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ICANN files legal action against Tucows registrar over GDPR

May 25, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on ICANN files legal action against Tucows registrar over GDPR

Domain name overseer hopes to get clarification about data collection for domain name registrations.

ICANN has filed injunction proceedings against EPAG, a domain name registrar owned by Tucows (NASDAQ:TCX), in a challenge meant to get clarity on the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). EPAG is a German registrar that Tucows acquired in 2011.

While many registrars have stopped publishing personal information in Whois, EPAG has told ICANN that it will no longer collect administrative and technical contact details because it believes doing so will violate GDPR.

ICANN’s recent temporary specification for Whois states that accredited registrars must continue to collect the information even though they aren’t required to display it publicly in Whois.

In a release, ICANN stated:

“We are filing an action in Germany to protect the collection of WHOIS data and to seek further clarification that ICANN may continue to require its collection. It is ICANN’s public interest role to coordinate a decentralized global WHOIS for the generic top-level domain system. ICANN contractually requires the collection of data by over 2,500 registrars and registries who help ICANN maintain that global information resource,” said John Jeffrey, ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary. “We appreciate that EPAG shared their plans with us when they did, so that we could move quickly to ask the German court for clarity on this important issue. We also appreciate that EPAG has agreed that it will not permanently delete WHOIS data collected, except as consistent with ICANN policy.”

If EPAG’s actions stand, those with legitimate purposes, including security-related purposes, law enforcement, intellectual property rights holders, and other legitimate users of that information may no longer be able to access full WHOIS records.

It seems that ICANN is using this as a test case, perhaps with a wink and a nod from EPAG as all parties seek to get a better understanding of how GDPR should be interpreted.

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Walker Edison is a reverse domain name hijacker

May 24, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Walker Edison is a reverse domain name hijacker

Company files dead-on-arrival cybersquatting dispute.

Furniture company Walker Edison has been found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking by a National Arbitration Forum panelist.

The decision comes after Walker Edison Furniture Company filed a cybersquatting complaint under UDRP against the domain name ForestGate.com. Walker Edison has a furniture brand called Forest Gate.

But the owner of the domain name ForestGate.com registered it in 1999, well before Walker Edison started using the brand. It filed a trademark application just weeks before filing the UDRP. It claimed common law rights, but even those potential rights postdated the domain registration.

In other words, the complaint was doomed to fail.

The fact that the UDRP was filed so soon after the trademark application makes me question the complainant representative’s (J. Dustin Howell of Workman Nydegger) understanding of UDRP.

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Home.loans is ranking high on Google

May 23, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Home.loans is ranking high on Google

New website is already ranking well for a very competitive term.

When Blake Janover bought the domain name home.loans for $500,000, people scoffed at how he believed the domain name would help him in search results. Sure, his multifamily.loans domain ranked quickly, but there’s little competition for that term.

Fast forward several months and home.loans is indeed ranking well. It shows up on the first page for me when I search for “home loans” in quotes, and #11 when I search without quotes.

That’s pretty darn good for such a competitive term.

Of course, search rankings fluctuate. Just recently vacation.rentals was on the first page of Google but it appears to have slipped to the second page.

[Update: as of Friday, the domain has slipped significantly in the rankings]

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Tool makes it possible to park .App domain names

May 23, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Tool makes it possible to park .App domain names

Free system generates an SSL on your domain name and forwards it to popular domain sales services.

If someone wants to buy your .app domain name they won’t be able to use Whois to contact you. Google Registry does not show .app domain owner information in Whois.

That means you have to park the domain name so people can fill out a contact form to inquire about buying the domain. That’s not easy, either; the domain name you have must have an SSL certificate installed in order to forward to another page.

A domain investor created a simple and free tool to make forwarding domains to landing pages possible: DomainSales.app.

The system is very basic but does just what you need it to. When you submit a domain and point your nameservers to it, it gets a free LetsEncyrpt SSL certificate for your domain. You can then choose to forward the domain to landing pages for many different services: Afternic, Epik, Efty, Sedo, Undeveloped, and Uniregistry as of today.

To see it in action, visit Voicemail.app.

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Domain registrations might tip Wonder Woman 2 details

May 23, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Domain registrations might tip Wonder Woman 2 details

Domain names suggest titles or themes for Wonder Woman sequel.

It’s no secret that a sequel to the Wonder Woman movie is in the works. New domain name registrations might tip off possible names for Wonder Woman 2.

Warner Bros. registered several dozen domain names yesterday that might give hints. Here are the .com domains it registered:

wonderwoman1980.com
wonderwoman1981.com
wonderwoman1982.com
wonderwoman1983.com
wonderwoman1984.com
wonderwoman1985.com
wonderwoman1986.com
wonderwoman1987.com
wonderwoman1988.com
wonderwoman1989.com
wonderwomanarrives.com
wonderwomancheetah.com
wonderwomanlives.com
wonderwomanminerva.com
wonderwomanpart2.com
wonderwomanpartii.com
wonderwomanreturns.com
wonderwomanrises.com

Based on these registrations, it appears that working titles for the film include Wonder Woman Arrives, Wonder Woman Cheetah, Wonder Woman Lives, Wonder Woman Minerva, Wonder Woman Returns or Wonder Woman Rises. Are any fans of the movie and comic books able to shed light on these, or on the date domains?

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Benefits to keeping Whois open

May 23, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Benefits to keeping Whois open

Domain name owners benefit when their Whois records are publicly available.

The world’s largest domain name registrar is going to keep publishing Whois data for the bulk of its customers despite GDPR. This is good news for many people who rely on the data. I understand that security researchers will be upset that the data won’t be available in bulk. But even the individual lookups will help people–including the domain name owners themselves.

Here are some ways that Whois helps domain name owners:

1. Fewer UDRPs and lawsuits

I expect there to be an increase in UDRP filings thanks to redacted Whois information. Currently, UDRP complainants are able to research the owner of a domain name based on the Whois. This allows them to think twice about filing a UDRP if a) the owner is someone who commonly defeats UDRPs, such as Frank Schilling or b) it’s clear from the Whois record that the owner has a legitimate interest, such as if their name or company name matches the domain.

True, some complainants file cases even in these circumstances. But going forward they will have to file blind “John Doe” cases. They won’t always know who owns the domain until the response is filed.

Some complainants will back out at this point, but many will go forward.

It would be nice if the UDRP providers add an interim step to the filing process. The complainant could say it’s making a filing and pay the fee. At this point, they will find out the identity of the domain owner from the registrar. If they withdraw the case at this point they get most of their money back.

Also, escalation to UDRP and the courts will happen faster. Right now, intellectual property owners typically start by sending a cease & desist letter when they believe a domain is infringing on their trademark. They escalate this to a UDRP and/or a lawsuit if they can’t resolve the matter.

Whois records that don’t contain a forwarding email address have no good way for lawyers to contact domain owners. So they’ll either decide it’s not worth pursuing or will move straight to the UDRP/lawsuit stage. That’s bad for everyone when a simple email could resolve the issue.

In fact, UDRP panelists sometimes site a lack of pre-dispute communication from a complainant as a sign of bad faith.

2. More domain sales

People tend to buy existing domain names in three ways: through a marketplace listing (sometimes syndicated), through a link or contact form on a parked page, or by looking up the owner in Whois. Most of my bigger deals have come through the latter.

It’s probable that redacted Whois records will drive more sales to marketplace listings and parked pages, but taking any option off the table adds friction to the process.

3. Fewer stale marketplace listings

Domain name marketplaces scan Whois to look for changes in ownership and are sometimes proactive about removing domain names no longer owned by the lister. A lack of public Whois will lead to more stale listings on marketplaces that are not listed by the actual owner.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Domain name transfer process changes this week

May 22, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Domain name transfer process changes this week

New registrar won’t have to get positive authorization from Form of Authorization.

A temporary change to the inter-registrar domain name process kicks in later this week due to Whois changes associated with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In many cases, domain name registrars will not be able to get the registrant email address from Whois that is necessary to send a Form of Authorization when someone transfers a domain name to them. As a result, gaining registrars will be allowed to skip the Form of Authorization requirement. This means the new process will work like this:

1. Domain registrant gets an authorization code from the old registrar.
2. Registrant orders transfer at the new registrar and provides the authorization code to the new registrar.
3. New registrar sends the transfer request to the old registrar.
4. Old registrar sends notice to the registrant. If the registrant doesn’t cancel the transfer within five days, the transfer is completed.

The registrant will have to provide Whois data to the new registrar since it can’t be pulled from the existing Whois record.

Eventually, ICANN will have a system in which registrars can get access to Whois data. At that point, the transfer policy will possibly revert to the old policy (or a new transfer mechanism will be put in place).

The policy applies to domain name that are regulated by ICANN, so ccTLDs will not be affected.

The new policy might increase domain thefts. Some registrars are stepping up monitoring and taking other precautions to prevent this.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

GoDaddy will continue publishing most domain owner data

May 22, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on GoDaddy will continue publishing most domain owner data

Registrar is more selective about which Whois records will be redacted in wake of GDPR.

With the GDPR deadline quickly approaching, the world’s largest domain name registrar has been mostly silent on its plans. Over the past week, I connected with GoDaddy (NYSE:GDDY) to understand what it plans to do to comply with the EU’s privacy law, especially as it relates to Whois.

Unlike many of its competitors, GoDaddy does not plan to redact Whois information for domain names registered by people outside of the EU. It will continue to publish contact information like it always has for web-based Whois searches. Because it has to redact information for EU residents, GoDaddy will no longer sell DomainsByProxy to people in the European Union but will continue to offer it to people in other regions. (Some countries are routed through others for purchasing due to common currencies and/or languages. For example, customers in Morocco are routed to GoDaddy’s France website. They will be treated like EU residents for purposes of Whois.)

GoDaddy’s decision doesn’t surprise me too much. GoDaddy was an early pioneer of Whois proxy services and has aggressively pushed the paid and high-margin product to its customers. I’m not sure how much money GoDaddy makes from DomainsByProxy but I imagine it’s significant.

Of course, GoDaddy won’t come out and say that Whois privacy revenue is the reason for its decision. SVP & GM – Domains, Kevin Doerr told Domain Name Wire:

There were many reasons we looked at keeping Whois the way it is globally. GoDaddy welcomes the privacy changes that come with GDPR, but we wanted to be thoughtful about impacting our global customers. So GoDaddy will closely monitor the impact of GDPR, as well as regulatory requirements from governments around the world, before making decisions on how to evolve our privacy and Whois practices for every customer.

Whatever the reasons, as a proponent of more public data, I’m in favor of GoDaddy’s decision.

GoDaddy will continue to restrict data on Port 43 lookups, however. Port 43 lookups will contain technical data, state and country only. This will apply to people who currently have whitelisted port 43 access, too.

GoDaddy has restricted Port 43 data since January to cut down on spam. The company has been criticized for Port 43 blocking, but the final GDPR Whois spec from ICANN is essentially in line with what GoDaddy has already done.

The net effect should be little to no spam for domain name registrants but people with a good reason to contact them will still be able to by performing individual Whois lookups on GoDaddy’s website.

Tucows, the world’s second-largest domain registration company, has announced that it will treat all Whois records the same regardless of where the registrant is located. They will all be redacted.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Google Chrome will downgrade positive SSL designations

May 21, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Google Chrome will downgrade positive SSL designations

Rather than focus on positive indicators, Chrome will focus on negative indicators for sites without SSL.

Google has been on a mission to get website owners to add an SSL certificate to their website. It has used its market power with the Chrome browser to positively identify sites with SSL and to negatively identify those without SSL.

Over time, as more and more sites have SSL, the company plans to remove the positive identifiers for sites with SSL and instead just focus on negative identifiers for sites without https. Here are the changes it’s making:

Google is upping the ante on sites without SSL while it ratchets down the notices for secure sites. All sites without an SSL certificate will show Not Secure in the address bar, and this will become red when people enter information into a form.

The move makes sense and actually solves a problem with Chrome’s treatment of SSL. By denoting sites with SSL in a positive way, Google might be sending the false impression that the site is safe. But it’s easy for a phisher or other scammer to get a domain-validated SSL certificate.

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Building an Ecommerce business on your domain name – DNW Podcast #186

May 21, 2018Domaining, DomainnamewireComments Off on Building an Ecommerce business on your domain name – DNW Podcast #186

How to easily create an online store.

dnw-podcastHow can you turn your domain name into an ecommerce store and sell it? Our guest today, Caroline Balinska, explains how to find products to sell, how to set up your online store on Shopify, and drive consumers to it. Then, learn how you can sell your ecommerce site on an exchange similar to Flippa. Download Caroline’s guide here.

Also: Domain investor arrested, GDPR, Donuts invests in a former DNW Podcast guest, easier .Travel, and more.

Subscribe via iTunes to listen to the Domain Name Wire podcast on your iPhone or iPad, view on Google Play Music, or click play below or download to begin listening. (Listen to previous podcasts here.)

© DomainNameWire.com 2018. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.