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NameCheap resurrects anti-SOPA transfers promo

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2013, Domain Registrars

NameCheap has decided to bring back the promotion that saw roughly 20,000 domain names transferred to it from Go Daddy, in protest of the company’s stance on US legislation, a year ago.

Its “second annual Move Your Domain Day” will be on January 22, with inbound transfers costing $3.99 (a buck cheaper than last year) on domains in the five biggest gTLDs.

It will donate $0.50 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for every transfer, escalating to $1 and $1.50 if it gets more than 10,000 and 20,000 domains respectively.

The original promo was an opportunistic move to capitalize on Go Daddy’s support for the censor-happy Stop Online Piracy Act, which caused a great deal of controversy a year ago.

SOPA is now of course dead, and the senior Go Daddy executive who was most vocally in support of the bill, general counsel Christine Jones, is no longer with the company.

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Architelos sees sales double to $2 million in 2012

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2013, Domain Services

New gTLD consultancy and software provider Architelos said it booked sales of $2 million in 2012, its second year in business, doubling its 2011 numbers.

The company said revenue for the year was $1.7 million. Architelos is bootstrapped and profitable.

Business was no doubt helped by the launch of TLD Sentry, its software service for managing abuse in TLD registries, which signed up Donuts and Top Level Domain Holdings as showcase clients.

The company plans to release another service, designed to help manage gTLD financials, during 2013.

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Twitter files UDRP over twitter.org

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2013, Domain Policy

Twitter has filed a cybersquatting complaint over the domain name twitter.org, which is currently being used for one of those bogus survey scam sites.

The domain has been registered since October 2005 — six months before Twitter was created — but appears to have changed hands a number of times since then.

It’s been under Whois privacy since mid-2011, but the last available unprotected record shows the domain registered to what appears to be Panama-based law firm.

Hiding ownership via offshore shell companies is a common tactic for people cybersquatting high-profile brands.

The UDRP complaint, which looks like a slam-dunk to me, has been filed with WIPO.

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Ten registrars spanked for ignoring ICANN audit

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2013, Domain Registrars

ICANN has sent breach notices to 10 domain name registrars for failing to respond to its ongoing contract compliance audit.

The 10 registrars with breach notices are: Crosscert, Mat Bao, DomainsToBeSeen.com, USA Webhost, Internet NAYANA Inc, Cheapies.com, Domainmonger.com, Lime Labs, Namevault.com, and Power Brand Center.

According to ICANN, these registrars failed to provide the requested documentation as required by their Registrar Accreditation Agreement.

The Contractual Compliance Audit Program is a proactive three-year effort to check that all registries and registrars are abiding by the terms of their agreements.

ICANN selected 317 registrars at random for the first year of the program. As of January 4, 22 had not responded to these notices.

Only registrars signed up to the 2009 version of the RAA are contractually obliged to respond.

Verisign, which was one of six gTLD registries selected to participate this year, has controversially refused to let ICANN audit .net, saying it is not obliged to do so.

While the .net contract does have some audit requirements, we understand they’re not as wide-ranging as ICANN’s audit envisages.

The 10 registrars have been given until February 1 to provide ICANN with the necessary information or risk losing their accreditations.

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Is .home back on ICANN’s new gTLD risk list?

Kevin Murphy, January 13, 2013, Domain Tech

While most new gTLD applicants were focused on delays to the program revealed during last Friday’s ICANN webinar, another bit of news may also be a cause for concern for .home applicants.

As Rubens Kuhl of Nic.br spotted, ICANN revealed that 11 applications have not yet passed their DNS Stability check.

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That’s a reversal from November, when ICANN said that all new gTLD applications had passed the stability review.

As I noted at the time, that was good news for .home, which some say may cause security problems if it is delegated.

As Kuhl observed, there are exactly 11 applications for .home, the same as the number of applications that now appear to have un-passed the DNS Stability check.

So is ICANN taking a closer look at .home, or is it just a numerical coincidence?

The string is considered risky by many because .home already receives a substantial amount of DNS traffic at the root servers, which will be inherited by whichever company wins the contention set.

It’s on a list of frequently requested invalid TLDs produced by ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee which was incorporated by reference in the new gTLD Applicant Guidebook.

Some major ISPs, notably BT in the UK, use .home as a pseudo-TLD in their residential routers.

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