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    Registrars Analysis of .biz names indicates possibility of Registrar abuse
    posted by michael on Monday April 01 2002, @04:09AM

    Richard_Henderson writes "Last week's release of key .biz domain names has once again called into question the issues of consumer protection and ICANN's oversight of Registries and Registrars.

    An analysis of 503 key .biz names (posted at The Internet Challenge ) reveals interesting variations between the numbers of top-quality domains obtained by different registrars."



    OnlineNIC emerged at the top, with twenty times more of these names than bottom-placed Network Solutions.

    More concerning, in the case of six registrar companies, was the discovery that a single applicant obtained all their top quality names (for example Tarek Soliman obtained all 16 of the 16 names registered through PhillipinesRegistry.com).

    This has led to complaints that other customers might have lost out because certain Registrars were only supplying one individual or themselves.

    It seems inexplicable that ALL a registrar's key domain registrations should have gone to an individual customer out of all the internet users in the world. Maybe they can explain it.

    However, until demonstrated otherwise, there is cause to be sceptical. In the light of Registrar abuse in the .info roll-out, and given ICANN's toleration and continued accreditation of demonstrably fraudulent registrars, the consumer has a right to be.

    The SINGLE APPLICANT registrars (at least with reference to these 503 key domains) were:

    DOMAIN REGISTRATION SERVICES : 15 names obtained ... ALL FIFTEEN NAMES are registered to The Website Inc (Palmyra) - accountant.biz; basketball.biz; boats.biz; digitalcamera.biz; divorce.biz; electronics.biz; houses.biz; invest.biz; laptops.biz; metal.biz; plants.biz; rome.biz; tennis.biz; webcams.biz; woman.biz

    XIN NET CORP : 16 names obtained ... ALL SIXTEEN NAMES are registered to Zansong Lin - agriculture.biz; biker.biz; christmas.biz; clothing.biz; education.biz; game.biz; holidays.biz; house.biz; massage.biz; men.biz; money.biz; nurse.biz; photo.biz; stocks.biz; sugar.biz; worldcup.biz

    BONDI LLC : 17 names obtained ... ALL SEVENTEEN NAMES are registered to Marco Publishing Corporation - art.biz; cable.biz; computers.biz; gifts.biz; horseracing.biz; hotel.biz; jokes.biz; laptops.biz; lawyers.biz; perfumes.biz; sail.biz; sexy.biz; soccer.biz; tickets.biz; universities.biz; washington.biz; watches.biz

    PHILLIPINE REGISTRY.COM : 14 names obtained ... ALL FOURTEEN NAMES are registered to Tarek Soliman - currency.biz; drug.biz; drugstore.biz; grocer.biz; land.biz; legal.biz; loans.biz; marriage.biz; movie.biz; phone.biz; pool.biz; restaurant.biz; rice.biz; satellite.biz

    SIGNATURE DOMAINS : 8 names obtained ... ALL EIGHT NAMES are registered to Joshua Blacker - cars.biz; finance.biz; gambling.biz; games.biz; insurance.biz; law.biz; realestate.biz; travel.biz

    TLDs INC : 7 names obtained ... ALL SEVEN NAMES are registered to dotPartnersLLC - beauty.biz; bingo.biz; lesbian.biz; medical.biz; pets.biz; website.biz; websites.biz

    In the wake of the .info Sunrise scam, where ICANN failed to intervene and continued to accredit fraudulent registrars, it appears that unscrupulous companies still feel they have a free hand to abuse agreed systems and get away with it.

    ICANN's failure to create reliable structures, and its unwillingness to police its own systems, has led to growing calls for a fundamental shake up of the way it is run - with the need to place far greater emphasis on consumer protection and consumer interests.

    In conclusion: What were the Registry/Registrar rules on the submission of lists? WERE there any rules to protect consumers against registrars abusing the system? Were any rules broken? Is ICANN satisfied that registrars applying for just one customer, out of the whole world, is an acceptable process? Is ICANN responsible, ultimately, for this process? Will ICANN continue to accredit, endorse and advertise Registrars who are shown to have acted against the interests of the Internet Community?

     
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    This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
    Analysis of .biz names indicates possibility of Registrar abuse | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 24 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Analysis of .biz names indicates possibility o
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Monday April 01 2002, @08:57AM (#5665)
    User #2810 Info
    This is an April Fools joke, right? C'mon, if you expect people to fall for this, you have to make it halfways plausible. The rollout of new gTLDs by ICANN is very well known to have gone without a hitch so far. No-one will believe that there are such problems now. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Update of Information on Registrars with exclusive
    by Richard_Henderson on Wednesday April 03 2002, @08:42AM (#5685)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    Since posting my original article, much more evidence has emerged of the scale of the exclusive applications made for single applicants by six registrars.


    In the case of TLDs Inc, it appears that 192 names were obtained for dotPartnersLLC, and NO OTHER applicants gained any names.


    In the case of Bondi LLC, it appears that 93 names were obtained for Marco Publishing Corporation, 7 for Suzanne Lecocke, but not a single other member of the internet community got any, implying that there were no other registrants.


    In the case of Domain Registration Services, it appears that 226 names were obtained for The Website Inc of Palmyra, and NO OTHER applicants gained any names.


    In the case of Xin Net Corp, it appears that 151 names were obtained for Zansong Lin, and NO OTHER applicants gained any names.


    In the case of the PhillipinesRegistry.com, it appears that 123 names were obtained for Tarek Soliman, and NO OTHER applicants gained any names.


    These findings are the result of a full analysis done of the entire .biz 2B list, extracted by scripts from the WHOIS of Neulevel.


    In addition, it turns out that Joshua Blacker, the SOLE APPLICANT to gain names from Signature Domains, has admitted today that he is a Partner of Signature Domains.


    To the person who posted a message here stating that he is aware of a MARRIAGE link between a registrar and a registrant, I invite you to contact me at my yahoo address: richardshenderson@yahoo.com


    Additionally may I say to that person, and to others reading this posting, that you can gain an immense amount of additional information (including lists of all the hundreds of domains mentioned above) by visiting http://forum.icann.org/newtldevaluationprocess/


    There are many postings there which detail the concerns and evidence to which I refer here.


    Jeff Neuman of Neulevel is investigating all these cases and keeping us informed. Vint Cerf at ICANN is also fully aware.


    My primary concern now is that ICANN make absolutely sure that this kind of abuse of registrar privilege cannot happen again in a few weeks' time in the .info Landrush 2

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    I want my sex.tv
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Thursday April 04 2002, @07:33AM (#5701)
    User #2810 Info
    AFP/Yahoo reports on the registration of sex.biz. Worth $10 million? Then why is sex.tv available for registration for $1 million? Type sex.tv in your browser and you're sent to the .tv (a VeriSign company) registration site. Archive.org shows what used to be there, the Jan. 22, 2002 link sans pictures. The prior 'owner' paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $650,000, at the time it was called a multi-year deal (prior to that it had been offered for auction by dottv with a minimum bid of $1 million/year, with no takers).

    Sex.tv (the company, but no longer the domain) and dottv had a series of disagreements towards the end of the first year's registration. One was that dottv was actively looking for another buyer, a charge dottv denied at the time, though it is now the case. Another was that dottv had already pre-sold future rights to sex.tv (as a precursor to VeriSign's Wait List Service?) which apparently wasn't the case. The prior registrant hired sex.com lawyer Charles Carreon (who has since written a book about sex.com) last December to represent its interests, which seems fitting because these sex.* names seem to follow a twisting path (EG: Carreon subsequently sued sex.com). More info on the dottv/sextv fight is available via searches but I'm not going to provide links to pr0n sites here.

    However, one allegation made by sex.tv was that dottv claimed that prior to its sale (that is, rental) sex.tv received substantial type-in traffic. The owners (tenants) found upon taking occupancy that those numbers were grossly inflated (and the true numbers probably included a substantial number of speculators who were just curious). So if a name that was pre-owned, has numerous relevant links pointing to it, has been aggressively marketed (which it has), isn't worth $1 million, how can sex.biz be worth $10 million? Admittedly, it is probably worth many times the cost of registration (assuming that additional money did not change hands, and given Richard's excellent expose that may not be a safe assumption), but this estimate of worth is probably out by orders of magnitude. As it is the supposed value of the top names that drives the speculator market, speculators should adjust their sights accordingly. Look on the good side, if the best .biz names wind up warehoused it will provide additional impetus for ICANN to add more TLDs so you can have another go. -g

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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    Re: Analysis of .biz names indicates possibility o
    by Richard_Henderson on Tuesday April 16 2002, @04:43AM (#5860)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    Since submitting this article I have carried out further investigations. There are now two more Registrars about whom I feel concerned because they submitted short lists. One is GoDaddy who only obtained 8 registrations, and the other is DomainPro who only obtained 24. Were the general public able to access these companies online and apply for names, or were there some exclusive registrants. I don't know but I hope Neulevel will investigate. Having had detailed conversation with Tarek Solimon, who registered through PhillipinesRegistry.com I believe this registrant was entirely sincere (and indeed registered names through a number of other Registrars) and given his account of how he applied, I believe PhillipineRegistry.com appears to have acted in good faith as well. I have advised Neulevel that in my opinion this registry acted honestly but Neulevel for the time being have decided to keep the registrations "Locked". If PhillipinesRegistry.com had answered my e-mail, sent prior to my original notice, and inviting them to explain how the names were obtained and submitted, I might not have chosen to list them with the other registrars I've cited. However, I believe Phillipine Registry have acted in good faith and I hope this will be Neulevel's early finding too

    Richard Henderson
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Don't you mean 503 top-generics?
    by Richard_Henderson on Tuesday April 02 2002, @04:31AM (#5679)
    User #3269 Info | http://www.atlarge.org/
    Your comments nit-pick on terminology (and possibly even on methodology) but ignore the substance of the article : namely, that it is blatantly clear that some registrars have handed over their lists predominantly to ONE customer (you could argue that they might have "sold" their lists on, but we'll wait to see about that).


    The real issue is:


    Should individuals be allowed to "buy" preferential treatment, which prejudices the rest of the worldwide community?


    Should Registrars abuse their position of privilege at the expense of ordinary consumers?


    Should the Registry and ICANN have constructed safeguards and mechanisms to prevent this kind of abuse (um.. eg reading the lists which were submitted to see what is patently visible to anyone by accessing the WHOIS)?


    Should ICANN continue to accredit and promote Registrars who are shown to exploit and abuse mechanisms like these?


    ICANN took no sanctions against Registrars who were demonstrably fraudulent in the .info Sunrise. The message to Registrars was: you can get away with anything you like.


    What I'd really like to hear from the previous poster in this thread is: do you have anything to say about the SUBSTANCE of the article?


    The list of names at http://www.theInternetChallenge.com/biz.htm is clearly a collection of high profile names : and the complaint is that certain registrars have clearly sold these names to a single customer.


    If Registrars are not available to everyone, then Neulevel are not able to fulfil the promises made in their initial bid to ICANN to run this Registry - where they said:


    "domain names must be allocated in an entirely impartial manner so that no party or parties may claim special privilege in registering a domain name in the new TLD space."


    As a point of interest, since this article was published at ICANNWATCH, the full extent of this issue has been further uncovered.


    For example, Tarek Soliman has now been found to have obtained 123 .biz names in last week's release of top names. As far as I am aware, not a single other name has been registered through PhillipinesRegistry.com


    Say what you like about the methodology, this appears to be an unacceptable practice, in that it prejudices the rights and opportunities of all the other people in the world.


    What does the PhillipinesRegistry, Neulevel, and ICANN have to say about it? In a culture of "openness and transparency" we should reasonably expect some comment, some explanation.


    I have requested explanation and action, and await some response... ANY response!


    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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