Internet Name Shake-Up

Reuters reports that: “…Brand owners will soon be able to operate their own parts of the Web – such as .apple, .coke or .marlboro– if the biggest shake-up yet in how Internet domains are awarded is approved…
… ICANN, the body that coordinates Internet names, is expected to approve the move at a special board meeting…

…The move is seen as a big opportunity for brands to gain more control over their online presence and send visitors more directly to parts of their sites…It will also change the way search engines like Google find results, and the way organisations use search-engine optimisation to improve the visibility of their websites in search results…

…It will cost $185,000 to apply, and individuals or organisations will have to show a legitimate claim to the name they are buying…

…GTLDs such as .nyc, .london or .food could provide opportunities for many smaller businesses to grab names no longer available at the .com level – like bicycles.london or indian.food…

…The new domains will also change how ICANN works, as it will have a role in policing how gTLDs are operated, bought and sold. Until now, it has overseen names and performed some other tasks but has been little involved in the Internet’s thornier issues…

…To prevent so-called cyber-squatting, gTLD owners will be expected to maintain operational sites. ICANN will have to approve transfers to new owners at the top level…” (Georgina Prodhan, Reuters).

Twitter goes after born-again typosquatter

The Register reports that: “…Twitter has filed a cybersquatting complaint against the owner of the typo domain name twiter.com, seven years after it was first registered.

The website at twiter.com currently bounces visitors to one of a number of dodgy competitions that try to persuade them to sign up to premium SMS text-message services.

Twitter has filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organisation using the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, an anti-cybersquatting policy created by ICANN

Twitter will have to prove that the domain was registered in bad faith.

UDRP panelists typically rule that domains cannot be registered in bad faith if they were registered before the trademark even existed. Twitter acquired its trademark in 2007.

However, historical Whois records show that twiter.com may have changed ownership once or more over the last few years, most recently in April this year.

WIPO currently advises its adjudicators that when a domain is transferred to a new registrant, the clock is reset and it can be treated as a new registration.

This twist means Twitter likely has a stronger case than it may first appear, and may be the reason it waited for five years before going after the domain name..” (For Full report: Kevin Murphey, The Register).