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Domain Names / Recently Commented

Is Booking.com a Generic Term?

A fundamental rule of trademarks is that they have to be distinctive, and that nobody can register a trademark on a generic term like "wine" or "plastic." In a case decided today by the U.S. Supreme Court, the court decided 8-1 that online travel agent Booking.com could register its domain name as a trademark. In this case, I think the majority got it wrong, and Justice Breyer's lone dissent is correct. more

Article 22 of the GDPR Should Not Preclude Contemplated Automation

There is an ongoing disagreement among various members and groups in the ICANN community regarding automation -- namely, whether and to what extent automation can be used to disclose registrant data in response to legitimate data disclosure requests. A major contributing factor to the complications around automation has been confusion about how to interpret and apply Article 22 of the GDPR. more

Top-Level Domain Bias in Search Engine Indexing and Rankings

As a search engine optimization (SEO) and domain name consultant, one of the questions I get asked most often about domain names is whether or not the domain name or TLD (Top-Level Domain) matters. Will the domain name ending have an effect on SEO or search engine rankings. Are certain domain name endings preferred by the search engines over other domain name extensions? I decided to answer this question... more

Your Domain Name Does Matter in Search Results – Microsoft Says So!

I stumbled upon a study conducted by Microsoft eons ago back in the paleolithic era of search; 2012... It is about how "premium domains" are perceived by the consumer when seeing them in the search results compared to a lower value "non-premium" domain. I like to use quotations sparingly, but I felt it was necessary because the varying opinions on premium v non-premium domains is a bridge I do not want to cross in this post.  more

Thumb on the Scales

Does the ICANN Board putting its thumb on the scale, change the status quo assumption of a Policy Development Process (PDP)? The primary assumption of most PDPs is that, in the absence of consensus for change, the status quo remains. Otherwise, Policy would be made by fiat by the PDP's Chair or Co-Chairs and there would be a mad rush to occupy those unpaid, thankless positions. more

When It Comes to Domain Name Rights Protection, scapegoat.sucks

It is not surprising that the phase 1 review of domain name rights protection mechanisms is delayed, but it is a bit of a surprise that in responding to a question posed in 2020, business executives and their lawyers replied with answers first offered and rejected five years earlier. In that time before COVID-19, the launch of the Vox Populi Registry and its dotSucks domain names drew quite a lot of attention. more

Is the Lockdown Driving Domain Registrations?

Businesses across Europe face a new and challenging situation not seen in generations. A mass lockdown of society due to the coronavirus pandemic with thousands of businesses having been forced to send employees home. The societal impact is broad and deep; however, for ccTLD registries, beyond changes to how staff work, other business effects so far seem minimal. One aspect of registry business may, however, be changing. more

What's Next for Ethos

Since last fall, Ethos has actively engaged with ICANN and .ORG communities regarding our proposed acquisition of Public Interest Registry (PIR). Through that process, we demonstrated our desire to ensure that .ORG continues and thrives as an exemplary service for the mission-driven community. ICANN has now declined to consent to the proposed change of control of PIR. more

What's Next for Dot-Org

When I began writing about the dot-org sale, it was out of concern for the loss of what I felt strongly was long understood to be a unique place in the Internet's landscape. Like a national park, dot-org deserved special protection. It turns out lots of people and organizations agreed. On April 30th, 2020, The ICANN Board upheld these values. They unanimously withheld consent for a change of control of the Public Interest Registry to a private equity firm. more

ICANN and Attorneys General: Ends, Means and Unintended Ends

In a move, unprecedented in scale, ISOC moved to sell PIR, the registry for .ORG, to a for-profit entity which intends, in turn, to convert PIR into a for-profit entity itself. This move has, understandably, raised concerns from around the Internet community and cast a bright light on ICANN, the nature of its contracts with Registries and the responsibilities of the ICANN Board... As the Vice Chair for Policy of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), I've tried to navigate a consensus involving ALL of those parties because of our diverse membership. more

ICANN Independence and Non-Profits on the Net – Get it Right and Go Forward

Later this week, ICANN is finally going to vote on the proposed sale of .ORG to Ethos Capital. It will decide the future owner of .ORG, but the decision will also provide a window into whether ICANN will remain independent of the U.S. government. It's a big decision, one that can strengthen both ICANN and the NGO community on the web, if we get it right. For nearly a decade, the ICANN community fought hard to untether itself from the U.S. Department of Commerce. more

Preserving ICANN's Independence Through Bold Action – Not Inaction

This week, the ICANN Board will vote on whether to approve the transfer of control of the .ORG domain to a private equity firm called Ethos Capital. This is a weighty decision for ICANN, since in order to approve the sale, it will have to convince itself that this is the right choice in the face of tremendous and widespread opposition, including from those who will be most affected by the sale. more

Even a Pandemic Isn't Enough

The most incredible thing about the dot-org sale is no longer the billion-dollar price tag. It's not surprise fait-accompli announcement. It's not the republican billionaires. It's that the proponents have continued to advocate for it in the midst of the worst crisis the world has faced since the second world war. The biggest crisis in almost a hundred years. One that will reverberate for generations. more

.ORG and Change

The .ORG domain is at a crossroads: What will it be? A simple registry offering domain names for organizations, individuals and others? Or something bigger, as Ethos Capital and the Public Internet Registry propose? Will proposed changes make .ORG better? Or worse? There are valid points on both sides, but as an Internet safety advocate who for two decades has worked to teach children how to be safe online, stop the next young girl from being sex trafficked, and... more

Reflections on the .ORG Domain Registry Sale

For all the many reasons raised by thousands of petitioners by prominent members of the U.S. Congress, and the California Attorney General's office, this "sale" plainly should not be occurring. However, in a very real way, it is déjà vu. For me, as one of the handful of people who were members of the original InterNIC public advisory committee which oversaw the spinout of the registry activity from its DARPA government instantiation to a private enterprise business... more

Industry Updates

Upward Trend Seen in "All Lives Matter," "BLM," and "Protest" Domain Registrations

Punycode Phishing: Internationalized Domain Names Remain a Threat in 2020

Domain Security Report – Forbes Global 2000 Companies

WhoisXML API Detects Hundreds of Microsoft-Inspired Typo Domains

Typosquatting Data Feed Can Enhance Lloyds Bank's Typosquatting Protection

60+ PayPal Potential Typosquatting Domains Detected in the Beginning of June

Typosquatting Domains Every AppleID Owner Should Avoid

Shopping and the Pandemic: Increased Reliance on Mobile Apps 

Typosquatting Protection: A Look into Instagram-Themed Domain Names

Investigating Typo Domains Beyond Credit Suisse's Spying Scandal

Verisign Q1 2020 Domain Name Industry Brief: Internet Grows to 366.8 Million Domains in Q1 of 2020

Two-Month Extension of Wholesale Restore Fee Waiver

Newly Registered Domains List Show Recent Registrations Continue to Pose Cybersecurity Risks

How to Avoid Phishing Campaigns Targeting CARES Act Recipients

Newly Registered Domains Database Shows Threat Actors Exploit the Need for N95 Masks amid the Pandem