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ICANN’s Accountability and Transparency – a Retrospective on the IANA Transition

As we passed five years since the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority transition took place, my co-authors and I paused to look back on this pivotal moment; to take stock of what we've learned and to re-examine some of the key events leading up to the transition and how careful planning ensured a successful transfer of IANA responsibilities from the United States Government to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. more

The World of the Subdomain

A web domain name is the foundational piece of internet property allowing its owner (registrant) to construct and host an associated website. On a domain, the owner is also able to construct whatever subdomains they wish -- a process that is technically achieved via the configuration of records on the authoritative domain name system (DNS) server. more

The Status Quo of the Domain Industry in 2022

While the global economy faced the challenges caused by the pandemic and society embraced new trends, the domain industry continued to expand thanks to the ongoing push toward digitalization. There is no sign of slowing down. The domain industry continued to move forward, embracing the internet's expansion: new trends, new technologies, niche markets and developments. more

The Ever-Evolving Problem of DNS Abuse

For several years, many within ICANN circles have raised concerns about the escalating nature of domain name system (DNS) abuse. While some strides were made toward a safer DNS, new data - this time from a comprehensive study of DNS abuse by the European Union - demonstrates that abuse remains a frustratingly obstinate problem that requires urgent attention. We've seen some registries and registrars testing innovative industry-led initiatives in an effort to address the issues. more

ICANN, Ukraine and Leveraging Internet Identifiers

Ukraine's representative to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has sent a letter to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to remove Russian-administered top level domains (.RU, .SU and .рф) from the DNS root zone. In a separate letter, Ukraine's representative also asked RIPE NCC to withdraw the right to use all IPv4 and IPv6 addresses by all Russian members of the regional IP registry for the European region. more

ICANN SSAD Proposal Poised to Fail?

After years of work on a proposed standardized system of WHOIS data disclosures (referred to as SSAD), and over a year of operational assessment of the proposal by ICANN itself, the ICANN Board seems poised to reject the proposal. And rightly so. The proposed SSAD is entirely watered down, fractured, and affords no oversight powers to ICANN regarding disclosure decisions that would continue to be left to the complete discretion of individual registrars (the very parties ICANN oversees).  more

ICANN’s Accountability Mechanisms – in Name Only?

On December 14, 2021, Dot Hip Hop, LLC (DHH) filed an Urgent Reconsideration Request following ICANN staff inaction (for its over four-month delay) of its Assignment Request for the .hiphop Registry Agreement. Not only did the ICANN Board Accountability Mechanisms Committee (BAMC) decide against considering the Reconsideration Request on an urgent basis, but on its last day of business for 2021, ICANN Org decided to retaliate against DHH for filing the Reconsideration Request in the first place ... more

IRP Panel Sanctions Afilias, Clears the Way for ICANN to Decide .web Disputes

The .web Independent Review Process (IRP) Panel issued a Final Decision six months ago, in May 2021. Immediately thereafter, the claimant, Afilias Domains No. 3 Limited (now a shell entity known as AltaNovo Domains Limited), filed an application seeking reconsideration of the Final Decision under Rule 33 of the arbitration rules. Rule 33 allows for the clarification of an ambiguous ruling and allows the Panel the opportunity to supplement its decision if it inadvertently failed to consider a claim or defense, but specifically does not permit wholesale reconsideration of a final decision. more

Afilias’ Rule Violations Continue to Delay .WEB

As I noted on May 26, the final decision issued on May 20 in the Independent Review Process (IRP) brought by Afilias against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) rejected Afilias’ petition to nullify the results of the public auction for .WEB, and it further rejected Afilias’ demand to have it be awarded .WEB (at a price substantially lower than the winning bid). Instead, as we urged, the IRP Panel determined that the ICANN Board should move forward with reviewing the objections made about .WEB, and to make a decision on delegation thereafter. more

It’s Time for ICANN to Release a Preliminary Applicant Guidebook

At ICANN's recent virtual meeting, I was fortunate enough to join a panel facilitated by the Brand Registry Group (BRG), an association of organisations promoting the use of brand top-level domains, where we discussed the release of the next round of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) program. The fact that I was participating in a discussion like this is hardly news, as I've been commenting on the policy discussions and debating its role in the digital landscape for years. more

What ICANN Should Do Now to Help Future Applicants of New gTLDs

During ICANN71, the Brand Registry Group (BRG) openly asked potential future applicants what ICANN can do to help prepare them for the next gTLD round. The answer was very clear - commit to opening the next round and provide as much information as possible early on. However, in recent correspondence to the BRG from ICANN Chair, Maarten Botterman, he emphasized that "significant work lies ahead of us: the 2012 Applicant Guidebook must be updated with more than 100 outputs... more

Phishing Scams: How to Spot Them and Stop Them

Phishing scams are nothing new in the online security world and show no signs of subsiding. The scam starts when a fraudster sends a communication purporting to originate from a trusted provider and encourages the recipient, often with a conveyed sense of urgency, to click a link. That link leads to a fake site, usually intended to collect confidential login credentials or other personal information. In similar scams, the mail may encourage the recipient to open an attachment loaded with malicious content. more

As DENIC’s CEO Jörg Schweiger Prepares to Step Down, He Speaks About His Time at DENIC

In January Jörg Schweiger, DENIC's CTO from 2007 to 2014 and CEO since 2014, announced he was stepping down from his position in December. It's been quite a ride, and the domain name industry has evolved quite a lot. So we asked Jörg a few questions about his time with DENIC and the changes he's seen... he came up with some insightful views on why he thought new TLDs missed a great opportunity to do something with "innovative new business models," the importance of security to DENIC... more

IRP Panel Dismisses Afilias’ Claims to Reverse .WEB Auction and Award .WEB to Afilias

On Thursday, May 20, a final decision was issued in the Independent Review Process (IRP) brought by Afilias against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), rejecting Afilias' petition to nullify the results of the July 27, 2016 public auction for the .WEB new generic top level domain (gTLD) and to award .WEB to Afilias at a substantially lower, non-competitive price. Nu Dotco, LLC (NDC) submitted the highest bid at the auction and was declared the winner, over Afilias' lower, losing bid. more

The Risk of Descriptive Subdomains: Are We Revealing Too Much?

Subdomains help organizations sort different sections of their websites neatly. Looking at the subdomains of some websites, for example, we usually see subdomains like shop[.]domain[.]com and blog[.]domain[.]com, which help users navigate the sites efficiently. But we couldn't help but notice subdomains that might be revealing a lot about a company's Internet infrastructure and resources. more