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March 2007 Archive

Here's the The Lowdown from DNJournal.com! Updated daily to fill you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry!

Compiled by Ron Jackson (Editor/Publisher)

 

Mainstream media is now confirming what we told you just after midnight last night (thanks to Jay Westerdal at DomainTools.com Blog) - that ICANN has rejected creation of a .xxx extension. It looks like ICANN may now have a second lawsuit to deal with (in addition to the class action suit filed against them in the Registerfly affair). The Associated Press had this quote from ICM Registry President Stuart Lawley (ICM would have run .xxx if it had been approved): "We are extremely disappointed by the board's action today. It is not supportable for any of the reasons articulated by the board, ignores the rules ICANN itself adopted for the RFP (request for proposal), and makes a mockery of ICANN bylaws' prohibition of unjustifiable discriminatory treatment." Lawley added that ICM would pursue the matter further and when pressed by an Associated Press reporter if that could include a lawsuit against ICANN, Lawley said: "I would go so far as to say likely."
Posted March 30, 2007

The ICANN Board has reportedly decided to reject a new .xxx extension for adult domains. The board was supposed to announce their vote today (Friday, March 30), but in a nice scoop, Jay Westerdal reported on his DomainTools.com blog last night that the board had just met behind closed doors in Lisbon, Portugal and decided to kill the .xxx proposal. Westerdal noted "It is a long standing tradition at ICANN to have the secret board meeting the night before the official board meeting. ICANN skeptics and critics have been calling for more transparency for a long time but ICANN continues closed meetings."
Posted March 30, 2007

You may soon need a scorecard to keep track of all of the lawsuits flying around in the wake of the Registerfly.com collapse. As we told you yesterday, a class action lawsuit has been filed by a North Carolina attorney against Registerfly, eNom and ICANN. Now comes word that ICANN  sent a letter to Registerfly Wednesday warning them that ICANN would file a lawsuit against the crumbling registrar today if Registerfly did not turn its registration data over to ICANN by 3pm Pacific Time.  ICANN, who revoked Registerfly's registrar accreditation (effective Saturday, March 31), needs accurate data to try to determine who owns domains held by Registerfly, so they can be moved to a different registrar. Much of that data is believed to have been corrupted, lost or stolen during the implosion at Registerfly. It has been estimated that problems at Registerfly have resulted in as many as 75,000 domains being lost, including many used by active businesses.
Posted March 29, 2007

A class action lawsuit had been filed against Registerfly, eNom and ICANN. The lawsuit (Anne Martinez v RegisterFly, ICANN et. al.) was filed by Attorney E. Clarke Dummit of the Dummit Law Firm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The suit alleges that RegisterFly has systematically defrauded its customers who attempted to register or renew Internet domain names, causing them to lose their domain names, finances, and even entire businesses. 

Dummit said "The lawsuit was initially sealed due to fears of retribution by RegisterFly.com towards plaintiff Anne Martinez for filing the suit, but since then other concerns have become more pressing, and the case was opened to the public." In a press release issued today, Dummit said "It was clear that RegisterFly was in trouble, and the accreditation agency of registrars, ICANN, knew it, but ICANN did not perform its duty to protect the public and continued to accredit RegisterFly and allow it to perform as a registrar."

"In fact, ICANN, which collects a fee for every domain sold through its accredited registrars, did not give notice of termination of ICANN's accreditation of RegisterFly until the day AFTER attorney Dummit served ICANN with this class action lawsuit. This provides further evidence that it is time for the American Legal System to step in and reign in this outrageous, illegal behavior that has already harmed many people around the world, and threatens to damage many more," Dummit said. eNom was named in the suit because Registerfly was an eNom reseller until eNom dropped them earlier this year.
Posted March 28, 2007

As the current ICANN meeting continues in Lisbon, Portugal, I want to recommend writer Burke Hansen's coverage of the conference for TheRegister.com to you, especially Hansen's exceptionally insightful opening day piece, Of ICANN and the Registrar Zombies. It's a great summation of the Registerfly debacle, ICANN's role in it and the debate over how to protect domain owners in the event of another registrar meltdown. Hansen filed a second report from Lisbon this morning, Intellectual Property Debate Heats Up, as ICANN Looks to the Future, that focuses on how ICANN awards new TLDs and on the sticky issue of WhoIs privacy.

ICANN says Registerfly is continuing to abuse customers

Meanwhile, ICANN's problems with Registerfly continue to fester. Yesterday ICANN General Counsel John O. Jeffrey sent a letter to Registerfly CEO Kevin Medina telling him "his time was up". Jeffrey excoriated Medina for failing to provide ICANN with accurate registrant information, continuing to make it difficult for customers to get their names out of Registerfly and for ignoring ICANN's demand that Registerfly remove the "ICANN accredited" logo from its website. When ICANN revoked Registerfly's accreditation on March 16 it demanded the company immediately remove ICANN's trademarked logo. The actual revocation of registration rights becomes effective Saturday (March 31), a move that should finally put Registerfly out of the registration business. Unfortunately, that will not bring back the domains and online businesses that customers of this shoddy outfit lost during the registrar's collapse.

Posted March 28, 2007


The dates and location
for the next DOMAINfest Conference were announced last night. It will be a two-day Regional event in Amsterdam, Holland May 16-17. The show will be held at

Hilton Amsterdam

the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel. DomainSponsor.com organizes the DOMAINfest events which include both Global and Regional editions. The company said the Regional events are intended to reach even the smallest domain businesses and bring them together with other local domainers. The focus is on networking, coupled with two to three in-depth content workshops with these events held at locations around the world. The Global events (which debuted with a successful 2007 conference in Hollywood, California) are positioned as "the annual bringing together of great domain industry minds from all over the world for three intense days of learning and networking." Organizers say those feature

all of the networking typical of a Regional event but on a much larger scale. You can register for the Amsterdam conference and learn more at DOMAINfest.com
Posted March 27, 2007


ICANN opened its meeting
in Lisbon, Portugal today with a standing room only session on registrar reform prompted by the Registerfly.com disaster that has caused thousands of domain owners to lose control of their names and even ownership of domains and businesses built on them. ICANN's slow reaction to the Registerfly meltdown prompted a good deal of criticism from audience members who spoke at the session.

ICANN's stance was that the criticism is unfair because their enforcement powers over registrars are limited. Ten days ago, ICANN did finally revoke Registerfly's registrar accreditation (effective March 31) - but many think that action should have come much sooner.  ICANN provided a fact sheet on the Registerfly mess before the meeting started that details what happened from their viewpoint. 

This sad saga is a long way from being over. At least one attorney, Peter Lagorio (in conjunction with Counselseek, Inc.), is already investigating Registerfly for a potential class action suit. There has also been speculation in domain forums, such as DomainState.com, that ICANN will also be a target in such a suit as a plaintiff could claim they were negligent in not promptly responding to a flood of consumer complaints about Registerfly that began over a year ago.
Posted March 26, 2007


Though this was the first day
of official business at the ICANN meeting, many people arrived


Jothan Frakes

in Lisbon Sunday and took part in some special educational sessions. One of the most popular of those was a two-hour tutorial session on the domain name aftermarket moderated by Jothan Frakes of DomainSponsor.com. Panelists included Mason Cole (SnapNames.com), Tim Schumacher (Sedo.com), Tom Murphy (NameMedia, operators of BuyDomains.com and Afternic.com) and Emiliano Pasqualetti (Domainsbot.com). A complete transcript of that session is available on the ICANN website and we recommend it to those interested in the latest expert commentary on the domain name marketplace.
Posted March 26, 2007

International Domain Names (IDNs) in the .biz extension will be offered in the Chinese and Japanese languages starting April 21NeuStar, Inc. (the operator of the .biz registry) has offered German .biz IDNs since 2004 and Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Icelandic IDNs since November 2006. Richard Tindal, vice president of domain name services at NeuStar said "China and Japan are two of the world's largest markets for IDNs, and .biz is the first global domain to implement Chinese and Japanese IDNs in a manner that fully respects the linguistic cultures of both language groups." NeuStar said its Chinese and Japanese IDN offerings make available more than 19,000 Han and 178 Katakana and Hiragana characters, which are commonly used in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, and in Chinese and Japanese communities around the world. The complete Chinese and Japanese language tables can be found at www.neustar-registry.biz/idn.
Posted March 23, 2007

In the wake of the Registerfly debacle, ICANN has decided to explore a complete revamping of their Registrar Accreditation Agreements (RAA) and the entire Accreditation process. In a statement posted on the ICANN website yesterday, the organization charged with overseeing the domain name system said this will be a prime topic of debate at the upcoming ICANN meeting in Lisbon, Portugal March 26-30. ICANN President and CEO Dr. Paul Twomey said “Registrants suffer most from weaknesses in the RAA and I want to make sure that ICANN’s accreditation process and our agreement gives us the ability to respond more strongly and flexibly in the future. All ICANN stakeholders need to be involved in this debate. But in particular I would like to see registrars and registrants actively engaged in the discussion."

A new non-profit voice for registrants, the Internet Commerce Association, will have both its Legal Counsel Phil Corwin and its Executive Director Jude Augusta at the Lisbon meeting to monitor and participate in this debate. While we agree that registrants need to be protected in the event of another registrar meltdown, it is also important to make sure this issue isn't used as a trojan horse to set policy aimed at further weakening the rights of domain name owners. 


ICA Executive Director Judge Augusta (left) 
and ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin
 

Suffice it to say that ICANN has not earned a lot of trust in the registrant community with past actions, so new policies that are formulated in the aftermath of the Registerfly collapse need to be carefully scrutinized by the ICA and individual registrants - and we are sure they will be.
Posted March 22, 2007

 

If you read our latest weekly domain sales report that came out last night, you may have noticed the $25,500 sale of CreditCard.info. That ranks as the 5th highest sale ever reported in that relatively new extension. .Info continues to make steady progress even though it has been overshadowed a bit in the past year by the release of newer extensions like .mobi and .eu. Afilias, the .info registry, recently celebrated its 4 millionth .info registration and they marked the occasion by releasing an update report on the extension's progress last week.  .Info is the 6th largest TLD in the world (trailing only the original three global TLDs; .com, .net and .org and two powerful country codes, .de and .co.uk).

Initially, .info was more popular in Europe than any other region, but the new report notes that North America is now the leader with 51% of all .info registrations (Europe has dipped to 38% of the total). The United States is by far the singe largest user of .info, accounting for 48% of all registrations (Germany is next at 11%).  

Roland LaPlante, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Afilias, said “.Info continues to be an Internet address that individuals and businesses choose to showcase their information on the Web. It is gaining popularity worldwide, increasing overall sales volume and even establishing itself as an emerging domain in the aftermarket and pay-per-click (PPC) markets.” The largest reported .info sale to date was NewYork.info at $46,392. That name was sold in September 2006 through Moniker.com.

 

Roland Laplante
Afilias VP & Chief Marketing Officer

Posted March 21, 2007

Online Ad Spend Growth Is Historic - that is the arresting headline from a new report at eMarketer.com today. The article says that online ad spending revenues soared from $12.5 billion in 2005 to $16.8 billion in 2006, a 34% jump in revenue in just one year. This is also the third straight year that online ad spending has risen by more than 30% from the previous year. The $16.8 million tally for 2006 exceeded what eMarketer had previously predicted for the year by $400 million. The article noted "The growth is not stopping, either...eMarketer estimates that online ad spending will reach $36.5 billion in 2011.
Posted March 20, 2007


Chris Sheridan at 
eNom Reseller Summit

Over the weekend I saw a post in Jay Westerdal's DomainTools.com blog that veteran Verisign executive Chris Sheridan is moving to Demand Media's eNom.com to become their VP of Customer Service and Business Development. As a Senior Account Manager at Verisign, Sheridan has been based in Chicago, but he will be relocating to Seattle to take up his new responsibilities at eNom. Sheridan was a featured speaker at eNom's first Reseller Summit in Las Vegas earlier this month, where he presented Verisign's 2007 Domain Name Industry Brief We have some highlights from the eNom event in our March newsletter that went out to subscribers tonight (you can sign up for the free monthly email publication here). 

Incidentally, eNom's parent company (Demand Media) and company founder Richard Rosenblatt will be the subject of our April Cover Story (due out the weekend of April 7-8).
Posted March 19, 2007

The Internet Commerce Association has weighed in on the controversial practice of domain tasting - an unintended use of a 5-day registration grace period that some entities, including some registrars, have employed to scoop up virtually every domain name that expires before returning domains that do not produce traffic to the registry for a full refund. The grace period was meant to provide a window in which honest registration mistakes (like accidentally registering a mis-typed domain name) could be corrected at no cost to the domain registrant.

ICA Legal Counsel Phil Corwin sent a letter to ICANN March 15 supporting a new initiative from the Public Interest Registry (operators of the .org registry) that will result in domain tasters being charged a fee for "excess deletions". In the same letter, Corwin took issue with comments made by WIPO Deputy Director General Francis Gurry last week when Gurry, who is supposed to be an objective observer, criticized domain investors in a widely distributed press release. Corwin wrote, "Mr. Gurry clearly exhibits a pronounced bias in favor of expansion of the rights of trademark holders to the detriment of the equally legitimate rights of domain name owners who have risked considerable capital and labor to develop their domain names as valuable properties monetized through the provision of content and associated advertising."

Phil Corwin
ICA Legal Counsel

"ICA members do not support trademark infringement, but they resent having a senior executive of the lead arbitrator of UDRP cases characterize their business as one of “speculative gain," Corwin said.
Posted March 18, 2007  

ICANN has used the "nuclear option" on renegade registrar Registerfly.com and yanked the company's ICANN accreditation. ICANN sent Registerfly formal notice yesterday that it will cease operating as an ICANN-Accredited Registrar on March 31, 2007. Under the terms of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), ICANN must provide 15 days written notice to RegisterFly of its intention to terminate. Effective immediately ICANN has terminated RegisterFly's right to use the ICANN Accredited Registrar logo on its website. Notice of the action posted on the ICANN website says "Between now and March 31, RegisterFly is required to unlock and provide all necessary Auth codes to allow domain name transfers to occur. Any and all registrants wishing to transfer away from RegisterFly during this period should be allowed to do so efficiently and expeditiously." 

ICANN President and CEO Dr. Paul Twomey
told Registerfly it's time to buzz off

ICANN President and CEO Dr. Paul Twomey said "Terminating accreditation is the strongest measure ICANN is able to take against RegisterFly under its powers. ICANN has been frustrated and distressed by recent management confusion inside RegisterFly. I completely understand the greater frustration and enormous difficulty that this has created for registrants." When the Agreement is terminated, ICANN can approve a bulk transfer of all current RegisterFly domain names to another ICANN accredited Registrar. 

"Of course, RegisterFly does not have to wait till then. They can request ICANN to approve a bulk transfer immediately. I call on RegisterFly to act in the interests of registrants and seek such a transfer from us straight away," Dr. Twomey said. ICANN intends to hold a forum to discuss the reform of the Accreditation policy and process at its upcoming meeting  in Lisbon, Portugal March 26-30.
Posted March 17, 2007  

As we head into the weekend, I'd like to give everyone a tip on a source for some great domain reading to catch up on before the new business week begins.

Frank Schilling (of Name Administration Inc.), regarded by many as the most successful domain investor in the world, has started a new blog called Seven Mile (named after the beach in front of Frank's Cayman Islands home). In just the past week he has posted more valuable commentary than most people produce in a year's worth of blogging. 

This is an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the game directly from a guy whose domain credentials are unmatched. Schilling's new passion seems to be giving back to the industry that has treated him so well. In addition to pouring his energy and expertise into the new blog, Schilling made a sizeable cash contribution to help start the new Internet Commerce Association, a non-profit organization set up to defend he rights of all domain owners. If you are looking for insight from someone who really knows what they are talking about, you will find it at Seven Mile.

Frank Schilling
Name Administration, Inc.

Posted March 16, 2007

Moniker.com has released the results from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2007 Silent online domain auction that concluded last night. 250 domains were sold for a total of $1,118,646. Adding that to the $4.3 million worth of domains that were sold during the Live Auction at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West on March 7 in Las Vegas brought the overall total for the Live and Silent auctions to just under $5.5 million, eclipsing the previous record of $5.3 million set at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. East Live and Silent auctions in Hollywood, Florida last October (T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West figures represent high bids and are subject to change until escrow is completed for the domains won) . You can see all of the winning bids placed in both the Live and Silent auctions at T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West here. Moniker will now try to set an even higher auction standard at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York City conference coming up June 19-22 at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan.
Posted March 15, 2007

Sedo.com released a report yesterday on the market for Great Britain's .co.uk domains. Using sales data compiled by Sedo and DNJournal.com, the company said the total volume of reported .co.uk sales shot up 153% in the year ending Dec. 31, 2006. The growth rate for the previous year was 79% so demand for the popular country code is obviously gaining momentum. The average secondary market sales price for .co.uk domains was £2,062 ($3,992 at today's exchange rate). As you know if you follow our weekly domain sales reports, Sedo is the dominant player in country code sales. In 2006, a remarkable 84% of all reported .co.uk sales were made through Sedo.co.uk. More details from the Sedo report are available here
Posted March 14, 2007

You may have already spotted this on the general news wires, but it is such a big Internet story we wanted to make sure you don't miss it. Media giant Viacom sued YouTube.com and the site's owner, Google, Inc. for over $1 billion today for copyright infringement. Viacom owns properties like MTV and has grown tired of seeing YouTube make money from their material (uploaded without authorization by YouTube users). This is shaping up to be one of the biggest legal battles of the Internet age and I have always thought that Google would have a difficult time defending their position if they faced this kind of suit. Just look what happened to Napster in the music business after they were sued. Let's just hope Google doesn't try to pay what will be a gargantuan legal bill (win or lose) by lowering their PPC payouts for domain traffic! 
Posted March 13, 2007

The debacle at Registerfly.com continues to spread to mainstream news outlets around the world. This morning BigNewsNetwork.com published a comprehensive article on the registrar's woes (or more accurately the woes of those who are unfortunate enough to be Registerfly customers). In an article that is overflowing with shocking information, two passages are particularly alarming: "RegisterFly remains open for business, offering its services to new, unsuspecting customers. Despite its registration, renewal, and transfer systems all being dysfunctional, RegisterFly continues to take payments for orders it cannot fulfill" and "at the very time ICANN was accrediting RegisterFly, eNom (for whom Registerfly acted as a reseller) was contacted again and was told its own accreditation was in potential breach as a result of allegations that its reseller RegisterFly was altering customers Whois data and populating the Whois record with "intentionally inaccurate data." You have to ask how on earth could ICANN accredit Registerfly at the same time it was threatening Registerfly's upstream service provider because of Registerfly's countless misdeeds!? As the full extent of the damage done to domain owners and operators of online businesses becomes known, ICANN is going to have a lot to answer for. This situation has been - and continues to be - an utter disgrace to everyone involved.
Posted March 12, 2007

Sedo has announced plans to hold Second Annual SedoPro Partner Forum at the Mohonk Resort in New Paltz, New York June 17-19, 2007. The event at the mountain retreat outside New York City will be staged immediately before the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. New York conference at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan June 19-22. Sedo said their invitational event will include networking, interactive workshops, 1-on-1 counseling, and discussion with industry leaders on the future of the domain industry.  Sedo Co-Founder and CEO Tim Schumacher said “Simply throwing a party wouldn’t have been enough to show our appreciation for SedoPro customers, who are some of the most sophisticated and successful domain portfolio investors out there." Sedo said the two-day event will also feature an unforgettable gala with captivating views, gourmet meals and a series of workshops with experts on topics such as trademark law, negotiation strategy and domain monetization. The First SedoPro Partner Forum was held last year in Maastrict, Holland and attracted over 110 domain industry professionals from 18 different countries. More information about this year's event can be found at SedoProPartnerForum.com.
Posted March 11, 2007

Several companies coordinated news releases with this week's T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference in Las Vegas. In one major announcement, NameMedia unveiled their new ActiveExchange, a platform that allows domain owners to have their names listed for sale simultaneously at BuyDomains.com, Afternic.com and more than 55 resellers in North America, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East. The service was previously reserved for names in the BuyDomains portfolio. ActiveExchange also provides one-stop access to NameMedia's three customized parking platforms; ActiveAudience, GoldKey and SmartName. NameMedia Senior VP (and General Manager of the company's marketplace businesses), Pete Lamson said  “ActiveExchange offers domain sellers an unrivaled level of revenue generation, personalized service and one-stop convenience. Our broad end-user reach, sales team representation, comprehensive monetization tools and parking solutions—all integrated onto one platform—is designed to help customers achieve maximum value from their domain names”.
Posted March 10, 2007

The never ending saga of deeply troubled registrar Registerfly.com has taken another surprise twist. After being ousted from the company by two other board members, former CEO (and 50% owner) Kevin Medina has been put back in charge by a New Jersey judge. According to a story at BusinessWeek.com today, "John Naruszewicz, one of the two who had fired Medina and taken control of the company, doesn't plan to appeal the judge's decision. "We lost and it's all over," he says. "The company will implode in days and 1 million domain names are going to be lost. It's a damned shame." Current and former customers reacted with shock on Web forums and e-mails: "This is very bad. Registerfly will be shut down soon," predicts Justin Kulhawick, a former customer who last year set up a Web site, Registerflies.com, to call attention to the company's failings." It remains to be seen how ICANN will react to this latest development and continuing questions about the fate of domains owned by thousands of Registerfly customers.
Posted March 9, 2007

I'm back from the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West Conference in Las Vegas. My notebook computer died Monday night, so I was unable to post the daily show updates I had hoped to bring you in this section during the week. I apologize for that unavoidable break in our daily updates to The Lowdown. In a nutshell it was the largest domain conference in history with more than 600 attendees at the luxurious Venetian Hotel. Moniker.com's live auction Wednesday produced $4.3 million in sales and more than two thirds of the names in the auction sold, doubling the sales percentage from the last live T.R.A.F.F.I.C. auction in October. You can see all of the final bids here. Meanwhile the silent auction continues through March 14 and that is expected to add another $1 million or so in sales. I'm starting immediately on our complete show wrap up article that we expect to publish on the home page Monday night (March 12). It will be complemented by the best of the more than 600 photos we took during the event to put you in the middle of the action!
Posted March 9, 2007

Verisign released their 2007 Domain Name Industry Brief today and the company's Senior Account Manager, Chris Sheridan, summed up the extensive data in the report during a presentation at eNom's Reseller Summit at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas this morning (we are covering the eNom event as well as the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference that follows this week at the Venetian). Sheridan said the domain registration market is enjoying tremendous growth. At the end of 2006 a record 120 million domain names were registered, a 32% jump over the past year. Sheridan said much of that growth is coming from ccTLDs. In fact in the fourth quarter of 2006, more than 4 million country code domains were registered, the most ever in a single quarter. China's .cn accounted for about 500,000 of those as internet use in that country continues to explode. ccTLDs now account for 43.7 million domain registrations worldwide. Sheridan said multi-lingual domain registrations (IDNs) are also surging and have enjoyed an 89% growth rate year over year. In another sign of a healthy market, Sheridan said 71% of domain names coming up for renewal for the first time are being renewed. Growth in the popular .com and .net extensions that Verisign operates has also been phenomenal. At the end of 2004 there were 38 million registered .com/.net domains. The number rose to 50 million by the end of 2005 and swelled to 65 million at the end of 2006. 
Posted March 5, 2007

Domain pioneer and T.R.A.F.F.I.C. Conference co-founder Rick Schwartz was the subject of an interesting article by Fred Marion in Florida's Palm Beach Post Friday (March 2). Schwartz, who lives just down the coast from Palm Beach in Boca Raton, colorfully detailed the path he has followed from community college drop-out to domain industry multi-millionaire. In his usual straight to the point style, Schwartz explained how the domain business works in a way that the man on the street can easily understand. Schwartz is currently in Las Vegas preparing to stage this week's sold out T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West 2007 conference at the Venetian Hotel. We are there as well and will bring you full coverage of the event in our March Cover Story that is due out the evening of Monday, March 12.
Posted March 4, 2007

It looks like ICANN's attempt to stop the flow of blood at disintegrating registrar Registerfly.com is headed to court. In an update posted on the ICANN website yesterday, the organization that oversees the domain name system said that it sent two employees to Registerfly's New Jersey office February 27 to audit the firm and obtain registrant information, but that Registerfly had not complied with ICANN's request for information. On March 1 RegisterFly's lawyers sent ICANN a letter claiming that refusal to comply "should not be construed as unwillingness to cooperate with ICANN but as evidence of Registerfly's continuing efforts to service their customers." ICANN responded with a March 2 letter describing the RegisterFly statement as "preposterous" and setting out additional breaches of Registerfly's Registrar Agreement with ICANN. ICANN has now served notice that it will file a suit against RegisterFly in the United States District Court for the Central District of California seeking a temporary restraining order requiring RegisterFly to turn over the data requested and to compel an emergency audit of its books and records. ICANN also reached an agreement with the various domain registries to prevent domains registered at Registerfly that have entered Redemption Grace Period from being deleted (and permanently lost to their current owners) until the problems with Registerfly are resolved. Meanwhile the clock is ticking on a threat ICANN issued Feb. 21 to revoke Registerfly's accreditation (and ability to sell domain registrations) within 15 days if their long list of Registrar Agreement violations are not corrected before the deadline.
Posted March 3, 2007

The .mobi registry has announced a partnership with Akmin Technologies to publish the .mobi Site Builder, a tool to be made available exclusively to .mobi registrars around the world. This is part of dotMobi's Go Mobile! global program. The idea with the .mobi Site Builder is to help consumers and small businesses develop simple, yet effective, mobile web sites. The tool, based on Akmin's mobiSiteGalore application will include high-end features that allow advanced users to build customized sites. You can see an example of a site built using the current version of the tool at http://pinky.mobi (a site developed by .mobi's Director of New Markets, Pinky Brand). .mobi is also making a small group of premium domains available at Moniker.com's live auction March 7th at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. West conference in Las Vegas. That list includes such gems as RealEstate.mobi, Pizza.mobi, Casinos.mobi and Models.mobi. You can see Moniker's complete auction list, including .mobi and all other extensions, here

Posted March 2, 2007

Domain conglomerate Name Media has made another major acquisition. We got word last night that the Waltham, Massachusetts based company has just purchased PPC (pay per click) domain monetization service SmartName.com. SmartName's clients are to be informed of the acquisition in an email today. Name Media has also decided to switch SmartName's upstream service provider from Yahoo to Google, a move they are also making with GoldKey.com, another PPC provider the company acquired last year. Name Media also operates a third PPC service, Active Audience, as well as domain aftermarket venues BuyDomains and Afternic. SmartName was founded by Ari Goldberger and Larry Fischer who will continue to be actively involved in management of the company. SmartName is a pioneer in the PPC space and has been responsible for several innovations in the field, a fact that resulted in the company being featured in our April 2006 Cover Story.
Posted March 1, 2007


If you've been out of the loop lately, catch up in the Lowdown Archive!


We need your help to keep giving domainers The Lowdown, so please email editor@dnjournal.com with any interesting information you might have. If possible, include the source of your information so we can check it out (for example a URL if you read it in a forum or on a site elsewhere). 


Best location for Casino and Poker Domains
Major online gaming operators & affiliates at this event
Casino Affiliate Convention - May 3-5, 2007 - Amsterdam - www.CAC2007.com


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