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Richard Dawkins files UDRP claim for richarddawkins.com?

Kevin Murphy, April 8, 2010, Domain Policy

Biologist Richard Dawkins, perhaps the planet’s most famous and controversial atheist, has apparently filed a UDRP claim for richarddawkins.com.

The domain, which is down, is registered to a New Jersey address. For the last 10 years, up until at least a week ago, it has sold Dawkins’ books via Amazon’s affiliate program.

The UDRP case was filed with the National Arbitration Forum yesterday. The parties to the case are not yet listed.

Dawkins’ official web site is hosted at richarddawkins.net.

Interestingly, richarddawkins.org is owned by the loopy creationist group Access Research Network. ARN’s page incorrectly points visitors to richarddawkins.com if they want the “official” site.

Dawkins may have a struggle on his hands. Celebrity cybersquatting cases are rarely straightforward, and he may have trouble proving both trademark rights and bad faith.

Better knock on wood, Richard.

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UK domains get government oversight

With the passing of the Digital Economy Bill last night, the UK government has created powers to oversee Nominet, the .uk registry manager, as well as any new gTLD that is “UK-related”.

The Bill would allow the government to replace a registry if, in its opinion, the registry’s activities tarnish the reputation or availability of UK internet services.

It also allows the minister to apply to a court to alter the constitution of a registry such as Nominet.

The legislation was created in response to concerns that the registry could be captured by domainers, following a turbulent few years within Nominet’s leadership.

Nominet has since modified its constitution to make this unlikely, and is now of the position that the government will have no need to exercise its new powers.

The Bill does not name Nominet specifically, but rather any domain registry that is “UK-related”.

An internet domain is “UK-related” if, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the last element of its name is likely to cause users of the internet, or a class of such users, to believe that the domain and its sub-domains are connected with the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.”

This almost certainly captures the proposed .eng, .scot and .cym gTLDs, which want to represent the English, Scots and Welsh in ICANN’s next new gTLD round.

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DNS is sexy? Dyn thinks so

Kevin Murphy, April 8, 2010, Domain Services

Dynamic Network Services has launched a marketing campaign aimed at convincing people that DNS is “sexy”.

The company, which provides managed DNS services as Dyn.com, evidently has its tongue in its cheek, but has plastered the “DNS is Sexy” slogan across its web site anyway.

It has even registered DNSisSexy.com to bounce users to its corporate pages.

There’s a list of ten reasons why this frankly bizarre proposition might be true, including:

7. Standard features like DNSSEC on our Dynect Platform defend you from would be cyber criminals that want to steal your important information online. Bye bye identity theft!

Feeling sexy yet? Me neither.

How about:

9. Recursive DNS like our free Internet Guide, can protect your family and friends from unwanted Web content with customized defense plans.

Feeling sexy now? No?

Still, Go Daddy managed to mainstream domain name registration by incorporating boobs quite heavily in its TV campaigns, and everybody is interested in the ongoing sex.com and .xxx sagas, so it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Dyn could do the same for managed DNS.

To be honest, I can’t quite visualise it.

Dyn is asking people to tweet their reasons why DNS is “sexy” including the hashtag #dnsissexy. I’ve done mine.

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Flying.com sells for $1.1 million

Kevin Murphy, April 7, 2010, Domain Sales

Flying.com has been sold to UsedAirplanes.com for $1.1 million.

UsedAirplanes said in a press release that it will spend the rest of the year turning the domain into a social media site for flying enthusiasts, through which it can market its used plane listings.

According to the press release, the domain last changed hands in September last year, for $845,000, which gives the seller a very nice return on a quick flip.

“The amount of traffic Flying.com will generate will obviously enhance the amount of leads our brokers will receive for their used airplanes and aircraft,” said CEO Mark Horne.

While it’s undoubtedly a category killer for aviators, the domain doesn’t currently seem to rank highly in search engines for the term “flying”.

The related domain Fly.com sold for $1.8 million in January 2009. Last week, Pilot.com was sold through Sedo for $300,000.

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.xxx TLD passes Godwin’s law milestone

ICM Registry’s application for the .xxx TLD passed a crucial milestone yesterday, when it was compared to the Nazis for the first time.

Godwin’s law states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”

That moment arrived at 11:54:09 yesterday, when an ICANN commentator by the name of Ian K posted this:

If we truly believe in *NET NEUTRALITY*, then a TLD such as XXX has no part in it. Adding the TLD to the options, along with all that it means, is no different than when the *Nazi’s* forced all of the /Jewish Faith/ to wear *yellow Stars of David*, for easy identification, and subsequent *persecution*.

Mr K’s comment comes amid a deluge of negative opinion from pornographers and Christians alike. The latter disagree with porn in principle; the former think .xxx will lead to censorship.

The .xxx discussion has been dragging on for the best part of a decade, so the Godwin milestone has been a long time coming.

Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long.

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New gTLDs will cost $155 billion, honest

A report out from the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, which pegs the cost of first-round new gTLD defensive registrations at $746 million, has set eyes rolling this evening.

CircleID rather oddly compares it to a recent Minds + Machines study, “predicting new gTLDs will only cost $.10 per trademark worldwide.”

Apples and oranges, in my view.

But numbers are fun.

My own estimate, using data from both CADNA and M+M, puts the total cost of new gTLDs defensive registrations at $155.85 billion.

For the avoidance of doubt, you should …continue reading

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China domain name registrations plummeting

The Chinese ccTLD has lost almost four million domain name registrations since it implemented Draconian identification requirements last December.

According to CNNIC, the .cn manager, there were 9.53 million domains registered at the end of February, compared to 12.28 million in January and 13.45 million in December.

That’s a loss of 3.9 million domains since the new registration requirements were introduced mid-December.

The bulk of the loss appears to have come from pure .cn names, which dropped from 8.61 million in December to 6.14 million in February.

The .com.cn namespace lost about half a million names over the same period. The rest of the drop-off came in lesser-used second-level domains such a .org.cn.

Since December 14, CNNIC has required all Chinese registrants to provide photo ID before they register a domain.

Recently, the registry has tried to enforce retroactive enforcement of this requirement, causing registrars including Go Daddy and Network Solutions to abandon the TLD altogether.

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VeriSign plans domain tasting service

VeriSign plans to offer a service that would allow domain names to be registered for as short a period as a month, possibly creating a system of legitimised domain tasting.

The company has asked ICANN (pdf) if it can launch a Domain Name Exchange service, whereby registrars could cash in unused names, transferring the remaining time on the registration to a new domain.

The service, according to VeriSign’s filing, is designed for registrars that offer domain registration as part of bundled hosting packages paid for on a monthly subscription basis.

Currently, those registrars have to register the domain for a full year with VeriSign, even if the customer stops paying for it after a month or two, the company said.

Under Domain Name Exchange, registrars would …continue reading

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Christians descend on ICANN’s .xxx forum

It took a few weeks, but American Christian groups have finally noticed that ICM Registry’s .xxx domain is back under consideration at ICANN.

The number of comments on ICANN’s latest .xxx public comment forum has rocketed today, reminiscent of the first time this proposal was considered.

While the emails fail to address the issues at hand — how ICANN should process ICM’s application in light of the IRP decision — they do at least avoid using form letters.

The general sentiment is anti-pornography, rather than anti-.xxx.

Here’s a sample:

Please do not approve a .xxx domain for peddlers of pornography. Pornography is degrading to women and destructive to families.

and

Pornography is vile and can lead to breakdown of marriages, abuse, even murder in some cases.

and

Money talks, and the money this kind of sleaze (“Dot-XXX”) generates veritably screams.

and

History has shown that civilizations that go down this road eventually fail due to lack of moral standards. This type of internet will increase the danger of a society that has no moorings, that has no “right or wrong.” It will lead to more such atrocities such as drugs, revolting against society, even death.

I hope you’re listening, ICM Registry. You are the lead in the drinking water.

Check it out.

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Allstate cybersquatter gets away with it for a decade

Kevin Murphy, April 1, 2010, Domain Policy

Allstate Insurance Company, a US insurer with over $30 billion in revenues, has just won a UDRP claim over AllstateInsurance.com, almost 10 years after the domain was first registered.

The company has been using the Allstate trademark for almost 80 years, and is currently the second-largest insurance company in America.

AllstateInsurance.com, the exact match of its company name as well as a combination of its trademark and its primary line of business, was registered in November 2000.

It is currently registered to a Korean individual named Seung Bum; he fought the UDRP claim unsuccessfully.

After a brief period being used by an apparently genuine insurance firm, the domain has been parked with PPC ads for other insurance companies for the best part of the last decade.

The volume of type-in traffic over than period must have been substantial, and one can only speculate how much revenue was accumulated.

All of which begs the question: why on earth did Allstate wait 10 years to file a UDRP claim?

It seems that cybersquatting, at least in this case, pays.

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