2014-09-30

WCIT 2014, Video, Live Twitter Feed, ICANN Speakers and Event



WCIT is an international high level congress that brings together more than 50 exhibitors and up to 3,000 delegates from around 80 countries, such as Corporate leaders, Policymakers, Government officials and Academia Members to discuss emerging issues on ICTs (information and communications technologies), debate hot topics, and address how legal, political, and economic trends affect business models.

World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) is held every two years. Senior global business, government and academic leaders discuss emerging markets, legal and policy issues, political and economic trends, emerging technologies, ICT user perspectives and business opportunities in the global marketplace. WCIT 2014 is being held at Guadalajara, Mexico (September 29 through October 1, 2014). See the official web site at http://wcit2014.org. The 2016 WCIT will be held in Brasilia, Brazil from May 15-18, 2016.



ICANN special event at WCIT 2014 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014:
graphic of WCIT 2014 Program Schedule--ICANN event, Wednesday, October 1, 2014
WCIT 2014 Program Schedule--ICANN event, Wednesday, October 1, 2014











ICANN speakers at WCIT 2014 include Fadi Chehadé, ICANN President and Chief Executive Officer: Presentation at the WCIT 2014--Our Internet: A Shared Global Resource for Human Solidarity and Economic Progress--Date: September 30th, 2014, 11:15 – 11:45

and Rodrigo de la Parra, ICANN Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean: WCIT2014 presentation--Internet Governance: Rights, Responsibilities, Roles, Trust and Integrity--Date: October 1st, 2014, 11:00 – 12:15





2014-09-29

Most New gTLD Domain Names Are On Life-Support, Infecting Other gTLDs

There's barely a heart beat in most of the new gTLDs that have already launched and been in GA (general availability) for at least 90 days. Who at ICANN thought it was a good idea to go from 22 gTLDs to over 1,300? Oh yeah, ICANN's Chief Strategy Officer and "architect of the new gTLDs program" who had a "conflict of interest" (particulars still undisclosed) and now heads up an industry lobbying group with other new gTLD sycophants, and then we have a former Chairman of the ICANN Board of Directors who left the Board right after the vote approving the new gTLDS program to go to work for the parent company of a new gTLD registry applicant. And I am just scratching the surface of all of the conflicts of interest at ICANN that led to the approval of the new gTLDs program. See: Domain Names Industry, ICANN, Regulatory Capture . And now, not only are most of the new gTLDs committing hara-kiri right in front of our eyes, they have "infected" .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ, .MOBI with their disease--the red numbers (net loss in domain name registrations) I see almost every day--they are impossible not to notice, unless, of course, you work at ICANN or are one of the new gTLD "true-believers" still living in the Land of Denial--folks this isn't just a "slow start"--this is a massive train wreck with bodies lying everywhere. For example, when I looked at the report for September 27, 2014, on RegistrarStats.com, of the top 10 gTLDs, I found most had a net loss in registrations as indicated in the extension names in red below:

COM
NET - net loss
ORG - net loss
INFO - net loss
BIZ - net loss
MOBI - net loss

XYZ
ASIA
NAME - net loss
BERLIN 


And of course, .BERLIN, and .XYZ are new gTLDs--just wait till next year when renewals start coming due, for the first time for the new gTLDs that have launched--you will see massive hemorrhaging, and ICANN will, simultaneously, still be flooding the market with even more new gTLDs! This is going to get real UGLY! Hey Fadi and Akram--make a note--increasing supply does NOT increase demand. At this rate, in just a few years, the 4 largest TLDs in the world will be .COM followed by 3 ccTLDs: .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom),  and .cn (China) [I don't count .tk--it's free and has a "bad reputation"]. For all of the hullaballoo what will ICANN and the new gTLDs have accomplished? Made .COM and the ccTLDs even more dominant. Brilliant! 

If ICANN had any integrity left, it would push the emergency "stop button" on the new gTLDs program, and offer to make full refunds to all new gTLD applicants. But of course, we all know about ICANN's "ethics problems."

So what's a start-up, end user, or domain investor to do? Well for domain name portfolio owners and/or managers, you might want to dump everything except your .COM and ccTLD domain names (actually, looking at the numbers on RegistrarStats.com every day, it looks you guys are already doing that--remember Jeremy Irons' line from Margin Call: “If you're first out the door, that's not called panicking.”). But at a minimum, stay in the good neighborhoods--.COM and the well-run ccTLDs (if you live outside the US)--there's safety in numbers. Avoid almost everything else--particularly most of the new gTLDs--you don't want to hang out in "bad neighborhoods" with low traffic, low adoption numbers, shady operators, etc.  Remember, the renewal prices of all of these new gTLDs are totally within the arbitrary control of the respective registry, not ICANN. Check out who's running the registry of that new gTLD--are they engaged in "questionable practices?" Read the Registry terms, documents, and contracts before investing or you may be very surprised when renewal fees come due--I hope you don't build your business on a new gTLD domain name that costs $30,000 annually to renew after the first 2 years!

Based on just what we know thus far, if ICANN was held to the standards of a publicly-held corporation listed on a major US stock exchange, the US Department of Commerce, NTIA, should have already de-listed it, i.e., terminated its contract for incompetence and ineptness in managing the DNS. But instead, the Obama administration wants to turn EVERYTHING over to ICANN to run with no oversight at all--ideas this bad can only come from Washington, D.C.--of course, knowing how incompetent the U.S. government is (really, how do you spend over half a billion dollars building just one website that doesn't even work?), are we surprised?

Finally, what should ICANN have done about launching new gTLDs? If ICANN was so anxious to launch some new gTLDs, it should have selected for removal (retirement) from the root zone those old legacy gTLDs which had low adoption rates, and before selecting ANY new gTLDs, done the necessary "due diligence"-- extensive polling, research on market demand, consumer preferences, etc. ICANN should have selected as registry operators only people like the guys running .CLUB (they are building a nice, solid, niche gTLD which looks like it will be OK unless, of course, it also gets infected by ICANN's new gTLDs' disease before this whole ICANN-created disaster is over). Remember, ICANN is supposed to be coordinating and managing the DNS in the public interest, for the global internet community, not just be a glorified clerk and administrator for wanna be new gTLD registry operators who are able to write a check, made payable to "ICANN," for $185,000 per new gTLD. See ICANN Process for New gTLDs Dysfunctional -- from the beginning. After all, this is called Internet Governance.

ICANN would be doing itself, and all of us, a big favor if it engraved on the wall of every room, in its many, multiplying hubs and offices throughout the world (particularly the Board of Directors meeting room), the following: KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid!

Looks like Jon Postel had it about right back in 1994"The root of system is unnamed. There are a set of what are called "top-level domain names" (TLDs). These are the generic TLDs (EDU, COM, NET, ORG, GOV, MIL, and INT), and the two letter country codes from ISO-3166. It is extremely unlikely that any other TLDs will be created."

I'm sure old Jon is rolling over in his grave--on the other hand, seeing what's now happening to most of the new gTLDs--maybe he's exacting vengeance:

"Postel's Law is a clever bit of social engineering. Also known as the Robustness Principle, it goes like this: Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others. Postel addressed this advice to the engineers who built the early Internet from scratch, an arrogant bunch. To such a crowd the underlying message is:
I'm sure you're going to get this right, but you'll have to interoperate with the implementations of others with lower standards. Do you really want to deal with those fools? Better to silently fix up their mistakes and move on."




2014-09-28

Jim Chanos on Investing: "True Alpha Is Hard To Come By"




"The Market Will Not Always See What You See"

Noise is "the cacophony of negative reinforcement"

Even domain name investors can pick up something from this Barry Ritholtz interview of James Chanos, the hedge fund manager of Kynikos Associates. They discuss portfolio management, short selling, psychology and behavioral finance, government reform, China and more. Masters In Business airs on Bloomberg Radio.

Business Insider India"Jim Chanos is a Wall Street stalwart, and founded his short-only firm Kynikos (Greek for 'cynic') back in 1980s. One of his more famous moves was shorting Enron, several months before its bankruptcy. He's recently been arguing that China's economy is overheated "due to its dependence on property development for growth." And on May 15, Chanos told CNBC that he would "no longer be long on the Macau casino." Macau happens to be the only place in China where casinos are legal, and revenues have been down in June (by 3.7%), July (by 3.6%), and August (a far worse 6%)"





2014-09-26

New gTLDs, Name Collisions, How ICANN Broke The Internet (video)

Esther Dyson, founding Chairman (1998 to 2000) of the ICANN Board of Directors, on ICANN's new gTLDs program: "... we are not running out of domains. This is a “way for registries and registrars to make money”... “there are huge trademark issues. I just think it is offensive..." (2011)

The Recorder September 8, 2014: Stephen Coates, Twitter Inc.'s first in-house trademark lawyer: "... My hire also coincided with the opening of the new gTLD (generic top-level domain) space, which created several special problems for Twitter. Q: Can you explain what that is? A: ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the governing body that runs the domain name and the world of the Internet, decided to open up applications for new gTLDs, with anything to the right of the "dot."... "dot" Microsoft, "dot" App... Twitter didn't file any new applications, so we don't have any new gTLDs, but for defensive reasons and strategic marketing reasons, we are buying a lot of domain names anyway. With those new gTLDs, there have been some challenges, the chief of which for Twitter was "name collision." Q: What is name collision? A: Name collision is a list of 2,000 to 3,000 names and numbers that ICANN has deemed as creating security risks on the Internet, with very technical issues. ICANN is multiplying the number of [top-level domains] out there... so when you have all these new TLDs, what is that going to mean for the Internet? Is it going to break? These are the questions that have been asked for several years and the problem with name collision is that it included a lot of brands, including "Twitter" and "tweet."..."


Top YouTube comment to the video above: "Stunning. This is saying, in a nutshell "Do you use default domain suffixes and short names in your network? Yeah - we're gonna break that, hard. Deal with it." I'm sorry - the way I expect most of us to deal with it is to stub out the new domains at the border DNS servers, at least for our production networks. It is, in fact, what I've already done. So - anyone buying a .prod domain will be invisible to my network, sorry you wasted the money. In the long term, we'll adapt - but it's going to be a decade before a domain in .prod (for example) is actually reachable by many networks. And .corp is going up in May 2015! That's another that's going to be widely broken." 



More Info:
Resources - ICANN: "Name Collision Resources & Information"
https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/name-collision-02aug13-en.pdf
ICANN: "Name Collision Occurrence Management Framework"

See also: domainmondo.com: ".... ClaimICANN New gTLDs: "One of ICANN's key commitments is to promote competition in the domain name market while ensuring Internet security and stability."
Fact: ICANN has damaged the competitive domain name marketplace, and degraded Internet security and stability, by its incompetent and irresponsible flooding of the domain name ecosystem with more than 1000 new gTLDs [see ICANN: "the internet will explode"]."




2014-09-25

CentralNic Reports Loss, Admits New gTLDs Demand Has Fallen Short

This is becoming a pattern--now another new gTLD registry, CentralNic, not looking so good, financially--a big loss being reported (in contrast to a profit a year ago) in their most recent financials--

UPDATE - CentralNic confident of upsurge once super-brand domains launch - Proactiveinvestors (UK): "Chairman John Swingewood admitted that demand levels for the new TLDs has thus far fallen short of industry expectations"

But not to worry--somehow they are betting on .google???--

Chief executive Ben Crawford: "Some high profile launches, including so-called super-brand domains such as .google, .apple., .sony and .hsbc, have yet to take place and when they go live next year interest in gTLDs is likely to go through the roof, Crawford reckons." (source supra, emphasis added)

Oh sure, that's going to make the other unwanted, unneeded new gTLDs all of a sudden, be in demand. Ben, it's called denial and delusion and you got a bad case of it.

Wonder why he didn't mention Facebook.com, Amazon.com, and the other 114,000,000+ .COM domain names?

You can read all about it here.

Caveat Emptor!





2014-09-24

Smart Money, Dumb Money, New gTLDs, Worthless Domain Names

In Wall Street parlance there's the "smart money" and the "dumb money." Dumb money falls for all the investing fads, sells at the wrong time, or is forced to liquidate at a loss. Adding insult to injury, the dumb money usually pays ridiculous fees to boot. Smart money doesn't do any of that.

How does this play out in domain name investing?

Dumb money: Follows the domaining blogs that tout every new gTLD launch, buying into the new gTLDs that come on the market, often at premium prices, with no long-term plan for development or sale.

Smart money: Follows domain name sales reports and trends (including broader trends in technology and the world), reads and does his/her own research and due diligence, selectively accruing a portfolio of domain names [e.g., short .COM domain names] that can be developed into profitable businesses or held for resale, for a profit, to another end-user.

Here's an excerpt from what a reputable, experienced domain name broker recently wrote: "... new gtlds are like the "raw land" of the domain industry: while there are properties that can appreciate in value in a very short time... the vast majority of them will remain worthless. Why is that? Well this is simply because there are not enough end users looking to brand under under a new gtld, and there are even less looking to pay a significant premium for it... " (emphasis added)


Caveat Emptor!





2014-09-23

Tencent, Another Huge Chinese dot COM, Taking On Alibaba

Tencent's Impressive Line Of Messaging + Social Platforms | Statista: Infographic: Tencent's Impressive Line Of Messaging + Social Platforms | Statista
Above: Tencent's Messaging and Social Platforms include QQ, QZone, WeChat, Weixin

Can Alibaba Keep Growing Without Sacrificing High Profit Margins? - WSJ:".... Marco Ma, an e-commerce manager for Factory Five, a bicycle shop in Shanghai that runs an online store on Taobao [an Alibaba property], received a phone call last month from an official at Tencent's WeChat messaging app unit who offered to let Factory Five conduct e-commerce through WeChat free of charge. Factory Five co-founder Drew Bates said "their sales pitch was that WeChat is already an intrinsic part of people's lives, so bolting on an e-commerce platform is just a logical step." He said his company started selling some of its products through WeChat last month, in addition to Taobao. Tencent approached Factory Five with the offer around the same time the bike shop was redesigning its store on Taobao's mobile app using software tools provided by Alibaba, Mr. Bates said. But so far, Factory Five's Taobao store generates far more sales than its WeChat store, he said. Data so far show few signs of threat to Alibaba's e-commerce dominance. Taobao's mobile app [owned by Alibaba] accounted for 86% of China's online shopping done through smartphones and tablets in the second quarter, according to iResearch. But Tencent could be a threat in the future if more consumers warm up to the idea of linking social networks with commerce, Jefferies analyst Cynthia Meng said. "If people are spending so much time on WeChat and Mobile QQ, there will be little time left for other apps," she said."

Tencent Holdings Limited is a Chinese investment holding company whose subsidiaries provide mass media, entertainment, Internet and mobile phone value-added services, and operate online advertising services in China [Wikipedia --full profile]. Tencent services include:

Tencent is one of China's largest internet companies [second quarter earnings report (PDF)--posted 37% revenue growth and 58% profit growth YoY]

Stock Price and links

Domain Names include:
Tencent.com (Chinese) [English: http://www.tencent.com/en-us/index.shtml ]
tenpay.com
paipai.com
tencentmind.com
qq.com




2014-09-22

Barry Ritholtz on Blogging

Having been inspired by, and having borrowed from on more than one occasion, Domain Mondo owes a debt of gratitude to Barry Ritholtz, chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, author of "Bailout Nation," blogger at his own the Big Picture, a financial blog, and also writer for Bloomberg and the Washington Post, and interviewer on the Bloomberg podcast "Masters in Business." Barry has written the definitive piece on blogging in the Washington Post (at the link below, excerpts follow) which is well worth reading for anyone who writes, blogs, or has an interest to do so--

After 30,000 posts, Big Picture blogger has figured a few things out - The Washington Post (excerpts--read more at the foregoing link):

"Writing is a good way to figure out what you think. To quote Daniel Boorstin, the former librarian of Congress, “I write to discover what I think . . . After all, the bars aren’t open that early.”"

"In the early days, mainstream journalists were comfortable “borrowing” freely from blogs without attribution — not so much as a quote or a link to the original piece."

"Content: creativity, criticism and curation... Original research and analysis that teaches about a subject or identifies something new or unknown is always welcome. Criticism of errors, myths and simple falsehoods helps the reader learn about the arguments of the day, and which claims should be looked at askance... Curation is the application of intelligence and judgment to the immense universe of content."

"Reader comments have become useless."

"Advertising is a terrible business model (unless you are Google)... Yes, there are many non-monetary reasons why I blog, but if you are in this for the money, you are wasting your time."

"It can be difficult for readers to distinguish between good information and distracting nonsense."





2014-09-21

New gTLDs, Brands, Domain Name Consultants, The Biggest Con


Not to pick on all domain name consultants (there are a few really good domain name consultants)--but frankly, there are also plenty of charlatans and snake oil salesmen who call themselves "domain name consultants" or "brand consultants" or by some other domain name industry or professional title. Some of them end up on ICANN committees/groups/boards "pushing" new gTLDs for brands and other unwanted, unneeded programs that are not in the global internet community's best interests. ICANN calls all of them "stakeholders"--that's ICANN's generic title for everyone, including the influence-peddling hucksters trying to score their next con, who weasel their way into the ICANN decision-making process, often as part of, or sponsored by, the very entities who stand to profit from ICANN's decisions. I've got some better words for all of these characters.

Notice that the smartest guy in Silicon Valley didn't fall for the new gTLDs for brands con game? Facebook bought how many gTLDs for their brands? That's right: -0-, none, nada. “Facebook did not apply for .facebook or any other new top level domains,” says spokesperson Andrew Noyes (source infra).

Facebook Is Ignoring The 'Greatest Internet Landgrab In History': "... The question is: is this [new gTLDs program] really necessary? From the New York Times:
There is also a lingering question about whether the new suffixes are needed at all. Some top-level domains that ICANN has created in previous, smaller expansion rounds have attracted little interest. Many consumers find Web sites via search engines, rather than typing in an exact Web address. Others are increasingly using mobile applications, rather than the open Internet.
"If the Web is truly on its deathbed, as Wired has claimed, those spending money on this may be [www.just].throwingitaway. Their money would be better spent on better mobile apps."

Protecting Brands on Internet Will Cost | Adweek [April, 2013]: "..."It's not a fair system," said Brad Newberg, a partner with Reed Smith, who represents a number of large brand owners. "The protections that were put into place are extremely costly, put all the burden on the trademark owner and may not be effective at all." With the costs of defensive registrations sure to skyrocket into the tens of millions, many brands are rethinking their Internet identity strategies. "There is no way this fortress mentality can be continued going forward," said Bill Smith, a senior policy advisor for PayPal, said ... "Companies aren't sure they should defensively register," said Amy Mushahwar, an attorney with Ballard Spahr, which represents advertisers. "What they are contemplating is boycotting the defensive registration all together.""

And of course, for those who got suckered, they can still mitigate their losses: see Most brands may never sign the ICANN contract.

Forewarned is forearmedCaveat Emptor.





2014-09-20

Video, Ads, Content Creators, Facebook vs YouTube (video)



Facebook Tries to Muscle In on YouTube: Facebook has reached out to some of YouTube's content-producing heavyweights in hopes they'll distribute their videos on the social networking site. WSJ's Reed Albergotti reports.

This is more on the battle of the mobile native app platforms for capturing content creators and delivering content, thereby bypassing the mobile web.

Domain Names referenced:
facebook.com
youtube.com




2014-09-19

INTA San Francisco: Internet, Innovation, ICANN




INTA 2014 Meeting--Internet, Innovation and ICANN
September 18–19, 2014, JW Marriott Hotel
San Francisco, California, USA
(go to link above for full details, including speakers)

Meeting Sessions:
  • Internet Innovation
  • Internet Governance
  • Geographic Identity Meets Brand Identity in a Net Without Borders
  • Social Media
  • New Developments in the Global WHOIS Internet Domain Name Directory System: Implications for Brand Owners
  • Lessons Learned From the First Round [of new gTLDs]
  • Internet Committee Update
  • Internet Intermediary Liability
  • New gTLDs, New Issues and New Remedies
  • Security and Surveillance





2014-09-18

ICANN Budget Freeze, Uncertainty in Revenues, US Politics, IANA Transition, Volunteer Fatigue

Interesting topics discussed at the June 24th meeting in London between ccNSO and ICANN Board, according to the released transcript--ICANN budget freeze, uncertainty in ICANN revenues, U.S. politics and the IANA Transition, as well as ICANN volunteer fatigue due to the ongoing ICANN accountability and IANA transition processes--

ccNSO Meeting in London - Audio & Transcripts | Country Code Names Supporting Organisation:
LONDON – Board with ccNSO, Tuesday, 24 June 2014 – 09:45 to 10:45, ICANN – London
Meeting excerpts (begins at  Page 17 of 33, emphasis added):

ROELOF MEIJER: And, Fadi, you shouldn't see this as an attempt to raise a discussion about how you forecast your revenues.  It's more a warning on the fact that this is a forecast; and if we look at the budgeted costs, there's a risk that the cost increases faster than the revenues.  That was the message that I wanted to get across.

FADI CHEHADE: Absolutely. That point is well‐taken. And just to be clear, I have frozen the budgets of all departments of ICANN effective June 30th for the entire next year except the three areas that convinced me we need to invest a little more because we have invest ‐‐ frankly, we have a deficit of investment: I.T., compliance, and the new GDD division that has to grow with the growth of the new gTLDs. But everything else has been frozen: Engagement, every other area. Legal wanted ‐‐ everybody wanted more. We froze it. It is completely frozen. So the spend level they have on June 30th, zero dollar increase past June 30th for the next fiscal year. So I am cognizant ‐‐ someone yesterday said, I think we had to grow ICANN to deliver a certain level of services. But it's time to start curbing that growth, partly to deal with uncertainty in revenues. We don't want to have a rosy picture of revenues and find ourselves in a difficult place. So keenly aware of that. And I really appreciate it because I think as CEOs, we certainly should not fall into the trap of seeing the cost line continue to go up based especially on uncertainties on the revenue side. So you have my commitment to watch for that. I'm already starting the curbing across most departments and will continue to do that next year....

BYRON HOLLAND: And I'm sure you've already heard the commentary about volunteer fatigue. When we look at the various threads here, be it the steering group, whatever the final shape of the accountability process looks like, there's currently also a separate but related cross‐community working group on Internet governance. There is a cross‐community working group on the IANA transition taking shape right now. But just asking ‐‐ asking ICANN to be ‐‐ to recognize that and to do everything that ICANN can to try to mitigate volunteer fatigue....

BECKY BURR: I just want to say in case anybody is under any misconceptions about this, the CC [ccTLD] community is quite aware of the deadline [September, 2015, for the IANA transition] and the need to get this done and those of us who follow American presidential elections know very well why that's critical. I ‐‐ and I understand the balance, but I think that you guys have put it in our court. It's now up to us. You guys have to give us the opportunity ‐‐ it's going to take some hard work to get this going and to take responsibility for it. But that's what has to happen now. And any chance ‐‐ any effort to sort of control the timing is going to backfire.

FADI CHEHADE: Let me be careful. I didn't say we are controlling the timing. I was pointing to the fact that your community [ccTLDs?] is not monolithic on this issue. There are people within your community who would like the transition to never happen. There are people in your community who want to slow it down until it's maybe the Republicans running the U.S. government. There are people in your community who would like it to happen yesterday. So your community is not monolithic on this issue, and therefore, we have to also be careful, as you are coming back to us with varying inputs, that we understand, you know, how to keep this thing balanced with the other communities who will be affected by this transition as well. So this is our role, not as staff but as a coordinating committee by our ‐‐ I meant the coordinating committee….

CHRIS DISSPAIN: Byron, can I just clarify? Jay, I understand what you are saying. I think what ‐‐ I think what Fadi meant was "the" community as opposed to "this," specifically the ccTLD community. So within the wider community there are people who do not want this to happen. Within the wider community there are people who want to slow it down, speed it up, et cetera. So I think ‐‐ I think he said your community. But I think he meant the community generally....





2014-09-17

ICANN Meetings, Domain Name Registries, and Dirty, Filthy Registrars

For those of you going to your first ICANN meeting next month (LA, October 12-16), I thought I'd give you a bit of foretaste of what it's like from a London ICANN 50 transcript (emphasis added)--

ccNSO Meeting in London - Audio & Transcripts | Country Code Names Supporting Organisation:
LONDON – ccNSO Members Meeting Day 2 transcript: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 – 09:00 to 15:30 ICANN – London, England:

BYRON HOLLAND: There’s Oscar. This is the first test of the panel to see if they can actually sit in the order of their pictures and self‐organize. Okay, good morning, officially, to Wednesday, day two of the ccNSO meeting. Our first panel of the day certainly promises to be a very interesting one, no doubt lively. For registries and registrars, can we standardize? Can one size fit all? I’m sure there are no strongly held opinions on that whatsoever. With that, I will hand it over to Crystal Peterson, who will be moderating this panel. Thank you.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Thank you, Byron. Good morning, everyone. It’s very nice to see you on
this lovely Wednesday morning. My name is Crystal Peterson, as Byron mentioned. I’m the Director of Global Sales and Channel Marketing for the .co registry. I would like the rest of my panel members to introduce themselves, if they will, right before we get started here.
OSCAR ROBLES‐GARAY: Hi, good morning. I’m Oscar Robles, General Director of .mx, ccTLD for Mexico.
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Good morning. It’s Giovanni Seppia, External Relations Manager of .eu.
HENRY CHAN: Hi, good morning. Henry Chan from .hk, Business Development Manager for the ccTLD for Hong Kong.
MICHELE NEYLON: Michele Neylon, Founder and CEO of Blacknight, a dirty, filthy registrar based in Ireland. I’m also the Chair of the Registrar Stakeholder Group within the ICANN GNSO and Chair of the .eu Registrar Advisory Board.
PETER LARSEN: My name is Peter Larsen. I’m also a registrar, a dirty registrar.
MICHELE NEYLON: Dirty, filthy registrar. Do it properly.
PETER LARSEN: Oh, sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’m also on Advisory Board for .eu. I’m Chair of the Danish Registrar Union and Board member of the Swedish and the Norwegian, by the way. I’m based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
TOBIAS SATTLER: Good morning. My name is Tobias Sattler. I’m from United Domains as a
Chief Information Officer. I’m not part of any other things like other registrars – just trying to be nice.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Thank you, gentlemen.
MICHELE NEYLON: Are you still drunk from last night?
CRYSTAL PETERSON: We are here today to talk a little bit about how can we standardize amongst registries and registrars, taking into account the fact that, as ccTLDs, we may have local policies that need to be in play from our local governments in order to run... I’d love to pose a question to our registrar guests first of what are some of the things that you would love to see from the ccTLD community, from a potential technical standpoint, to help standardize – I see all kinds of smiles here – from a technical standpoint of how can we help you work with ccTLDs better? Go
MICHELE NEYLON: I’ll go first, because the two of them are still half asleep. At the moment, one of the main challenges from the registrar perspective is that practically every single ccTLD has its own technical implementation... I feel, at times, that my technical team have to sacrifice small animals in order to integrate with some ccTLDs – and gTLDs, by the way. The gs are using EPP, but they keep on adding weirdness to it. Just if everybody were just to keep it simpler, life would be so much nicer.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: You’re saying basically it’s being able to standardize around one type of
platform system, like [inaudible]
MICHELE NEYLON: Not so much platform. It’s more to do with the standards themselves. In the gTLD space, everybody’s using EPP. The problem is that some people have weird extensions. In the ccTLD space, you’ve got EPP, EPP’s bastard son, EPP’s bastard cousin. You’ve got e‐mail‐based systems. You’ve got systems based around Curl. You’ve got stuff using various APIs. You’ve got things which are web‐based systems with no APIs. You’ve got registries that understand the concept of a registrar. You’ve got registries who don’t understand what the hell a registrar is. You’ve got ones who think they understand what the registrar is but don’t really understand what a registrar is, so they go, “You’re a registrar.” “Well, no, actually, you’re not.” “Yes, you are.” “No, you’re not.” Oh God, help. It’s this kind of mish‐mash of in some cases crazy, in other cases, I know it’s legacy. I mean, as a guest in the ccNSO, I’m trying to be polite about it.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Yes, it’s early in the morning. We’re polite for the first 30 minutes....

[It's all downhill after that--here are some excerpts below]

MICHELE NEYLON: At times, we find it quite frustrating dealing with ccTLD operators,
because for a lot of you – not all of you, admittedly. Looking across, I look at Oscar, who’s definitely on the more business‐y side I think – at least, he wears nice suits. For a lot of you, you don’t approach running your country code as a business. You approach it as something else. I’m not too sure exactly what, but it’s not being run with that kind of commercial view. It’s being run as something else. I do appreciate and I do understand that those of you who’ve dealt with
me in the past know I am sensitive to it....

[On the subject of registries who also operate registrars]--
MICHELE NEYLON: ... It just depends on how much blood we want to leave in the room after this one. Okay. I’ve always had very mixed feelings about registries playing the role of registrar. Now, in the gTLD world, we’re now seeing more and more new TLD operators that are vertically integrated. There’s some very valid reasons why vertical integration can make sense. I’m not totally opposed to it. What causes issues is when the vertically integrated entity or the registrar arm of the registry gives itself an unfair advantage. For example, if you have a nice set of policies that you apply to everybody except to yourself, well, then, as far as I’m concerned, that’s just plain wrong. That’s the kind of thing that causes headaches. Also, as well, generally speaking, most registries that try to act as registrars kind of suck at it, anyway. I don’t worry too much about it.... unfortunately, in the ccTLD space, you don’t have a lot in place, a lot of the time, to handle registrar failure. You don’t have proper escrow set up in many cases. You don’t have any of those kind of things...
MICHELE NEYLON: Just one other thing as well is registries should be registries. You shouldn’t try to start offering all sorts of crazy extra services... Stick to running what your registry. Don’t go throwing on extra stuff just because you think it’s a “good idea.” It probably isn’t....they [registries] probably would be better off investing their resources elsewhere. I’m kind of wary of that, when you’re looking at some of these things. From our side, on the registrar side, all of these things, it’s like, “Yes, crap, there’s no real demand for it.”  What there is demand for a lot of the time is a quick and easy ability to register a damn domain name, get a website, e‐mail, and other things up and running quickly and easily, without having to hand over a blood sample and a sliver of my kidney.....
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing to add.
MICHELE NEYLON: He’s very happy just to sit there and just agree with us. And be honest, Crystal, we didn’t coordinate this, okay? For the record, we didn’t have a pre‐meeting to coordinate what the registrars were going to say. We’ve been saying the same things for years. This is not news.
CRYSTAL PETERSON: Fair point, fair point. Yes?
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Okay. First of all, I like to point you to the lights in the corner of the room, because anytime that Michele says a bad word, they turn into almost red – pink or red. I think they are some sort of emotional lights. Those close to [inaudible]. They are changing and I just noticed that anytime he says something really nasty, they were completely red. I think they are emotional lights. They help to --
MICHELE NEYLON: No. Giovanni –
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Thank you, Michele. It’s my turn, thank you.
MICHELE NEYLON: No, Giovanni, nasty? Hold on, there. Critical.
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Critical.
MICHELE NEYLON: Critical.
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Constructively critical.
MICHELE NEYLON: Not always constructive.
GIOVANNI SEPPIA: Okay. That [inaudible]....

[Well, enough of the transcript, I think you get the idea--so go, and enjoy!]

2014-09-16

China Bans Facebook While US Welcomes Alibaba (video)

Facebook Says China Consumers Want Site as Regulator Says No: Video - Bloomberg:
(Allow video to load after clicking play or go to link above)

Facebook said China consumers routinely ask about accessing its services even as a regulator indicated there’s little chance a ban will be lifted. Zeb Eckert reports on "First Up." (Source: Bloomberg - Sep 12 2014)

Chinese Censorship or China's Crony Capitalism?





2014-09-15

New gTLD Registry Rightside, Rename It Wrongside?

Stock Chart on Rightside "NAME"
Rightside "NAME" Stock 
When a stock chart looks like this [at left; source: SeekingAlpha], it's usually not good. A trend as shown on the chart may indicate something is wrong--fundamentals, business model, projections, perceptions, performance? I'm not sure. But Thunder Capital Management, a financial blogger who also posts on Seeking Alpha, isn't mincing his words:

Thunder Capital Management: "My recommendation: stay away from the stock or even short the stock."

You can find his full analysis on Seeking Alpha, here's the summary:
  • On 8/1/14, Rightside (NAME) spun-off from Demand Media (DMD). The Company is relying on gTLD growth initiative that might not pan-out.
  • Based on recent purchase multiples, Rightside's gTLDs are worth around $60mm.
  • Rightside has reported two straight quarters of negative EBITDA. Aftermarket services revenue will continue to decline. The existing registrar business has no shareholder value.
  • There is at least 30% down-side in this stock as the Aftermarket services revenue erode.

Thunder Capital Management [TCM] is a former technology investment banker who graduated from the Wharton School according to his posted bio.

Rightside Group, Ltd. [stock symbol "NAME"] is a new gTLD registry as well as a domain name registrar and aftermarket reseller utilizing the following brands according to its website:
eNom, Name.com, NameJet, Rightside Registry.

According to TCM, Rightside has invested in new "gTLDs such as .Rocks, .Immobilien, .Attorney, and .Ninja. Rightside will operate around 30 of them...  Rightside has been growing its revenue base, but EBITDA has been falling quickly. Something must be wrong, right? Should we call this company the Wrong Side because clearly it has become unprofitable. Therefore, Rightside had to spin-off from Demand Media because it was unprofitable and find ways to raise capital to fund this unprofitable business...  If Rightside and its gTLD initiative has big success potential, I question the fact that it withdrew its applications. Why would Rightside withdraw gTLDs and get its cash back if this was such a successful initiative?... There is absolutely no shareholder value in the registrar business... I'll give Rightside credit of $60mm for the gTLDs it owns. If we assume no value for the registrar, $60mm (gTLDs) + $77mm cash = $137mm equity value, implying $7.44 per share. Therefore, there is 37% downside in this stock... There may be further downside if the valuation of the gTLDs is lower. "(source: Seeking Alpha, emphasis added)

You can download TCM's historical financials on Rightside at the TCM website.

As a counter to the conclusions and opinions of TCM, I would remind readers that Rightside has the backend registry infrastructure business of Donuts and the new gTLDs are just rolling out--it's early in the game! Depending on the terms of the deal with Donuts, that business and Rightside Registry's own new gTLDs could be very profitable. In addition, you might want to follow the comments to TCM's post at Seeking Alpha.

Update 16 Sep 2014--there's also a thread discussion here: Rightside Group (NAME) – A Quote And A Chart | Buyside Notes

Domain Names referenced:
rightside.co
enom.com
name.com
namejet.com

Notice: Domain Mondo has no interest or position in Rightside nor relationship with Thunder Capital Management. Note our Disclaimer which appears at the bottom of the web version of this page.




2014-09-14

Financial Times, Print Redesign, HTML5, Digital Strategy

I wrote a few days ago in Are Domain Names Dinosaurs that although the mobile web appears to be disappearing into a world dominated by native apps, all is not hopeless. A company that has successfully utilized a HTML5 mobile app in lieu of native apps, is the Financial Times (ft.com), which is launching a redesigned print product Monday:

Financial Times to debut big redesign Monday | Capital New York"The Financial Times will hit newsstands Monday with its first major redesign in seven years. And between the lines (set in a new typeface, called Financier, developed by rockstar New Zealand type designer Kris Sowersby) it’s possible to read an idea that’s been inching forward among quality broadsheet newspapers in recent years: the primacy of digital for delivering hard news. Broadly characterizing the redesign of the paper as a “simplification” in a memo to staff obtained by Capital, editor Lionel Barber nearly makes the point: “It shows the market that the FT is confident in its print product and prepared to invest in it while pacing ahead with digital development at the same time. The newspaper's simplification enables us to shift our focus more into digital platforms and strike the right balance in our digital first newsroom.”..."

And indeed, the Financial Times has been leading the way with its Web App based on HTML5--no need to pay Apple or Google:

Financial Times: 'There is no drawback to working in HTML5' | Media | theguardian.com"When the FT first switched from native to HTML5 on iOS in 2011, it was seen in some quarters as a snub to Apple. Although that was partly true – the FT and Apple disagreed over control of subscriber data – a more important reason was the desire to make porting and maintaining the app across multiple platforms and devices easier in the longer term. Two years on, Grimshaw says the strategy is proving a success. "I challenge anyone to tell the difference between our HTML5 app and a native app. There is no drawback to working in HTML5, and there are lots of advantages," he says."

see also: Building The New Financial Times Web App (A Case Study) | Smashing Magazine

domain name: ft.com




2014-09-13

The Alibaba Story (video)

Bloomberg West Special: The Alibaba Story (09/11): Video - Bloomberg:
(Allow video to load after clicking play or go to link above)

Bloomberg West takes a look at Alibaba's rise from a small Internet upstart in China to one of the most valuable tech companies in the world. Emily Chang interviews former Yahoo COO Dan Rosensweig and Porter Erisman, director of the film "Crocodile in the Yangtze." (Source: Bloomberg, Sept 11, 2014)

Alibaba's Domain Names:
alibaba.com
alibabagroup.com
taobao.com
tmall.com
aliexpress.com
1688.com
alimama.com
aliyun.com
alipay.com
11main.com




2014-09-12

New gTLD Program Timeline, ICANN Revises Into 2017

It's taking a lot longer than ICANN had anticipated to roll-out the new gTLDs--we are now going to see new gTLDs delegated into 2017 (last line in graphic below) from this first round according to latest information from ICANN (revised as of July 22, 2014):

New gTLD Program Timeline graphic from ICANN
New gTLD Program Timeline (source: ICANN.org)





























To keep up with ICANN's new gTLDs Timelines go here





2014-09-11

The World is going "all in" on Android as The Mobile OS

IDC: Smartphone OS Market Share 2013, 2012, and 2011 Chart

Notwithstanding Apple's announcements on Tuesday, Steve Jobs is probably rolling over in his grave--his greatest fear is coming true (above).

And Android fragmentation is not a problem--

It’s 2014, and Android fragmentation is no longer a problem — Tech News and Analysis: "... Play Services is more important than OS installs when planning and designing an Android app. Play Services, introduced in 2012, is effectively a background download of core services required to run apps on Android. Putting the OS install numbers t o one side for a moment, this is the stat that matters to developers – over 93 percent of all Android users are running the latest version of Google Play Services...."

All of this has ramifications for the domain name industry. On mobile right now, apps rule--not the mobile web. The Google Android ecosystem, although not a walled garden to the extent of  Apple, nonetheless has utilized Google Play Services to cure fragmentation and provide a protective "moat" to promote the Google Android experience. The Chrome browser on Android, with its capabilities in HTML 5, may be of significant importance to advance use of websites and web applications in place of native apps on mobile devices in the future. Ultimately, the decline of native apps, and the rise of the mobile web, will favor Google and its various services, including its core offering of search and Google advertising.





2014-09-10

ICANN Insiders On New gTLDs: Mistakes, Fiascos, Horrible Implementation

A Second Round of New gTLD domain name extensions coming, the Law of Bad Ideas Redux:

They have begun talking about another round of new gTLDs at ICANN, and the transcript (pdf) makes for interesting reading--even ICANN insiders admit the dysfunction and systemic failures within ICANN relating to the new gTLDs, here's an excerpt--

"We keep on adding things as - before I get to speak. On the 19 policy issues that were identified by the GNSO, it's not necessarily the fact that we forgot any or we got the policy wrong, it's those policy recommendations were written in such a generic unspecific way - and somewhat deliberately partly because we didn't want to spend another several years working on that PDP, the interpretation of them ended up being different than what we imagined.

"And, you know, yes from the point of view of that PDP it was implementation but clearly now we understand there were policy issues. And so, you know, Avri [Avri Doria – NCSG] in the chat said they [ICANN] did a horrible job of implementing it. Well, I guess horrible is a judgment call. But certainly they [ICANN] were given - staff was given a lot of latitude - staff and the community because we spent God knows how many years talking about it - but in retrospect clearly there were mistakes made.

"And if the policy had been more specific we might not have made those mistakes or at least they would have been deliberate mistakes. So it's not so much that we had the wrong ones or we did it wrong but we really are going to have to provide more guidance to the second round so we don't have some of the fiascos we had.

"The second point is, and Tijani alluded to that in terms of applicant support, but it's equally true in community applications. There was such a visceral fear of gaming [the system by new gTLD applicants] that all of these things, which could have made something easier for some - for applicants, the rules were made - the bar was set so high the rules were made so rigid that it almost guaranteed that no one would end up using that path."--Alan Greenberg - ALAC

source: ICANN Transcription
GNSO New gTLDs Subsequent Rounds Discussion Group
Monday 08 September 2014 at 14:00 UTC

It all just confirms what I said before: ICANN Process for New gTLDs Dysfunctional -- from the beginning

UPDATE: Greenberg Selected as Next ALAC Chair - Alan Greenberg (see above), a long-time member of the At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), has been selected as the next ALAC Chair. Greenberg replaces Olivier Crépin-Leblond, who has served as ALAC Chair since December 2010.

2014-09-09

Twitch CEO On Why Twitch Chose Amazon Over Google, (video)


(Allow video to load after clicking play or go to link below)
Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Emmett Shear, founder and CEO of Twitch, comments on Amazon's acquisition of the company. He speaks with Trish Regan and Cory Johnson on "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg)

Twitch.tv
Google.com
Amazon.com





2014-09-08

You should have taken that $10 million, kid

News of the weird from startup land--*Twitpic shuts down over trademark dispute, blames Twitter--

First a little history--TwitPic - Wikipedia: "TwitPic was launched in 2008 by Noah Everett. In an interview with Mixergy, Noah Everett revealed that he had been offered a price in the range of 10 million US dollars for his company but he declined the offer."

Fast forward to the present--Twitpic is shutting down | Twitpic Blog: ".... We originally filed for our trademark in 2009 and our first use in commerce dates back to February 2008 when we launched. We encountered several hurdles and difficulties in getting our trademark approved even though our first use in commerce predated other applications, but we worked through each challenge and in fact had just recently finished the last one. During the “published for opposition” phase of the trademark is when Twitter reached out to our counsel and implied we could be denied access to their API if we did not give up our mark. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to fend off a large company like Twitter to maintain our mark which we believe whole heartedly is rightfully ours. Therefore, we have decided to shut down Twitpic...." (emphasis added)

Implied? No suit filed, just a letter/phone call/email? This doesn't make sense. Really, ever think about changing your name/mark? There has to be more to this story (like Twitpic is losing money, can not find financing, the owners are bored and want to do something else, etc.). I don't know, but there has to be more to this story.

Ever hear of Isis? No, not that ISIS--this Isis-- Wallet app Isis changing name to Softcard: "The mobile wallet app Isis has rebranded as Softcard to avoid any potential association with the Islamic militant group bearing the same name." Notice that Isis didn't just give up and shut down?

Oh wait, there is more: Twitpic Is Shutting Down, Blames Twitt. er (Mashable): "Once Twitpic shuts down on September 25, Everett says he will focus his efforts on Pingly, a messaging app that he's been working on lately."

Oh, OK. Good luck with that.

P.S. You should have taken that $10 million, kid.

*Domain Name: twitpic.com





2014-09-07

Alibaba.com, Mother Of All IPOs, Values .COM Company at $162 Billion

Alibaba to Plan New York IPO Roadshow Kickoff Sept. 8
*Alibaba plans to start meeting investors in New York on Sept. 8, ahead of its initial public offering later this month. DCM Co-Founder and General Partner David Chao and Bloomberg’s Mia Saini discuss on “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg Sept 5, 2014)

Alibaba Seeks to Raise $21.1 Billion in Record-Breaking U.S. IPO - Bloomberg: "Alibaba is seeking a valuation of as much as $162.7 billion, larger than 95 percent of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as it enters the IPO's final stages. At the high end of the proposed price range, Alibaba would be the third most valuable Internet company traded in the U.S. after Google Inc. [google.com] and Facebook Inc.[facebook.com] The offering could raise as much as $21.1 billion, according to a regulatory filing..."

Attention domain name investors: this isn't the overhype and hokum you constantly hear about the pathetic new gTLD domain names--no, this is about a dot COM companythe real thing--and truly the dawn of a new Internet era as the company is a .COM company from China, not Silicon Valley!

In about two weeks, one dot COM company will raise, in just one day, more on the public market than all of the new gTLD domain names sold to date, actually, more than 500x the total gross sales of ALL new gTLD domain names sold to date. Think about that the next time some donut tries to sell you a new gTLD domain name.

*Domain Name: alibaba.com





2014-09-06

Favorite Quote of the Week, NETmundial Initiative

Favorite quote of the week:

Re: NETmundial Initiative

"My favorite part was when one news reporter... asked the speakers if they could tell him, in comprehensible and reportable language, what exactly had just happened [at the NETmundial Initiative at the World Economic Forum]. I think this is what happened:
"ICANN, which is under pressure from governments to solve big problems that it didn't create, went to the World Economic Forum to enlist the aid of the world's most powerful international corporations, entities more influential than the usual Internet governance crowd, and to explain to them that they too have a stake in the Internet governance discussion and in preserving multistakeholderism."--Thomas O'Toole in DNS Policy Notes for September 2, 2014 | Bloomberg BNA





2014-09-05

ICANN Open Forum at IGF 2014 (video)

IGF 2014, ICANN Open Forum (video, Part A and B, above)

Streamed live, September 4, 2014, from the Internet Governance Forum 2014 meeting at Istanbul, Turkey. ICANN holds an Open Forum at the IGF meeting every year to update participants on the progress that ICANN has made in its various processes since the last IGF. This year’s Open Forum was an opportunity for ICANN to engage in discussions with participants and exchange views with them on a number of developments that are underway such as:
ICANN five-year strategic plan (2016-2020);
ICANN Strategy Panels;
Implementation of Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT) recommendations;
New gTLD program; and
Regional strategies and ongoing globalization efforts.
This was an interactive session with ICANN executives and representatives of its various constituencies engaging in an open dialogue with IGF participants on any ICANN related issues that might interest the audience. Panelists include ICANN President and CEO Fadi Chehadé and ICANN Board of Directors Chairman Stephen D. Crocker.

Today is final day of the Internet Governance Forum, IGF 2014, meeting at Istanbul, Turkey. More coverage at expvc.com.

IGF 2014 Schedule
IGF Webcast Info
IGF YouTube Channel




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