2014-03-31

Google and the Anroidtv.com UDRP decision

UDRP -- what is it good for? Recent case helps domain name owners, to an extent --

"The Panel is of the opinion that the present UDRP proceeding is not the proper forum . . . These issues belong to a legal dispute which is outside the scope of paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP, and should more properly be decided before a court of the competent jurisdiction according to paragraph 15(e) of the Rules. . . .Clearly differing from any wide-scope action brought before a court of competent jurisdiction, proceedings under the Policy are a simplified and expedited means to obtain an administrative decision after – typically – just one round of writings and without hearings, which makes them apt to determine whether a clear case of cybersquatting exists or not. Paragraph 135 of the Final Report of the WIPO Internet Domain Name Process of April 30, 1999, states: “(i) First, the scope of the procedure is limited so that it is available only in respect of deliberate, bad faith, abusive, domain name registrations or “cybersquatting” and is not applicable to disputes between parties with competing rights acting in good faith.” The UDRP was implemented to address abusive cybersquatting, not contractual or legitimate business disputes.” NAF 1542794 - Google Inc. | Jason LaBossiere / Exo Level, LLC

Some think the Panel should have gone further, but I'll take that language above as a victory for domain name owners, and clarification and limitation of what heretofore has been broadening abuses of the UDRP by decision panels.

2014-03-30

Esther Dyson Told ICANN new gTLDs were a mistake in 2011 (video)

If video (below) does not show or play, go to the link below.

Esther Dyson On New Top-Level Domains: “There Are Huge Trademark Issues” | TechCrunch: "Esther Dyson, who was the founding chairwoman of ICANN (among other things) doesn’t like the new top-level domains ... approved by ICANN. ... The thing is, we are not running out of domains. This is a “way for registries and registrars to make money,” says Dyson. She also points out that “there are huge trademark issues. I just think it is offensive. If I own a trademark, now I have to go register it on 2,800 domains. It will create a lot of litigation.”" (go to link above if video does not show or play)

See also: Esther Dyson 2011 Testimony on new gTLDs, US Senate

So ICANN did not listen to its founding chairwoman, and sold out the public interest to hucksters!

"You can't just leave those who created the problems, in charge of the solutions."  --Tyree Scott





2014-03-28

How to Negotiate (Video)



Attn: Domain Sellers and Buyers - How to Negotiate Like a Pawn Star: Video - Bloomberg(March 27, source Bloomberg) –- Rick Harrison, star of History Channel's mega-hit 'Pawn Stars,' knows a thing or two about negotiating a good price. He gave Bloomberg four tips on how to haggle like a master.





2014-03-27

Vint Cerf says Larry Strickling has preordained ICANN to be overseer of the internet (video)



Video: Who should oversee the Web? | Watch PBS NewsHour Online | PBS Video: "As the U.S. government relinquishes control, who should oversee the Web? (09:48)"

Assistant US Secretary of Commerce Larry Strickling, according to Vint Cerf (in video above), has preordained that ICANN be overseer of the internet - see transcript --

"VINT CERF:  The thing is that you keep referring to new entity. The entity is ICANN. The proposal is ICANN will continue to do what it’s been doing for the last 15 years.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, again, ICANN is this…

VINT CERF: And it will do so in such a transparent way, in a way that offers assurance that they haven’t done anything that’s harmful to openness. The whole idea is to create a process for oversight which is within the ICANN structure, not outside of it.

RANDOLPH MAY: Well, the Commerce Department announcement doesn’t say that, at the end of the day, it envisions that ICANN itself will be the entity that’s doing this. It doesn’t mention — it doesn’t say that. And I don’t think you…

VINT CERF: Larry Strickling has said that."

OK--so much for bottom-up multi-stakeholder decision making about internet governance. It's all coming from the top. We get it, Vint. But I wonder what NETmundial (and the rest of the world) will think about Larry Strickling's decree? 






2014-03-25

ICANN, Internet Governance, The Most Important Domainer Question

Mike Berkens @thedomains has asked the right, and most important, question for most domain name owners and investors going forward --

ICANN: Important Corrections To Inaccuracies and Misconceptions Regarding U.S. Announcement | TheDomains.com: "My issue is the .com/.net contract that is up in 2018. What happens with that? As we know under the the last Verisign contract it was the US Department of Commerce that stepped up at the last moment to stop the 4 out of 6 year rate increases of 7%. Who would overlook that contract in the new ICANN?"

.com - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "...The domain name com is a top-level domain (TLD) in the Domain Name System of the Internet. Its name is derived from the word commercial,[1]indicating its original intended purpose for domains registered by commercial organizations. However, eventually the distinction was lost when .com, .org and .net were opened for unrestricted registration. The domain was originally administered by the United States Department of Defense, but is today operated by Verisign, and remains under ultimate jurisdiction of U.S. law.[2][3][4]..."

I really do not care what happens to ICANN since they have proven to be a poor steward of the internet domain name ecosystem, irresponsible, unaccountable, beholden to special interests and insiders, and very hostile to domain name owners and investors -- enabling and authorizing domain name "theft" a/k/a abusive UDRPs, irresponsibly flooding the market with dot whatevers, etc., but I do care about dot com. Whatever happens going forward, dot com MUST remain under the ultimate jurisdiction of US law, and the registry contract MUST continue to be approved by the US government (US Department of Commerce).

The Bottom Line: in light of the NSA abuses (ignore official denials, the Snowden revelations led to the NTIA announcement), and resulting damage to trust in the US government, US technology, and US tech companies, the world no longer trusts the US Department of Commerce to continue its benign stewardship role over the internet. ICANN has been maneuvering since last year to cut out the US government entirely and grab all of the power of control for itself alone--see: http://www.circleid.com/posts/20140221_icanns_uncertain_state_2014/ 

ICANN must be, and I believe will be, stopped in its attempted power grab. Thankfully, very capable people are already aware and have been talking openly about this at the ICANN meeting now in progress in Singapore (read transcript of March 21 meeting). I expect more will be said, discussed, and proposed at NETmundial in Brazil next month.  I do not know if ICANN will even be around a couple of years from now, and I certainly do not know who or what organizations will govern the internet. At this point, the only thing I care about is what happens to dot com -- that US legal jurisdiction and US government registry contract approval continue. Everything else is secondary. 

And as for the dot whatevers a/k/a the new gTLDs? For all I care, they can go to hell (most of them are already headed there anyway, or at least some kind of permanent purgatory) -- or give them to North Korea -- I hear Kim Jong-un loves to eat donuts, and who knows, even Frank (perhaps with Dennis Rodman's help) might be able to sell him a dot tattoo too! LOL!





2014-03-24

Get Rid of ICANN, Keep US Oversight Over the Internet!

"Whatever you think our country has done wrong, the United States has been by far the country most committed to keeping the Internet free and open and uninterrupted," Clinton said at Arizona State University. (source infra)

On this one I am with Bill (also see what Jimmy Wales said below). For those of you at ICANN49 or going to NETmundial next month, how about we keep US oversight over the internet, and get rid of ICANN?

Bill Clinton defends American control of Internet domain name system | WashingtonExaminer.com: ".... The former president expressed concern over the United States' recent announcement that the Internet domain system, currently controlled an agency of the Department of Commerce, will soon be ceded to an international agency that will be assembled after negotiations. Added Clinton, "We've kept the Internet free and open, and that's a great tribute to the United States." Wales, who said denying access to the information of the Internet was akin to a human rights violation, said he frequently tries to explain to citizens overseas why American control of the system was not a bad thing. "There is the First Amendment in the U.S., and a culture of free expression," he said...." (read more at link above)


2014-03-22

Why Has ICANN established headquarters in repressive Turkey?

Contact | ICANN: "Istanbul, Turkey Regus Selenium Plaza Hakki Yeten Cad. Selenium Plaza No:10/C K:5&6 34349 Fulya, Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey Tel: +90.212.381.8727 Fax: +90.212.381.8731"

I wonder if the folks partying at ICANN's junket in Singapore have any clue that ICANN has located one of its now three headquarters (ICANN calls them tri-quarters--how cute!) in Turkey, a nation that is extinguishing internet freedom for its own citizens, day by day?

The White House is ‘deeply concerned’ about Turkey’s Twitter ban"The United States is deeply concerned that the Turkish government has blocked its citizens’ access to basic communication tools. We oppose this restriction on the Turkish people’s access to information, which undermines their ability to exercise freedoms of expression and association and runs contrary to the principles of open governance that are critical to democratic governance and the universal rights that the United States stands for around the world. We have conveyed our serious concern to the Turkish government, urge Turkish authorities to respect the freedom of the press by permitting the independent and unfettered operation of media of all kinds, and support the people of Turkey in their calls to restore full access to the blocked technologies."

Turkish Government's Blocking of Social Media Sites: "The United States supports freedom of expression in Turkey and opposes any action to encroach on the right to free speech. We urge the Turkish Government to unblock its citizens’ access to Twitter and ensure free access to all social media platforms. An independent and unfettered media is an essential element of democratic, open societies. Today's shutdown of Twitter is contrary to Turkey's own expressed desire to uphold the highest standards of democracy. We have conveyed our serious concern over this action to Turkish authorities."

Have you heard ICANN, or dear old Fadi Chehadé, utter a whimper of protest at Turkey's actions? Of course, actions speak even louder than words. Shades of things to come, I fear.





2014-03-18

Dot Sexy, Perfect for the SEX IndustrY

Sex Industry -- get it? A new domain name gTLD extension that is short, memorable, pronounceable, and full of opportunities for enhanced competition, consumer choice and innovation!

Every pimp, every prostitute, can have his or her own domain name and of course it can be used for almost any purpose (just remember to not have pornography on the landing page). This is apparently what ICANN wanted when it decided to forget about operating in the public interest, and flood the market with hundreds to thousands of new domain name extensions, particularly the ones in English, since most of the original 22 gTLDs are extremely underutilized. Of course ICANN is collecting its take -- millions of dollars in new fees, while ignoring the disastrous consequences of its misguided and ill-conceived new gTLD program. Yeah, I guess mindlessly expanding opportunities for cybercrime, trademark infringement, etc., is what ICANN considers "enhancing competition, consumer choice and innovation."

In-Depth Report Details Economics of Sex Trade - NYTimes.com: ".... As other studies have shown, the Internet has had a profound effect on the sex economy. Half of respondents advertised online. One in four recruited employees through sites like Craigslist and Backpage. Most sex transactions were once negotiated on the streets, the study found, but most are now arranged online, where rates are significantly higher...."

Just think, thanks to ICANN's new gTLD program, the sex industry globally is now ready to take off with enhanced competition, consumer choice and innovation!





2014-03-17

Internet Governance, Asking the Right Questions

If you don't ask the right question(s), you will never find the right answer(s). For years, ICANN (and others) have been asking the wrong questions. Now the rest of the world is waking up and some are starting to ask the right questions --

Internet Governance Forum - France | News | News and Events: "Internet governance in past few months at the forefront of international relations and the year 2014 will be full of events, including: NetMundial Conference in Sao Paulo, the ICANN meetings in Singapore, London and Los Angeles, EuroDIG in Berlin, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul, and the Quadrennial Conference of the International Telecommunication Union in Korea. Many international negotiations will also underway, including the draft EU regulation on data protection. What are the main challenges? How is France involved in these processes and what vision there are representatives?..." (read more at link above)





2014-03-16

Warren Buffett, Investment Advice

Words of wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha (equally applicable to domain name investments and domainers):

  • Ignore the chatter, keep your costs minimal, and invest . . . . as you would in a farm.
  • Hold assets for the long term rather than a constant flux of buying and selling.
  • Treat daily price changes as background noise, to be ignored in pursuit of a greater objective.
  • Own a cross section of businesses that in aggregate are bound to do well.
  • Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time. 
  • Investors should instead focus on the future productivity of assets, rather than speculating on price movements.
  • Games are won by players who focus on the playing field - not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard.
(note: see disclaimer below)




2014-03-14

The Future of Internet Governance, ITU is NOT the answer

Interview of Vint Cerf in the New York Times is a good read -- excerpt follows:

Viewing Where the Internet Goes - NYTimes.com: "Is the I.T.U. and its effort to take over governance a threat to an open Internet? People complained about my nasty comment. I said that these dinosaurs don’t know that they’re dead yet, because it takes so long for the signal to traverse their long necks to get to their pea-sized brains. Some people were insulted by that. I was pleased. It’s not at all clear to me that I.T.U.'s standards-making activities have kept up with need. The consequence of this is that they are less and less relevant."

Cerf is right. Granted, ICANN has its problems and probably needs to be replaced. But making the situation worse by having the UN or ITU involved in internet governance is not an answer, but a nightmare!




2014-03-13

Most new gTLDs are worthless, another bad idea

New gTLDS--another bad idea? Didn't we do this before?

"As I’ve said many times before I don’t think most of the new gTLDs are going to be worth anything."--Morgan Linton, February 21, 2014

BBC News - New web domain names 'mean big business'"To date, we've grown used to a fairly restricted range of generic top-level domains (gTLDs), such as .com, .co.uk, .net and .org. But the body responsible for managing them - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) - wants to 'increase choice and promote innovation.'"

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Law of Bad Ideas"Law of Bad Ideas: Bad ideas don't go away until they have been tried and failed multiple times, and generally not even then."  





2014-03-12

The US Failing in Broadband Investment

America is slipping further and further behind the rest of the world in broadband internet --

America's 10-Year Experiment in Broadband Investment Has Failed - Businessweek: "Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, announced Wednesday that there would be new rules written to guarantee net neutrality. It’s a good thing any website can reach any person unimpeded by tolls, and it’s good that Wheeler still wants to make this possible. The Internet service providers will first work to dilute the new rules, of course, and then sue to overturn them. Entire legal departments, lobbying outfits, and public-relations firms live for this moment, the beginning of a now-familiar three-year grind with the FCC....The U.S. has slipped to 16th place. Germany, France, and the U.K. have passed us, and all the countries ahead of us have applied some combination of either opening up the last mile or paying for infrastructure at the government level...."




2014-03-11

Ezra Klein, Vox, Vox.com, great brand and domain name strategy

After the terrible brand/domain name strategy evident in the Walt Mossberg-Kara Swisher news site known as Re/code, recode.net, Ezra Klein (formerly of the Washington Post) shows what great branding and domain name strategy looks like:

Vox | vox.com | Understand the News - As first reported by Mike Allen of Politico:

EZRA KLEIN site will be Vox.com: "There's no such thing here as 'the vegetables of journalism'" - Slogan: "Understand the news" - Launching "soon" - "Politics, public policy, world affairs, pop culture, science, business, food, sports, and everything else that matters are part of our editorial ambit. ... An explanation of how other country's health-care systems work ... probably won't contain much new information but it'll contain a lot of important information that's new to most people. We're not going to get caught up in talmudic debates about what does and doesn't count as 'news.'" Video http://www.vox.com ... @VoxDotCom






2014-03-10

The Internet Is Already Balkanized

Supporters of an open and free internet often voice their concerns in terms of "balkanization of the internet." Interesting that ICANN has already declared the internet "balkanized" --

Read this:
The 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement – What You Need to Know

now read this:
Update on 2013 RAA and Data Retention Waiver Process particularly --  "ICANN recognizes that laws vary from country to country and that some of the new data retention requirements in the 2013 RAA may conflict with certain European data protection and privacy regulations. To be clear, governing laws take precedence over the terms of the RAA."

Got it? Governing laws -- if you have a .co domain name, that means the laws of the nation Colombia, or .sy, Syria, etc. Not only that, but if your registrar is located or domiciled in a nation other than the US, that nation's laws also apply and govern, not US laws, nor ICANN policies. Finally, the internet you get in places like China is NOT the same internet you get in most of the world. Welcome to the balkanized internet!





2014-03-09

Domain Names, Cryptocurrency

Connect the Dots . . . .

Bitcoin Itself May Live or Die, but Cryptocurrencies Will Live On | MIT Technology Review: "....Most interestingly, cryptocurrencies can be used for purposes other than those that conventional currencies fulfill. For example, Namecoin is a system used to create and exchange domain names: the coins contain information about the domain names themselves. Recall that the domain name market has about $3 billion in revenue per year: it’s a good example of a weird, scarce digital resource. And Bitmessage is a Bitcoin-inspired messaging platform that allows for anonymous (or at least pseudonymous) communication. What Namecoin and Bitmessage share is that they allow data to be added to the transaction, making the exchange one not just of perceived value but also of information...." (read more at the link above)




2014-03-07

ICANN, new gTLDs, how about some land in North Korea?

2013 Top Stories: New TLD Objection problems | Domain Name Wire: " . . . . something went horribly, horribly wrong. Blame part of it on how the guidelines to achieving these goals were actually written. Blame it on weak agreements with incapable arbitration groups that hired incapable panelists. Blame it on what you want, but it was a fiasco. . . ." Read the entire article by Andrew Allemann (Jan 02, 2014) and comments at the link above.

My comment:
"You cannot rely on ICANN for competence, rationality, or a stable domain name system anymore. It is driven by its own myopic bureaucracy, special interests, and greed. Domain investors, at every level, particularly those used to governments with due process, rule of law, and accountability, should wake up to the new internet governance reality – an inconsistent, capricious, arbitrary, and highly unstable environment. There is also a good chance that ICANN, as we know it, will cease to exist within 2-3 years, replaced by the ITU or some other UN or multi-national (governmental) organization. If you buy one of the new gTLDs domain names, better check everything out — the registry, all terms, conditions, agreements with ICANN, what national jurisdictional law controls, etc. Otherwise, you might be buying the equivalent of a plot of land in North Korea."

You've been warned!




2014-03-06

Startup Domain Names that allow you to Pivot

Wise advice for startups and investors:

How to Name a Startup: Startup Domain Names that allow you to Pivot: " . . . Whether you already have investors on board for your venture or you are seeking them, a premium domain name says a thousand words about the value of your startup and your team. After all, investors are investing in people and vision. Choose a domain name that evokes the brand association and truly says it all. Let’s look at the Uber.com domain name, arguably the fastest paced, most driven startup of the last few years. First, it’s a super short domain- vital for mobile users as that market increases exponentially. Second, it connotes a strong association- without really committing to an exact market. Uber has pivoted multiple times, all the way to delivering ice cream… But at the end of the day, it’s all about being “uber,” “above and beyond,” or “over the top.” Uber.com is brand genius- on a premium domain...."

It is also a dot Com domain name. Uber dot whatever (new gTLD) would not be a premium domain name.





2014-03-05

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New gTLDs


Director Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1964) (HD Trailer) - An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.

With apologies to Stanley Kubrick, RIP, I have learned to stop worrying and start loving the new gTLDs – why? Read on:

1. Main purpose of the new gTLDs was to break the dominance and "monopoly" of dot com domain names (you will find that explained here). Paradox, long term, the new gTLDs will only increase the value of dot com domain names. Best laid plans of mice and men, and in the case of ICANN, mental midgets.

2. Scarcity always increases value. New gTLDs proponents and hucksters, from ICANN to registrars and registries, to plain old domain scammers and hack journalists, continue with the myth: "we’ve run out of dot com names." Really? It is all I am buying and holding from now on -- I want to own the gold, how about you? Sure the scarcity line is a myth but it is leading to a higher implied pricing model—you will have to pay a lot of money to buy a dot com domain name. Either that or go cheap and buy one of the new vanity domain names, a/k/a new gTLDs. As a dot com investor that is exactly what I want EVERYONE to think!

3. Domain investors, even ones who should know better, are diverting their attention and time searching out new gTLD domain names to buy, allowing me to buy much better quality dot coms for investment (at least for the time being). I hope Frank Schilling keeps telling domain investors to buy his dot tattoos and other new gTLDs! I’d like to have the good dot com domain names dropping every day, all to myself. Thanks ICANN and new gTLD guys!

4. By the time the LOSERS figure out there is very little money to be made in new gTLDs by investors (and a lot of money to lose, and time wasted), I will have a much nicer portfolio than I would otherwise have had an opportunity to acquire. Thank you ICANN and new gTLD proponents!

I could go on, but what's the point? I think you get the drift. LOL!




2014-03-04

Domain Names, Trademarks, UDRP Abuse

How many UDRP panels have considered the following in deciding a UDRP case?

"Under U.S. trademark law, two or more people can use identical trademarks if their goods and services are sufficiently different – for example, “Eagle” brand snack foods, “Eagle” brand doorbells, and “Eagle” brand carburetors. So in theory, other parties hoping to cash in on the “Shinola” cachet could latch onto the name for use with products other than watches, bicycles, and shoe polish." source: Brandmarking: Thoughts On The Creation, Protection, And Enforcement Of Brand Identity - January 2014 • Volume 3, Number 1 | Dickinson Wright - JDSupra

My guess? None, based upon reading numerous UDRP case decisions. UDRP abuse is rampant, and UDRPs are being used to steal domain names from rightful owners. Another example of how ICANN has failed to carry out its duties under its agreements with the US government.

2014-03-03

Dot Luxury? Just Another New Domain Extension?

Luxury by another (domain) name: "...will brands that have become a byword for prestige, quality and exclusivity – the likes of Rolls-Royce, Rolex and Tiffany & Co – jump at the chance to associate themselves with the L-word? Several spoken to by Executive Style expressed reservations. “Why would we brand ourselves in such a way?” one asked. “Our product speaks for itself.” Hugo Boss Australia spokeswoman Chauntel Scarr agreed. “I would say that Hugo Boss would not feel the necessity to align to a luxury domain as we have spent years building our brand into the luxury realm,” she says. “To then brand it as luxury in a domain name seems unnecessary and forced. If it can be bought then it is usually not as it seems.” On that basis, it appears far more likely that mid-range brands desperate to build reputation - and sales margins - will be first in the .luxury queue." (read more at link above)

Of course that desperation will cost you.




2014-03-02

New gTLDS, Hucksters, Suckers, Insanity

On the new gTLDs, I have a simple question: 

Didn't we try this before? (.mobi anyone?)

New gTLD Hucksters' Answer: "Yes, we did, but this time it's different." 

There's a sucker born every minute -- David Hannum

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -- Albert Einstein




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