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Industry firm stars in reality TV show

Kevin Murphy, October 6, 2016, Gossip

NCC Group, registry for the .trust gTLD and domain data escrow provider, provided several of the supporting stars for a UK reality TV game show that started a few weeks ago.

Hunted is a Channel 4 show in which 10 members of the public turn “fugitive” for a month.

The contestants are pursued on foot and electronically by a team of military, law enforcement and security experts.

Contestants have to keep on the move and are not allowed to leave the UK. Each fugitive team has a covert cameraman recording their escapades.

It’s basically a big televised game of hide-and-seek.

Whoever makes it 28 days without being physically captured by the “hunters” wins a share of £100,000.

NCC provides four of members of the hunter team, all from the firm’s security division.

Here’s the pre-launch trailer.

Two episodes in to the six-episode series, I’d have to say it’s a fun watch, even if you have to take the “cyber” elements slightly with a pinch of salt.

Because the “hunters” don’t actually have legal access to CCTV cameras, phone records, car registration databases and the like, that element is simulated by the show’s makers, overseen by an ex-cop independent adjudicator.

It airs on Channel 4 on Thursday nights in the UK. The first two episodes are currently available on-demand.

Obama formally hands internet over to UN

Kevin Murphy, October 2, 2016, Gossip

US President Barack Obama today formally signed over control of the internet to the United Nations.

At a ceremony in Washington DC this morning, Obama officially granted the UN, which is controlled by China, Russia and Iran, the ability to censor any web site that does not conform to strict standards of speech.

UN Secretary-General Banksey Moon, who is a foreigner, said that the first order of business under the new regime is to permanently delete the following web sites:

A longer list, banning a further 8,102,671 domains, will be published later this week, Moon said.

In addition to the web site deletions, the following new rules have come into immediate international effect:

  • all new web sites will be subject to monthly reviews by the Grand Mufti of Oman for compliance with Sharia law.
  • a proposal to force migration of all .com web sites to .ke will be considered by a panel comprised entirely of coastal liberal elites, many of whom may be lesbians.
  • registered Republicans only get 139 characters on Twitter.
  • pornographic content will be subject to Japanese-style genital pixelation, which nobody likes.
  • the emoji of the hanged black man has been banned.
  • all browsers will have their home pages hard-coded to, with no opt-out.
  • everyone has to have the new U2 album on their phones.
  • all YouTube cat videos will be preceded by a three-minute infomercial from PETA.
  • “They” are coming to take away your guns.

Members of the Grand Unified Jewish Conspiracy can request an exemption from any of the new rules by showing the appropriate credentials at time of registration.

The new regime was warmly welcomed by all those still legally permitted to express an opinion.

“Today is a great day for freedom,” Senator Bernie Sanders, the new UN Special Envoy for Thought Compliance, said at a press conference.

“No longer will right-thinking internet users run the risk of coming across dangerous ideas as they go about their daily business online,” he said.

* * *

For avoidance of doubt: this article is satire. None of this stuff is going to happen. I’m merely gently trolling some of the coverage the IANA transition has received in certain media outlets and on the fringes of Twitter over the last several weeks.

Former GoDaddy VP apes Trump in Congressional bid

Kevin Murphy, May 4, 2016, Gossip

Former GoDaddy general counsel and apparent glutton for punishment Christine Jones is to run for political office for a second time.

She’s looking for the Republican nomination in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, she said in an email circular yesterday.

In a video announcing the candidacy, it seems pretty clear she’s taking a leaf out of the Donald Trump playbook by playing the “outsider” card.

“She’s one of us, not a politician,” a talking head says in a totally unrehearsed, unscripted and utterly convincing soundbite.

Much like Trump, she’s also touting the fact that she’s “independently wealthy” and therefore not as reliant on big donors to fund her campaign.

According to Jones’ web site, the most important issues facing Arizonians are border security, Islamic State, abortion (she’s anti-), an overly complex tax system and gun ownership (she’s pro-).

It sounds ridiculous, but this is what passes for mainstream politics in the US nowadays.

The incumbent in the Congressional seat she wants, considered safely Republican, recently announced his retirement, but Jones will face at least three established local politicians in the contest for the nomination.

Jones stood for the Republican nomination for Arizona Governor in 2014, but came third in the seven-strong field, with 16.6% of the vote.

ICANN bans sandwiches from Helsinki meeting

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2016, Gossip

ICANN has announced that sandwiches have been banned from the forthcoming ICANN 56 public meeting in Helsinki.

The move has been made in response to recent controversies over the availability of “inappropriate” foodstuffs during coffee and lunch breaks at the thrice-yearly policy meetings.

“The board has listened, and the board has acted decisively in response to community concerns,” ICANN chair Steve Crocker said at a packed press conference today.

“Starting with ICANN 56, our meeting venues will be sandwich-free zones,” he said.

ICANN has had to take on new caterers to supply non-sandwich-based refreshments and will incur a one-time early termination fee of $242,000, according to its contract with its former supplier.

“It’s a small price to pay to make sure we only provide appropriate snacks for our valued stakeholders,” he said.

DI has obtained a copy of the proposed Helsinki menu, which has been approved as “100% fine” by ICANN’s board and Ombudsman, as well as the legal and compliance departments and external auditors.

You can read it here (pdf).

The unexpected sandwich ban surprised many community leaders.

“The ICANN board is totally missing the point here,” said GNSO chair James Bladel. “The PBJ-WG clearly and unanimously recommended that the prohibition should only apply to cheese sandwiches.”

“It’s just another example of top-down, unilateral regulation,” he said.

Critics noted that, due to pressure from the French government, the ban does not apply to filled baguettes.

But Crocker denied government meddling had created a loophole, noting that all baked goods containing fillings comprising over 32% dairy-based solids would still be captured by the ban.

“Naturally, we couldn’t ban all baguettes,” he said. “That would be a ludicrous thing to do.”

He advised all ICANN 56 delegates to show up early to sessions in order to speed up the new mandatory sandwich-screening bag checks.

Chehade tries to explain domain “hogging” comments

Kevin Murphy, March 30, 2015, Gossip

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade has distanced himself from comments in which he seemed to equate domain investing with “cybersquatting”.

In January, Chehade said in a Huffington Post interview that new gTLDs would help prevent domain “hogging”, which was widely interpreted as his taking a dim view of domaining.

When asked about his remarks last month, he did not backtrack.

Now he has backtracked, responding to an angry letter from the Internet Commerce Association, which represents many of the largest domainers.

In March 24 letter (pdf) published over the weekend, Chehade said that he interpreted the HuffPo interviewer’s question to refer to the practice of registries holding back premium domains, rather than secondary market activity:

I regret that the ICA interpreted some of my comments in the interview as expressing a “disdainful view” of domain investing. As you might have gathered from the reporter’s questions, some people have asked whether the new gTLD program might have created an opportunity for “land grabb[ing]” by industry insiders. It was not my impression that the question being asked referred to established practices in the secondary market; rather, I believe the reporter was inquiring about some of the very practices by registries you cited in your letter. My response — that alternatives are available in different gTLDs — was intended to try to allay the concern that the program was creating artificial scarcity of domains, not to criticize participants in the marketplace.

Was this a fair interpretation of the interviewer’s question? Is this just a misunderstanding?

Watch the two-minute video above to make up your own mind.

Addressing the ICA’s concerns that he had equated domain investing with cyberquatting, Chehade wrote:

We are in complete agreement that there is a very important legal distinction between registering generically-termed domain names and cybersquatting.