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Pornographers still hate .xxx

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2010, Domain Registries

The Free Speech Coalition, a trade group for the porn industry, has condemned the proposed .xxx top-level domain as “untenable” and “detrimental”.

In a letter to ICANN, FSC executive director Diane Duke challenged ICANN’s board to “settle the issue once and for all by going to the actual community to test the application’s true level of support”.

The FSC is concerned that the introduction of .xxx, as proposed and pursued by ICM Registry for the last 10 years, will inevitably lead to government regulation of the online porn industry.

Duke wrote: “a proposal for a ‘Sponsored’ top-level domain by a company that is not of the industry, with the added intent to ‘regulate’ an industry it knows nothing about, is simply untenable”.

The FSC has an even bigger problem with IFFOR, the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, the group set up by ICM to act as its sponsoring organisation

IFFOR – a bit of a hack to get around the fact that ICM was essentially applying for a gTLD during a “sponsored” TLD round – was loosely modelled on ICANN’s own bottoms-up structure, with four supporting organisations creating policy for .xxx domains.

Judging by this flowchart, which is open to interpretation, the adult industry would control less than half the votes.

“Our resolute position is that no self-respecting industry would ever agree to have a minority voice on a board tasked with setting critical policies for its members,” Duke wrote.

While ICANN ultimately rejected .xxx due to the lack of community support, ICM did manage to get some support from other areas of the adult community back in 2005.

ICANN was found at fault when it rejected .xxx. The question now is whether ICANN decides to stand by its first decision, to approve .xxx, or its second, to reject it.

Bottom line: It can’t win either way.

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Go Daddy follows Google out of China

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2010, Domain Registrars

Go Daddy is to stop accepting new .cn registrations, after CNNIC demanded that it start collecting photographs and signed registration documents from Chinese customers.

General counsel Christine Jones told the Congressional Executive Committee on China that Go Daddy has also seen an increase in DDoS attacks, specifically against human rights sites that it hosts.

“Domain name registrars, including Go Daddy, were then instructed to obtain photo identification, business identification, and physical signed registration forms from all existing .CN domain name registrants who are Chinese nationals, and to provide copies of those documents to CNNIC,” she said.

Any domain without such documentation would have been blocked by China, she said.

“For these reasons, we have decided to discontinue offering new .CN domain names at this time. We continue to manage the .CN domain names of our existing customers,” she said.

Go Daddy has about 1,200 Chinese customers and 27,000 .cn domains on its books. The company is not going to block Chinese customers. What China will do about them remains to be seen.

The move comes at a tense time for US-China internet relations, with Google grabbing headlines all week due to its ongoing censorship row with the country.

Jones denied the move has anything to do with Google. “We made the decision that we didn’t want to act as an agent of the Chinese government,” she said.

I’ve uploaded a PDF of her written testimony here.

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Colombians not keen on .co grandfathering

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2010, Domain Registries

Uptake of .co domains among existing .com.co registrants under the current “grandfathering” process has been quite low, according to .CO Internet chief executive Juan Diego Calle.

The formerly restrictive Colombian ccTLD is opening for global registrations soon, but the domain’s roughly 27,000 third-level registrants have already been given the chance to re-register their brands at the second level.

Calle told me earlier that only about 10% to 20% of .com.co registrants have chosen to do so. Grandfathering opened on March 1 and ends next Tuesday.

“Third-level domains are very well recognised in Colombia as a way to show you have a Colombian presence,” Calle said.

The sunrise period for trademark holders begins on April 1. Companies with trademarks registered in Colombia will be given priority, regardless of where the company is based.

I’ll be writing more about the .co launch tomorrow, to be published in a slightly more respectable venue.

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Bizarre domain suggestion tool

Kevin Murphy, March 23, 2010, Domain Services

There are plenty of available domain name suggestion tools out there, but BizNameWiz has to be the strangest I’ve seen.

The press release says it uses a “unique and creative algorithm”.

No kidding. I’ll let these screengrabs speak for themselves. …continue reading

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OpenDNS serves 1% of the internet

Kevin Murphy, March 23, 2010, Domain Services

OpenDNS, the free DNS resolution provider, said today it has 18 million users on its books, meaning it now provides DNS for more than 1% of the world’s internet users.

The percentage is based on the estimate that there are 1.67 billion internet users.

“One percent of all of the world’s Internet users is a momentous achievement and our growth rate indicates that number will climb at an even more rapid pace going forward,” said CEO David Ulevitch.

When OpenDNS launched in 2006, I couldn’t really see the need.

But since then, the company has added services such as URL filtering, which have become popular with the 25,000-odd schools on the company’s customer roster.

Far more useful to domain-buying adults such as me and you is the company’s CacheCheck, which enables you to manually update OpenDNS’s cache of any given domain. Over the years, this has often proven to be an invaluable time saver when meddling with my domains’ DNS records.

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