US civil rights group the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has reclaimed the domain name nigger.com after it expired and went to auction.
The names nigger.org and nigger.net were also affected, but according to Whois records the NAACP restored all three yesterday.
The names had been in pending renewal/delete status for three weeks, during which time the registrant was listed as Perfect Privacy, Web.com’s proxy/privacy provider.
While expired, the .com had been placed (presumably automatically) in a NameJet auction, as first reported by Raymond Hackney at The Domains.
At time of writing, the auction had attracted 72 bids and a high offer of $10,000.
It was a “Wish List Auction”, indicating that the domain’s prior registrant had not yet exhausted all options to have the name restored.
As Hackney noted, if these domains fell into the wrong hands it could have a negative impact on race relations in the US.
But the NAACP, which first got hold of the domains almost 20 years ago, seems to have had a remarkably lackadaisical attitude to them over the last few years.
Not only did it accidentally allow the names to expire, but DomainTools and Archive.org captures show that the associated web sites had been compromised repeatedly since late 2014.
Every capture since late 2014 shows taunting, racist messages from the hackers, at least one of which associated himself with troll group the “Gay Nigger Association of America”.
There’s still about week to go until this year’s NamesCon conference kicks off in Las Vegas, but the live auction that will close the first day of the show has already seen pre-bidding action.
One batch of domains has already received a high bid of $1,010,000, but does not appear to have yet met its reserve.
The batch is led by bar.com, but also includes bar.net, cafes.com, grill.com, place.com, pub.com and shelter.com.
Another five domains on the list, all .com names, have attracted bids in six figures, topped by the $800,000 bid for ol.com.
The list of names up for pre-bid on NameJet (100 of which will hit the live auction) is dominated by Verisign TLDs — .com, obviously, and to a lesser extent .net and .tv.
The biggest pre-bid for a 2012-round gTLD is the $1,010 currently offered for gold.club, roughly 110th on the list as ordered by current bid.
The most active new gTLD auction is currently shoes.xyz, which has 28 bidders but a top bid of just $330.
I’m not sure how much can be inferred from pre-bids, but it certainly seems that most of the money from domain investors is still being put into short, one or two-word .com domains.
The auction will begin at 1500 US Pacific Time next Monday, January 23.
The auction is being managed and promoted by Right Of The Dot and NameJet. Would-be buyers need a NameJet account to participate.
Names not sold during the live event will go to an extended auction until February 9. ROTD’s Monte Cahn said this is in order to give Chinese bidders time to bid after Chinese New Year (January 28 this year).
The domain drop-catching arms race is heating up, with budget player Pheenix this week acquiring 300 more registrar accreditations from ICANN.
According to DI records, the company now has almost 500 registrar accreditations in its family.
More accreditations means more registry connections with which to attempt to acquire expired domains as they return to the available pool.
It also means that Pheenix’s dropnet (a word I just made up that sounds a bit like “botnet” in a pathetic attempt to coin a term for once in my career) is now a bit bigger than that of Web.com, the registrar pool behind Namejet and SnapNames.
It’s still a long way behind TurnCommerce, owner of DropCatch, which two weeks ago added a whopping 500 new accreditations, bringing its total to over 1,250.
An extra 300 accreditations would have cost Pheenix over $1 million in up-front ICANN fees and will incur ongoing fixed annual fees in excess of $1.2 million.
Demand Media has completed the spin-off of its domain name business, Rightside.
Shares in the new company, which will be listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, went to existing Demand Media shareholders.
Trading under the ticker symbol NAME, Rightside stock started off at $16.77 yesterday morning and is currently trading at around $15.07.
Rightside comprises number two registrar eNom, retail registrar Name.com, new gTLD portfolio registry United TLD (which is branded Rightside), and its share of auction house NameJet.
It is headed by CEO Taryn Naidu and chairman David Panos.
The company also today named its initial board of directors.
Many registrars are already offering new gTLD pre-registrations, now NameJet has taken the idea one step further: it’s going to auction premium names months before the gTLDs even go live.
It’s just announced a deal with XYZ.com, which is on track to run the .xyz and .college registries, to sell 40 “premium” domain names this month. In fact, according to its press relase, the first auction started on Wednesday.
These two new gTLDs are uncontested but do not yet have Registry Agreements with ICANN, and have not passed pre-delegation testing or any of the other pre-launch prerequisites.
The companies said they due to go live next year.
Some of the domains to be auctioned include: loans.college, scholarships.college, vacations.xyz, insurancequotes.xyz, students.college, jobs.college, auctions.xyz and health.xyz.
NameJet said it expects the auctions to be wrapped up by the end of February.