Long-time Demand Media software architect Chris Ambler claims he was fired when his own company, Image Online Design, sued ICANN over the .web gTLD.
Ambler says he was canned by Demand October 26, eight days after IOD sued ICANN over its unsuccessful 2000-round application for .web.
He told DI on Friday that he believes he was fired unfairly and illegally and, after negotiations with Demand Media broke down last week, has retained a lawyer to explore his options for redress.
“You can’t say you’re firing somebody because they’re suing somebody,” he said. “There are legal options open to me and I am pursuing them.”
Ambler says he was hired by eNom’s then-CEO Paul Stahura in 2003 as its chief software strategist, a role in which he took a lead role in creating NameJet’s proprietary domain name drop-catching software.
When the company was acquired by Demand Media, he took the role of senior software architect.
But in the 1990s, as founder of IOD, he ran .web in an alternative DNS root system. His application to move the gTLD into the official ICANN root in 2000 was not approved.
In October he sued ICANN claiming it was “improper, unlawful and inequitable” for ICANN to solicit more applications for .web while IOD’s bid was still “pending” and unrejected.
While Demand Media is not directly applying for .web, it has an extremely tight relationship with Donuts — the portfolio gTLD applicant founded by Stahura and other former Demand executives — which is.
Demand is Donuts’ back-end registry provider and is believed to have an interest in Covered TLD LLC, the parent company of about 100 of Donuts’ new gTLD applicants, including .web.
Ambler’s contract with Demand Media acknowledged his IOD work and allowed him to pursue it, he claims.
“They’ve known for the past ten years that I was working on this,” he said.
A Demand Media spokesperson said the company does not comment on legal matters.
The Public Interest Registry is to auction 85 one and two-character .org domain names, but only to organizations that promise to use them in a manner consistent with the .org brand.
The sell-off, branded Project94, will be handled by Go Daddy and eNom, which have each been provided with half of the available portfolio.
Discounting legacy registrations, 94 domains were released when PIR amended its contract with ICANN earlier this year, but nine of them are being held back because they match ccTLDs.
It’s going to be a straightforward auction, but to get a chance at bidding your idea will have to be vetted first.
“We want to see these names used in a way that reflects the brand attributes and the values of .org,” PIR CEO Brian Cute told DI today.
“Before getting into the auction there will be a filter where the applicant has to say the purpose to which they’re going to put the .org that they’ll be bidding on,” he said.
People wondering whether the .org auction is a park-and-flip opportunity seem to be out of luck.
I believe it’s the first time that a TLD registry has merged the RFP and auction phases of their allocation process when they release previously reserved one and two-character domains.
PIR, which is a non-profit, says it will earmark the auction funds for special projects, such as encouraging deployment of new technologies like DNSSEC.
The full list of names being sold can be found at Project94.org
ICANN and several domain name companies have been slapped with a bizarre, virtually incomprehensible anti-cybersquattng lawsuit in Virginia.
Canadian Graham Schreiber, registrant of landcruise.com, has beef primarily with CentralNic — the UK-based company that sells third-levels domains under us.com, uk.com and the like — and one of its customers.
As far as I can tell, the complainant, who’s representing himself pro se, has issues with CentralNic’s entire business model. Here’s his complaint (pdf).
He discovered that a British individual named Lorraine Dunabin — who has a UK trademark on the word Landcruise — had registered both landcruise.co.uk and landcruise.uk.com.
Having failed to take the .co.uk using Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service (repeatedly referred to in the complaint as UDRP), Schreiber has instead filed this lawsuit to accuse Dunabin of “Dilution, Infringement [and] Passing off” by registering the .uk.com.
CentralNic is named because it owns .uk.com and various other geographic pseudo-gTLDs, which Schreiber says “dilute the integrity of .com” and amount to a “shakedown”.
Verisign is named as a contributory infringer because it runs .com. Network Solutions and eNom are named because they manage uk.com and landcruise.uk.com respectively as registrars.
ICANN is named because… I don’t know. I think it’s because all of the other companies are ICANN contractors.
Schreiber is seeking monetary damages from all of the defendants, most of which he wants donated to the Rotary Club.
Big name companies from the domain name industry are among those leading a new White House-backed project aimed at tackling bogus internet pharmacies.
It’s a US-based public-private partnership that counts Go Daddy, Neustar and eNom among its members. Other participants include Google, Microsoft, PayPal and Yahoo.
The project was announced along with officials from the US Department of State and the Food and Drug Administration at an event in Washington DC earlier this week.
The goals are consumer education and enforcement action against “rogue” pill sites.
Go Daddy’s acting general counsel Nima Kelly said in a statement:
Go Daddy’s partnership with the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies is to help create awareness and fund educational campaigns in conjunction with the FDA. Go Daddy is also hosting the safemedsonline.org site pro bono.
Neustar vice president of business affairs Jeff Neuman, who’s also treasurer of CSIP, told us:
the overall goals of CSIP include providing a neutral forum for sharing relevant information about illegal US internet pharmacies among members and aiding law enforcement efforts where appropriate.
Neustar is working with the rest of the partners to address rogue pharmacies at their very source—their web addresses. Neustar has been and will continue to be vigilant in taking down rogue sites that contain malware and those that do not comply with our acceptable use policies – which include compliance with applicable drug laws.
Demand Media, owner of eNom, has applied to ICANN for 26 new generic top-level domains, and may acquire rights in 107 more if applications submitted by Donuts are approved.
The company has not yet revealed which strings it’s going for.
Donuts said last week that it’s applying for 307 gTLDs with Demand Media as its back-end provider, but it seems that Demand will not have ownership rights in 200 of those.
The deal with Donuts, which was founded by eNom alum, is a “strategic relationship”, according to a press release.