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A Fairness 'Scorecard' for Trademark Protection Under the New gTLDs

In the last few years, ICANN has made huge strides in Protecting Trademarks within new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). Now much more is being asked. Is it right? Is it appropriate? Will these changes make the new gTLDs unusable for the very communities we most hope will want them: developing countries, developing communities, new businesses, growing organizations and all the people born in the future? more

How .MUSIC Will Go Mainstream and Benefit ICANN's New gTLD Program

Since the launch of the New gTLD Program in 2012, it has become evident that new gTLD registries overestimated the demand for new Top-Level Domain name extensions. Furthermore, new gTLD registries did not anticipate the hurdles in raising awareness, not to mention creating adoption for new domains. Even the most pessimistic New gTLD Program critic did not expect such uninspiring results. It was a wake up call for many in the domain industry. The New gTLD Program currently lacks credibility. No new gTLD has yet to go mainstream and capture the world's imagination. 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

Does the Internet Need to be Governed?

The term "Internet Governance" has become an area of particular attention in part as a consequence of widespread recognition that the Internet represents an important area of national interest for all countries seeking to participate in the benefits of global electronic commerce, distance learning, access to the encyclopedic wealth of information on the Internet, and in the social dimension that the Internet is creating. From the perspective of governments, the Internet is simultaneously a technology that promises high economic value for parties making use of it and a challenge in that it is unlike all other telecommunications media previously invented. more

Domain Aftermarket Overdue for an "Asset Repricing"

For the last couple years the domain aftermarket has been hot again, we're seeing valuations not seen since bubble1.0, which saw valuations like 7 million dollars for business.com and 4 million for drugs.com. The TechWreck was induced by the NASDAQ crash of 2000 and the fun was over for awhile. What differentiates this bubble in the domain aftermarket from Bubble 1.0 is domain parking and monetization... The interesting thing is since then, the multiples on domain names have outstripped the multiples on developed websites. To me, this is the equivalent of the "inverted yield curve" that portends economic recessions. more

Putting Multiple Root Nameserver Issue to Rest

I am often asked what I think of multiple root nameserver systems -- sort of like the Public-Root or the Open Root Server Confederation (ORSC) pushed by others in the past years. Whenever some well meaning person asks me for multiple roots in DNS, I answer: "DNS is a distributed, coherent, autonomous, hierarchical database. It is defined to have a single root, and every one of the hundreds of millions of DNS-speaking devices worldwide has the single-root design assumptions built into it. It would theoretically be possible to design a new system that looked superficially..." more

New Instance of DNS Root Server Makes Internet History

For the first time in Internet history the number of instances of DNS root servers outside the United States has overtaken the number within. The balance was tipped by the recent launch in Frankfurt of an anycast instance of the RIPE NCC operated K-root server. The K-root server is one of the 13 DNS root servers that resolve lookups for domain names all over the world and form a critical part of the global Internet infrastructure. The K-root server has been operated by the RIPE NCC since 1997 when the first server was installed at the London Internet Exchange (LINX) in London, UK. more

The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008

Last week Sen. Snowe filed bill S.2661, the Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008, or APCPA. While its goals are laudable, I have my doubts about some of the details. The first substantive section of the bill, Section 3, makes various phishy activities more illegal than they are now in its first two subsections. It makes it specifically illegal to solicit identifying information from a computer under false pretenses, and to use a domain name that is deceptively similar to someone else's brand or name on the web in e-mail or IM to mislead people... more

Google's Most Popular and Least Popular Top-Level Domains

What are the most popularly used top-level domains (TLDs), or at least, which are the ones that show up on pages indexed in Google? I wondered this yesterday after seeing a news article stating that the registration of .cn (china) top-level domain names topped 1 million for the first time ever by the end of 2005. more

The "Parked Domain Monetization" Business

I think that a large number of people buying domains can't get their first choice name because some "parked domain monetization" operation (cyber-squatter) owns it and is making money running ads on the page. The trick is to sign up for millions of domain names; set up pages and run ads on them; after 1 day delete domains that have no traffic; after 3 days delete names that have some traffic; after 5 days delete pages with marginal traffic; keep the 1% of pages that have enough traffic to be worth keeping the domain. Because of the refund policy, the 99% of pages deleted before the 5 day grace period are refunded in full and the "monetizer" gets to keep the ad revenue generated over those 5 days. ...Interestingly, I think Google AdSense probably has boosted the viability of this business. more

Official: Rod Beckstrom Announced as the ICANN President and CEO

During its board meeting today in Sydney, the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced Rod Beckstrom, the former U.S. cybersecurity chief, as the new President and CEO. Beckstrom will be replacing Dr. Paul Twomey who had been serving this position since March 2003 and announced his resignation earlier this year. Dr Twomey has lately been reported as the primary candidate for heading Australian Government's proposed A$43 billion investment in a new National Broadband Network. more

Microsoft's Takedown of 3322.org - A Gigantic Self Goal?

I will first begin this post by emphasizing that this article is entirely my personal viewpoint and not to be considered as endorsed by or a viewpoint of my employer or any other organization that I am affiliated with. Neither is this to be considered an indictment of the sterling work (which I personally value very highly) that several people in Microsoft are doing against cybercrime. Microsoft's takedown of 3322.org to disrupt the Nitol botnet is partial and will, at best, have a temporary effect on the botnet itself... more

Fight Spam With the DNS, Not the CIA

It seems like spam is in the news every day lately, and frankly, some of the proposed solutions seem either completely hare-brained or worse than the problem itself. I'd like to reiterate a relatively modest proposal I first made over a year ago: Require legitimate DNS MX records for all outbound email servers.

MX records are one component of a domain's Domain Name System (DNS) information. They identify IP addresses that accept inbound email for a particular domain name. To get mail to, say, linux.com, a mail server picks an MX record from linux.com's DNS information and attempts to deliver the mail to that IP address. If the delivery fails because a server is out of action, the delivering server may work through the domain's MX records until it finds a server that can accept the mail. Without at least one MX record, mail cannot be delivered to a domain.
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Hypertext Mail Protocol (a.k.a. Stub Email): A Proposal

Back in the days of dial-up modems and transfer speeds measured in hundreds of bits per second, unwanted email messages were actually felt as a significant dent in our personal pocketbooks. As increases in transfer speeds outpaced increases in spam traffic, the hundreds of unwanted emails we received per week became more of a nuisance than a serious financial threat. Today sophisticated spam filters offered by all major email providers keep us from seeing hundreds of unwanted emails on a daily basis, and relatively infrequently allow unwanted messages to reach our coveted Inboxes. So, to some degree, the spam problem has been mitigated. But this "mitigation" requires multiple layers of protection and enormous amounts of continually-applied effort. more

Fake Bank Site, Fake Registrar

In our continuing review of Rogue Registrars we have stumbled upon on a very elaborate fake banking site for "Swiss Bank" or "Bank of Switzerland". To the casual Internet consumer this site probably appears legitimate, but a number of clues tip off the fraud. Phishing sites are everywhere so this does not immediately raise eyebrows until you review the Thick WHOIS record for the domain. more