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Google Reader: One Year Later

GeorgeK NewsBlur (132 comments)

I thought I would miss Google Reader, but NewsBlur (see http://newsblur.com/) has been a great replacement, and has actually improved my workflow.

about 7 months ago

US Government Withdraws IANA Contract From ICANN

GeorgeK Misleading Headline (140 comments)

The headline is a bit misleading. What NTIA did was withdraw the RFP. The IANA contract still stays with ICANN (contract extended until the end of September), and there will likely be another RFP.

However, it is indeed a big rebuke, because in the NTIA Notice they stated that " we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community" which is another way of saying that ICANN has not been acting in the global public interest.

more than 2 years ago

VeriSign Wants Ability To Suspend Domains Without Court Order

GeorgeK Send Comments to ICANN (123 comments)

Thanks for accepting the article. ICANN is still reviewing the proposal. If folks share my concerns, please do send them your comments by emailing registryservice@icann.org (from the top of ICANN's Registry Services Evaluation Process page). You can view comments by others here. EasyDNS has submitted their concerns too.

At a minimum, they should open up a formal 30 day public comment period that is widely advertised, in order that domain name registrants can be heard.

more than 3 years ago

ICANN To Allow .brandname Top-Level Domains

GeorgeK ICANN did not weigh the costs vs. benefits (300 comments)

ICANN has really dropped the ball on new TLDs. Folks like Tim Berners-Lee were explicitly against new top level domains. The W3 even wrote a position paper New Top Level Domains Considered Harmful. They used the examples of .xxx and .mobi, but the reasoning applied to all new TLDs.

ICANN hand-picked economists to examine the costs and benefits, and their own experts could not come up with anything close to definitive as to whether the benefits exceeded the costs. ICANN is supposed to act in the public interest, and only approve policies where the net benefit (i.e. benefits MINUS costs) are positive. ICANN doesn't even know the *sign* (i.e. positive or negative) of this policy change's impact, let alone know the magnitude. Their pathetic reports didn't even attempt to put a monetary figure on the costs vs. the benefits, i.e. are we talking about millions of dollars of benefits, billions, etc? However, many individuals and companies commented in each of the relevant comment periods pointing out how there would be grave consequences, as there would be huge costs associated with such a change. As is typical, ICANN ignored these concerns, attempting to win a war of attrition, to "tire out" opponents.

Fortunately, the US Department of Commerce / NTIA may not renew its contract with ICANN. There is a pending Notice of Inquiry regarding the renewal. I would encourage people to send comments, to voice their concerns about the bad policymaking from ICANN.

ICANN is also about to renew the .NET agreement with VeriSign despite numerous comments in opposition. VeriSign will be allowed to continue to raise prices by 10% per year, despite falling technology costs, and without facing a competitive tender process (which would certainly result in much lower prices for consumers). The US Department of Justice should investigate both ICANN and VeriSign for anti-trust violations, as consumers are being harmed by these no-bid contracts. Toll-free numbers costs less than $1.50 per year at the wholesale level, yet .com/net/org fees are above $7/yr, due to lack of regular competitive tender processes.

Why has ICANN been consistently making decisions against the public interest? The reason is obvious -- it has been captured by the registries and registrars, who only care about selling more and more domain names, even if they are not needed (i.e. "defensive registrations"). They don't care about confusing users or making it harder to navigate the internet.

more than 3 years ago

Buying a Domain From a Cybersquatter

GeorgeK They're not "cybersquatters" (800 comments)

They're not "cybersquatters" but you're giving them that label because you are upset that they own something that you want for cheap. They registered and paid for the domain name (they're not getting something for free), before your business even started. Since you have no relevant trademarks with priority rights (i.e. created and used before the domain name, and in the same class of goods/services) that they're violating, they can do anything they want with their domain name. Just because you feel you might be better able to use a domain name then they can doesn't mean you are entitled to anything. There are lots of empty pieces of land in most places that do not have skyscrapers on them. It doesn't mean that I can compel the owners of the land to sell them to me at below market value.

Microsoft owns the domain name juice.com, for example, and currently redirects it to a search page on bing.com (visit www.juice.com and you'll see). Similarly, CNET has owned Kids.com for years, and it is currently a parked page. Microsoft acquired bing.com years ago, before they launched their new site. Smart companies plan ahead, and register domain names well before their product launches. Your company was not smart enough to do the same.

Your company has choices. It can coin a new term ("google" wasn't a dictionary term, but was a typo, when the Stanford boys registered Google.com). Or, it can get real funding, and acquire a domain name that is within its financial means.

more than 5 years ago

Paul Vixie Responds To DNS Hole Skeptics

GeorgeK A simple test to run (147 comments)

In a comment to a question I posted for the CircleID article, Paul Vixie posted a nice and simple test that people can run to see how vulnerable they are:

dig porttest.dns-oarc.net in txt

FAIR or GOOD means you're ok, but POOR (which is the result I got) means you should be worried.

more than 6 years ago



Will Google challenge VeriSign for operation of the dot-com registry?

GeorgeK GeorgeK writes  |  more than 2 years ago

GeorgeK writes "Google has noted that their free Public DNS service is handing an average of 70 billion requests/day, which tops VeriSign's latest numbers for dot-com DNS requests.

Since Google does nothing without thought, is this demonstration by them that they can handle a greater DNS load than VeriSign a subtle sign that they might challenge for operation of the dot-com registry?

Certainly Google could be a formidable competitor if ICANN was to open the .com registry to a public tender process. A public tender would lead to lower prices for .com domains at the wholesale level, from $7.85 to perhaps below $2/yr.

Would you want Google to take over operation of the .com registry from VeriSign?"

Link to Original Source

VeriSign wants to suspend com/net domains without

GeorgeK GeorgeK writes  |  more than 3 years ago

GeorgeK writes "VeriSign, the monopoly registry operator for .com/.net domain names, has submitted a proposal to ICANN describing an "Anti-Abuse" policy. If they are allowed to proceed with such a policy, they would become judge, jury and executioner, with the ability to suspend or even cancel alleged "abusive" domain names without due process for registrants.

The proposal even recognizes that legitimate domain names may be taken down improperly, and offers a "protest" procedure. However, VeriSign does not appear to offer any ability to protest an accusation of abuse before the suspension or cancellation. They intend to "shoot first and ask questions later.""

Link to Original Source

Trojan Horse in ICANN's proposals for new gTLDs

GeorgeK GeorgeK writes  |  more than 6 years ago

GeorgeK writes "As discussed recently on Slashdot, ICANN has posted draft contracts for new gTLDs. These contracts contain a Trojan horse that could radically alter pricing of domains in existing gTLDs like .com.

In particular, the draft contracts remove price controls in the proposed contracts. Existing gTLD contracts have an "equal treatment" clause, though, that permits registry operators to copy terms that are accepted by ICANN in other gTLDs. Thus, existing gTLDs like .com which do have price controls would be able to have those price controls removed if the draft contracts for new gTLDs are adopted as-is.

This would re-open the issue of tiered pricing for domains that the registry operators lost 2 years ago due to public outcry. I urge everyone who does not want .tv style pricing in .com or other gTLDs, where the renewal price of any domain can be set unilaterally by the registry operator based on the quality of the domain, to voice their concerns while the public comment period is still open. Once again, ICANN has not been representing the needs of registrants when they produce these sloppy draft contracts that threaten existing domain registrants with unlimited price increases."

GeorgeK GeorgeK writes  |  more than 8 years ago

GeorgeK writes "Imagine, you've built a great website, and are on top of the world due to all the incoming visitors and sales revenues. Your competitors envy you, as do your neighbours. Your online brand has become very valuable, and when people think of widgets, the first website that comes to mind is your site. Life is good.

You open the mail, though, and see a renewal notice for your domain name that is $75,000/yr, instead of the $10/yr that you were used to. You call up your registrar, thinking "this must be a typo". But, instead, you are told, "due to the success and high value you are receiving from your domain, the renewal fee really is $75,000/yr."

Sounds impossible and outlandish? Not so, if proposed new top-level domain contracts are approved by ICANN.

With parallels to the network neutrality debate, ICANN is set to approve new registry agreements for .biz, .info and .org that do not forbid differential/tiered pricing on a domain-by-domain basis. The public comment period ends on Monday.

When ICANN's Board approved a highly controversial new .com agreement with VeriSign earlier in 2006 (which thankfully the Department of Commerce has yet to approve) as settlement for the SiteFinder lawsuit, other registries wanted to get the same spoils that VeriSign received, including presumptive renewal and the ability to raise domain prices. VeriSign's price increases for .com would be capped at 7% per year, though. These new proposed contracts leapfrog VeriSign, and shockingly propose to remove all pricing caps entirely. The only protection existing domain registrants would have is the 6-month notice period, and the ability to renew their domains at the old price for up to 10 years from the present.

A loophole in the contract, which ICANN has confirmed exists would go even further and create an ominous scenario, though. It would not forbid registries from charging different renewal or registration prices on a tiered/differential domain-by-domain basis. This would be comparable to the .TV registry pricing model. Thus, for example, the renewal fee for Sex.biz could be raised to $100,000/yr, for movies.info $25,000/yr, for Google.org $1 million/yr, and so onwhatever would maximize the profits of registries.

Registries have seen what DSL and cable companies are trying to do, to break network neutrality and charge discriminatory prices to maximize their profits at the expense of website operators (for example, charge higher rates to Google or Yahoo or Microsoft, for access to their subscriber base, knowing that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are very profitable). Registries are very shrewd, and these new contracts would not forbid them from discriminatory pricing to emulate what ISPs would like to do.

If these flawed contracts are approved for .biz, .info, and .org, it would not be a huge leap to think that VeriSign might take advantage of the precedent, and attempt to achieve the same pricing power for .com and .net through future contractual negotiations with an ICANN that has routinely failed to protect domain registrants' interests.

Network Solutions CEO Champ Mitchell said that the .com deal "shocks the conscience." These new contracts are infinitely worse, and create dangerous new precedents. Read over the contracts and public comments yourself, and then tell ICANN whether these new changes are acceptable to you. The deadline for comments is Monday."


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