AusRegistry Group, parent of new gTLD back-end ARI Registry Services, has rebranded itself Bombora Technologies.
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.
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ARI Registry Services has withdrawn its application for the .book new gTLD.
The application was one of nine for .book and is the first in the contention set to be withdrawn.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.
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.
Registry services provider CoCCA has pulled out of the Asia Pacific Top Level Domain Association after APTLD gave support to AusRegistry in its campaign to continue to run .au.
The company claims that APTLD — the Hong Kong-based association of ccTLD operators from the region — backed AusRegistry because AusRegistry is one of its largest donors.
The allegations center on a consultation run by AuDA, the policy overseer for Australia’s .au domain.
AuDA is currently deciding whether to renegotiate AusRegistry’s longstanding registry back-end contract — which is its preferred option — or open it up to public tender.
Draft recommendations published for comment last month suggest that the contract should remain with AusRegistry when it expires in 2014, albeit with renegotiated terms.
CoCCA is mad with APTLD for submitting a comment in support of these recommendations without first consulting its membership, suspecting AusRegistry’s sponsorship of APTLD might have something to do with it.
In an email to APTLD last week, CoCCA director Garth Miller said:
That AusRegistry, a large for-profit company that is an associate member of APTLD can simply make a phone call to a board member and get the board to make a public submission on behalf of all members that a scheduled public tender be cancelled and AusRegistry be awarded the contract – worth as much as several hundred million dollars, because they have made substantial contributions to the APLTD in the past and are likely to do so in the future if awarded the contract is, in my view, disturbing.
CoCCA, which already provides registry services for a few ccTLDs in the region and runs the .cx (Christmas Island) ccTLD, reckons the .au back-end contract should be opened to competitive bidding.
Judging by the other submissions to AuDA’s consultation, which are published here, it’s a minority view.
Every other comment — most of which were sent by .au registrars, even newcomers such as Go Daddy — supports the recommendation that AusRegistry should keep the deal.
And AusRegistry says that everything is above board. CEO Adrian Kinderis said in a statement sent to DI:
AusRegistry has been actively seeking acknowledgments and recommendations from valued partners and industry leaders over the past month. This included an approach to APTLD to seek a reference from them to acknowledge the positive industry engagement and continued support and participation of AusRegistry in the Asia Pacific domain name industry. APTLD responded positively to our request. AusRegistry has made no secret of such, and to suggest that clandestine calls have taken place is simply not true.
APTLD also denied that it has done anything wrong, though it does not appear to be denying that AusRegistry contributions may have played a part in its decision.
In a statement, APTLD told DI:
The allegation on APTLD must be a misunderstanding and is untrue. APTLD has no comments to make on the tendering process and whether a public tender should be conducted. APTLD does not have sufficient local knowledge to provide any constructive comments. All APTLD can provide is a reference for AusRegistry as an active and positive player in the domain name industry in the Asia Pacific region. Past contributions to APTLD is just one of the many factors when the Board considers whether to provide a reference to a particular member.
AusRegistry has been running the .au registry under contract with AuDA since 2001. It’s used its experience to launch ARI Registry Services, a pretty big player in the new gTLD back-end market.
Last time its .au deal was renegotiated, prices came down.