ICANN gets 100 applicants for CEO job

Kevin Murphy, February 22, 2012, Domain Policy

Over 100 people have applied to be ICANN’s next CEO, according to the organization.

ICANN revealed last night that it was provided with a shortlist of 27 potential candidates by its headhunter, Odgers Berndtson, and that its board has interviewed 16 of them by phone.

The list has now been whittled down further for face-to-face interviews with the board of directors, and ICANN expects to select a winner by mid-April.

Watch out for unfamiliar faces in expensive suits during the Costa Rica meeting in March – I’m guessing this might be where some of the interviews take place.

Current CEO Rod Beckstrom plans to leave the organization when his contract expires in July. He’s on a starting salary of $750,000, which may explain why there’s been so much interest in the job.

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ARI wins three Aussie geo-gTLD contracts

Kevin Murphy, February 22, 2012, Domain Registries

In what may be the most dog-bites-man piece of news I’ve carried in a while, ARI Registry Services has won the contracts to run Australian geographic gTLDs .melbourne, .sydney and .victoria.

The deals were awarded by the governments of New South Wales and Victoria, following a Request For Proposals initiated in October.

ARI said today that that Melbourne IT and Ernst & Young are also going to be involved in preparing the ICANN hew gTLD application.

ARI is a subsidiary of AusRegistry Group, which already runs the back-end for .au, which made it favorite for Australian geo-gTLDs from the outset.

Cloud Registry, CoCCA and Sedari, which also have connections to the region, were also known to be jointly bidding for the contracts.

I’m quite bullish on city gTLDs, particularly the large tourist-hungry cities such as London and New York..

Not only are most city gTLD going to be uncontested slam-dunk applications, I think in many cases they’re also going to see great demand from local small businesses.

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M+M registers for another 20 gTLD applications

Kevin Murphy, February 21, 2012, Domain Registries

Minds + Machines parent Top Level Domain Holdings has registered for another 20 new gTLD application slots with ICANN, bringing its total to date to 40.

The TLD Application System slots are for filing gTLD applications for itself and on behalf of M+M clients, the company said this morning.

A week ago, ICANN said that 100 registrations had been made with TAS.

TLDH is known to be involved in applications for .gay and .eco, among others. It registered its first 20 application slots during the first week of the application window, mid-January.

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Rogue registrar suspended over “stolen” domain

Kevin Murphy, February 20, 2012, Domain Registrars

ICANN has told Turkish domain name registrar Alantron that its accreditation will be suspended for a month due to its shoddy record-keeping.

The suspension, which will become effective March 8, follows an investigation into allegations of double-selling.

ICANN issued the suspension last Thursday after trying unsuccessfully for almost three months to get its hands on Alantron’s registration records.

The company now has until March 28 to sort out its compliance problems or face losing its accreditation entirely.

I understand the investigation was prompted by complaints filed by an American named Roger Rainwater over the potentially valuable domain name pricewire.com.

Pricewire.com spent a couple of years under Whois privacy but was grabbed last August by Turkish registrant Altan Tanriverdi, according to historical Whois records.

Rainwater, who says he had been monitoring it for three or four years, subsequently paid Tanriverdi an undisclosed sum for the domain, signing up for an Alantron account so it could be pushed.

Rainwater showed up in the Whois for pricewire.com on September 7 last year. But he says he was unable to change his name servers and 48 hours later the name disappeared from his account.

He says he was told by Alantron that it had put the domain in Tanriverdi’s account “by mistake” and that it was sold to SnapNames as part of a batch of dropping domains.

According to emails sent to Rainwater, seen by DI, Alantron said that pricewire.com was “registered via a partner company called Directi for a company called Snapnames”.

SnapNames had already auctioned the name – apparently there were more than 40 bidders – and the name has since been transferred to one Sammy Katz of Philadelphia.

However, given that Whois reliability is at question here, it’s not entirely clear who owns it. It’s currently parked at InternetTraffic.com.

Tanriverdi, who appears to be equally aggrieved, has published an extensive history of the dispute, along with screenshots, here (in Turkish).

In short: Alantron stands accused of double-selling pricewire.com.

ICANN’s compliance team has been unable to get its hands on the underlying transaction data despite repeated attempts because Alantron apparently doesn’t have it.

Its suspension notice alleges that Alantron was running two registration systems in parallel and that they weren’t talking to each other, resulting in the same name being sold to two parties.

Read ICANN’s suspension notice in PDF format here.

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Watch ICANN approve some new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, February 20, 2012, Domain Policy

In ICANN’s world, the current new top-level domains application period is actually the fourth, not the first.

As well as the 2000 “proof of concept” round, there was the sponsored gTLD round that kicked off at the end of 2003, and the ongoing IDN ccTLD Fast Track round from 2009.

I’ve finally got around to uploading to YouTube the video of the November 16, 2000 ICANN board meeting at which .info, .biz, .name, .pro, .museum, .coop and .aero were approved.

It was a pivotal moment in the history of the domain name system, particularly starting at the 5:46 mark, when the tide turned against Afilias’ application for .web, in favor of the less attractive four-character .info.

The main reason for the switch was Image Online Design’s competing application. IOD had been running .web in an alternate root for a few years before applying to ICANN.

If the internet had had a .web for the last decade, I believe conversations we’re having about new gTLDs would be very different today.

With .web expected to be a contested gTLD this time around — perhaps by some of the same companies that applied last time — expect this 11-year-old ICANN board meeting to be cited regularly in the near future.

The video was recorded by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and encoded in RealPlayer format, which in 2000 meant pretty poor-quality audio and video.

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