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ICANN.WTF? FTC & OCA Asked Whether .SUCKS is a Law Breaker (Part II)

The first part of this article reviewed the actions taken by ICANN in response to a March 27th letter from the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) alleging that the pricing of Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) registered terms by the .Sucks registry were "predatory, exploitative and coercive" and requesting that ICANN halt the registry's rollout. This second part explores additional ramifications of ICANN's decision to request two national regulators to review the legality of the registry's operation. more»

Framing New gTLDs' Marketing Message

In an earlier essay, I outlined a focused, cooperative marketing strategy that would be a first step for marketing new gTLDs. After that first initiative, gTLD registries' marketing strategy must focus on the complementarities between .com, and new neutral (such as .global and .web) and branding and labeling gTLDs. The legacy domains and the newcomers can work together nicely. If we don't realize this, all Internet users will lose out. more»

ICANN.WTF? FTC & OCA Asked Whether .SUCKS is a Law Breaker (Part I)

On April 9, 2015 ICANN took the unprecedented step of asking two national consumer protection agencies whether the .Sucks registry, one of the new gTLDs it has approved and which is currently in its sunrise registration period, has a business plan which violates any laws or regulations those agencies enforce. This is the equivalent of sending a message stating, "Dear Regulator: We have lit a fuse. Can you please tell us whether it is connected to a bomb?" more»

3 Steps for Managing ICANN Registry Compliance

If you are like the majority of Registry Operators we have spoken to, you may now be thinking that compliance with your new gTLD Registry Agreement is much more difficult than first envisaged -- especially if you are one of the lucky operators which have been chosen for ICANN's latest round of registry audits! You may also be surprised at the number of questions and requests that you need to respond to. more»

How Much Money Is There in Complaining?

Although I don't have a lot of sympathy for the trademark lawyers' argument that trademark holders need to register .sucks domains cheaply before anyone else can, there is one point at the end of their letter that's worth a look. The registry contract for .sucks, between Vox Populi and ICANN, has this sentence that appears (as far as I know) in no other registry contract, in the section on Registry-Level fees. more»

The 3 Biggest Challenges Facing New gTLDs

When ICANN announced the nTLD program, thousands of applicants threw their hats in the ring. It seemed pretty straight forward; the existing TLDs were running out of short meaningful options, all that was needed was to create newer options that would be more relevant for specific sets of customers. Years later, the process is well underway; hundreds of nTLDs have hit the market, yet less than 10% of those that have gone live seem to have found success. more»

ICANN and a Lot of Other People Outsmart Themselves With .SUCKS

Good taste has never been a criterion in ICANN's new domains program, and domains including .fail and the remarkably vulgar .wtf have become part of the DNS with little comment. Now we have .sucks, which is intended to empower consumers, but does so in a way so clumsy that ICANN is asking regulators in the U.S. and Canada for an excuse to shut it down. more»

We Need a Focused, Cooperative Strategy for Marketing New gTLDs

This essay discusses recent findings on the difficulty of overcoming decision bias, and it argues that this factor, when combined with a diverse and fragmented demand for new gTLDs, makes a focused marketing strategy crucial to the success of the program. In addition, success requires cooperation among registries and resellers when it comes to sales and marketing. Impulse buying aside, a product's sales are driven by the product's utility... more»

Did Google's Infrastructure Coup Work?

There is no doubt that the Google fibre rollout in Kansas City has been a success. Take-up rates are as high as 75%. However, when it was first announced in 2010, we stated that the real reason behind Google's entry into this market was to prove that FttH can be cost-effective and can generate a profitable return -- in the hope that the sluggish telcos would become more active in the rollout of FttH networks. Yet, Google is proving that this indeed can be done, the telcos remain sluggish in deploying FttH. more»

Registration Operations is More Than Just Registering Domain Names

Perceptions can be difficult to change. People see the world through the lens of their own experiences and desires, and new ideas can be difficult to assimilate. Such is the case with the registration ecosystem. Today's operational models exist because of decisions made over time, but the assumptions that were used to support those decisions can (and should) be continuously challenged to ensure that they are addressing today's realities. Are we ready to challenge assumptions? Can the operators of registration services do things differently? more»