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.Cn Pullout is a Business Decision, Not Political [Updated]

March 25, 2010china, Domaining, Domainnamewire, go daddy, GoDaddy, Policy & LawComments Off on .Cn Pullout is a Business Decision, Not Political [Updated]

Public misunderstands reasons for .cn pullout.

[Update: see comments from Go Daddy Group Executive Vice-President and General Counsel Christine Jones.] I really don’t think Go Daddy was trying to pull off a publicity stunt yesterday with its testimony before a Congressional Commission yesterday. GoDaddy announced it was no longer offering China’s .cn domain name, and clearly laid out the hassle it would have to undertake to continue offering the domain name.

But it appears most people have read this as a principled moved against human rights violations in China. A lot of news articles over the past 24 hours have suggested this, and you’ll find hundreds of tweets like this one:

Look, even if Go Daddy takes issue with human rights and privacy in China, this was initially a business decision. You can’t charge $30 for a domain name registration if you’ll also be required to collect paperwork from the customer for each domain in advance, and not complete the registration until you get approval from the registry. That doesn’t make financial sense.

I think Jeff Eckhaus of eNom summed it up well in an AP story:

…eNom Inc., wants to continue offering “.cn” Web addresses, but is worried that the changes China has ordered “could make it almost impossible to do it,” said Jeffrey Eckhaus, general manager at eNom.

Go Daddy had registered only 27,000 .cn domain names, a small number for the world’s largest domain name registry. Registering more domains with a manual process would be cost prohibitive. Also, the registrar is having to spend substantial money to go back to its existing 1,200 .cn customers and ask them for paperwork. No registrar in their right mind would put up with that.

And Go Daddy isn’t alone — many other registrars haven’t resumed offering .cn domain names.

Update: I talked to Christine Jones this afternoon. She said that, on balance, this decision was about handing sensitive personal information to the Chinese.

Even at its 29.99 registration price, Jones said Go Daddy could offer .cn domain names profitably with the administrative hassle. But it doesn’t feel comfortable providing this information to the Chinese government.

Because of the relatively high registration price for .cn domains, Jones said that a higher percentage of the existing 27,000 registrations made at Go Daddy are for developed web sites. Still, only 20% of the people they contacted telling them of the new requirements responded. This means the registrants either can’t or don’t feel comfortable providing the documents.

Jones said Go Daddy will again offer .cn domain names if China drops the new identification requirements.


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Go Daddy Dropping .Cn, But Not China

March 24, 2010china, Christine Jones, Domaining, Domainnamewire, go daddy, Policy & LawComments Off on Go Daddy Dropping .Cn, But Not China

Go Daddy drops .cn, but Chinese can still register domain names at the registrar.

In a hearing before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China today in Washington, Go Daddy Group Executive Vice-President and General Counsel Christine Jones explained that the company will no longer offer .cn domain names under strict requirements imposed by China.

On January 5, .Cn registry CNNIC announced without warning that non-Chinese registrars were no longer allowed to register .cn domain names to customers. This was part of a crack down on criminal activity and, most likely, free speech on .cn domain names. It then re-opened registration to registrars such as Arizona-based Go Daddy, but required them to collect a color headshot photo identification, business identification (including a Chinese business registration number), and physical signed registration forms from the registrant.

In light of the new requirements, Go Daddy decided to not re-introduce .cn registrations on its site.

But that’s where things get bad. China also required the 1,200 registrants who have registered 27,000 .cn domain names at Go Daddy to provide the same information — headshot, ID, and signed registration forms — or risk losing their domain names. Jones testified that only about 20% of Go Daddy customers provided this information and the others are at risk of losing their domain names.

Some media reports today are suggesting that Go Daddy will no longer offer registrations in China. But to be clear, it is merely dropping .cn as a registration option. Chinese citizens can still register unrestricted domain names such as .com through Go Daddy.

ICANN does not have control over what countries do with country code top level domain names. Other countries have made similarly retro-active moves, such as Argentina retroactively limiting the number of domains that could be registered.


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How Long Until China Confiscates Google.Cn Domain Name?

January 13, 2010.cn, china, cnnic, Domaining, Domainnamewire, google, Policy & LawComments Off on How Long Until China Confiscates Google.Cn Domain Name?

The Google.cn domain name is in jeopardy.

If there’s one lesson learned about country code domain names, it’s that you have little protection as a domain registrant. With Google announcing that it will stop censoring its Google.cn search results, it is basically asking for the Chinese government to shut it down.

China can take a number of measures to block access to Google in China. One of the simplest steps is to just confiscate the Google.cn domain name.

Will it happen? How long will it be until China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) makes this move? Answer the poll below.

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.


© DomainNameWire.com 2009.

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