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Uniregistry bans front-page porn in .sexy

Kevin Murphy, January 24, 2014, Domain Registries

It’s okay to have a .sexy web site, just don’t make it too sexy.

Uniregistry, which will shortly launch the gTLD, has banned front-page nudity in the .sexy space.

Its Acceptable Use Policy, published this week, says that “content unsuitable for a minor” is not permitted on the home pages of any .sexy domains:

For the .SEXY top-level domain, the Registered Names Holder shall not permit content unsuitable for viewing by a minor to be viewed from the main or top-level directory of a .SEXY domain name. For purposes of clarity, content viewed at the main or top-level directory of a .SEXY domain name is the content immediately visible if a user navigates to http://example.sexy or http://www.example.sexy. No restrictions apply to the content at any other page or subdirectory addressed by a .SEXY Registered Name.

The policy goes on to spell out in legalese that it’s talking about porn, rather than nudity or erotica per se, and that “minor” is defined as anyone under 13.

Keeping the front page of web sites porn-free, requiring age verification before the user is allowed to drill down to the good stuff, is considered good practice among porn sites already.

Domain Name Wire, which first spotted the ban, has also published the policy (pdf).

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Gripe sites and PPC banned in new gTLD

Kevin Murphy, January 24, 2014, Domain Registries

New gTLD registry Plan Bee expects to ban gripe sites in its forthcoming .build registry.

Its Acceptable Use and Takedown Policy (pdf), published this week, is among the strictest I’ve seen.

The gTLD was delegated last weekend. It’s going to be an open space targeted at the construction industry, but its AUP bans a lot of stuff.

As might be expected, any form of malicious hacking or spamming behavior is verboten, as is child abuse material.

Activities more often regulated today by registrar user agreements — such as piracy and counterfeiting — are also prohibited.

But the policy goes on to ban activities that are typically permitted in other TLDs, including “gripe sites” and “pay-per-click”. The AUP reads (I’ve emphasized some oddities):

Further abusive behaviors include, but are not limited to: cybersquatting, front-running, gripe sites, deceptive and⁄or offensive domain names, fake renewal notices, cross-gTLD registration scam, name spinning, pay-per-click, traffic diversion, false affiliation, domain kiting⁄tasting, fast-flux, 419 scams or if the domain name is being used in a manner that appears to threaten the stability, integrity or security of the Registry, or any of its Registrar partners and ⁄or that may put the safety and security of any registrant or user at risk.

Domains deemed abusive can be suspended or deleted by Plan Bee, under the policy.

I can see why a niche gTLD might want to build up loyalty in its associated industry by suspending gripe sites targeting construction companies, but banning “pay-per-click” is a baffling decision.

Will .build registrants be prohibited from using Google Adsense to support their sites?

The .build launch dates have not yet been revealed but it’s likely to be a matter of weeks.

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Ten more new gTLDs go live

Kevin Murphy, January 24, 2014, Domain Registries

Donuts, Afilias and Atgron were the beneficiaries of 10 new gTLD delegations yesterday.

Various Donuts subsidiaries had .boutique, .bargains, .cool, .expert, .tienda (“shop” in Spanish), .tools, .watch, .works delegated, bringing the company’s total portfolio to 70 gTLDs.

Afilias had its fourth new gTLD of this round go live in the DNS root: .kim, which is expected to serve people who have the first or last name Kim.

I think it’s the first personal-name gTLD to hit the internet.

Finally, Atgron had .wed delegated. It’s going to be an unrestricted gTLD aimed at marrying couples. It will eventually compete with the currently contested string .wedding.

I have to ponder what the renewal rates are going to be like for what seems to be the first event-focused TLD.

How long before their big day will registrants register their names, and for how long afterwards will they keep the registration alive for sentimental reasons? Atgron reckons such sites stay live for about 18 months.

There are also reportedly twice half as many divorces as marriages in the US at the moment. One wonders why nobody applied for .divorce.

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Cartier sues Nominet hoping to set global domain name take-down precedent

Kevin Murphy, January 22, 2014, Domain Policy

Luxury watchmaker Cartier has taken .uk registry Nominet to court, hoping to set a precedent that would enable big brands to have domain names taken down at a whim.

The company sued Nominet in a London court in October, seeking an injunction to force the registry to take down 12 domain names that at the time led to sites allegedly selling counterfeit watches.

We’ve only become aware of the case today after Nominet revealed it has filed its defense documents.

Judging by documents attached to Nominet’s court filings, Cartier sees the suit as a test case that could allow it to bring similar suits against other “less cooperative” registries elsewhere in the world.

In a letter submitted as evidence as part of Nominet’s defense, Richard Graham, head of digital IP at Cartier parent company Richemont International, said that he was:

seeking to develop a range of tools that can be deployed quickly and efficiently to prevent Internet users accessing websites that offer counterfeit goods… [and] looking to establish a precedent that can be used to persuade courts in other jurisdictions where the registries are less cooperative.

It’s worth noting that Richemont has applied for 13 dot-brands under ICANN’s new gTLD program and that Graham is often the face of the applications at conferences and such.

Pretty soon Richemont will also be a domain name registry. We seem to be looking at two prongs of its brand protection strategy here.

According to the company’s suit, the 12 domains in question all had bogus Whois information and were all being used to sell bogus Cartier goods.

None of them used a Cartier trademark in the domain — this is explicitly about the contents of web sites, not their domains names — and Cartier says most appeared to be registered to people in China.

Rather than submitting a Whois inaccuracy complaint with Nominet — which could have led to the domains being suspended for a breach of the terms of service — Cartier decided to sue instead.

Graham actually gave Nominet’s lawyers over a week’s notice that the lawsuit was incoming, writing his letter (pdf) on October 22 and filing the complaint (pdf) with the courts November 4.

Cartier seems to have grown frustrated playing whack-a-mole with bootleggers who cannot be traced and just pop up somewhere else whenever their latest web host is persuaded to cut them off.

Graham’s letter, which comes across almost apologetic in its cordiality when compared to the usual legal threat, reads:

Cartier therefore believes the most cost effective and efficient way to disrupt access to the Counterfeiting Websites operating in the UK is to seek relief from you, as the body operating the registry of .uk domain names.

Armed with the foreknowledge provided by the letter, Nominet reviewed the Whois records of the domains in question, found them lacking, and suspended the lot.

Ten were suspended before Cartier sued, according to Nominet. Another expired before the suit was filed and was re-registered by a third party. A fourth, allegedly registered to a German whose scanned identity card was submitted as evidence by Nominet, was suspended earlier this month.

As such, much of Nominet’s defense (pdf) relies upon what seems to be a new and obscure legal guideline, the “Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct”, that encourages people to settle their differences without resorting to the courts.

Nominet’s basically saying that there was no need for Cartier to sue, because it already has procedures in place to deal with counterfeiters using fake Whois data.

Also offered in the defense are the facts that suspending a domain does not remove a web site, that Nominet does not operate web sites, and the following:

Nominet is not at liberty under its Terms and Conditions of Domain Name Registration to suspend .uk domain names summarily upon mere receipt of a demand from someone unconnected with the domain name registrant.

That seems to me to be among the most important parts of the defense.

If Cartier were to win this case, it may well set a precedent giving registries (in the UK at least, at first) good reason to cower when they receive dodgy take-down orders from multibillion-dollar brands.

Indeed, that seems to be what Cartier is going for here.

Unfortunately, Nominet has a track record of at least accelerating the takedown of domains based on nothing more than third-party “suspicion”. Its defense actually admits this fact, stating:

Inaccurate identity and contact information generally leads to the suspension of a domain within three weeks. Where suspicions of criminality are formally confirmed by a recognised law enforcement agency, suspension may be very significantly expedited.

I wonder if this lawsuit would have happened had Nominet not been so accommodating to unilateral third-party take-down notices in the past.

In a statement to members today, a copy of which was sent to DI, Nominet encouraged internet users to report counterfeiting web sites to the police if and when they find them.

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Go Daddy turns to man boobs for 2014 Super Bowl ad

Kevin Murphy, January 22, 2014, Domain Registrars

For some reason people like watching Go Daddy’s Super Bowl commercials.

Here’s its 2014 commercial, which the company posted to YouTube today.

Rather than attempting to grab the viewer’s attention with fleeting glimpses of female décolletage, which has become the tradition over the 10 years Go Daddy has been running these expensive annual ads, this time around it’s the male form that’s being exploited.

Man boobs, in other words. Dozens and dozens of pairs of man boobs.

Danica Patrick’s in there somewhere too, but she appears to have been CGI’d to look like one of the fellers.

You’ll notice the lack of any TLDs — new or old — getting a mention, not even in Go Daddy’s logo, which dropped the “.com” about a year ago.

You may also scratch your head at the denouement. Why were a bunch of black guys among those racing to the tanning salon? Baffling.

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