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George Kirikos

President, Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.
Joined on September 16, 2003 – Canada
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About

Involved in finance, and in internet ecommerce.

Featured Blogs

Loopholes and Ambiguities in Contracts that ICANN Oversees

ICANN oversees the creation of many contracts. Its highest paid contractor has historically been the law firm of Jones Day, and of course ICANN has many lawyers on staff. In the past I've identified loopholes in proposed contracts, and those were corrected before they were exploited. However, are there other loopholes sitting in existing contracts waiting to be exploited, or ambiguities with major financial consequences depending on their interpretation? more»

Google's Free Public DNS Load Tops VeriSign, Raising Dot-Com Contract Tender Question

Google revealed on its official blog today that it is handling an average of more than 70 billion requests per day on its free Public DNS service. According to VeriSign's latest public statistics, it is handling only an average of 59 billion DNS requests per day, less than that handled by Google. more»

Is ICANN Opening up Public Comment Periods in Bad Faith?

I read with interest that ICANN opened up yet another comment period on new TLDs. I believe that I speak for many when I question whether ICANN is opening up these comment periods in good faith, or instead whether these are smokescreens, mere distractions to pretend that ICANN is "listening" to the public while staff and insiders proceed with predetermined outcomes. more»

Rod Beckstrom, Twiki and the Foswiki fork - ICANN Must "Get Things Right" on New TLDs

One of the most disastrous things that could happen to the DNS would be for the root to "split", as it would mean that identifiers would no longer be universal. Instead, "Example.com" would have totally different meanings for different users, substantially reducing the benefits of domain names. Can this happen? Important lessons for ICANN can be learned by studying the history of Rod Beckstrom, Twiki and Foswiki. more»

NAF Caught Revising Past UDRP Decisions?

In a previous CircleID article, it was discovered and documented that NAF Panelists and Complainants were systematically copying/pasting nonsense into UDRP decisions. It has been a couple of months with no action by ICANN, and no public statement by NAF. In a shocking new development, though, it turns out that NAF has quietly edited a past UDRP decision! more»

NAF Panelists and Complainants Caught Systematically Copying/Pasting Nonsense Into UDRP Decisions

In a recent article at DomainNameWire.com, CitizenHawk was called out by a National Arbitration Forum (NAF) panelist for the submission of automated complaints which contained complete nonsense. Through the discussion in the comments to that article, the community discovered that the problem is far deeper. It turns out that UDRP panelists at NAF have been churning out boilerplate cut/paste decisions of their own, with utter nonsense of their own, and that this has been going on for years. more»

DOC to ICANN: Time to End Double-Weighted Voting of Registries and Registrars

The US Department of Commerce and ICANN announced today an Affirmation of Commitments. One of the important elements of that document was in section 4, namely that "ICANN and DOC recognize that there is a group of participants that engage in ICANN's processes to a greater extent than Internet users generally." more»

Most Popular Invalid TLDs Should Be Reserved

Some of the root server operators post public statistics for their domain name traffic at the top-level. For example, the graph (which can take a bit of time to generate, given ICANN's slow servers) for the L-root server's most popular Top-Level Domain (TLD) queries demonstrates, to no one's surprise, that .com is king. What's more interesting, though, especially given the new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) debate, is to look at the most popular invalid (non-existent) TLDs. more»

How is ICANN Spending Your Money?

ICANN has released their IRS Form 990 statements for the year ending June 30, 2008... ICANN says they use for-profit companies as comparables when determining employee compensation. However, even in the middle of a great recession, salaries have been going up, up, and up! more»

Deeply, Deeply Flawed Economic Report and Analysis of New gTLDs Posted by ICANN

The reports and analysis by Dr. Dennis Carlton are deeply, deeply flawed. I will prepare a long rebuttal to it in the coming weeks, but wanted to go on the record early as to its weaknesses. The analysis appears to be based on a very limited review of the market for domain names, and utilizes little actual data. It fails to even consider how nuanced the market for domain names has become, and how registry operators can exploit those nuances, including tiered-pricing... more»

Threat of Tiered Pricing Continues in New gTLD Guidebook Version 2

The draft New gTLD Applicant Guidebook (version 2) has been released along with an analysis of the comments to the prior version. The documents are voluminous. I glanced at the revised draft Base Agreement, and it's clearly unacceptable as there continue to be no price caps in place to protect domain name registrants... more»

PIR's Anti-Abuse Policy for .ORG Offers No Due Process for Innocent Domain Registrants

PIR, the registry operator for .org, has sent notices to registrars that it is implementing an anti-abuse policy that offers no due process for innocent domain registrants... While it's good intentioned, there is great potential for innocent domain registrants to suffer harm, given the lack of appropriate safeguards, the lack of precision and open-ended definition of "abuse", the sole discretion of the registry operator to delete domains, and the general lack of due process. more»

WIPO Proposal for Paperless UDRP

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has sent to ICANN a letter proposing Paperless Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)... This would save considerable amounts of paper, reduce courier charges (as the notice weighs far less than the full complaint), and thus would be good for the environment. more»

ICANN Uses For-Profit Companies as "Comparables" in Its Employee Compensation

According to page 123 of ICANN's annual report: "...Commitment to continued payment in the salary span of 50th to 75th percentile of for-profit market place of companies of a similar size and complexity to ICANN..." Note that the comparables have been "for-profit". This is obviously ridiculous, given the purported non-profit nature of ICANN, with its inherent job security... more»

Will VeriSign Be Able to Engage in Tiered Pricing for .com Soon?

According to the draft of new Generic Top-level Domains (gTLD) contracts for Section 7.3, "Price controls have been removed for 2008 in favor of the transparent pricing model outlined above." Section 3.2.b) of the .com registry agreement states: "ICANN shall not apply standards, policies, procedures or practices arbitrarily, unjustifiably, or inequitably and shall not single out Registry Operator for disparate treatment unless justified by substantial and reasonable cause." In my opinion, VeriSign (and other existing gTLD operators) are almost being invited to ask for their contracts to be amended... more»

Potential Danger Ahead for Registrants: dot-info Abusive Domain Use Policy

ICANN has posted a request by Afilias for a new registry service in relation to "abusive" domains in dot-info. While in general the proposal is motivated by good intentions, the devil is in the details. While most folks (including myself) probably care very little about the .info TLD, my concern is that any bad implementation in .info might be copied or used as a precedent in other more important TLDs, in particular .com run by VeriSign. more»

Short Domain Names Threatened by Proposed Policy on IGO Dispute Resolution Procedure

ICANN staff has published a draft report on dispute resolution procedures for IGO (inter-governmental organization) domain names. This proposal has deep flaws and should be rejected by the community, as it does not have the balance and protection of registrant rights present in the existing UDRP. Initially, the proposed policy would apply to new Top-Level Domains (TLDs), but via a Policy Development Process (PDP) it could be extended to existing TLDs. more»

Microsoft Files Three More Cybersquatting Cases

Microsoft has filed 3 cybersquatting cases at the beginning of September 2007, as reported in an Inside Indiana Business article. I took the liberty of accessing the cases via the PACER system, and posted the major documents... It looks like they're stepping up efforts to defend their trademarks, and seeking big damages in court, rather than go the way of the UDRP. These cases demonstrate that new TLDs should not be a priority with ICANN until the problems in existing TLDs are addressed. more»

iREIT Drops TM-Typo Domains?

As faithful CircleID readers will know, iREIT (Internet REIT, Inc.), a Texas domain name portfolio investment corporation, has been sued by Verizon and by Vulcan Golf for cybersquatting. It appears iREIT is taking steps to clean up its portfolio by deleting obvious typos of famous trademarks... more»

Greater Transparency in Domain Name Pricing

Tucows issued a press release today wherein they announced lower domain name pricing and enhanced services. The bigger change, which might set a trend for other registrars, is the greater transparency of the registry and ICANN fees relative to the fees charged by Tucows... If all registrars were to quote domain name prices in this manner (I had called it "Asterisk Prices" when I had suggested the idea to various registrars last December, for lack of a better term), it would shift the blame to ICANN and the monopoly registry operators (e.g. VeriSign) every time they raised their fees. more»

Neustar Losing .us Could Be Good for .com Registrants

Neustar is facing a potential loss of the Dot-US franchise as competitors bid against them. Why might this be of interest to .com registrants? ...The issue of antitrust with regards to the .com agreement has never really been properly settled, as a well-funded complainant hasn't brought forward a case to full fruition in the courts. ICANN sold out the public by agreeing to a settlement that would see its own coffers swell, at the expense of registrants, so they do not count. more»

BMW Goes After BMW.cat

In one of the first (if not the first) UDRP cases for .cat, the auto giant BMW appears to have filed a WIPO case over the BMW.cat domain name. Other prospective new TLD operators have tried to suggest in ICANN meetings that these new TLDs do not cause problems with cybersquatting or defensive registrations... Obviously, given the above WIPO case, that statement is false. more»

Defendant iREIT's Answer in the Verizon Case

Defendant iREIT filed its answer on May 25, 2007, to the recent complaint by Verizon alleging cybersquatting. As in the prior article, these are the public court documents and nothing has been proven by either side in a court of law. more»

WIPO Snafu Over britishmuseum.org Case?

WIPO just published a decision regarding the domain dispute over the britishmuseum.org domain name. At first glance, everything seems alright. The world famous British Museum won in a default judgment as the current registrant (the respondent) never replied). However, drill a little deeper and something is amiss. The "parties" section of the case lists the respondent as "British Museum Resources, Limited, West Bay, George Town, Kentucky, United States of America." more»

Verizon vs. iREIT et al Court Documents: What Can We Learn?

Verizon filed sued against iREIT and Domain Marketplace a couple of weeks ago in a Texas court, alleging cybersquatting. David Kesmodel's blog broke the story, and I used the PACER system to obtain the court filings, which are posted here. Exhibit 5 makes fascinating reading, especially when point #43 in the main statement of claim says "Exhibit 5 details only one famous trademark for each letter of the alphabet." more»

An Alternative to .XXX: IANA Adult Port Assignments

As an alternative to the creation of the .XXX TLD, ICANN/IANA can assign special port numbers that can be used to label adult content. IANA assigns port numbers as part of its duties. For example, port 80 is reserved for the HTTP protocol (i.e. the World Wide Web). Port 443 is reserved for the HTTPS protocol (SSL-secure version of HTTP). Port 23 is for Telnet, port 25 is for SMTP, and so on. One can see the full list at here... In a real sense, the IANA port assignments are just suggestions to the world as to what to expect on certain ports, whether it be a mail server, WHOIS, FTP, POP email or any other service/protocol. more»

Dot-XXX and Tiered/Differential Pricing: Permitted?

As folks will recall, there was a big debate about tiered/differential pricing in the .biz/info/org contracts. Eventually those contracts were amended to prevent that. However, if folks read the .XXX proposed contractv [PDF], Appendix S, Part 2, under "delegated authority" (page 66 of the PDF), appears to give the Registry Operator total control to make policy regarding pricing. Thus, it would appear they are in a position to re-price domains that later become successful... more»

ICANN Confirms: Tiered Pricing Not Forbidden in New .BIZ, .INFO and .ORG Contracts

I finally got the "official" word from Vint Cerf of ICANN, "on the record", who confirmed that my interpretation is correct, that differential/tiered pricing on a domain-by-domain basis would not be forbidden under the .biz/info/org proposed contracts. This means that the registries could charge $100,000/yr for sex.biz, $25,000/yr for movies.org, etc. if they wanted to -- it would not be forbidden the way the proposed contracts are currently written. This would represent a powerful pricing weapon for registries, and a fundamental shift in possible domain name pricing, that could lead them to emulate .tv-style price schedules. It doesn't mean they will necessarily do it, but it's not forbidden. When a contract doesn't forbid something bad, it implicitly allows it... more»

VeriSign Director Charged with Securities Fraud

Bloomberg is reporting that Gregory Reyes is facing criminal and civil charges in relation to securities fraud. Reuters and the Mercury News also have coverage. "Former Brocade Communications Systems Inc. Chief Executive Officer Gregory Reyes became the first CEO charged in the U.S. probe of the backdating of stock option grants to create lucrative employee pay packages." more»

Verisign Receives Subpoena Relating to Stock Option Backdating

VeriSign has reported that they are cooperating with a grand jury subpoena and a SEC inquiry into their historical stock option grants. More can be found here. Backdating of options is essentially a fraud against existing shareholders, as noted in the press or simply searching Google for "backdating fraud". Under the existing 2001 .com Registry Agreement, section 16.C would allow for termination of the agreement by ICANN in the event that VeriSign "is convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony or other serious offense related to financial activities... more»

A Day Which Will Live in Infamy: ICANN Board Approves VeriSign Settlement

ICANN's Board voted to accept the latest settlement proposal by a vote of 9 to 5: "Today, ICANN's Board of Directors approved, by a majority vote, a set of agreements settling a long time dispute between ICANN and VeriSign, the registry operator for the .COM registry. These settlement documents include a new registry agreement relating to the operation of the .COM registry..." more»

Petition Against Site Finder

We Internet users, who either own domain names or have an interest in the domain name system, wish to object to the VeriSign's Site Finder system. We believe that the system: 1) Breaks technical standards, by rewriting the expected error codes to instead point to VeriSign's pay-per-click web directory, and threatens the security and stability of the Internet; 2) Breaks technical standards affecting email services, and other Internet systems... more»