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Hostway wants non-existent domain patent

Kevin Murphy, April 29, 2010, Domain Tech

Hostway, the large web hosting company, has applied for a US patent on a system of intercepting and redirecting requests for non-existent domains names.

The application describes “A system and method for controlling internet traffic controls internet traffic directed to a non-existing domain in a centralized manner.”

It appears to cover a service that could be offered to local ISPs, enabling them to show their users monetized search pages rather than domain-not-found error messages.

Under the system, ISPs would intercept NXDOMAIN responses to their users’ DNS lookups.

Instead of passing the error on to the browser, the ISP would consult a centralized controller for the IP address of a context-appropriate landing page to redirect the user to.

It’s not at all clear to me whether Hostway is using the technology or has plans to do so. The application was filed in October 2008.

ISPs using NXDOMAIN substitution to monetize error traffic is widespread but controversial.

ICANN president Rod Beckstrom strongly complained about the practice, which also has security implications, during a rant at the Nairobi meeting last month.

VeriSign’s Site Finder, and later Cameroon’s .cm, both controversially did similar things when they “wildcarded” non-existent domains at the TLD registry level.

Other interesting US patent applications published today include:

20100106650 – covering Go Daddy’s auction services.

20100106793 and 20100106794 – covering email forwarding under Go Daddy’s private registration services.

20100106731 – assigned to VeriSign, covering a method of offering alternative domain names for registration when a buyer’s first choice is unavailable.

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AusRegistry scores Japanese .brand deal

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2010, Domain Registries

AusRegistry, the .au registry, has inked a deal with Brights Consulting, a company offering .brand domain services to the Japanese corporate market.

The company said the deal will mean AusRegistry will provide the technical back-end for any successful new gTLD applications that Brights manages to secure.

Other companies competing for new gTLD business include old hands VeriSign, Neustar and Afilias, as well as hungry newcomers such as Minds + Machines.

AusRegistry currently manages Australia’s .au, .qa for Qatar and .ae for the United Arab Emirates.

Brights is a corporate, rather than retail, ICANN registrar. I may be wrong, but it looks like the company counts Sony among its clients.

Could there be a .sony on the horizon?

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Bigotgate woman gets cybersquatted

Kevin Murphy, April 28, 2010, Gossip

Gillian Duffy, an unknown Rochdale pensioner five hours ago, has become the latest victim of celebrity cybersquatting.

Duffy is the voter Gordon Brown described as “bigoted” after she buttonholed him during an election walkabout this morning.

Brown thought he was having a private conversation as his car sped away, unaware that his radio mic was still on. Oops.

As a result, he’s been forced to apologize publicly at least four times in the last four hours, by my count.

The news in the UK has talked about nothing else this afternoon, so it’s hardly surprising that the domain name gillianduffy.co.uk has just been registered.

It’s currently parked with 1&1.

I’ll be fascinated to see what the registrant plans to do with the domain once Mrs Duffy’s 15 minutes are up.

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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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