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Sex.com Settles Monumental Case Against VeriSign/Network Solutions

Sex.com announced today a final settlement with VeriSign (formerly Network Solutions, Inc.), concluding a six-year legal fight that set several important precedents for the future of the Internet. After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Sex.Com a sweeping victory that held VeriSign/Network Solutions, Inc. (collectively "VeriSign") strictly responsible for mishandling the famous domain name, Sex.Com and VeriSign have settled Sex.Com's lawsuit against VeriSign. more»

Network Solutions Responds to Front Running Accusations

Following a post on the DomainState forum today, a number news and blogs have criticized Network Solutions for front running domain names that customers try to register. (See for instance today's report on DomainNameNews). Jonathon Nevett, Vice President of Policy at Network Solutions, has offered the following in response to the news break... more»

Nation of Cameroon Typo-Squats the Entire .com Space

The .cm (Cameroon) ccTLD operators have discovered that since their TLD is simply one omitted letter away from .com, that there is a gold mine in the typo traffic that comes their way. Accordingly, Cameroon has now wild-carded its ccTLD and is monetizing the traffic. The upshot is that, if the Neiman Marcus / Dotster lawsuit over 27 domain names was properly characterized as "massive", then the Cameroonians are now going well beyond massive... more»

Taking Back the DNS

Most new domain names are malicious. I am stunned by the simplicity and truth of that observation. Every day lots of new names are added to the global DNS, and most of them belong to scammers, spammers, e-criminals, and speculators. The DNS industry has a lot of highly capable and competitive registrars and registries who have made it possible to reserve or create a new name in just seconds, and to create millions of them per day. Domains are cheap, domains are plentiful, and as a result most of them are dreck or worse. more»

To Fight Domain Name Theft: Sex.com Gives Birth to a New Property Right

For those who are Star Wars fans, the following scene from the prequel, Attack of the Clones, will be easy to recall: a young and misinformed Jedi, known as Obi-waan Kenobi, opines about how an army of clones had been able to snatch a victory from imminent defeat. Yoda, a Jedi Master and virtual fountain of wisdom, immediately gushes forth an important correction: "Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-waan, not victory." Yoda explains that winning a battle is not a victory, if the win merely signals that the war has just begun. Yoda's apparent perception seems particularly apt for the precedent setting federal court opinion involving the sex.com domain name. Notwithstanding that individual domain name registrants may seek comfort in the victory obtained from the Ninth Circuit's opinion in Kremen v. Cohen, that decision merely signals a beginning -- not an end -- to the controversy over the proper legal framework for resolving domain name theft.  more»

Do Not Enter - It's XXX

There soon will be a central place for Web surfers to dwell in a forbidden cyber land of adult fantasies, sex, dark rituals and total taboos. Finally, ICANN has given in to the pressure and has tossed a big rock across the turbulent e-commerce ocean. It has approved a new suffix, .xxx, for adult-only porn sites, creating ripples and debates in ever so confusing global cyber branding times when cyber global domain name challenges are being fought in the complex earthly trademark realities. Three things are bound to happen... more»

China's New Domain Names: Lost in Translation

This morning I got a bunch of alarmist messages from friends asking about this English-language People's Daily article titled: China adds top-level domain names. The paragraph that's freaking people out is: "Under the new system, besides "CN", three Chinese TLD names "CN", "COM" and "NET" are temporarily set. It means Internet users don't have to surf the Web via the servers under the management of ICANN..." Not for the first time, it appears that the People's Daily's English translation is very misleading. more»

New Top-Level Domains Approved by ICANN

The Board of ICANN today gave final approval to the most dramatic change to the Internet in four decades -- allowing the expansion of new Top-Level Domains (TLDs). This monumental decision will allow companies and organizations to turn their own brands into Internet domain extensions (that is .brand) or to create broad generic strings such as .CAR, .SPORTS or .BANK. ICANN's TLD expansion plan was first announced three years ago on June 26, 2008 at the 32nd ICANN Meeting in Paris. more»

Letting DNS Loose

RFID tags, UPC codes, International characters in email addresses and host names, and a variety of other identifiers could all go into DNS, and folks have occasionally proposed doing just that. Its really just a question of figuring out how to use the DNS -- its ready to carry arbitrary identifiers. And by the way, this isn't a new idea, see RFC 1101 for proof, although even earlier I designed the DNS in the early 1980s to allow it to be so, but it seemed too far fetched to document for a while. ...I was in Geneva for a WSIS meeting of CTOs, and was surprised that the various organizations (ITU, ICANN, ISOC) haven't figured out that they need each other to make this technology work, rather than asserting ownership. more»

Help! My Domain Name Has Been Hijacked!

They are out there. In Internet Cafes and dark rooms from New York to Hong Kong to Iran, the domain name hijackers are plotting to steal your domain names. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself against losing your domain names. ...Registrars are often skeptical of claims of domain hijacking, and the hijackers often "launder" the domain names to look as if they have sold them to third parties... By the time you discover that your domain name has been stolen, it may be at its third or fourth different registrar in the name of a completely different party... more»

Domain Tasting Target of US Federal Cybersquatting Lawsuit

So Domain Tasting, where registrants (who may also be registrars) taste names and keep only those that have economic value, is now the target of a federal cybersquatting lawsuit, brought about by lawyers for major brand name retailers Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman against major domain name registrar Dotster. This Dotster lawsuit involves allegations of cybersquatting by registrars who use the Create Grace Period, which is mandated by ICANN for global registries... 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»

Whois Privacy vs. Anonymity

The Internet is often a lawless place. Everyone knows that there are many tricks and traps lurking on the Internet, just waiting to prey on unsuspecting and innocent users. Some of these traps will trash your computer while others will turn your PC into a zombie that will broadcast messages at the virus writer's command. ...The list of annoyances and downright criminal activities seem endless. ...To make the Internet a safer place both legislators and law enforcement are now focusing on the Internet. In the crossfire that's taking place there are many ideas that are being offered up. Some of them are good and some are not. One bad decision that was recently forced upon the Internet community (without hearings -- more on this later) was to eliminate private domain name registrations for .US domain names. ...It's important to understand the difference between privacy and anonymity. more»

Why Site Finder is Breaking MS Outlook & Windows Networking Utilities

I have discovered that VeriSign's SiteFinder service breaks Microsoft's Outlook and Microsoft's Outlook Express email readers as well as many of the standard Windows Networking Utilities by providing misleading error messages, temporary lockups, and incorrect status information.  more»

Bug Reveals the Snooper in VeriSign's Site Finder

Here's another interesting angle on the Verisign Site Finder Web site. VeriSign has hired a company called Omniture to snoop on people who make domain name typos. I found this Omniture Web bug on a VeriSign Site Finder Web page... more»