With more than 100 million .com domains already registered, finding something that doesn’t sound absolutely ridiculous is getting much harder than it used to be. One might simply assume that more people are joining the virtual land rush, and while that’s probably true, you can also blame a small handful of domain speculators such as Mike Mann pictured to the right. CNET profiled Mann as part of a larger story on domain hoarders, and considering that he snatched up 14,962 domain names over a 24 hour period, I would say he certainly falls into that category.
A U.S. federal judge in Nevada has ruled on a series of requests from luxury goods maker Chanel allowing the company to seize several hundred domain names thought to be selling counterfeit goods. For good measure, the ruling also forces all search engines and social media websites to censor mentions of the offending domains. The court specifically called out Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Google.
Apple is a family-friendly company, and it just wouldn’t do to have any inappropriate shenanigans going on using Apple trademarks, right? Well, Apple certainly thinks so. To those ends, Apple is now the proud owner of seven adult website domains that included the term iPhone in the address. The iPhone maker filed suit with the World Intellectual Property Organization to secure the sites.
Later this year, the much-debated .xxx top level domain will go live, but the domain name gold rush is already on. The .xxx domain is being presented as a sort of “red light district” for the internet. But before all that happens, individuals and organizations with a trademark are being given the opportunity to snap up .xxx domains to protect their brands. It turns out that one group taking advantage of this is higher education.
After years of wrangling over the issue, ICANN has approved the .xxx top level domain (TLD). The new registry will be executed and overseen by the ICM as it was last submitted in August 2010. The creation of this new TLD will create a section of the internet specifically set aside for material of a, shall we say, mature nature. But not everyone is happy about the move.
Homeland Security and ICE recent seized multiple domains that simply linked to pirated content. On NPR's Marketplace Tech Report today, an agent from Homeland Security was on to defend the raids. The legality of the action is dubious at best, and host Jon Moe pressed the agent with one simple question: if linking to pirated content gets you pulled from the Internet, what about Google? Find out what he said.
You've probably noticed the explosion over the last few years of clever domain names ending in '.ly'. This is the top level domain for Libya. A new domain has just come on the market, and we imagine clever people all over the world are about to get their startups off the ground with .ng sites. Anything that can work as a suffix is likely to attract some money, and in this case, the money goes right to Nigeria for their .ng top level domain.
The Nigerian Internet Registration Association (NIRA) has approved 27 registrars to begin selling the domains, but most have not updated their sites to do so as of yet. Many existing companies could be looking to snap up these domains to a void squatting or impersonation. An example offered up is that Facebook might buy Facebooki.ng.
So get ready for every single word's present progressive tense to become a domain name. There are a lot of -ing words out there to build sites around. This may also give Nigerian email scammers a new element to work into their cons. But anyway, enjoy your New Year and don't do too much drinki.ng tonight.
In the wee hours of the morning today, WikiLeaks went offline. Was it a coordinated DDoD attack? The authorities raiding WikiLeak's servers? Nah, their DNS host just got sick of dealing with all the traffic. Since releasing the newest round of leaked US diplomatic cables, the whistle blower site has been the target of repeated DDoS attacks. Hosting provider EveryDNS said it dropped WikiLeaks to protect the other 500,000 sites under their care. Some have suggested government figures may have influenced EveryDNS.
WikiLeaks was initially only reachable via their IP address, but within hours, had secured new hosting. WikiLeaks is now being hosted in Switzerland at WikiLeaks.ch. This domain name is being served by the Swedish Pirate Party, but the routing is still being done by EveryDNS. So WikiLeaks has now effectively been forced off two hosts in less than a week (attempts to use Amazon cloud hosting failed). Will this site find a permanent home, or is nowhere safe?
Plans are moving ahead to radically alter the way web addresses are structured in the coming years. Starting as early as 2012, the importance of .com might begin to wane as Generic Top Level Domains (GTLD) begin to show up. Instead of going to a .com address, the domain could be the name of the company. For example support.microsoft might exist as a legitimate address.
It's going to be a different world. Companies that use GTLDs would not just buy domain from a registrar. They would have to apply to Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) directly. It's going to cost some serious change to apply. The application fee is nearly $200,000. But you better believe people will pay it to get very common words, like .search or .hotel as their own personal domain.
Unlike the wild west of domain names now, ICANN will be working to ensure branded names, like IBM, McDonald's, or Google, aren't bought up by third parties. There is a trademark dispute system in place for thise times when two entities have legitimate claim to the same name. Do you think .com will go away, or are GTLDs going to just be a sort of shorthand?
You may remember earlier this week when the interwebs were abuzz with news that the Libyan domain registry NIC.ly had pulled down a domain shortener. The site was at vb.ly, and NIC.ly has made a statement about the matter. They claim that since vb.ly was a " sex friendly URL shortener" it was in violation of its rules and regulations.
Ben Metcalf, who ran vb.ly claimed that Libyan authorities never contacted him. NIC.ly's statement asserts that they spent week trying to get a response from Metcalf, finally just pulling the site down. The way NIC.ly stressed the *ahem* adult nature of vb.ly, it seems that most .ly sites will be safe - unless they have short domain names.
Yes, NIC.ly chose to reiterate that they believe that domains under 4 letters should be reserved for Libyan groups. It's unclear if they would take action to reclaim these addresses. Do you think NIC.ly is being truthful here? Even if they are, should Libya be exerting so much control?