23 March 2017

CeBIT Keynote: Androids, Robots, and Our Future Life (video)

CeBIT Keynote "Androids, Robots, and Our Future Life"

Video above published Mar 21, 2017: CeBIT [domain: cebit.de] Global Conferences 21 March 2017: Keynote "Androids, Robots, and Our Future Life" by Hiroshi Ishiguro, Professor at Osaka University and Visiting Director, ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories.

Excerpts from the video:

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22 March 2017

Edward Snowden, CeBIT Keynote Video: Datasecurity, Privacy, Surveillance

Edward Snowden "Datasecurity and Privacy in the Age of Surveillance"

CeBIT Global Conference - 21 March 2017: "Datasecurity and Privacy in the Age of Surveillance"--Edward Snowden, World-Famous Whistleblower

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21 March 2017

Digital Winners (Nike, Adidas, Pizza brands) & Loser (Google)

Digital Winners & Losers

Video above published Mar 16, 2017, by L2inc.com: NYU Stern marketing professor Scott Galloway on digital winners & losers:

Winners: Nike and Adidas, whose sneaker apps indicate that they've mastered the art of creating scarcity in a digital age.

Winners: Pizza brands, which are - believe it or not - at the forefront of digital innovation.

Loser: Google, whose convenient Featured Snippets tool provides some disquieting answers.

Dominos stock $DPZ vs Google (Alphabet) stock $GOOG $GOOGL (source: video above)
Domains: Nike.com; Adidas.com; Dominos.com; Google.com

(0:30) AppAnnie, March 2017. http://bit.ly/2n3ztVS
(0:39) “Reservations For Black Yeezy Boost 350s Close In 22 Minutes,” Footwear News, February 2016. http://bit.ly/2nwpK8m
(0:53) “Introducing Pizza Hut PIE TOPS,” YouTube, March 2017. http://bit.ly/2myOmyZ
(1:14) L2 Analysis of Google Finance.
(1:25) “Google SERP Feature Graph,” Moz, March 2017. http://bit.ly/1NTIu9f

YouTube.com auto-generated transcript:
0:02  Winners: Nike and Adidas, which have mastered the art of manufacturing scarcity in a digital age.
0:07  Both brands use their apps to release sneakers in limited batches, generating hype
0:12  as sneaker fans compete to press the Buy button.
0:15  Scarcity is key to irrational decisions and inflated prices.
0:19  There's a reason that Hermès limits the production of Birkin bags
0:23  and does not distribute them through Walmart.
0:26  When Nike released a new model of Air Jordans last month,
0:28  the SNKRS app jumped to the tenth most popular shopping app in the App Store.
0:33  Adidas sold out of the original black Yeezy Boost in just 22 minutes.
0:38  The results of these scarcity tactics:
0:40  search returns include hack, jig and bot
0:44  and YouTube videos on how to game the apps.
0:47  What category is at the forefront of digital innovation?
0:50  Pizza.
0:51  Pizza Hut just launched smart sneakers that sync with your phone via Bluetooth
0:55  and automatically order a large two-topping pizza
0:58  every time you press a button on the tongue of the shoe.
1:02  And Domino's now offers a wedding registry.
1:04  My guess is the same couple has ammo on the registry.
1:08  We previously discussed pizza brands
1:09  being the agents of digital disruption
1:11  and that continues to hold true.
1:13  Domino's stock is outperforming Google's.
1:16  A loser: Featured Snippets.
1:18  The answers Google returns at the top of the search results page
1:21  account for 15% of queries on Google.
1:25  The snippet algorithm uses third-party sources to generate its answers
1:29  and in recent weeks those sources have been off-color,
1:32  and more importantly, total bullshit.
1:35  We stated in a previous Winners and Losers that every time someone typed a query into Google,
1:39  it got three-billionths of a percentage better.
1:42  What is Google?
1:44  Google is not a search engine. Google is an atheist's god.
1:47  By the way, I'm an atheist, which means
1:48  I believe in one less god than most of you.
1:51  Where do we pray? Where do we send information,
1:54  hope that there's divine intervention
1:55  and get a better answer back?
1:57  Our new god, Google.
1:59  Voice-based technologies are taking over the world.
2:03  Alexa, who is Scott Galloway?
2:09  Scott Robert Galloway is an Australian professional football player
2:12  who plays as a fullback for Central Coast Mariners
2:15  in the A-league.
2:17  Really? I hope he blows a knee.
2:21  We'll see you next week.

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20 March 2017

Google X Founder Says Udacity Is Reinventing Universities (video)

Google X Founder Says Udacity Is Reinventing Universities

Video above published on Mar 8, 2017: Sebastian Thrun, Udacity co-founder and the first head of the Google car project, discusses Udacity's new hiring partners and President Trump's policies with Bloomberg's Caroline Hyde on "Bloomberg Technology."


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19 March 2017

News Review: New gTLDs Failing, ICANN58 Ends, ICANN in La La Land

News Review | ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly review of internet domain news:

Features •  1. New gTLDs Failing, 2. ICANN58 ends, 3. Important Skills for ICANN Board Members, 4. ICANN CEO Goran Marby re: ICANN data, 5. More ICANN Dysfunction & Incompetence,  6. New gTLDs .CORP, .HOME and .MAIL, 7. LAC DNS Marketplace Study, 8. Amazon.com in Spanish, 9. ICANN in La La Land, 10. Internet Domain News Quick Takes, 11. Three most popular posts, 12. One Last Thing.

1. New gTLDs Failing (new generic top-level domains)--nTLD extensions are already failing | reddit.com--one comment out of many: "nTLD extensions are already failing ... Everyone said the new TLDs were nothing but a money grabbing scheme by the ICANN ... It seems now, some nTLDs seem to be already failing with less than 5,000 active domains and dropping, barely to keep the costs active and they are increasing renewal prices to keep the boat afloat"--For background see last week's 4. Uniregistry plans to hike prices up to 3000% for some new gTLDs.

ICANN's "Grand" Millstone
Graphic: Uniregistry plans to hike prices up to 3000% for some new gTLDs
Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.--Mike Tyson
Excerpt from 2008 Letter from U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division
See also: News Review: ICANN Used 'Junk Science' Firm to Justify New gTLDs
One thing is now clear, all of the problems related to, or caused by new gTLDs, are increasingly consuming ICANN's time and resources--from policy-making and reviews, to disputes, IRPs, and litigation, to a myriad of other issues that ICANN failed to "think through" before rolling out its ill-conceived and misbegotten new gTLDs program--and most stakeholders who had objections or serious reservations about the new gTLDs program all along, have since left ICANN, including its "ICANN community," leaving mostly just a gaggle of special interest lawyers and lobbyists, domain name industry "professionals" and a cadre of professional "volunteers"--ICANN pays airfare, hotel, and per diem expenses for an unbelievable number of people to show up at ICANN junkets a/k/a "meetings" (example: ICANN57 (pdf) "travel support"=$918,292.60)  to fill seats, and make it look like ICANN multistakeholderism "works." From appearances at any ICANN gathering, one might think the domain name industry supports new gTLDs unreservedly, the reality is very, very different: There’s no way to sugar-coat it, today we are an industry divided | MorganLinton.com. It's just that ICANN has muffled and driven away the dissenting voices. That's the way "ICANN consensus" in reality works. For those of us "observing" ICANN, it's like watching a slow-motion train wreck. Tip to the wise: watch China's moves between now and the 2018 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference.

2. ICANN58--something is rotten in the state of Denmark--ended Thursday in Copenhagen:

ICANN58 highlights:

a. The failing new gTLD Registry Operators are now seeking financial support from ICANN in the form of reduced fees, and a marketing "awareness" program (which would likely violate ICANN's 501(c)(3) status and other legal prohibitions)--"only 63 new gTLDs have registered in excess of 50,000 names ... literally many hundreds with fewer than 10,000 registrations" (highlighting added):

b. ICANN Dysfunction is Alive and Well: ICANN CEO Goran Marby and ICANN GDD President Akram Atallah blow off ICANN stakeholder Denise Michel's comments and questions about dysfunctional processes of ICANN's Global Domains Division (GDD), ICANN staff ignoring and bypassing ICANN Community and others' objections to amendments to the new gTLD base Registry Agreement:
Source of above: ICANN Copenhagen GNSO Commercial Stakeholder Group (CSG) Meeting Tuesday, 14 March 2017 at 9:00 CET transcript (pdf) pp,18-20.

c. New gTLD .WEB:
d. GAC:  CENTR Report on ICANN58 (updated pdf download at link)(excerpt below):
CENTR Report on ICANN58 p. 4
The ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has 171 members, and 35 observers but only 59 GAC members (35% participation rate with half or more of those receiving ICANN "travel support" (airfare, hotel, per diem stipend) based on ICANN57 data) and only 9 observers (26% participation rate) attended ICANN58--source: GAC Communique (pdf). Accordingly, it appears most governments are not actively participating in the GAC, and, not surprisingly, the GAC secretariat lacks sufficient financial funding. Wither ICANN?

e. Best Quote of ICANN58: ICANN is a prison--
More ICANN58 info, including the GAC Communique, here.

3.  Important Skills for ICANN Board Members--guidance from the ICANN Board to the Nominating Committee (highlighting added)--apparently past and present ICANN Board members lack some or all of these skills. Surprised?

4. Letter from ICANN CEO Goran Marby re: ICANN data (highlighting added):

5.  More ICANN Dysfunction & Incompetence: 

6.  New gTLDs .CORP, .HOME and .MAIL--comment excerpt on circleid.comI don't see why marking those domains as "toxic, reserved forever" isn't a valid response. Dumping the contaminated material into a shipping container and tossing it down a black hole's an efficient way of cleaning up the [new gTLDs] mess (emphasis added).--Background: 6 March 2017 Letter to the New gTLD Applicants for .HOME, .CORP, and .MAIL  from Akram Atallah, President, Global Domains Division ICANN re: new gTLD applications for .HOME, .CORP, and .MAIL, in response to Letter from .HOME Registry Inc. et al. to the ICANN Board [Published 26 August 2016].

7.  Publication of the LAC (Latin America & Caribbean) DNS Marketplace Study | ICANN.org: A consortium led by Oxford Information Labs, LACTLD, EURid and InterConnect Communications conducted the final "LAC DNS Study" (pdf, 3.9 MB), study for ICANN. The report identifies seven key drivers of domain name growth for the region:
  • Defining and refining the sales channel and reversing the trend of falling numbers of ICANN accredited registrars since 2013;
  • Building user awareness of domain names;
  • Making registration policies open and simple;
  • Providing online payment facilities;
  • Ensuring fast activation of new registrations;
  • Reasonable and competitive fees; and
  • Promotions, marketing, and campaigns.
Unfortunately, this "hit and miss" list just skims the surface, and is misleading because it fails to address some core problems in the region.

8. Amazon.com adding Spanish--the first new language on Amazon.com since the website's creation over 20 years ago--"Customers will be able to shop, browse and search for millions of products, view their shopping cart, and place orders in Spanish on Amazon.com and through the Amazon Mobile Shopping app," an Amazon.com Inc. spokeswoman told CNET.com. The U.S. now has more than 40 million native Spanish speakers and over 10 million bilingual Spanish speakers, making it the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, after Mexico. Amazon, the world's largest e-retailer, is seeking to not only attract the growing Spanish-speaking population in the U.S., but also Mexico, where Amazon recently launched its Prime subscription service for about $46 a year.

9. If you're returning to, or visiting, ‘La La Land’ a/k/a ICANN headquarters anytime soon--
La La Land: gold marker pin shows ICANN headquarters location (click on map or link for larger map)
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica, offers “Escape to La La Land” package thru March 31, which includes accommodations in a bungalow, a picnic lunch and a dinner for two, a map of Los Angeles marked with locations where the movie is set and two tickets to a show at the popular jazz club Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill & Jazz. From $1,900 a night.--NYTimes.com

10.  Other Internet Domain News Quick Takes:

11.  Three most popular posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this past week on DomainMondo.com:
  1. News Review: 1. Trademark Squatters; 2. ICANN "Highly Political, Toxic"
  2. TechReview | WikiLeaks Takes A Big Dump On The CIA (video)
  3. LIVE Video Replay: March 15 Federal Reserve FOMC Press Conference
12. One last thing:
"The changing face of the Internet is no longer a matter of public communications, but a matter of public services. And with this observation, we are back to a more basic theme. The essential topic of the conversation is how to strike a sustainable balance between a rapacious private sector that has amassed overarching control of the digital service and content space, and the needs of the larger society in which we all would like some equity of opportunity to thrive and benefit from the outcomes of this new digital age."--Geoff Huston, Chief Scientist at APNIC (emphasis added)

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

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18 March 2017

TechReview: All Eyes on MuleSoft IPO, $MULE Closes Up 46% First Day

Domain Mondo's weekly review of technology news:

Feature • All Eyes on MuleSoft IPO, $MULE Closes Up 46% First Day 

MuleSoft--domain: mulesoft.com--is a software company with headquarters in San Francisco, California, providing integration software for connecting applications, data and devices. Shares of MuleSoft Inc. NYSE:MULE, opened at $24.25 Friday, March 17, 2017, above its $17 IPO issue price, on the New York Stock Exchange. MuleSoft sold 13 million shares to raise $221 million. At the Friday closing price of $24.75 (+7.75 +45.59%), the company had a public market capitalization in excess of  $3 billion, compared to a private market valuation of $1.5 billion.

Other Tech News:

•   Stopping China's Mercantilism: A Doctrine of Constructive, Alliance-Backed Confrontation | ITIF.org: "China’s systematic mercantilism is a threat to the U.S. economy and the very soul of the global trading system. America cannot respond with either flaccid appeasement or economic nationalism; it must assemble an international coalition that pressures China to stop rigging markets and start competing on fair terms."

•  Data BreachMillions of records leaked from huge US corporate database | ZDNet.com: Dun & Bradstreet, the business services giant, confirmed it owns the database, which was acquired as part of the $125 million NetProspex acquisition in 2015.

•  Technology now at the root of almost all serious crime: Europol--document fraud, money laundering, online trading in illegal goods, ransomware, drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling, child pornography, identity theft .... --Reuters.com

•  Profitable Companies, No Taxes: Here’s How They Did It | NYTimes.com“Offshore tax haven abuse has become so absurd that one five-story office building in the Cayman Islands is now the ‘home’ to more than 18,000 corporations.” See Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy for more.

•  Advertisers urge Congress to roll back internet privacy rules: “Our digital economy is the global leader, providing billions of dollars in ad-supported content and services to consumers, and the innovation and investment that have driven its success have rested on robust, consistent self-regulatory privacy standards backstopped by the Federal Trade Commission,.” The groups are American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the Data & Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Network Advertising Initiative.--TheHill.com

Quick Takes:

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17 March 2017

Anonymous: How To Disappear From The Internet (podcast) & Data-Fusion

Above: a March 2016 TechRepublic podcast, How to disappear from the internet with Frank Ahearn. Ahearn is an expert on finding people, a professional social engineer, who says:
“Pretexting is like dating. You call, you ask, and somebody says no? Okay, fine, you wait. Or maybe ask somebody else. For the right amount of money, I can find anybody. And the best way to find people, is to first learn how to disappear."
OK, I Get It, None of My Data is Safe. But I Did Something Nasty that Helps a Lot | WolfStreet.com"In 2016, the number of US data breaches tracked by ITRC soared 40% year-over-year, to an all-time high of 1,093 ... I did something nasty, something the industry hates: I put a “credit freeze” on my data at the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Transunion, and Experian – after which only financial institutions with which I already did business continue to have access to the data. It blocks all others from gaining access to this data. Hence, it’s nearly impossible for them, or even for me, to open new credit in my name."

The Unintended Consequences of Transparent Lives:  "... Our ICTs [information and communication technologies] also make our lives more transparent and accessible; not only for family and friends, but also for governments and corporations. This subjects us to diminished privacy and more control. Developments like these are affecting our degree of freedom ..."

"Because state laws do not clearly define residency, making a false registration case can be difficult."--During his political rise, Stephen K. Bannon was a man with no fixed address | WashingtonPost.com--In the digital age, when most Americans leave a clear footprint of their whereabouts, Bannon left a meandering trail filled with ambiguity, contradictions and questions. The Post found that Bannon left a negligible footprint in Florida. He did not get a Florida driver’s license or register a car in the state. He never voted in Florida, and neighbors near two homes he leased in Miami said they never saw him. His rent and utility bills were sent to his business manager in California.

This Company Has Built a Profile on Every American Adult | Bloomberg.com: "The most important tools for America’s 35,000 private investigators are database subscription services ... IDI [ididata.com | @IDIData ], a year-old company in the so-called data-fusion business, is the first to centralize and weaponize all that information for its customers. The Boca Raton, Fla., company’s database service, idiCORE, combines public records with purchasing, demographic, and behavioral data. Chief Executive Officer Derek Dubner says the system isn’t waiting for requests from clients—it’s already built a profile on every American adult, including young people who wouldn’t be swept up in conventional databases, which only index transactions. “We have data on that 21-year-old who’s living at home with mom and dad,” he says."
Anonymous speech is firmly protected by the First Amendment and the Supreme Court, and its history in the U.S. dates to the Federalist Papers, written in 1787 and 1788 under the pseudonym Publius by three of the founding fathers. But the technical ability for people to remain anonymous on today’s internet, where every scrap of data is meticulously tracked, is an entirely different issue.--theintercept.com

For more: 

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15 March 2017

LIVE Video Replay: March 15 Federal Reserve FOMC Press Conference

FOMC Press Conference March 15, 2017, 2:30pm ET

Video above published March 15, 2017, by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors is Janet Yellen.

On March 15th, the FOMC raised the interest rate by 25 BPS as expected. Federal Open Market Committee statement--excerpt: "In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3/4 to 1 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation."
Graphic: DJIA and S&P500 closed UP Wednesday after FOMC Rate Hike
DJIA and S&P500 closed UP Wednesday after FOMC Rate Hike
FRB: Monetary Policy"Federal Open Market Committee Monetary policy is made by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which consists of the members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and five Reserve Bank presidents. The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings during the year, and other meetings as needed."
Fed Statement Tracker | WSJ.com: The Federal Reserve releases a statement at the conclusion of each of its policy-setting meetings, outlining the central bank’s economic outlook and the actions it plans to take. Pundits and traders parse the changes between statements closely to see how policy makers’ views are evolving. Use the tool at the link above to compare any two statements since 2007.
@FederalReserve #FOMC:

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Fed Rate Hike, Brexit, Dutch & French Elections: The Path Forward (videos)

Fed's Rate Path in Focus Now That March Is Certain

Video above published Mar 14, 2017, by Bloomberg.com:  The Federal Open Market Committee began its two-day meeting on Tuesday with markets 100 percent convinced the Fed will raise interest rates. Now the question becomes, how the Fed's rate path may progress from here. Bloomberg's Matthew Boesler is joined by Greg Peters, senior portfolio manager at PGIM, on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas."

U.K.'s May Says Brexit Bill Becomes Law in 'Coming Days'

Video above published Mar 14, 2017, by Bloomberg.com: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced in a statement before the House of Commons that she is on track to trigger Brexit by the end of the month and her Brexit bill will become law within the "coming days."

Dutch Election: Why It Matters

Video above published on Mar 13, 2017: After Brexit and Donald Trump, will the Netherlands be next to upset the status quo? The Dutch are heading to the polls on March 15, and the election is seen as an important test for the future of the European Union. WSJ.com's Niki Blasina reports.

See also: Netherlands Vote Wednesday: Analyzing the Turkey Effect; How Many Parties Will Take to Form A Coalition? | MishTalk: "Don’t Hold Your Breath"

UPDATE 15 Mar 2017: exit polls show Rutte controlling 31 seats, 10 fewer than his party won in the 2012, while 3 parties each won 19: pro-EU center party D66, Christian Democrat CDA, and Wilders' Party for Freedom. Rutte has said he would not rule with Wilders, so the question becomes how he can acquire the necessary 75-seat coalition, which may take months of talks before a new government can be formed.

Meanwhile the latest news about the coming French electionFrench presidential candidate Francois Fillon charged with misuse of public funds (video) one day before his scheduled questioning in the matter, reports Bloomberg's Mark Barton on "Bloomberg Markets."

Why Robert Shiller Is Worried About the Trump Rally | Bloomberg.com"Ethan Harris, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s global economist in New York. Like the fable of the boy who cried wolf, Harris says pessimistic forecasters have so badly over-estimated the consequences of big events -- the rolling European debt crisis since 2010, the U.S. debt-ceiling standoff in 2011, Brexit in 2016 -- that traders have become conditioned to ignore them."

"Shiller says when markets are as buoyant as they are now, resisting the urge to pile in is hard regardless of what else might be happening in society. “I was tempted to do it, too,” he says. “Trump keeps talking about a new spirit for America and so you could (A) believe that or (B) you could believe that other investors believe that.” On whether stocks are nearing a top, Shiller can’t say with any certainty. He’s loathe to make short-term forecasts."

Caveat Emptor!

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14 March 2017

Market Strategist Sees Gold at $1,180 and Oil at $45 (video)

Market Strategist Sees Gold at $1,180 and Oil at $45:

Video above published Mar 10, 2017: In this excerpt from "Futures in Focus," Bill Baruch chief market strategist at iiTrader.com, a Chicago futures and commodities brokerage, examines the gold market ahead of the Federal Reserve's March meeting this week (Mar 14-15) and looks at the price break below $50 in the oil market. He speaks with Bloomberg's Mark Barton  on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas."

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13 March 2017

KKR's McVey Explains the 'New Reality' in Global Markets (video)

KKR's McVey Explains the 'New Reality' for Markets

Video above published Feb 6, 2017: Henry McVey, head of global macro and asset allocation at KKR, outlines the shifts he sees creating a "new reality" in global markets and explains the firm's investment strategy for the year ahead. He speaks with Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker on "Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas."
  • Shift from monetary to fiscal;
  • Moving from global agendas to domestic;
  • Moving from re-regulation to deregulation;
  • Moving towards volatility in interest rate markets, then equities;
  • Reflationary environment.
Many are expecting an interest rate increase when the Federal Reserve FOMC meets this week March 14-15.

Index investors have done well since right after the Brexit vote last year--gains since June 24, 2016-- on major U.S. and European indexes:



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12 March 2017

News Review: 1. Trademark Squatters; 2. ICANN "Highly Political, Toxic"

News Review | ©2016 DomainMondo.com
Domain Mondo's weekly review of internet domain news:

Features • 1. Domain Name Threats from "Trademark Squatters"; 2. ICANN's Sick, Toxic Organizational Culture; 3. Who should be fired? ICANN Management Organization Chart; 4.  Uniregistry to hike prices for some new gTLDs; 5. Root Stability Study Final Report; 6. Florida passes Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act; 7. Roth conference: Rightside and Web.com; 8. ICANN58, Rightscon, IETF 98; 9. ICANN's CCT Review; 10. Other Internet Domain News; 11. Most Popular Posts.

1. New Domain Name Threats from "Trademark Squatters"
Graphic: Avoiding trademark and domain name scams
Avoiding trademark and domain name scams | Dentons | JDSupra.com"... 3. Do not reply to suspicious emails, even to indicate a lack of interest. Scammers use these replies to gather additional information about your company, and to identify which companies they will continue to target .... 6. Be aware that in Canada, trademark laws are changing and it will soon be possible to register a trademark in the country without ever having used it in Canada or anywhere else in the world. This will leave any of your [domain names and] unregistered brands open for exploitation by trademark squatters and pirates ..." (emphasis added)

Incompetent and gullible ICANN has already fallen prey to the "Trademark Squatters"--ICANN's Special Privileges for Trademark Owners are The.Worst | Electronic Frontier Foundation | eff.org"... ICANN's acquiescence to even the most outlandish demands of the trademark lobby [e.g., IPC and INTA] has also set a precedent enabling some registries to go even further; for example, the registry Donuts (which we recently exposed as an architect of the copyright-blocking Healthy Domains Initiative) offers a DPML-Plus program that allows brand owners to block registrations not only of their registered marks, but also substrings, misspellings and variants of those marks, across hundreds of domains, for a period of ten years. We are aware of no national trademark system anywhere in the world that provides such extensive privileges to brand owners. Neither is there any convincing reason why the domain industry should be providing them with such privileges. Today's letter to ICANN exposes this scam and calls upon ICANN to stop being so solicitous to brand owners at the expense of other legitimate users of the domain name system. In particular, we are very clear that ICANN should not extend the Trademark Clearinghouse to top-level domains that it doesn't already cover, such as the most widely used domains .com, .org, and .net. ..." (emphasis added).

See also: Why Did ICANN Become a Member of Trademark Lobbyist Group INTA? DomainMondo.com 15 Oct 2015.

Letter referenced in the above article embedded below--Trademark Scholars Letter to ICANN GNSO RPM Working Group:

Final note: This Guy Would Fit In Perfectly at ICANN:"One of the attorneys behind the Prenda Law "copyright trolling" scheme has pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering. After years of denial, John Steele admitted Monday that he and co-defendant Paul Hansmeier made more than $6 million by threatening Internet users with copyright lawsuits ..."--arstechnica.com.

2. ICANN's Sick, Toxic Organizational Culture:
At last count, there are 37 reviews of ICANN on Glassdoor.com and they reveal a sick and toxic organizational culture at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):

Interesting Work, Nepotism Alive and Well, Lousy Management  "Mar 9, 2017, review by Current ICANN Employee - Project Manager in Los Angeles, CA - I have been working at ICANN full-time (more than 3 years):
  • Pros: The work is highly challenging, smart people, unique company like no other in the world, interesting mix of highly technical people, legal talent and everything in between. A bottoms up policy organization with the two largest groups of professionals either having law or engineering degrees. Smart people, learn something new everyday.
  • ConsFar and few respected executive managers. Management is out of touch, get promoted based on relationships, politics, nepotism and incompetence far far far more than other organizations. This company operates like a out-of-control insane 20 person start-up. With a shake-up in management maybe it will grow up to behave like the medium size organization it is.
  • Advice to Management--Clean house--Realize who should actually be in management and promote them! Tons and tons of managment does not make for good leadership. Less managers, real leaders would go a long way to make this the great organization it should be." (emphasis added)
Here's another:
Mar 10, 2017,  ICANN"Where Good Careers go to Die" - Former Employee: I worked at ICANN full-time
  • Pros: Highly political if you like that sort of thing.
  • Cons: Can be a toxic, draining, soul sucking experience.
  • Advice to Management: Fire yourselves.

3.  Who should be fired? ICANN Management Organization Chart, Mar 1, 2017 (pdf) embed:

ICANN organizational culture has definitely been impacted by the conflicts of interest, incompetence, dishonesty and the evident cronyism during the last administration, which reminds me of this past week's comments by Peter Thiel: Globalization is over--just a group of people who "messed up the world"--[ICANNWEF, or both?]:
"The internet was designed to survive a nuclear war, but even so, I think there are a lot of regulatory challenges that Silicon Valley will be facing from Western Europe and elsewhere in the years ahead ... There's a technological determinism story you can tell where this is the future and China will eventually buckle under and cave and eventually adopt all of these things, but then you might wonder, maybe this doesn't happen at all, and maybe it's possible for the internet to actually fragment and not to have this historical necessity to it ... No one in their right mind would start an organization with the word "global" in its title today, that's so 2005, it feels so dated." --Peter Thiel, Mar 7, 2017, at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston (emphasis added),
To illustrate his point, Thiel took aim at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos: "A decade ago, this was a group of people who were running the world," he said. "And now, it's just a group of people who messed up the world."

4. Uniregistry plans to hike prices up to 3000% for some new gTLDs:
Graphic: Uniregistry plans to hike prices up to 3000% for some new gTLDs
Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth.--Mike Tyson
Some new gTLDs at Uniregistry getting massive price hikes | gTLD.Link--price increases of up to 3000% starting September 8--which generated negative and angry postings and comments in the domaining blogosphere to which Uniregistry's Frank Schilling finally responded on the blog post titled Frank Schilling just killed the New gTLD domain name program (Warning!) | onlinedomain.com--excerpt (emphasis added):
Frank Schilling: "... Making this change will give us the ability to lower prices and raise them ... our regulator [ICANN] dictates that “raising” prices requires this notice ... When we originally wrote our applications and applied for new gTLD’s, no registry operator knew there would be 1000 applications or that we would have some extensions with under 5,000 registrations. We’re pivoting to deal with that business reality ... There is a real cost to putting on a registry operation ... when we applied we put forth our best plan and best intentions. Now, after a reveal of 1000 extensions and after years of evolution, we are assessing business realities and we are pivoting for the good of our spaces and our registry. I understand that nobody likes that ... I am doing what I need to do for these namespaces to be successful. I also invested (many tens of millions) ... Regarding: “Registrants are not part of your company and are not required to and should not be forced to pivot anything.” When you invest in any namespace you do so under the rules of the registry. The tail doesn’t wag the dog. We have issued a press release to registrars which I hope will explain our repricing of these namespaces further ..." (emphasis added)
I haven't seen any Uniregistry press release about this passed along from registrars to domain name registrants. But at least Frank Schilling has been honest about what's coming. ICANN, most of ICANN's new gTLDs' registry operators, and many of their registrars, abhor transparency when it comes to new gTLDs' price increases. The ill-conceived and misbegotten new gTLDs program has been designed to rip-off domain name registrants from day one, and ICANN is now in the process of removing the last vestige of price increase transparency from its base new gTLDs registry agreement. Also note tweets by @GeorgeKirikos and Rick Schwartz‏ @DomainKing, including this.

Editor's note: I have been warning domain name registrants for years of the pricing unpredictability of new gTLDs, while many domaining bloggers who chose to tout and promote the new gTLDs, are now somehow outraged that this could happen. Caveat Emptor! See also New gTLD Domains, the Walking Dead and Dying, ICANN FY15 Results | DomainMondo.com and my comment less than two weeks ago:
"The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, mismanaged the global DNS and damaged the competitive global market for domain names by grossly over-expanding the number of new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs), beginning in 2014. As a result, many new gTLD registry operators are financially struggling, and after more than three years, many are still unprofitable."

5. Root Stability Study Final Report Now Available | ICANN.orgReport (pdf) p. 44: "However, the absence of an observed degradation of the security and stability of the root DNS system is no reason to be less cautious for possible future impact of the New gTLD Program ... We advise the New gTLD Program to retain a controlled rate of delegating new gTLDs. Further, we advise more frequent monitoring of the impact of new gTLD delegations, in order to obtain more detailed insight and to identify and respond to events impacting root DNS system stability on a short time scale ..." 

6. Florida Passes the Florida Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act | Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP | JDSupra.comWhat is a “digital asset? "The Act defines “digital assets” as electronic records that are transmitted or stored on digital devices or the internet. Commonly used digital assets include documents (Adobe PDF, MS Word, spreadsheets, etc.), domain names or blogs, email accounts, social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc.), online user accounts (banks, PayPal, Venmo, etc.), and digital currency (for example, credits with online vendors such as iTunes)."

7. Roth conference March 12-15, 2017:
Domain name registrar and registry services provider Rightside $NAME CEO Taryn Naidu, and CFO Tracy Knox, are scheduled to present at the 29th Annual ROTH Conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, CA, on Monday, March 13, 2017, at 7:00 am PT / 10:00 am ET. The presentation will be available through a live audio webcast accessible from the investors section of Rightside's website at http://investors.rightside.co/ (and archived there for 90 days) or here or on the Roth conference website by registering for the webcasts. Almost 500 other companies are presenting, including domain name registrar Web.com Group Inc. $WEB on Monday, March 13, 2017, at 8am PT / 11am ET (available via Roth webcast).

8. Meetings:
 ICANN58 | Copenhagen
  • ICANN58 in Copenhagen, Denmark, continues through March 16. More info here.
  • RightsCon Summit Series: March 29-31, 2017, Brussels, Belgium. "RightsCon is the world’s leading event on the future of the internet."
  • IETF 98: March 26-31, 2017, Swissotel Chicago, 323 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL

9. CCT Review | ICANN.org March 7, 2017: Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team Draft Report of Recommendations for new gTLDs--the full report [PDF, 3.91 MB]; Public Comment Period closes 27 April 2017, excerpt:
"Looking at trust of new gTLDs specifically, the survey found that while consumer end users do not trust new gTLDs nearly as much as they do legacy gTLDs .... The report of draft recommendations makes a distinction between registrants and end-users. Registrants refers to purchasers of domain names, not end-users." .... Key Findings and Recommendations - Data Collection: Formalize and promote ongoing data collection, as the lack of data has handicapped attempts both internally and externally to evaluate market trends and the success of policy recommendations. Competition: ICANN should collect wholesale and retail price data from all gTLD registries and registrars to better inform future CCT reviews. Engage in a systematic collection of data on secondary market prices and country-level data on market competition ..."

10. Internet Domain News Quick Takes:

11. Most popular posts (# of pageviews Sun-Sat) this past week on DomainMondo.com:
  1. News Review: China Will 'Vigorously' Promote the Reform of ICANN
  2. Net Neutrality: Senate Oversight Hearing of the FCC, March 8, 10am ET
  3. TechReview | After Snap's Successful $SNAP Tech IPO, Who's Next?
  4. Scott Galloway: Snapchat $SNAP Is a Loser & Could 'Torch the Market'

-- John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo 

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