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The Lowdown from March 2004 - Archived April 1, 2004

You thought TLD meant Top Level Domain? Well not on this page! This is Domain Name Journal's version of TLD - The Low Down -  filling you in on the latest buzz going around the domain name industry!

The .US extension has gotten a nice corporate boost from Sweden's famed automaker Volvo. The company has opened a new website targeting the American market at VolvoCars.us. Many .US investors have felt that in addition to its patriotic appeal to Americans,  the extension would attract foreign corporations looking for a way to target consumers in the U.S. This is one of several early signs that is happening...How's this for a "gotcha". California company Global Domains International (GDI) markets Western Samoa's .WS country code extension to mean "website" and sells the domains worldwide. Registrars like GoDaddy offer them for just $9.99 a year, but if you register one directly at GDI's Website.ws site be prepared for some nasty surprises. That site charges $35 a year and unlike GoDaddy makes you buy TWO years up front ($70 total). Then, if you decide to sell the domain, they will charge you another $100 to make an ownership change! (no charge at GoDaddy).  If you don't feel violated enough by then, you will when you learn that you cannot transfer your domains out to another registrar. Like the Eagles' Hotel California, "you can check in, but you can never leave"... Some domain owners would still consider GDI to be saints compared to another registrar, Dodora. One of the world's largest domain owners is initiating legal action against the company, claiming that Dodora took a domain from his account and sold it on the open market for their own gain. Dodora has been banned from the major domain forums for posting spam and abusing other forum rules. However, an apparent company rep was able to register under a new name and make a post at the DomainState forum Tue. March 16 before being tossed out again. In that message, "FlySnaps" claimed the company sold the domain before the complainant had registered it. Looks like they will soon get a chance to "tell it to the judge." Editor's Note: The attorney representing the domain owner in this incident, John Berryhill,  has publicly announced that Dodora has made full restitution for the missing domain and the issue is now considered resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved... The Elequa of .US namespace appears to be Bradley Norrish, an Australian who uses a Clifton, New Jersey address for his company, Internet Registrations Worldwide. Norrish holds 1,904 three-letter .US domains according to research done by Aaron Kluge that was posted at DNForum.com. Since Elequa bought up thousands of previously unregistered .info and .biz three-letter domains to wipe out those categories, Kluge was interested in how many .US threes were still available. As of March 13 he found 2,578 of the original 17,576 unregistered (all with less desirable letter combinations of course). Kluge came across Norrish's holdings while doing his checks and reports those to be nearly all premium letter combinations... And the hits just keep on coming! The latest blockbuster domain sale was a real doozy. Mercury.com changed hands March 11 when Mercury Interactive Corp. (a public company traded on the NASDAQ) forked over a reported $1.1 million for the domain ($700,000 in cash & $400,000 in equipment, services, and technical support). Want more? OK - on the very same day comes news that  Smoking.com was sold for $325,000 at GreatDomains!... Sedo.com has begun a new partnership with HiChina Ltd. that makes the more than one million domains for sale in Sedo's database visible to Chinese buyers in their native language. HiChina is that country's largest provider of domains and web hosting services with over 25% of the market. The deal placing Sedo listings on HiChina sites also allows Sedo to offer Chinese-owned .com and .cn domains on its own global sales network...What may have been the largest expired domain drop ever for England's .co.uk country code occurred March 8. More than 100,000 domains were released from the Nominet database including such gems as model.co.uk, feed.co.uk and dick.co.uk. Dozens of three-letter domains also landed with new owners. You can see a complete list of the top catches and who got them in a thread at the Domain-Chat.com forum...ICANN voted 12-0 to approve Verisign's Waiting List Service (WLS). During their board meeting in Rome Saturday, March 6, ICANN gave the controversial plan a green light, though it still must be approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce (since Verisign's original registry agreements will have to be amended to allow WLS to go forward).  Several lawsuits have been filed aimed at stopping WLS so the final chapter remains to be written. We expect that if the DOC signs off on the plan, Verisign will go ahead and sell WLS subscriptions (giving the first person buying one the rights to the specified .com or .net domain should the original owner allow it to drop) while the suits proceed through the legal system at their usual snail's pace... GoDaddy would like to see Verisign stripped of its control over the .com/.net registry. GoDaddy President Bob Parsons has sent a letter to both the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), strongly urging both groups to undertake a formal review of VeriSign's registry position.  "VeriSign has shown that it is quite willing to place its own profitability before the well-being of the Internet," Parsons said.  "It is for the benefit of the entire Internet community that such behavior be put to a stop." Parsons is encouraging his customers as well as all concerned Internet users to sign a petition supporting his move to have Verisgn ousted at http://www.recallverisign.com...We have been talking about the rebound in the domain market for some time. Now the mainstream media is catching wind of it too. In an article at the New York Times, writer Bob Tedeschi talks about the upswing in domain name values. We have been documenting that surge each week in our Domain Sales section. The trend is unmistakable and one that shows no signs of abating...Palau (a small Pacific Ocean island nation) is the latest country to allow a private firm to market their internet country code extension globally. Registrations of .PW domains will be handled by the Massachusetts-based PW Registry Corporation and will open to the public within the next few weeks (press release). .PW's twist is that ALL 2nd level domains (i.e. domain.pw) are reserved by the registry. Only 3rd level (subdomain) names will be made available (i.e. domain.name.pw). The registry says this allows common strings, words and names to be shared by unrelated individuals. Since the registry holds Smith.pw for instance, many people named Smith could use the name by taking 3rd level names like Sue.Smith.pw, Bob.Smith.pw, etc. This did not work well for .name (which recently reversed course and began offering 2nd level registrations) however the .PW registry thinks it will find a market as the only extension devoted exclusively to "communities of shared interest"....Info fans who are looking for a place to gather now have a forum of their own at www.got.info. The site is owned by new extension investor/developer Christian Zouzas who also runs a forum dedicated to the .US extension at www.USForum.us. The .info forum has just opened its doors, so if you are interested in the new TLD you can help build this new community from the ground up... The state of California has chosen a .info instead of an available .com for a new anti-pollution campaign.  While driving down the freeway near Sacramento our source saw a billboard with the URL DontTrashCalifornia.info. When he got home and looked up the domain he was surprised to find that the .com was available but had been passed over by the state's CalTrans agency (which is charged with road and waterway cleanup among other duties). A consortium of 5 Los Angeles area counties also uses a .info to promote car pooling, RideMatch.info. One of the participating counties, Riverside, also owns the .org but redirects it to the .info!...Afternic.com has landed two really big fish in their continuing campaign to place their aftermarket domain listings on the sites of major registrars. The company will soon be making an official announcement that Register.com and WildWest.com are coming on board. By getting their listings on registrar sites, Afternic is dramatically increasing the odds that buyers will purchase from their premium listings if they don't find an available name open for registration... ..Domain Name Journal welcomes two new attorneys who have begun contributing articles to our Legal Matters section. Stevan Lieberman, who practices in the Washington, D.C. area and Charles Carreon, who patrols the opposite coast from his Ashland, Oregon office, both specialize in domain/internet related cases. Meanwhile, Ari Goldberger, who has been with us from day one, will continue to serve DNJ as our Legal Affairs Consultant. We are delighted that these skilled professionals have stepped forward to provide our readers with the best possible legal information. 


We need your help to keep giving domainers The Low Down, 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). 


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Domain Name Journal
A Division of
Internet Edge, Inc.

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