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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

When Registrars Look the Other Way, Drug-Dealers Get Paid

Since November of last year we have been discussing the problem of illicit and illegal online pharmacy support by ICANN-accredited Registrars. In several articles and direct contact with the Registrars we have tirelessly tried to convey the seriousness of this problem, many listened, some did not... With the background information already known, the case presented here is much more specific and concerns EvaPharmacy, which was until recently, the world's largest online criminal pharmacy network. more

Ask Vint Cerf: The Road Ahead for Top-Level Domains

As most readers are no doubt aware, when it comes to the topic of Top-Level Domains (TLDs), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) takes center stage. Vint Cerf, Google's VP and Chief Internet Evangelist, who has served as chairman of the board of ICANN since the November of 1999 has accepted CircleID's invitation to directly respond to your questions on the topic. This is your opportunity to have your Top-Level Domain related questions responded by Vint Cerf. more

Who Is Blocking WHOIS? Part 2

We have just returned from the Brussels, Belgium ICANN meeting where we released our Registrar audit, the Internet "Doomsday Book." There are many topics covered in the report, but we wanted to follow up specifically on the issue of WHOIS access and add data to our previous column Who Is Blocking WHOIS? which covered Registrar denial of their contracted obligation to support Port 43 WHOIS access. more

ICANN Complaint System Easily Gamed

ICANN's WDPRS system has been defeated. The system is intended to remove or correct fraudulently registered domains, but it does not work anymore. Yesterday I submitted a memo to the leadership of the ICANN At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and the greater At-Large community. The memo concerns the details of a 214-day saga of complaints about a single domain used for trafficking opioids. 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

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

Most Abusive Domain Registrations are Preventable

As the WHOIS debate rages and the Top-Level Domain (TLD) space prepares to scale up the problem of rogue domain registration persists. These are set to be topics of discussion in Costa Rica. While the ICANN contract requires verification, in practice this has been dismissed as impossible. However, in reviewing nearly one million spammed domain registrations from 2011 KnujOn has found upwards of 90% of the purely abusive registrations could have been blocked. more

".Pol", a ".Com" for Political Candidates

In the coming months, ICANN will ambitiously expand the number of top-level domains (TLDs). ICANN could add ".movie" and ".paris", among others, to the existing ranks of ".com", ".org", ".gov", and ".edu". Here's another they should consider: a new ".pol" TLD that is reserved exclusively for political candidates and entities. A ".pol" TLD is needed to alleviate problems linked to a now-common phenomenon called political cybersquatting... more

The Catalonian Matter: Law and Order, Democracy and Freedom of Speech, Censorship and Trust

I'm an engineer, and I firmly believe that Internet matters and, in general, Information Society, should be kept separate from politics, so usually, I'm very skeptical to talk about those and mix things. Let's start by saying that I'm Catalonian. Despite the dictatorial regime when I was born, forbidden teaching Catalonian, I learned it, even despite, initially for family reasons and now for work reasons, I live in Madrid. However, I keep saying everywhere I go, that I was born in Barcelona... more

A Case for Further DNS Registrar Industry Self-Regulation

In most industries, businesses that blatantly act against the interests of their customers to favor their own internal profit centers would either not be allowed or else subject to controls and oversight by the government. It is universally regarded as an unfair and deceptive business practice. In the domain name registrar business, however, the normal practices of legitimate business dealings and customer protection seem woefully wanting. Kelly's Case described here illustrates the point... more

Is Africa Ready for a dotAfrica gTLD Future?

It's approximately 2 months to go before the grand application process for the new gTLDs begins, ICANN the international internet body made a revolutionary announcement in June that is going to change the entire internet namespace. With the current 21 gTLDs, the world is bracing for a surge of close to 500 new applications. Among the domains of my interest is the .Africa gTLD. 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

New gTLD Fees Threaten the Diversity of the Name Space

The great promise of the new gTLD programme is not that it will spawn dozens of .COM clones, but rather that it will lead to the creation of a global constellation of unique names embraced by specific interest groups. As an ICANN community, our challenge now is to ensure that the policy framework we've created to manage new gTLDs advances that vision by not penalising the very sorts of domains that the programme was designed to encourage. more

Two Years Later Dozens of Registrars Still in the Shadows

In June of 2008 KnujOn reported that 70 Registrars did not have a business address listed in the InterNIC Registrar Directory. Only after reporting a month later that little had changed did ICANN perform a mass update of the directory. On further inspection we found many of the newly disclosed addresses were phantom locations, false addresses, and PO boxes. more