Latest news of the domain name industry

Recent Posts

I had a stroke

Kevin Murphy, September 21, 2021, Gossip

Of the four men in the room, Tony has it worst. A very elderly gent, he spends six hours a day catatonic, and the rest of his time sleeping, stirring every few minutes to wail loudly as if in horrific pain or equally horrific sexual ecstasy.

He’s fully stroked-up.

When the nurses come to wash him and clean up his shitted bed, which is every three or four hours, he hurls barely comprehensible insults and threats and tries to strike them with flailing palms he cannot form into fists.

They work away uncomplainingly, soothingly, like he’s their favorite granddad. Observing them work at 4am on my second unsleeping night makes me cry for the first of two times during my hospital stay. These guys are the closest thing reality has to angels, and I hope Boris chokes to death on his 3% while waiting for an ambulance.

There’s an octogenarian in the next bed, Trevor.

He’s white, but the full top half of his face is shining ebony from where a piece of furniture intercepted it when he briefly blacked out and fell during some kind of cardiac event. He looks demonic, but he’s the sweetest guy you could ever hope to meet.

They’ve put him in an elaborate medical collar and told him he can’t take it off for the next two months, not even to shower. One wrong move and his spine might snap like a twig and he’ll spend the rest of his life worse off than Tony.

At least he won’t have to dress up for Halloween, he grimly muses.

Then there’s the youngster, Tim, who reels off a laundry list of his ailments, many of which he thinks will soon kill him, not least of which is the fact the he just accidentally proposed to his short-term girlfriend, who said yes.

He has an upcoming try-out for a local sports team, but his deepest wish is to have both his legs amputated.

In this room of four, I feel like the lucky one.

And I’ve just had a stroke at 44.

*

It happened at some point during the evening of the 13th into the following morning.

There was no pain — no physical sensation at all, not even a headache — I simply woke up disabled and oblivious to that fact.

My first inkling that something was amiss came when I found I couldn’t double-click my mouse with my right index finger. I had a general weakness in my right arm, but I chalked this down to having slept on it funny.

I felt a bit off for most of the day, but it wasn’t until the evening, when I tried to insult my cat, that I realized something was terribly wrong. Even after three attempts, the words got garbled on the way out of my brain and slipped and slurred out of my mouth. I could see the cat didn’t look offended in the least.

I knew that I’d had or was having a stroke, and I was in a taxi to the hospital 20 minutes later.

All the NHS TV spots about strokes focus on teaching the viewer how to spot the symptoms of stroke in others, presumably because the victims themselves are usually too addled and confused to recognize them in themselves.

This gave me comfort. I was totally lucid, in thought if not in speech.

Three doctors, one consultant and a CT scan subsequently — after many terrifying hours of uncertainty — confirmed I’d had a “mild” or “small” stroke, buggering up my dominant right arm and leg as well as my speaking voice.

My face was mercifully spared. Still a straight-up 10, ladies.

This all happened due to a combination of recent stresses and two prior decades of hedonistic, borderline arrogant devil-may-care intemperance. Too much booze, too many fags, not enough self-control.

I’ve known I have hypertension for the best part of a decade, and done precisely fuck-all about it. Getting stroked was not so much predictable as inevitable. I have nobody to blame but myself, and this list of people (pdf).

*

My right leg is probably the injured member I’m least concerned about.

I can walk in a straight line easily enough, albeit with a noticeable limp, but my brain currently finds some usually straightforward perambulatory maneuvers surprisingly tricky.

I haven’t fallen over or tripped, not once, since the stroke. But, like Zoolander, I can’t turn left.

My hand is altogether more worrying. My stroke was on the left side of my brain, meaning the right side of my body was affected. I’m right-handed.

I can use the hand to open a door, pick things up, flush a toilet — I even assembled a piece of flat-pack furniture yesterday — but anything requiring more than basic coordination is challenging.

I can’t write using a pen without significant effort. I tried writing out my first name in caps on Thursday morning. The four attempts in this image took about five minutes to produce. And it was painful.

There’s no cognitive problem here, it’s purely a case of not being able to physically control my hand the way I could a week ago. It feels heavy, and I have trouble controlling the vertical axis with any degree of finesse.

I can slice bread but I can’t easily butter it. The second time I cried was on Friday when I managed to get my buttering time down to under a minute per slice. Bittersweet rather than self-pitying.

There are a few things I’d like to do with my dick that are no longer possible.

But, more pertinent to this blog, I can’t double-click a mouse and can’t tap a touchscreen. The fingers are just not fast enough to get the correct timing right now.

Typing on a keyboard is challenging, with my hands trying to cooperate across two different time zones. If you spot any typos here, they will likely be letters on the right side of the keyboard. My backspace key is getting the workout of its life.

And then there’s my speaking.

Right now, I’d say I’m comprehensible 95% of the time at peak, with my performance slipping as the conversation progresses and the fatigue kicks in.

My voice is more gravelly, sometimes a little slurry. I sometimes stammer or trip over my tongue.

People who have heard my pillow talk the morning after a boozy night out would recognize this voice. Everyone else now gets to hear it without experiencing the horrors of the night before.

But let’s look for some silver linings, shall we?

*

Silver lining number one: my opinions are no longer worthless on social media.

A week ago I was just a straight white able-bodied cis male, and therefore of no value whatsoever. Today, I am Disabled, and my point of view matters. I now have a card to play in the identity politics game.

Ricky Gervais better watch his fucking back, and if the next ICANN meeting is anything less than 100% accessible, I may hire a lawyer.

I know, I know, I’m not saying I’m as good as Gay or Black or Trans, but I reckon I’m at least as good as half-Jewish (on my father’s side, maybe?).

Silver lining number two: no more guilt using the disabled toilets.

Silver lining number three: I probably qualify for a Blue Badge, which in the UK gives you priority access to convenient parking.

These things are so coveted that I’m even tempted to buy a car.

Silver lining number four: the stroke seems to have severed the part of my brain that makes me want to drink alcohol. I sincerely hope it lasts, but right now I have no desire to touch a drop of the stuff any more.

I’d go so far as to now say I think I’ve “completed” Alcohol, in much the same way as one completes a video game.

I’ve done all of the side quests, gathered all the collectibles, visited all the secret locations, done all the stranger missions, partaken of all the optional activities, maxed out all my stats, been awarded all the achievements…

I’ve partied. I’ve met interesting people in unusual places. I’ve had one-night stands with 9s and 2s. I’ve danced like nobody was looking, and sang karaoke like nobody was listening. I’ve sent all the embarrassing texts. I’ve hooked up with ambiguously gendered bar girls in Bangkok, been robbed by a hooker in Vegas, begged for coins with a homeless guy in Shoreditch. I even found the secret naked French pool party at the mansion in Vietnam.

I’m now at 99% completion, and taking on the final story mission, but the last big boss battle turns out to be a race with my five-year-old niece to see who can tie their shoelaces the fastest.

I believe there’s some DLC that extends the story, but it’s called “Cirrhosis”, and I don’t like the sound of that.

The fact that I’m now a sober man condemned to live in a body that looks and sounds perpetually drunk is a cosmic irony so on-the-nose that it would make a Greek god blush.

This must be what it’s like to be Scottish.

*

Silver lining number five: I’m told that, with patience and practice, this is fixable. That’s my focus right now.

I honestly don’t know how this is going to affect DI in the coming weeks.

I do know it’s currently less than seven days since a doctor first used the word “stroke” in my presence, and that almost everything I do, even the simple things like typing, is tiring. I had to take a break for a nap three times during the writing of this piece.

I intend to continue to work, just don’t expect to see many long-form analytical or editorial pieces in the near future. If a story is causing me stress, I’ll spike it sooner than risk another health crisis.

I doubt I’ll be booking any speaking engagements any time soon.

I have some other ideas too, but I’ll get to those later.

Thanks for reading.

Did Harry and Meghan squat the Queen? [clickbait]

Kevin Murphy, June 23, 2021, Gossip

With tabloid rags everywhere continuing to clamor for any scrap of information that might drive a rift between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II, perhaps it was inevitable that domain names would one day enter the fray.

And now they have, with the registrations of lilibetdiana.com and lilidiana.com making headlines this week.

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, Harry and Meghan’s second child and first daughter, was born at 1940 UTC on June 4.

“Diana” is of course a tribute to the Duke’s late mother, the Princess of Wales, while “Lilibet” is a reference to the Queen’s childhood nickname and the pet name by which her recently deceased husband, Phillip, addressed her.

The choice of name has been seen partly as an effort to renovate bridges that were charred when the Sussexes decoupled themselves from the taxpayer’s teat, abandoned royal duties, and buggered off to America to talk smack about their family on Oprah.

Reports quickly emerged that the choice of name might have been made without first seeking the Queen’s permission — reports that have been strenuously denied, backed by a threat of legal action.

But Whois records, as mostly useless as they are nowadays, have now stepped in to complicate matters.

According to Whois, lilibetdiana.com was registered just a few hours prior to the birth, June 4, presumably while the Duchess was in labor. But lilidiana.com was registered a few days earlier, on May 31. Both were registered via GoDaddy.

The Sussexes spokespeople tole The Telegraph that the names were merely two among many that were registered defensively in advance of the birth, before the couple had committed to a name:

Of course, as is often customary with public figures, a significant number of domains of any potential names that were considered were purchased by their team to protect against the exploitation of the name once it was later chosen and publicly shared.

Interestingly, lilibetdiana.uk and lilibetdiana.co.uk, which one might imagine would be on the defensive reg checklist, were only registered after the announcement of her birth on June 6, and via a different registrar, suggesting third-party ownership.

Three questions emerge from the Whois-related revelations:

First, do the records support the assertion by anonymous Palace sources that the Queen was not consulted in advance, or the contrary claim from the Sussexes?

Two, does anyone actually really care? I lost interest several paragraphs ago.

And C), am I really about to hit “Publish” on this article?

If you’re reading this, I guess I did. I’m sorry. I’m off to take a long, hot shower, to wash away the shame.

Disclosure: I sold Tucows shares

Kevin Murphy, May 21, 2021, Gossip

TL;DR — I made about $3,700 selling Tucows shares.

I’ve never been much of an investor in anything, largely because I’ve never really had the disposable income. However, back in 2006, when I lived in the US, I opened an online share-trading account and bought around $1,000 worth of shares in various technology companies.

The companies included what at the time I considered safe bets: Dell, AMD, Yahoo! and Adobe. Everyone still uses Yahoo, right?

But I also bought 50 shares of Tucows, the domain name registrar, for $3.75 a pop. I recall being inspired by a post from original ICANN blogger Bret Fausett, who coincidentally now works for Tucows, in which he touted the stock.

I left the US at the end of 2007 and went travelling for a while before returning to the UK.

At some point in 2009, when I tried to sell up and close the account, I was told that because I no longer had the US bank account I signed up with, I would be unable to access the funds.

So I pretty much chalked the experience down to an idiot tax and forgot all about it.

In 2010 I launched this web site.

Recently, I remembered the account and, trading platform policies having changed in the meantime, discovered I probably would be able to access the funds after all.

That $1,000 had turned into over $19,000 over the intervening 15 years, and the Tucows position had grown by almost 2,000%, a gain of over $3,700.

I’ve sold all my shares and am in the process of closing the account. After that, I won’t own any shares in any companies.

In short, I’m probably going to make a few grand by selling Tucows stock that I’ve owned for the last 15 years but which, until recently, I thought I’d lost forever.

Make of that what you will.

I’m disclosing it now not because I think I’ve had any market-moving impact on the stock over the years, but because it just seems like the kind of thing that needs to be disclosed.

Outrage at ICANN’s new “clown shoes” social distancing mandate

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2021, Gossip

ICANN has been slammed by community members after announcing a return to in-person public meetings this year, but only to attendees wearing clown shoes.

The Org said the new rule, which will come into force at ICANN 71 in The Hague this June, was “a bold but necessary measure to enforce social distancing in the pandemic era”.

ICANN CEO Göran Marby said in a blog post that the clown shoes will have to be “brightly colored” and a minimum of 3ft (0.91 meters) in length, to ensure attendees are standing at least 6ft (1.82 meters) away from each other at all times.

“ICANN is the most important organization in the world, and it is imperative that we return to in-person meetings as quickly as possible,” he wrote.

“As your leader, I firmly believe that a compulsory clown shoes mandate is the best way to achieve this goal,” he said.

Clown shoes will be handed out to attendees at the front desk of The Hague Convention Center “after they receive their lanyards but before they receive their anal swab”, added VP of global communications Karen K Karenson.

Small teams of ICANN Compliance staff will patrol the halls of the venue, looking for rule-breakers, ICANN warned.

Those found to be not wearing clown shoes will have a bucket of water thrown over them, Marby said.

“I can’t stress this enough — it really is water in the bucket,” he said. “No, for reals, it’s water in there, trust me.”

The new policy immediately came under fire from influential community members, including the chair of the GNSO Outrage Committee, They Them.

“I’ve been coming to ICANN meetings for 20 years,” Them said. “If admitting that wasn’t humiliating enough, now I’ve got to wear clown shoes too?”

Them additionally complained that the policy discriminates against less-abled meeting attendees, such as those using wheelchairs.

ICANN said in response that it has purchased a tiny, battery-powered clown car that can comfortably fit up to 25 such community members for as much as 20 minutes before the doors all fall off in a puff of confetti.

The new rule is believed to be the brainchild of ICANN’s deputy general counsel, Dave O’Hallorohalloran, who has been wearing clown shoes for his entire career.

Sources say he had been suggesting the clown shoes policy for many years before the pandemic hit.

RobinHood.club showered with five-star reviews after .com confusion

Kevin Murphy, February 3, 2021, Gossip

In a world where it’s still common for internet users to automatically assume companies use the .com version of their brand, instead of a new gTLD, it’s sometimes refreshing to see the opposite scenario occur.

It was a mixed blessing for a German price comparison app developer, which found itself confused with an American stock-trading app of the same name this week.

The company, which uses robinhood.club as its primary domain, received a handful of negative, one-star reviews on the Google app store, apparently from people who confused it with the scandal-hit trading app, which can be found at robinhood.com.

The American RobinHood was of course the app of choice for the Reddit users who last week clubbed together to pump the stock of floundering bricks-and-mortar games retailer GameStop, in order to frustrate the plans of big short-selling hedge funds and in many cases make some healthy profits screwing over The Man.

When RobinHood limited trading of GameStop and other stocks, it faced accusations of siding with billionaire Wall Street pros at the expense of armchair investors, and the unaffiliated German app maker seems to have taken some of the overspill of this criticism.

robinghood play store

But the negative impact was short-lived. When news of the confusion filtered back to Reddit, hundreds of users — who presumably had never used the app — flooded to the store to leave five-star reviews to counteract the one-stars.

robin hood

At time of writing, every review appears to be related in one way or the other to the stock-trading scandal, and the German app holds an average rating of over four stars.

DI World Global International Headquarters is relocating

Kevin Murphy, December 18, 2020, Gossip

After 10 years based in London, DI Global World International HQ is moving.

Any client, partner, friend or contact who currently has a London mailing address for DIWIGHQ in their Rolodex or database should probably delete that address forthwith.

Anything currently in the mail or sent over the next few weeks will probably find its way to my inbox eventually, but after that all bets are off.

A new location for the International Global World HQ it still TBD.

The current plan is to bubble up with family for several months, riding out the worst of the pandemic, before picking a more permanent home when travel restrictions loosen up some.

If you need an address to post something to in the meantime, ask me privately.

As an aside, one surprising thing I’ve discovered about myself while packing up the old HQ over the last few days is that I’ve apparently been a secret hoarder this whole time.

I don’t believe I’ve thrown away a single piece of schwag from ICANN meetings or industry conferences for over a decade.

T-shirts, backpacks, stickers, torches, magnets, badges, pins, buttons, pens, pencils, notebooks, webcam covers, mints, gum, hand sanitizer, USB gizmos, flight socks, maple syrup, wine, reams and reams of slick promotional bosh…

With hindsight, I should have bundled it all up and sold the lot to a gullible industry fanboy via a seasonal charity auction.

But by now it’s all already rotting at the bottom of an East London landfill, and the poor old orphaned donkeys will just have to starve.

Watch three members of the ICANN community get assassinated

Kevin Murphy, June 22, 2020, Gossip

Three members of the ICANN community got killed by an assassin in a 2012 movie, now available on Amazon Prime, I inexplicably had never heard about until today.

The film’s called Rogue Hunter, and it’s produced and directed by prominent community member Jonathan Zuck, who’s been involved in ICANN representing intellectual property interests for the last 15 years.

It’s about… 55 minutes long.

It’s about… I dunno. A foxy female assassin or something? Maybe. The audio during the exposition scenes was pretty ropey. My feeling was that it’s drawing a lot from The Bourne Identity.

Zuck himself, alongside Steve DelBianco and Andrew Mack, both former chairs of the ICANN Business Constituency, all have cameos in which they get killed.

Here’s the trailer for the film, featuring DelBianco getting offed near the Taj Mahal (presumably shortly after the 2008 ICANN 31 meeting in New Delhi).

But is it any good?

No. The movie is fucking terrible.

But it’s firmly in the “So Bad It’s Good” zone.

And I laughed my balls off.

It’s not quite a classic of the genre — it’s no The Room — because it seems pretty clear that Zuck and his colleagues knew they were making a terrible film. There’s deliberate humor in the script and the direction.

The film was released in 2012, and somehow got on to Amazon Prime two years ago, where it has one one-star review:

Poor camera work, poor lighting, poor story line, poor acting just really all round dreadful.

I don’t think that reviewer really “got” what the makers were going for. Maybe, if you choose to watch the movie and review it, you could help redress the balance.

I should point out that there’s a bit of nudity and a somewhat explicit sex scene in the film, so you probably shouldn’t watch it with your boss or your kids watching over your shoulder.

Bored? Try the DI Fiendishly Difficult Domain Name Pub Quiz

Kevin Murphy, June 11, 2020, Gossip

One of the many trends to emerge since most of the world went into coronavirus lockdown is the emergence of the online pub-style quiz as a way to kill time while we wait for normality to resume or death to kick in.

This gave me a great idea: why not copy this idea?

While most of these quizzes are usually conducted over YouTube or some other streaming platform, I’ve long been told I have a face for radio and a voice for print, so you’re going to have to make do with text.

So, here I present the inaugural DI Fiendishly Difficult Domain Name Pub Quiz.

It’s split into rounds that should test the breadth and depth of your domain industry and ICANN knowledge to their fullest.

There are no prizes. It’s just a bit of fun.

Go ahead and test yourself, your boss isn’t looking!

The Trivia Round

  • Which two alcoholic beverages feature on Domain Name Journal’s list of the top 20 secondary-market cash sales of all time?
  • What’s the only one of ICANN’s five geographic regions not to have had one of its citizens elected chair of ICANN’s board of directors?
  • Which horror movie director publicly called GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons a “sick fuck” in 2011?
  • How many companies applied for the .web gTLD in 2012?
  • Over 170 domainers got a nasty bacterial infection during the DomainFEST conference in 2011. Which saucy place did they catch it? I’m looking for the location, not the body part.

The ccTLD Round

There are over 200 ccTLDs in active use today. How many can you match to the correct country, and vice versa?

First, name the countries or territories associated with the following five ccTLDs:

  • .aq
  • .tw
  • .bb
  • .bj
  • .lr

Now, name the ccTLDs for the following five countries or territories:

  • Myanmar
  • Macao
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Mauritania

The Acronym Round

These are all acronyms used in the domain name industry and ICANN community, but what do they stand for?

  • MX
  • EPDP
  • NPOC
  • LGR
  • SSAC

The Spot-the-gTLD Round

Some of these gTLDs are real, some are not. But which is which?

  • .jcrew
  • .blockbuster
  • .toysrus
  • .tjmaxx
  • .paylessshoesource

The Anagram Round

These five strings are all anagrams of well-known people or well-known companies in the domain/ICANN space. Solve the anagrams. If you follow DI on Twitter and have a long memory, these might be a little easier for you.

  • barman orgy
  • cretin clan
  • enema chap
  • boner storm
  • lewd anal manner

Bonus Round — Name That Beard

For a bonus point, whose beard is this?

Who's beard is this?

The Answers

There are 31 points on offer, and I’ll post the answers early next week. If you’re impatient, pretty much everything here is Googleable.

But remember, you’d only be cheating yourself!

If you enjoyed this, or like some bits but not others, let me know in the comments on via other channels. If there’s sufficient positive feedback, I may make this a regular feature.

Five SAFE ways to buy and sell domains during the coronavirus pandemic

Kevin Murphy, April 9, 2020, Gossip

The coronavirus pandemic has hit every profession hard, and the domain industry is no exception.

Domain investors, many of whom are self-employed, lack health insurance, and are simply unable to self-isolate, may be among the hardest-hit. But no fear, I’ve put together some advice that should help you plucky domainers make it through the current crisis unscathed.

Here’s the DI Top Five Totally Legit Tips For Safe Domaining:

  • 1. Avoid domain stores. The Covid-19 virus is airborne, and can linger on hard surfaces for many hours, so it makes a lot of sense to avoid bricks-and-mortar domain stores. Believe it or not, alternatives are available. Instead of visiting your local branch of GoDaddy, why not consider staying at home and using the GoDaddy web site instead? It’s quick, simple, and a lot less hazardous to your health. Hey presto! Your domain should be delivered to your door by a FedEx guy in full hazmat gear in as little as 10 business days.
  • 2. Refrain from selling door-to-door. Carrying a suitcase full of premium domains around the streets and cold-calling at people’s front doors may be a tried and tested method of selling names, but in this era of social distancing, it’s no longer recommended. If you have a computer, why not set up an electronic mail account on the internet and use it to approach potential buyers remotely instead? They’ll appreciate it, and so will your feet!
  • 3. Limit in-person transfers. Once you and your buyer have sealed the deal, the next logical step is obviously to meet up and hand over the domain for the agreed-upon price. But many modern registrars allow their customers to transfer domains automatically online, which is a lot safer during a pandemic. If an in-person transfer is unavoidable, remember to meet your buyer in a large, public, open space and stand at least two meters (six feet) apart at all times. Do NOT shake hands — an elbow-bump or kiss on the lips will suffice — and be sure to wipe down the domain with a disinfectant cloth before placing it on the ground and backing away.
  • 4. Avoid expired domains. Domains that have already passed their expiry date are risky to your health at the best of times, but current World Health Organization advice recommends avoiding expired domains altogether in order to protect your immune system. Remember: if in doubt, throw it out!
  • 5. Buy as many “coronavirus” domains as you can. Everyone on the planet is currently obsessed with the pandemic, so it stands to reason that domain names related to the disease are surely worth many thousands of dollars each, if not millions. Experts at Verisign currently recommend that investors register as many .com domains as they can comprised of the words “coronavirus” or “covid-19” followed by literally any other word or string of digits. Domainers should also remember to buy the hyphenated AND non-hyphenated versions, just to be safe, Verisign says. And they should know — they’re all millionaires!

I hope this advice helps!

Stay indoors, social distance, and remember to take a hot bath every time you sneeze.

At ICANN 67, nobody knew you’re a dog

Kevin Murphy, March 16, 2020, Gossip

Want to see what your fellow ICANN 67 attendees looked like on the other side of the Zoom chat room?

The meeting may have been held entirely remotely, but that hasn’t stopped the ICANN org from populating its Flickr page with a big wedge of photos, one of which seems to prove the old adage that “On the internet, nobody know’s you’re a dog.”

Virtual Photo Gallery #42

Photo credit: @icannphotos

At regular, face-to-face ICANN meetings, there’s a professional photographer doing the rounds, doing his or her level best to make jet-lagged, bearded. middle-aged men sitting in circles at laptops look thrusting and dynamic.

This time, it was largely up to remote participants to submit their own mug shots, taken in their home offices, kitchens, and lounges, for your viewing delight. And what a jolly nice bunch of people they look.

The batch of photos from 67 also includes a number taken on-site at ICANN’s Los Angeles headquarters, which had been hastily rigged up to act as the meeting’s hub after the face-to-face meeting in Cancun, Mexico was cancelled over coronavirus fears.

Here.