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Black Hawk Down writer pens domain name book

Kevin Murphy, October 11, 2011, Gossip

Worm — The First Digital World War, a new book from Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden, has a surprising cast of characters culled partially from the domain name industry.

The non-fiction hardback, released this month, covers the fight against the Conficker worm, which heavily leveraged DNS to spread when it arrived on the scene three years ago.

A glance inside at Amazon shows the dramatis personæ include then-CEO of ICANN Paul Twomey, Internet Systems Consortium chair Paul Vixie and Alice’s Registry founder Rick Wesson.

Conficker, you may recall, used algorithmically generated domain names to propagate. The coordinated effort aimed at stopping it worked in part by preemptively registering those domains.

Making a readable techno-thriller out of a bunch of geeks bickering sounds like a tough call. I’ve ordered a copy, and it will be interesting to see whether Bowden pulled it off.

In the meantime, I think some harmless speculation about the movie adaptation is called for.

For Twomey, I’m thinking Russell Crowe…

German toilet provider has Best. Domain. Ever.

Kevin Murphy, September 29, 2011, Gossip

A few of us attending the newdomains.org conference in Munich this week spotted what is possibly the most inadvertently funny domain name in the history of the internet.

We found this advertised in the men’s room at Oktoberfest:

ass-container.de

It would be funny enough merely seeing that domain on a poster in a public toilet, but what makes it perfect is that the company it advertised, ASS GmbH, is in the business of providing portable toilets for large events.

Mike Berkens of TheDomains has photographic evidence of the poster itself (I don’t usually take a camera to the toilet with me) but in the absence of that photo, here’s a capture from the firm’s site.

Ass Container

ICANN revolving door: invisible whiteboard lady jumps to Afilias

Kevin Murphy, September 21, 2011, Gossip

In yet another shocking example of the unregulated “revolving door” between ICANN and powerful companies in the domain name industry, a blurry lady using an invisible whiteboard appears to be working for ICANN and Afilias at the same time.

Proof can be found in these screenshots, taken today from afilias.info and newgtlds.icann.org.

The photographs appear to have been digitally altered to disguise the mystery double-agent’s appearance, but it’s clearly the same woman.

ICANN:

ICANN clip art

Afilias:

Afilias clipart

Call your lawyers! Write to the Department of Commerce! We have ourselves a scandal!

UPDATE: She works for CentralNic too!!!

CentralNic Clip Art

Go Daddy and Joan Rivers win .CO awards

Kevin Murphy, July 20, 2011, Gossip

The .co registry .CO Internet has announced the winners of its inaugural Bulby Awards, given out to the best .co sites.

Key registrar partner Go Daddy won an award (for x.co), as did the companies’ joint Super Bowl spokesmodel Joan Rivers (for joan.co).

Go Daddy’s Bulby was for the Best Use Of A Single Letter Domain. It beat Twitter (t.co) and Overstock (o.co). Rivers beat the singer Charlotte Church for Best Personal Site.

Sociable.co beat domain blogger Elliot Silver (bahamas.co) to the Best Content award.

The winners were tallied up from votes submitted online, .CO said. The results can be found here.

Afilias does something similar for .info domains every year, but its awards have cash prizes.

VeriSign drops $150,000 on ICANN Singapore

Kevin Murphy, May 23, 2011, Gossip

VeriSign, which signed up for an unprecedented $500,000 sponsorship package for ICANN’s meeting in San Francisco, has spent a rather more modest amount for the June meeting.

The company is currently listed as a Platinum Elite sponsor for the Singapore meeting, which kicks off June 19. This tier has a list price of $150,000, though I believe ICANN’s prices are negotiable.

VeriSign’s two main registry services competitors, Neustar and Afilias, had already signed up for cheaper sponsorship tiers, with lower visibility.

It would be my guess that the company waited for its rivals to show their hands before deciding to how much it needed to spend to trump them.

The Singapore meeting may see the approval of the Applicant Guidebook for the new top-level domains program.

(UPDATE: Thanks to the reader who pointed out that ICANN will almost certainly vote to approve the renewal of VeriSign’s .net contract in Singapore.)

There are 19 sponsors for Singapore so far, but currently no takers for the two available top-tier Diamond packages, which are listed at $250,000.

The amount VeriSign coughed up for San Francisco is believed to have largely contributed to the speaking fees of former US president Bill Clinton.

ICANN expects to make about $1.2 million from its three fiscal 2011 meetings, which is less than the cost of a single meeting.

Princess Kate’s brother registers domain for nude photo take-down threat

Kevin Murphy, May 6, 2011, Gossip

The brother of the newly installed Duchess of Cambridge (formerly known as Kate Middleton) reportedly posed as a lawyer in order to get his nude photos yanked from a porn site.

According to Gawker, James Middleton sent a take-down notice to its sister site, the porn blog Fleshbot, after it published some fairly tame photographs of his naked frat-boy antics.

The notice was sent via email, purportedly from “Nice Group London Legal” at nicelawyers.co.uk.

But the Whois record, as Gawker discovered, showed that the company was a phoney, and that Middleton himself was the registrant.

The creation date of the domain, April 10, suggests it was registered precisely in order to send this kind of take-down threat. Fleshbot continues to carry the photographs.

And the lesson here? I’m sure there is one. I’m just blogging it because I think it’s funny.

Slim pickings in the ICANN 40 schwag bag

Kevin Murphy, March 13, 2011, Gossip

Perhaps I checked in too early, before all the sponsors have showed up, but the schwag bag for the ICANN San Francisco meeting seems to offer surprisingly slim pickings.

Here’s what you can expect to clutter up your luggage if you’re in attendance at ICANN 40.

  • Baseball-style executive stress squeezy toy (VeriSign, .net)
  • Black polo shirt (IronDNS)
  • M&Ms-style candy (NameMedia)
  • Coffee mug (RegistryPro, .pro)
  • Badge/button (.green)
  • Mini beer-flagon-style shot glass thing (United Domains, newdomains.org)
  • Pack of tissues (.SO Registry, .so)
  • Post-it notes (VeriSign, .net)

Given the high sponsorship fees and the anticipated turn-out of 1,600 to 2,000 delegates, I was expecting much more. Perhaps some gold-plated breath mints or Armani cufflinks.

Never mind.

Still, nice to see .SO Registry pushing the boat out there. Tissues are always useful, but I was expecting at least a branded eye-patch.

I shall re-register under a fake name in a day or two to see if the quality of the schwag improves.

Clinton confirmed for ICANN’s SF meeting

Kevin Murphy, March 1, 2011, Gossip

Former US president Bill Clinton has been confirmed as the star guest speaker of ICANN’s 40th public meeting, which kicks off in San Francisco in a little under two weeks.

According to a tweet minutes ago from CEO Rod Beckstrom, Clinton will address ICANN’s Gala event, March 16 in Union Square.

This is usually an evening drinks-n-canapes event or a sit-down dinner. The SF Gala is scheduled for 7pm.

Given the central, outdoor location, I’m sure security will be tight. We could be looking at another limited-numbers, invitation-only event.

Beckstrom has previously stated that Clinton’s fee will be covered by a special sponsorship deal, but the identity of the sponsor does not appear to have been revealed yet.

DomainIncite is one year old today

Kevin Murphy, February 27, 2011, Gossip

It was one year ago today that I registered the domain name domainincite.com and made my first blog post here.

Since that day, I’ve published well over 500 articles, approved over 1,300 comments, and currently receive roughly 10,000 unique readers per month, growing all the time.

Not bad for a part-time gig, but I hope to do much better in year two.

My goal in the first year of running DI was not to reach vast numbers of readers, but to reach the right readers with timely, useful information.

Judging from the feedback I’ve received from the industry’s movers and shakers over the last several months, both in person and online, I think I have achieved that goal.

I’d like to thank you all for reading. I hope you continue to do so.

I’d also like to thank my advertisers past and present for making DI feel like less of a money-sucking time vampire and for generously indulging my psychological Chinese wall.

I’ve got some potentially cool announcements to make in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned.

My highlights from .nxt

Kevin Murphy, February 16, 2011, Gossip

The jetlag has finally worn off, and I’ve had a few days to cogitate, so I thought I’d share some of my personal highlights of the .nxt conference last week.

In no particular order, these are the things that put a smile on my face:

Kieren McCarthy’s opening speech. The analogy he drew between the introduction of new top-level domains and the building of San Francisco’s bridges was either divinely inspired or Satanically tortured. Either way, it worked. Nice bit of writing.

Meeting a genuine outsider. It’s rare I get to meet anybody at this type of meeting who’s not already familiar with ICANN and the domain market, but I did at .nxt. Dude gave me a fake name and said he’d showed up primarily to see if his competitors were there, ahead of a possible TLD bid. When I asked him what information would make his life easier, he said “help with the acronyms”. Figures.

The “Reality Check” session. I took six pages of notes, so I must have found it informative.

Juan Diego Calle’s keynote. He may not be the world’s greatest public speaker, but Calle’s speech, which talked the crowd through .co’s pretty smart marketing strategy, was good content.

John Berryhill’s panels. Everybody bangs on about how funny this guy is, but the .nxt panels he moderated really gave him a platform to exercise his wit. He’s good value, but I feel certain that if I ever let him represent me in court we’d both find ourselves banged up on contempt charges.

San Francisco. I lived there for eight years, and last week was my first time back there since 2007. Great to visit the old haunts. Beautiful weather, too, for this time of year.

Free candy. Great big bowls of the stuff were laid out after the closing session. Nice touch.

Me. Virtually everybody I met for the first time was already a DI reader, which was hugely gratifying. The notable exception was a certain ICANN staffer, who’d never heard of the site. That’s fair enough, I suppose – it’s not like I cover ICANN much.

Overall, I had a great few days at .nxt, and I look forward to the next one.