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EU group calls proposed Whois changes “unlawful”

September 27, 2012article 29 working group, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, Policy & LawComments Off on EU group calls proposed Whois changes “unlawful”

EU data protection group says law enforcement’s wish list would be unlawful in European Union.

In May I wrote about some of the requests law enforcement agencies were making for the new ICANN registrar accreditation agreement. Some of the requests included verifying phone numbers, annual whois updates, and retaining IP addresses.

Now the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party has chimed in, stating that these requirements are likely unlawful in the European Union.

In a four page letter (pdf) to ICANN, the group states that ICANN isn’t addressing the root of the problem of inaccurate whois records.

The Working Party finds the proposed new requirement to annually re-verify both the telephone number and the e-mail address and publish these contact details in the publicly accessible WHOIS database excessive and therefor unlawful.” Because ICANN is not addressing the root of the problem, the proposed solution is a disproportionate infringement of the right to protection of personal data.

The Working Group describes the “root of the problem” as the “unlimited public accessibility of private contact details in the WHOIS database”.

It also takes issue with data retention proposals that would require specific information about domain registrants to be maintained for two years after the contract for the domain has ended. The letter states:

“The Working Party strongly objects to the introduction of data retention by means of a contract issued by a private corporation in order to facilitate (public) law enforcement.”

Nevermind that law enforcement’s proposals, as currently stated, would lead to increased domain registrar phishing and would not actually curtail illegal activity.

© 2012. This is copyrighted content. Do not republish.

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ICANN terminates two domain name registrars

August 22, 2012accredited domain name registrar, domain registrar, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, Policy & LawComments Off on ICANN terminates two domain name registrars

Two small registrars get the ax.

ICANN’s contract compliance efforts with domain registrars seem to go in fits and starts. The past couple months have been active, and this month the company fully terminated two accredited domain name registrars.

Just yesterday ICANN sent a notice of termination to Ynot Domains Corp in New York. Ynot was canned for not escrowing registration data and being late on accreditation fees. The registrar was tiny, with just 24 .com domains under management as of April.

On August 7 ICANN sent a termination to Russian registrar Name For Name, Inc. Its registry-registrar agreement with Verisign had already been terminated in July. It also hadn’t provided updated contact information to ICANN, had no contact details on its web site, and wasn’t providing mandatory whois service.

ICANN has sent nine notices of breach since the beginning of July. A notice of breach typically provides a short cure period in which the registrar needs to fix the problems or at least show best efforts. If the breaches aren’t cured then ICANN terminates the registrar.

© 2012. This is copyrighted content. Do not republish.

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6 ways to solve new top level domain “metering” problem

August 18, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, new tld batching, new tlds, Policy & LawComments Off on 6 ways to solve new top level domain “metering” problem

Six examples of ways to meter top level domains, but many of them are basically the same things.

ICANN plans to allow only 1,000 new top level domain names into the root per year, and as evenly as possible over a 12 months time span.

Its initial idea for figuring out which domains go first — so called “digital archery” — was scrapped. Now the non-profit has come up with six new alternatives. It hopes to figure out a solution by December.

Here are six examples of metering techniques ICANN is considering, along with my comments. You’ll note that four of them are basically batching done at different stages.

1. Restricting the number of applications as they enter into the Evaluation phase, resulting in an even flow of applications through the process. While random selection and digital archery have been ruled out, another method might be developed. It is important to note that applications are already being evaluated so a new mechanism would have to be developed quickly.

[Since it seems ICANN is already evaluating all applications in a single batch, reversing course now would cause problems.]

2. Restricting reporting of initial results of the Evaluation phase, rather than reporting them all at once. Put another way, deciding which of the passed applications can be moved into the contract execution stage first. Criteria for deciding which applications would advance first would have to be determined.

[This is basically batching, but done after a single batch evaluation process is complete. That is counter-productive; it will slow down the entire process. If you're going to batch, you may as well batch evaluations as well to decrease the time before the first TLD goes live.]

3. Advancing those applications that agree to the standard contract first. This will cause some smoothing but cannot be relied upon to resolve the problem fully. Applicants are expected to agree to standard terms.

[Makes sense, but most applicants will accept the standard terms and thus it doesn't solve the problem.]

4. Advancing those applications falling into a specific category, such as IDN applications or applications originating in developing countries. This will cause some smoothing but cannot be relied upon to resolve the problem fully.

[I can't wait to see how it's determined which types of domains or applicants get favored status. I don't see this happening. Even if it did, it would only solve the initial couple hundred domains.]

5. Ordering, by some means, the pre-delegation testing of TLDs. One example would be to provide “appointments” for pre-delegation testing, limit the number of appointments, and place any who failed the testing at the end of the queue. As with other solutions, the means of determining processing order must be determined and we rely on applicant and community feedback for that.

[Similar issues as 1 and 2. Basically batching after the fact.]

6. Ordering, by some means, the delegation of TLDs. As with other solutions, the mechanism for this is not determined and we rely on applicant and community feedback to develop this.

[See numbers 1, 2, 5, and 6]

© 2011.

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Guy mad about CentralNic domains sues ICANN and Network Solutions

August 3, 2012centralnic, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, lawsuit, Policy & Law, VeriSignComments Off on Guy mad about CentralNic domains sues ICANN and Network Solutions

Fun Friday reading.

I read a lot of lawsuits involving domain name companies. Occasionally I come across a “pro se” suit, in which the plaintiff doesn’t have legal representation.

Nine times out of ten these pro se cases I read involve a plantiff who’s a bit crazy. Like the “nude artist” who’s mad at NameMedia about a domain name.

Here’s another one (pdf), just filed in United States District Court against CentralNic, Network Solutions, VeriSign, ICANN, eNom, and the registrant of a third level .com domain.

The case was filed by Graham Schreiber, the owner of It’s a doozy, complete with a cover letter, colored fonts, all sorts of {brackets}, ~ symbols, and way to many commas per sentence.

Basically, Schreiber is mad that a company in the United Kingdom registered domains are actually third level domain names offered by CentralNic.

The owner of, Lorraine Dunabin, also owns

Back in 2011 Schreiber filed a Nominet dispute over He subsequently withdrew the complaint because he thought Nominet could actually handle disputes. For some reason Schreiber is more concerned with than, because he thinks it creates more confusion with his .com. He later refiled the Nominet case and lost.

He could just file a WIPO complaint over the CentralNic domain name, but he has some hard-to-decipher beef with WIPO about them not providing him with enough statistics.

He’s peeved at ICANN for not responding to his complaints other than with “form letters”.

He’s mad at Network Solutions for two reasons. First, they are the registrar for CentralNic’s domain name. Second, he put so much faith in Network Solutions that he felt compelled to register a bunch of other CentralNic domains there to protect his brand.

> Network Solutions, based on their significant history, within the Internet, give credibility to the products they sell. As such, their selling the “diluted” ~ “.com’s” of CentralNic, compelled me to buy many of the outstanding domains, as I’ve been a client of theirs since the beginning, I felt obliged to purchase the remaining “dilutive” .com ~ name spaces, so that no other individuals, such as Lorraine, would create problems for my business.

> Now, with a greater understanding of CentralNIC; and reading/understanding their Terms and Condition, at a deeper level > (link to terms) “11. Domain names are registered on a first come, first served basis.” < it become quite clear that there is a GENTLE SHAKEDOWN happening; and that I must therefore buy again my business name, with the left side of the .com, or risk dilution...

Just imagine how this guy will feel when he finds out that anyone can create a third level domain “landcruise.” under their second level .com domain!

Schreiber wants the damages awarded from this suit to go to his rotary club.

As silly as the suit is, Schreiber does have a point: I think a lot of consumers are confused about just what CentralNic third level domain names are.

© 2011.

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Poll: Are you going to TRAFFIC or ICANN?

July 23, 2012domain conferences, Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, trafficComments Off on Poll: Are you going to TRAFFIC or ICANN?

Two domain conferences in back-to-back weeks this fall.

After a long absence of North America domain name conferences, two are on tap for October: TRAFFIC in Fort Lauderdale October 7-10 and ICANN in Toronto October 14-19.

While both shows are sure to attract different crowds, there will surely be domain investors at both.

Which do you plan to attend? Answer the poll question and feel free to comment below.

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

© 2011.

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ICANN: .WeScrewedUpAgain

June 14, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, Policy & LawComments Off on ICANN: .WeScrewedUpAgain

Group publishes private details of new top level domain applicants.

During the ICANN press conference on Wednesday a reporter stood up and asked if ICANN had told applicants that their email addresses and phone numbers would be published.

Yes, was the response. Something to the tune of “we told everyone this would be an open process”.

But only some of this information was to be published. Certainly not the home addresses of the applicants, which apparently were published on some applications.

Kevin Murphy of Domain Incite notified ICANN about the screw up today, and ICANN has reacted by temporarily blocking access to viewing the applications.

I know ICANN has a huge war chest of cash to fight lawsuits, but I didn’t realize it was so eager to get its first one of the program.

So first we had the application system taken offline for over a month because applicants could view other people’s file names. Then the digital archery test system had a “display” issue that had to be fixed. Now the group inadvertently published private details of some of the applicants.

And each time it was a community member who noticed the problem and let ICANN know about it.

Making matters worse, one commenter says they told ICANN about the problem 24 hours before the applications were taken offline.

I wonder if the ICANN staffers responsible for this will get their usual fat bonus this year?

Of course they will.

[Update: online access to applications has been restored.]

© 2011.

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These community TLD applications are a complete joke

June 13, 2012community tlds, Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, Policy & LawComments Off on These community TLD applications are a complete joke

Be ready to prove you’re part of the .shop community if you want to register a .shop domain.

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with the new TLD applicant guidebook is preference given to applications representing a so-called community. This is ripe for gaming.

Consider these applications that say they are representing a “community”:

.Music – .music LLC from Far Further and CGR E-Commerce LTD
.eco from Big Room Inc.
.Shop from Commercial Connect and GMO Registry
.Corp, .Inc, .LLC, .LLP from Dot Registry LLC
.Kids from DotKids Foundation Limited
.Art from, LLC
.Radio from European Broadcasting Union
.Hotel from HOTEL Top-Level-Domain GmbH
.Sport from SportAccord
.Ski from Starting Dot
.Tennis from Tennis Australia LTD
.Webs from VistaPrint/

How do these applicants suggest their domains represent communities?

Let’s start with the last one, .webs. VistaPrint owns It applied both as a community and a regular applicant. What exactly is the .webs community? Apparently people who have used the web site:

The Applicant is committing to serve the ‘WEBS’ community. The ‘WEBS’ community was created in late 2005 by Freewebs, now called Webs, Inc. Webs, Inc. presently is a subsidiary of the Applicant. In August 2006, Business Wire reported on this stating that “new Freewebs tools and features put the ‘We’ in Web for world’s largest Web Publisher; import tools, profile pages and ratings & comments help enhance online experience, engage website fvistors and create a single web presence for millions of users” (Document 20.a.1). Since 2006, the Applicant started by giving its users the option to publish their myWebs profile as a page on their website, making it accessible and searchable to all Freewebs – and later on Webs – visitors. The Applicant invested in creating the tools necessary for its members to simply create their Web presence and share their passions with the world.

Since its inception, the name of the community was ‘WEBS’. This is shown by the mention of ‘myWebs’ and the mention of the name ‘Webs’ as such to refer to the blog that was used by the community to communicate with each other to share Webs experiences

Give me a freakin’ break.

.Kids says it represents the entire community of people under the age of 18. Um, OK.

.Corp serves the “Community of Registered Corporations. Members of the community are defined as businesses registered as corporations within the United States or its territories.”

If you want to register a .ski domain, you “will have to be verifiable members of the ski community”. What, do I have to show my lift ticket or something?

You get the point…

© 2011.

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Peter Dengate Thrush’s reaction to today’s top level domain reveals

June 13, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, peter dengate-thrush, top level domain holdings, UncategorizedComments Off on Peter Dengate Thrush’s reaction to today’s top level domain reveals

Former ICANN chairman notes some surprises today, but says he’s still digesting all of the data.

Peter Dengate Thrush was chairman of ICANN’s board when it finally approved the new top level domain plan. Now he’s with Top Level Domain Holdings (TLDH), which is one of the biggest applicants for new top level domains. It is applying for 68 on its own accord and 92 in total.

I just got off the phone with Dengate Thrush and asked him what the biggest surprises were in today’s reveal.

“We’re still digesting it ourselves,” he told me. “But there were quite some surprises.”

Among those:

* There’s only one applicant for .orange and .apple
* That there weren’t more internationalized domain names (IDNs), although he’s pleased there are over 100
* Only three applicants requested community support

He is happy with the breadth of brands participating in the process. But what about the noticeably absent brands such as Facebook, Twitter, and eBay?

“I think they got some bad advice,” he said.

During a panel discussion at today’s ICANN even, Dengate Thrush inquired about digital archery. His company has come out opposed to the system for batching applications. He reminded me that he was at the helm of ICANN’s board when the system was devised. “But we now have a huge amount of data that we didn’t have when we put it [the plan] together,” he said.

For example, there’s no need to spend resources for 92 technical reviews of its applications as they are basically all the same.

As for TLDH’s applications, he said its preliminary count shows 10 of its applications are uncontested and another 10 are only challenged by one party. Now the negotiating can begin, and he says he’s already received an email from another applicant saying “let’s talk”.

“Many of these [competitors] are reasonable commercial people,” he said. He’s confident they can work out a solution and that auctions are a last resort — although TLDH is prepared to go to auction when necessary.

© 2011.

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  1. Peter Dengate Thrush Discusses His New Role with Top Level Domain Holdings
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As many as 1,409 top level domains on the way

June 13, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, new tlds, UncategorizedComments Off on As many as 1,409 top level domains on the way

1,409 unique top level domain applications submitted to ICANN.

It’s “reveal day”, with ICANN set to reveal the applications for new top level domains at a press conference starting at 8 am EDT today.

This morning ICANN released overall numbers related to the program.

First, the headline number. We’ll see up to 1,409 new top level domains hit the web from this round. There were 1,930 total applications. 751 of those applications cover 230 contested domain names. That puts you at 1,409.

I should note that I believe it was John Berryhill who predicted in back in February 2010 that there would be 1,500 gTLDs.

Applications came from 60 countries. Latin America and the Caribbean applicants submitted 24 and 17 came from Africa. That means all of these will get into the first batch, so there’s no need for these applicants to work hard on digital archery. North America competition will be fierce with 911 applications. 675 came from Europe and 303 from Asia-Pacific.

1846 of the 1930 applications were designated as “community-based”. 66 applications are for geographic names. There were 116 applications for Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs).

Stay tuned to Domain Name Wire throughout the day for complete reveal day coverage.

© 2011.

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ICANN pays close to $1 million for CEO in 2011. Here’s compensation for 18 other ICANN employees.

June 11, 2012Domaining, Domainnamewire, icann, icann compensation, Policy & Law, rod beckstromComments Off on ICANN pays close to $1 million for CEO in 2011. Here’s compensation for 18 other ICANN employees.

Rod Beckstrom’s total compensation and benefits nearly $1 million last fiscal year; many other highly paid employees at non-profit.

ICANN has published its Form 990 tax return for the financial year ending June, 2011. Here’s what top employees earned (including non-taxable benefits):

Rod Beckstrom, CEO $998,230
Akram Atallah, COO $133,812
Doug Brent, COO $348,628
John Jeffrey General Counsel & Secretary $338,475
Kurt Pritz, SVP Services $399,747
Kevin Wilson, CFO $254,342
Steve Antonoff, Director Human Resources $226,773
Barbara Clay, VP Communications $248,302
David Conrad, VP Research and IANA Strategy $213,600
Elise Gerich, VP IANA and Technical Operations $173,333
Daniel Halloran, Deputy General Counsel $272,342
James Hedlund, VP Government Affairs $353,204
David Olive, VP Policy Development $286,860
Amy Stathos, Deputy General Counsel $285,996
Tina Dam, Chief GTLD Registry Liaison $277,319
Elizabeth Gasster, Senior Policy Counselor $294,404
Margaret Milam, Senior Policy Counselor $279,554
Roman Pelikh, Sr. Director, Appl & Services $255,381
Michael Salazar, Director of New gTLD Program $305,844

Top contractors include:

Jones Day, its law firm $1,868,820
Iron Mountain, intellectual property services (whois escrow) $634,778
Compass Lexecon, consulting services $632,735
Verilan Event Services, Incl, event services $500,858
Frank Fowlie, ombudsman $451,860

(Hat tip: George Kirikos)

© 2011.

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