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GoDaddy service to let you block domains in over 650 TLDs

Kevin Murphy, December 11, 2023, Domain Services

GlobalBlock, a domain blocking service introduced to little fanfare by GoDaddy Registry and Identity Digital in June, is planning to launch next month with support from over 650 gTLDs and ccTLDs.

Built on the successes of GoDaddy’s AdultBlock and Identity Digital’s DPML, the new service was supposed to launch last week under the banner of the Brand Safety Alliance, but was delayed until January.

GlobalBlock enables trademark owners to pay one fee to block their marks across all participating TLDs, saving money on defensive registrations. Company names and celebrity names are also covered. A premium version, GlobalBlock+ also covers typos and IDN homographs.

It’s not just gTLD registries that have signed up. Nominet is participating, as is CoCCA. BSA is promising some pretty obscure ccTLDs will be part of the service.

In what appears to be a game-changing innovation, a feature of the service called Priority Autocatch seems set to stop cybersquatters and phishers from drop-catching domains that match strings protected by the block list.

Say you’re Facebook and you see some scumbag has registered facĂ©book.ninja, if you’re subscribed to GlobalBlock+, the AutoCatch feature will see the domain removed from the available pool when it expires, rather than dropping so a second ne’er-do-well can register it.

GlobalBlock appears to be the reason no fewer than 35 registries covering over 300 gTLDs have recently asked ICANN for permission to launch a “Label Blocking Service” via the Registry Service Evaluation Process.

There’s money in blocking services. GoDaddy is making millions from AdultBlock. Some research I’ve been doing recently suggests some registries might be making more from blocks and defensive registrations than they are from regular domain sales.

For registries with small TLD portfolios, blocking services generally offer a poor value proposition. Services like DPML, which covers hundreds of TLDs, or AdultBlock, which covers all the porny ones, have been successful.

The BSA is offering brand owners a lot of carrots to get them to sign up early.

First, if you already have an AdultBlock or DPML subscription, your marks are already pre-validated. GoDaddy is also offering a 50% discount on AdultBlock until January 30; AdultBlock and DPML subscribers get 10% off GlobalBlock until April 30.

BSA says that pricing for GlobalBlock and the initial list of TLDs will be released in early January. Wholesale pricing will go up probably every six months as new TLDs are added, but customers will only pay the increased price upon renewal while benefiting from the added blocks.

General availability pricing begins February 15.

Correction: UNR’s trademark block service

Kevin Murphy, March 11, 2021, Domain Registries

The registry or registries that buy UNR’s portfolio of new gTLDs at its firesale auction next month will be obliged to honor domains blocked by subscribers to its UniEPS brand protection service.

That’s contrary to what I reported yesterday, which was pretty much the opposite. I apologize for the error.

I asked UNR CEO Frank Schilling for comment about the post-auction UniEPS service, but did not receive a reply. Today, I learned that Schilling had in fact sent a lengthy reply, but it wound up in my email spam folder. Apparently my emails to him also wound up in his spam folder. The filtering gods clearly do not approve of our relationship.

According to Schilling, bidders for each of the 23 auctioned TLDs have been told “blocked names have to remain blocked, banned, or reserved after acquisition, even if they do not participate in our blocking service”.

Registrars were told:

Should an auction winner elect to withdraw the Asset(s) from UNR’s blocking services, the blocked domains will have to remain blocked, reserved, or banned in the acquired Registries until the expiry dates below. This is no different than a new owner honoring prepaid domains under management with expiry dates in the future. Once a block expires, the associated domains can be released for any registrant to purchase (fees from future registrations will be paid to the new owner).

Schilling also said that UNR is forgoing revenue from UniEPS auto-renews after March 15 until the gTLDs change hands. The new owners will be able to cancel these free renewals, he said.

The new owners will be able to continue to use UniEPS if the gTLDs remain on its registry platform. They could also choose to migrate them to their own blocking service, should they have one.

UniEPS, like other products on the market, blocks trademarks and variants such as IDN homographs from registration. It works out cheaper than defensively registering domains, but the domains cannot be used.

UNR, the former Uniregistry, will auction all of its 23 gTLD contracts April 28, as the company refocuses on back-end registry services.

GoDaddy, PorkBun and Endurance win domain “blocking” court fight

Kevin Murphy, June 17, 2020, Domain Policy

Three large registrar groups last week emerged mostly victorious from a court battle in which a $5.4 billion-a-year consumer goods giant sought to get domains being used in huge scam operations permanently blocked.

Hindustan Unilever, known as HUL, named Endurance, GoDaddy and PorkBun in a lawsuit against unknown scammers who were using cybersquatted domains to rip off Indians who thought they were signing up to become official distributors.

The .in ccTLD registry, NIXI, was also named in the suit. All of the domains in question were .in names.

Among other things, HUL wanted the registrars to “suspend and ensure the continued suspension of and block access to” the fraudulent domains in question, but the judge had a problem with this.

He’d had the domain name lifecycle explained to him and he decided in a June 12 order (pdf) that it was not technically possible for a registrar to permanently suspend a domain, taking into account that the registration will one day expire.

He also defined “block access to” rather narrowly to mean the way ISPs block access to sites at the network level, once again letting the registrar off the hook.

Judge GS Patel of the Bombay High Court wrote:

Any domain name Registrar can always suspend a domain that is registered. But the entire process of registration itself is entirely automated and machine-driven. No domain name registrar can put any domain names on a black list or a block list.

Where he seems to have messed up is by ignoring the role of the registry, where it’s perfectly possible for a domain name to be permanently blocked.

NIXI may not have its hands directly on the technology, but .in’s EPP registry is run by back-end Neustar (now owned by GoDaddy but not directly named in the suit), which like all gTLD registries already has many thousands of names permanently reserved under ICANN’s direction.

Patel also seems to assume that NIXI doesn’t get paid for the domain names its registrar sells. He wrote:

The relief against Defendants Nos. 14 and 15, the dot-IN registry and NIEI [NIXI] at least to the extent of asking that they be ordered to de-register or block access is misdirected. Neither of these is a registrar. Neither of these receives registration consideration. Neither of these registers any domain name. The reliefs against them cannot therefore be granted.

NIXI actually charges INR 350 ($4.60) per second-level .in name per year, of which a reported $0.70 goes to Neustar.

The judge also ruled that the registrars have to hand over contact information for each of the cybersquatters.

He also ordered several banks, apparently used by the scammers, to hand over information in the hope of bringing the culprits to justice.

Uniregistry working on bulk trademark blocking service

Kevin Murphy, November 21, 2018, Domain Registries

Uniregistry is planning to launch a bulk trademark block service, along the same lines as Donuts’ Domain Protected Marks List.
But it’s going to be roughly 50% more expensive than DPML, on a per-TLD basis.
The company has applied to ICANN to run what it calls “Uni EP” across its whole portfolio of 26 gTLDs.
Uni EP would be “largely identical” to DPML, according to Uniregistry’s Registry Service Evaluation Requests.
This means that anyone who has their trademark registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse will be able to block the matching string in all of Uniregistry’s TLDs.
Nobody else would be able to register that mark unless they also had a TMCH-validated trademark for the same string.
The pricing would be lower than if the brand owner individually defensively registered in each of the 26 TLDs.
With Donuts, which manages a portfolio almost 10 times as large, DPML tends to be priced around the $6,000 mark retail for a five-year block. That works to about $5 per TLD per year.
Uniregistry CEO Frank Schilling said Uni EP could be priced as low as $200 per year. That would work out to about $7.70 per TLD.
The relatively higher pricing might make sense when you consider the larger variation in regular pricing for Uniregistry TLDs, compared to Donuts.
It has several that retail for around $100 a year, and three — .cars, .car and .auto — that sell for close to $3,000 a year.
Still, the Uni EP price is obviously going to be a lot cheaper than regular defensive registrations.
Companies that have already purchased defensively would get to add their domains to the block service after the current registration expires, the RSEP states.
Like DPML, Uni EP would also have a “Plus” version, in which confusingly similar strings in eight scripts would also be blocked.
Uniregistry says it consulted with three brand protection registrars — CSC, MarkMonitor and Safenames — about the service and that their reactions were “favorable”.
Uniregistry’s current portfolio comprises .country, .audio, .car, .blackFriday, .auto, .cars, .christmas, .click, .diet, .flowers, .game, .gift, .guitars, .help, .hiphop, .hiv, .hosting, .juegos, .link, .lol, .mom, .photo, .pics, .property, .sexy, and .tattoo.