based and hosted by Authentic Web, so it won’t at first integrate with existing enterprise identity systems, though LaMantia said integration tools are on the road-map.

The software will be priced on a monthly subscription basis, with a per-domain component.

LaMantia, who founded Authentic Web last year, previously was president of the registrar

Win free tickets to the conference

Kevin Murphy, September 12, 2013, Domain Services

DI has three tickets to the upcoming new gTLDs conference to give away to three lucky readers, courtesy of organizer United-Domains.

It’s the second event. The first, in 2011, was pretty good but hampered slightly by being scheduled before the ICANN new gTLD program officially kicked off.

With new gTLDs likely to be in the root by the time this year’s conference rolls around in October, the chance of good conversation and some productive networking is likely to be much improved.

Speakers on the agenda include ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade and Google’s Jordyn Buchanan, as well as many senior domain name industry executives, and me.

The event runs from October 28 to 29 at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost in Munich, Germany.

Our giveaway covers tickets for the conference (valued at €821.10 each) but not the cost of your transport or accommodation, so if you can’t make it, please don’t enter.

To be in with a chance of winning, just leave a comment on this post completing the following sentence:

The biggest challenge facing new gTLDs next year will be…

We’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner early next week.

UPDATE 9/16: Entries are now closed. Winners will be selected on Tuesday.

dotShabaka Diary — Day 8, Launch Uncertainty

Kevin Murphy, September 5, 2013, Domain Services

Today, the eighth installment of dotShabaka Registry’s journal, charting its progress towards becoming one of the first new gTLDs to go live, written by general manager Yasmin Omer.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Having passed PDT on the 27th of August, we were notified of our eligibility to transition to IANA for delegation and told that we will receive instructions regarding the next steps via the Customer Portal.

We’re still waiting to hear from ICANN. We have no visibility regarding when we will be delegated.

There are so many moving parts in the new gTLD program right now that the delegation timing impacts everything from hiring staff to deciding on launch strategies. Discussions with registrars and marketing agencies beg one simple question – when will you be launching? My response: no idea.

We’re trying to launch a business in what can only be described as a vacuum. We understand that delays may be inevitable right now, however, it would be great if the nature and impact of those delays on our TLD was officially communicated to us (perhaps by a designated account manager?).

Communications during the PDT Pilot and Beta periods were great but seem to have slowed down since we passed PDT. We look forward to receiving some clarity about delegation from ICANN soon.

Read previous and future diary entries here.