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12|25|2007 01:55 am EDT

Microsoft Sues Domain Registrar Red Register

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

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As seen in this Washington Post article, and PC World, Microsoft is suing the domain name registrar Red Register for trademark violation. Microsoft has made similar suits over the years against registrants. This marks the second recent suit for cybersquatting against an ICANN accredited registrar, as Belgium Domains, DomainDoorman.com and Capital Domains were recently accused of trademark infringment by Yahoo, Alienware and Dell.

12|22|2007 11:10 pm EDT

Registrar Belgium Domains Locked Out of Registry

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

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Domain Name News has received an email from domain registrar Belgium Domains informing their clients and customers that the registrar has been locked out of the registry at Verisign. The lockout was spurred by the ongoing legal battles between the registrar and plaintiffs claiming trademark infringement. Plaintiffs, including Dell and Yahoo, received a court order to lock all of the domains at the registry and Belgium Domains is unable to administer any of the domains.

The email leaves customers in the dark on issues such as renewing or transferring domains and it remains unclear from the email what customers can do about their domains and who is currently in charge of administering them. This case will likely set a precedent in what happens when a registrar gets into legal trouble. If customers who are uninvolved in the case are prevented from managing their domain names, as seems to be the case, this action may need to be re-evaluated and measures put in to place to insure that there isn’t another “registerfly” sort of fiasco again.

Dear Registrant:

We have the unhappy duty of informing you that on October 10, 2007, Dell, Inc., Alienware, Inc., and Yahoo! Inc., filed lawsuits against BelgiumDomains and two other registrars. The plaintiffs allege that a small percentage of the domain names we have registered for our clients have names confusingly similar to their trademarks. However, instead of bringing their complaints in open court, the plaintiffs proceeded in secrecy, inflicting tremendous damage on BelgiumDomains and the other defendants.

The worst of those injuries also affects our customers. VeriSign advised us that the plaintiffs obtained a court order forcing VeriSign, our registry, to lock most of the domain names we have registered on behalf of our registrants. Currently, BelgiumDomains is unable to administer those locked accounts. We cannot provide you further details as the order locking all of these domains is still sealed.

We have retained Newman Dichter , one of the leading firms in domain-related legal disputes and we are confident that we will ultimately prevail. However, at this early stage, we cannot predict how long the court orders affecting your domain names will remain in place. As we learn more, we will keep you informed as to the status of the domain names you have registered with us.

Please accept BelgiumDomains’ sincere apology for this completely unpredictable turn of events. Rest assured that we take our responsibilities to you and your account seriously and are working aggressively to remedy this unfortunate and unfair situation as soon as possible. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us or our attorneys.

Legal Team
BelgiumDomains, LLC

12|21|2007 08:41 pm EDT

IREIT and Verizon Settle Legal Dispute

by Adam Strong in Categories: Legal Issues

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A legal battle between Verizon and domain portfolio owner Internet REIT has ended with a settlement between the two parties.. 

According to a report on  Fox Business :

The settlement between the parties includes a monetary payment to Verizon and the issuance of a permanent injunction prohibiting Internet REIT from registering, trafficking in, or using, as a registrant, any domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to the Verizon trademarks. Additional details regarding the resolution of the case are confidential.

The case between iREIT and Verizon has been going on for some time and has drawn a fair amount of negative mainstream media attention to the domain space.  The mounting legal troubles and combined legal troubles likely contributed to iREIT graciously bowing out of their involvement with the Internet Commerce Association.  Meanwhile, no word yet on whether Verizon plans to continue doing essentially the same thing they sued iREIT over.

12|21|2007 10:34 am EDT

U.S. Cracks Down on Internet Giants for Supporting Online Gambling

by Chad Kettner in Categories: News

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The three largest internet companies – Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo – have agreed to pay $31.5 million to settle federal civil allegations claiming that they took ads for online gambling, which is illegal in the United States.

The U.S. has closely monitored online gambling for a long time and kept a close eye on any companies looking to expose it’s citizens to the multi-billion dollar industry.

By reaching a huge settlement with the trio of web giants, they are able to show others that online gambling will not be tolerated in America – where over $6 billion a year is spent in the industry (going against the Federal Wire Wager Act and other federal laws).

While the fine will hardly make a dent on either Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo, it is certainly large enough to scare smaller companies from supporting similar activity.

The market for online gambling could be a huge financially if it was ever legalized, but it doesn’t seem like that time will come too soon.

Last year, congress made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to make payments to Internet gambling sites and earlier this week the U.S. reached a deal with the European Union, Japan, and Canada to keep its Internet gambling market closed to foreign businesses, although it is still continuing talks with India, Antigua and Barbuda, Macau, and Costa Rica.

[Sources: Yahoo News and CNN]

12|21|2007 12:58 am EDT

Domain Registrar Godaddy Goes Nascar Racin’

by Adam Strong in Categories: Registrars

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Godaddy NacarGodaddy.com announced a sponsorship deal with Hendricks Motorsports to be the primary sponsor for the #5 car for six events in 2008. The car will make it’s first race appearance in April driven by one of Nascar’s most popular drivers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. The car will late be driven by legendary driver Mark Martin and Canadian racer Ron Fellows. GoDaddy will also sponsor the #5 car on an associate level for the entire season. The car designed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was unveiled on Tuesday on the Godaddy website. Godaddy is one of the most aggressive marketers in the hosting and registrar space.  Godaddy also sponsors Indy car driver Danica Patrick and has placed prominent advertising in the past three NFL Super Bowl games.

The Godaddy car will be seen racing at the following events in 2008.

Date Location Driver
4/5/08 Texas Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
5/9/08 Darlington Mark Martin
8/2/08 Montreal Ron Fellows
8/9/08 Watkins Glen Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
8/16/08 Michigan Mark Martin
9/27/08 Kansas Mark Martin

12|21|2007 12:01 am EDT

VeriSign Releases December Industry Brief

by Chad Kettner in Categories: News, Tools

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The domain industry continues to grow, as demonstrated by the latest Domain Report by VeriSign, the global registry operator for .com and .net.

VeriSign reported that the third quarter of 2007 had 31% more domain registrations than the same time period from last year, ending with a total base of 146 million domain name registrations worldwide for Top Level Domain names (TLDs).

“Some growth was driven by consumers as domain name registrars targeted consumers with their marketing efforts and expanded product functionality aimed at making domain names more attractive to consumers including tools to enable consumers to publish their own podcasts, as well as, add custom calendars and personal portal pages.�

While the domain industry continues to grow, so does the idea of purchasing domains for the purpose of parking, an issue that is becoming more difficult to track for VeriSign.

According to the December report, 87% of all analyzed websites are live while only 13% are inactive. In their previous reports (including the August report), however, VeriSign had another section attributed to “Parked Web Sites�, which at the time accounted for 23% of the .com/.net industry.

While it is safe to assume that 20% of all .com and .net web sites are being parked, it is interesting to note that VeriSign may be no longer able to easily distinguish between which sites are live compared to which ones are parked. As the domain industry continues to grow at staggering rates, so will the use of parked domains.

12|19|2007 09:55 pm EDT

Sibername introduces premium .ca auctions

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Auction

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.ca domains have often been called the “hidden gem” by Canadian Domainers. The drop process for the registry takes place once a week, and most of the bidders at the drop-catch registrars know each other personally. Population-wise, Canada is a rather small country with only about 33 million people. It’s TLD, “.ca” is more popular than ever before despite it’s strict limits as to who is able to register a domain.

So far only SnapNames has been auctioning groups of selected .ca domain names on occasion. Now the registrar Sibername is running it’s first premium domain auction. From their announcement email:

We are pleased to announce that Sibername will be debuting the first ever Premium Canadian Domain dot ca auction this week. Bidding will conclude on the same day as our regular TBR auction, which is one day after CIRA Wednesday drop.

We are planing to run weekly auctions. If you would like to send us domain names for the Premium Domain Auction list, please specify the domain name, starting and reserved bid amounts at support@sibername.com

The first auction is ending tomorrow, and here is the list of the first batch of names:

  1. hx.ca
  2. slopes.ca
  3. bluffing.ca
  4. negril.ca
  5. tobago.ca
  6. traintravel.ca
  7. winekits.ca
  8. lampoon.ca
  9. build.ca
  10. value.ca
  11. sop.ca
  12. logic.ca
  13. bets.ca
  14. natalie.ca
  15. authorized.ca

The list and future lists, will be listed on Sibernames TBR[2] page, which also lists domains that will become available in the weekly .ca drops.

[1] CIA world fact book, 33,390,141 (July 2007 est.)
[2] TBR = To Be Released, a term from the Canadian Registry’s (CIRA) vocabulary

12|19|2007 02:40 am EDT

AfternicDLS to Auction MelbourneIT Expiring Domains

by Adam Strong in Categories: Domain Auction

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Afternic Domain Listing Service announced on their blog that they will begin auctioning expiring domain names on the Afternic site

Auctions will run 7 days and bidders will have to pre-order a domain name before it is put in to the auction cue. Pre-orders can be made up to 35 days ahead of a domain name being deleted.

The inventory of domain names to be auctioned come from the pre-delete expiring domains from registrar partner MelbourneIT. Previously, MelbourneIT’s expiring domain inventory was being handled with auction services by SnapNames.com. This switch represents one more registrar partner loss for SnapNames. Previous to this switch, NetworkSolutions.com also moved their expiring inventory from SnapNames, opting instead to auction their domain names on the NameJet.com site in partnership with Enom.com

Afternic joins the ranks of other expiring domain auction companies that have exclusive pre-delete auctions with registrar partners including NameJet.com (NSI and Enom expiring domains), SnapNames.com (Register.com, Directi and others), Pool.com ( Momentous registrars), Tucows and TDNAM.com (Godaddy expiring domains). No word yet on whether Afternic plans to add additional registrars partners.

As the domain business has grown and the supply of quality expiring domain names has dwindled, rather than consolidating the marketplace seems to be splintering off or decentralizing into more and more boutique shops which have exclusive inventories of domains. Registrars test domains for traffic and keep domains for themselves. They begin accepting pre-orders or backorders for the domain names even before they are put into the delete cue. It is now rare for any “legacy domain” to even reach the pending delete status. The demand has hastened the decentralization effect as well as registrars saw where the real money was in domains and the potential in the expiring domain after-market. For domain name “drop chasers” the creation of one more auction venue, like the AfternicDLS site, means bidding at yet another site for a smaller batch of the overall expiring inventory and inevitably more work in monitoring/tracking each auction venue.

AfternicDLS’s parent company NameMedia made an announcement in June to start a strategic marketing effort with MelbourneIT . You can download a list of names to bid on at the Afternic website

12|18|2007 03:28 pm EDT

Oversee.net Spreads the Holiday Spirit

by Chad Kettner in Categories: News

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On December 11, staff from Oversee.net helped to make one boy’s holiday dream a reality.

Ryan Post, an 11-year-old that was born with arthrogryposis and severe scoliosis, had been hoping for a wheelchair-adaptive Spider-Man pinball machine for some time. He had found out about the machine in June, 2007, when he went to the Abilities Expo and played it for hours.

Ryan has been in and out of the hospital his entire life, undergoing over 25 surgeries. Before his most recent hospital stay, however, his mother decided to contact the Make-A-Wish Foundation in hopes that her son would be able to get the pinball machine that he often dreamed about.

Just a few months later, Ryan’s dream came true. Thanks to Oversee.net, he now owns his own pinball machine that is able to plug into his wheel chair so that he can play it by using the micro-switches on the side – and you can bet that he’s loving every minute of it!

Stories like these show how incredible corporate holiday giving can really be. We all have an opportunity to share with others that are in need. By following the example of Oversee, we too can make an incredible impact on somebody’s life!

[source : Media Bistro]

12|18|2007 03:21 pm EDT

Penthouse Purchases Adult Friend Finder

by Chad Kettner in Categories: Domain Sales

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Step aside Playboy, Penthouse is making moves to become the world’s largest adult entertainment company in the world.

Penthouse Media Group Inc., parent to Penthouse Magazine, announced last week that it has acquired the internet social networking giant Various, Inc. and its subsidiaries for $500 million in cash and securities.

Various operates more than 25 online communities, including AdultFriendFinder.com, and has a growing member base of more than 260 million consumers worldwide. With over 18 million members, Adult Friend Finder is one of the most trafficked websites on the internet

“We are excited to be combining our substantial internet presence with one of the most recognized adult entertainment brands in the world,” said Lars Mapstead, VP of Marketing for Various, Inc. “Together we will expand in many areas, both online and offline, to solidify our position as the world leader in adult entertainment.”

In related domain name news, Adult Friend Finder recently purchased seniors.com at the TRAFFIC auction in New York for $1.8 million.

Penthouse Media Group Inc. is expected to continue to consolidate the industry into one global brand.