Weekly Digest #98

More domain names, more branding woes

New rules that will dramatically expand the number of domain names on the Internet have sparked warnings that Canadian companies that want to defend their brands will face heavy costs.

The naming rules, set to come into effect next year, will encourage “cybersquatters” who can harm a brand’s identity, and force companies to spend large amounts to attract customers to multiple domains, independent Montreal media agency Media Experts Inc. said in a report.

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Trademark Holders Face an Explicit Problem With .XXX Web Domain

The keepers of corporate trademarks in many a law department are going to need to have an unusual conversation in the next few weeks: “What should we do about the .xxx domain?”

As ICANN’s expansion of generic top-level internet domains (gTLD) goes into effect, one of the first eye-catching gTLDs to take the stage is the clearly defined .xxx, which will be available to companies specializing in “adult entertainment.” In other words, pornography is about to get its own corner of the Internet.

So what does this mean for non-porn businesses on the web? “Brand owners are faced with the same situation they face whenever a new domain name ending comes out,” says Troy Larson, an IP associate at Ballard Spahr LLP in Philadelphia. “How do I make sure cybersquatters don’t register my brand as a domain name and then use it for a nefarious purpose, or just some purpose that creates confusion?”

In other words, you may already own yourbrand.com, yourbrand.net, and yourbrand.org, but now yourbrand.xxx is about to go on the market.

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Celeb names banned from .xxx domain

Hundreds, possibly thousands of celebrities have had their names permanently banned from the new .xxx adults-only Internet domain, according to The Register.

Everyone from Justin Bieber to Piers Morgan has had their .xxx address placed into a permanent “reserved” status by the registry manager, ICM Registry.

This means that cyber squatters or crafty porn Web masters will not be able to register domains such as Beyonce.xxx or BritneySpears.xxx to drive traffic to their sites. It also means many celebrities will not have to pay to protect their personal brands in the forthcoming .xxx “sunrise period” or take cyber squatters to court in future.

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Man who registered Amy Winehouse charity name strikes back at family

Martin McCann, who bought the domain name AmyWinehouseFoundation.com, has condemned attempts to ‘pressure’ him into handing over website

The man who is standing in the way of Amy Winehouse‘s posthumous foundation has lashed out at the singer’s father. Martin McCann registered a company called Amy Winehouse Foundation Ltd and bought the domain name AmyWinehouseFoundation.com, blocking the family’s plan to do the same. Now he has condemned Mitch Winehouse’s attempts to “pressure” him into handing over the website, demanding an apology before “comes to [any] arrangement”.

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Dot VN, Inc. Announces New Vietnamese Domain Names Popular With Rural Internet Users

an Internet and Telecommunications Company and the exclusive online global domain name registrar for the Country of Vietnam (“the Company” or “Dot VN”), announced today that since it’s official launch of the Vietnamese Native Language Internationalized Domain Names (“Vietnamese IDN”) on April 28, 2011, registrations have exceeded 320,000 domain names and has had great popularity with internet users in rural areas of Vietnam as reported by leading online newspaper VietnamNet (http://english.vietnamnet.vn/en/print/science-technology/12156/new-vietnamese-domain-names-popular-with-rural-internet-users.html )

According to Mr. Tran Minh Tan, deputy director of the VNNIC, under the Ministry of Information and Communications, “[I]nternet users in rural areas were especially fond of using Vietnamese-language domain names since they used Vietnamese almost exclusively on the internet. The meaning of Vietnamese domain names was also clearer and more understandable to Vietnamese users,” Tan said.

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Yahoo! Introduces PPC Limits for Parked Domains on Five TLDs [updated]

According to an email sent by domain parking company TrafficZ last night, Yahoo! has introduced a daily revenue cap for parked domains in the .biz, .co, .info, .tv and .us TLDs. If a domain exceeds the revenue cap, no more paid Yahoo! ads will be displayed on the domain for another three days.

Unfortunately the announcement does not reveal the revenue cap, which could potentially be determined on a per domain basis. I would expect the parking companies that are on a Yahoo! feed to either a) implement a backup feed for those TLDs or b) ensure that a backup feed is used once Yahoo! ceases to deliver ads for those domains.

[Update]: We now have a confirmation from Parked.com & WhyPark.com that this restriction was also imposed on their Yahoo! feed. Craig Rowe told DNN via email: “Yes, this is affecting our Yahoo feed as well, and all Yahoo domain match feeds.  In our case, when the capping kicks in, we backfill the domain with ads from second-tier feeds.  So, it’s not that a domain will make no money, but rather it’ll earn less from those ads.

[Update2]: TrafficZ sent another update on Aug 17, offering “TrafficZ clients with exceptional .INFO, .US, .TV, .BIZ and/or .CO domains” to submit those domains to their account team for further review. The email goes on to say that “where appropriate, TrafficZ will work with Yahoo! to have revenue cap limits raised or removed from qualified domains, regardless of TLD“.

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Livening up the Internet

ICM Registry, the company that registered the adult domain .xxx. expects to make US$200m/year from other companies registering its sites with the domain

What has changed in the awarding of Internet domain names?

It has become a lot broader. Previously, sites were limited to 22 top-level domains like .com, .org, .co, .net, .edu and national domain extensions like .za and .uk. Now companies like Coke, Apple and Google and even communities can have their own domains.

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ICM/.XXX Plans $3M Marketing Pitch, Sponsors WMA, EDS, Exxxotica

PALM BEACH, Fla. — ICM Registry plans on a marketing blitzkrieg at several adult industry shows in the next three months and has taken sponsorship packages at AVN’s Webmaster Access in September in Amsterdam, as well as the Exotic Dancer Show, slated for next week in Las Vegas, and the Exxxotica shows in Los Angeles later this month and New Jersey in November.

“With the .XXX domain launch starting Sept. 7, we are very pleased to be attending and indeed sponsoring many of the B2B and B2C adult related shows and conferences for the rest of the year on a global basis,” Stuart Lawley told XBIZ on Wednesday. “This outreach will form part of our overall marketing effort including, print, poster and TV.”

Lawley, ICM Registry’s chairman and president, said that.XXX reps also will have a “strong presence” at the Asia Adult Expo in August, as well as attending next month’s XBIZ EU in London and the European Summit in Prague.

Lawley noted that ICM Registry’s advertising budget for the next three months has been set at $3 million.

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Facebook will likely apply for .facebook.

Will Facebook apply for the new top level domain name Facebook? Most likely.

This popped up on my radar today when Facebook changed the nameservers for the domain name dotFacebook.com to its main servers. I researched the domain and found that Facebook acquired it after it expired in 2010.

Now, given that this domain was previously owned by someone else, I wouldn’t assume that it is an indication of the company’s plans by itself. Poking around I found this video on YouTube that suggests plans for a Facebook top level domain name. Yet the video was uploaded by someone in the UK a couple years ago using the username “dotfacebook”. It only has 155 views.

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ANA’s Bob Liodice Says New Web Domain Plan Could Cost Marketers Billions

The Association of National Advertisers leveled criticism at a plan to allow for an almost infinite array of new web addresses, called top-level domains, that could cost advertisers thousands of dollars.

At issue: In June the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) agreed to allow for an almost infinite array of new domain endings for web sites, such as .phone, .coke., .advertising, .facebook, or just about anything. ICANN is the governing body that manages top-level domains, such as .com and .org.

ANA head Bob Liodice sent a several-page letter to the head of ICANN, Rod Beckstrom, last week, criticizing the plan, the process and the argument for the move. Said Doug Wood, ANA outside legal counsel and partner with Reed Smith, in a statement: “We have found no consensus for support for the program among businesses, consumers, academics, researchers, agencies or government. The paucity of support suggests an overwhelming rejection of ICANN’s assertions that there would be ‘benefits’ for business and industry at large.”

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Nintendo fights to get SuperMario.com domain name

Nintendo filed a complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ,asserting legal rights over the disputed domain name Nintendo.com .

The domain name resolves to a website that has a collection of online Super Mario games .

Even though it’s been decades since Nintendo brought the video character Mario and Super Mario to life,it’s kind of strange that only now they’ve decided to go after SuperMario.com .

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