On a point of objectivity and being as fair as I can be to DomainBank, I should also point out that two months later they refunded pre-registrations of names which had been taken in Sunrise.
If I was being cynical I'd also observe that by then I had publicised the fraudulent selling of these pre-registrations, and I'd also threatened DomainBank with legal action over one specific domain name.
I don't think they had a leg to stand on. I think they had no alternative but to refund the money they had falsely obtained. It was one of the few concessions that were squeezed out of them.
Of course, most of the other Registrars in the industry did NOT refund the pre-registrations, and people lost probably in total $millions as a result of the abuse of the process by companies like DomainBank (demonstrated in the Lorenz case). I know one man in the US who phoned me in considerable distress over the affair as he had lost $30,000 in pre-registration fees.
While it is true that ICANN had initially advised against pre-registrations, almost the whole industry disregarded this (including virtually the entire Afilias Board through their Registrar companies). It was just a money-spinning con really, because - as Secura of Germany demonstrated honestly - it was perfectly possible to submit pre-registrations for nothing.
The bottom line was that a whole system was set up which gave Registrars (and the Afilias cartel) an extra layer of revenue. The same people who took all this money from consumers who trusted the system then participated in the abuse and unravelling of that system.
Nor, in my opinion, were ICANN innocent at all in this whole business. They knew very well what was going on from early August when I contacted Stuart Lynn about the emerging abuses, and he replied:
"We are of course aware of the problem. We are in touch with Afilias on a continuing basis and they are keeping us informed of the steps they are taking to remedy the situation. Thank you for bringing these examples to our attention."
ICANN was aware that its Agreement with Afilias was being broken, and that pre-registrants were going to suffer substantial loss as a result. Why did ICANN acquiesce in the breaking of its Agreement? Why did ICANN fail to intervene to protect the consumer?