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UDRP of the day: how-to-roll-a-blunt-with-a-swisher-sweet.info

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2010, Domain Policy

This is mildly amusing. Somebody, presumably the cigar company, has filed a UDRP claim against the owner of how-to-roll-a-blunt-with-a-swisher-sweet.info.

The domain name was registered last month and, sadly, does not appear to have any content yet. It’s registered to “Gregory Bong”.

In the US, a “Swisher Sweet” is your basic bog-standard convenience store panatela cigar.

A “blunt” is what the registrant was probably smoking.

The .com version of the domain is, unsurprisingly, available, so I can only assume price was a big factor in Bong’s choice of TLD.

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ThePirateBay.org to sell for $10 million

Kevin Murphy, April 27, 2010, Domain Sales

A failed corporate calendar company, Business Marketing Services, says it has made a deal to buy controversial Bittorrent domain thepiratebay.org for $10 million.

This is a strange one. On the face of it, the deal looks like a reverse acquisition with a shell company, designed to get The Pirate Bay a US stockmarket listing.

BMS is listed on the OTC market. According to its last 10-K filing, Hans Pandeya bought a controlling 78% interest in the company this January, for $325,000.

Pandeya is the majority shareholder of Global Gaming Factory X, the Swedish company which last June said it was going to buy The Pirate Bay for $8 million.

That deal, which was widely questioned at the time, does not appear to have ever closed.

Today, BMS said it will buy the thepiratebay.org domain name, and has issued a promissory note in the value of $10 million, deliverable on June 30, 2010.

That’s the same date that GGF thinks it will close the acquisition

Are you following this? Basically, GGF is buying thepiratebay.org, and BMS is buying it off GGF on the same day, assuming the cash exists. Both firms are owned by Pandeya.

As for BMS, it’s a phenomenally unsuccessful company that tried, and failed, to build a business making corporate-branded calendars.

The company is so small it’s barely there. Check out its last 10-K.

We planned to initially print 3,000 wall planners for each industry group that we targeted and distribute them to members of the targeted industry or profession free of charge. Our plan was to generate revenue solely through the sale of advertising space on the wall planners. These wall planners would have been produced upon our sale of all the available advertising space. To date, we have not produced any wall planners… As of December 31, 2009 we had $946 in cash.

This outfit couldn’t even print 3,000 calendars, and now it is the shell into which The Pirate Bay will be reversed.

BMS said it is planning “to use the acquired assets to launch a paid for service with licensed content based on next generation filesharing technology”.

The Pirate Bay was the internet’s most popular source of bootleg torrents. Its back-story is all very complicated.

Wikipedia’s probably your best bet.

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Band loses domain, gets $300k anyway

Kevin Murphy, April 27, 2010, Domain Sales

A British pub band forgot to renew its domain name, but wound up £200,000 richer anyway, courtesy of an original work from the popular graffiti artist Banksy.

According to the Bristol Evening Post, Exit Through The Gift Shop was gifted a painting valued by Sotheby’s at £200,000 ($307,000) after it agreed to change its name to avoid a clash with the title of Banksy’s new film.

But was there also another benefactor, the person who caught exitthroughthegiftshop.com when it dropped and sold it to Banksy?

The band’s drummer said:

“We had lost the domain name as we had forgotten to renew it, and when we phoned up to ask to buy it back, the man said no, that we wouldn’t be able to afford it, and that he was the agent for the person who had the domain name.”

Whois records show that exitthroughthegiftshop.com dropped in March 2008, when it was promptly re-registered by somebody who hid behind an eNom privacy service.

The domain was transferred to its present owner (no, it’s not Banksy, I checked) two days before it was due to expire in March last year. Presumably, it was sold.

Did a domainer make a killing in artwork?

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Go Daddy plays down “massive” attack claim

Kevin Murphy, April 26, 2010, Domain Registrars

Malicious hackers have compromised a number of WordPress installations running on Go Daddy hosting, but the company claims very few customers were affected.

Slashdot carried a story a few hours ago, linking to a blog claiming a “massive” breach of security at the domain name registrar.

(EDIT: as noted in the comments, this blog may itself have been hacked, so I’ve removed the link. You can find it in the comments if you want to take the risk.)

But Go Daddy says the problem is not as widespread as it sounds.

“We received reports from a handful of Go Daddy customers using WordPress their websites were impacted by the script in question,” Go Daddy security chief Todd Redfoot said in a statement.

“We immediately opened an investigation into what happened, how it was done and how many sites were affected,” he said. “The investigation is currently ongoing.”

The attack is certainly not ubiquitous. I host a number of WordPress sites with Go Daddy, including this one, and they all appear to be working fine today.

And a Twitter search reveals no references to an attack today prior to the Slashdot post, apart from the blog it was based on.

That doesn’t prove anything, but when Network Solutions’ WordPress hosting was breached last week there was a lot more tweet noise. That attack had thousands of victims.

For those interested in the details of the attack, this WordPress security blog appears to be the best place to get the nitty-gritty.

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.co enters pricey global sunrise

Kevin Murphy, April 26, 2010, Domain Registries

Trademark holders can from today apply for their brands as .co domain names, even if they do not do business in Colombia.

The second stage of .CO Internet’s sunrise period allows owners of non-Colombian trademarks to apply for their domains through one of 10 chosen launch registrars.

Prices vary from $225 with OpenSRS to $335 through Dotster, with most deals comprising non-refundable application fees plus first-year registration. Go Daddy is charging $299.99 and Network Solutions is charging $279.99.

With the possible exception of .xxx, I’ve got a suspicion that this could be one of the last “generic” TLD launches with such expensive sunrise periods.

It’s quite possible there could be pricing pressure if ICANN quickly approves a few hundred new gTLDs next year. If each charges ~$300 for a pre-launch, it could cause some some registrants to rethink their defensive registration strategies.

The .co sunrise ends June 10. General availability begins July 20.

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