News and Updates

Cryptocurrency tax company and others bought domains at Uniregistry

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2020-01-17 16:25

No big reported sales, but a good mix of end users.

Ageist bought Ageist.com, a big improvement over its domain WeAreAgeist.com.

Uniregistry’s top reported sale of the week was only $8,500. Despite a lack of high-ticket purchases, some interesting end users bought domains at Uniregistry. I like Cryptocurrency .tax, which is a service that helps you calculate your taxes on cryptocurrency investments and create the forms necessary to file with the IRS.

The best-update-at-a-great-price award goes to Ageist.

Here’s the list:

1. rentpower.com $8,500 – Whois only discloses that the buyer is in Pennsylvania.

2. theinfinite.com $7,300 – An Estonian company called DigitalPoint.

3. aadam.com $6,000 – An organization in Dubai called WAO.

4. sejour-linguistique.com $5,500 – Google translate says this means “Linguistic Stay.” For context, it appears that the buyer is creating a service to learn languages while abroad.

5. hairstraightener.com $5,000 – Sutra Beauty, which sells hair styling equipment such as straighteners. It is forwarding the domain to its website.

6. greenhousedesigns.com $5,000 – Green House Designs is a kitchen and bath company that also owns the .net version of this domain.

7. speedygo.com $5,000 – Whois only discloses that the buyer is in London.

8. ageist.com $5,000 – This is a significant upgrade for Ageist, which advocates for living healthier and longer lives for middle-aged and older people. Its current domain is WeAreAgeist.com.

9. equipmentpro.com $5,000 – Michael Haas in Texas. The site still points to the Uni lander.

10. thetrend.com $3,700 – Whois only reveals that the buyer is in New Jersey.

11. inkism.com $3,500 – The domain forwards to Inkism.com.tw, which appears to be some sort of food/restaurant site.

12. stylepulse.com $3,500 – Lambert + Associates in France is a fashion and retail consulting company.

13. free-video .com $3,500 – Someone in the Czech Republic.

14. pristene.com $3,500 – The domain forwards to EyeCheck.com, which sells an eye health dietary supplement called Pristene.

15. cryptocurrency.tax $3,300 – Cryptocurrency.tax helps you calculate your taxes on cryptocurrency investments.

16. sundaygolf.com $3,000 – Whois only reveals that the buyer is in California.

17. sesamy.com $3,000 – Sesamy AB

18. bettechnology.com $3,000 – No information available.

19. wekids.de $2,750 – No information available

20. impulseaudio.com $2,500 – Whois only reveals that the buyer is in Michigan.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
  1. 52 new TLD sales over $5,000 you probably haven’t seen yet
  2. Uniregistry domain buyers pick up shorter domains
  3. Who bought domains at Uniregistry this past week
Categories: News and Updates

Why ICANN’s transparency took a hit last year

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2020-01-17 14:23

MyICANN was critical to following everything happening at ICANN, but it hasn’t been available for a year.

MyICANN, a key component of transparency at ICANN, has been gone for a year.

One of the best things that former ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé oversaw while he led the organization was myICANN.

MyICANN gave a drastic boost to transparency at ICANN by doing a simple thing: notifying you when something was added to ICANN.org.

It sounds simple and it is. But it surfaced critical information on ICANN.org rather than burying it somewhere deep on the hopelessly complex website. Even if it was published on a Saturday.

Unfortunately, the service was shut down at the end of 2018.

It’s quite difficult to find this information now. Some information is syndicated through ICANN’s RSS feed, but not all of it.

I reached out to ICANN to find out why it terminated the service. A spokesperson said it’s working on a more robust version. I don’t think a more robust version is needed. It worked great, and it’s unfortunate that myICANN shut down.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
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  2. Will Software Makers Really Support New TLDs?
  3. Verisign’s lawsuit against .XYZ continues, pesters Donuts & ICANN as well
Categories: News and Updates

6 lawmakers urge ICANN to reject .Org sale

Domain Name Wire - Fri, 2020-01-17 00:02

Warren, Wyden formally ask ICANN to reject sale.

Elizabeth Warren is one of the lawmakers asking ICANN to reject the .org sale. Photo from ElizabethWarren.com.

Six U.S. lawmakers have asked (pdf) ICANN to reject the sale of .Org to Ethos Capital, a private equity company.

The lawmakers include presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, Rony Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Edward Markey, Anna Eshoo, and Mark Pocan.

In a letter to ICANN, they provide a litany of reasons that ICANN should reject the deal. One is that they believe the new owners will raise prices and cut costs as a way to pay down debt and return funds to investors.

They point out that, even if Ethos raises prices 10% a year on average, this is three times how much PIR has traditionally raised prices.

The letter concludes:

The proposed sale of .ORG is against the public interest and would violate ICANN’s commitment to “preserve and enhance .. . the operational stability, reliability, security … and
openness of the DNS and the Internet.

ICANN has previously said that it doesn’t have authority over the deal. While it can technically not consent to the transfer, its approval can’t be “unreasonably withheld”. What that means is open to interpretation.

Surprisingly, Republican Ted Cruz has not chimed in on the matter. Given his stance about the U.S. controlling ICANN, you’d think he’d be all over this issue.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
  1. Ethos paid $1.135 billion for .Org
  2. ICANN delays .Org sale approval, calls for more transparency
  3. Non-Commercial users ask for three changes to .Org contract
Categories: News and Updates

Part I: Who Pays When .Org Prices Rise?

Domain industry news - Thu, 2020-01-16 21:34

When .org prices rise, who suffers — nonprofits or speculators?

Will Ethos Capital raise prices more aggressively than ISOC would?

Vint Cerf attributed concerns about higher prices to speculators: "Of course, companies that hold domain names in the tens of thousands for speculative purposes might find such increases more troubling, but I don't have much sympathy for that business model in the context of the organizations the .org brand is intended to serve." [1] Similarly, in a recent CircleID article, Nora Abusitta-Ouri, the Chief Purpose Officer of Ethos Capital, presented a contrast between a nonprofit "holding a single registration" that would be little affected by a $1 increase in a .org domain name and "a speculator holding tens of thousands of domain names." [2]

The picture painted in these arguments, however, is counterfactual. Non-commercial users [3] hold significantly more .org domain names than do speculators, otherwise known as domainers. Prices under an Ethos Capital regime would rapidly increase by more than $1 per year due to compounding, and at rates likely to be far higher than the historical norm under ISOC. Domainers, on the whole, are little affected by increases in .org prices because .org is such a small share of their holdings.

All registrants are affected by price increases, with noncommercial users bearing the brunt of increases in .org prices. They will likely fare far worse under Ethos Capital than they did under ISOC.

A review of a random extract of the .org zone shows that 8% of registrations are held by domainers. 27% are clearly identifiable as noncommercial, and 20% are clearly commercial. The remaining 45% are inactive and can't be readily identified as either commercial or noncommercial and will be a mix of both. [4] Inactive domain names are unlikely to be owned by domainers for domainers ensure that their domain names are active in order to generate ad revenue and sales leads. [5] When .org prices increase, therefore, the burden falls primarily on the nonprofits who heavily rely on .org domain names, on businesses using a .org to generate leads or as a defensive registration, and on individuals, families, bloggers and other noncommercial users.

Domainers on the whole have little interest in .org domain names because of the much lower demand for .org domain names and the much lower prices realized on average on resale than for .com domain names. The .org aftermarket is only 3% of the size of the .com aftermarket. [6] Domainers hold 33 times as many .com domain names as .org domain names. [7] In other words, out of every 100 .com and .org domain names held by a domainer, 97 will be .com and only 3 will be .org. [8] .Org is a rounding error in most domainers' portfolios. The small share of .org domain names registered to domainers reflects this.

Nonprofits, in contrast, are heavy users of .org domain names. Many nonprofits own multiple .org domain names beyond their primary domain name, whether for use for specific events and fundraisers, or for use by local chapters, or for defensive reasons, or for other uses. Some own hundreds or thousands of .org domain names apiece, including the YMCA, Rotary International, Meals on Wheels, Habit for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs, Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, Catholic Charities, the American Cancer Society, UNICEF, AARP, Mount Sinai Hospital, American Heart Association, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and Special Olympics, among many others. [9] While not a large share of the budget of each of these nonprofits, higher costs due to .org price increases, when aggregated across the .org domain names held by hundreds of thousands of nonprofits, totals to millions of dollars per year.

ICANN is currently permitting millions of dollars collectively intended for cancer research, meals for the needy, homes for the homeless, and other pressing societal needs to be diverted to ISOC, such that the needs that those funds could have addressed will remain unmet. Now Ethos Capital wants to take control of .org and with it the power to raise fees without end on .org registrants to benefit their wealthy funders.

Ethos Capital claims that despite the removal of price caps on .org, its "plan is to live within the spirit of historic practice when it comes to pricing, which means, potentially, annual price increases of up to 10% on average." [10] Yet historic practice has not been to impose annual 10% price increases. PIR's first price increase did not occur until late in its fifth year of operating .org, and the increase was for 15 cents. [11] The current price of .org of $9.93 has been flat for nearly three and a half years. The increase in the price of .org from $6.00 in 2003 to $9.93 in 2020 is equivalent to a historic practice of 3% annual price increases. If .org prices had risen by 10% each year from $6.00 in 2003, .org prices would now be over $30 per year per domain name.

Although Ethos Capital wishes to portray its ownership of PIR as maintaining continuity with prior practice, 10% annual price increases each and every year is far higher than the pricing practice under ISOC. ISOC is so awash in money as PIR pulls in $75 million in funds each year above what it pays to Afilias to run the registry that it may have reached the point where it already has more money than it knows what to do with. As a nonprofit, its primary incentive is not to increase "profit" each year. In most years ISOC did not increase the price of .org. In contrast, there is no sating the appetite for profit of a private equity firm. More profit is always the goal.

Ethos Capital, as owner of PIR, would have the contractual power, now that price caps have been lifted, to raise prices as high as it wants at will. Even if Ethos Capital constrains itself to its asserted plan "to live within the spirit of the historic practice" of 10% annual increases, this assertion is both factually incorrect, as discussed above, and unless further clarified, leaves room for Ethos Capital to double prices at the start and then keep them at that higher level for the next seven years. This would produce an ending price for .org consistent with an annual 10% increase but would extract over $400 million more from .org registrants over those 8 years than if prices had increased by a steady 10% per year. [12]

Under either scenario, by year eight, the burden on .org registrants would exceed ICANN's current annual budget of $140 million. After 14 years, even at a 10% limit on annual price increases, the price of a .org domain name will be four times as high as it is now. That would allow Ethos Capital to pull in $400 million per year from .org registrants, and that burden would continue growing year after year. [13] While 14 years may seem like a long time away, it is important to think about the future impact of the decisions that one makes today. We are now in the 18th year of ISOC/PIR's control of .org.

While Ethos Capital wishes to minimize the perception of the harm to nonprofits of continued price increases in .org and focus instead on the impact on domainers, very little of the millions of dollars of additional unjustified overcharges resulting from annual 10% price increases would be paid by domainers. The vast majority of those millions of dollars will come from nonprofits and other .org registrants with no connection to the domain industry.

[1] See: https://medium.com/@vint_4444/a-stronger-future...

[2]See: http://www.circleid.com/posts/20200113_a_stronger_pir...

[3] Non-commercial users include registered nonprofits, as well as informal associations, families, individuals, bloggers, and others using .org domains not in order to generate profits.

[4] The most accurate way to determine who is registering .org domain names is to review a random extract of the .org zone file, although this is quite time consuming. A 100 domain name extract was created by using computer code to randomly select domain names from the .org zone. The webpage associated with each domain name was then reviewed, if available, and whois records including historical whois records were then consulted if ownership was unclear. If a webpage had no unique content and if the whois records were under privacy, then often the ownership could not be determined. Familiarity with the domain industry is helpful in interpreting the results. For instance, a parked page with ads may at first glance appear to be owned by a domainer, but often is a default lander published by the registrar, as with pangolinmedia.org, where the registrant is not a domainer. Due to the small sample size, the margin of error in the percentages is high, but the qualitative findings as to relative ownership share is clear. If you question the results, I would encourage you to conduct and to publish your own research.

[5] Standard practice among domainers is to set up all their domain names with either a parking page to generate ad revenues or a sales lander page to generate sales leads, or with a page that does both. Domainers attempt to monetize domain names. A dead web page with no way to reach the owner does not generate revenues and is not likely to be registered to a domainer.

[6] Source: NameBio.com, based on publicly reported sales over the past five years.

[7] This data comes from a review of the .com/.org composition of domain names hosted on name servers associated with the domain industry. The analysis looked at over 10 million domain names in all TLDs associated with dozens of companies in the domain industry — major domain name portfolios, leading parking companies and the most commonly used marketplaces.

[8] See also: "The strange idea that the secondary market is some big, bad ogre devouring all the domain names in a TLD is wrong. The reality is quite different. The secondary market for most healthy TLDs is only a small percentage of the number of domain names registered in that TLD.", comment by John McCormac of HosterStats.com at https://mm.icann.org/pipermail/....

[9] Source: Reverse Whois searches

[10] https://www.keypointsabout.org/

[11] https://www.dailynews.com/2007/04/22/fee-rising-for...

[12] This assumes a $19.31 price in year 8 after 7 years of 10% annual increases, compared to 8 years of revenues at $19.31 each year. Both scenarios assume .org registrations remain flat at 10 million.

[13].org registrations have flat lined at around 10 million registrations. These calculations assume that .org registrations will remain at around the 10 million level. Even if .org registrations fall modestly, the underlying points made will still be true

Written by Nat Cohen, Owner

Follow CircleID on Twitter

More under: Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Registry Services

Categories: News and Updates

Will Chinese IDN domains become widely used?

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-01-16 19:04

So far, Chinese IDN top level domains have struggled.

Just a few days ago the Internet Society of China announced the formation of a working group to promote the use of Chinese domains. Is it the trigger we need to see Chinese IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) flourish?

As the organization is supported by the Ministry of Information Industry, this also suggests a strong desire from the Chinese government to see the widespread use of Chinese domains. The working group aims to resolve technical issues so that Chinese domains can work nicely with browsers, email systems, search engines, and other aspects of the internet. It will also promote innovation and application of Chinese domains to enable their popular use.

Let’s look at the current situation. Below is a list of Chinese IDN top level domains with registrations of more than 1,000. The data is taken from Namestat.org.

Ranking Extension Domains Registered 23 .网址 (web address) 176,133 60 .公司 (company) 37,364 66 .手机 (mobile phone) 32,741 80 .商标 (trademark) 27,498 81 .在线 (online) 27,375 104 .商城 (mall) 21,700 140 .我爱你 (i love you) 15,979 297 .网店 (web shop) 4,706 356 .中文网 (Chinese web) 2,917 372 .集团 (group) 2,560 383 .信息 (information) 2,349 387 .购物 (shopping) 2,310 410 .企业 (corporation) 1,794 447 .移动 (mobile) 1,046

As you can see, the numbers are quite dismal. For example, No. 1 .网址 (web address) was launched in 2014. It peaked at 380,000 domains and then remained stagnant at about 200,000. Currently, it sits at 176,000. No. 2 .公司 (company) was also launched in 2014. It grew to 53,000 and has remained stagnant over the years. Currently, it sits at 37,000.

Apart from these new extensions, there is also a Chinese IDN extension which has been available since 2006: .中国 (.china). For many years, this IDN extension never exceeded 500,000 registrations. Then, it suddenly shot up to 1.9 million in 2018 then down to 1.8 million last year. The cause of this surge is unknown and so further observation is required.

Consumers may prefer Chinese content on corporate websites but do not necessarily demand the corresponding domains to be in Chinese characters. This is evident in the 2019 Top 100 Chinese Internet Companies Report where none of the leading companies use a Chinese IDN as their corporate domain.

So, Chinese IDN domains are still tiny when compared with mainstream extensions .com and .cn. Their impacts are yet to be felt.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
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  2. .Ngo Wants to Be a Secure .Org
  3. New TLDs, five years in
Categories: News and Updates

14 more end user sales

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-01-16 17:59

Two cybersecurity companies, a drone maker and a Dutch bicycle brand bought domain names.

Several 5-figure sales led this week’s end user sales list from Sedo, including sales to technology companies and startups, such as a new drone-like robotic device that can be directed to interact with objects around it.

Here’s a look at some of the domains end users bought at Sedo this past week. See prior end user lists here.

Cryptium.com €12,500 – A cybersecurity startup still in development in Portland, Oregon. The domain is registered to software developer Jonathan Buhacoff. His LinkedIn profile says he’s working on “protecting you from phishing attacks.”

MyArea.com £11,765 – Purchased by Mobiblocks, an iPhone & Android app developer that has an app called MeonMap, which shows local businesses.

PayZen.com $11,500 – PayZen provides creates payment plans for patients to pay their medical bills.

Voliro.com €10,000 – Voliro is a drone manufacturer that produces autonomous flying robots that can touch and interact with objects and their working environments. This enables the devices to spray fluids to clean buildings surfaces such as facades, walls and windows as well as paint surfaces.

LandlordTenantLaws.com $9,880 – This domain was purchased by Electronic Forms LLC, an online legal forms service provider.

Fluent.io $8,888 – Fluent is an influencer marketing service that helps influencers join teams to increase their stature.

CyberDefense.de €5,555 – G Data is a cybersecurity software company.

HSStore.com $5,000 – H&S Store, an electronics business in Kuwait, bought this domain. It currently uses HSStoreKW.com.

WashDrop.com $5,000 – A laundry pick up and delivery service catering to tourists in Chiang Mai, a city in Northern Thailand that is popular with vacationers.

IHMC.org $4,999 – This domain was purchased by the Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC), which currently uses IHMC.us for its website. This is a not-for-profit research institute affiliated with the Florida University System whose researchers pioneer technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities.

AgileLab.de $3,300 – AgileLAB provides agile business training along with international accreditation in several areas.

BioBrasil.com €3,050 – Forwards to Carela.net, a family-run investment firm focused on pharmaceutical and environmental technology with a global presence in Europe, Brazil and China. This might be used for one of its portfolio companies.

CubeStore.co.uk $2,048 – Forwards to CubeStores.nl, a Dutch brand of bicycles with storefronts in the Netherlands.

Blameless.org $2,000 – This was bought by Morris & Co., a home decor company founded by William Morris that is now known for wallpapers, fabrics and home accessories. I have no idea what it will use the domain for.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
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  2. 13 end user domain name sales from Sedo
  3. What domains Microsoft, HBO and others bought last week
Categories: News and Updates

An in-depth look at NameJet’s sales

Domain Name Wire - Thu, 2020-01-16 14:48

Joseph Peterson dives into last month’s sales on Web.com’s aftermarket platforms.

Yesterday, I published a quantitative comparison of NameJet sales in December 2019 compared to 2015.  Now let’s look at what sold last month, including both NameJet and SnapNames.

The top sale – WeedCenter.org ($23.1k) – is a bit surprising … and in more ways than one.  Of course, 2-word .ORG domains don’t usually rake in so much green.  Seldom do they top the sales charts.  But marijuana (a.k.a. “weed”) is both a cash crop and a burgeoning industry, now that legalization is so widespread.  Arguably .ORG has a certain cachet for a medical cannabis dispensary, due to its associations with non-profit projects.  Still, it’s a curious fact that the matching .COM sits parked, un-utilized.  Did the bidders try to buy it?  What would they have paid?  More?  Or does this aged .ORG have its own special benefits – back-links for SEO perhaps.  It has been a developed website since 2001.  But – surprise! – it began as CIPM, the Center for Invasive Plant Management – literal weeds, not weed at all.

NameServers.com ($20.0k) was the runner up.  All of us in the domain industry interact with name servers; so we’re probably more interested in the future of this domain than the average bloke.  It will be interesting to see how it’s put to use.   With something like RapidLoans.com ($10.0k), there is no mystery.  We all know what the project is, purely from the name, even if it doesn’t yet exist.   In a sense, that’s true of PaceMakers.com ($16.0k) as well.  There may be no advertisers competing for paid clicks in SERPs for that term, but anybody facing heart surgery – their own or that of a loved one – might well do some online research.  And manufacturers of these expensive, life-saving devices might want to use this authoritative domain to manage public perception regarding their product.

Only 7 domain sales at these 2 venues cleared $2k during December.  Among the top 10, nearly half were not-.COMs.  But they were the legacy gTLDs – 3 .ORG and 1 .NET – not the “new” gTLDs of 2014-2015 vintage, the nTLDs.  Those didn’t rank.  In fact, nothing but the tried-and-true trio of .COM / .NET / .ORG figures anywhere among the 82 listed domains.

Models.net ($19.9k) effectively tied for 2nd place.  Other .NETs include Musica.net ($4.4k), which nobody will be shocked to learn means “music” in Spanish and Portuguese, and Update.net ($2.5k), which could be used for either news or software updates.

Including to the top sale, .ORG charted 10 times among the 82 domains.  Some were short: GW.org ($9.4k), PS.org ($8.3k), ISS.org ($3.4k).  Some were ugly and old: ToxInfo.org ($3.2k), which began as a German-language site in 1999; Made-By.org ($2.3k), which promoted sustainable fashionMHealthAlliance.org ($2.1k), and NYRedCross.org ($2.1k).  In short, the sort of domains that only drop when someone drops the ball or a cause goes belly up.  There were also some attractive 1-worders: Merchandise.org ($2.5k) and Routine.org ($4.5k).  Usage for the latter is unclear to me.  Planning one’s day?  Coding?

I’m unable to find any explanation for the large sale of LiUtilities.com ($10.2k).  What I did find at the top of SERPs was a forlorn pair of negative reviews alleging (in 2011 and 2015) that this domain was used to spread ransomeware.  So beware.  True or not, that’s not a reputation most of us would pay $10k to inherit.  And it seems very little effort was made to clean up that reputation in the past.  So if the name was rescued from an expired domain auction, that would presumably be for the sake of traffic monetization, not branding a business.  You tell me.

I confess I don’t see the appeal in Disorganized.com ($2.5k) or Stabilization.com ($2.5k).  Maybe for selling organizers from a negatively branded web page?  Motion control systems perhaps?  As single-word .COMs go, I much prefer Symposia.com ($4.3k), which are the sort of event scholars attend; Recalled.com ($2.2k) for consumer info about product recalls; and especially Assassins.com ($4.1k).  Great for branding shoes or bikes or video games: Assassins!  Then again, maybe it’ll be the LinkedIn for hired killers.

Although I concluded in my other article that the Chinese footprint at NameJet has shrunk to 1/10 its size compared to 4 years ago, this market sector hasn’t evaporated completely.  9 out of 82 sales over $2k were mixed letter / numeral strings of 3 to 4 characters.  Mostly we’ve come to associate these with China, although the highest sale among them – TV8.com ($6.2k) – could stand for a TV channel in the USA.

It’s tempting, at first glance, to view Denka.com ($10.2k) simply as a “brandable” word-like neologism.  Although it could be used that way by a startup of any kind, there’s nothing new about Denka.  In fact, Denka.co.jp is home to a 105-year-old Japanese chemical company.  Hence the price tag, I daresay.

Emballage.com ($2.5k) is French for packaging – which, incidentally, is 1 product manufactured by Denko.  ChuyenNha.com ($2.8k) turns out to mean “moving house” in Vietnamese: Chuyển nhà.  Relocation will always be a big business.  At first, Andao.com ($2.1k) looked like to Portuguese to me, since many words end in “ão”.  Something related to “let’s go”, one would surmise.  Although it’s not in any dictionary I could find, the word shows up in lyrics by underrated Spanish songwriter Javier Ruibal:

Maybe it’s a feature of one of the Iberian peninsula’s various regional dialects.  “Let’s go!” would be good for branding, in that case – a rallying cry.  Then again, reportedly, “andao” is also Chinese for “secret channel”.  But I have little faith in online translations of Chinese.  A native speaker can set the record straight.  ClinicaEstetica.com ($2.5k), on the other hand, definitely is Spanish.  You can see the literal meaning of “Aesthetic Clinic”, but what sounds clunky in English is quite natural in Spanish.  This domain could be well used for a beauty salon, makeup, or cosmetic surgery.

Familiar phrases also sold last month: KitchenRecipes.com ($2.8k), TasteOfItaly.com ($2.0k), ReadyToWear.com ($3.3k).  Sometimes multi-word .COMs are unimaginative but eminently practical: BathRemodeling.com ($3.1k), FishingRod.com ($2.2k), SwissTravel.com ($3.1k), UsedCarSale.com ($2.7k).

Other 2-word names fit the more creative “brandable” profile: SmartStay.com ($5.3k), MobileGear.com ($5.1k), TrueCompanion.com ($5.1k), SupplyGiant.com ($3.8k), PetsWorld.com ($3.5k), SportsTime.com ($3.4k), YourPage.com ($3.0k), ArmorCoat.com ($2.9k), MindCamp.com ($2.7k), WiseLaw.com ($2.1k).

Most of the neologism “brandables” that charted were clearly derived from a single English word: Exploria.com ($4.7k), Bunka.com ($4.4k), Textur.com ($4.0k), Aquaria.com ($3.8k), Fresko.com ($2.6k), and ApotheCare.com ($2.5k) correspond to “explore”, “bunker”, “texture”, “aquarium”, “fresco”, “apothecary”.  Meanwhile, Novaera.com ($2.9k) and Unitronic.com ($2.2k) are recognizable for latinate features common to multiple words.  The same could be said for Aquaria.com.  Grouping these sales into clumps to show patterns is not an exact science.

GovernorBryant.com ($2.1k) refers to Phil Bryant, the current governor of Mississippi, whether pro or con.  Such domains have a limited shelf life.  After 8 years already as governor, Bryant shan’t remain “Governor Bryant” much longer.  In contrast, a domain like VRMeeting.com ($3.6k) is patently futuristic.  At least, I assume coworkers in 2020 are not sitting around a virtual-reality table to listen to their boss drone on about an agenda.  There can be few things more soul-crushingly boring to do with VR goggles.  And wearing such goggles, how is one to sip the real but unseen coffee that palliates the monotony of this world’s interminable meetings?  At least nobody would notice who’s asleep.  There is that.

Joseph Peterson wrote over 140 articles for DNW between 2013 and 2017, followed by 2 years as Epik’s Director of Operations.  He is currently developing a marketplace for shared ownership of domains.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

The First Six-Figure Sale of the New Year Leads This Week's Domain Sales Chart

DN Journal - Thu, 2020-01-16 01:21
Week two of the 2020 domain sales season produced the new year's first reported six-figure sale. It helped the .coms sweep 16 of 20 chart entries,
Categories: News and Updates

5G Leadership Reality Check: January 2020

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-15 20:14

As we embark on a new year and decade, it seemed worthwhile to take a peek at the principal forums for global 5G industry technical collaboration and do a quick assessment of what is occurring and who are the "leaders." The leadership dimension is especially relevant in Washington these days — which is suffering from a peculiar 5G dementia. As the year ended, there were no less than 35 current 5G related Congressional legislative actions, several of which actually passed one of the chambers. One is literally named "promoting United States international leadership in 5G."

These efforts in an alternative reality are orchestrated by a recently appointed loyal White House drone with numerous adhoc K-Street lobbying organizations smoking the 5G dope produced around town. (Cannabis is now legal in Washington.)

5G Leadership Reality

There are many ways to measure leadership in the 5G arena, but one of the most compelling and measurable is to examine the participation in the principal industry technical venues where all the parties collaborate together in deciding 5G features and instantiating them in global specifications that everyone implements in products and services worldwide. Those parties consist of chipset vendors, equipment manufacturers, service providers, network operators, support organizations, institutes, and government agencies.

Participation is also a considerable undertaking because it requires the necessary resources to understand the subject matter and what is occurring across the dozens of bodies that are meeting now almost every month. The principal defining body for 5G — 3GPP — now has 1,114 work items (435 legacy, 601 full 5G, 78 next-generation 5G). The full "stand-alone" 5G specs are known as Release 16 and scheduled for adoption this year. The participation metrics of both attendance and substantive submissions are the ultimate reality test of who are the serious parties in the real 5G world. Less measurable are the "bonus points" for leadership acquired by initiating and leading particularly innovative new work and 5G features.

The meetings for advancing this work are hosted among the participants, and now typically occur every month — constantly rotating around the world at locations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. In addition to advancing the work, the meetings also serve as a critical means for obtaining consensus among the participating parties, for establishing features and implementation schedules, for discovering and serving customers, and demonstrating substantive leadership. The processes are well-honed and have been highly successful globally in developing the world's most significant network communications medium — the global mobile communications infrastructure.

January was an unusually slow 5G collaborative "breather" month — presaging a considerable array of meetings in February. It was marked by meetings of the 5G architecture group (SA2) in Incheon, the CODEC group (SA4) in Wroclaw, the mission-critical communications group (SA6) in Hyderabad, and the core E2E network & terminals group (CT1) virtually. So, who was present? Who contributed input documents to shape the results — arguably the most important metric of leadership?

The 5G Architecture group is one of its most important and active. It's interim meeting in Incheon attracted 194 participants from 82 industry and government players, with the largest number from Huawei, Samsung, ETRI, Ericsson, LG, Nokia, and InterDigital. A number of other U.S. players were present, including both DHS' FirstNet and the DOJ. There were 1831 document submitters from 72 industry players, led by Huawei/HiSilicon, Nokia/Nokia Shanghai-Bell, Ericsson, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Vivo. Among government agencies, DHS FirstNet had 3. The principal work item submissions included 38 key 5G architecture features, at the top of which were Network Automation for 5G, Proximity-based Services, Vertical and LAN Services, advanced V2X, Edge Computing, Non-Public Networks, Cellular IoT support and evolution for the 5G System, Access Traffic Steering, Switch and Splitting support, Policy and charging control, 5G multicast-broadcast services, multi-USIM devices, Specific services support, Location Services, Enablers for Network Automation for 5G, Enhancement of Network Slicing, and Enhancements to the Service-Based 5G System Architecture.

The 5G CODEC group is a highly specialized group that attracts those who offer multimedia platforms. Its Wroclaw meeting attracted 67 participants from 32 industry players, with the largest numbers from Ericsson, Qualcomm, Nokia, Huawei, InterDigital. Notably, Dolby, Apple, and even Facebook were present. There were 166 document submitters from 23 industry players, led by Qualcomm, Ericsson, Sony, Dolby, and Nokia.

The 5G mission-critical group is also highly specialized that deals with both National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) capabilities as well as high resilience capabilities such as required for utility infrastructures. Its Hyderabad meeting attracted 68 participants from 33 industry and government players with the largest numbers from the Indian government, Samsung, ZTE, AT&T, Huawei, Motorola, and Qualcomm. There were 196 document submitters from 30 industry and government players, led by Samsung, Huawei/Hisilicon, Ericsson, ZTE, Convidia, and Nokia/Nokia Shanghai Bell. The Netherlands Police was the only government agency submitting contributions. The principal work item submissions included 13 key 5G mission-critical features, at the top of which were enabling Edge Applications, Mobile Communication System for Railways, application layer support for Factories of the Future, Mission Critical Services support over 5G System, architecture and information flows for Mission Critical Data, application layer support for V2X services, support for Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), Mission Critical services over 5G multicast-broadcast system, and location enhancements for mission-critical services.

The 5G E2E core network and terminals group met virtually among 35 participants from 23 industry and government players, including DHS FirstNet, with the largest numbers from Nokia, Qualcomm, Ericsson and MediaTek. There were 172 document submitters from 14 industry players with the largest numbers from Huawei/HiSilicon, Ericsson, Nokia/Nokia Shanghai Bell, MediaTek, Qualcomm and Blackberry. Almost all contributions were focussed on a single work item — the NAS protocol, which is used to manage the establishment of communication sessions and for maintaining continuous communications with the user equipment as it moves.

5G Security

In the ever-important world of 5G security, some of the most significant work continues to be led by the UK government. The assertion out of Washington that somehow China controls or dominates the 5G security activity flies in the face of myriad security activities that proceed on a collaborative consensus basis, and at which the principal U.S. government security agencies and regulators have long been absent, much less active contributors.

In addition, some of the details of the annual Security Week event emerged with a focus on 5G security and an announcement of a 5G security certification initiative.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

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More under: Internet Governance, Mobile Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecom, Wireless

Categories: News and Updates

Vint Cerf's Comments on the ISOC Sale of PIR and the .ORG Registry

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-15 20:01

Vint Cerf has posted comments in support of the pending sale of PIR and the .org registry to Ethos Capital. Vint is a respected member of the Internet community, and his comments need close attention and careful assessment.

Some of his comments have been discussed here earlier. Other comments, posted here and elsewhere, have either supported the sale or raised questions. In what follows, I select some of Vint's comments and use them to raise and explore several of the key questions that lay at the heart of the proposed sale, questions to which stakeholders involved with the deal should be able to provide answers, and who deserve answers.

Vint has commented: "Over the past several weeks, I have watched with disappointment the controversy surrounding Ethos Capital's proposed acquisition of the Public Interest Registry — which runs the .org domain — from the Internet Society. I am in favor of this acquisition and would like to explain why."

Vint argues that the ISOC sale to Ethos Capital is a win-win. It certainly is for ISOC since ISOC ends up with a substantial endowment to do what it wishes to do, and no obligations to, or complications around, the .org registry.

Vent argues that "PIR becomes a for-profit operation, and its investors can establish a policy of investing profits back into the company in addition to distributing earnings to shareholders." The new .org registry owners are certainly looking for a win, but what is totally unclear is where is the win (or protection) for the public interest?

About Ethos Capital's intentions, Vint basically says, "Trust them" since it is in their market interests to behave well in their business strategy. Some of us have observed that the $1B+ purchase price looks to be a multiple of what PIR's current revenues would suggest. This poses the question: What business model is this price based on?

Vint comments on Ethos Capital's propose Stewardship Council. Given that PIR kept its own advisory council in the dark about the proposed sale, we are again asked to "Trust them." That leaves the stakeholder community, ISOC org, and the ISOC board with a challenge, one that should apply no matter who buys PIR and takes control of the .org registry.

What exactly is the form of the ownership being proposed? Is it a benefit corporation, an LLC with a B Labs Certification? What is it? Is there a way for ICANN to insist on a form of ownership where public interest responsibilities are built-in and not based on trusting a new entity created for the sole purpose of buying PIR and the .org registry?

It would be useful if both Ethos Capital and ICANN (both ICANN org and the Board) entered the discussion. We (the ICANN community) are supposed to be in favor of multistakeholder processes. Lastly, and this is a call to lawyers, is there any way to word the .org registry contract to address some of these concerns.

Lastly, Vint states that ISOC "did not seek this transaction." We need some clarity here. Some have suggested that ISOC's desire to sell PIR developed over time. There are other statements saying that ISOC had multiple purchase offers. There are new interested buyers on the horizon. ISOC knows the history here. It would help if ISOC laid out the history and the timelines so that all parties have the facts.

The greater the transparency and multistakeholder engagement in the dialogue, the better is the likely outcome.

Written by Sam Lanfranco, Prof Emeritus & Senior Scholar, York University

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More under: Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Registry Services

Categories: News and Updates

Top 10 registrars in China

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-01-15 19:44

These Chinese companies are top domain name registrars.

I get asked from time to time which domain registrars are the best in China and which of them offer services in English. Well, hopefully you’ll find your answers in this article.

The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) surveys the domain industry every year and publishes its findings in a report (互联网域名产业报告). The latest one was released in June, 2019. Based on the report, I have compiled the following Top 10 domain registrars.

RankRegistrarWebsite

1 Aliyun (阿里云-万网) wanwang.Aliyun.com (C) 2 Xi Bu Shu Ma (西部数码) West.xyz (E) 3 Xin Net (新网数码) Xinnet.com (C) 4 eName (易名中国) eName.com (C,E) 5 Shang Zhong Zai Xian (商中在线) Bizcn.com (C) 6 Zhe Jiang Er Er (浙江贰贰-爱名网) 22.cn (C) 7 Mei Cheng Hu Lian (美橙互联) CNDNS.com (C) 8 Bang Ning (江苏邦宁) BN.beian.top (C) 9 San Wu Hu Lian (三五互联) 35.com (C) 10 Xin Wang Hu Lian (新网互联) DNS.com.cn (C)

In the table, C indicates information available in Chinese and E in English. As you can see, only two of the top 10 registrars offer their services in English.

Xi Bu Shu Ma (西部数码) is probably better known as West.cn. The company actually offers its English services from a separate site (West.xyz). You can register, bid for, or drop-catch domains. They also offer buyer agent service to help you acquire a particular domain from a Chinese owner.

eName provides a wide range of services such as auction, backorder, and escrow. (Its subsidiary 4.cn also offers similar services in English.) Interestingly, if you list your domains with a BIN price at Afternic, they will be available to Chinese buyers when they search for your domains at eName. This is because eName is a partner in Afternic’s global retail network. This method actually allows you to sell to China without having to deal with the language and payment issues.

Therefore, you can try West.xyz, eName.com, and 4.cn for domain services in English.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

U.S. Has Poor Cellular Video

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-15 17:28

Opensignal recently published a report that looks around the world at the quality of cellular video. Video has become a key part of the cellular experience as people are using cellphones for entertainment, and since social media and advertising have migrated to video.

The use of cellular video is exploding. Netflix reports that 25% of its total streaming worldwide is sent to mobile devices. The new Disney+ app that was just launched got over 3 million downloads of their cellular app in just the first 24 hours. The Internet Advertising Bureau says that 62% of video advertisements are being seen on cellphones. Social media sites that are video-heavy like Instagram and Tik-Tok are growing rapidly.

The pressure on cellular networks to deliver high-quality video is growing. Ericcson recently estimated that video will grow to be almost 75% of all cellular traffic by 2024, up from 60% today. Look back five years, and video was a relatively small component of cellular traffic. To some extent, U.S. carriers have contributed to the issue. T-Mobile includes Netflix in some of its plans; Sprint includes Hulu or Amazon Prime; Verizon just started bundling Disney+ with cellular plans; and AT&T offers premium movie services like HBO or Starz with premium plans.

The quality of U.S. video was ranked 68 out of 100 countries, the equivalent of an F grade. That places our wireless video experience far behind other industrialized countries and puts the U.S. in the same category as a lot of countries from Africa, and South and Central America. One of the most interesting statistics about U.S. video watching is that 38% of users watch video at home using a cellular connection rather than their WiFi connection. This also says a lot about the poor quality of broadband connections in many U.S. homes.

Among G7 countries the U.S. ranks last for Video Experience – Data collection period Aug 1 to Oct 30, 2018 & 2019 (Source: Opensignal)

Interestingly, the ranking of video quality is not directly correlated with cellular data speeds. For example, South Korea has the fastest cellular networks but ranked 21st in video quality. Canada has the third-fastest cellular speeds and was ranked 22nd in video quality. The video quality rankings are instead based upon measurable metrics like picture quality, video loading times, and stall rates. These factors together define the quality of the video experience.

One of the reasons that U.S. video quality was rated so low is that the U.S. cellular carriers transmit video at the lowest compression possible to save on network bandwidth. The Opensignal report speculates that the primary culprit for poor U.S. video quality is the lack of cellular spectrum. U.S. cellular carriers are now starting to implement new spectrum bands into phones, and there are more auctions for mid-range spectrum coming next year. But it takes 3-4 years to fully integrate new spectrum since it takes time for the cellular carriers to upgrade cell sites and even longer for handsets using a new spectrum to penetrate the market widely.

Only six countries got an excellent rating for video quality — Norway, Czech Republic, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the U.S. is bracketed on the list between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Interestingly, the early versions of 5G won't necessarily improve video quality. The best example of this is South Korea that already has millions of customers using what is touted as 5G phones. The country is still ranked 21st in terms of video quality. Cellular carriers treat cellular traffic differently than other data, and it's often the video delivery platform that is contributing to video problems.

The major fixes to the U.S. cellular networks are at least a few years away for most of the country. The introduction of more small cells, the implementation of more spectrum, and the eventual introduction of the 5G features from the 5G specifications will contribute to a better U.S. cellular video experience. However, with the volume of U.S. cellular broadband volumes doubling every two years, the chances are that the U.S. video rating will drop more before improving significantly. The network engineers at the U.S. cellular companies face an almost unsolvable problem of maintaining network quality while dealing with unprecedented growth.

Written by Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

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More under: Access Providers, Broadband, Mobile Internet, Telecom, Wireless

Categories: News and Updates

What to do in Austin during NamesCon

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-01-15 17:19

Howdy, y’all.

NamesCon in Austin is just two weeks away! This year marks the first year the conference will be in Austin.

I lived in Austin for nearly 25 years before moving to the Seattle area last year. So if you’re looking for a place to eat or something to do, I have suggestions for you.

Food

Austin is a foodie town. It’s best known for its Tex-Mex/Mexican food and barbecue.

On the Tex-Mex side, my favorite is Eldorado. Order the Uchingon bowl (it’s on the secret menu) or the crispy carnitas. They are divine.

Unfortunately, Eldorado is about ten miles from downtown. There are also excellent choices close to downtown.

Iron Cactus is a favorite and right on 6th Street. You can also try Manuel’s on Congress Ave, which has good margaritas and a mix of Tex-Mex and interior Mexican food.

In the mood for quick tacos? Try Taco Deli or Torchy’s Tacos.

On the barbecue side, the most famous Austin institution is Franklin Barbecue. The problem is you have to wait in line a long time. The line starts forming early in the morning, doors open at 11 am and they are open until they sell out for the day. Franklin has cracked down on hiring line waiters but you can still get them, especially for takeout.

But rather than messing around with that, I recommend grabbing a Lyft and heading to Black’s BBQ at 3110 Guadalupe St. It’s damn good barbecue without the fuss. It’s also right across the road from the University of Texas in case you want to explore the area.

Want something nicer? One of the best restaurants in Austin is Uchiko. I don’t eat raw fish, but even I enjoy going to this restaurant. Definitely try the brussel sprouts and the avocado nigiri, two of the highlights of the menu. Note: get reservations now if you wish to go to Uchiko. They are already booking for NamesCon week.

Other good downtown options include Swift’s Attic, Moonshine and Pesche.

Drinks

I mentioned Peche in the last section, and it’s also a great place to get a cocktail. If the owner is there while you dine (and he probably will be), just let him know what types of drinks you like and he’ll suggest the perfect drink.

The best cocktails in town are at The Roosevelt Room. Its menu covers every era of cocktails. They accept reservations; if you can, get a seat at the bar so you can watch them make the tasty drinks. My personal favorite is the Cigar Box.

Of course, if you’re looking for run-of-the-mill drinks or throwing back a few Shiner Bocks, there are plenty of places for that…

Entertainment

Downtown Austin has many entertainment districts.

The most famous is 6th Street. It’s just a block away from the Omni hotel where NamesCon is taking place. It’s a sight to see, but you should know that Austinites refer to this area as “Dirty Sixth.” In college, this is where you went before you actually turned 21. It attracts all of the elements.

Rainey Street is a newer entertainment district and about a five minute walk from the hotel. It has a great collection of bars.

The Warehouse District used to be just 4th Street but has expanded as downtown has grown. It’s where the adults tend to hang out. And by adults, I mean anyone over 21.

West 6th is perhaps the newest area. It gets rambunctious and attracts the fraternity bros.

If you want to do something other than drink at a bar, get tickets to the Esther’s Follies sketch comedy and magic show on 6th Street.

Get away

Wanna get away? Here are a few other things to do in Austin:

  • Hike the 100 steps to the top of Mount Bonnell for breathtaking views.
  • Stroll the shops of South Congress, referred to as SoCo.
  • Take a Lyft to Mozart’s Coffee on Lake Austin for a relaxing coffee by the lake.
  • Tour the Capitol Building.
  • Visit the University of Texas.

Don’t sound like a tourist

Austinites have some funky pronunciations, and there’s one you should be aware of because you are likely to come across it. There’s a street in Austin called Guadalupe. That ‘lupe’ part? Just say “loop.”

See you in Austin!

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

So Many Nonprofits Have Trusted Dot Org for So Long

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-15 16:51

ICANN's Board will meet soon, perhaps even tomorrow, to discuss the dot-org domain sale. It is a pivotal inflection point in the history of Internet governance.

When Internet Society (ISOC) was awarded the dot-org domain over ten other bids in 2002, evaluators voiced concerns about their ability to steward it.

The report explains:

Some on the Committee expressed concern, however, that ISOC's associations extend only to the networking/connectivity community and not to a broader base of noncommercial entities.

While we agree that the existence of a membership and chapters constitutes evidence of support, it is surely true that the global noncommercial community and .org registrants are much broader than one organization with a few thousand members.

Furthermore, there was dissatisfaction with ISOC's tendency to regard itself as the voice of the Internet community.

Evaluators suspected hubris. Eighteen years later, they were proven right. ISOC never fixed the issue of its isolation from the global noncommercial community. It still has no representatives from significant nonprofits on its Board.

It is still dominated by the networking/connectivity community. As evidenced by the decision to sell dot-org in secret, it still regards itself as the voice of the Internet community.

Despite these well-founded concerns, covenants to protect the nonprofits and the noncommercial community lasted only four years. In 2006 ICANN proposed significant changes to the dot-org contract. The covenants vanished.

Critically, while these proposals were put out for public comment, the removal of the nonprofit covenants wasn't mentioned anywhere. Not by ICANN, not by Public Interest Registry (PIR), and not by ISOC. No one commented on their removal. Maybe no one noticed.

Without their removal, the dot-org sale would have been unlikely. It remains unclear whether it was ICANN, ISOC or PIR that proposed removing the covenants. It doesn't matter. Each of these organizations has made commitments to uphold the public interest.

Each had an obligation to disclose and discuss the removal of such critical protective covenants with the affected communities. Otherwise, why run a process that created them in the first place?

The removal of these covenants happened a long time ago, but it set the stage for what is happening now. Some have argued that dot-org could be run as a for-profit again because it used to be run by a company or because the 2002 ICANN RFP didn't require applicants to be nonprofits.

These arguments are specious. The last time dot-org changed hands, ICANN ran an open and competitive request for proposals. A nonprofit bid, designed for nonprofits, won. The decision of the Internet community was that dot-org should be run by and for nonprofits. Nonprofits took the Internet community's word for it.

The reality is that ICANN awarded dot-org on the basis of the 2002 covenants. As far as the affected community is concerned, they are still there.

Which brings us to the question of whether ICANN should intervene in the dot-org sale. It is not a question of intervention. It is simply standard practice for any organization working in the public interest. It is important to understand that four things are happening here:

First: The nonprofit that runs dot-org is being sold to a private equity firm.

Second: The firm will demolish the nonprofit.

Third: The firm will create a new company.

Fourth: The new company will take control of dot-org.

Let's say just the first thing was happening. The nonprofit that runs the dot-org domain was being sold to a company. But it would stay a nonprofit. Nothing else would change. Should ICANN intervene?

If I decide to sell my house, the city doesn't need to become involved. It would be silly to have to seek city approval every time a house changes ownership.

However, if I sell my house to someone who then turns around and demolishes the house and puts up a Seven Eleven, that's turning a residential land use into a commercial one.

Even if as part of the sale, I continue to live above the seven eleven. Even if I still run the seven eleven. It's still a Seven Eleven. Not a house. No city would stand by and let a house get turned into a seven eleven without requiring a rezoning.

Even if you argue the house was actually not a house but was actually a Library. You're still turning a Library into a Seven Eleven. Even if it was a stealth convenience store that I ran out of my basement but told everyone it was just a house. It's still turning a house into a Seven Eleven.

That's why Ethos ends their latest ICANN missive with the "dot-org was never required to be a nonprofit." The thing that keeps them up at night is that they're trying to pass off a rezoning as a home sale. But it isn't.

What happened with the dot-org contract in 2006 is irrelevant. Ownership didn't change. Status didn't change. The spirit of the 2002 award is even more relevant today than it was in 2002, now that so many nonprofits have trusted dot-org for so long.

That trust is what matters. 

Written by Jacob Malthouse, Fmr UNEP Staffer, Ex ICANN VP, Co-founder dot-eco domain registry.

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More under: DNS, Domain Names, ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation

Categories: News and Updates

How NameJet has changed over the past four years

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-01-15 16:44

Joseph Peterson returns to write about NameJet. The Chinese market implosion and new expired domain deals have changed the face of NameJet since he last wrote.

I stopped writing articles about domains at NameJet for DNW about 4 years ago.  “My how time flies!” would be one reaction.  But some things never change.  Or do they?  How has the domain market changed?

Rewind to January 2016, and we were looking at a record-breaking month for NameJet – technically a recap of December 2015.  Indeed, 2015 set and broke new records almost every month, as sale prices soared and transaction volume ballooned.  Chiefly this sudden growth occurred within a few categories of short domains prized by China, which were traded eagerly by speculators worldwide.  It was the year of the Chinese surge, as the graybeards will remember.  Prices were only going up, would always go up.  And if that market sector has deflated somewhat since, well, that may explain some of the gray beards.

Now we’re reviewing sales from December 2019.  What changes can we observe?  Let me reproduce this data from exactly 4 years ago:

 Before 2015During 2015 Months > 100 Domains11.6%66.7% Domains Per Month (Mean)82.3142.1 Months w/ Domain > $100k13.3%58.3% Mean Price$5435$7220 Monthly Median Price (Mean)$3075$3229

As before, only sales above $2k are included in this analysis.  The vast majority of sales occur below that threshold.

Prior to 2015, it was very unusual for NameJet to see a month with more than 100 sales over $2k.  In fact, that happened only 11.6% of the time.  During 2015, however, such high-end sales volume became the norm, beginning in January with 148 domains, continuing through November with 233, and culminating in December with a staggering 383 domain sales.

And last month?  Only 68.  Even including an additional 14 sales from SnapNames over $2k, the total of 82 domains barely ties the average volume for NameJet alone during the years prior to 2015.  And compared to the Chinese surge, it’s a drastic drop-off.

Likewise, it was uncommon – prior to 2015 – for NameJet to score a sale above $100k.  Yet during 2015 this happened in 7 out of 12 months, compared to just 13.3% of months during all preceding years.

Once again, this past December at NameJet doesn’t measure up – not with a mere $23.1k as its high sale.  That’s a far cry from 4 years earlier, in which NameJet had 36 sales ABOVE $23.1k.  Those 36 higher sales ranged up to $184k and averaged $46.1k – double the highest sale of last month.

Both in terms of sale price and transaction volume, therefore, NameJet in December 2019 is a pale shadow of its 2015 glory.  But how should we interpret that fact?  Here, for the sake of argument, are 3 hypotheses:

  • Overall domain valuation and/or market activity has declined.
  • The real decline is primarily or solely due to the collapse of a bubble in the Chinese market sector.
  • An apparent decline in market activity is actually due to a shift away from NameJet toward other venues or methods of trading domains.

As contributing factors, any or all of those explanations might be true.  But which and to what extent?

Take a look at the average sale price.  Prior to 2015, the mean was $5435.  During 2015, it climbed to $7220, whether as a result of increased valuations or extra bidder competition or even due to the presence of certain kinds of premium domain inventory among NameJet auctions (which might no longer be offered to NameJet buyers with the same regularity).

So what was the mean sale price last month at NameJet?  $4670.  Unquestionably it’s lower – not just lower than 2015 levels but also down 14% compared to the multi-year average from years prior to 2015, which includes even the lowest-performing years of NameJet’s infancy.  If the overall domain market is appreciating AND there has been no decline in bidder activity at NameJet AND the same quantity of quality domains is being offered via NameJet, then we would expect this average sale price to increase faster than inflation.  But it has not.  Whereas the NASDAQ doubled during the past 5 years, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average nearly did so, the average price of high-end NameJet sales seems to have fallen.  Crucially, this is measured against levels prior to the Chinese surge.

Median sale prices show neither decline nor growth.  Last month, the median was $3200, which is pretty much identical to the pre-2015 average of $3075 and also to the average throughout 2015, which remained $3229.  In other words, exactly half of NameJet sales over $2k fall within the range of $2k to $3.2k with the other half above $3.2k.  This was true yesterday, and it remains true today.  If our data included sales below $2k too, then we could probably extract more useful conclusions from the median.

What about total spending?  The blockbuster month of December 2015 charted $2,964,861 from sales of domains above $2k.  But that’s not representative of 2015 overall.  NameJet didn’t surpass $1 million during the first half of 2015.  In fact, it set a record in November 2015 with $1.56M – just half of what the following month would go on to achieve.

Last month, NameJet scored a much more modest $317.6k.  Is that good, bad, or normal?  What I can say is this: Of the 70 months that happen to be represented in my database, which begin with June 2011 and run through March 2017, last month only outperformed 11 and was beaten by the other 59.  Therefore, even if we exclude the entirety of the Chinese surge during 2015, December 2019 would rank well below average – somewhere between the 15th and 19th percentile for that 6-year period.

From nearly $3 million in December 2015 to just over $300k last December – that’s a precipitous 90% drop-off!  On the other hand, it’s what we’d expect to see if the Chinese-style inventory at NameJet were to disappear altogether.  Quoting my article from 4 years ago:

By my estimate, as many as 328 of these [383] auctions can be credited to China … That would leave only 55 domains that were obviously non-Chinese. … [So] it seems that Chinese-style domains contributed 85.6% by count, 88.8% by revenue.

Remember, last month had 68 sales above $2k.  Of those, how many could be classified as fitting a Chinese-style category?  Well, there were 18 domains of 2, 3, or 4 characters.  Longer numerical domains did not appear.  And of the 18 short domains, 5 were pronounceable 4-letter .COMs, which I’d classify rather as western-style brandables.  That would leave 68 – 13 = 55 domains that are obviously of non-Chinese interest.

It’s surprising that the number of non-Chinese domain sales at NameJet turns out to be exactly the same in December 2019 as it was in December 2015.  Domains from the Chinese market sector have mostly disappeared from the NameJet charts, whereas other domains show up in the same quantity as 4 years ago.

Is that expected or unexpected?  If we think of there being two separate but overlapping domain markets – one for China and one for the west – then one has shrunk or slowed or depreciated or moved elsewhere, while the other remains as it was.  Domains in non-Chinese categories are still being sold as before.  What’s significant, however, is that spending on Chinese-style inventory – by people inside China and outside – has not been redirected to western domain categories.  Wherever the extra volume of investment / bidding from 2015 has gone, it definitely has not gone into other domain sales over $2k at NameJet.

It’s hard to disregard so many indicators of decline.  Yet we should be wary of simple explanations.  Let me stress the limitations of this analysis.  NameJet is only one marketplace – not the domain market as a whole.  Moreover, it is a particular kind of marketplace – an auction platform that mixes expired domain inventory and owner-listed items.  NameJet has lost much of its expired domain inventory, including the valuable Enom inventory, to GoDaddy Auctions. A large fraction of premium domains, which can fetch prices above $2k, are drawn from non-expired portfolios.  Insofar as owners choose to list their premium domains elsewhere – perhaps at Sedo or with brokers – that can cause a decline in high-end sales at NameJet.  Of course, December 2019 might be only a fluke – a weak month flanked by more robust sales before and after.  Is that so?  We shall see in articles to come.

Check back soon for a recap of December’s NameJet sales.

Joseph Peterson wrote over 140 articles for DNW between 2013 and 2017, followed by 2 years as Epik’s Director of Operations.  He is currently developing a marketplace for shared ownership of domains.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

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Categories: News and Updates

Vint Cerf and Mike Godwin follow bad talking points for .Org deal

Domain Name Wire - Wed, 2020-01-15 15:44

Pricing and investment arguments are wrong.


Ethos Capital and Internet Society are working overtime to spin the deal to sell .org for $1.35 billion as a good thing. There are certainly some good things about it, but I cringe when I read certain talking points.

One is around pricing. Yesterday, from ISOC board member Mike Godwin:

But could it be at the public’s expense? What about the argument that the prices for domain-name renewals will soar? This argument ignores common sense — you don’t take over a successful business and price most of your customers out of the market or spur a mass migration to an alternative product. Not only would that permanently destroy any faith in .ORG — the business you just bought — but it also would undermine TLDs generally. (I’ve suggested, not entirely jokingly, that the proper response if anybody tries to extort huge renewal fees for .ORG is to launch a mass one-time conversion to the .WTF top-level domain. I’d happily lead any charge in the .WTF Resistance.) In any case, demand for TLDs isn’t inelastic, despite what the deal’s critics say — there are hundreds of TLDs and customers aren’t locked in. It takes only a few minutes of studying PIR’s year-by-year financials to see that jacking up domain-name renewal prices in the way the critics fear would be suicidal for PIR or any other registry that depends primarily on predictable renewal rates, and it would destroy the value of .ORG as well. I don’t think any of the companies that sought to buy PIR were dumb enough to invest a billion dollars in buying the .ORG business in order to destroy it.

And from Vint Cerf:

Moreover, as a for-profit company, PIR has a clear rationale for not driving away its customer base by any excessive raising of prices. Given current .org pricing, a 10% increase in price would be less than $1. Even if an organization had registered a dozen .org domain names, it is hard to believe that such an increase would be viewed as unsustainable for most non-profits. Of course, companies that hold domain names in the tens of thousands for speculative purposes might find such increases more troubling, but I don’t have much sympathy for that business model in the context of the organizations the .org brand is intended to serve.

This thinking ignores the economics of domain names. Godwin suggests that .org customers aren’t locked in. OK, then ISOC should figure out what would be involved with switching from InternetSociety.org to InternetSociety.charity. It would cost lots of money and time, and the headaches from switching email would last for years. True, there is price elasticity to domain demand. But for renewals, it takes a huge price increase to change demand.

Cerf is correct that most charities won’t blink an eye at a $1 increase in the cost of renewing their domain name, at least in the first world. But this assumes that Ethos and whoever owns .org in the future won’t raise prices more than 10% per year. Calling on Godwin’s words, jacking up .org renewal prices would not be ‘suicidal’ to .org. Even if renewals were $100 a year, it wouldn’t be worth the pain for most non-profits to switch.

The other issue I have is with the idea that Ethos can invest in .org to create new products and services for non-profits. It certainly can, but there’s no reason PIR can’t under the current arrangement. Cerf writes:

Second, when the operation of .org was transferred to the Internet Society, it created the non-profit called Public Interest Registry, or PIR. PIR’s primary objectives were, first, to operate .org and, second, to provide significant support for the Internet Society by essentially allocating any surplus from the operation of PIR to fund the Internet Society’s work in promoting a more accessible and secure Internet. This amounted to about $50 million a year, which was hugely helpful to the Internet Society but limited PIR’s ability to invest in improvements to the operation of .org or even the creation of new products and services for the non-profit community.

The idea that Public Interest Registry is cash-strapped because it has to send its profits to ISOC doesn’t hold water. PIR has been able to increase prices 10% per year for the past decade but hasn’t always done so. If it raises prices 10% this year, it gets another $10 million in its bank account that ISOC isn’t depending on. That’s not enough to invest in new products or services?

This isn’t to say the deal isn’t good for ISOC. Godwin does a good job explaining that domain name revenues aren’t certain, and this endowment gives ISOC certainty. That’s a selling point for ISOC and its constituents. But let’s be honest about possible ramifications of this deal.

© DomainNameWire.com 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 editor (at) domainnamewire.com. Latest domain news at DNW.com: Domain Name Wire.

Related posts:
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Categories: News and Updates

Red Sea Region Suffers From Multi-Day Internet Outage Following an Undersea Cable Cut

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-15 02:33

Damage to a single submarine cable has left the entire Red Sea region disconnected from the Internet. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Ethiopia have all suffered from the last week's cut of the so-called Falcon cable; however, Yemen has suffered the most with an 80 percent drop in capacity due to its underdeveloped infrastructure. Fixing the cable will not be so simple – Lily Hay Newman reporting in Wired: "Yemen has three submarine cable landings — a Falcon connection in the east, another Falcon connection in the west, and a third landing in the port city of Aden, which connects to two other cables altogether. Due to an ongoing civil war, Aden is the temporary capital of Yemen, controlled by the Hadi government; Houthi-controlled territory geographically divides the country. ... Even under ideal circumstances, it can take weeks to repair a cut cable."

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Here's How We Can Truly #SaveDotOrg

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-15 00:51

Many of my friends in the civil-liberties and Internet-law communities have been criticizing the Internet Society's agreement to sell the Public Interest Registry, which administers the .ORG top-level domain. I'm a free-speech guy, so I support their right to raise all these criticisms. But they often ask me directly — knowing that my track record as an Internet civil-libertarian is longer than most — why as a member of the Internet Society (a.k.a. ISOC) board I decided to join the board's unanimous approval of the deal. A key reason is this: I believe this deal is absolutely the best way to ensure that .ORG grows and thrives in the rest of this century.

But this consideration — which I'll explain in a moment — is obscured by the fact that the deal also results in the equivalent of an endowment that could guarantee the Internet Society's long-term economic independence. Still, the reality is that this "endowment" thing, big as it is, wasn't enough to make me vote yes.

True, I started out with the recognition that the sale of the Public Interest Registry (PIR), especially for an endowment-sized sale price, has great potential to improve ISOC's stability and prospects for the future — probably indefinitely. Even our critics acknowledge that the sale would be good for us. The sale gets ISOC out of the domain-name business, which may be helpful since it is unclear whether that business, in its current form, is central to where the Internet is going to be 10 or 20 or 50 years from now. Still, ISOC's charitable mission requires that we think that far ahead — not just in terms of coming years, but in terms of coming decades. It would be weird indeed if the Internet needed to evolve past the current domain-name system, yet ISOC had a monetary interest in sticking with a 1990s model that predates all modern search engines. (It was originally thought that top-level domains, known as TLDs, would be super-important in locating Internet resources. First AltaVista, then Yahoo!, Google, and Bing, altered that assumption.)

But even if the TLD framework will continue to change, and even though it's less necessary than ever when it comes to finding web resources, that doesn't mean it's necessarily static or should be allowed to waste away. Part of the controversy centering on .ORG is that this TLD has grown to have a powerful symbolic value, as well as a powerful branding value. That's why I figured it would be bad stewardship to approve a deal that produces a super-excellent outcome for ISOC at the expense of reducing or eliminating or damaging PIR (and .ORG). It would be better if any deal could guarantee to leave PIR in good shape (or, ideally, in better and improving shape). We helped build PIR into the success it is today — it would be silly to do anything that would undermine or destroy what we've built. Far better instead if we put PIR in a position superior to the one it's in right now, in order for it to thrive and adapt to an evolving Internet landscape.

Still, you may ask, what's wrong with things as they are right now? In a nutshell, it's this — both ISOC and PIR are legally organized as non-profits with specified charitable missions that we both have to follow and that neither can ignore. ISOC's mission, oversimplified, is to protect, promote, and advocate for a healthy Internet — but not necessarily to defend current conventions like the domain-name system. PIR's mission centers on administering, protecting, and securing .ORG ... but also on turning over its profits to fund ISOC. It is no more ISOC's mission to support today's (or, more accurately, yesterday's) TLD system as such than it would have been ISOC's mission years ago to support the bang path email routing that preceded it. At the same time, PIR's mission — as a non-profit project of a non-profit ISOC — isn't to invest in its own adaptation to evolutions of .ORG and related services. Instead, PIR is stuck with maintaining its 1990s-era asset and handing over any surplus (revenue minus costs) at the end of the day to ISOC.

This relationship seemed short-sighted to me. Running PIR as a for-profit enterprise that doesn't have to send most or all of its surplus to ISOC might give PIR the flexibility to reinvest in itself and adapt to a changing marketplace — in fact, it's probably the only credible path for doing that. Plus, there's nothing inherently bad for .ORG in being operated by for-profit companies, if history is any guide — Network Solutions, SAIC, and Verisign did just fine doing that job as for-profit companies. Nor is non-profit status any inherent blessing for .ORG — if anything, the hobbling of PIR by its non-profit status has limited investment in .ORG services. I know the current relationship between ISOC and PIR wasn't ever intended to be any kind of parasitism, but it seems to be functioning that way now. So I found myself more open to a solution that freed both organizations to grow and do better, and not at each other's expense.

But could it be at the public's expense? What about the argument that the prices for domain-name renewals will soar? This argument ignores common sense — you don't take over a successful business and price most of your customers out of the market or spur a mass migration to an alternative product. Not only would that permanently destroy any faith in .ORG — the business you just bought — but it also would undermine TLDs generally. (I've suggested, not entirely jokingly, that the proper response if anybody tries to extort huge renewal fees for .ORG is to launch a mass one-time conversion to the .WTF top-level domain. I'd happily lead any charge in the .WTF Resistance.) In any case, demand for TLDs isn't inelastic, despite what the deal's critics say — there are hundreds of TLDs and customers aren't locked in. It takes only a few minutes of studying PIR's year-by-year financials to see that jacking up domain-name renewal prices in the way the critics fear would be suicidal for PIR or any other registry that depends primarily on predictable renewal rates, and it would destroy the value of .ORG as well. I don't think any of the companies that sought to buy PIR were dumb enough to invest a billion dollars in buying the .ORG business in order to destroy it.

That said, I've also been haunted by my uncertainty as to how long we will have today's domain-name system with us. I'm 63, but it seems possible that even within my lifetime, the TLD system will grow, change unrecognizably, or even fade away entirely. Certain choices by ICANN leading to proliferating TLDs plus the growth of search engines and mobile device apps that don't need TLDs to find things (plus, also, the possibility that Internet-of-Things and other developments may marginalize TLDs altogether) make the future of TLDs hard to predict no matter what we choose today. Most likely, in my view, is that if we have TLDs around in 20 years or 50 years, they may serve different purposes above and beyond the branding purpose they serve for most domain-name holders now. A for-profit PIR has far more capital and far more flexibility to decide what new things can be done to maintain and improve .ORG and make it meaningful and helpful for generations of future Internet users.

That's the future I see that has the greatest potential to #SaveDotOrg — to increase the likelihood that the symbolic value of the TLD we've built adapts and stays strong and has the muscle to resist attempts to co-opt or erode it. Plus, thanks to the network of contracts that binds .ORG to the larger TLD system, it would be challenging for even the most foolhardy investor with a billion dollars to throw away to intentionally buy it up and destroy it.

There are other futures, however, that look less good for .ORG. Some critics propose that ICANN (or someone else) simply kill the deal, freezing .ORG into an already outdated setup and starving the registry that manages it of the ability to adapt and evolve. I have to object to this "austerity" approach — I believe that as an ISOC trustee I can't preside over decisions that lead to the decline of ISOC over time, and that as an ethical person I can't support committing PIR to float off as a non-profit on the possibly melting ice floe of the current domain-name system.

Another alternative future (other critics have embraced) would be for ICANN somehow to extra-legally end its contract with ISOC and hand over management of .ORG to a new consortium with even less capital (and that would deliberately accumulate less) and even less experience in stewardship of .ORG — transitioning .ORG from one parasitical relationship to a worse one, with less money to improve and maintain .ORG. The disadvantages of this second model also seem to me self-evident, but there does seem to be agreement between both models that it's somehow better for PIR to be less profitable and less able to invest in itself. Because we live in an evolving, challenging world rather than a static and predictable one, and because I am 100-percent dedicated to #SaveDotOrg, and — most important — because I want to maximize the chances that .ORG serves Internet registrants and users 100 years from now, I am compelled to respectfully disagree. I prefer that we #SaveDotOrg not as something that we've gotten used to, but instead as something that our children and grandchildren may find useful.

Written by Mike Godwin, Member Board Of Trustees at Internet Society

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Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite Internet Service Developments for 2019

Domain industry news - Wed, 2020-01-15 00:44

I posted reviews of important LEO-satellite Internet service developments during 2017 and 2018. I've been updating those posts during the years and have 16 new posts for 2019. In 2019 we saw four inciteful simulations, Leosat suspending operations and Amazon announcing the availability of a new ground station service and plans for a LEO constellation, progress in phased-array antennas but a lowering of expectations for inter-satellite laser links (ISLLs), new competition from China, worries about space debris and SpaceX racing ahead of the pack. The following are brief summaries of and links to those 2019 posts:

Simulation of OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's proposed global broadband constellations (January 2019) – Inigo del Portillo and his colleagues at MIT have run a simulation comparing OneWeb, SpaceX and Telesat's proposed LEO Internet service constellations. They estimated the average data rate per satellite and total system throughput (sellable capacity) for each constellation then computed the number of ground stations needed to achieve full capacity. The simulations were run with and without ISLLs. The configurations of SpaceX and OneWeb's constellations have changed somewhat since they ran the simulations, but del Portillo does not think the numbers for total throughput and number of ground stations would vary a lot for SpaceX and he expected the total system throughput would decrease slightly for OneWeb because of the reduction of the number of satellites from the initial 720 to 600.

Fifteen-dollar, electronically-steerable antennas for satellite and terrestrial connectivity (February 2019) – OneWeb founder Greg Wyler announced that his self-funded side project, Wafer LLC, has developed a flat, low-power phased-array antenna that could be mass-produced for $15. If that is the case, we can look forward to end-user terminals in the $2-300 dollar range. At this cost, one can envision deploying large numbers of two-antenna user terminals to act as ground stations when they are otherwise idle. A recent simulation shows that doing so would result in lower latency and jitter than today's terrestrial networks. Owners of these relay terminals could be subsidized.

Google balloons and Telesat satellites (February 2019) – Telesat will use Google's network operating system. In return, Google, which is also a SpaceX investor, may get access to some Telesat data in addition to compensation for their software. Another intriguing possibility is that Google might be planning to integrate Project Loon, their stratospheric balloon Internet service with Telesat's LEO satellite Internet service — to use Telesat's network as a global backbone. That integration would be facilitated by their both running the same SDN software — the same network operating system. (In the long run, I expect that all network layers will be integrated — from the ground to airplanes to geostationary orbit).

SpaceX's Starlink Internet service will target end-users on day one (March 2019) – Starting with Teledesic in 1990, would-be LEO satellite constellations have pitched their projects to the FCC, other regulators, and the public as a means of closing the digital divide, but they also have their eyes on lucrative aviation, maritime, high-speed trading, mobile backhaul, enterprise, and governments markets. (LEOSat, which had planned to focus exclusively on the enterprise and government markets recently suspended operations). SpaceX has filed an FCC application for one million ground stations, indicating that they will be focused on end-users and small organizations in addition to high-end customers from the start.

Are inter-satellite laser links a bug or a feature of ISP constellations? (April 2019) – OneWeb has decided not to include ISLLs in the first phase of their constellation, and SpaceX will not introduce them until near the end of 2020, at which time they may start with test satellites. OneWeb's decision was motivated by political issues in Russia as well as technical considerations. They will need more ground stations to offer global service without ISLLs, and a team of MIT researchers has run a simulation of a 720-satellite OnWeb constellation. They estimate that 71 ground stations would be required to reach maximum throughput.

Amazon's orbiting infrastructure (April 2019) – In his first annual stockholder letter, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stressed that Amazon was focused on investing in infrastructure. Initially, they invested in retail distribution centers but have added an Internet backbone, trucks and planes, third party retail support, cloud computing and storage, and satellite launch and ground station service and are now working on a constellation of LEO satellites for broadband service. They use this infrastructure themselves and market it to competitors like online retailers and they have contracts to launch satellites for OneWeb and Telesat. This infrastructure yields both revenue and access to market data and there have been calls for antitrust action against Amazon.

Satellite Internet Service Progress by SpaceX and Telesat (May 2019) – Telesat has signed their first LEO customer, Omniaccess a provider of connectivity to the superyacht market, received a subsidy from the Canadian budget for providing service in rural Canada, is working with two teams that are competing to be the prime contractor for their constellation, and signed a launch contract with Amazon's Blue Origen. They also announced that they had demonstrated 5G mobile backhaul in tests with Vodaphone and the University of Surrey. SpaceX also announced ambitious plans for future launches, which have subsequently been surpassed.

SpaceX reports significant broadband satellite progress (May 2019) – SpaceX announced a significant reduction in the size and weight of their satellites and the addition of krypton-powered thrusters that would enable them to autonomously avoid collisions with on-orbit debris that was large enough to track. The thrusters would also be used to de-orbit obsolete satellites. Might the collective constellation "learn" to avoid smaller debris one day?

Might satellite constellations learn to avoid debris with sensors on satellites? (May 2019) – According to the European Space Agency, there are about 5,000 orbiting satellites, about 40% of which are still functioning. They estimate that there have been over 500 break-ups, explosions, collisions, or anomalous events resulting in fragmentation, and they estimate that there are 34,000 debris objects >10 cm, 900,000 from 1 to 10 cm and 128 million from 1 mm to 1 cm. NASA says there are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball, 500,000 the size of a marble or larger, and many millions so small they can't be tracked. Space debris is a "tragedy of the commons." SpaceX plans to launch thousands of satellites. Could sensors on satellites detect and catalog small pieces of debris and, if so, could that lead to meaningful evasive action?

Hongyun Project — China's low-earth orbit broadband Internet project (June 2019) – China has announced two LEO broadband satellite projects and a LEO narrowband Internet of things constellation. While far behind SpaceX in technology, the Chinese companies have a large domestic market, access to government capital, and political and economic ties to many nations through their Belt and Road and Digital Silk Road infrastructure projects.

Amazon's AWS Ground Station service is now available (June 2019) – Amazon is offering satellite ground station access as a service. They list a number of advantages to their service, several of which are based on complementary Amazon offerings like access to their data centers and global network backbone and cloud computing and storage services. We can assume that Amazon's satellite constellation will use these ground stations at cost and, like their launch service, they will be made available to competitors. Amazon has been accused of predatory pricing in retail, and competing ground-segment companies may fear the same.

Latecomer Amazon will be a formidable satellite ISP competitor (July 2019) – In spite of being a latecomer to the race to deploy a constellation of LEO broadband Internet satellites, Amazon's Project Kuiper will be a formidable competitor. While far behind SpaceX, Amazon has in-house launch capability, and they have extensive complementary infrastructure including data centers, Web services, and a ground-station service. They also have the funds to finance the constellation as well as to develop or acquire critical technology like ISLLs and cost-effective phased-array antennas. They have also hired ex-SpaceX executives and engineers, and in Jeff Bezos, they have a leader who is comparable to Elon Musk.

An optimistic update from Telesat (August 2019) – Telesat received 685 million Canadian dollars from the government to subsidize rural connectivity. They plan to start service at the end of 2022 with 200 satellites in polar orbit, to add 100 more in inclined orbit in 2023, and perhaps eventually reach 500 satellites. Combining polar and inclined orbits and utilizing the far-north ground stations they already have for their profitable, established geosynchronous satellite service will help them gain a foothold in rural Canada and polar regions.

Inter-satellite laser link update (November 2019) – SpaceX initially planned to have five ISLLs per satellite but cut that back to four due to the technical difficulty of linking to a fast-moving satellite in a crossing plane and the short duration of such links. OneWeb has decided against using ISLLs for the time being due to cost and political considerations and Telesat remains committed to them. SpaceX is engineering its own ISLL hardware, but OneWeb and Telesat may be working with third parties. The situation with Hongyun is unknown, and LEOsat has abandoned their effort.

What to expect from SpaceX Starlink broadband service next year and beyond (November 2019) – By the end of 2020, SpaceX will have coverage in the heavily populated parts of the world between around 50 degrees north and south latitude. They expect to be launching 120 satellites a month and, by the end of 2020, the satellites will be equipped with ISLLs. However, by that time, they will have many legacy satellites in space, and those early ISLLs may just be for testing. They expect the next-generation Starship to be able to place at least 400 Starlink satellites in orbit, reducing the per-satellite cost to 20% of today's 60-satellite launches. They hope to compete with the "crappy" $80/month service in the US and, since the cost of the constellation is fixed, they will strive for affordable prices worldwide.

Starlink simulation shows low latency without inter-satellite laser links (ISSLa) (December 2019) – Mark Handley, a professor at University College London, has made two terrific videos based on runs of his simulation of the first — 1,584 satellite — phase of SpaceX Starlink. I discussed the first video, which assumes that the satellites have ISLLs, in a recent post. This one shows that, while not as fast as an equivalent ISLL path, long bent-pipe paths would typically have lower latency than terrestrial fiber routes between the same two points. It also considers the possibility of using end-user terminals as ground stations when they are idle, which would further reduce latency and jitter.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

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Vint Cerf Says He Is in Favor of .ORG Acquisition, Explains Why

Domain industry news - Tue, 2020-01-14 20:39

In a post published today titled, "A Stronger Future for .org and the Internet," by Vint Cerf — often referred to as one the father's of the Internet — he has expressed his disappointment with the controversy surrounding Ethos Capital's proposed acquisition of the Public Interest Registry (operator of .ORG domain). He notes that he is "in favor of this acquisition" and explains why. Among the various reasons provided, Cert notes:

"[I]t is worth remembering that .org was managed by several for-profit companies in the past: Network Solutions, SAIC and VeriSign. As nearly as I can tell, these operations were beneficial and, at least, not harmful, to the .org brand."

"[T]he Internet Society did not seek this transaction, but its Board of Trustees responded with due diligence and with the help of highly qualified financial advisors to conclude that this was a transaction in its interest, and that it would further the Internet Society's fundamental purposes regarding the Internet and its beneficial operation."

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