News and Updates

.ORG Registry Operator PIR Releases Annual Report Detailing 2018 Results and 2019 Initiatives

DN Journal - Thu, 2019-07-18 21:59
Public Interest Registry (PIR) released its 2018 Annual Report today. The report highlighted 2018 developments and plans for 2019.
Categories: News and Updates

MMX settles .London deal, plans share buyback

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-07-18 15:46

Company can finally put .London fiasco behind it.

MMX, aka Minds + Machines Group Limited (AIM: MMX), announced preliminary results for the first half of 2019 today. It also made two big announcements.

Cash inflows in the half were $8.6 million compared to $6.3 million in the same period last year. The company received $1.6 million from losing top level domain auctions. It also says that the ICM Registry portfolio of domains (adult domains including .xxx) has stabilized and the company believes it can make them grow going forward.

Looking beyond the numbers, MMX made two big announcements.

First, it has made an agreement on one “legacy contract” that should settle it once and for all. While the company doesn’t identify which TLD the contract covers, it’s an open secret that it’s .London.

The company will make a one-time payment of $5.1 million to cover all of its liabilities on the .London contract. That’s better than its current estimated liability of $7.9 million. .London will go down as one of the worst new TLD deals ever, and having it behind the company will be a big boost.

Second, the company is going to use up to £1 million of its cash reserves to buy back shares. This should help put a floor on the share price for a while. Shares have traded at about 5.0-6.5 pence for the past six months.

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Categories: News and Updates

The Internet and My 53 Years Online

Domain industry news - Thu, 2019-07-18 14:32

With the upcoming celebration of the 50 years of the Internet, I'm trying to figure out how the traditional story misses the powerful idea that has made the Internet what it is — the ability to focus on solutions without having to think about the network or providers. It's not the web — thought that is one way to use the opportunity. The danger in a web-centric view is that it leads one to make the Internet better for the web while closing the frontier of innovation.

I see a different Internet from what many others see. Today I am working with peer devices with my home network as a test lab for peer connectivity rather than an Internet you access from afar. It's not home automation as much as trying to understand peer connectivity rather than the web.

When working on home control at Microsoft in the 1990s, I realized that today's Internet protocols didn't allow me to do something so simple as turn on a light. More to the point, it didn't give me a way to define a stable relationship between a light switch and a bulb or a fixture. The DNS doesn't provide me stable names nor do IP addresses. If we can't do something as simple as that, then something is very wrong. Those of us who can program around these issues encounter these problems long before others do. What others view as network services we see as meddling we must get past. Thus the telecom best practice of buffering broke TCP, giving us buffer bloat.

This isn't new. In 1994 I was commuting to Microsoft from my office at home in Boston and learned how to make my home network interconnect with Microsoft's, so I figured how using techniques like NATs (Network Address Translation) and dynamic address assignment. This meant that instead of paying a monthly fee for each IP address as my provider required, I could use that single connection and connect as many devices as I wanted.

The reason that seems the norm today is that I used my position at Microsoft to make it happen. Otherwise, the norm would have you still paying a monthly fee for each device, as you do with the cellular network. If the phone companies have their way with 5G as they plan, you'll again be paying a monthly fee for each device.

When Dan Bricklin was faced with the need to do repeated calculations while in business school, he came up with the idea of the electronic spreadsheet. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to do the bulk of the programming. It was another powerful lesson in using software to reduce an idea to practice and share it with the world.

I grew up riding the crest of using software. Networking, as with the Internet, is just part of this larger story.

To understand my perspective, we need to go back to the start of my career. In 1963 I took my first programming class.

In 1966, while still in High School, I was fortunate to get a job working for White-Weld, an investment banking company that was offering the first financial information workbench for its clients. By that summer, I took a terminal home and was able to do what I wanted with the computer as long as I was making progress on my projects. That worked out well because developing software for others to use was what I enjoyed doing — both for the technical challenge for the satisfaction of empowering others.

Though my focus was and continues to be on the software, I also worked with the hardware as needed. I'd run my own wires to connect devices and modify the circuits on my teletype as needed. A key innovation was the modem — the modulator/demodulator — that enabled me to repurpose the entire phone network as a long wire. If the dialup numbers in New York were busy, I could dial into a port in another state. It didn't matter (other than the cost).

In the Spring of 1973 at MIT, I took a class in which we studied computer networking, and one network caught my attention — the ALOHAnet in Hawaii which was nothing more than a bunch of computers and radios. There was no network as such. It also caught the attention of my classmate, Bob Metcalfe who used a coaxial cable as the ether — hence the term Ethernet.

While Bob Metcalfe had to convince his thesis advisors that the Ethernet would work, I needed no such convincing. The stated speed was 3Mbps (OK, 2.994) but I didn't care because it was so much faster than the 9600bps (.01 Mbps). It didn't matter if it was running at a few percents of the stated capacity. It was so much faster than the existing networks, and I could explore the possibilities. I even thought of putting it on the campus cable TV network as a broadband network (the Ethernet itself was baseband in that it used the whole capacity, not an allocated band).

Even before my 1966 job, I had tried building a computer circuit in Junior High though I didn't worry about getting it to really work because I soon had access to abundant opportunities for writing software and learning in High School. At MIT, the then-experimental Computer Engineering program was in the Electrical Engineering department. Thus I learned about the underlying hardware as well as the software. In today's parlance, it was a full stack education along with my experience in the business world.

I'm thinking about this as a look at the upcoming Xconomy celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Internet. However, it conflates the Internet with the ARPAnet. I see them as very different, and in writing an upcoming column (, I realized the degree to which it's not about the network but about the ability to create solutions without worrying about all the complexity and "favors" between the two endpoints. Actually, I do worry about it but in a way that doesn't interfere with my getting my job done.

This separation between the "between" and what can be done with the opportunity has made the Internet what it is. Decoupling means that any improvements in the common infrastructure (the "between") benefits all applications and creates opportunities for everyone. It's a resource, not a layer one depends on.

The "connecting essay" was written before today's Internet yet it is still relevant because it doesn't really matter whether the underlying connectivity is the cellular network or a best efforts Internet. It didn't depend on the services of the cellular network. In fact, the favors such as reliable delivery come a price both literally in the guise of a paywall and in limiting availability to where a provider builds out facilities.

When I read about 5G or a more secure Internet I worry that this spirit of innovation and discovery can be lost because the old guard is looking at the Internet through the lens of traditional telecom and with an implicit assumption that there is an intelligence that can be placed in the path to make things work better and to make the network safer. It assumes that we understand the purpose of the network and only need to make it faster to make it better.

I've written about the importance of opportunity rather than solutions. The ideas are counter-intuitive — the less you do, the more you enable others to do. Today's Internet can scale because it is not solving problems inside the network.

I see a parallel with electronic spreadsheets. While there have been some significant improvements since I first wrote VisiCalc in 1979, the basic spreadsheet is still at its core. When people try to make it smarter, they limit the audience because the secret of the spreadsheet is that it's simply a tool that reflects the smarts of the user rather than imposing its own. It's the egoless assistant.

In the same way, the best efforts infrastructure that we call "The Internet" is an enabler rather than a solutions-provider.

It is a fundamentally different paradigm from the concept of telecommunications, which is about transporting messages intact as a service. The infrastructure exists for the exclusive use of the service provider that owns it.

Letting others, like Netflix and Skype, use it creates an inherent conflict of interest since they are taking business away from the other facilities. There is an inherent conflict of interest in relying on these providers for infrastructure.

If we are to make opportunity available rather than selling services, we need to pay for the infrastructure in a way that doesn't require a rent-seeking structure. (

5G is an attempt to return to the time of Ma Bell knowing what we need and building those smarts into the network for a price — a high price since it needs entirely new facilities. It claws the revenue back into the network and puts up paywalls everywhere. Those thwart the kind of innovation that has given us so much and in turn will give us more of what we had rather than creating opportunity.

This is happening just at the time when we are learning how to make things smart. However, those things can't negotiate past barriers without making prior arrangement and without convincing rent-seekers that it's worth their while to allow the innovations that threaten their revenue streams.

This was the situation in the 1970s, but common carriage laws forced the carriers to allow packets even though they foresaw the commoditization of their business. 5G fixes that problem for the carriers.

The other issue is the challenge of radical transparency. What happens when we can't hide behind the village walls? The current in-vogue solutions are higher walls or more authority with an intelligent network provider.

We still have a lot to learn about this new world of radical transparently and some friction in the path might give us a breather, and it won't provide us with respite from change. And if we rely on the intelligent network provider, we will find our future limited and our present retreating.

We tend to focus on creating solutions and providing services. I think in terms of creating opportunity and discovery. Opportunity works when we can survive the chaos and take advantage of powerful ideas. This is the engine of evolution with the few successes being more than enough to make up for the failures. I see the diversity (AKA chaos) as necessary because there is no fixed metric for success; we can't know all the contexts and interactions.

The next 50 years of connectivity should be centered on creating opportunity instead of trying to merely hone what we already have.

Written by Bob Frankston, Independent Internet Professional

Follow CircleID on Twitter

More under: Internet Protocol, Networks, Telecom, Web

Categories: News and Updates

Marketing a Teenage TLD

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-07-18 13:30

[Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post by Lori Anne Wardi of Neustar]

Hi, my name is Lori Anne Wardi and I’m a domain junkie.

I’ve been buying, selling, studying, developing, dreaming about, promoting and preaching the bible of domain names since 2000. With many years as a domain investor under my belt, I got the opportunity to join the founding team of .CO Internet in 2009 as the Director of Marketing. From 2010 through today, it has been amazing to watch .CO grow from 28,000 domains under management to well over 2.2 million – and become the domain of choice for many of the world’s leading innovators, entrepreneurs and startups.

In 2014, when .CO Internet was acquired by Neustar, this born and bred New Yorker was given the chance to serve as the General Manager for the launch of New York City’s .nyc domain.  Working with the Neustar team to help turn the greatest city brand in the world into the one of the greatest city TLDs in the world was beyond rewarding, amidst all of the excitement and novelty of the new gTLD program.

Launching a brand and building a community around a domain extension is the best kind of challenge – it pushes your creative and strategic brains at the same time and forces you to think outside the box. But not every domain extension has the luxury of starting with a blank slate. Let’s take the .US domain, for example.  With 17 years under its belt, it’s hardly a brand new, baby namespace. So exactly how does a teenage TLD, like .US, stand out in a marketplace with more than 1,000 shiny new competitors?

Keeping .US fresh after 17 years

I know that the topic of .US marketing has occasionally inspired some very, shall we say, “spirited” commentary by domain investors. I mean, I read all the domain blogs too!  I get it, and it’s for good reason. As investors, we want to know that the TLDs we invest in are being well managed and marketed, and are building an engaged, loyal customer base of end-users in today’s increasingly crowded and complex marketplace.

After 17 years as the .US Administrator, there are a host of different strategies and tactics that Neustar’s marketing team uses to keep .US fresh, relevant and in demand by end-users. I could rattle on about how we use things like programmatic advertising, paid search, influencer marketing, retargeting, content marketing, and the like. But don’t worry, I won’t bore you with all the gory details. My goal today is just to give you a quick flyover view of our approach to defining and engaging with the .US target market.

’Micro-targeting’: The many faces of .US

It is marketing 101 that you need to clearly define your target market for any product, service or brand. As the country code domain extension for the United States of America, our most obvious end-user target market is, you guessed it, American businesses, organizations and individuals.

While “Americans” are obviously a cornerstone of our marketing, if our marketing whizzes had just written “America” next to “target audience” and patted themselves on the back for a solid day’s work, I suspect our marketing campaigns would go over like a led balloon.  Luckily, that has not been the case.

Instead, our team has developed a ‘micro-targeting’ approach; essentially, breaking our audience down into niche segments that each have unique and interesting motivations for using .US domains – and then building creative, relevant campaigns for each of these groups.

Some of these groups are attracted to the national pride and patriotism of the .US domain, others we’ve reached by thinking laterally about the TLD and leaning into the use of the word “us” to build special campaigns to represent community, connection and relationships.

More than just registrations, the ultimate goal of our micro-targeting is to ensure that there is genuine, meaningful usage of the .US domain, which ultimately is one of the best barometers for domain registries in assessing the health and viability of any namespace. Here are just a few examples of the unique end-user target markets we engage with as part of the .US community.

Small businesses – Dream with .US

SMBs in the USA are the bread-and-butter for .US domains. More than just a domain, .US supports small and medium sized businesses with tools and resources to help business owners launch and manage their websites, including step-by-step guides on topics ranging from choosing a domain, to lead generation, to social media and SEO. To spread the .US message to SMBs, we participate in a variety of business focused tradeshows and events, and leverage popular promotional channels like podcast advertising, social media and search engine marketing, among other things.

Political & civic engagement – Campaign with .US

Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, or everything in between, for political candidates, advocates and activists in the US of A, the .US domain is clearly a perfect match. Our “Campaign with .US” initiative helps these highly-engaged and passionate people and groups connect their cause(s) with their country through a .US domain.  Since there are so many options available for ad targeting based on job title, group association and user search history that indicates political involvement, we have the opportunity to be hyper focused in our approach and deliberate in our messaging.

Engaged couples – This is .US

One example of how we have used the concept of “us” to market the .US domain is by tapping into the wedding website market. Our “This is .US” campaign encourages newly engaged couples in the United States to create their wedding website on a .US domain, and to grow their website as their relationship and family develops. There is a wealth of behavioral and interest targeting data available to identify those preparing for an upcoming wedding, so we can be sure to reach the right people at the right time with our message.

Families – Thankful for .US

Again, emphasizing the word ‘us’, our “Thankful for .US” campaign encourages American families to secure their personalized family web address on .US domain.  A family web address can be a place to share your family story or a platform to keep in touch with long-distance or extended family members whether through building a website or creating a family email group. There’s a strong case that family websites and emails are more personal, accessible and private than many popular social media sites, which let’s face it, are increasingly being criticized for harvesting our personal family data in sometimes mysterious (and often unwanted) ways.


The Story of .US

At the end of the day, the best kind of marketing is the kind you don’t do yourself: word of mouth. Building a sense of community, ownership and loyalty around the .US domain enables us to let our satisfied customers tell their stories — promoting .US in the process.

Our recent “Story of .US” video campaign featured real .US customers from a wide array of backgrounds showcasing their businesses and brands – and explaining their affinity for the .US domain in their own words. From the multi-billion dollar tech behemoth Zoom.US, which just had the most successful IPO of 2019, to a group a high-schoolers who have started their own web development business — it’s extremely gratifying for us to see and hear real customers enthusiastically sharing their .US stories with the world.

Please take some time to watch some or all of the videos in “The Story of .US” campaign – you can find some of them below, or all of them on our website here.  We are extremely proud of this campaign and hope you find it inspiring too.

The next 17 years and beyond

It has been an honor for the Neustar team to launch, build, grow and shape the .US namespace, from inception to today. But we’ve never rested on our laurels and we certainly don’t plan to do so now. In the years ahead, we are committed to continue refining our marketing strategy, innovating on new and unique marketing campaigns, engaging our community of brand ambassadors and supporting ongoing growth and success of the .US TLD.

Ultimately our goal is to ensure that the millions of individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, community groups, couples, families, startups, solopreneurs, veterans, dreamers, makers and more who are building their future on .US – as well as those who invest in the .US namespace – can rest assured knowing that .US is one of the most trusted, dynamic and in demand TLDs in the world.

If you know of any cool .US customers, or stumble upon any “in the wild” – please reach out and let us know.  We are always looking for new and interesting ways to shine the light on the great things happening in the .US namespace!  You can learn more about .US at, and can contact us  Thanks for reading!

© 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

PIR (.org) releases annual report, shows impact from new Afilias deal

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2019-07-18 12:00

Margins are up thanks to renegotiated contract with Afilias.

Public Interest Registry (PIR), the organization that operates the .org top level domain, released its 2018 annual report today.

The report includes data for 2018 and gives the first indications into its new contract with Afilias to run the technical backed of the registry.

PIR put the technical contract out to bid in 2016. Twenty companies responded to the RFP but PIR decided to stick with Afilias.

The new contract started in 2018. In 2017 PIR paid Afilias $37.8 million, which is much higher than many registry operators would charge.

We won’t know for sure how much Afilias earned on the .org contract in 2017 until PIR files its 2018 tax return later this year. But it is notable that PIR’s operating income increased from $38.9M in 2017 to $45.9 million in 2018, an improvement of $7.0 million.

The total cost of revenue in 2018 was $32.9 million.

Afilias’ fees aren’t the only thing in these numbers. And, frankly, I expected to see a bigger change under the renegotiated contract. It’s possible that the new contract reduces prices over time to reduce the impact on Afilias.

The full annual report is here.

© 2019. This is copyrighted content. Domain Name Wire full-text RSS feeds are made available for personal use only, and may not be published on any site without permission. If you see this message on a website, contact copyright (at) Latest domain news at Domain Name Wire.

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Joe Uddeme at Books $285,000 Sale To Top This Week's Chart

DN Journal - Thu, 2019-07-18 01:19
After ringing up one of last year's 10 biggest sales, Joe Uddeme is back with one of this year's 15 biggest deals to date.
Categories: News and Updates

GDPR Fine Enough or More Disclosure?

Domain industry news - Wed, 2019-07-17 22:16

The UK cares about its citizens' privacy to the tune of a $229 million (US) fine of British Airways for a breach that disclosed information of approximately half a million customers. It's exciting — a significant fine for a significant loss of data. I think GDPR will lead to improved security of information systems as companies scramble to avoid onerous fines and start to demand more from those who provide information security services and products.

I wish, though, that as part of their penance, GDPR required companies to provide more details more quickly about how the breach occurred and how a company like British Airways fell short in stopping it. The conversation needs to move quickly and fluidly about what is the standard of duty of care that must be met by organizations.

From a tripwire article:

"Precisely how the hackers managed to gain access to British Airways' infrastructure to plant the malicious code in the first place hasn't been made public. However, what's clear is that for a period of time they failed to notice that a JavaScript library used in their website's payment flow had been tampered with."

What has been learned about the breach seems to be coming from third-party analysis such as the blog posting from RISIQ. It turns out that British Airways is one of a number of companies such as Ticketmaster and Newegg to have problems with digital card skimming attacks. Sanguine Security Labs reported that 962 online shops were recently, similarly attacked in a 24-hour period.

Digital card skimming attacks date back to 2016 and show no sign of abating. The attackers keep innovating and succeeding because it is hard to keep up with the newest variations of the Magecart mode of attacks. It's also confusing to know what defensive steps are reasonable and most cost-effective.

Elizabeth Denham, the UK commissioner in charge of the agency that levied the fine, was quoted as saying:

"That's why the law is clear — when you are entrusted with personal data, you must look after it. Those that don't will face scrutiny from my office to check they have taken appropriate steps to protect fundamental privacy rights."

Organizations must report breaches. There is real urgency to address digital skimming attacks, which continue to compromise user data. Shouldn't the EU and the bureaucracy administering the GDPR be anxious to share what they know about how these attacks are evolving and what they believe are the appropriate steps to prevent them? For example, is British Airways being fined because they failed to patch a known vulnerability such as the PHP Object Injection vulnerability CVE-2016-4010? Were they fined because they didn't have a file integrity monitor in place on their servers verifying that scripts had not been tampered with? Organizations that fall under GDPR jurisdiction need to know what misstep British Airways took from the viewpoint of the UK office.

When a breach occurs, more information needs to be disclosed more quickly about what happened and what went wrong. Appropriate steps will sound better when GDPR speaks up about what those are. British Airways will be given the opportunity to defend whether they acted reasonably. The reasoning behind whatever decision is made needs to be made public. Providing an account of what went wrong is as important as holding companies accountable.

Written by Curt Dukes, Executive Vice President

Follow CircleID on Twitter

More under: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Law, Policy & Regulation

Categories: News and Updates

U.S. Gov gives Neustar 10-year extension on .Us domain

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-07-17 18:02

Neustar wins contract to continue operating .Us through 2029.

The U.S. government has extended its contract with Neustar to operate the .Us domain name extension for up to the next ten years, until 2029.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced today that the contract was awarded on June 28. The government does not pay Neustar to run .Us but Neustar collects registration fees from .us registrants.

Neustar has operated the namespace since 2001. As a country code domain with numerous third-level registrations by local government entities, it has added complexities compared to most top level domains.

There are over 2 million .us domains under management.

.Us hasn’t established the foothold that some country code domains, such as .de (Germany) have. That’s because of the U.S.’s early role in the internet. Many people think of .com as the de facto country code of the United States.

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Categories: News and Updates

Republicans nuke .GOP domain to take down fundraising rival

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-07-17 17:32

The top level domain operator of your domain name can play God.

You can no longer access Give.GOP thanks to a dispute between .GOP operators and the site owner.

He who controls the top level domain can control all of its registrants.

That’s the lesson for users of .GOP domains.

The .GOP registry, which is operated by Republican State Leadership Committee, has forced the owner of Give.GOP to take down his site because it was worried that it was taking away focus from a Donald Trump-endorsed competitor, Politico reports.

According to .GOP’s acceptable use policy, its philosophy that “The Registry supports the sharing of diverse ideas over the Internet and intends for the online community to fully reflect the varying viewpoints and debates taking place in our community.”

Well, as long as those viewpoints don’t conflict with Republican State Leadership Committee’s viewpoints.

I don’t see any way that Give.GOP violated the use policy. But, like most acceptal use policies, it states that the registry can do whatever it wants. In fact, it could divert Give.GOP traffic to another domain, if it wishes.

Give.GOP probably should have gone with a .com domain. Or .Republican,which is run by a more neutral operator, Donuts. forwards to Give.GOP. It’s hard to tell who owns it because of blocked Whois records.

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Categories: News and Updates

18 end user domain sales up to $55,000

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-07-17 16:19

.Co has a strong week and an end-user buys a three-letter .com domain.

Attend a real tradeshow virtually? That’s ExpoBot’s pitch. It bought at Sedo. Picture from

Imagine attending a trade expo virtually through a robot. That’s the idea behind ExpoBot. I guarantee you its $5,000 domain purchase is small potatoes compared to its R&D budget. is just one of many excellent end user sales at Sedo that closed this past week.

Here’s a look at sales to end users that recently closed at Sedo. See prior end user lists here. $55,000 – An end-user, three-letter domain purchase. Harsco Industrial IKG bought the domain and forwards it to $30,000 – This is a product development company. Its brands include Custom SLR performance camera gear, Think Ergo ergonomic wear and FLYT minimalist accessories. $19.888 – I’m going to count this as an end user even though we don’t know who bought it yet. The price is an end user price for .co. The Whois currently shows hosting service Media Temple. $11,250 – Alternatives Funeral & Cremation services, which uses the domain $10,000 – The buyer is setting up a real estate search site on the domain. €10,000 – Voltix Inc provides commercial and residential electrical services. €7,485 – Bulls is a bicycle brand. The domain currently forwards to $5,500 – Forwards to, a new vodka brand launching soon. The site is still in development with a release time listed as July 2019. $5,000 – I thought this was a joke at first but it’s real. This company has a robot that can attend your tradeshow. Picture a robot moving through an expo floor, and on the other end a “visitor” is interacting with the robot via a webcam. $4,000 & $3,500 – These two keyword domains were purchased by web development shop Sevenval Technologies GmbH. They are likely for a client. $2,900 – Forwards to, a company focused on pharmaceutical launch services. $2,788 – This will be the website for National Institute of Building Sciences’ Building Innovation conference. $2,662 – Forwards to, an artificial hair and wig products company. Luv fails the radio test so this was a smart buy. $2,488 – Forwards to AACSB International (AACSB) is a global nonprofit education association focused on leadership training. €2,400 – A marketing website for properties in Dubai. $2,000 – An online tool for companies to make media kits. It generates the template based on a website. It’s clever. €2,000 – DropBoy is a dispatch system between a distributor and delivery drivers.

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Australian Broadcasting Corporation loses attempt to get

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-07-17 15:02

Australian public broadcaster loses attempt to get 24-year-old domain name.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation lost its attempt to get

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Australia’s national broadcaster, has lost a cybersquatting complaint it brought against the domain name

The broadcaster failed to convince a World Intellectual Property Organization panelist that the domain name was registered in bad faith. After all, it’s a very common term.

The domain owner registered it in 1995 while working at an ISP, and later put the domain name to use.

ABC didn’t seem to mind much about the domain until the domain owner contacted it in 2017 advising that he was receiving misdirected emails.

This is the second UDRP decision in as many days in which misdirected email was discussed. In both cases, the owner of a ccTLD was losing email to another domain. ABC’s website is In a recent case for, the Complainant used and was losing email to the .com.

Panelist Rober Badgley did not find that ABC filed the complaint as attempted reverse domain name hijacking. He noted that, while its complaint was slanted to its preferred narrative, it did not make false statements or glaring omissions. Badgley wrote, “this may be more a case of lacking appreciation of the nuances of this case than a calculated attempt to wrest a domain name from an innocent and smaller party.”

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Categories: News and Updates

Afilias to offer Registry Lock service

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2019-07-17 13:32

28 more top level domains can be locked at the registry level.

Afilias is the latest domain name registry to offer a Registry Lock service for websites that need added protection against hijacking and nameserver changes.

Registry Lock is very different from locking a domain name at a registrar. A typical domain lock means a domain can’t be transferred to another registrar until it is unlocked in the registrar interface.

Registry Lock requires manual authentication with both the registrar and registry before changes can be made to a domain.

Different registries have different procedures, but Registry Lock usually requires a domain owner to request a change with the registrar and then the registrar completes a manual process with the registry to allow the change. Domain registrar Blacknight explains the process on its website.

It’s a necessary service for big websites, and would have saved the New York Times from having its nameservers hijacked in 2013.

As of 2013, .com registry Verisign charged $10 a month for its Registry Lock service. Registrars typically charge $300-$600 per year because of the manual work involved. I suspect registrars will charge a similar price for Afilas’ service, although brand protection registrars often bundle it with other services.

The Afilias service will be available for 28 top level domains.

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Categories: News and Updates

Farrer & Co law firm loses cybersquatting dispute

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2019-07-16 16:06

Company tries to get matching .com that receives misdirected email.

Not .com, and that’s causing issues for this law firm.

If you don’t own the .com version of your domain name, you are likely missing emails intended for your company.

That’s why law firm Farrer & Co LLP filed a UDRP against It uses, and it learned that clients sent sensitive information to email addresses at

The firm lost the dispute, though.

A three-member World Intellectual Property Organization panel found that Farrer didn’t show that the owner, which runs an IT firm, lacked legitimate rights or interests in the domain. It also didn’t show that the domain was registered in bad faith.

The panel pointed out that the law firm could have obtained the domain on a couple of occasions as it has changed hands twice since it was originally registered in 1997.

It appears that the current registrant acquired the domain in a NameJet auction in 2012 for only $3,100.

The panel stopped short of finding Farrer & Co LLP to have filed the case in bad faith.

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Categories: News and Updates

Thoughts on domain price increases, two weeks later

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2019-07-16 15:14

Here are my thoughts after processing ICANN’s pricing decision for the past two weeks.

It’s been two weeks since ICANN quietly announced that it was going forward with removing price caps on .org, .biz and .info domain names.

The comment period was a farce. ICANN–or a few people in ICANN–decided they wanted to get out of the price control business.

What’s interesting here is that it doesn’t seem that this change was brought on by the registries that stand to benefit. Maybe they asked, but I don’t think they made a big push for price cap removal. After all, they already had generous 10%-a-year increases in their contracts.

There’s no reason to spew hate on the registries at this time. This was all ICANN.

In making the pricing proposal, ICANN stated:

This change will not only allow the .org renewal agreement to better conform with the base registry agreement, but also takes into consideration the maturation of the domain name market and the goal of treating the Registry Operator equitably with registry operators of new gTLDs and other legacy gTLDs utilizing the base registry agreement

ICANN now has a goal of treating all registry operators the same, even though legacy TLDs were launched in an entirely different market. Even though current domain owners are “stuck” with the domains they have.

There is a very high switching cost to domain names. A company that has used a domain for decades could suddenly face a steep renewal fee. It then has three choices:

  1. Expend resources and money to switch to another domain. Change all of its email, set up SEO redirects, etc.
  2. Pay the higher price
  3. Renew now for ten years

It’s the last option that ICANN says protects domain registrants. They can renew their domain now at today’s price, assuming they realize the fees are about to increase.

But that just kicks the can down the road for ten years. It’s typical bureaucrat thinking. It will be Göran Marby’s unfortunate legacy.

In the near term, I don’t expect the impacted registries to make significant price increases. In fact, I suspect .org registry Public Interest Group may increase prices less over the next few years than it would have had it had the old 10% price increase option because now it’s under the microscope.

The long term is a different story. It’s likely that first-year prices will remain low through promotions but renewal prices will increase. And if one of these registries decides to sell itself to a private equity group or another company? All bets are off.

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Related posts:
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Categories: News and Updates

AdultBlock launched to block .XXX and other domains

Domain Name Wire - Tue, 2019-07-16 13:22

MMX releases new service to block brands in adult domain name extensions.

Top level domain registry MMX has launched a new service for companies to block their names on .xxx, .sex, .adult and .porn domains.

Called AdultBlock, the service blocks second level domain names in all four of its adult domain names. Brands can use AdultBlock+ to block variants of their domain, such as homoglyphs.

While wholesale pricing is not disclosed, the company states that it is priced at about a 35% savings over the equivalent price for registering a single name in all four extensions.

I can’t find any registrars promoting the service yet, but a likely candidate is, which works with lots of corporate customers. It charges $89.99 per year for each of MMX’s adult domains. A 35% discount would put the basic service at $234 per year.

Instra, another corporate domain registrar, charges $119 per year for adult domains. A 35% discount would put a block at about $310 per year.

While these are just estimates, it appears a one year block in the basic service will be in the $200-$350 range, and a ten year block will be over $2,000.

The service also covers premium domain names, so this could be a good way for a brand holder with a generic name to block domains without paying a hefty registration fee.

AdultBlock is open to companies with a record in the Trademark Clearninghouse or who participated in the .xxx Sunrise B program. Sunrise B was a post-sunrise program in which companies could pay to block their names in .xxx.


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The Untold History of the First Cyber Moonshot

Domain industry news - Tue, 2019-07-16 00:17

A dialogue between Michael Warner (Historian, United States Cyber Command) and Tony Rutkowski (Cybersecurity engineer, lawyer and historian)

Michael is chairing a cyber history panel at the October biennial Symposium on Cryptologic History hosted by the National Security Agency; his panel will include discussion of the almost unknown key role of cryptologist Ruth Nelsonz leading a team in the 1980s in a major initiative to secure public internet infrastructure.

I was actually a communications engineer in the Firing Room for the Apollo 11 launch almost 50 years ago now – who even took a selfie on the way to work for that day. (Tony Rutkowski) TR: Like the ongoing efforts for Apollo 11, we need to capture and tell the history of what was effectively "The U.S. Cyber Moonshot." As fate has it, that history threads through much of my diverse career. I was actually a communications engineer in the Firing Room for the Apollo 11 launch almost 50 years ago now — who even took a selfie on the way to work for that day. My job included ensuring the resiliency and security of communication systems for the launch, and I subsequently went to work for the Federal Communications Commission in Washington where my varied positions included similar functions for the nation's infrastructure.

It is not well known, but seven years later in 1976, Hal Folts as head of the technical branch at the little-known DOD agency NCS, generated a memo that launched the U.S. secure/resilient internet initiative. The National Communications System had the responsibility for Executive Branch communications during exceptional emergencies known as NS/EP, and my FCC role included liaison with them. The initiative in turn led to the development of the Secure Data Network System (SDNS) by NSA and contractors in which Ruth Nelson played a leading role.

My career ironically had come to thread through parts of ensuing Cyber Moonshot developments. Massive resources among multiple government agencies were committed to bringing about this "Cyber Moonshot." A number of unfortunate developments in the early 90s resulted in the government withdrawing support and resources. However, rather like the actual "Moonshot," the technologies found their way into countless products and services today to make them more secure.

MW: Sounds like a good idea. I'd like to see the article.

TR: I am working to get additional documents available through the National Cryptologic Museum library. There are a number in the public domain via the National Computer Security Conference proceedings in the late 80s and a few research compilations. The specifications were also introduced into the NIST GOSIP specs and then into CCITT/ISO standards internationally. One of the contractor participants has a few on his personal website.

The former leaders of the NSA Information Assurance Directorate, Tony Sager and Curt Dukes, who now work at the Center for Internet Security have tried to reach out to other retired colleagues who were part of the SDNS program. However, people are disappearing. Additionally, the entire history was largely lost in the 1990s when the TCP/IP internet folks who prevailed in the marketplace borrowed much of the work without crediting the origins. Ruth Nelson's case is particularly interesting because after leading the SDNS effort and then writing for a while, she retired outside of Boston and became a local artist.

The history would also be a great adjunct to the new National Cryptologic Museum, as the public and most academics, and even today's government staff have no idea this seminal "cyber-shot" project ever occurred. For example, NIST recently produced an IPsec specification for comment without ever mentioning that IPsec was developed by through the SDNS project, published as the SP-3 standard, inserted into the NIST's on GOSIP standard in 1989 and then further in CCITT/ISO in 1994 where it all still exists today.

MW: Help me set my thinking on this. It was basically a "moon shot" to create a secure and defendable new "Internet" that got underway just before the TCP/IP steamroller went global and crushed all competitors?

Steve Lukasik giving his famous 2008 Congressional testimony.TR: The history is far more extensive — which is part of the problem.

In 1976, host-to-host datagram network technology began emerging across multiple research initiatives, including especially France's CYCLADES internet at INRIA, and was moving into international standards bodies where it was referred to as the OSI connectionless datagram mode. Hal Folts, who was running the technology standards shop at NCS in his Pentagon bunker, publicly declared that U.S. national defense policy rested on developing and securing that OSI technology. What complicates the matter is that DARPA operating on its own had a skunkworks network among its academic researchers for a similar technology that became subsequently known as TCP/IP and then years later called "internet." Both platforms were similar internets, and ideas were borrowed continuously among the groups. Even the World Wide Web had its origins in the OSI work.

DOD began spending millions in making the OSI internet happen and engaging U.S. industry who joined the effort to make it secure and resilient for public infrastructure. Hal himself was so committed that he left the government and started up a consortium to further evangelize the effort. Rather considerable resources were expended during the 1980s to put all the technical standards in place internationally, and domestic standards via the GOSIP profiles.

On the legal and strategic international side, a new related treaty conference was convened in 1988 to bless all of this, including the SDNS security platform, and it was written into the World Trade Organization GATS agreement. My career on the legal side encompassed that effort as I moved to Geneva in a senior ITU position to facilitate all of that technologically and legally. Even the KGB bought into the resulting treaty despite the Morris Worm incident that occurred in 1988 during negotiations. SDNS was the perfectly timed Cyber-moonshot.

Vendors all had products in play. ATT invested millions into winning the 1992 InterNIC award and the rights to run the national OSI X.500 registry. VeriSign was created to offer X.509 PKI certificates for secure email and communications. Microsoft was writing the OSI specifications into its Office platforms. At the 1992 DARPA Internet Architecture Board meeting in Kobe, a decision was taken that the TCP/IP based academic NREN as it was known then, would move from IPv4 to OSI's CLNP and begin implementing that protocol in all the routers which at the time were dual routing.

It never happened. Al Gore moved into the White House with Clinton and wanted TCP/IP which he helped fund in 1986 with $2.5 billion to impede a perceived French technological/market advantage at the time, and almost immediately put an end to all U.S. commitments and funding to OSI. TCP/IP — which had been pursued in an independent DARPA and NSF universe at the time to foster academic collaboration — was evangelized as the world's Information Highway, with the associated Internet Economy providing an endless cornucopia of goodness, along with regime changes throughout the world. All the companies who had favored TCP/IP hit a bonanza and put millions into lobbying Washington, and in public media efforts to further TCP/IP. I know, because I ended up working for several of them in senior positions.

Press Winter at NSA together with Steve Lukasik who had run DARPA during some of its most important years in the 60s and 70s, including authorization of TCP/IP development, and moved to SAIC in the 1990s, basically said "oh shit" and embarked on a number of mitigating initiatives together. Putin likely said, "oh goody" and turned on his intelligence agencies.

As the TCP/IP platform began to go to hell because it had zero identity management or security as a public infrastructure, some of the SDNS platforms began to be resurrected and rolled out as proprietary products and slipped into the IETF TCP/IP standards without saying much about where they came from. With the critical X.509 standard, it was just copied to create a new profile. Other SDNS pieces found their way into other network platforms.

However, the intent is to keep the narrative positive to show how the government's SDNS initiative within the GOSIP effort, represented a Cyber Moonshot that was years ahead of its time, and constitutes a compelling history should be captured and made available so that it does justice the millions spent and the many people who dedicated their lives and careers.

MW: Is it your contention that SDNS would have been more secure? I know that by 1996 even D/DISA was waving the white flag. He claimed at Harvard he was running his Agency via email [i.e., TCP/IP] and getting 150 emails a day [!], while he got only 3 messages per day on AUTODIN [despite AUTODIN costing millions and employing 15k people].

TR: That is a no-brainer. The NREN TCP/IP platform had zero security "as public infrastructure." I add that caveat because being both, part of the NSF InterNIC oversight committee, as well as Sprint's network technology director after getting hired by them in 1992, I can attest that the government had complete insight over the entire TCP/IP internet infrastructure until 1994. It had instituted multiple controls and created new monitoring capabilities to basically know every end point, what/who was there, where it was, and what traffic what going there. SDNS and the OSI internet had some of the same capabilities.

Those capabilities disappeared almost overnight in 1994 and all hell broke loose. At the time, Sprint was pursuing all sides of the market: it had the FTS 2000 contract to supply services to half the USG agencies, operated both platforms, and provided services directly to the public and the underlying infrastructure of other providers, e.g., AOL. It did this not only domestically, but internationally via enormous investments in undersea fiber that was largely unlit, and still operating the largest global X.25 infrastructure out of the Reston NOC. Sprint even had a major USG contract to connect up the TCP/IP networks throughout the world and help them run them and ensure security.

So like D/DISA, the White House and a lot of other agencies were willing to ditch all security/identity management for the convenience, speed, cheapness, and reachability of the TCP/IP platform — drinking what became the Washington political Kool-Aid. The TCP/IP platform was pure madness in the public infrastructure because it rested on the naïve belief that everyone would produce perfect code and that no one would exploit network vulnerabilities, and endless innovation for the benefit of humankind would occur. Although the TCP/IP platform did facilitate information access worldwide and speed some innovation, the darker reality was that criminals, anarchists, societal misfits, terrorists, and foreign intelligence agencies also became a highly motivated community of innovators, while most companies exploited the platform to fatten up stock prices. Without government oversight or regulation that was eliminated in the 1990s, it was a new global gold rush. I know, because I helped sell it to them — much to my regret. Washington is still drinking the TCP/IP internet KoolAid, even as 5G is ramping up exponentially worldwide to succeed it as potentially a safer infrastructure.

Lukasik ranks this transition to TCP/IP as the worst national security network technology decision ever made and spent the rest of his productive years between 1996 and 2012 doing incredibly prophetic analysis and threat reports for multiple parties including the late Andy Marshall at DOD's Office of Net Assessment and John Poindexter at NSA. His 2008 Defense Threat Reduction Agency report described in amazing detail Russia's election "mass effect" techniques used against the U.S. several years later and proposed mitigations that were never acted on. Some of this work was done in collaboration with another leader in the cybersecurity strategy field at Stanford and Georgia Tech — Sy Goodman.

The unfortunate withdrawal of support for the Cyber Moonshot initiative and transition to TCP/IP for public infrastructure in the mid-1990s combined with eliminating all the international technical and legal solutions had significant adverse collateral effects. The potential devastating attack scenarios by adversaries created a need for cyberwar capabilities as a non-kinetic retaliatory option. In both the legal and technical domains, it also created a need for new domestic and international law and network capabilities that included lawful interception, data retention, and extraterritorial forensics acquisition. Along with disrupted markets came disrupted societies and an unstable world.

Lukasik also testified before a closed Congressional committee meeting in Feb 2008 where he revealed that he so distrusted the DARPA TCP/IP researchers that he secretly had NSA do bit-level encryption on all the links they used and never told them. Lukasik is arguably the greatest national security scientist the U.S. has ever produced — and his Wikipedia page attempts to capture the breadth of his work.

There was also a kind of second, less well-known Cyber Security Moonshot that emerged about twenty years ago which was undertaken through the legendary leaders at NSA's Information Assurance Directorate — Tony Sager and Curt Dukes. As NSA sought to help government agencies cope with the fundamentally insecure TCP/IP world, they developed and nurtured almost every relevant cyber defense platform of any value today. One of the more important — generally known as the 20 Controls — lives on with them at the Center for Internet Security and is being used worldwide.

Hal Folts, who initiated so much activity through his 1976 NCS memo, came back into the government for a few years in the 1990s and then left to successfully sell real estate in suburban Virginia.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

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More under: Internet Governance, Internet Protocol

Categories: News and Updates

Buyer of Details How He Made His Chart Topping Acquisition in a New Domainer Show Interview

DN Journal - Mon, 2019-07-15 21:10
A couple of weeks ago we told you about a newly revealed AUD $400,000 domain sale of Now the buyer is sharing the full story of his acquisition.
Categories: News and Updates


DN Journal - Mon, 2019-07-15 21:04
Categories: News and Updates

New TLD Applications: What's the Status of the Next Round?

Domain industry news - Mon, 2019-07-15 19:53

For many industry participants, the timing around opening the next round of new Top-Level Domain applications has been frustrating, to say the least.

However, with the recent ICANN Marrakech meeting now complete, we thought it timely to provide an update for those who may be interested to apply in the next round or for those merely following the journey.

Put simply, here is what needs to occur at a very high level.

  1. The community needs to finish its review from the 2012 round and develop a report that includes guidelines for the next round — commonly referred to as Subsequent Procedures Process — expected in Q4, 2019
  2. This report needs to be approved by the ICANN Board — expected in Q2, 2020
  3. An application process (including rules, questions and contracts) is made public and an application window set
  4. The application window is held and applicants submit their applications

Now, this is a deliberately simple, public-facing view of the situation.

Behind the scenes, ICANN staff must consider and prepare for many other factors — just for a start, think about the systems, processes, skills, people and third-party reviewers that were part of the 2012 round that must also be in place for any subsequent round. This is heavy work, and the process cannot kick off without it.

When I asked a question of this nature to the ICANN Board in October last year, the Chair stated that the Board 'were ready' and suggested that the Board had instructed staff to see what could be done simultaneously to prepare the background systems and processes to improve the timelines.

I must admit to being a little cautiously optimistic at this response — specifically, because we understood that many of the pieces of the puzzle were not reliant on the Subsequent Procedures Report — and we were buoyed by the idea that this work could occur and shorten the overall timeline.

Was it too good to be true? Well, despite my skepticism, apparently not.

With the industry-led Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group rapidly approaching its Q4 2019 delivery date for the report, and positive noise emanating from the Morocco meeting, there is much to be excited about here.

But with equal positivity — and yes, I admit it, some kudos to ICANN — and the publication of a short but important paper outlining the work that ICANN was doing to prepare for the next application window, it seems like there may be some renewed vigor around the opening of this long-anticipated application window.

The document, entitled "ICANN Org's Readiness to Support Future Rounds of New gTLDs”, describes ICANN's working assumptions for "policy implementation and operational readiness for a subsequent round of new gTLDs" and does a solid job of outlining the org's baseline considerations for the upcoming projects.

That said, it's important to avoid getting ahead of ourselves here.

To begin with, the report must be published on time, without further delay. And of course, there is still much work to do to prepare for actually opening the application window.

But for now, it's clear that there is:

  1. some progress, consistency, and reliability from ICANN in terms of confirming solid assumptions, discussing budgets and isolating requirements that will make this a reality in a few years' time;
  2. great progress from the Subsequent Procedures PDP Working Group including the controversial and highly important Work Track 5 revolving around geographic names; and
  3. a desire from the ICANN Board to make this happen as soon as possible.

For future applicants, sit tight. The time to start preparing your applications and preliminary research materials may be coming in the not-too-distant future.

Written by Tony Kirsch, Head of Professional Services at Neustar

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More under: ICANN, New TLDs

Categories: News and Updates

EU Court of Justice Ruling Could Result in Cutting Off Data Flows to US

Domain industry news - Mon, 2019-07-15 19:41

EU holds an eight-hour-long hearing taking an extensive look at whether US surveillance practices break European data protection laws. "This case could potentially rupture the mechanisms that allow personal data to flow across the Atlantic," writes Peter Swire in a report on the July 9th European Court of Justice hearing in case C-311/18, also known as "Schrems II." Swire adds: "Should the Court so decide, it would soon be illegal for companies and services we use every day to transfer personal data from the EU to the US. Such a determination, however, may result in an absurdity; EU citizens' data could not travel to the US for fear of intrusive surveillance, but could flow unimpeded to China, a nation with surveillance practices ripped from the pages of a dystopian science fiction novel."

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More under: Internet Governance, Law, Policy & Regulation, Privacy

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