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CentralNic kicks out ARI as back-end for four new Radix gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 23, 2014, Domain Registries

CentralNic has replaced ARI Registry Services as the exclusive back-end registry services provider for four new gTLDs.

Radix, the new gTLD portfolio applicant formerly affiliated with Directi, will use CentralNic “exclusively” for .press, .host, .website and .space, according to a press release this morning.

ARI was originally listed on Radix’s applications as the technical services provider for all four, but as a result of change requests submitted in January ARI is out and CentralNic is in.

All four were either originally uncontested strings or have since been won by Radix at auction.

The news of the switch follows the announcement last month that CentralNic has also become a “preferred” back-end for portfolio applicant Famous Four Media, alongside ARI and Neustar.

ARI parent goes all surfer dude with rebranding

Kevin Murphy, February 17, 2014, Domain Registries

AusRegistry Group, parent of new gTLD back-end ARI Registry Services, has rebranded itself Bombora Technologies.

The change, which comes with a new web site, is said to reflect AusRegistry’s corporate evolution and not necessarily a reflection of its growing internationalization.

The rebranding does not affect ARI (aka AusRegistry International) or .au ccTLD provider AusRegistry itself, which both keep their names and remain subsidiaries of Bombora.

A third, new company, ZOAK, will take on the software consulting work previously performed under the other brands.

The name Bombora is apparently Australian Aboriginal, describing waves crashing over a shallow reef, that has been adopted into surf culture.

With the rebranding comes a not inconsiderable amount of corporate marketing guff, such as the wealth of gigglesome head-scratchers over on the company’s Belief System page. One example:

Our success is a collection of inspired significance defined by our teams. Your success symbolises a state of mind that forever challenges the status quo and works at building a better alternative.

Reading that, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether plain-speaking CEO Adrian Kinderis had been kicked out. But no, he’s apparently still in charge of Bombora and its subsidiaries.

ICANN hires former ARI exec to head gTLD relations

Kevin Murphy, June 12, 2013, Domain Policy

Krista Papac, formerly chief strategy officer with AusRegistry and ARI Registry Services, has joined ICANN as gTLD registry services director.

It appears to be a newly created job title at ICANN, though it sounds a little similar to the gTLD “liaison” role vacated by Craig Schwartz a couple of years ago.

Papac, a familiar face to many in the ICANN community, has been in the industry for over a decade.

Prior to ARI, which she left to become a consultant last September, she had stints at MarkMonitor, Verisign and Iron Mountain. She joined ICANN last month.

ICANN is hiring like crazy at the moment as it simultaneously gears up for the launch of new gTLDs and executes on CEO Fadi Chehade’s ambitious drive to simultaneously professionalize and globalize the organization.

ARI drops .book new gTLD bid

ARI Registry Services has withdrawn its application for the .book new gTLD.

The application was one of nine for .book and is the first in the contention set to be withdrawn.

The application lists Global Domain Registry Pty Ltd as the applicant, but all the contact information belongs to ARI/AusRegistry and its executives.

ARI was also its selected back-end provider.

The company had proposed a restricted .book, where you could only register a name if you had an ISBN number.

It had a priority number of 1,464, so was not due to get its Initial Evaluation results for many weeks.

It’s a crowded contention set, however — other applicants include Google, Amazon, Top Level Domain Holdings and Donuts — that may well wind up costing a lot of money to resolve.

It’s the 57th new gTLD application to be withdrawn; 1,873 remain.

Pritz’s conflict of interest was with ARI

Kevin Murphy, November 18, 2012, Domain Registries

Former ICANN chief strategy officer Kurt Pritz had a conflict of interest related to back-end registry provider ARI Registry Services, DI can reveal.

Pritz resigned last week after disclosing the potential conflict to CEO Fadi Chehade, leading to a great deal of industry speculation about the specific nature of the problem.

Chehade revealed to attendees at an unrelated community meeting at ICANN headquarters in Los Angeles last Thursday that the conflict was of a “personal” nature.

Since then, I’ve managed to uncover the basic facts of the story – more than enough to confirm that it’s a personal issue and to establish that there do not appear to be any financial conflicts.

So I’ve decided not to report the full details, other than to say the conflict relates to ARI Registry Services, a major provider of back-end registry services for new gTLD applicants.

Pritz, as senior vice president for stakeholder relations and then chief strategy officer, was for a long time the key ICANN executive overseeing the new gTLD program.

I understand that the conflict was voluntarily disclosed by Pritz.

He also appears to have been held to at least as high a standard of ethics as ICANN’s own board of directors.

While ICANN clearly determined that there was a risk of a perception of a conflict of interest, I’ve discovered no reason to believe there was any actual wrongdoing by ICANN, ARI or Pritz.

The recent public record does not appear to reveal any instances of Pritz giving any special treatment to ARI. If anything, I believe the evidence would most likely lead to the opposite conclusion.

For example, during recent Trademark Clearinghouse implementation talks, Pritz was staunchly opposed to key aspects of a community solution co-developed by ARI.

As reported last month, these talks were notable for Pritz’s attempts to block some important parts of the community proposal, despite aggressive lobbying by ARI executives.

In short, I don’t think there’s a conspiracy here.

It’s my belief that Pritz’s resignation is the result of an unfortunate set of circumstances occurring at an organization that is – understandably – hyper-sensitive to negative perceptions about its integrity.