February, 2019

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Sometimes resigning from a job is the best you can do

2 weeks ago I resigned from the Greek basketball team I had been working for the past 14 months. Yesterday was my last day (it was a Sunday game) and I already know I made the right decision. It was time to move on. One of the 2 owners of the team didn’t understand what …

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In Business, you have to Play Offense as well as Defense!

Morning Folks!! So how can you tell a company is going to go out of business when they are barely in business? Pretty simple for me. It’s football. And in football you have an offense and a defense. You need both to win games. In business, your offense is sales and marketing. Companies that minimize […]

Chair’s Blog: A Preview of the Kobe Board Workshop

Prior to the start of ICANN64 in Kobe, Japan, the ICANN Board will be meeting from 8-10 March for its second Board workshop of 2019. As I’ve noted before, workshops held before ICANN’s Public Meetings provide us with a chance to take a closer look at the issues the community will be working on during its time together.

In the workshop, we will hold three public sessions, including a public Board meeting, which I hope you’ll be able to join. Information on how to dial-in to these listen-only sessions is available here.

Friday, 8 March, we will begin the day with a dialogue with ICANN President and CEO, Göran Marby, where he will outline his priorities for the ICANN org. Following that, Chris Disspain and León Sanchez will host a session regarding the Generic Name Supporting Organization’s final report for the Expedited Policy Development Process on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Data Phase 1.

After lunch, Göran, Chris and I will meet with leaders of ICANN’s Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees at a roundtable that Göran will host. In addition, the rest of the day will be spent in Board committee meetings, including meetings of the Finance Committee, Accountability Mechanisms Committee, Technical Committee and Governance Committee.

Saturday, 9 March, will begin with a session on the status of the .Amazon applications and a review of the next steps.  Following that session, a significant amount of the day will be dedicated to prep work for ICANN64 Constituency Day, with Avri Doria hosting two consecutive sessions aimed at getting the Board up to speed on major issues we must be prepared to discuss during the week. The first session will be a policy briefing on the key topics that will be discussed by stakeholders during ICANN64. The second will be a review of the Board’s answers to questions submitted by the constituencies. I will then host a session dedicated to reflecting on the topics submitted by the Board to the community for discussion regarding how the next Strategic, Operating & Financial, and Governance plans can be successfully implemented.

Göran will then lead a session where he will share an overview of the preparatory work needed for the possible launch of a subsequent round of new gTLDs. The Board requested this session at its last workshop in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, 10 March, I’ll start the day by leading our review of the Board’s various resolutions, which will be followed by our public Board meeting. Afterward, we will prepare for Public Forums 1 and 2. Maarten Botterman will then provide a status update on the progress made toward the Board’s FY19 priorities during a public session. Mathew Shears will then join Maarten in updating the Board on the comments received during the public comment period for the FY21-25 Strategic Plan and next steps.

Next, Ron De Silva will lead a session with an update on the approach being taken to develop the FY21-25 Operating & Financial Plan. He will also lead a related session where we look at the financial implications of implementing the recommendations from, WS2, CCT and other reviews. Akinori Maemura will then host a public session where the Internationalized Domain Name Universal Acceptance Working Group will present its final recommendations to the Board. Khaled Koubaa will lead our final session of the workshop, where the Board’s Operational Effectiveness Committee will present short- and long-term options for adjusting the timing of reviews.

As always, this Board workshop is packed with a range of topics and discussions, yet I’m confident it will be a productive three days. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you who plan to join us in Kobe.

Next Steps with the RDAP Service for gTLD Registries and Registrars

Last August, a draft of the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP) profile underwent Public Comment in an effort to give the entire ICANN community a chance to provide feedback on this important document. The ICANN organization worked with a discussion group of gTLD registries and registrars to create this proposal. We've published the profile and invite you to review it at the RDAP webpage. The RDAP implementation process has now started, and we have updated our implementation timeline accordingly.

RDAP enables users to access current registration data and has several advantages over the current protocol (WHOIS) including: support for internationalization, more secure access to data, and the ability to provide differentiated access to registration data. The profile, which follows the requirements of the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data, aims to provide technical instructions to gTLD registries and registrars on how to implement the RDAP service in a consistent way.

The input gathered via Public Comment was provided to the discussion group of gTLD registries and registrars. They submitted the finalized profile this week to the ICANN organization.

We look forward to the next steps of the RDAP deployment. As you may recall, the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data requires all gTLD registries and registrars to deploy an RDAP service after notification from ICANN. Additional resources and information about the RDAP profile development can be found at the RDAP webpage. We thank the discussion group of gTLD registries and registrars for their contributions, and the community for their participation to achieve this critical milestone.

Google announces “domain properties” in Search Console

Google recommends verifying all versions of a website — http, https, www, and non-www — in order to get the most comprehensive view of your site in Google Search Console. Unfortunately, many separate listings can make it hard for webmasters to understand the full picture of how Google “sees” their domain as a whole. To …

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We are Much More than Just “Domain Name Investors” We are Investors!

Morning Folks!! For some, investing in domains was are is their first investment. For others it is another investment you stumbled on. Either way, if you found success in one arena there is a high likelihood that you will invest in other instruments. It’s a casino with unlimited places to make a bet. But when […]

Need, Want, Desire, Value, Demand, Timing & Location

Morning Folks! Sales need several elements. Without those elements there are no sales. If there is no sales there is no profit, there is no business, there is nothing. Sales don’t happen on their own. You have to have the proper ingredients to make a sale. To make a spark. To ignite the will of […]

Cloudflare registrar is now open to all but still without domain registrations!

The Cloudflare domain name registrar was announced in September. They launched the registrar by making it available in waves to its existing customers. So now the Cloudflare Registrar is available to all customers. The Cloudflare registrar charges you at wholesale prices. The problem is that still after 3 months there is no way to register …

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ICANN org publishes Charter on Government Engagement Approach

Increasingly, governments and intergovernmental forums are holding discussions and developing policies, legislations, and regulations that impact the Internet. In some cases, the results of these discussions may impact ICANN's ability to develop policies, run its operations, and fulfill its mission. As governments attempt to regulate the global nature of the Internet and its content it is becoming increasingly important for ICANN to expand our engagement surrounding potential legislative and regulatory efforts that may impact ICANN's mission or operations.

In April of 2018, we began to identify and regularly report on legislative developments around the world that could have an impact on ICANN. After discussions with the ICANN community, and during the process of developing ICANN's next Strategic Plan, the org began to formalize the next steps in its approach to engagement, after identifying and reporting.

Today, we are publishing a charter titled, "ICANN Organization Engagement with Governments and Standards Bodies." Our approach will be limited to providing technical information on issues, regulations, and legislative efforts that impact ICANN's Mission or Articles of Incorporation. We simply want to identify issues that could impact our ability to work in service of our mission, provide information and education to governments on those issues, and help ensure that lawmakers around the world have the full benefit of our technical expertise.

Anytime we talk about government engagement, we get questions about lobbying, or if we are seeking to influence legislation, a politician or public official on a specific issue. We will not influence  or impact the development of any legislation. That is not within our remit. We will comply with local laws and local definitions of lobbying, which vary greatly, so our approach to engagement may also vary depending on the region we are in, and we will not be lobbying.

This isn't something the org will be successful in if we try to do it alone. We're interested in your views on new legislative and regulatory efforts that you hear about, and in hearing your thoughts on how those efforts might impact ICANN and its mission. Please review the draft charter, and if you have feedback, please leave it here in comments or share with your regional Global Stakeholder Engagement representative.

This effort is critical to ensuring that we're prepared for any impacts that legislative or regulatory efforts may have on issues within ICANN's remit, and that lawmakers are prepared for the impacts their policies and regulations may have on their constituents.

Uniregistry makes WHOIS hidden by default but you can opt-out

Uniregistry announced today to make domain name WHOIS hidden/redacted by default. The good news is that you can opt-out of the default redacted whois and keep WHOIS of your domains public. WHOIS changes will take effect on February 27th. This seems like a short notice. From this date, your data will be automatically updated to …

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Technical Study Group Advances Draft Model

The Technical Study Group on Access to Non-Public Registration Data recently spent three days in Washington, D.C. engaged in intense and collegial discussions to develop a detailed draft of the Technical Model for Non-Public Registration Data. Nine of our ten members worked together with representatives from the ICANN organization to refine the requirements necessary for a model. We also discussed how to simplify the user experience for such a system and added new assumptions to our charter. We are working hard to share the draft Technical Model with the ICANN community before ICANN64 in Kobe, Japan.

We started our discussions by agreeing upon the requirements necessary for the draft Technical Model, which will be built on the Registration Data Access Protocol (RDAP). We then discussed whether all the requirements would apply to the two authentication/authorization protocols we identified: one based on Open ID Connect/OAuth and the other based on mutual Transport Layer Security (TLS) authentication. This exercise helped us to determine that a solution based on Open ID Connect/OAuth complies with all the identified requirements. The group also determined that mutual TLS authentication could be used for communication between the ICANN org and contracted parties. Open ID Connect/OAuth allows users to employ various technologies; we are considering username/password and digital certificates. We noted in the requirements that an identity provider – the entity that authenticates a user's identity – must support at least one of these technologies in their implementation of Open ID Connect/OAuth and may choose to support both. The identity provider plays a key role in ensuring the integrity and fidelity in a unified access model. To that end, we invited two representatives from Europol to engage in a brief discussion on some of these approaches.

We also had an important discussion regarding user experience. The consensus was to design a system that is as simple as it is practicable. We agreed that in order of complexity, ICANN bears the most complexity, followed by contracted parties, identity providers, RDAP client implementers, and finally users. Based on the simplicity principle, we separated the authorization/authentication components from the RDAP flow components.

This work has led us to what we believe is a viable draft schematic of an operating model. Because future policy challenges and interpretation of the law may impact how the draft Technical Model may be operationalized, we added new assumptions to our charter.

In the coming weeks, the team members, working together with ICANN org representatives, will further develop the draft Technical Model in order to share it with the community before heading to Kobe. During our face-to-face meeting, we also discussed how to present our work outside of the ICANN community, including to the European Commission. When we finish our work on the Technical Model after Kobe, we will send our report to ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby.

We look forward to sharing these discussions with you in more detail at ICANN64 and invite you to a community engagement session we are planning. Many of our team members will travel to Kobe and welcome the opportunity to meet with your groups. If you are interested in hearing from us, please reach out to gdpr@icann.org. For more information on our work, please visit our page on https://www.icann.org.

GoDaddy 2018 report: revenue up 15.5% ($695.8m), domains revenue up 11.6% ($314.3m)

GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE: GDDY) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2018. “Entrepreneurism is a way of life for hundreds of millions of people around the world. At GoDaddy we have made strong advances in the tools and experience we offer, enabling us to serve everyday entrepreneurs at all points …

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Google launched .dev domains

Google registry officially launched .dev domain names yesterday. Starting February 19 at 8:00 a.m. PT and through February 28, .dev domains are available to register as part of the Early Access Program, where you can secure your desired domains for an additional fee. The fee starts at about $12,000 (on top of the regular registration …

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Chair’s Blog: Wrapping up the Los Angeles Workshop

The ICANN Board recently met in Los Angeles for our first workshop of 2019. As you may have read in my preview blog, we held three public sessions on the progress of the Board's FY19 priorities, an overview of track five of the Geographical Names as TLDs Policy Development Process, and a planning session to consider the recommendations outlined in the Cross Community Working Group on the Accountability Work Stream 2.

We followed the agenda as detailed in the preview blog, using the session dedicated to proposed Board resolutions to discuss, at length, the reconsideration requests that the Board would consider at its meeting later that morning. We also had the pleasure of having lunch with the Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council, which had its own meeting nearby at the same time.

In this blog, I will share some of the more salient discussions from the Board workshop, as well as provide a summary of the key resolutions the Board passed during the public Board meeting and during another Board meeting held earlier this month.

Tracking Legislation & Regulations

ICANN President and CEO Göran Marby led an interactive session on the ICANN org's work to track legislation and regulations that could impact ICANN and its mission. We had a robust discussion about how ICANN should appropriately engage with governments to educate and help avoid unintended consequences. Our discussion focused on determining transparency around how we engage on legislative or regulatory initiatives, and ensuring that any actions we take are within our remit and our mission, while not taking political views of legislation.

Göran will develop a proposed approach on these engagement efforts and will share it with the ICANN community.

Strengthening ICANN's Multistakeholder Model of Governance

We also held a session on ICANN's governance. If you recall, the second objective of our draft strategic plan is to improve the effectiveness of our multistakeholder model of governance – a model that grew to fit our needs. However, as ICANN continues to evolve, and as our environment becomes more complex and higher in risk, our governance must also evolve; without compromising our deeply valued bottom-up decision-making process.

In line with that objective, at ICANN63 in Barcelona, the Board started a community-wide dialogue on this topic. Discussions with the community in multiple fora revealed several common issues.

At ICANN64 in Kobe, the Board would like this dialogue to continue to make sure we hear all stakeholders and have a fuller understanding of these issues. That dialogue will take place in a face-to-face session. The Board recognizes the importance of participating in this dialogue, but not leading it. As a result, an outcome from the Board workshop was to direct Göran to appoint a facilitator who has good knowledge of ICANN, its processes and accountability mechanisms, and is a long-time member of the community to guide us through a bottom-up dialogue. Board members look forward to participating in these discussions as part of the larger community.

Next Round of New Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)

For many years now, the Board has made it clear that no new date for a next round of new gTLDs will be set until the community has completed the various reviews related to the previous round. The reviews are expected to come to an end within the next 12 months. In addition, since the launch of the previous round, we have seen an expansion of the domain name space, with over one thousand top-level domain names added to the root.

Based on this, the Board directed Göran to confirm the status of these reviews and to present the Board with suggestions on the preparatory work required for the possible launch of a subsequent round of new gTLDs. The Board intends to review these suggestions at its meeting next month in Kobe.

Community Recommendations

In two separate sessions, the Board reviewed recommendations from the Competition, Consumer Trust, and Consumer Choice Review Team's report and recommendations outlined in the Cross Community Working Group on the Accountability Work Stream 2 Final Report [PDF, 444 KB]. After these discussions and prior to making any final decisions, the Board has instructed Göran to develop costed implementation and feasibility plans and timelines as part of the information to present back to the Board for a discussion on next steps. The Board also discussed the community's role in prioritizing resources to implement the work recommended across various reviews.

RSSAC and SSAC Advice

The Board discussed the Root Server System Advisory Committee's proposal for a DNS Root Server System (RSSAC037 [PDF, 2.59 MB]) governance model as well as the Security and Stability Advisory Committee's Name Collision Analysis Project plan. In both instances, we had fruitful discussions where we identified next steps for ICANN org and the community to work together and make progress toward implementation of the plans.

Board Resolutions

On 16 January 2019, before we met in Los Angeles we held a telephonic meeting of the Board and passed four resolutions, including:

On 27 January 2019, we held a public Board meeting and passed several resolutions, including:

For more details about the public Board meeting and the resolutions passed, please see the Board Page.

I will write to you again ahead of the Board workshop preceding ICANN64 in Kobe.

Domain Trends and Insights from GoDaddy’s Domain Aftermarket (video)

You can now watch the Domain Investing Keynote from Namescon 2019 with Paul Nicks V.P. of the Domain Aftermarket at GoDaddy. The keynote from the Las Vegas domain name conference is titled: “Domain Trends and Insights from GoDaddy’s Domain Aftermarket” You can watch the complete video here:

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Liquid domains market: $8.6M in escrow.com recorded sales for 4Ls

GGRG Brokerage Consulting and Giuseppe Graziano published the 4tht quarter of 2018 Liquid Domains Market Overview partnering with Escrow.com and Estibot’s parent company Intelium and ShortNames.com. This report is focused on 2018 Q4 and presents key statistics of the domains that are considered liquid in the domain name aftermarket. There are separate sections for each liquid domain name category: LL.com, LLL.com, LLLL.com …

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Epik announces acquisition of BitMitigate.com

Epik.com is pleased to announce the completion of the acquisition of BitMitigate.com, an integrated solution provider for Content Delivery Networks, Denial of Service protection, DNS resiliency and Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

What is BitMitigate?

Founded in 2017, BitMitigate has developed a comprehensive suite of tools for protecting websites from malicious traffic while also improving performance through a proprietary Content Delivery Network and Web Application Firewall. The result is higher uptime, faster websites, greater scalability, increased resiliency and a dramatic reduction in vulnerability to malware. As of February 2019, BitMitigate processes more than 400 million requests per month. Epik began cooperation with BitMitigate in 2018 through the development of a variety of advanced services for preserving digital security and privacy at Anonymize.com, including a quantum-resistant VPN, DNS Resolver, private web search and web proxy.

A Timely Deal adds Mission Critical Technology

In the wake of rising censorship and organized efforts to de-platform and incapacitate practitioners of lawful free speech, there is a growing need for effective counter-measures. The high profile defense of Gab.com as a registrar client was also a wake-up call to the fragile nature of the digital value chain that allows online brands to operate on the public internet. Arbitrary takedowns by domain registries, domain registrars, web hosts and DNS providers all collectively represent vulnerabilities resulting in not only active censorship but also self-censorship by publishers who may feel compelled to actively remove lawful content, as well as actively cancel the user privileges of lawfully-engaged content contributors.

BitMitigate is a nimble innovator in a market dominated by one company: CloudFlare

The brand BitMitigate will continue as a wholly owned division of Epik Holdings, Inc. The sector that BitMitigate competes is currently dominated by CloudFlare, a company that protects a reported 10 million websites and which is expected to go public in 2019 at an expected valuation of $3.5 billion. Although CloudFlare has carefully navigated the Free Speech issue, their upcoming IPO is expected to create new expectations from institutional investors that may cause them to reconsider their willingness to provide services to some customers, or adjust pricing in response to investor demand for increased financial performance.

Nicholas Lim joins Epik as Chief Technology Officer

BitMitigate founder Nicholas Lim will continue as President of BitMitigate. He will also join Epik Holdings as Chief Technology Officer and co-architect of the fast-maturing Epik technology ecosystem. Rob Monster, Founder and CEO of Epik.com explained the appointment, “Nick Lim is a very rare talent. He combines a profound capacity for full-stack software development with a rare zeal for making the work better while connecting the dots to turn vision into reality. I look forward to partnering with him to realize a shared commitment to making the Internet work better.”

Mike Mann sells 15 domains for $293,298 in January

Mike Mann reported selling 15 domain names in January for a total of $293,298. Prices started at $1,288 and went up to $100,000. Mike Mann sold 14 .com domains and 1 .org domain. The average reported domain sales price was $19,553. But this is the average of just the 4 reported sales. Mike shared some …

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Trending domain name keywords: keto, property, trial, legal, litigation, custody

The top 10 trending keywords registered in .COM and .NET domain names during the month of January 2019 were published by Verisign, the .com and .net registry. You can find the list from last month here. My experience shows that 700 or 800 (or even less) domain registrations are enough to bring a keyword into the …

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Marksmen makes lowball offer using a GoDaddy domain appraisal

Marksmen, a brand protection agency, made a lowball offer for one of my domains using a GoDaddy domain name appraisal. Everybody in the domain name industry knows that all automated domain name appraisals are useless. And GoDaddy appraisals have not gained any credibility despite being offered by the most popular domain name registrar in the …

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