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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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Comwired buys DNS.com for relaunch

Kevin Murphy, April 26, 2010, Domain Services

Comwired has acquired the domain name DNS.com in order to relaunch as a provider of managed enterprise DNS services.

The company announced this morning that it bought the domain, first registered in 1991 and previously parked, for an undisclosed amount.

The transaction appears to have happened at the end of last month and the site is already live.

With the acquisition, Comwired looks like it’s targeting the market for high-availability DNS resolution currently occupied by the likes of Neustar, Afilias and Dynamic Network Services.

The company was perhaps previously best-known for the geographic traffic-splitting service it offered to domainers and others.

The Whois record for DNS.com still shows a Moniker private registration, which I speculate would not be an exactly comforting sight for would-be enterprise customers.

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Kurds seek new cultural gTLD

Kevin Murphy, April 26, 2010, Domain Registries

A Kurdish company will apply to ICANN for a .kurd or .kur top-level domain to represent cultural Kurds.

The application will join the likes of .cat, and expected gTLD applications including .scot, .cym, .bzh, and .gal, which promise representation to “cultural”, but non-geographic, user bases.

The potential community for .kurd is around 35 million people, according to Wikipedia, over three times the size of the international Catalan community represented by .cat.

While many Kurds live in middle-eastern nations such as Iran and Iraq, there are almost 14 million living in Turkey, likely soon to be part of the European Union, according to the CIA World Factbook.

I’ve been told that a non-profit cultural gTLD needs only about 10,000 registrations to stay afloat; this seems easily achievable.

The dotKurd application has a web site and a Twitter feed.

The brains behind the TLD is a German-resident software developer called Aras Noori. He recently wrote to ICANN chief Rod Beckstrom, outlining his plan.

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