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Out of .Africa - Process Failures Don't Change the Facts

I've heard a lot of discussion of the .africa controversy of late -- from conspiracy theories to questions about staff competence to concerns about the role of the GAC. And it's hard not to find faults galore in the way this process and the IRP reporting has played out. But before we get too lost in the weeds of procedure or the future of ICANN, lets not lose track of what this debate was first and still is fundamentally about: a string. more»

A New Boom to Come? Re-Evaluating the Success of the New TLD Program

I think it's fair to say that quite a few people -- both within the domain name industry and beyond -- have an opinion on whether the new TLD program is succeeding or struggling. But are things really all that bad? Are we forecasting doom before it has really had a chance to run? Crunching the numbers... Let's consider the (relatively short) history to this point and take a look at some statistics. more»

Dot SUCKS: The Ultimate Vanity Domain

When last we wrote, trademark lawyers had written an outraged letter to ICANN about the $2500 price to preregister trademark.sucks names, and ICANN, reliably panicking in the face of legal threats, wrote to the US Federal Trade Commission and Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs saying please tell us that's illegal so we can shut down this registry with whom we just signed a long-term contract. (The mysterious $1 surcharge turned out to be a weak attempt by ICANN to collect debts that affiliates of registry owner Momentous defaulted on long ago.) more»

Rage Against the ICANN Machine

I'm going to do what no professional journalist should ever do: take a story at face value. So full disclosure: I have not checked the facts behind the story that sparked this little rant I'm about to embark on. But I've known the author for a number of years as being a consummate professional when it comes to reporting facts. And I've known ICANN, the organisation, for even longer. I have therefore seen first hand the organisation's ability to be at times borderline duplicitous in its attempts to reach a desired result.
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Never Invited, but Always Present

Listening today to the U.S. Congress' House of Representatives Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing on ICANN governance reminded me just how often Vox Populi Registry, the company bringing dotSucks names to the Internet, is a guest at parties to which it has never been invited. Sometimes, like today, we are able to view it all from a distance and mostly we have refrained from trying to correct every misstatement or argue each odd point. more»

Where Has the Domain Name Growth Gone?

It is pretty common knowledge now that domain name growth started to drop around two years ago and is falling still. At this rate there is every chance that TLDs that have only ever seen growth will start to see a decline sometime in the next few years. What follows is a theory on where that growth has gone. It is widely stated that the greater choice provided by hundreds of new gTLDs means that demand is dissipating across them and that's where the growth has gone. more»

New gTLDs Are Great for Pump-and-Dumps, Phishes and More…

Yesterday, egregious financial truth-tellers (a client of ours at easyDNS) ZeroHedge broke the news that parties unknown, engineered what looks to be a textbook "pump-and-dump" on Twitter's stock by putting up a fake "Bloomberg Financial News" site on the domain bloomberg.market and proceeded to run a story on it about Twitter being acquired. The story spread and shares of Twitter stock promptly spiked on volume, Twitter finishing the day on nearly double the average daily volume. more»

I Spoke to a Club Manager

We, domain name and Trademark professionals, think end-users know about domain names. The truth is that few of them have ever heard of what a domain name is and worth; very few have heard about new descriptive domain names so I asked a Club manager my questions... Representatives of a famous French sports club were there and I bumped into them to ask my question: "any plan to change to a .club domain name?" more»

.BANK Launches With a Bang

The 30-day .BANK Sunrise Period just concluded this week and is notable for several reasons. The .BANK TLD is highly restricted to members of the banking industry. The .BANK Registry (which also has rights to .INSURANCE, launching this fall), was founded by 24 companies and organizations from the banking and insurance industries, The Registry's founders include industry leaders such as the American Banking Association, Citigroup, Dollar Bank, Independent Community Bankers of America, JPMorgan, Visa and Wells Fargo. more»

Is .SUCKS Pricing Model Gaining Traction With Other Registries?

Until the launch of the New gTLD Program, TLD launches were relatively straightforward. They generally consisted of a Sunrise Period, a Landrush Phase, and then General Availability. We would see the occasional Grandfather Phase or "Founders" program, but all in all, launches were pretty standard and straightforward. Things started to change with the launch of the new gTLD program. more»

Can Your Brand Afford to Not Have a dotBrand?

More than six hundred brands have applied for their own dotBrand (a new top level domain associated with a trademarked brand). These represent every segment of our economy: banks, tech companies, media, food, luxury goods, etc. Quite a few dotbrands have already gone live. The current application period is closed, but the next round will likely begin in 24 months or so. more»

New gTLDs and Universal Acceptance

Universal Acceptance is the topic of the moment, explained in one simple sentence: in the new gTLD world, it means that various groups (the DNS, ICANN and a few others) are working hard to make new domain names better accepted by the existing technical Internet infrastructure. A video extracted from the "ICANN 52" meeting explains it in 50 slides but I suggest a pause on slide 17, because it shows where the issues are and what remains to be fixed to give the ultimate answer to that question. more»

Three Things TLD Registries Must Know About China's Domain Name Regulation

Recently there have been a number of news reports/articles that are incorrect or misleading in interpreting China's domain name management policy. James has posted an article aiming to clarify what is going to in China's domain name market. Considering the potential negative impact of those reports on the participants of this market, I supplement James's post by pointing out three things, which I believe critical for any TLD registries that hope to have a better understand of China's domain name regulation and the special action based on it. more»

Is Sharing the Answer to .BRAND Top Level Domain Disputes?

In opening up for the .BRAND top level domain, ICANN has artificially created a scarce resource of great commercial value. Indeed, the values of the .BRAND TLDs may be astronomical due to the investments made by the companies that own the trademarks represented in the .BRAND TLD. While the above is interesting in its own right, I will here focus specifically on how we deal with situations where more than one company has a legitimate trademark interest in a particular .BRAND TLD. more»

Pricing & Promotions of TLDs - Is Your Billing System Holding You Back?

As the leading consulting firm to the Domain Name industry, we work with many of the existing gTLDs, ccTLDs and new gTLDs. During our engagements we do a lot of listening (as well as work) and this gives us a unique perspective on the key challenges the industry is facing. Recently, we are hearing feedback from many leading registries and registrars about their need for more dynamic pricing and promotions and their concern that there may not be enough flexibility in their billing systems to speedily handle their promotion plans. more»