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”.
Domain industry veteran Jennifer Gore is to become ICANN’s new director of registrar relations.
She takes over the role from Mike Zupke, who I gather is leaving ICANN, from next Monday. She will report to Cyrus Namazi in ICANN’s Global Domains Division.
Gore was most recently senior director of policy at Web.com, a role she held for over five years. Much of her earlier career was spent at Network Solutions and Verisign.
Her move from industry to ICANN means she has had to resign her position on the GNSO Council, where she represented the Registrars Stakeholder Group.
The RrSG will now have to hold an election to find her replacement.
Web.com has acquired dozens of registrars from rival/partner Rightside, seemingly to boost the success rate of its SnapNames domain drop-catching business.
I’ve established that at least 44 registrars once managed by Rightside/eNom have moved to the Web.com stable in recent weeks, and that might not even be the half of it.
All of the registrars in question are shell companies used exclusively to register pre-ordered names as they are deleted by registries, usually Verisign.
The more registrars you have, the more EPP connections you have to the Verisign registry and the better your chance at catching a domain.
Web.com runs SnapNames, and is in a 50-50 partnership with Rightside on rival drop-catcher NameJet.
The two compete primarily with NameBright’s DropCatch.com, which obtained hundreds of fresh ICANN accreditations last year, bringing its total pool to over 750.
Web.com has fewer than 400 accreditations right now. Rightside has even fewer.
It’s usually quicker to buy a registrar than to obtain a new accreditation from ICANN.
If Web.com finds itself in need of more accreditations in order to compete, and Rightside is happy to let them go, it could be possible to infer that SnapNames is doing rather better in terms of customer acquisition than NameJet.
But the two services recently announced a partnership under which names grabbed by either network would be placed in an auction in which customers of either site could participate.
This would have the effect of increasing the number of caught names going to auction due to there being multiple bidders, and thus the eventual sales prices.
Registrar group Web.com is changing its stock market ticker symbol to WEB tomorrow, in another sign that it really, really wants to be identified with the string.
The switch from WWWW may indicate that the NASDAQ-listed company’s six rivals for the new gTLD .web have a fight — and a possible big payday — on their hands when .web finally goes to auction.
Web.com is competing with Nu Dot Co, Radix, Google, Donuts, Afilias and Schlund for the gTLD.
The company has already fiercely defended its “right” to .web, filing successful String Confusion Objections against .webs applicant Vistaprint.
Vistaprint subsequently filed an ICANN Independent Review Process complaint to appeal its SCO loss.
Last month, the IRP was won by ICANN, but the panel left the door open for ICANN to reconsider its decision.
The .web auction is not likely to go ahead until the Vistaprint issue is resolved.
If ICANN decides the two strings can be delegated separately, what I think is the last barrier to the .web auction going ahead disappears.
If not, then Vistaprint finds itself as the seventh contender in the auction, which may give it the impetus to carry on challenging the ruling.
ICANN’s board plans to discuss the issue at its next meeting, December 10.
Which way it leans will give an indication of how long it will be before .web goes to auction.
Web.com is taking a $1 million per-quarter hit to its revenue as a result of August’s hacking attack.
It also incurred $400,000 in consulting, legal and credit monitoring fees in the third quarter as a result of the breach, CEO David Brown told analysts last night.
Some 93,000 credit card numbers were stolen during the attack, a small portion of its 3.3 million customers.
A number of customers jumped ship as a result of the attack, moving their domains elsewhere, which increased Web.com’s churn rate.
“Due to the subscription nature of our business, in the fourth and subsequent quarters we expect the breach will have about a $1 million negative impact on revenue per quarter due to the shortfall from Q3,” Brown said.
It added 15,000 customers in the quarter, lower than the 21,000 it added in Q2.
Net income for the quarter was $6.1 million, reversing a $3.4 million loss in the year-ago period, on revenue that was basically flat at $136.8 million, compared to $137.4 million a year ago.
In response to an analyst question, Brown also commented on the success, or lack thereof, of the company’s new gTLD business. He said:
That continues to be positive, but we’re not doing back-flips here. It’s not that positive. We think it’s good for the market, good for consumers and businesses to have more choices. But they’re not flying off the table. .com and .net and the original extensions still are the force in the marketplace. But as we see more gTLDs and as the market understands them and see the opportunity, we continue to believe that this will be a positive trend. But at this point, it’s not moving the needle in our business or likely in anyone’s business.
Web.com owns registrars including Network Solutions and Register.com.