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All gTLD confusion decisions in one handy chart

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2013, Domain Registries

Dirk Krischenowski of DotBerlin has produced an interesting chart plotting all the new gTLD string confusion decisions to come out of ICANN and its objection panels to date.

He’s kindly allowed us to reproduce it here. Click to enlarge.

Each string-pair’s percentage of similarity, as determined by the Sword algorithm, determines its position on the Y-axis, while the color of the circle indicates which way the decision went.

It’s a nice way of visualizing the fact that while Sword may have been instructive in the String Similarity Panel’s determinations it’s not an overwhelming factor in String Confusion Objection decisions made by International Centre for Dispute Resolution panelists.

You can download the chart as a PDF here.

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ICANN’s name collision plan “creates risk of abuse”

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2013, Domain Services

One of ICANN’s proposed methods of reducing the risk of name collisions in new gTLDs actually may create its own “significant risk for abuse”, according to RIPE NCC.

Asking registry operators to send a notification to the owner of IP address blocks that have done look-ups of their TLD before it is delegated risks creating a “backlash” against ICANN and registry operators, RIPE said.

Earlier this month, ICANN said that for the 80% of applied-for strings that are categorized as low risk, “the registry operator will notify the point of contacts of the IP addresses that issue DNS requests for an un-delegated TLD or names under it.”

The proposal is intended to reduce the risk of harms caused by the collision of new gTLDs and matching names that are already in use on internal networks.

For example, if the company given .web discovers that .web already receives queries from 100 different IP blocks, it will have to look up the owners of those blocks with the Regional Internet Registries and send them each an email telling them than .web is about to hit the internet.

RIPE is the RIR for Europe, responsible for allocating IP addresses in the region, so its view on how effective a mitigation plan this is cannot be easily shrugged off.

Chief scientist Daniel Karrenberg told ICANN today that the complexity of the DNS, with its layers of recursive name servers and such, makes the approach pointless:

The notifications will not be effective because they will typically not reach the party that is potentially at risk.

In addition, it will be trivial for mischief-makers to create floods of useless notifications by conducting deliberately erroneous DNS queries for target TLDs, he said:

anyone can cause the registry operator to send an arbitrary amount of mandatory notifications to any holder of IP address space. It will be highly impractical to detect such attacks or find their source by technical means. On the other hand there are quite a number of motivations for such an attack directed at the recipient or the sender of the notifications. The backlash towards the registry operator, ICANN and other parties in the chain will be even more severe once the volume increases and when it turns out that the notifications are for “non-existing” queries.

With a suitably large botnet, it’s easy to see how an attacker could generate the need for many thousands of mandatory notifications.

If the registry has a manual notification process, such a flood would effectively DDoS the registry’s ability to send the notices, potentially delaying the gTLD.

Even if the process were to be automated, you can imagine how IP address block owners (network admins at ISPs and hosting companies, for example) would respond to receiving notifications, each of which creates work, from hundred of affected gTLD operators.

It’s an interesting view, and one that affected new gTLD applicants (which is most of them) will no doubt point to in their own comments on the name collisions mitigation plan.

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15 new gTLD applications enter Extended Evaluation

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2013, Domain Registries

The first batch of new gTLD applications have officially entered the Extended Evaluation stage of the process.

Fifteen bids that failed to achieve passing scores during Initial Evaluation are now taking a second crack at getting approved.

Extended Evaluation is voluntary but in most cases — such as when additional financial or geographic support information is required — it is also free from additional ICANN fees.

If an application goes into EE, its whole contention set is delayed — possibly for months — while the evaluation is completed.

The affected strings so far are: .online, .bcg, .ged, .supersport, .life, .payu, .locus, .shop, .taipei, .pay, .ltd, .olayangroup, .llc, العليان., and .mckinsey.

The 15 comprise basically every application that has so far been told it is eligible for extended evaluation, but excluding most of those that received the news last Friday.

The DI PRO Application Tracker has been updated to reflect the new statuses, and we’ve added a new search option that lets you view or exclude “In EE” applications.

The DI PRO New gTLD Timeline now also includes diary entries related to Extended Evaluation.

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.taipei not blocked after all

Kevin Murphy, August 27, 2013, Domain Registries

Taipei City Government’s application for the .taipei new gTLD is still live, despite indications to the contrary from ICANN last week.

On Friday, we reported that there was some confusion about the status of the bid, which was flagged by ICANN as “Eligible for Extended Evaluation” in one place and “Ineligible for Further Review” in another.

We wondered aloud whether Taiwan’s controversial national identity was responsible for the application failing due to lack of governmental support.

But an ICANN spokesperson called last night to confirm that the “Eligible” status is the correct one. The ICANN web site has been corrected accordingly.

What this means is that .taipei is not rejected yet, but must provide more evidence of government support if it wants to pass Extended Evaluation and eventually get delegated.

The question remains, however: which government are we talking about here? If it’s the People’s Republic of China, which claims Taiwan as a province, Taipei may still face problems.

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CNNIC hit by “largest ever” denial of service attack

Kevin Murphy, August 26, 2013, Domain Registries

Chinese ccTLD operator CNNIC suffered up to half a day of degraded performance and intermittent accessibility yesterday, after being hit by what it called its “largest ever” denial of service attack.

CNNIC is one of ICANN’s three Emergency Back-End Registry Operators, contracted to take over the running of any new gTLD registries that fail. It’s also the named back-end for seven new gTLD applications.

According to an announcement on its web site, as well as local reports and tips to DI, the first wave of DDoS hit it at about midnight yesterday. A second wave followed up at 4am local time and lasted up to six hours.

According to a tipster, all five of .cn’s name servers were inaccessible in China during the attack.

Local reports (translated) say that many Chinese web sites were also inaccessible to many users, but the full scale of the problem doesn’t seem to be clear yet.

China’s .cn is the fourth-largest ccTLD, with close to 10 million domains under management.

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