Go Daddy appears to be putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to arguments about domain privacy.
The company is paying for “sponsored” posts on Facebook that promote the ongoing petition against proposed changes to Whois policy at ICANN.
This has been appearing on Facebook for me all day, seriously interrupting my Farmville time:
Clicking the ad takes you directly to the Save Domain Privacy petition, rather than a Go Daddy sales pitch.
As I reported last week, thousands of internet users have blasted ICANN with template comments complaining about proposed limits on Whois privacy.
There are currently over 10,000 such comments, I estimate, with over a week left until the filing deadline.
Registrars, Go Daddy among them, are largely concerned about a minority proposal emerging from in a proxy/privacy service accreditation working group that would ban transactional e-commerce sites from having private registrations.
They’re also bothered that intellectual property owners could get more rights to unmask privacy users under the proposals.
Despite Go Daddy’s outreach, Repect Our Privacy, letter-writing campaign, backed by NameCheap and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, seems to be responsible for most of the comments filed to date.
Not that it’s necessarily relevant today, but NameCheap and Go Daddy were on opposing sides of the Stop Online Piracy Act debate — a linked controversy — a few years back.
Tucows and Namecheap have both pulled out of their joint venture with Radix to run the .online registry.
Tucows revealed the move, which will see Radix run .online solo, in a press release yesterday.
Both Tucows and Namecheap are registrars, whereas Radix is pretty much focused on being a registry nowadays.
While financial terms have not been disclosed, Tucows CEO Elliot Noss had previously said that each of the three companies had funded the new venture to the tune of $4 million to $5 million.
I estimate that this puts the total investment in the deal — which includes the price of winning .online at auction — at $13 million to $14 million.
Noss has also hinted that the gTLD sold for much more than the $6.8 million paid for .tech.
.online has not yet been delegated.
A triumvirate of domain name companies led by Radix paid well over $7 million for the .online new gTLD, judging by comments made by Tucows CEO in an analysts call yesterday.
As the company reported its third-quarter financial numbers, Noss said of .online, which was recently auctioned:
While we are bound by confidentiality with respect to the value of the transaction, we can point to amounts paid in other gTLDs’ auctions in the public domain — like $6.8 million for .tech, $5.6 million for .realty, or the $4.6 million that Amazon paid for .buy — and let you decide what you think .online should be valued, relative to those more narrowly targeted extensions.
Radix won the private auction with financial backing from Tucows and NameCheap.
The three companies intend to set up a new joint venture to manage the .online registry, as we reported yesterday, with each company contributing between $4 million and $5 million.
Assuming at least one company is contributing $4 million and at least one is contributing $5 million, that works out to a total of $13 million to $14 million, earmarked for the auction and seed funding for the new venture.
Based on that knowledge, an assumption that the new company will want a couple of million to launch, and Noss’s comments yesterday, I’d peg the .online sale price in the $10-12 million range.
Radix business head Sandeep Ramchamdani told us yesterday that the company plans to market .online with some “hi-decibel advertising” and participation in events such as Disrupt and South by Southwest.
If you have an account at NameCheap, now might be a good time to think about changing your password.
According to the registrar, hackers based in Russia are using a haul of a reported 4.5 billion username/password combinations to attempt to break into its customers’ accounts.
Some attempts have been successful, NameCheap warned.
The attackers are using credentials stolen from third-party sources in a large-scale, automated attempt to log in to user accounts, disguised as regular users, the company said in a blog post.
The vast majority of these login attempts have been unsuccessful as the data is incorrect or old and passwords have been changed. As a precaution, we are aggressively blocking the IP addresses that appear to be logging in with the stolen password data. We are also logging these IP addresses and will be exporting blocking rules across our network to completely eliminate access to any Namecheap system or service, as well as making this data available to law enforcement.
While the vast majority of these logins are unsuccessful, some have been successful. To combat this, we’ve temporarily secured the Namecheap accounts that have been affected and are currently contacting customers involved requesting they improve the security for these accounts.
Affected users have been emailed, the company said.
NameCheap suspects the attack is linked to a reported cache of 1.2 billion unique username/password combinations amassed by a hacker group from databases vulnerable to SQL injection.
The registrar pointed out that its own systems haven’t been hacked. Customers should only be vulnerable if they use the same username and password at NameCheap as they use on other sites.
ICANN has sent a formal breach notice to top ten registrar NameCheap, saying the company failed to comply with a mandatory audit.
ICANN also claims in the notice (pdf) that the company has failed to keep its web site up to date with pricing information required by policies.
NameCheap, which says it has over three million domains under management, may be the largest registrar to get to the formal, published breach notice stage of the ICANN compliance process.
But it should be noted that while the company is accredited and must comply with its Registrar Accreditation Agreement, it does almost all of its business as an eNom reseller.
Just a handful of domain names are registered under NameCheap’s own IANA number.