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ICM sells $700,000 of .xxx domains to Clips4Sale

Kevin Murphy, December 1, 2011, Domain Sales

ICM Registry has just announced the sale of $700,000 worth of .xxx domain names to Clips4Sale, which operates a network of clip-oriented porn sites.

The cash deal comprises 30 domains including one $300,000 name and two others at over $80,000 each, according to the company.

The domains themselves have not been disclosed.

The $300,000 sale would be the 16th most-expensive domain of the year, according to DNJournal’s chart. Gay.xxx sold last month for $500,000.

ICM is taking .xxx into general availability next Tuesday.

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Paul Raymond rebrands under .xxx

Kevin Murphy, December 1, 2011, Domain Sales

Paul Raymond, a well-known porn publisher in the UK, plans to rebrand its portfolio around the .xxx top-level domain, according to ICM Registry.

It’s the “largest single migration of an adult brand to the .xxx top-level domain to date”, ICM said.

Raymond could be described as an old-school pornographer, with a history stretching back to the 1960s, better known for its clubs and top-shelf titles than its online presence.

The deal includes the domains paulraymond.xxx, prpvod.xxx, razzledating.xxx, mensworlddating.xxx, menonlydating.xxx, escortdating.xxx, adultsportdating.xxx, clubdating.xxx, fantasydating.xxx, mayfairdating.xxx, and paulraymonddating.xxx, ICM said.

Domains such as mayfair.xxx and razzle.xxx, Raymond’s best-known titles, may also be included, but they’re not mentioned in ICM’s press release. The domain escort.xxx is owned by somebody else.

The migration is expected to be complete by February next year.

The two companies have a relationship going back at least several months, with ICM regularly sponsoring events at Raymond-owned clubs.

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Bulgaria told to forget about .бг

Kevin Murphy, December 1, 2011, Domain Policy

ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom has advised Bulgarians to admit defeat in their ongoing campaign to have .бг approved as a local-script top-level domain to match .bg.

The country’s application for the Cyrillic label was rejected by ICANN’s IDN ccTLD Fast Track program last year because it was found to look too similar to Brazil’s .br.

Nevertheless, the local government and domain name groups have continued to press for the right of appeal, and have indicated they may apply again.

But in an interview with Novinite published today, Beckstrom says:

I would advise the Bulgarians to go for something else. The initial application for .бг was unsuccessful.

The job of ICANN, the organization, is to implement the policies that are developed by the global communities. Those communities did not allow the initial application to go through because of potential visual confusion. So I think the Bulgarians can go back and they can choose what they want to apply for.

The Bulgarians can apply for a three-character name, they can apply for .българия in Cyrillic, it’s really up to the local community.

He goes on to say that Bulgarians could wait for a change in policies then apply again, they could change their desired string, or they could abandon their plans altogether.

However, surveys have found little appetite among the Bulgarian public for alternative strings such as .бгр, .българия, .бя or .бъл.

It’s a tricky problem for ICANN, which is first and foremost tasked with ensuring DNS stability and security.

Confusingly similar TLDs lend themselves to security risks such as phishing, and my understanding is that if .бг were to be approved it would face opposition from interests in Brazil.

The Novinite interview also touches on the possibilities of .софия and .Пловдив, to represent the Bulgarian cities of Sofia and Plovdiv.

The .бг issue was the subject of some apparently heated discussion during the recent Domain Forum new gTLDs conference in Sofia, but I understand Beckstrom had left before that part of the agenda.

You can now watch the entire Domain Forum, including Beckstrom’s introductory keynote, for free on YouTube.

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Zip.ca lets zip.tv expire then files UDRP to get it back

Kevin Murphy, November 30, 2011, Domain Registrars

The Canadian movie rental site Zip.ca, a sister company of Pool.com, has filed a cybersquatting complaint with WIPO over the domain name zip.tv.

A UDRP filed over a dictionary word would often scream reverse domain name hijacking, but it appears that in this case Zip.ca owned the matching .tv but accidentally let it expire.

According to historical Whois records, Zip.ca owned zip.tv until July 6 this year, when the registration expired and it went into its registrar’s “Reactivation Pending” status.

It was then acquired by a Chinese registrant, Mai Lifang, in October. The domain is currently parked.

It’s embarrassing for Zip.ca, given that its parent, Momentous, is primarily a domain name company, owning DomainsAtCost.com, Pool.com, Internic.ca, Rebel.com and NameScout.

Zip.tv was not just a defensive registration, either. It was previously promoted as a community-focused YouTube-style companion site for Zip.ca back in 2007.

The company also owns a trademark on the domain.

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European ccTLDs liberalize policies

Kevin Murphy, November 30, 2011, Domain Registries

Afnic, the .fr registry, will adopt new policies next week enabling organizations from outside of France to register domain names for the first time.

Under the rule change, entities in European Union countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, will qualify for .fr names.

The new policy (pdf), which comes into effect December 6, also applies to .re, the ccTLD for the French terrirtory Réunion, which Afnic also manages.

The registry is also discontinuing a handful of second-level domains which were previously available for third-level registration by the public.

Existing domains in .com.fr, ..tm.fr, .asso.fr, .asso.re, and .com.re will continue to function, but Afnic will no longer accept new registrations in these extensions.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Norwegian registry Norid liberalized its registration policies this morning, raising its ownership cap from 20 to 100 domain names per registrant.

Evidently anticipating a possible increase in cybersquatting disputes as a result, Norid has said it has also instituted a loser pays model for its dispute resolution process.

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