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ICANN posts .xxx contract for comment

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2010, Domain Registries

ICANN has just published the proposed contract for ICM Registry’s porn-only .xxx top-level domain, and over a dozen supporting documents.

Now the fun begins!

Another 30-day public comment period is now underway, which will likely see more concerted efforts by the Free Speech Coalition and its accidental allies on the religious right to have .xxx killed off.

It will also be interesting to see whether the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee decides to chip in with its $0.02.

The GAC has always been wary of the .xxx application and remains the tallest hurdle to jump before the TLD has a chance of being approved.

There’s a lot of information in these documents, including much more detail on IFFOR, the International Foundation For Online Responsibility, which will set the TLD’s policies.

I’m going to bury my nose in these docs, and will provide an update later if I find anything interesting, which seems likely.

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Facebook sues TeachBook.com for cybersquatting

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2010, Domain Policy

All your “book” are belong to us?

Facebook has filed a cybersquatting and trademark infringement lawsuit against TeachBook.com, a social networking site for teachers.

The suit claims the site unfairly capitalizes on the Facebook trademark by using the “book” portion of the mark to evoke the idea of social networking.

According to the complaint, one of TeachBook’s selling points is that many schools ban teachers from using Facebook in order to prevent kids extorting them using personal information.

I don’t know how popular the site is — it doesn’t look like much — but it appears that TeachBook also owns a trademark on its brand.

I doubt this kind of claim would hold up under UDRP rules (unless a “friendly” panelist got the case), which is probably why Facebook has resorted to the US courts.

CourthouseNews.com has a PDF of the complaint and exhibits.

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ITU chief snubs ICANN’s Beckstrom

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2010, Domain Policy

“If your name’s not down, you’re not coming in.”

That’s pretty much the message sent to ICANN chief Rod Beckstrom by the International Telecommunications Union’s secretary general, following his request to attend a top-level ITU policy meeting.

Beckstrom wrote to Hamadoun Toure last month, asking for observer status at October’s ITU Plenipotentiary Conference – the “supreme organ” of ITU policy-making, held every four years.

The idea was that ICANN and the ITU would start to develop a more formal relationship.

In a letter published today, Toure turned him down, noting that the guest-list for the Guadalajara meeting is strictly limited by convention to entities such as national telecoms regulators and UN agencies.

For your information, the Plenipotentiary Conferece, the supreme organ of the ITU, is the highest level of administrative conference for the Union.

I regret to inform you that the ITU is unable to respond positively to your request to attend

Ouch.

ICANN and the ITU have a spiky history. It’s well known that the ITU would prefer internet addressing to be handled from Geneva rather than Marina Del Rey. Over the years, it’s occasionally made the odd attempted power grab.

The fact that Beckstrom has been rebuffed is surely more evidence that, for all its flaws, ICANN is still a better place to manage the DNS.

If the head of ICANN can’t even observe the ITU’s top dogs at work, what chance would the rest of us have of being heard?

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Registrars “unprepared” for DNSSEC

Kevin Murphy, August 23, 2010, Domain Tech

Only one in 10 domain name registrars believes it is fully prepared to offer DNSSEC services today, according to new research out from Afilias, the .info registry.

The Registrar DNSSEC Readiness Report (pdf) also shows that a perceived lack of customer demand for the technology has translated into ambivalence at most registrars.

DNSSEC is a standard extension to DNS that helps prevent domain name hijacking through man-in-the-middle attacks.

The survey shows that 9.86% of registrars say they are “fully prepared” to offer DNSSEC to customers now, with 52.2% saying they were “somewhat” prepared. The remainder were not at all prepared.

A little over a quarter of respondents rated DNSSEC a “high” priority for the next 12 months, with less than 3% saying it was an “extremely high” priority.

Two of the biggest reasons for the lack of urgency were lack of customer demand – 59% of registrars said they saw no demand at all – and difficulties developing key management systems.

Despite this, when asked the question “Should TLD registries support DNSSEC?”, a whopping 80% responded in the affirmative.

I expect interest in the technology will pick up early next year, when VeriSign signs the .com zone.

The Afilias survey was conducted electronically earlier this month. The sample size was quite small, with only 71 respondents, and most of them were on the smaller side by domain count.

The report was released to coincide with Afilias’ launch of a broad effort to add DNSSEC support to all of the TLDs for which it provides registry services.

The company already offers the technology in .org, and that will now be extended to gTLDs including .info and ccTLDs such as .in. You can read the release at CircleID.

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ccTLDs under the hammer at UK domainer conference

Kevin Murphy, August 23, 2010, Domain Sales

The UK will get a rare domainer conference and live auction at the end of the week.

MeetDomainers, organized by NameDrive and the Polish domain investment outfit ddfund.eu, will open its doors for three days at the Hilton in Manchester.

Most of the action (if you don’t count getting drunk or paintballing) is focussed on Friday, culminating in a live auction with about 50 lots.

There are a couple of .coms in there, and one .co, but the majority of the domains are in the .uk namespace. Of the bunch, the most attractive .co.uk names to my eye appear to be:

CoffeeMachines.co.uk
QuadBikes.co.uk
ComputerRepair.co.uk
GymEquipment.co.uk
MediaSales.co.uk

From the .org.uk domains on offer, these look nice:

Shirts.org.uk
Vets.org.uk
Clothes.org.uk

There are also a couple of UK-related geographical .coms, referring to popular(ish) tourist areas in northern England: Penrith.com and Cumbria.com.

Any domainers with an interest in the South African market may well be interested in these category killers:

MobilePhones.co.za
Smartphones.co.za
Phone.co.za
Universities.co.za

The Isle of Man’s .im ccTLD also gets some love, with these domains on offer (note that, unlike .uk, direct second-level registrations are possible under .im as well as at the third level).

apartmentrentals.im
apartmentrentals.co.im
PropertyRentals.im
PropertyRentals.co.im
CarHire.co.im
CheapHotels.co.im
Flights.co.im
HolidayHomes.co.im
Holidays.co.im

And here’s the rest:

HotelBookings.co.uk
CoffeeMachine.co.uk
YouthClubs.co.uk
BowlingClub.co.uk
BowlingWear.co.uk
CampingGoods.co.uk
NewBrighton.co.uk
LinkBuildingServices.co.uk
PersonalisedGift.co.uk
AsbestosTests.co.uk
BlackBoards.co.uk
ChalkBoards.co.uk
StudentCreditCard.co.uk
VII.co.uk
TRX.co.uk
Holy.co.uk
TopUps.co.uk
Groom.co.uk
FashionDesigner.co.uk
Entry.co.uk
EuroPallets.co.uk
HomeCinemaSystems.co.uk
PhoneContract.co.uk
PrivateYachtHire.com
PrivateYachthire.co.uk
HolidayInsurance.CO
BackLinks.co.uk
ProductFeeds.co.uk
Blades.co.uk
Snorkel.co.uk
Media-Sales.co.uk
HighChair
HighChairs.co.uk
Invoicing.co.uk

Opening bids start anywhere from £50 to £20,000 ($31,000). The auction can be found here.

MeetDomainers is also the first domaining-oriented gathering I intend to attend in person. If you’re also planning on heading to Manchester this week, be sure to say hi if you spot me.

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