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Update: My participation rights have now been eliminated at ICANN working groups

Just to followup on the earlier blog post of today, I received the following email from Keith Drazek (GNSO Council Chair),

Dear Mr. Kirikos,

Receipt of your letter is acknowledged.

We note and regret that you have elected to not accept and agree to abide by ICANN’s Expected Standards of Behavior (ESOB).

As such, per the notice provided in the Council Leadership Team’s letter of 29 March, you will be placed in observer status in the RPM PDP WG and any other GNSO-related forum until such time we receive the necessary communication confirming acceptance of the ESOB, or until such time the ICANN Ombuds rules that you may return to member status following any appeal.

Sincerely,

Keith Drazek
GNSO Chair (on behalf of the GNSO Council Leadership Team)

So, unless I “bend the knee” and “swear an oath of fealty” (or unless the ICANN Ombudsman says I can return), I’m forever banished. Is that reasonable and proportionate?

And, this affects participation for all working groups (not just the RPM PDP), even though there’s no issue in the IGO PDP!

 

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ICANN Threatens to Restrict Participation Rights of critic George Kirikos

ICANN, in an affront to free speech and due process, has threatened to restrict my participation on important domain name policy issues, and I think it’s crucial that these topics be brought before the public for debate. Continue reading “ICANN Threatens to Restrict Participation Rights of critic George Kirikos”

Delta.com domain name was acquired in July 2000 for $2,125,000. Here’s how to discover more big deals!

EDGAR, the SEC’s electronic database of securities filings, has revamped its full text search, now allowing searches of filings since 2000. The legacy full text search (which will only be available until September 2020) only indexed the previous 4 years (although I’ve been checking weekly for new filings for longer than that).

Due to this new capability, I discovered that the Delta.com domain name was acquired in July 2000 by Delta Airlines, for $2,125,000. This was reported on page 5 of the SEC filing of Delta Financial, its prior owner:

In July 2000, the Company also sold a domain name for $2.125 million.

AdAge had reported about the transaction in September 2000, but the exact price had gone unreported. They wrote:

In a move that shows how important the Internet has become in the travel industry, Delta Air Lines has shifted its Web address to the easy-to-remember (delta.com) and launched an ad campaign trumpeting the new URL.

The campaign from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, launched last week and includes TV, print and radio. Print tells customers the simpler URL will save them “an extra 0.73 seconds,” TV features the delta-air.com URL morphing into the new delta.com, while radio asks, “Why oh why wasn’t delta.com our Web address all along?”

That’s probably a campaign slogan that could be emulated by numerous other companies who’ve upgraded their domain names. “Why oh why wasn’t ________ our Web address all along?”

Help Discover More Big Deals

For those who are keen to help uncover other unreported domain name transactions, feel free to search at EDGAR using terms such as:

“domain name”
“domain names”
“bought the domain”
“sold the domain”
“acquired the domain”
“bought a domain”
“sold a domain”
“acquired a domain”
etc.

In my experience, variations such as “web address” or “URL” are sometimes used, too, by companies reporting domain name transactions.

The legacy search engine produced results in reverse chronological order, which was very convenient. It also featured “stemming” (see FAQ #26) which automatically captured variations of terms. I hope the new search engine will prove equally powerful. The new search engine limits the results to 10,000, but one can change the date range to get fewer results. For example, if one is checking every week like I’ve been doing, one need only search the past 7 days, as one would have already researched the prior results. [of course, this strategy doesn’t apply now to the much older results, that I’d never poured through]

Going through the individual matching results can be time-consuming if you don’t know what you’re doing. Ctrl-F is definitely your friend, to “find” words in the document (e.g. “domain”), rather than reading the entire filing. I’d say only about 1 in 500  matches actually results in anything worth reporting (i.e. many companies mention the term “domain name” somewhere in their filings, but nearly all of those are not reporting a domain name transaction – it’s often just boilerplate text in the intellectual property section, for example). Even if one does discover a domain name transaction, often the exact domain name won’t be mentioned (for example, in the Delta Financial SEC filing noted above, it merely said “a domain name”), so one will have to do further research using tools such as DomainTools.com and/or Archive.org before being able to narrow things down. Redacted WHOIS is definitely making things harder for researchers and journalists.

Once you’re confident about your research, do blog or tweet about it, and send it off to Ron Jackson at DNJournal. Of course, make sure that the transaction hasn’t already been reported, e.g. by checking NameBio.com, searching in Google for other reports, or searching DNJournal specifically for that domain name, e.g. a search in Google of

site:dnjournal.com “example.com”

(changing “example.com” to the relevant domain name, but retaining the quotation marks)

Additional Discoveries

Since I first published the article earlier today (morning of July 11, 2020), I’ve already uncovered additional previously unreported transactions, including:

  • gold.ca – CAD $15,000 in 2008, as per the SEC filing
  • weekend.com – USD $200,000 in December 2000, as per the SEC filing
  • passwords.com – USD $115,900 in 2000, as per footnote 4 on page 4 of the SEC filing
  • elections.com – USD $100,000 in July 2000, as per the SEC filing
  • headhunter.com – USD $35,000 in July 1998, as per the SEC filing

There are likely many other previously unreported domain name transactions just waiting to be found….

SCOTUS on domain names

The Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision today in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, et al., v. Booking.com B.V. case. By an 8-1 margin, the court ruled that Booking.com could register a federal trademark for the mark “booking.com” despite the term “booking” (without the dot-com) being generic for the same goods and/or services. I expected this result (although not by an 8-1 margin; I thought it would be 6-3), so it was a positive outcome, in my opinion.

Continue reading “SCOTUS on domain names”

Original Cooperative Agreement That Laid The Foundation of Verisign’s Monopoly

To understand Verisign’s anti-competitive monopoly for dot-com domain name registration services, it is important to analyze its agreements with the US government. NTIA has a page on their website documenting aspects of their cooperative agreement with Verisign. However, that page is incomplete, as it only lists Amendments 10 through 35.  The original agreement (between the National Science Foundation and Network Solutions) and the first 9 amendments are not published.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was made to NTIA to obtain those additional historical records. I’m happy to report that NTIA responded to that request and sent all the requested documents. [NB: the US government takes FOIA requests seriously, unlike ICANN’s broken Documentary Information Disclosure Policy, which pretends to be like the FOIA but is far inferior to it]

Continue reading “Original Cooperative Agreement That Laid The Foundation of Verisign’s Monopoly”

ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 6

More and more people are coming to the realization that the ICANN comment periods are a sham, open to manipulation by ICANN insiders and staff. The comment period for the Phase 1 Initial Report of the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs Policy Development Process ended on May 4, 2020, eleven days ago. I have previously written about it (see my prior blog posts hereherehere, here and here). Rather than diving in and actually doing the work of analyzing the public comments, ICANN staff are actively preventing working group members from having easy access to those submissions.

Continue reading “ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 6”

URGENT: Last call to submit comments on RPM PDP Initial Report

The comment period for the Phase 1 Initial Report of the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs Policy Development Process ends 23:39 UTC on May 4, 2020, just a day from now (which is not sufficient time to do a thorough analysis). I have previously written about it (see my prior blog posts hereherehere and here).

[Update: I finished my final comments at 1:30 am Toronto time on May 4, so I’ve updated the article below with links to the newer PDF; the changes were relatively minor since the earlier draft, with just some tweaks on the TMCH comments, and stylistic changes, typos, etc.]

To help those who wish to submit public comments, or who wish to refine their own, I’m posting a draft the final version of my extensive comments here. My answers are all in RED text. I’m unable to use the broken online forms, so I’ll need to submit via a DOCX file by tomorrow instead.

Continue reading “URGENT: Last call to submit comments on RPM PDP Initial Report”

ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 5

The comment period for the Phase 1 Initial Report of the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs Policy Development Process ends on May 4, 2020, less than 2 days from now (which is not sufficient time to do a thorough analysis). I have previously written about it (see my prior blog posts hereherehere and here). However, it continues to be fraught with problems. Continue reading “ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 5”

Has ICANN been secretly recording the confidential NomCom meetings?

In a newly discovered document in an obscure ICANN mailing list that isn’t generally monitored by most in the general public, Jay Sudowski, the Chair of the 2020 ICANN Nominating Committee, has made serious allegations concerning ICANN.

Continue reading “Has ICANN been secretly recording the confidential NomCom meetings?”

ICANN’s garbage public comment system

Despite my misgivings about the sham that is the comment period for the Phase 1 Initial Report of the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs Policy Development Process which I’ve written about in the past 4 blog posts, I attempted to continue to submit my comments today, which I had already started over the weekend (already more than 20 hours invested, to get to about 25% through the various questions, including background research and reading the report, etc.). However, the comment system is entirely broken.

Continue reading “ICANN’s garbage public comment system”

ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 4

The comment period for the Phase 1 Initial Report of the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs Policy Development Process ends on May 4, 2020, just 7 days from now (which is not sufficient time to do a thorough analysis). I have previously written about it (see my prior blog posts here, here and here). However, it continues to be fraught with problems, including coordinated duplicative submissions.

Continue reading “ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 4”

ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 3

ICANN actively mistreats stakeholders who don’t understand English when it comes to policy development. While ICANN pretends to consider the global public interest, that cannot happen when non-English fluent participants are treated unfairly as second-class citizens. This is evident in the Phase 1 Initial Report of the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs Policy Development Process which is now open for public comment, as I’ve been writing about it for the past week (see my prior blog posts here and here).

Continue reading “ICANN RPM PDP Phase 1 Comment Period is another sham, part 3”