Turkey blocks Google DNS in Twitter crackdown

Kevin Murphy, March 23, 2014, Domain Policy

The Turkish government has reportedly blocked access to Google’s public DNS service from with its borders, as part of its recently instituted censorship of Twitter.

According to local reports, the IP addresses 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 — Google’s public DNS servers — were banned after they became widely used to circumnavigate blocks on Twitter’s domain names.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week vowed to “wipe out” Twitter, after the company refused to take down tweets criticizing his government over corruption allegations ahead of an election next week.

Twitter is encouraging Turkish users to use SMS to send tweets instead. Many Turks are also turning to VPNs to evade this bizarre piece of Draconian censorship.

Twitter starts supporting (some) new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 7, 2014, Domain Tech

Twitter has started recognizing new gTLDs on its web page and on Tweetdeck.

As of some point in the last 48 hours, you can type something like “nic.berlin” or “fire.plumbing” in a tweet and Twitter will automatically turn it into a clickable link.

The switcheroo seems to have happened in the last two days, as this conversation may illustrate.

But there seems to be some delay — about a month, by my reckoning — in the support.

Domains such as nic.sexy, which is in a TLD delegated November 14, become clickable, but domains in more recent delegations such as .okinawa, which hit the root on Wednesday, are not.

Going back through the DI PRO Calendar, it seems that any TLD delegated on February 5 or earlier gets clickable links in Twitter and those delegated over the last four weeks do not.

I’m not sure why TLDs delegated in the last month are not supported, but I imagine it could be an annoyance during registries’ pre-launch marketing.

It’s difficult to overestimate how important application support is for the new gTLD program.

If new gTLDs don’t look like web addresses, there’s going to be a big barrier to adoption. A .link domain that isn’t clickable isn’t much use and nobody wants to have to copy-paste URLs.

Support for new gTLDs for Twitter’s 232 million active users is a big step along the road to universal acceptance of all TLDs, which ICANN has identified as a problem.

Twitter files UDRP over twitter.org

Kevin Murphy, January 14, 2013, Domain Policy

Twitter has filed a cybersquatting complaint over the domain name twitter.org, which is currently being used for one of those bogus survey scam sites.

The domain has been registered since October 2005 — six months before Twitter was created — but appears to have changed hands a number of times since then.

It’s been under Whois privacy since mid-2011, but the last available unprotected record shows the domain registered to what appears to be Panama-based law firm.

Hiding ownership via offshore shell companies is a common tactic for people cybersquatting high-profile brands.

The UDRP complaint, which looks like a slam-dunk to me, has been filed with WIPO.

Twitter typosquatters fined £100,000

Kevin Murphy, February 16, 2012, Domain Policy

Two typosquatters have been fined £100,000 ($156,000) by the UK premium rate phone services regulator.

PhonepayPlus said today that the owners of the typos wikapedia.com and twtter.com, both Dutch companies, were issued the fines for violating its Code of Practice.

R&D Media Europe and Unavalley use the now depressingly commonplace practice of tricking visitors with the promise of iPad prizes into signing up for bogus SMS services at ridiculous fees.

They’ve both been ordered to refund disgruntled customers’ fees.

PhonepayPlus has no powers to take away domain names, of course, so both typos are still active, albeit not no longer mimicking the Wikipedia or Twitter look-and-feel.

The regulator did however issue clear guidance that typosquatting is against its rules, stating:

This guidance reminds PRS [premium rate service] providers that they are responsible for all their digital promotions and, if they use marketing firms that mislead consumers through typosquatting, they will be in breach of the Code of Practice.

A Facebook attorney said last year that typos of high-traffic sites, such as facebok.com, could expect to get 250 million visits a year.

ICANN advertises new gTLDs on Twitter

Kevin Murphy, January 30, 2012, Domain Policy

ICANN has really ramped up the social marketing of its new generic top-level domain program for the last few weeks, and today it started plugging new gTLDs with some Twitter advertising.

It’s bought some “Promoted Tweets”, which means some Twitter users will see a designated ICANN tweet even if they don’t already follow ICANN.

Here’s an example captured by @andrewhennigan.

The Promoted Tweets ad service is bid-based and priced on a cost-per-engagement basis, so advertisers only pay when they get a reply, retweet, follow, etc. Reportedly, there’s a $15,000 minimum commitment.

Judging by Twitter noise today, I’m guessing that today ICANN is promoting its new gTLDs Twitter chat, which is happening at 1600 UTC tomorrow with the hashtag #newgtlds.