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American government kills off .kids.us

The US government is killing off the failed .kids.us domain, ten years after it was created by Congress.

The decision was explained in a statement posted on www.kids.us:

As a result of the changed landscape of the Internet and the many other tools that parents now have available to them to protect their children’s online experience, effective July 27, 2012, the Department of Commerce suspended the kids.us

An accompanying document (pdf) from Commerce says that .us registry operator Neustar should stop accepting new registrations and ask registrants to suspend their sites.

All .kids.us domains will be removed from the .us zone by June 27, 2013.

The .kids.us space was created by the Dot Kids Implementation and Efficiency Act of 2002 and essentially forced on Neustar as a means for some politicians to get some family-friendly fluff on their voting records.

It’s been considered an abject failure ever since, largely due to its strict content regulations and a lack of marketing.

From the Google results and the old .kids.us directory, I’d estimate the number of registrations at fewer than 100.

In the new gTLD program there are two applicants for .kids — Amazon and DotKids Foundation. There’s also an applicant for .kid and an applicant for the Russian “.children”.

Neustar gets 358 back-end contracts, beating Verisign

Neustar has revealed that it is contracted to supply registry services for 358 new generic top-level domain applications.

Given the over 1,900 applications ICANN has received, the deals give the .biz/.us manager roughly 19% of the new gTLD back-end market.

It’s more than Verisign, which announced last month that it’s named on 220 applications. Afilias is now the only one of the big incumbent gTLD registry service providers yet to disclose its magic number.

Neustar was pretty aggressive about recruiting dot-brand applicants from the outset, announcing a $10,000 entry-level offering just a few days after ICANN approved the gTLD program a year ago.

The company also confirmed today that it’s behind the official .nyc bid, and that it has applied for .neustar.

Neustar adds voice to anti-batching chorus

Kevin Murphy, June 9, 2012, Domain Policy

Neustar and MarkMonitor have come out in opposition to digital archery and new gTLD batching.

In letters to ICANN this week, both companies have asked for delays in the digital archery process to give the community time to come up with better solutions.

Neustar’s new deputy general counsel Becky Burr wrote:

A modest delay would permit both ICANN and the community of affected stakeholders to consider the validity of those assumptions in light of actual applications.

Informed reflection by the community could result in greater efficiencies and fewer disputes down the road.

On the other hand, launching the Digital Archery process prior to publication of the list of applications is going to create winners and losers that will unnecessarily complicate, and perhaps prevent, thoughtful adjustments to the approach.

MarkMonitor’s Elisa Cooper simply wants to know “Why should some TLDs receive the benefit of being delegated before others?” She asked ICANN to reconsider whether batching is necessary.

While it is understandable that not all 1900+ applications cannot be simultaneously processed, why not just wait until all applications have completed the Initial Evaluation before announcing results. Why should some TLDs receive the benefit of being delegated before others?

If batching is even required, allow the Community to see the entire list of applications so that they can provide meaningful feedback. It may become apparent that certain types of strings should be processed together.

MarkMonitor also expressed concern that ICANN’s TLD Application System terms of use may prohibit applicants from using third-party archery services, such as those offered by Pool.com and Digital Archery Experts.

Sharing TAS passwords seems to be against the rules, but would be necessary to let a third party into your TAS account.

(I reported earlier in the week that it would also let the third-party view the confidential portions of your application, but that appears not to be the case after all.)

By officially coming out against batching and archery, Neustar and MarkMonitor join Melbourne IT, Group NBT, ARI Registry Service and the Intellectual Property Constituency.

Digital archery nevertheless is already underway, ICANN having launched the system on schedule yesterday.

All the applicants I’ve spoken to about this seem to be planning to wait until after the Big Reveal next Wednesday before taking their shots.

Neustar hires Becky Burr as privacy chief

Neustar has recruited one of the ICANN community’s best-known lawyers as its new chief privacy officer.

Becky Burr is set to join the company June 1, reporting to general counsel Scott Blake Harris, according to a Neustar press release.

Burr is well-known in the domain name industry.

While at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration during the Clinton administration, she was one of the people most heavily involved in ICANN’s creation.

In private practice as a partner at the law firm Wilmer Hale since 2000, she’s been involved in many of the industry’s most fractious legal disputes.

Over just the last couple of years she’s represented the .Jobs Charter Compliance Coalition in its fight against Employ Media, ICM Registry in its quest to get .xxx approved, and most recently Big Room in its attempts to fend off a .eco trademark infringement lawsuit.

She’s also sat on ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee and its country-code Names Supporting Organization.

DotGreen hires former Neustar exec

Kevin Murphy, December 2, 2011, Domain Registries

New gTLD applicant DotGreen has tapped former Neustar vice president Tim Switzer to be its new chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Switzer was vice president of registry services at Neustar. It’s the first example I can recall of a senior exec from a registry services provider joining a single-gTLD applicant.

DotGreen, naturally enough, plans to apply to ICANN for the .green top-level domain next year. It’s a not-for-profit company that hopes to channel funds into environment projects.