An Open Letter To The ICANN Board Regarding IGO Protections

Earlier this week, I sounded the alarm about a dangerous proposal from an ICANN working group which would have severe negative consequences for domain name owners, allowing IGOs (intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations) to engage in consequence-free reverse domain name hijacking.

I noticed that the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of ICANN wrote a letter to the Board that was published earlier this week which is highly misleading as to the nature of IGOs’ rights, and wrote a letter to the ICANN Board in response. I’ve published it below to show how ICANN policymaking has been held hostage via misinformation from the GAC and IGOs.

[Edited on October 15, 2021: I made 3 changes: (a) changed the date to October 15, (b) added a section on page 2 about Louis Touton’s similar analysis from 2001, which came to light after some Twitter discussions in the past day; (c) amended to note that they’ve not agreed to extend the deadline; it’s now a PDF]

Letter to ICANN

Duplicitous ICANN Working Group Jeopardizes Domain Owners’ Rights

A duplicitous ICANN Working Group has issued a report that is open for public comments that would have severe negative consequences for domain name owners.  In particular, it would tilt the playing field in a domain name dispute (i.e. a UDRP or the URS) involving IGOs (intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations) in such a manner that it would be nearly impossible for domain owners to have their dispute decided on the merits by the courts. This would encourage consequence-free reverse domain name hijacking. Rather than accept the findings and recommendations of the prior working group, which reached a consensus, this new working group instead had tunnel vision and focused instead on ramming through an alternative recommendation (involving arbitration) for which there was an express consensus against in the prior working group!

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Did TransferWise pay $2 million to acquire and rebrand to the Wise.com domain name?

It has been previously reported by others that the money transfer service TransferWise rebranded to Wise, and acquired the Wise.com domain name in 2020. The transaction price for the domain name had not been made public at the time. However, a recent prospectus by Wise can shed some light on the deal.

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Chatter.com domain name changed hands for $2 million in 2010

Today I was able to uncover a $2 million transaction in 2010 for the Chatter.com domain name, using a combination of the SEC’s EDGAR database and the historical WHOIS data at DomainTools.com.

On page FF-10 of a SEC filing by Quepasa Corporation in 2011, they disclosed that:

The Company sold a domain name in 2010 for $2,000,000, resulting in a gain of $1,895,000 that is presented as a component of other income on the statement of operations.

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Exodus.com domain name acquired for $1,945,000

Exodus Movement, a company involved in the crypto field, has disclosed that they purchased the Exodus.com domain name for USD $1,945,000. This was revealed in a recent SEC filing (page 21):

The Company purchased the exodus.com domain name in the first quarter of 2021 for $1.9 million. The Company considers the domain name to be an indefinite-lived asset so no amortization will be recognized.

While page 21 of the SEC filing mentions the $1.9 million figure, the more precise figure of $1,945,000 can be found on page 9, where the “Indefinite-lived asset” is listed directly on the balance sheet.

As I’ve pointed out previously, the EDGAR system operated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has a wealth of data. If more researchers searched it regularly, more of these kinds of transactions would be uncovered.